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Itchy, dry, stretchy, patchy – there’s a solution for it all
By Sarah Tarca
Pregnancy for me has never been a particularly glamor beautiful time. Transformative and life changing? Yes. But am I one of those mamas who basks in the good glow of pregnancy hormones, and glides through nine months somehow looking even more incredible as the months go on? Oh hell, no!
I’m currently seven-and-a-half months pregnant with baby number two and the beauty situation is this: my forehead is one big melasma patch, my hair is reaching new lengths of yeti (a combination of pregnancy hormones and Melbourne lockdown keeping me from my beloved hairdressers) and my skin is somehow both bone dry and pimply.
My beauty philosophy in pregnancy is: maintain and nourish. It’s not the time to look for crazy results or to be trying out new and innovative products when there is just so much happening on the hormone front. That, and I gravitate toward products that make me feel good because, well, I generally feel rubbish.
Like most people I know, I lean towards natural products in pregnancy. However there is a caveat, natural doesn’t necessarily equate to pregnancy-safe, especially when it comes to essential oils, so it’s always best to check your product with your medical professional who’ll be able to assess your individual case. Remember, some of the most potent “actives” in the beauty world, like Vitamin A/retinol are also natural, and retinol is one of the few tested products we know not to be pregnancy safe. And with that I bring you my favourite beauty buddies over the last year:
Although technically a shower oil, I’ve been using this as a beautiful bath soak. Baths are a religion for me while pregnant – the weightlessness, the soothing vibe – it was a non-negotiable for me to have a bath when finding a house. This all-natural, plant derived formula has sweet almond, grape seed and avocado oil, to name a few, so is deliciously nourishing as well as cleansing, and leaves the skin so hydrated you could probably skip the moisturiser.
This certified organic Aussie brand is one of my favourite new discoveries, and this body oil is an absolute standout. One of my favourite pregnancy rituals is using body oil on my bump post shower (when skin is still supple and ripe for hydration). Stretch marks are genetic, so this won’t miraculously protect you (because, nothing will) but it will keep the skin soft and stretchy so it is less likely to tear. The scent isn’t overwhelming either (think: luxe day spa, not incense) and it has a whopping 19 pure, organic plant oils, which contribute to its impressive 98.2% total (COSMOS certified) organic content.
It’s cult for a reason. This multi-purpose balm can be used for pretty much anything (dry cuticles, face mask, rough elbows). Like many women, my skin is notoriously dry during pregnancy so I use this as a night cream/ sleeping mask when I need a little extra boost in the hydration department. With a bunch of plant oils, plus calming ingredients like calendula and lanolin, it’s like a big long exhale for your skin.
This is what we call a real treat: a mask… for your belly. It’s the ultimate soothing ritual in exactly the place you need it the most. Madré is the Australian made, clean beauty company that came up with this genius concept and took it one step further by making the mask from biodegradable wood pulp. Hero ingredients include sea plant extracts (for softening), celery plant cells (to support collagen growth and repair) and aloe vera for all the soothing, cooling feels. Can confirm: this is my new favourite masking ritual.
You’re probably all aware that retinol is the gold standard for anti-ageing concerns. But, it’s also on the big fat no-no list for pregnant women (due to research showing its absorption into the body). Enter: Bakuchiol, a plant-derived retinol alternative. It’s gentler, and doesn’t give the sun sensitivity of retinol and the addition of squalane has a nice calming effect. It isn’t giving me back the long lost hours of pregnancy insomnia, or miraculously curing my melasma, but it is a great, beautiful all-round serum that my skin is thoroughly enjoying.
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