Must-Have Beauty Products for Moms

One of the best things about having mom-friends (or just women friends in general) is the fact that they actually care when you start talking about your favorite moisturizer, or you complain about how you need to find a good dry shampoo because you rarely get a shower, or how you have to paint your nails in the car as you drive out of the driveway because if you do it at home, there is guaranteed to be a dirty diaper, a cup of spilled milk, and someone needing their shoes tied.  All at the same time.

The beauty (pun intended) of these conversations is that a) we get to vent about our little daily frustrations and b) we often get GREAT advice from the other moms in the room about products they’ve tried, tips and tricks that work for them, and even advice on how to get the best bargain when you buy said product.  THAT is the beauty of a bunch of mom friends getting together for lunch. Even if they are covered in toddlers and dog hair.

If the holiday season is getting too busy and you just don’t have those couple hours to spend with your friends at the moment, we have put together a list of our favorite beauty products just for you! 

We hope you find something you’ve been searching for on this list, and PLEASE feel free to comment with some of your favorites, too!  We’d love to hear it!


 { Hair }

First things first, let’s be honest.  How often do YOU wash your hair?  With little ones in the house, it can sometimes be a task.  Lucky for us, the truth is we shouldn’t be washing our hair every day anyway!  Now, the only thing we have to figure out is how to get away with it. For some, it’s dry shampoo. For others, it’s a good blow-drying technique.  Sometimes, we even find ways to NEVER wash our hair with shampoo (as Tara shared in her post “No Poo, No Problem“)!  For today’s list, we are sharing two of our good-hair-day secrets. 

First up, Meghann says she loves Bumble & Bumble’s Curl Crème.  In fact, she says it’s the “best hair product she’s ever used”.  It’s great for frizz and maintaining curl definition.  If you have curls that need to be tamed, try it out! 

And as for me?  My absolute favorite, can’t-live-without-it hair product is Aveda‘s Hair Potion.  They don’t call it “hair potion” for no reason!  Much like a dry shampoo, the hair potion is applied to the scalp and then “fluffed up” with fingers or a comb.  For someone with super-thin, super-fine hair, this product has made a WORLD of difference in my daily routine! Seriously, I ran out of this product and it was TORTURE waiting until my next hair appointment to get more!


{ Make Up }

I’m sure there are some of you out there who just don’t take the time to put on makeup every day, and I commend you for that.  But I’ll admit, I’m one of those moms who always has on makeup, even if I’m not leaving my house.  Nothing fancy, and nothing that takes more than ten minutes total, but I do like to have it on everyday.  Today’s makeup suggestions come from Shari, Kristin, and Jessi.  Shari’s favorite mix of eye shadows (pictured here) is a base coat of “Beach Blonde” by Mary Kay , with a top coat of Urban Decay’s “Sin”.  She says it leaves a nice light pink, neutral shimmer for an everyday look.  And for foundation, Shari swears by Bare Minerals pressed powder foundation.  She loves it because you get the quality of a mineral makeup without the mess (apply it with a brush).

One of Kristin’s favorite products is the Maybelline color-correcting concealer.  She calls it “a tired girl’s best friend”, and let’s face it: we can all fit into that category, can’t we?  Kristin uses the yellow stick to cover dark circles around and under her eyes, and the green one to neutralize red, blotchy spots.  After using the sticks, simply cover with your favorite foundation.

And last up for makeup, Jessi recommends the “Baby Skin” Instant Pore Eraser Primer (from Maybelline as well). This product also goes on before foundation, or you can just wear a layer of the primer and leave the foundation for later!


{ Lotions & Moisturizers }

As the winter months have hit us early this year, we can all attest to the need for a good go-to lotion.  Am I right?  Shari’s favorite (especially for the wintertime) is Bath & Body Works “Shea Cashmere”.  She loves the smell, and says she uses a TON of it during these Iowa winters.  Speaking of which, I love having recommendations for any scents from Bath & Body, because going in there is literally overwhelming to me!

Our favorite Kindergarten teacher (Melissa) shared her favorite lotion with us as well, and I must agree it’s a good one:  Aveda’s Hand Relief (Foot Relief also available).  This lotion goes on smooth, and you don’t have to use more than a couple drops to get your entire hand (and arm) soft as a baby’s bottom.  And the best part?  You can wash and dry your hands all day long and they are still soft!  Definitely a must for us mommies changing diapers all day!

