Confidence is something which we all aspire to in one way or another, but having self-belief isn’t something which stays at a constant level, or that once you attain lasts throughout your lifetime. It ebbs and flows and even the most assured woman can suffer crises and setbacks depending on what else is going on in her life. Here I share one of the ways that I’ve worked my way back to confidence in early motherhood, all with the help of a little DIY hair colour…
Leaving ‘The Bubble’ Behind
Grappling with the challenges of first time motherhood has in many ways put me on the back foot when it comes to my own sense of confidence. Everything is so new, intimidating and I every single day I feel like I’m an amateur at the most important job I’ve ever had. One of the hardest things I’ve found is when ‘real life’ invades into the new motherhood bubble and you feel expected to look and behave how you used to, even though the context of your life has so completely changed. Four weeks after my baby was born, my mother-in-law got married in Norfolk in a vintage-inspired, multi-venue affair. Aside from the arduous journey to the coast over the bank holiday weekend contending with engineering works and rail replacements, I also felt the pressure of pulling myself out of my postpartum jeans and oversized sweatshirts and getting into party mode—the family photos will obviously be forever and I’d prefer not to look as if I hadn’t slept for a month (when we all know the reality…)
“Everything is so new, intimidating and I every single day I feel like I’m an amateur at the most important job I’ve ever had.”
Confidence doesn’t come for free—it’s something which you have to invest in and that takes time. And of course, time is something which is in short supply when you have a small child. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t be creative. While it might sound superficial (so sue me), the way you look after you have a baby can be one of the biggest challenges of the post birth period.
Maintenance on a Timer
Aside from carrying a fair few extra pounds, still recovering physically from the birth itself and working out how to fit breastfeeding boobs into anything you own, any ‘maintenance’—like manicures or pedicures, eyebrows or lash extensions just go out the window. For me, the hardest thing to deal with is not having time to sort my hair out on a daily basis. I have a fringe which needs regular trimming and a serious explosion of wiry grey hairs—both of which make me feel unkempt if I let them get out of control. But the idea of sitting in a hairdresser’s chair for six hours is just not practical right now.
So, when Clairol got in touch to ask me to be part of their new confidence building programme, celebrating the launch of the new Nice ‘n Easy hair colour with new damage control technology, it reminded me of all the times that I’d dyed my own hair in the past, emerging from the bathroom with just a little more spring in my step. Sure, back in the day some of the colours I chose were controversial (like that time when I decided a navy bob was seriously chic… newsflash: it was not), but that sense of transformation in under an hour is exactly the kind of investment that helps build your confidence and even fits into my new baby-centric lifestyle.
This time around I wasn’t looking to make a major statement, more just to feel a bit more like my old self. Of course, you know it’s going to take a while to get back into shape (or more likely settle into your new shape) and there are things about the way you look and feel that may never go back to how it was before you had a baby. But there are little cheats that you can make to just inject that little oomph of confidence right when you need it.
I chose shade number 4, Dark Brown—hardly revolutionary, but it covered my greys beautifully, and added a gloss to my locks which just made me feel much more pulled together when it came to showing my face at the family wedding. One of the big selling points of Nice ‘n Easy is the effort that’s gone into making sure there’s conditioner at every stage and the addition of new damage blocking technology which meant that my hair wasn’t going to be left looking as frazzled as I feel at the 4am feed. I’m not going to lie and say the process was totally seamless—part way through the colour developing stage, the baby started red-face crying and even though my boyfriend was looking after him, it definitely made me feel stressed. But after managing to feed in between the rinse and blow dry, I emerged from the bedroom still in my PJs but feeling just that bit more polished. And when the wedding bells chimed, I may have been completely exhausted, but at least I didn’t feel like a total mess—and that is definitely worth its weight in confidence gold.
Created in collaboration with Clairol, as part of a paid partnership. Shop the new Clairol Nice ‘n Easy Colour Formula HERE & my shade HERE. If you’re planning on dying your hair, please remember to do a patch test 48 hours before colour.