To glam or not to glam soon after giving birth

Published 6:22 am Saturday, March 30, 2019

NEW YORK — As Danielle Bayard Jackson was putting together her birthing team, she made sure to include a doula, all the details she wanted taken care of during delivery and how bright the lights should be for ambiance.

She passed on the makeup artist.

“I even looked up various prices, but something about that felt frivolous,” said Jackson, who lives in Tampa, Florida. “I decided I didn’t want to worry about that after such a monumental moment.”

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Therein lies the debate centered on pregnant women in today’s social media-saturated world: to glam or not to glam soon after a whole human being exits your body, or do as Seattle-area mom Robin Rucinsky did by the time baby No. 4 rolled around:

“I didn’t pack a single cosmetic. I brought a toothbrush and chapstick.”

With the Kate Middleton postpartum hair blowout (three times!) fresh in our minds and another royal birth upcoming, the debate over perfection during labor and just hours after giving birth looms large for some women.

“I’ll tell you who it’s not fun to be pregnant at the exact same time as. Meghan Markle,” Amy Schumer, suffering from chronic nausea throughout her pregnancy, cracked during her new Netflix comedy special. “She’s out there in, like, 6-inch heels, adorable outfits.”

While we won’t know whether Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, will follow in the footsteps of Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, when it comes to postpartum perfection, we have an inkling Meghan will at least slap on some makeup as she introduces the latest royal to the world next month.

And when she does, anti-glammers will take notice.

“I think that a mother who has just given birth is beautiful — with disheveled hair, with smeared or no makeup, with top wide open for skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding,” said Kirsten Brunner, a perinatal counselor in Austin, Texas. “I love the trend in birth photography of capturing the reality of childbirth and the postpartum experience. I encourage my clients to let go of all pressure to get back to normal as soon as possible.”

But, no judgments of those who choose to spruce up. With some hospitals providing in-house spa services and plenty of women hiring specialists for hair, makeup and nails, the argument over what makes a postpartum mom feel best cuts both ways.

For Julien Farel’s wife, it meant pulling her look together to greet visitors — including her Old World British grandmother — after the arrivals of their two children.

Farel owns the Julien Farel Restore Salon and Spa inside the Loews Regency Hotel on New York’s swanky Park Avenue. He’s been providing and arranging for in-hospital services for women giving birth since 2001, with prices now ranging from $320 for a blow out, makeup or manicure to $2,000 an hour for all three at the highest level of design and expertise.

“Mostly they’re looking for those three things, makeup, nails and blow dry,” he said. “These people care so much about their appearance. You have other people with much more money who don’t care. It’s about how you’ve been raised to look when you have people over.”

Farel has between 10 and 15 in-hospital pregnancy clients a month among his usual customers.

Donna Yip, 38, a Manhattan attorney, used one of Farel’s stylists, Jackson Simmonds, in the delivery room for the births of both her children, the first in 2013 and the second in 2015. He massaged her head, blew out and styled her hair and did her makeup.

“He stepped out during the pushing part,” Yip laughed. “I think for everyone, they have what makes them feel good and if it makes you feel good and brings a little bit of normalcy into an exciting but also a hectic and anxious period of your life, you should go for it.”