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Best skincare for new mums that’s easy to use and effective

Skincare might not be high on your priority list when you’re a new mum, but postpartum beauty products can make the world of difference if you’re struggling with your post-pregnancy skin.

By Melanie Macleod | Last updated Jun 30, 2022

When you’ve got a brand new baby, it’s likely your skincare routine will fall by the wayside. And while this is completely normal and understandable, it can mean your skin becomes duller and dryer than you’re used to, which can be uncomfortable.

Luckily there’s a bounty of simple to use skincare products for new mums that will restore your skin to its former glory, without needing to set aside 10 minutes to apply. Think hydrating, fast-working wonder buys that make you feel a million times better in your own skin.

In the quest to find the best skincare for new mums we scoured the Mumsnet forums for tried and tested skincare hits that deliver impressive results, are easy to use and are suitable for pregnant skin.

We also hit up new mums that we know for their failsafe skincare to use postpartum, and kept a close eye on Amazon reviews, to make sure the ones our Mumsnetters recommended were also big hits on consumer sites. Plus, with a beauty editor in our midst, who knows a thing or two about the best beauty buys, you can rest assured these skincare heroes are every bit as high-performing as they claim to be. 

Our edit of the best postpartum skincare takes into consideration if they’re suitable for use when breastfeeding , if they deliver on their promises and if they’re good value - because we all know there’s plenty to buy when you’ve got a newborn! 

What’s the best skincare for new mums?

1. Best postpartum skincare for dry skin: The Body Shop Hemp Heavy Duty Face Protector

Price: £11 | Buy now from Amazon 

“The Body Shop Hemp Heavy Duty Face Protector is ideal. I find it softens the skin and rehydrates at the same time.” -  tried and tested by Thisislifefornow

If you’ve found your skin has become dry and tight since giving birth, this thick, plush cream should be the first postpartum beauty buy to add to your basket.

Hemp has taken off in recent years as a hero skincare ingredient, but The Body Shop has been quietly harnessing its powers since 1992. It delivers a hefty dose of hydration to parched skin, taking down inflammation too, if you’ve been suffering with breakouts since giving birth.

As the name suggests, this is seriously hard-working in the moisture department, soothing even the driest of faces. While it might feel a little heavy in the summer months, when most of us are more inclined to reach for a lightweight moisturiser, this will work wonders for dry skin. 

Reserve it for night time if you find heavy creams uncomfortable - just one use a day is enough to reap the hydrating, softening rewards of hemp.

2. Best postpartum skincare for sensitive skin: La Roche Posay Toleriane Sensitive

Price: £13 | Buy now from Amazon

“I'd really recommend the La Roche Posay Toleriane range. Super gentle, non greasy, and very soothing,” - tried and tested by JuneOsborne

French pharmacy brand La Roche Posay offers a bounty of budget-friendly skincare buys, with the Toleriane range designed especially for sensitive skin. It’s made with hypoallergenic ingredients and helps to support your skin barrier to get your complexion back to its best.

It won’t feel heavy on your skin, but acts as a shield to stop moisture from escaping, with an alcohol and fragrance-free formula that makes it ideally suited to new mums experiencing skin sensitivity. 

A little bit goes a long way, so your tube will last ages, making it budget-friendly as well as your skin’s new BFF. 

If you find you’re pressed for time (who isn’t with a newborn?) this light cream needs to be on your radar - it sinks in quickly, so there’s no need to wait around before applying makeup or SPF, just massage in and you’re good to go.

3. Best postpartum skincare for stretch marks: Elemis Japanese Camellia Oil

Price: £30 | Buy now from Amazon

“I love it. Bought my bottle about 7 months ago and I still have over half left. Smells divine.” - tried and tested by FrankWippery

With a newborn baby to look after, a spa trip probably feels a long way off, but just unstoppering this iconic red bottle from Elemis creates a blissful, spa-like vibe that makes it well-worth the price tag.

Stretch marks are part and parcel of bringing a new life into the world and are a sign of how amazing your body is, but if they feel uncomfortable, massaging this heavenly-scented body oil onto your body after a bath or shower can soothe any irritation.

It has a tropical, comforting scent that will transport you to paradise while it nourishes your weary body with a blend of sweet almond oil and camellia oil. Taking 30 seconds for yourself each day and creating a microdose of me-time will help you feel like yourself again during a time when you’re often at the bottom of your priorities list. 

Many of the new-mums we spoke to said this was staple in their postpartum routines for a minute of me time. 

4. Best skincare for a postpartum glow: Mac Strobe Cream

Price: £22.50 | Buy now from Amazon 

“I use this as a base under foundation - makes you look glowing” - tried and tested by Doadeer

Many new mums find their skin is lacking in the glow department after giving birth (likely because you’re sleeping less, or not taking care of your skin as you normally would), and while getting your glow back with skincare might take a while, this makeup base works as an instant fix. 

Makeup is likely low on your priority list, but if there is an occasion on the horizon you want to get dressed up for, this base product will have everyone commenting on how well you look.

