Products I've been loving during pregnancy
I will preface this roundup with what I believe is an important monologue about my general philosophy throughout my pregnancy. It will hopefully offer important context for many of my lifestyle choices. Because everyone is different, and everyone will do things differently, and spoiler alert: not only am I not a doctor but I am also not really that health-conscious as a person. I am just someone who wants to do everything I can to grow a healthy, happy baby, while also staying healthy and happy myself.
So, when I first learned I was pregnant, I started down a rather frightening Google search path of something like, “pregnancy safe beauty products.” As someone who loves any good informational wormhole, I found what I learned to be really interesting and fruitful, but also disconcerting how quickly I could find justification for never putting anything on or in or near my body again, unless it came in the form of a prenatal vitamin or, like, olive oil. And at first, I was really influenced by this push to be as natural as possible, but then my own brain took over, and reality set in.
Actually, at one point Jon said something to me like, “isn’t it weird you would have kept doing everything you were doing before to your own body, but now that you’re growing a baby, you’re changing everything?” It wasn’t a bad point. A lot of what I did pre-baby, I did with very little thought or concern because I knew I wasn’t harming or helping or affecting anyone else. That’s not exactly sufficient reason to #yolo, so it was a bit of a wake up call that I can be and do better in some ways, regardless of being pregnant. However, it was also a wake up call that I didn’t want to give up everything I do and am for nine months and worry constantly about whether it was ideal for the baby. I took comfort in the fact that I was once a baby in utero, you were once a baby in utero, and everyone else we know was once a baby in utero. Babies are resilient. Moms are resilient. I am not an uptight, rigid, obsessive person, so essentially pretending to be for the nine months my baby is inside of me felt unsustainable for the, oh, I don’t know, 18 years to come.
SO, there’s a lot I’ve done well, there’s a lot I could do better, but I’m happy with the changes I’ve made—some of which are permanent shifts, others of which I look forward to beefing up once it’s just me impacting me again (SKINCARE).
Without further ado (there’s probably already been too much), here are the products I’ve been using throughout my pregnancy, with some backstory and insight into each:
I’m a gel nails addict, but I didn’t want to go to my nail salon every two weeks throughout my pregnancy. I wanted to limit my exposure to the harsh chemicals and solvents used in salons, and this seemed like a very easy and manageable change to make to my routine (basically stop being #extra). But since I’d be doing my nails at home anyway, I figured I’d try some of the non-toxic polishes while I was at it. I read great things about Zoya, which is 5-toxin-free (or free of formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, toluene, dibutyl phthalate, and camphor). I’ve actually loved this brand—it comes in a pretty big range of colors, goes on silky smooth (my #1 requirement), stays well for 5ish days with a top coat, and is a suitable alternative to my preferred brand, OPI. I will definitely continue to reach for it for at home manicures even post-baby. But guess what, I’ll also be getting back in the gel manicure game real fast.
Caudalie vinoperfect radiance Serum
I have really, really struggled to give up my typical skincare routine which would normally include, at the very least, a retinoid. I have a fair amount of discoloration and dark spots that lingers long after blemishes go away, so I have been using this as a pregnancy safe option for correcting dark spots and increasing brightness. I love this serum and would definitely use post-pregnancy, as well.
I used this serum before the aforementioned Caudalie one, and I did find it very hydrating and like most serums, I was simply comforted by the routine and knowledge that I’m doing something that is allegedly very beneficial. However, I didn’t feel as strongly about this serum as the other by Caudalie.
Peter Thomas Roth therapeutic sulfur mask
I have acne prone skin, so pregnancy is a death sentence of sorts to our kind. Hormones run wild during pregnancy, and my skin has shown it from about week 18 on. (This is strange, by the way, because I’ve read that most people have issues during the first trimester that clear up by the glowy second trimester. My experience has been the opposite). This is a pregnancy safe mask (that I used long before becoming pregnant) that really does help to dry out and calm blemishes. I use it as more of a spot treatment than all over mask, and I use it several nights a week as I don’t find it too drying. It also lasts forever, so the price is actually very reasonable.
