My MO while pregnant with food, skincare, and everything else is to be as clean as possible but without driving myself crazy. It’s easy to get overly obsessive and especially the second time around, I’m not letting myself go there.
What’s on pause while pregnant: My beloved Retinol face and eye cream (which kills me), anything with salicylic acid or Benzoyl Peroxide, essential oils (although it depends who you ask with this one, I avoid them 90% of the time to be safe), gel manicures, chemical sunscreen, and micro-current facials which isn’t really an issue anyway given the pandemic. Check out this comprehensive list of skincare ingredients to avoid while pregnant.
What you can still use: Vitamin C serum which I use for brightening, hyaluronic acid, mineral sunscreen, and other clean beauty ingredients.
Face wash: I have been using Desert Essenece’s Thoroughly Clean Face Wash for what must be a decade now. As someone who has acne-prone skin, it’s the best option out there for me! The ingredient-list is uber clean and it’s free of sulfates, parabens, GMOs, and artificial dyes and fragrances.
Toner: I use two toners morning and night. I start with Thayer’s Aloe and Witch Hazel (Original Scent) toner and follow it up with Biologique Recherche P50W Lotion which is a pregnancy-safe version of the more intense version I normally use.
Vitamin C serum: If you remember this interview with my dermatologist, she says that Vitamin C serum is the number one beauty product she recommends to every patient, young or old. I personally like Dermalogica’s Biolumin-C Serum pregnant and not because it’s free of dyes, parabens, sulfates, etc and really makes your skin glow. I’ve also heard that Drunk Elephant’s Vitamin C Serum is wonderful and also pregnancy-safe and full of clean ingredients.
Mineral sunscreen: Beautycounter Countersun Daily Sheer Defense is my personal favorite mineral sunscreen for the face because it goes on thin and smooth and actually works. I use it in place of a moisturizer in the mornings because if I layer too many products my skin gets oily.
Night cream: I get Biologique Recherche Creme VIP02 from my esthetician even though I don’t see her in person anymore. It’s my favorite night cream. But it’s hard to come by and pricey so I asked for recs from recently pregnant friends and the top response was Drunk Elephant Polypeptide Cream. I haven’t tried it but let me know if you love or hate them so I can update this.
Face mask: Caudalie Instant Detox Face Mask is great for acne-prone skin like mine so I use it weekly to keep my skin clear.
Eye cream: I miss my Olay Retinol 24 eye cream so much and can’t wait to jump back on that after breastfeeding. But for now, I just switched from one eye cream that I hated to Drunk Elephant’s C-Tango Multivitamin eye cream and after a few days, I like it but will report back on results. My dark blue under-eyes are no joke with my lack of sleep in this pregnancy so I’m hoping it helps to brighten them naturally.
Eye mask: Another tough product to give up is my favorite KNC Beauty Retinol-Infused Eye Masks that make a huge difference for puffy eyes. But I’ve been using the Tula Cooling & Brightening Eye Masks and really like them because they’re so nice and cold and depuff pretty well too. Not on KNC level but fairly close and they’re clean!
Body wash: I switch between Dr. Bronner’s castile soap in almond (I’ve been using this for like 20 years!) if I shower at night and Necessaire’s body wash in eucalyptus if I shower in the morning.
Transparency note: I have partnered with Necessaire on Instagram posts in the past. Use code JULIA10 for 10% off.
Body lotion: Alba Botanica Very Emollient Body Lotion in original has been my go-to for years and it’s pregnancy safe too! The smell (gardenia-ish?) reminds me of my mom because she uses the same one.
Deodorant: I use Kopari deodorant regardless of pregnancy and love it. It smells amazing and works really well for me without giving me any weird reactions as other clean deodorants have in the past.
Belly oil: I used the Honest Company belly butter last time around but I asked my dermatologist for a rec this time and she suggested Bio-Oil Skincare Oil which can be used anytime for stretch marks. So far, no stretch marks so I guess it’s working? I am not as diligent as I was about it in my first pregnancy but try to remember as often as possible.
Check out my full daily hand care routine here.
Hand lotion: This is my favorite hand cream. It’s clean and has no scent which is nice because I always use it right before bed. Use code JULIA10 for 10% off.
Transparency note: I have partnered with Necessaire on Instagram posts in the past.
Cuticle oil: I use Bee Naturals cuticle oil on both my fingernails and toenails every night or two and love how moisturizing it is.
Nail polish base coat: I still use mostly Essie for manicures but replaced my base coat with Butter London’s Horse Power Base Coat which strengthens nails under the polish.
Thanks for this post! Did you switch products when you were TTC? I’m close to a few empties but am planning on TTC in the summer so I’m unsure if I should buy new of what I’m already using or just make a safe switch now in preparation. I’m already some clean beauty products and finishing some non clean ones. I hate to be wasteful so I’m trying my best to finish before buying something new.
Do you have any other resources or websites that you consult for such decisions?
I didn’t switch while TTC but it took me a really long time the first time around and a year the second time so I figured I would just stop with retinol etc when I got pregnant!
Thank you, Julia!
Thanks for sharing! I loved the site “15 Minute Beauty” while I was TTC, pregnant and now breastfeeding. She’s a doctor who researches each ingredient in a million different products and lays out what’s safe, what’s not, and why. Super helpful if you’re ever wondering about a product!
Bio oil has mineral oils in it which are not considered pregnancy safe.
Ahh thank you! I’ll find something to switch it up with ASAP.
Just an FYI the honeymoon glow from Farmacy is not a night cream but an acid peel. You’ll have to check if it’s pregnancy safe. Putting it out the for the readers so that there is no confusion.
Me again. Sorry meant to say that the honeymoon glow acid serum not peel. Just not to be confused with a night cream. It looks like it is pregnancy safe.
Thanks for sharing! who is the esthetician you usually see and where? I know you are not seeing her now but who do you recommend? thanks!
I see Barbara at BA Skin Lab in New Canaan. She’s amazing.
thanks! do u ever go to Modern dermatology in Westport? I know u recommended them once in your blog! Anyone in particular u like there? 🙂
Yes LOVE them! I go for derm visits and IPL but haven’t had a facial there. I’ve heard they’re great though. After COVID I’ll def be trying it!
I had my first 6 months ago and while I was pregnant had SUPER dry skin. It always trends dry but was beyond during pregnancy. The polypeptide cream is my usual summer moisturizer, I love it. I also like their Jelly Cleanser for everyday face washing. For moisturizer while pregnant I had to step it up and used this cold cream- it’s my usual winter moisturizer and it’s great, plus all their products are clean. I also love Dove sensitive skin bars and Aveeno original lotion. Neither are completely clean but have pretty low ratings on EWG. I also discovered Everyday Oil during pregnancy which I love!
Oops, forgot the link: https://candconaturals.com/products/lavender-cold-cream
I just got a big thing of the Drunk Elephant polypeptide cream, and as soon as I can get out of the house (I’m in Austin, TX, where we’re having record-breaking ice-snow-cold), I’m considering returning it. It came so highly recommended, and I generally love DE products, but the moisture doesn’t last and my skin was so itchy after I used it. 🙁 I may keep it for summer, but for winter dry skin it isn’t nearly enough moisture. I hate spending all the money on Dr. Bader Rich Cream, but that stuff WORKS.
Oh bummer! The Dr Bader is way too thick for me but people swear by it.