Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Pregnancy Beauty Product Picks: Reasonably Pure, Natural and Affordable!

It all started last fall.  After quitting our jobs, selling our home, purchasing a new one and moving all our stuff, I was ready to treat myself and time was finally on my side!  I purchased and read Lauren Conrad Beauty.  Now, I hated Laguna Beach and all of its' ridiculous spin-offs (and basically all "reality" TV in general), but I love Lauren Conrad.  She is surprisingly grounded, hard-working, and down-to-earth.  In this book she discusses how lots of beauty products are loaded with chemicals and fillers.  In the past I only had 2 concerns when hitting the drugstore:  Will it make me break out?  and What does it cost?  Typical teenager criteria.  It's safe to say I wised up quite a bit after reading this book.  I made a resolution right then and there to clean up my routine in 2013.  Turns out it was easier said than done.

My first step in reaching this goal was to set the criteria for my beauty products.  This is what I came up with:
  1. Is it free of harmful ingredients?  (focusing primarily on pregnancy-safe as we were getting ready to start trying for a baby)
  2.  Is it reasonably priced? (we are working with only one income now)
  3. How accessible is it? (we live 45 minutes away from the nearest city)
  4. Does it work?  (some "pure" products just don't cut it in my opinion)
Next I had to gather some tools to help me decide if the products did in fact meet said criteria. My main tool when researching products was  I know I've mentioned this site before on my blog, and it was a life saver!  You can search more than 78,000 products to check for harmful ingredients, and if a product you're looking for isn't on there you can check the individual ingredients (time-consuming but something I still did often).  I also read ingredients on labels and checked a few blogs for recommendations, but primarily I just used this website.
It was much harder to find products that met all 4 criteria than I expected!  I hoped to find a few brands that would work and stick to those, but I kept finding that each brand might have a few great products and the rest were loaded with crap!  So frustrating!   I will admit it took me most of this year, lots of trial and error, and several returns before I was able to finally stock my bathroom with products that I am happy with.  After all that work I'm hoping others are able to pick some of these products to use for themselves during pregnancy, and any time they want safe beauty finds, without spending as much time as I did locating them!

***Disclaimer:  Before I list the products, I want to state that I did have to compromise on my criteria for some products in order to stay within my budget and end up with stuff that worked.  Not all of these products are perfectly natural!  Not all of them are cheap!  Not all can be found at Wal Mart (I am a big fan of online shopping during pregnancy-save those feet!  Save purchases in Amazon and Sephora until you qualify for free shipping!)  However, all are safe for use during pregnancy (as far as current research goes, we all know how this is constantly changing).  I am not a doctor, just a soon-to-be mommy who wanted the best for myself and my baby!

