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AM/PM: Skincare For The New Mama & All Day Minimalist

Welcome to AM/PM, where Autostraddle team members break down and share their skincare routines, makeup looks and more!

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I’m Casey, Autostraddle’s resident lesbrarian. I’m also a new mom! My baby Jimena is a year old and I love her even more than I love books — which if you know me is saying a lot.

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I’ve never been a big makeup or skincare person. I would situate myself as a lazy / chapstick femme. I have very sensitive and acne-prone skin, though, so despite my lack of passion for skincare, it’s been sort of necessary to take an interest. 

I started needing a more minimalist skincare routine when I was pregnant and exhausted every morning and night, little did I know how much more exhausted I would be as a new mom! So I’ve been doing this abbreviated version of my previously more detailed makeup and skincare routine for about a year and a half now.

Basically, I experimented a bit to see what I could cut from that detailed skincare routine, and decided on which makeup still made me feel good/human enough to warrant taking the time to apply it! I’ve cut out using toner, eyeliner, face masks, different day and night creams, face moisturizer with SPF, and probably some other skincare stuff I’ve already forgotten I ever used. This is truly minimal with the mere bare necessities. I hope the minimalism is inspiring if you need to reduce your skincare/makeup routine too! 

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The Products

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1. Cerave Salicyclic Acid Face WAsh ($15.99) 2. Aveeno Positively Mineral Sensitive Skin Sunscreen ($9.99) 3.Cerave Moisturizing Cream ($16.99) 4. Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara ($36) 5. Hurraw Lip Balm ($5) 6. Il Makiage Fuck I’m Flawless Concealer ($31) 7. Bio-Oil Skincare Oil ($19.99) 8. Garnier Mattifying Micellar Water ($10.49)

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The Routine

I wash my face with my cleanser in my “morning” shower, which sometimes doesn’t happen until the afternoon and/or is sometimes a shared bath with Jimena. I sort of stumbled onto the routine of only using it once a day because when I was pregnant because I just didn’t have it in me to wash my face at the sink at the end of the day. It definitely helps with my acne as I notice a difference when I slack off from using it – but once a day seems enough. I usually let my face air dry because I read somewhere that reused towels harbor bacteria which can cause breakouts!

My very sensitive, acne-prone skin loves the Cerave Moisturizing Cream! I massage in a generous amount after my morning facial cleanser and at night after using micellar water. The Garnier Micellar Water is sometimes my evening substitute for face wash. I have been continually exhausted since my pregnancy started and surprise surprise being a new mom is not less exhausting! Anyway, I first heard about the moisturizing cream from Autostraddle’s former Managing Editor, Rachel. I recommend the one with the pump, it’s easier to get out, and also you won’t potentially contaminate the rest of the cream by sticking your fingers in the jar. 

Now we’re onto sunscreen and tbh I hate how it feels on my skin, but I am pale AF and burn on a summer day in about 15 minutes, so it is a must. In the past I’ve had a lot of issues with my eyes stinging after putting on chemical sunscreen; mineral sunscreen is much better in that regard! It does initially look white on my skin, but after some rubbing and a little time, it looks pretty decent on me — but remember I am pale AF! I have pregnancy stretch marks on my lower belly and a c-section scar, so I try really hard to remember to massage in bio-oil there at least once a day and I do really believe it’s helping to fade them! 

Now it’s onto makeup, I start with the Better Than Sex Mascara. I do not have much to say about this product except for great mascara, stupid name. My mom usually buys me a new one for my stocking at Christmas so thankfully I do not have to bear the financial burden of its ridiculous price. Thanks Mom! I’m realizing it may be a pattern here that my expensive makeup is bought for me by my mom because she has also recently gifted me the Il Makiage Concealer.

Despite my best efforts, I usually have something to cover up: acne, hyperpigmentation, an ingrown chin hair (argh!). This concealer is stellar; it feels light but provides nice coverage. The Hurraw Lip Balm is last! I love lip balm and am hopelessly addicted to it. Hurraw has delicious unique flavors like earl grey and watermelon. If I’m feeling fancy, I’ll use one of their tinted ones like dark cherry or raspberry. Altogether this “look” — if you can even call it that — makes me feel fresh and cute while mostly looking like I just have effortlessly flawed skin and long dark eyelashes and rolled out of bed like this. 

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Two photos of Casey during her skincare routine

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This routine is quick enough (minus the shower with facial cleansing) that it can be completed in about the same amount of time it takes Jimena to unravel the entire roll of toilet paper in the bathroom — or something else destructive that keeps her occupied. This minimalist routine is really working for me right now! Washing and moisturizing my face and putting on even just a bit of makeup makes me feel a little more human and a little more like my pre-mama self, which is a feeling I treasure. Here’s to doing as much skincare and makeup routine as serves you and not a single minute more! 

An adorable photo of Caseys' little one playing with toilet paper while mama does her skincare routine

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Known in some internet circles as Casey the Canadian Lesbrarian, Casey Stepaniuk is a writer, librarian, and new parent. She writes for Book Riot and Autostraddle about queer and/or bookish stuff. Ask her about cats, bisexuality, libraries, queer books, drinking tea, and her baby. Her website is Casey the Canadian Lesbrarian. Find her on Twitter, Litsy, Storygraph Goodreads and Instagram.

Casey has written 125 articles for us.


  1. I empathize with so much of this as a mom to a 10-month old. Though, I feel like I took the “little did I know how much more exhausted I would be as a new mom!” feeling and went shit I need something that makes me take 5 minutes every day just for me. Having never had a skincare routine in my life I’ve found it very peaceful and honestly it’s slowly gotten more complex as I’ve learned more about my skin and learned how nice it is to indulge a little bit sometimes.

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