Caudalie instant detox mask
This is a mask that I switch up and use when I’m not using Peter Thomas Roth. I like to use it all over. This is one that I’m not sure I see immediate results, but it is comforting to feel like I’m doing something proactive and healthy to help my skin detox. Other people swear by it, for what it’s worth.
john masters organics bare Shampoo and rahua classic Conditioner
I am obsessive about my shampoo and conditioner, so this took some trial and error to figure out. I knew I wanted to get away from the sulfate and phthalate filled products I was used to, but many of the more natural alternatives just simply can’t cut it. I did some research and found these two names thrown around often as being really good natural products that actually clean and leave hair feeling good. I have loved using them! They smell nice (albeit a more natural nice than the intoxicating luxurious deliciousness that is, like, Oribe), they lather well, and they leave my hair feeling healthy and soft. This is important given that I go months not brushing my hair (AIR DRY 4 LYFE!). I do think washing more often is necessary with these kinds of products, whereas with my typical routine I could have gone 3-4 days before washing again. And I do still use Oribe Bright Blonde a few times a month (guilt-free, since their products are still high quality and without many harmful ingredients) when I want a treat that lasts for an extra day or so.
Ursa Major Hoppin’ Fresh Deodorant
Okay, so the one beauty/hygiene routine item that completely scared me in my newly-pregnant internet wormhole was anti persperant deodorant. I was slightly horrified I’ve been using it for my entire adult life, and I knew that switching to something natural would be a worthwhile permanent life style change. So I really crowd-sourced here and settled on this brand, which I love. Look—natural deodorant doesn’t work as well as anti-perspirant. It’s just a fact. And if I were a really active person breaking a sweat working out everyday, I’m not quite sure how I’d make this work in my life. BUT, for my day-to-day purposes, I have found this to be a great change. I love that this kind rolls on like what I’m used to (I tried for about two days to apply another kind with my fingers and was like NO BYE), smells fresh like eucalyptus, and works well, especially when your body adjusts to it. Plus, I think reapplication later in the day helps if need be.
drunk elephant baby pekee bar & JuJu Bar
This is one of those products that I don’t know if it passes every test of truly being pregnancy-safe by rigid standards, but reading about Drunk Elephant products helps me rest assured that this is for all intents and purposes, not a harmful product to be using. I have been using both of these bars since before being pregnant as a face wash and light exfoliator (the Juju I’ll use more sparingly but almost always at night to remove makeup and to feel like I’m deep cleaning), and I don’t foresee stopping anytime soon. They make your skin feel immediately clean and soft, and the bar form seems to last forever.
Rowsie Vain Mama Moon body oil and Honest Co. organic belly balm
Look, it doesn’t matter how many times we read that stretch marks are genetic, we’re still going to grease up in the off-chance it’s making a difference. It’s sort of like how there are no atheists in fox holes. The Mama Moon stuff makes my legs, arms, and belly feel a little glowier during these dull winter and spring months and it of course feels nourishing in the way that rubbing oil into your skin tends to do. I like that it’s not too greasy like so many oils are. Plus it smells like citrus and reminds me of warmer, sunnier times :) The Honest Co. belly balm, on the other hand, is as greasy as they come—but sometimes that’s exactly what you want to feel on your huge belly post-shower before getting into bed, especially if your stretching skin is at all itchy or dry feeling (mine is!). Both feel hydrating and nourishing, regardless of whether they’re actually helping combat stretch marks.
Neutrogena hydro boost water gel
This feels decadent in a way that makes you question how it’s possibly so benign—it’s non-comedogenic, oil/fragrance/dye free, and is simply hyaluronic acid which is naturally found in the skin anyway. It smells so clean and heavenly—I’d happily sleep in the jar of cool, light, whipped deliciousness. I truly look forward to putting it on my skin every morning and night which I have never said before about anything that requires effort when I am tired. I’ve used Cera Ve lotion as a basic moisturizer for nearly ten years, but I’ve enjoyed this switch so much that it will probably stay a more permanent part of my routine.