  • Aveeno Baby Gentle Conditioning Shampoo (Babies-R-Us, Target, Wal Mart)...yes, it's a baby shampoo, and it leaves my hair SO SOFT!  I only use every 2-3 days.  The only bad thing is my hair is too soft to style, so make sure you don't wash for a day or two before you want to style it for a night out.
  • Once a week I coat my hair with coconut oil (grocery stores), leave on for half an hour, and then jump in the shower.  While washing it I add a quick pour of apple cider vinegar (grocery stores).  This combo works to clarify and condition your hair naturally.
  •  I didn't dye my hair during pregnancy.  I've heard mixed opinions but decided it wasn't worth it for me.  I went with an ombre look (darker on top, lighter on bottom) before I got pregnant to avoid my roots growing out during pregnancy.  I was happy with this choice and the look lasted throughout my pregnancy!
  •  To begin I will state that I have oily, acne-prone, sensitive skin.  Probably the worst combo out there, because anything I want to use to treat the oil and acne irritates my sensitive skin, and anything I want to use to soothe my red, irritated skin just makes it break out!  This made finding face products super-challenging, but with some persistence I did it!
  • To remove make-up I use Yes to Cucumbers Wipes (WM, Ulta) and Almay Gentle remover pads (WM) for my eye make-up.
  • I wash my face twice a day using my Clarisonic brush (the original one, Ulta) and Philosophy Total Matteness face wash (Sephora).  A pricier combo, but it keeps my skin oil-free so it's worth it!
  • Next I always tone my face with a cotton ball soaked in witch hazel (WM, first aid section).  It's a natural alternative to toners full of harmful ingredients, and it works great!
  •  At night, I treat my blemishes with a few drops of pure tea tree oil (Vitamin Shoppe, Amazon) on a wet cotton ball (to dilute the oil).  At first I used a few creams my dermatologist prescribed and insisted were safe to use during pregnancy, but they just made me too nervous.  They also left my sensitive skin red all the time.  The tea tree oil has cleared up my face with out irritating it.  A big bottle was only $20 and it will last FOREVER!
  • To moisturize, I love Josie Maran's argan oils (Sephora).  I use the light one for day and the regular at night.  I swore I'd never put oil on my oily face but these haven't broken me out and are very pure! A little pricey, but again, the bottles will last forever!!
  • Twice a week I give myself an at-home facial.  Right after stepping out of the shower I use my Tweezerman pore tool.  You can find it here:  I just drag it over my nose and chin to clean out my pores.  I've seen a big difference since doing this, and it's so much easier and quicker than those pore strips!  Then i exfoliate (once a week by rubbing organic sugar on my face with a cotton ball soaked in lemon juice, and once a week with baking soda using just my fingers), and finally I end with a mask.  I use a clay mask from my dermatologist once a week, and sometimes I dot it on blemishes and leave it on overnight (you can also find clay masks at Ulta)  The other time I use Mario Badescu's whitening mask.  You can find it here:, or at Ulta.  My skin never darkened during pregnancy, but this is a safe way to brighten your complexion if yours did.  I also splurge on facials at the spa.  It's the one indulgence I never gave up after my wedding prep.  I get 2-3 per year, and I stuck with organic ones during my pregnancy.
  • To moisturize and brighten up under my eyes I use 100% Pure eye cream.  When my allergies kick in I put in a few drops of Refresh (drugstores), as my prescription eye drops weren't safe during pregnancy.  Darn.  We are surrounded by fields!!
  •  I use Vaseline lip balms (drugstores), Tom's Antiplaque & Whitening toothpaste (Hy Vee), any old floss, and a homemade mouthwash (recipe found here) every morning and night.  Once a week I rinse my mouth with peroxide to kill germs and keep my teeth white since I didn't trust my normal teeth whitening gel.
  •  Johnsons Baby Naturals Head-to-Toe wash (Babies-R-Us, Wal Mart) for me and Stella!
  •  Vaseline Total Moisture Cocoa Radiant lotion in the morning and Palmer's Stretch Marks lotion at night (both at WM)
  •  Almay Hypoallergenic clear gel deodorant (WM)
  • Gilette shave gel with Olay moisturizer and disposable razors (WM...I get the good ones and it's still cheaper than replacing blades)
  • Once a week I use my homemade body exfoliater, which is just organic sugar and pure Vitamin E oil (Walgreens) mixed together in a jar.
  • I only used perfume on special occasions, not everyday, during my pregnancy.
  •  Non-Acetone nail polish remover (WM)
  • Zoya nail polish (Ulta)
  •  I did my own nails by just clipping and filing them, pushing back my cuticles with some oil, and painting them (sometimes) once a week.  Again, many people swear nail salons are safe, but I really don't go normally so I skipped it during pregnancy.
  • Neutrogena pure & free baby faces SPF 50 for face (Walgreens)'s amazing!!
  • Kiss my Face Kids Natural Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30 for body (Amazon)...I will say this didn't rub in good, but it is all natural.  It is also only water resistant for 40 minutes, and I burned the first time using it because I was in the pool for 2 hours (and prego skin burns MUCH quicker), so make sure to re-apply often.  I will look for a different sunscreen next summer, but this worked for now.
I'm very pleased with my finds and eager to start 2014 with cabinets full of safe, beneficial beauty products!  I'm always on the hunt for new stuff, but it's nice to have some stand-bys available, especially as we await the arrival of our first baby.  And as always, I'm open to suggestions for tried and true products!
The only belly pictures I have...and want!

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