Heather Muir Maffei
Beauty Director, Real Simple & Health Magazine

As an expecting mother of your second child, is there anything you're doing differently this pregnancy (relative to your last) now that you know the ropes and know what to expect of your body, mood, and energy in a way you did not the first time around?

Although my pregnancies are only two years apart, this one feels totally different than my first. With a toddler (we have a 1.5-year-old, who we call “Bean”), fulltime WFH job, online cookies business (Halfsies!), Great Dane (hi, Chunk!), plus a house to run, I’m busier than ever so, in general, I think about being less. I’m not as freaked out about the body changes: the brown stomach line (I cried when I saw it the first time but now, I think it’s cute, and know it’ll eventually fade away), the saucer-sized nips, my fuller face - I know it’s all a part of the process and that there’s a cute little babe on the other side. After trying a bunch of maternity clothes and products, I know exactly which styles and brands I feel best in so it’s nice to have those on hand (like my favorite maternity shapewear and a pregnancy-friendly pimple cream). People’s little comments - “yep, you look like you’re having a girl!” or “you look so tired!” don’t bug me as much this time around. I know what I need to do in order to be in a good mood, despite not always feeling amazing. I know my mood is always boosted when I make plans to see friends and have a clean house, but I also know when I need to just plop on the couch and let my to-do list wait until tomorrow. Overall, I’m giving myself more grace, trying to appreciate all the fleeting moments (Bean kissed my bump the other night!), and being grateful for a healthy baby number two.

What does the most well-informed beauty expert put on her face, body and hair during her pregnancy? Anything you stay away from?

Since I’m still working from home (post-Covid), I’ve been keeping my beauty routine pretty simple. I went from a glam commuting girl with a full face of makeup and weekly blowout to someone who embraces her no-makeup glow and curly top knot most of the time (praise be for a ring light). For skincare, I use a brightening cleanser (I test out a bunch but right now I’m using Ole Henriksen Truth Juice Daily Cleanser), hydrating toner (Renee Rouleau Moisture Infusion Toner is my favorite), serum (Heraux; it’s a splurge but the science is incredible), eye cream (Elemis), moisturizer (Tatcha), and a physical sunscreen (Saie Sunvisor). I, of course, said bye to retinol and my beloved Botox injections, which I usually get twice a year. When I get a chin zit, I use a prescription strength azelaic acid cream, which has worked wonders. For my body, I use a self-tanning mitt to slather my belly in either Bio-Oil, Hatch Belly Oil, Evereden Gold Belly Serum, or Augustinus Bader The Body Cream (my trick is put it on allover because stretchmarks aren’t loyal to just your stomach). And for hair, I grab whatever shampoo and conditioner I have to test or treat myself to a blowout at my local salon. I still get eyelash extensions. Even when I’m wearing zero makeup, they make me feel pretty.

What have you been wearing throughout your pregnancy? Do you have something special you wear when doing your beauty routine (AM or PM)?

I feel cutest in tight fitting clothes that give me a shape and show off my bump (Blanqi maternity leggings, biker shorts, and solid tight ribbed dresses). When I do my skincare routine, I’m usually in a comfy bra (I like Yummie and Boob) and sweats. I have this Sidia Cloud Nine Headband that I wear to wash my face—it’s bamboo velour and feels like a hug for your head (their words, not mine) and turns my sink into feeling a little more like a spa.

 As an editorial vet in the beauty space, how have you seen the themes magazines / content creators cover change during and post-Covid times?

When Covid happened, we immediately pivoted from our scheduled lineups and reported on virtual makeup try-on apps since our readers could no longer swipe in stores, maskne (mask acne) solutions, Zoom makeup tricks, and upped our coverage on self-care to better serve our readers. Consumers were all about skincare and investing in at-home beauty treatments/gadgets. I think women are super excited to get back to beauty, though. The slippers and sweatpants have been cozy but consumers are itching to get back to their pre-Covid rituals of bold lips, fresh hair color, and just experimenting with beauty trends.What do you get most excited about reporting on and sharing with readers?

Testing the latest beauty launches is the most fun job ever. And I love interviewing the biggest beauty experts in the industry (dermatologists , makeup artists), as well as celebs—I just did a sound bath with Jessica Alba and got to Zoom with JLO about her new skin line during the pandemic. But my absolute favorite part is working with real, everyday women on stories that celebrate individuality or pro-aging. It’s so easy to fall into the culture of using filters and freezing our faces but working with women who are confident in who they are and go against the norms is always so inspiring and refreshing.

Has being a beauty editor made you more - or less - of a beauty junky? Does executing your beauty *routine* feel like a burden or a blessing to you?

More! 16 years into my dream career, and I still pinch myself that I get access to all of these innovative products, treatments, and experiences. From traveling to Costa Rica with Tarte to The Dead Sea with Ahava and everywhere in between, I’ve truly loved being immersed in so many brands and seeing what all goes into these product launches. I will say, if I’m being totally honest, now that all of the products come to our homes instead of our office beauty closets, it can be overwhelming. It’s a lot of stuff; a lot of boxes and time spent opening and organizing. So I try to spread the love to family and friends and appreciate what a cool job it really is.

When you think about having a daughter, do you think about how you'll handle her exposure to beauty and makeup and the American industrial complex of self-improvement?

My mom did such a great job with me on this front—I’ve felt confident my entire life, even during my most awkward times. I think framing makeup as a way to express yourself opposed to change yourself is a good place to start. Beauty should be fun! My mom showed me that investing in your skin, hair, and makeup is a form of self-care. When you look good, you feel good. I think it’s all about balance—I love getting all dolled up and using filters but I’m just as comfortable going on an IG Live with zero makeup—you have to love all of the sides and I hope to instill that same belief in both of my kids.

What beauty products should we be buying from CVS rather than Sephora - for which fancier brand marketing doesn't actually add up to a better product?

Sure, shopping in a boutique might feel more fun but after visiting labs and learning the behind-the-scenes of the beauty industry, most drugstore brands are owned by big parent companies with a ton of money to spend on R&D so, yes, their packaging might not look as luxe, but, chances are, the formulas are actually really great. You don’t need to spend $100 on a moisturizer or eye cream—Olay, for example, offers efficacious formulas for way cheaper. Some of my drugstore faves: Garnier Micellar Water, CeraVe’s cleansers, Maybelline’s eyeliners, and Burt’s Bees and Honest’s makeup.

Lastly - the question we're all dying to know - what's your hero beauty product of the moment?

Picking one is like picking a favorite kid (and I only have three more months before it gets hard!) but I’m obsessed with European Spa Source Classic Eucalyptus Shower Spa Mist. Before having kids, I loved taking long baths but now I never have time. This little bottle helps transform even a five-minute shower into feeling like a relaxing escape. You turn on your shower, spray this above/around the stream, and immediately feel like you’re at a fancy spa. I also rarely go a day without putting Saje Peppermint Halo rollerball on my neck and shoulders. I keep it beside my laptop for stressful moments and it seriously helps melt tension away - it’s the next best thing to getting a massage. 

Shop Heather's Look: Ribbed Knit Tank Dress