Pregnancy Safe Skincare

(Disclaimer: I didn't filter, blur, or make any edits to my face for these photos. I used a little bit of concealer under my eyes because pregnancy has amped up dark circles to make me look like a creature from the dead, and I swiped on some mascara because my eyelashes are sad and tiny without it. Otherwise, what you see is what you get!)

One of the first things I did when I found out I was pregnant was to take a look at all of my skincare and makeup and basically overhaul all of it to go green and clean. (And cleaning supplies, and nail polish, and plastic Tupperware.) Maybe I went overboard, and this is totally a personal decision for anyone who's pregnant, but I figured I'd rather err on the safe side, especially in the first trimester when the baby's organs are forming. That meant I had to do a lot of research (and purchasing) quickly!

However, finding pregnancy-safe skincare is waaaaay harder than it sounds! There seems to be no one brand that has pregnancy-safe ingredients across the board. Even clean and green makeup lines have some items that use ingredients that are not recommended for pregnant women. (Granted, there are some high end brands that do, but I can't be paying $275 for eye cream when I have a baby on the way!) Every single site you read says something different (parabens are evil vs. parabens are totally fine) and it's incredibly overwhelming to make sense of it all. 

I found the blog 15-Minute Beauty Fanatic and her pregnancy skincare and makeup resources invaluable in trying to figure out what exact items were safe for pregnancy and which weren't. She's a doctor and is extremely thorough in reviewing ingredient lists for thousands of products. She does approve some items that might not pass muster elsewhere (the ThinkDirty app, which is also a great resource, counts out anything with fragrance, but I'm glad they give you a breakdown of why certain products aren't "clean" so I can see that no, that fragrance is not a concern since it's not an irritant to my skin), but she explains in detail where she draws the line and why. 

This is basically the first first time of many in pregnancy that you see that there are NO right answers and you have to draw a line in the sand you're comfortable with that your budget affords, and then do your best to stick to it.

So, first of all, if you need to know nothing else: the two biggest skincare no-nos during pregnancy are retinol and chemical sunscreen. So, you're giving up retinol, or Vitamin A, which is the magic ingredient to fight fine lines and wrinkles that was found in most skincare items. Chemical sunscreens are found in lots of skincare and makeup that contain SPF. On top of these, there are many other things to avoid, but those right there rule out a lot. And, not only are you giving up retinol, but your skin is becoming less elastic in preparation for stretching you out to accommodate a growing baby. I basically aged 5 years in my fist month of pregnancy. No joke. 

So, for me, finding green skin care is all good and fine, but spending an arm and a leg on good-for-you products that aren't very effective was very frustrating. At this point, I've found a skincare routine I'm really happy with, so I figured I'd share it for those of you in the same boat: looking for clean solutions that are effective and don't break the bank. 

So, this is not only a guide if you're pregnant, but hopefully also helpful if you're looking for some cleaner beauty solutions that really work! Let's get to it!

Alba Botanica Volcanic Clay Face Scrub 

Before pregnancy, I used St. Ives Apricot Scrub every morning. I loved it, but it contains some iffy chemicals, and I've found this Volcanic Clay Face Scrub to be a great replacement that's great for me! If you like a serious exfoliator (if I don't use one, I have little raised dots on my face), this is an awesome option. The consistency is a bit thin, so you have to be careful you don't lose too much when you dispense it, but you get used to that quickly!

Alba Botanica Volcanic Clay Cleanser

A sister product to the scrub, I use this cleanser at night to remove makeup, and it leaves my face squeaky clean without drying it. 

Alba Botanica Mini Peel

This stuff is amazing for the price! This mini peel is perfect detox for a mid-week pick-me-up. It's incredibly inexpensive and makes my skin ridiculously soft. It doesn't actually peel off, it's just a gel you leave on for a few minutes after cleansing and rinse off. It tightens pores and is made with fruit acid, so it's natural and smells refreshing!

Witch Hazel Toner

Pore-minimizing toner has always been a must-have for me after cleansing but for the past year or so, I've exclusively used witch hazel and I love that it's natural and still does the job. The smell is a little funny at first, but once you get used to it, you don't even think about it. 

