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  • Writer's pictureMary

Clean Beauty Products for Pregnancy

My gradual shift to more clean beauty products has worked out well now that I'm pregnant. While I didn't think I'd need to make major changes to my beauty routine, I still did some cursory internet research, and my main takeaways were to avoid retinoids and salicylic acid. Easy enough. With the exceptions of switching out my retinol serum and adding a big jug of body oil to my shower, my pregnancy beauty routine is largely the same as it was pre-pregnancy.

Today I'm sharing my thoughts on my current collection of products, many of which I'm just about to finish. I've noticed a number of pre-holiday season sales popping up lately, and have already taken advantage of some of them to re-stock. Now may be a good time to keep an eye out for additional beauty deals if you're in the market for some new skincare.

Herbivore Bakuchiol Serum

$54 for 1 oz. bottle (currently out of stock)

This is the only beauty product that I purchased specifically because I am pregnant. I'd been using a retinol serum and wanted an alternative since retinoids may be harmful to the baby. I applied two drops every night, and I haven't had any issues with adverse reactions. I think my skin loves it, and I love the watery, runny jelly texture because it absorbs very quickly and doesn't leave any residue behind that would rub off on my pillow cover.

I finished the bottle this week, which I purchased in November '19. (I made the switch from retinol to this when we began to be more serious about trying to get pregnant.)

I would definitely purchase this again, but first I'm going to try another bakuchiol product that my sister gifted me: Root Science Botanic-A Serum ($90 for 1 fl. oz. bottle). This serum is oil-based, so when I applied it for the first time last night, it was the last product to go onto my skin. My initial thoughts are that the pump dispense mechanism is flawed and can be messy; I lost several drops that dripped glumly down the side of the pump. Although I'm a believer in oils for skin, I'm not into going to bed greasy, so I'll be applying fewer than the 1-2 pumps as directed. I will say however, that my skin felt pretty great (and not greasy) when I woke up this morning.

Herbivore Blue Tansy Mask

$48 for 2.3 oz. jar (I'm using a free sample)

I received a sample of this mask and have been using it once every 2-3 weeks. I think it’s beneficial to have a light peeling mask as part of my routine to complement the bakuchiol serum that's supposed to promote cell turnover. I haven’t really noticed significant results, but it could be due to my infrequent use of the product.

My favorite thing about this mask is the cooling sensation when applied, and that’s enough for me to keep using it, at least until I finish the sample. I’m not sure I’d purchase the full size version for two reasons: the consistency is watery, which means I dip my fingers into the jar more often than I otherwise would, and that makes me concerned about shelf life. Second, the color of the product oxidized from blue to a muddy greenish color before I ever opened the jar, and though the website says that this can happen and is totally normal, the fact that it happened prior to the lid ever coming off makes me wonder about how airtight the packaging is, which also feeds my concern.

Instead, I ordered the Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme Mask ($60 for 5 oz. jar) during the current 25% off event at Anthropologie. This mask has great reviews and I'm excited to have one more fall scented item in the house.

$20 for 1.7 fl. oz. travel sized bottle of cleansing oil

$15 for .35 oz. travel sized jar of polish

Let me begin by admitting that on most days, I splash cold water on my face in the morning and at night when I "wash my face". In pandemic life, I rarely apply any sort of makeup, so I haven't needed anything more in terms of face wash. Once in a while though, I guess it's important to actually use a cleanser to give my skin a fresh start.

I love the Camellia Cleansing Oil and Rice Polish exfoliator from Tatcha for a double cleansing routine. I notice the difference in my skin immediately - it feels smooth, hydrated, and brighter somehow. Double cleansing is a lot less work than it sounds like it would be, especially if you unscrew the top of the face polish before starting so you're not fumbling with the lid and little tab while the water's running.

Though these cleansers are on the pricier end of products I'm currently using, you use so little of each at a time. Also, since I double cleanse maybe once a week, twice at a maximum, the travel sized containers I purchased to try out have lasted all through the summer and will take me well into fall. Already, however, I've ordered full sized versions of each at 20% off as part of a recent sale. It seems Tatcha does these offers periodically - twice already since my initial order in early June. I'm guessing they'll have something running for Black Friday/Cyber Monday as well.

Youth to the People Superfood Peptide Eye Cream

$35 for .5 oz. jar

This eye cream is ideal for me. Dye and fragrance-free, it's such a clean formulation that comes in a creamy, non-greasy texture. I'm very consistent with twice a day application; it's unexpectedly become the one thing I am religious about applying. Still, I've had the same little jar since December '19 and despite the cracked lid and dwindling supply, might stretch until the end of the year.

The company recently launched another eye cream, which I'm considering trying next: the Superberry Dream Eye Cream.