This can either be applied under foundation, on its own for a dewy look, or dabbed onto the high points of your face as a highlighter. It’s infused with green tea and a cocktail of vitamins to illuminate immediately and hydrate the skin over time, for a luminescent finish.

It gives an almost filtered, soft-focus look, brightening the skin while helping you look less tired. Wins all round!

5. Best postpartum treat for feet: Footner Exfoliating Socks

Price: £7 | Buy now from Amazon 

“They are a great way of forcing yourself to put your feet up for a bit! I'd thoroughly recommend leaving a pack in the fridge for the heat waves - instant relief.” - tried and tested by thattravelphotographer 

These exfoliating booties came up time and time again in the Mumsnet forums, with new mums recommending buying them for friends with young babies, to encourage them to relax and unwind.

The packet consists of a pair of boots filled with an exfoliating acid (not as scary as it sounds) which works to soften and remove dead skin, leaving your feet baby soft without setting foot near a pedicure chair in-salon. 

Footner’s exfoliating socks have little adhesive stickers over the bridge of your foot to make sure they fit snugly - you can’t move once these are in place, so they’re a good way to force yourself to sit down with a hot drink and relax.

You need to leave them on for half an hour, and results begin around three days later, when the skin on the soles of your feet starts to peel off. A week in, all the dead and dry skin on your feet will have shed and your feet will feel brand new - ideal if it seems like you’re on them constantly! 

6. Best hydrating postpartum face mask: Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask

Price: £24 | Buy now from Cult Beauty

“I really like the Summer Fridays masks” - tried and tested by MoBear

Summer Fridays’ face masks are iconic among skincare buffs, loved for making skin appear fresh and youthful from first use. 

This mask was originally created to rehydrate parched skin that had been on a longhaul flight, but fans love it just as much for drenching dry skin in moisture - air miles or not.

It contains barrier-supporting, moisturising ingredients including niacinamide, glycerin, and hyaluronic acid, and is fragrance-free, so is suitable for skin that is sensitive postpartum. 

Fans say that even after just ten minutes with this mask, their skin looks hydrated and glowy, so it’s ideal if you need to squeeze in some me-time while your baby naps, but want to see impressive results.  

That said, this is lightweight enough that you can wear it under makeup if you really want to seal in hydration rather than washing it off as you normally would with a face mask. 

7. Best overnight skincare for new mums: Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum

Price: £55 | Buy now from Amazon

“I use the Estee Lauder Night Repair Serum. It's amazing. I love it. Not cheap but very good. It lasts ages and hasn't given me any adverse reactions, and I have stupidly sensitive skin.” - tried and tested by EvilTwins

Estee Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair Serum is one of those holy grail beauty products that countless skincare lovers obsess over. 

One new mum we spoke to told us that day and night blended into one when she had her second baby, so she decided to use ‘night’ skincare during both day and night to soak up the benefits of overnight skincare all day long - and that’s one hack we can definitely get on board with!

Despite being designed for nighttime usage, which normally means a product is thicker than daytime counterparts, this has a pleasant, feather light consistency that easily sinks in with zero stickiness. 

It was created to undo the damage done to your skin in the day (pollution and UV exposure, for example), reducing the appearance of fine lines which seem to creep up on you when you’re sleep-deprived, as well as evening out skin tone. 

It gives skin a noticeable glow, for a healthy complexion even when you’ve been up half the night with your newborn.

8. Best postpartum skincare for dark under eyes: Inkey List Caffeine Eye Cream

Price: £9 | Buy now from Amazon 

“Caffeine is a good skincare ingredient for dark under eyes. Inkey list do a caffeine eye cream,” - tried and tested by Jedstre

Just like a latte peps you up when you’re sleepy, caffeine skin care perks up the skin and stimulates circulation, to help you look wide awake. 

Caffeine is loved especially for taking down puffiness around the eyes - which you’re likely noticing through lack of sleep.

This budget eye cream reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles as well as dark circles, and comes recommended by expert dermatologist doctor Anjali Mahto.

The formula absorbs quickly, for a cooling feeling on tired eyes - and for the price, you can’t go wrong.

9. Best face oil for new mums: Biossance Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil

Price: £25 | Buy now from Selfridges 

“I rely on squalane oil mostly. It’s the bizness. Currently using Biossance,” - tried and tested by joeyandpacey 

The hydrating ingredient in everything from Biossance (which counts Reese Witherspoon as a fan) is squalane, a plant-derived ingredient that calms inflammation, quenching even the driest of skin and supporting the skin barrier for stronger, more resilient skin. 

This pretty pink face oil feels ultra-nourishing and bouncy on the skin, without feeling like it’s smothering you, like some oils do. It absorbs beautifully rather than sitting on the skin, taking down redness and dryness. 

Using this before bed feels like a real treat at the end of a long day - and while some people shy away from face oil, fearing it will create spots, it’s a real hero step in your skincare routine if you’re suffering with dry skin after giving birth.