Micellar Water Makeup Remover

This is my favorite eye makeup remover.  (Just be sure to not get the version with oil added, that has chemicals that aren't good for you!) It has no smell and it's super gentle on sensitive skin around the eyes, without leaving an oily residue. This stuff also removes Lipsense and waterproof makeup better than anything else I've found. I've bought it time and time again and will keep purchasing!

Mario Badescu Rosewater Spray

After reading interviews with skincare experts, they all had one thing in common in their beauty routine: rosewater spray. To be honest, I didn't notice a huge difference right away when I started using it after toning my face. However, when I used up the bottle and it left my routine, I missed it immensely.

I won't go without it now. I mist my face with 3 spritzes after toning, and I feel like it really seals in moisture before I put on moisturizer. The rosewater also acts as a disinfectant and anti-inflammatory agent, clearing pores and reducing redness. It can also be used to set makeup, or just as a refresher throughout the day. And it smells great! PS-it's like $7, so what have you got to lose?

Juice Beauty Serum

I feel like this has been great for my skin texture. I wanted to find a serum that didn't have retinol in it, and I'm pretty happy with it, but it definitely doesn't fight fine lines like a product with retinol in it would. The serum is a good weight when you apply it, but the surface can be a little sticky. That honestly makes it a great primer, though!

Mario Badescu Vitamin C Serum

If you take one thing away from this post, make it that YOU NEED THIS PRODUCT. I've been hearing about the miracle of Vitamin C oil for a while, but was always petrified by the price tag (many are anywhere from $80 upwards for 1 oz). Everyone goes on and on about how it makes your skin glow, and honestly that just seemed like a pretty abstract concept to me. However, after I bit the bullet to get this serum, just a few weeks ago, I have never looked back. All you need is 3-4 drops for your face every other night (so this will probably last me at least a year) and it's helped with fine lines, my skin's texture, and I seriously just feel like I'm glowing, dangit! Someone told me that not everyone gets it, but that I really did seem to have gotten that pregnancy glow. The joke is on them, because I'd started using this the week before. This, and not my pregnancy hormones are what got me to #glowup, I'm sure about that.

Burt's Bee's Eye Cream 

This is a pretty decent eye cream for the price. I do think it's helped with fine lines around my eyes, and keeping my eye area moisturized. One thing it hasn't helped with? Dark under eye circles. But, everything is different in pregnancy (my hair, my skin, my leg hair grows super slow now: Hallelujah!) so maybe they'd be way worse without it. One thing I really do love about it is that makeup sits very well on top of it. So, I may be caking on under-eye concealer, but it doesn't settle into lines and it sticks well on top of this. Will I be switching back to more effective retinol eye cream after baby is here? Yes, probably, but this is a great green option that won't break the bank. 

Mario Badescu Daily Moisturizer

This moisturizer is pretty straightforward. It's great! A little dot goes a long way. It sits well under makeup and keeps my face nice and moisturized even in this ridiculously dry winter we're having this year. However, it's light and doesn't feel heavy or greasy at all. Would definitely recommend. 

My biggest complaint? The little spout on the bottle top repeatedly dries out product, and the next time you squeeze the bottle, everything is backed up until out shoots a clump of blue gunk followed by way too much product. 

Mario Badescu Night Cream

This stuff is so strange, but I love it! This night cream has the absolute weirdest texture, kind of jelly and sticky, I've never seen anything quite like it. It's very thick, so a tiny little bit goes a long way. It does go on pretty thick, but for a nighttime moisturizer I don' mind. My skin is so hydrated when I wake up! I have seriously never woken up with such hydrated skin in the wintertime, no dry spots, no peeling. It's kind of a miracle. 

Tarte BB Cream

This BB cream is a great primer and leaves skin silky smooth, but does provide less coverage than other BB creams I've used. I use this on a lot of weekends in place of foundation or powder if I'm running to workout and run errands. It smooths your skin, evens your skintone, and has SPF in it, which is great if you're out running around and will see the sun. 

Again, here's the complete list of products, if you don't want to scan through them all again to find what you're looking for: 

Let me know in the comments if you have any questions and also if you'd be interested in pregnancy-safe makeup as well, and I can put together a post on that too!

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  2. This post was so incredibly helpful! I'm in the just-found-out-and-totally-overwhelmed phase, so all your recommendations are immensely helpful! If you do a post on makeup, I'd be interested as well :)