$42 for 1.6 fl. oz. jar

I love love love the texture and lightness of this cream, and the fact that it absorbs so completely and delivers serious hydration. I could do without the strong rose scent, but it doesn't offend me. I really like the smell of roses, I'd just rather my products be fragrance-free. This cream is the last step at night every other day of the week; I alternate with a few drops of my home-infused calendula oil.

This cream was a birthday gift from my sister, and at $42 a jar I feel it's a luxury that I absolutely enjoy but don't need. I've used products from the Neutrogena Hydro Boost line before and believe that their Water Gel Daily Moisturizer ($21.50 for 1.7 fl. oz. jar) would be a good drugstore option that could provide similar results. These Neutrogena products are also fragranced, but I remember the scent being light (lighter than the Fresh cream) and clean.

Australian Gold Tinted Mineral Sunscreen $14 for 3 fl. oz. tube

Throughout the summer, I pulled out this mineral sunscreen a few times when I couldn't wear a hat (such as when I need my full field of vision while driving). It's lightly tinted, blends well into my skin tone, and feels almost like a BB cream to apply. I don't love that the tint can rub off on my mask, but I guess that's no different than if I were going to wear makeup when going out.

$79 for 1 fl. oz. bottle

This serum is something I use most mornings, and takes the place of a vitamin C product in my repertoire. It helps to even out skin tone, reduce dark spots, and brighten the complexion. According to Caudalie, the active ingredient in this serum is 62x more effective than vitamin C. It's lightweight, fast absorbing, and though it is fragranced, the scent isn't overpowering and is actually quite pleasant. I bought 2 bottles for the price of 1 at the duty free shop on the way back from Paris last September, and I'm just about to finish my first bottle and break into the second.

Dark spots aren't a major concern for me at the moment, so I don't think I'll repurchase at $79 per bottle. Instead, I'll look for a moderately priced vitamin C product, and wait for our next trip to France to repurchase this serum at a discount.

$15 for 6 fl. oz. bottle This oil has kept my skin (& my growing belly) very well hydrated, and I love that it's all natural and unscented. I know that there's no amount of moisturizing that will prevent stretch marks from pregnancy, but I didn't want to just throw my hands up and do nothing, so I'm using this oil on my belly every day. The hope is that if stretch marks do develop, better hydrated skin will stretch less than dry skin(?). I apply immediately after toweling off from the shower, while skin is still slightly damp. The simple switch from a screw top body oil to a pump dispensed version has been a game changer and a great addition to my shower. Like any oil, it takes a little while to sink in, so I don’t apply this right before bed or before getting dressed to go out. I'd give it maybe 15-20 minutes before putting on anything that you don't want to risk getting oil on.

$18 per .4 oz. bottle

At some point at the beginning of the pandemic, when the studio was closed and the lack of time on a potter's wheel meant that polish wouldn't be sanded off my nails immediately after application, I thought that I'd take the opporunity to give myself regular manicures again. Côte immediately came to mind because I'd long ago been gifted a bottle of their nail polish, which is apparently one of the cleanest formulations on the market.

I ordered their top coat and a few staple colors, and am really happy with the quality and staying power, which I would say is comparable to that of Essie nail polish.

Honorable Mentions

The three products pictured here were all given to me by my sister's friend/roomie, who receives beauty products as part of her job (sweet perk!). I've begun to use each of these pretty regularly, and thought I'd mention them as well.

Kiehl's Pure Vitality Skin Renewing Cream ($65 for 1.7 oz. jar) features manuka honey and ginseng, and dispenses via a genius silicone lid that has a raised bar you slide your finger over and a slit through which the product is pushed out. So good for prolonging shelf-life.

I prefer the feel of the Fresh facial cream to this one, which leaves an ever-so-slight tackiness. I've actually been using this cream on my neck, that oft-overlooked patch of skin, and am happy with both the results and the satisfaction of being able to say I don't neglect the skin on my neck.

This Aloe, Cucumber, and Green Tea Facial Spray ($12 for 8 fl. oz. bottle) from Mario Badescu doesn't ever get put away. I keep it on the kitchen counter (lol) and spray it multiple times a day to grossed out looks from Kev, who can't imagine spraying product so liberally.

Last but not least, I've been using this coconut oil blend from COCOOIL before I head to sleep. It's an Australian brand but I saw that Anthropologie carries this, among a few of their other products. The coconut oil absorbs a little bit faster than my sweet almond oil, so it's nice to apply as I'm getting ready for bed for some overnight belly moisturizing. I'm a sucker for the smell of coconuts, and this oil smells like pure summer. At $25 for the 6.7 fl. oz. bottle, which I would consider somewhat of a splurge for body oil, I don't think this product will become a permanent part of my medicine cabinet. However, I'd be plenty happy to receive it as a gift!

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