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Quick Beauty Routines
by Susie Michelle Cortright
I went from fashion model to frump in record time.

Once, image meant everything to me. As a former model and television reporter, I took care of myself and invested in my wardrobe. Now, I take care of kids and the only thing I've invested lately is time.

After my daughter was born, I wore the same thing day and night: leggings and my husband's baggy flannels. My pre-pregnancy clothes didn't fit right. My hair hung in my face.

A strange thing began to happen…before long, I ceased to mind wearing the same clothes every day. What's the point of wearing nice outfits? What's the point of makeup and mousse? I'm not going to leave the house, I told myself. Who is going to see?

The truth is, the most important person in your household sees you each day. You.

Maintaining the beauty routine you enjoyed pre-children can help you remember your distinct identity. I am a professional mom, and I am always more productive when I dress like a professional. I wear makeup not to impress anyone, but to please myself.

Taking care of yourself in the simplest ways can help put the focus back on you. When you take care of yourself, you're a better mom. And since you're the nurturer, it's up to you to nurture yourself.

A Mother's Glow
Clean, healthy skin is the first step in any beauty routine. A system of cleansing, toning, and moisturizing twice each day works well for most everyone, just don't forget that indulgent and soothing mask twice each week. No time to mask? Try a masking cleanser in the shower.

My showers are limited to five to seven minutes, since that is how long my daughter takes to finish a sipper-cup of apple juice (currently, the most effective diversion). Shave a few minutes from your shower with a shampoo-and-conditioner-in-one. I used to balk at the concept—until I stuffed a sample of Pert Plus in my gym bag. That product has come a long way.

Making Up
Next, my daughter gets to play with an empty, capped tube of concealer while I play with my cosmetics. Still, I'm sure you know first-hand about a 10 month-old's attention span. No time to waste.

Spend the most time on your best feature. Start with a cream-to-powder foundation, which covers well without a made-up look. Swipe the sponge across your face once, then go over any spots that need a double coat. Determine your need for an under—eye concealer, which often has a lot to do with the amount of sleep your children afforded you the night before.

A quick dash of the blush brush is next. A good set of makeup brushes make application easier, faster, and more precise.

For eyes, remember that neutral colors require less blending. Take the guesswork out of your routine, too, by using a compact with coordinated cheeks and eye colors. Brush eyeshadow from lashline to crease. Apply a coat of mascara, and you're ready for lips.

Smooth on lip gloss or a neutral shade. Try a shade two or three shades darker than your natural lip color.

(Spend the most time on your best feature. Play it up.) If you like to accentuate your lips, grab a neutral pencil. Always start with a sharp tip for better precision. Trace the "v" in the center of the upper lip. Line to the corners. Now pencil in the bottom lip, blend, and apply lip color.

Nail it
We moms do so much with our hands each day. Well-manicured nails are a great reminder that you take care of yourself. But who has the time for a manicure?

You do. Keep a nail file in your diaper bag or pocketbook and shape your nails during down-time…when you're at a dead stop in traffic or waiting at the doctor's office.

Brush on a coat of fast-drying clear polish before bed. Or, if you like color, indulge in a weekly nail ritual. I use a long-lasting nail enamel in a neutral tone followed by a fast-dry top coat.

A special pampering tip, find the reddest red, and apply it to your toenails. Then go without socks all day.

Susie Michelle Cortright is the founder and publisher of Momscape, an online magazine devoted to nurturing the nurturers. Visit her at http://www.momscape.com to escape in inspiring articles and essays, subscribe to Momscape's free email newsletters, and register to win free pampering packages.

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