10. Best cleanser for new mums: Cerave Hydrating Cleanser

cerave hydrating cleanser

Price: £7.60 | Buy now from Amazon

“I love the CeraVe hydrating cleanser. It's replaced Oskia for me which I was very surprised by.” - tried and tested by Fispi

This budget-friendly cleanser comes highly recommended for use during pregnancy and postpartum. 

The user-friendly pump bottle is a doddle to use even if you’ve got your baby in your arms, plus one bottle lasts months and months and is great for both your morning and evening cleanse. Fuss-free skincare is key when you have a newborn, and face washes don’t come much simpler than this.

As you’re likely to be wearing makeup less often than usual, this is perfect for giving your face a 10 second once over before bed. 

It’s fragrance-free and uses ceramides to rebuild the skin barrier and hyaluronic acid to attract moisture to the surface, for a hydrated, clean complexion, relieving any postpartum dryness. 

11. Best brightening skincare post-partum: Super Facialist Vitamin C+ Serum

Price: £8 | Buy now from Amazon

“I picked it up randomly in Sainsbury’s and now I’m a convert.” - tried and tested by Pinkarsedfly

Vitamin C is well-known for giving lacklustre skin its glow back, brightening a tired complexion while ever-so-gently exfoliating away dead skin cells. 

This purse-friendly vitamin C serum comes highly recommended by new mums, offering a softly-softly approach to reintroducing active ingredients into your skincare routine - essential if you’re finding your skin more sensitive since giving birth. 

You’ll rarely find a beauty editor without a vitamin C serum in the skincare routine - many say it’s their only constant, alongside cleanser and SPF, so with the budget price, this is well worth trying, 

How do I take care of my skin after pregnancy?

Many people find that when they’re pregnant their skin is the best it’s ever been (it’s not called a pregnancy glow for nothing!), but it’s just as common for skin to become a little lacklustre after you’ve given birth.

You might find you’re losing your glow - this could be because you’re stressed, sleeping less or perhaps not taking care of yourself as you normally would.

As a result of this trying time on your skin, you might experience breakouts and your skin barrier might be compromised, making it dryer or more sensitised as nothing is keeping the moisture in. 

We quizzed new mums about their skincare routines in order to write this list of the best skincare for postpartum, and almost all of them said their skincare routines went out of the window when they were caring for a newborn. 

New mums we spoke to said they prioritised skincare that was quick and easy to apply, as well as beauty buys that were relaxing and moisturising - multi-step routines go out the window in favour of skincare that works quickly - because interruptions are sure to happen. 

What do new mums need most?

Dermatologist Dr. Sam Bunting said new mums should concentrate on a simple routine, starting with a non-foaming cleanser.

Non-foaming cleansers tend to be quick and effective, plus they don’t leave your skin drier than when you started - while foaming cleanser feel time efficient because they don’t need rubbing in like balms or creams, they can be drying - not what you need if your skin is dry postpartum. 

If you experience pigmentation during pregnancy, try azelaic acid to help clear it. It’s a single step that makes a big difference to your complexion. If you want to restore your glow, AHAs such as lactic or glycolic acid will exfoliate your skin without physically challenging it like a grainy scrub might.

Lastly, if you’re feeling extra dry in the skin department, it could be because lack of sleep causes transepidermal water loss, resulting in dry, dehydrated skin. Look for mopre sumptuous skincare than you’d usually use. Lean into rich ingredients such as squalane for a deep hit of hydration. 

Can I use active ingredient skincare while breastfeeding? 

As a general rule, no skincare bought over the counter and applied topically to your skin will harm your baby, so all of your shop-bought skincare will be fine to use when you’re breastfeeding.

Prescription skincare is stronger, so check with your doctor before using this when breastfeeding.

Also if you’re using retinol, avoid applying it when it might come into contact with your baby - ie. your neck, or chest and breasts.

How we chose our recommendations 

Our Swears By edits are compiled by journalists with expertise in the areas they’re writing about. To help ensure we give the best, most accurate and trustworthy recommendations, they follow several steps when choosing products.

Recommendations from real parents

Before we recommend new products, we always ask our trusted Mumsnet users, of which there are more than 7 million each month. That’s a lot of honest, impartial advice. 

Expert guidance

Our team always ensures our information represents the latest recommendations from experts that you can rely on. They use a variety of sources to compile considered product selections, which includes independent consumer reviews from reputable sources and retailers such as Boots, Lookfantastic and Amazon, as well as including products they’ve tried and tested themselves, resulting in a trustworthy, in-depth and honest set of product reviews. 

Celebrated best products

Finally, we cross-referenced all of the above information to find the best skincare for new mums that had won the most accolades and recommendations across the board to bring you a selection of the best ones at various price points. We think there’s something here for everyone.

Why you should trust us

We work hard to provide unbiased, independent advice you can trust. We do sometimes earn revenue through affiliate (click-to-buy) links in our articles. This helps us fund more helpful articles like this one.

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