"If people say you have that glow, it's usually after you've put your makeup on," says makeup artist and mother of three, Bobbi Brown, who favored strong eyes and pale lips during her pregnancies.
So maybe you won’t be flaunting your abs at this year’s holiday parties. After all, for most, pregnancy ’tis not the season for midriff-baring fashions. But you can still draw plenty of attention with the combination of your glowing skin, your blooming body and a little beauty know-how. We consulted makeup artist Bobbi Brown, creator of Bobbi Brown Essentials and mother of three — Dylan, 8, Dakota, 6, and Duke, 6 months — for tips on how you can sparkle throughout the holiday season and how you can camouflage some changes to your features that may occur during pregnancy. We’ve also suggested products — both new and tried-and-true, Brown’s and others — to help you get the look you want.
Dark spots These may appear on your cheeks, forehead and upper lip. “This hormonal-based condition known as melasma, also called ‘mask of pregnancy’, gets worse in sunlight, so don’t try to hide it by tanning,” warns Dennis E. Newton, M.D., clinical professor of Dermatology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas. Beauty secret Wear a moisturizing sunblock with an SPF of at least 15. Conceal existing spots with a yellow-toned concealer. “I’m a huge believer in the yellow tones,” Brown says. “Warmer colors work wonders.” Lightly and evenly apply a foundation that matches your skin color. Set your foundation with a matching tinted powder, applied with a powder puff. Acne These blemishes are also the result of hormonal fluctuations. “Women who have never had trouble with acne before may now be afflicted,” Newton says. “For those with a tendency toward the condition, it could get worse.” Beauty secret Clean your face and neck daily with a mild cleanser. Then apply an oil-free moisturizing lotion, followed by a yellow-toned concealer and an oil-free foundation. You can also try a foundation that’s specially formulated for acne. Top with a matching tinted translucent powder.
Dryness Dry skin can occur all over or just in some areas, such as your lips. Beauty secret After cleansing with a mild cleanser, apply generous amounts of a rich moisturizer to your lips as you hydrate the rest of your face. Make sure to keep them protected all the time — with gloss or lipstick during the day and balm or Vaseline while you sleep. For an evening out on the town, Brown suggests a shimmery lipstick in silver or pale pink. With these soft colors, define your lips first with a fine line, using a natural-toned liner. "You won’t need the liner for these bright colors,” Brown says. “It will look fresher without it.” For lasting results, apply foundation and powder on your lips first; then add lipstick with a brush.
Dark circles Not only are hormones probably responsible for pigment changes, but they also may cause blood vessels to engorge. “This increased blood volume is seen as darkness in the thin skin around the eyes,” Newton says. Beauty secret Apply a yellow-toned concealer from the inner to the outer corners of the eye. Begin next to your nose, where skin is darkest, and work outward. Finish with foundation, and powder all over. Draw attention away from any dark circles you may have by covering your entire eyelid, from lashes to brow, with white shadow. Apply a silver shimmery shadow on the lower part of your lid, from the top of your lash line up to your crease. To finish, dampen and coat a thin, flat eyeliner brush with charcoal powder and follow along the top lash line. “Shadow is more natural-looking than liquid liner,” Brown says. To create a dressier look, apply eyeliner along the bottom lash line, too. Finish with a stroke of black thickening mascara on the upper and lower lashes. With a hard slanted brush, fill in your eyebrows with a shadow that matches your hair color. Puffiness The increase of blood and fluid during pregnancy causes increased pressure in the veins. “As a result, fluid leaks into fleshy areas, accounting for puffiness, especially in the eyes,” Newton says. Beauty secret After your morning cleansing and moisturizing routine, lightly dab a small amount of eye cream around your eyes to cool and soothe the skin. Once it has dried, apply your foundation and powder as usual. “Use makeup to take attention away from the puffiness around your eyes,” Brown says. “Intensify your eye makeup, and wear a bright-colored lipstick.” For extra moisturizing, apply eye cream before going to bed.
Puffiness Increased water retention is the culprit. Beauty secret To accent pale pink or ice-colored lips, highlight cheeks with a soft pink blush. Bright pink or red lips need a soft but reddish or rose blush. To apply blush, dip a blush brush into the powder, blow off the excess and brush from the apple of your cheek out toward your hairline, Brown advises. As a final step, without adding more blush, soften the edges with the same brush.
Dullness The jury is still out on whether it’s safe to color your hair during pregnancy. Some experts say it is safe, others say it’s not. Then there are those who say it’s safe under certain conditions — after the first trimester, by a salon professional and with good ventilation. But as a general rule of thumb, it’s better to err on the side of caution and go with the most conservative opinion: Avoid coloring altogether. But don’t despair. There are several other safe ways to brighten up your hair during pregnancy. Beauty secret Use plant-based temporary coloring products that are ammonia- and peroxide-free and that wash in and out. Or you can streak in highlights of color such as gold, honey, copper, bronze, berry, chestnut or black with hair mascara. These products give you instant color that washes out with one shampoo. Hennas, made from plant extracts, are also safe for adding red tones or bringing out your natural ones.