This is the article that celebrity mothers do not want you to see. You've seen pics of celeb mums flaunting their post-baby bodies on the beach in bikinis. You've wondered how they do it, while the rest of us make a life-time commitment to Spanx and vow never to set foot on the beach again.
Well, wonder no more, because here at Parentdish we've taken it upon ourselves to selflessly track down the miracle creams that celeb mums swear by. And we're about to share their secrets with you...
NIP + FAB TUMMY FIX (£18.95, 100ml) www.nipandfab.co.uk
From the creator of hit skincare brand Rodial, NIP + FAB have a product for practically every body worry you could ever have, but Tummy Fix promises to help tone, smooth, tighten and slim the tummy area. It's available from Harvey Nichols - where it sold out within an hour of hitting the shelves - and selected Boots stores.
DOES IT WORK?
Oh my goodness, YES. A study showed that after six weeks of using Tummy Fix one lucky lady's abdominal 'girth' shrank by 2.5cm.
I haven't measured my own girth (perish the thought) but I can tell you that this stuff really helped transform my muffin top from one resembling a double-chocolate monstrosity to something more like a skinny raisin bran option.
It's still a muffin top because, let's face it, no cream on God's green earth is going to undo what two children (one weighing over nine pounds) and a lifetime's addiction to vanilla lattes has done, but by the time my supply of tummy fix was running low I could actually contemplate a future in which I might one day bare my body on the beach.
Maybe the caffeine content had gone to my head - but apparently that's what activates the breakdown of fat cells, although I'm no scientist.
Tummy Fix smells sort of zingy and citrusy and the texture's good - there's no sticky residue to put you off slapping it on when you're in a hurry to get dressed in the morning. I'm utterly addicted to it and faintly obsessed with its miracle-effect on my tummy. Initially I thought this seemed like a pricey product but I reckon this is a treat worth taking.
MEANINGFUL BEAUTY DECOLLETE FIRMING CHEST AND NECK CREME (£13.99, 50g) www.meaningfulbeauty.co.uk
The decollete and neck creme which promises to be an extra silky formula that helps to firm and moisturise your face and chest, and smooth the appearance of visible lines and wrinkles.
DOES IT WORK?
Yes. I'm no spring chicken but I'm not yet inclined to buy a product specifically for my wrinkly neck, but for the purposes of research I slapped it on obediently every morning and then forgot about it until a few days later when I noticed that my skin felt gorgeous in exactly the areas I'd been using it.
I've used moisturisers on my neck and chest before, particularly after a few days of sunshine as that area of skin tends to tan and therefore age quite quickly. But I've never felt the benefits like this. The delicate skin around my chest and neck felt amazingly hydrated and soft, and instead of covering up under layers of winter woolies this cream made me want to show off its effects. I am also convinced that I no longer have the beginning of a double chin which I definitely did before I started using this.
Only problem is I can't prove that because that would require me to draw my beloved's attention to the question of whether he thinks my neck was saggy, and that's a slippery slope to drag your marriage down.
BOO BOO BABY BODY SMOOTHER (£14.99 190ml) www.boobooshop.com
Boo Boo launched their natural baby range last year and were soon inundated by mums demanding a grown-up skincare range too. Stretch marks, wobbly tummies and saggy, dry skin were the mum's main concerns, so Boo Boo made it their mission to create highly effective, natural, nourishing anti-aging products (no parabens or nasty chemicals) that would effectively reduce the appearance of stretch marks and cellulite.
DOES IT WORK?
Definitely, and what's more the Body Smoother was hands-down our favourite product of all those we tested. The packaging is especially cute and stylish, making it the perfect pressie for a new or expectant mum. The cream itself is like nothing else we've tried.
You know that unmistakably delicious powdery whiff of a freshly bathed baby? That's what this smells like, and it's silky and luxurious to touch, super-easily absorded and feels gorgeous on your skin. I was seriously temped to smother it over my toast - it's that delicious.
SILDERM (£34.95, 120ml) www.silderm.co.uk
Silderm's stretch mark prevention oil is the first clinically proven formula available in the UK to prevent stretch marks, which affect up to 70 natural and has developed a cult status since its launch in 1991. It works as everything from an anti-aging moisturiser, to a treatment for soothing dry skin and reducing stretch marks, scars and blemishes.
DOES IT WORK?
I'll admit I was sceptical about this one. The packaging is a little eccentric to say the least - and the cream, which contains olive oil, beeswax, honey, bee pollen, royal jelly and bee propolis, melts on contact with your skin, leaving you with a handful of what amounts to oil - which isn't something I was desperate to put on my face.
But it's actually not at all greasy on your skin, and it really does reduce blemishes and even out skin tone. I have one particularly Botox-worthy wrinkle on my forehead which has all but disappeared since I started using this cream. It's definitely one product that's set to become a permanent fixture in my skincare regime.
Or try these...
E45 - Available from supermarkets and pharmacies nationwide, RRP £3.76 200ml, £7. 05 500ml
Medela Pure Lan - This nipple cream works as a brilliant lip salve!(Available from Amazon 7g £4.95 or 37g £6.50
Johnson's Baby Oil - this good old fashioned staple beauty secret of mums for generations is available from Boots and selected supermarkets, chemists and stockists nationwide £1.85 200ml
Burt's Bees Mama Bee's Belly Butter - We can vouch for the fact that their Mama Bee's Belly Butter, formulated with cocoa butter and vitamin E, is rather lovely for post-baby bellies.
(£13.99 - Stockists are www.burtsbees.co.uk, Boots, John Lewis, Wholefoods and specially selected stores nationwide. The stockist number is 0845 423 8718.)