From what I’ve heard, having a baby on board is a life changing experience. As well as taking a long hard look at your diet and exercise regime, your beauty habits will also need a bit of a bub-friendly reboot. Hair colouring is out (or is it?), active skincare needs a serious rethink, and you’ll likely be looking down the barrel of stretch marks and pigmentation. But hey, on the upside you’ll be sporting the kind of glow you just can’t get from hope in a jar!
If you’re confused about what exactly you should and shouldn’t be using while expecting, we’ve done the digging for you. Read on for our tips on looking gorgeous while navigating the pregnancy waters.
It’s quite common for hair to seem thicker while pregnant, as you’ll be losing your hair at a slower rate. Bonus! And chances are it will naturally become more shiny. You show off, you.
On the down side, there’s some debate about whether or not you should colour your tresses. Most evidence suggests it is safe, as very little of the chemicals are absorbed into your system. Some experts suggest waiting until the second trimester to be on the safe side, and you may want to opt for highlights, where the product does not touch the scalp, rather than an all-over hue. Vegetable dyes like henna are considered a safe option.
You’ll need to invest in a good blow drier or curling iron as perms and chemical straightening treatments are a no-go zone.
To avoid any nasty chemicals being absorbed into the bloodstream, it is widely advised that you ditch any depilatory creams. Shaving is a-ok, but can be tricky in the later stages of pregnancy. Try sitting on a stool in the shower, or even get your partner to give you a helping hand. You are still ok to wax, but will likely be a little more sensitive to pain. Sorry.
Results are inconclusive when it comes to the effects of manicures and pedicures while pregnant. Our tip? To be on the safe side, ditch the fortnightly Shellac and head to a salon that uses a non-toxic brand, like Australian owned and made Kester Black. Make sure your salon has excellent hygiene standards, and avoid anywhere with poor ventilation and a fog of fumes in the air.
You may also find your nails become more brittle. Keep your hands in good health by applying creams and ensuring you wear gloves when washing up.
If the thought of going nine months without getting your (faux) tan on is a dire prospect, don’t panic. The jury is out on whether spray tanning is safe so, to rest easy, opt for an at-home DIY job and use a natural, organic range like Eco Tan.
The active ingredient used in typical tanning products is a type of sugar called DHA, which is said to be fine when applied to the skin as it doesn’t penetrate past the top layer. However, if you’re addicted to tanning booths, chances are you’ll be breathing in some of the product. As the impacts on the fetus are unknown, home tanning is recommended.
Here’s where it gets tricky. If you look at the back of any of your various lotions and potions, the list of ingredients can be a bit overwhelming. The list of things to avoid while pregnant or breast feeding is pretty daunting! Just for starters there’s Aluminum chloride hexahydrate (found in anti-perspirants), Betahydroxy acids (like salicylic acid), parabens, phthalates, retinol (vitamin A), some essential oils, artificial fragrances, hydroquinone… the list goes on.
As it’s a bit of a minefield, it’s best you consult with your healthcare provider to make sure you’re only applying products that are safe for bub-to-be.
It makes sense that ditching the active ingredients and going as natural as possible with your skincare poses the least possible risk. Ditch your anti-perspirant for a natural deodoriser, and cull your bathroom cabinet. Some brands that will have you covered include Juice Beauty, Burt’s Bees, Mama Mio, and the sensitive range from Zk’in, which is unscented and free from soy products (believed to exacerbate chloasma – see pigmentation below). The Calming Cream Cleanser is a beautiful product, featuring organic colloidal oatmeal and aloe vera.
There really is a wealth of information online on pregnancy forums, so spend some time doing your research!
Blotchy, darkened patches on the face are unfortunately common enough to be dubbed ‘the mask of pregnancy’. Preventing pigmentation during pregnancy is hard, as most of the melanin-inhibiting products you’d usually use are off limits. Therefore, it’s important to be more vigilant than ever with sun protection, and keep stress levels under control.
In most cases this pigmentation will fade a few months after birth and, if not, you can treat more intensively with active ingredients and peels when you’ve finished breast feeding. We love Odacite Papaya Geranium Hyper Pigmentation Serum to tackle melasma.
As your body stretches to accommodate junior, you’ll likely be one of the 75-90% of women who get stretch marks, most commonly on the breasts and stomach. Maintaining a healthy diet and drinking lots of water is key to minimising these purplish marks. Olive oil, vitamin E, aloe vera and cocoa butter are also believed to help prevent or minimise stretch marks, and early treatment is known to be more effective than waiting for marks to ‘settle’.
Containing Centella asiatica leaf to target stretch marks, a safe and effective product to use is Swisse Bioactive Nature Oil – apply daily to the affected area in circular motions until absorbed.
For stubborn marks after bub is born, Argan Life Argan and Almond Body Oil is a gorgeous perfumed oil that hydrates and restores softness and suppleness, without the inclusion of parabens, silicons, synthetics and palm oil.