Courtesy of Marie Southard Ospina

The Beauty Hack That Saved My Life Postpartum

When you have a baby, your body is supposed to change. I expected this much before my daughter was born five months ago. But while I fully expected the stretch marks and the extra belly sag, I didn't anticipate the acne, the black circles that would forever etch themselves under my eyes, or the general oiliness of my entire face. To paint a picture: My skin currently has more grease than Danny Zuko's hair. I have large spots covering my forehead, and the hues of my cheeks are uneven, like a patchwork quilt of reds, pinks, and yellows.

I know that this is fairly common. Thanks to hormonal swings, sleep deprivation, and general stress, postpartum acne is a regular component of new mothers' lives. Nonetheless, my postpartum skin is unlike anything I've ever experienced before, and I admittedly still haven't come to embrace it as much as I have the rest of my post-baby body.

Even though I love makeup, most of it makes my skin worse right now. Personal faves like highlighter, powder foundation, matte lipsticks, liquid eyeliner, and golden blush have long been abandoned in a drawer, buried beneath long-forgotten tweezers. Sometimes, I just wanna wear some damn makeup without wreaking havoc on my already temperamental skin. I want a touch of something — anything — to make me feel slightly more ready to take on the day. For such moments, I've thankfully found a little beauty hack for oily, breakout-prone postpartum skin.

Courtesy of Marie Southard Ospina
Courtesy of Marie Southard Ospina

As I looked through my beauty cabinet one day, I started separating out all of the products that had "oil-free" or "mattifying" on their labels, in the hopes of finding something to make my skin feel less slick and slimy. Among the rejects was a tub of LUSH's Magical Moringa primer and some old Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer by NARS. The former promised "velvety, matte skin." The latter was oil-free as can be.

Magical Moringa Primer, $21, Lush; NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer, $45, Sephora

I then wondered what would happen if I combined the two. My gut told me that the primer would help dry out the greasiest bits of my face, while the tinted moisturizer would offer subtle coverage of pimples, under-eye circles, and splotchy bits.

Magical Moringa is jam-packed with corn starch, which acts as a drying agent, and moringa oil, which is known to help with acne, blackheads, and dark spots. It also contains essential oils such as argan, organic rose hip, rosewood, ylang ylang, and sandalwood. Combined, all of the oils keep the skin fresh and hydrated, while the corn starch prevents it from becoming too hydrated. As for the tinted moisturizer, I knew it would be more lightweight than solid foundation, something my postpartum skin would undoubtedly prefer.

Courtesy of Marie Southard Ospina
Courtesy of Marie Southard Ospina

Although primers are typically meant to be layered onto the face before any makeup, my skin can barely handle being washed right now without growing irritated. I figured I should err on the side of caution and only use a little bit of each product.

I began by squeezing small drops (approximately half the size of a penny) of both the LUSH and NARS gems into my palm. Then I mixed them together.

Courtesy of Marie Southard Ospina

Splat! There it was: my impromptu concoction. Could this beige goop restore some glow onto my sleep-deprived, neglected, and semi-spotty face?

Courtesy of Marie Southard Ospina
Courtesy of Marie Southard Ospina

It was now time to dab it onto my face. As I put circles of the products on my cheeks, chin, nose, and forehead (placing a little more onto areas with the most spots), the remnants on my hand felt both drying and hydrating all at once. I was optimistic about the next step: Lightly blending the product combo all over my face, tapping it in gently wherever I had acne.

Courtesy of Marie Southard Ospina

Boom! I was correct in thinking that the tinted moisturizer would offer subtle coverage for my dark under-eyes and pimples, while the mattifying primer would help me feel less oily.

While the combination of products is by no means a full makeup look, it's just enough to make me feel a little less tired and a lot more human. What's more is that after wearing the LUSH and NARS hybrid product for a full day, my skin is no worse for wear.

Courtesy of Marie Southard Ospina

Although I am striving to love my postpartum skin just as it is, without any makeup necessary, I genuinely believe this small beauty hack will help me along the way. Before having a baby, I struggled to preserve any semblance of self-love when out in the world bare-faced. Lipstick, powder foundation, and mascara made up my toolkit for confidence. Nowadays, I just don't have the time or energy to put those things on my face on a regular basis.

Since I do miss having something on my skin, however, this new concoction of products has been a saving grace. It's easy to put on, easy to take off, and doesn't seem to breed any more acne. What's more, it's helping me grow more comfortable with my oily postpartum skin. No, it's not a "100 percent all-natural beauty look." But it's a hell of a lot closer to that than any makeup routine I have tangoed with in the past. Maybe for that reason it'll be a stepping stone of sorts: A small hack that goes a long way in helping me fall in love with my new mom-face.