And let’s not forget the importance of our faces when it comes to fighting the winter dryness.  One of the things my mom always told me growing up was “Moisturize, moisturize! It will keep you looking young!” And if it worked for her, I’m at least going to give it a try, because she looks amazing for her age!  My personal favorite is the Timewise line moisturizer from Mary Kay. I use it in the morning before my makeup, and at night after I wash my face. For another favorite moisturizer, check out Clinique‘s Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel, which was mentioned by numerous girls on our contributing team as their must-have!


{ Oils }

There’s a lot of talk about oils, essential oils, aromatherapy, and more these days.  So it was no surprise when I asked our team about their favorite beauty products, one of the first answers (from more than one person) was coconut oil.  With a variety of uses, this natural beauty enhancer is a great product to have around the house.  Found in the cooking aisle (or the health food section) of your average Costco or Hyvee, our writers use it before showers to protect skin from heat, as lotion, for after-the-shower conditioning treatment, as lip balm, for treatment of cradle cap with infants, and even for eye-makeup removal. To name a few!

Another favorite oil is Pure Argan Oil, mentioned by Melissa. She said it’s great for sensitive skin, and has also been proven to help with adult acne, which we hate to admit, but some of us are still struggling with!  Although you can find Argan Oil in many stores and online as well, Melissa’s favorite is Josie Maran’s line, which can be found at Sephora.


{ Nails }

As I mentioned above, many moms tend to avoid painting their nails altogether, considering the nail polish bottle seems to be some sort of signal for potty disasters, must-have snuggle sessions, and clothes-buttoning all rolled into one.  I’ll admit it can be a pain to do my daily tasks while waiting for my nails to dry, and 9 times out of 10, one or two of them are smudged within minutes.  However…I hate it when my nails are naked!  I totally don’t mind it on anyone else, but I am rarely seen without my nails painted! 

Now, let me clarify: there are always smudges, and most times my index finger is almost all rubbed off, but I do always have nail polish on.  And my go-to nail color is Sinful‘s “Nirvana”.  I discovered it a few years ago, and I honestly hardly ever wear any other colors.  This taupe-grayish color is perfect because it pretty much matches anything you’re wearing, because we all know we can’t be changing our nail colors every other day.

And, if you by chance can pull off amazing red hair and bright red nails, then you can pick up Sherri’s go-to polish: Maybelline Express Finish (another plus for moms on the go!) in her favorite color, Racy Red.  Love it!


{ For the mommy-to-be }

And last but certainly not least, for all of you mamas-to-be out there, our soon-to-be mama of two, Kristin, shared some of her favorites.  First up, the Mama Mio “Lucky Legs” Cooling Gel that she won from none other than the Iowa City Moms Blog!  Kristin said this product is amazing for swollen calves and ankles, and I’m now wishing I had known about it when I was pregnant three times before this!

Kristin also loves Burt’s Bees “Mama Bee Belly Butter”.  We know there are lots of brands of belly butter to choose from, and some are more effective than others in actually removing the stretch marks that our lovely babies leave for us, but this one seems to be a favorite among lots of moms that I’ve talked with.  Burt’s Bees belly butter is fragrance-free (a plus for expectant moms with smell aversions) and also 99% natural, so it’s extra safe for you and baby.

So now it’s YOUR turn!  Whether you are a beauty product addict, or an all-natural mama, share with us your favorites when it comes to feeling pretty and keeping your skin safe and healthy!  We’d love to hear what you have to share!


Sara and her husband Matt (sweethearts since they were just 16) got married in 2007, and since then have welcomed four beautiful children (Sam in 2008, Cooper in 2010, Nora in 2012, and Adam James in December 2015). A born-and-raised Iowan, Sara received both her Bachelor's and Master's Degrees (in Spanish Literature) from the University of Iowa. She's still teaching Spanish wherever and whenever she can, but her true passion is owning Iowa City Moms and building this community alongside her amazing team. Sara is also the Community Engagement Coordinator for City Mom Collective, and the owner of Cowork Collective downtown Iowa City. Common denominator in all of these jobs: community, community, community.


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