My Pregnancy Skincare Routine

When I first got pregnant, I really didn’t have a clue about what types of skincare products were safe to use. Who knew that having a baby would make me so much more passionate and aware of what I’m putting into my body and on my skin? (Not trying to be preachy, just hear me out…)

I’ve been a natural skincare junkie for a few years now, but this whole pregnancy thing was new to me and the topic of skincare products doesn’t typically come up at your prenatal appointments. Even if you know to ask about skincare products, there’s a good chance your doctor may not know all of the ingredients to avoid. The best doctors to ask about skincare are dermatologists, but as always, don’t be afraid to do your own research!

Even though I choose mostly natural and organic products, that doesn’t mean that they’re necessarily safe during pregnancy. So, I took to the internets to do my own research and make decisions that felt safe for both me and babe. Since I was basically clueless about pregnancy and skincare, I thought I’d share my findings in hopes that it may help you make informed decisions. Here we go!

pregnancy safe skincare products on a table with text overlay

What products safe for your skin during pregnancy?

Your skin is one giant organ; everything it comes to contact with gets passed through your bloodstream and therefore down to your baby through the placenta. Babies are very sensitive and studies show that using some anti-aging skin products such as retinol and vitamin A during pregnancy can lead to birth defects, so it’s best to avoid these ingredients. But, the list doesn’t just stop there.

Since I’m not a doctor, I thought I’d share some articles that helped me make informed decisions regarding my skincare routine while pregnant. Remember to do your own research and talk to you doctor, too!

monique in a black dress in front of a rainbow curtain

Skincare product ingredients to avoid during pregnancy

Below is a general list of skincare products you should try and avoid during pregnancy. That being said, we can’t all be perfect, but it’s good to pay attention to labels when purchasing soaps, shampoos, conditioners, laundry detergent, hairspray, dish soap, lotions, perfumes, and basically anything that comes into contact with your skin. These are ingredients that are so called no-nos during pregnancy:

  • Aluminum chloride hexahydrate
  • Beta hydroxy acids
  • Chemical sunscreens (instead use mineral sunscreens)
  • Diethanolamine (DEA)
  • Dihydroxyacetone (DHA)
  • Formaldehyde
  • Hydroquinone
  • Formaldehyde
  • Benzoyl Peroxide
  • BPA
  • Parabens
  • Phthalates
  • Retinol products (also Vitamin A)
  • Thioglycolic acid
  • Toluene
  • Diazolidinyl Urea
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
  • Botulinum Toxin
  • Stearic Acid

The laundry detergent I use during pregnancy (and when I’m not pregnant)

Most laundry detergents out there contain unnecessary chemicals and synthetic fragrances that are not only harmful to your skin but also to the environment and the air we breathe. Branch Basics has an amazing article to reference that explains why it’s best to switch to a non-toxic laundry soap.

A little over a year ago, I made the transition to non-toxic cleaning products in our home using the Branch Basics starter kit. I now exclusively use Branch Basics products, which are biodegradable, plant-based, non-toxic and yes — they actually work! Basically you just mix water with their concentrate based off the bottles they send you. Everything in the kit is plant based, and all ingredients are rated an A or B by the EWG. I also use their oxygen boost in laundry and LOVE it. It gets all my stains out including wine. Highly recommend. Use the code ‘AK’ for 15% off your own starter kit!

Cleaning products that are safe to use during pregnancy

As mentioned above, I now use all Branch Basics products for cleaning my home, and they’re pregnancy safe. Previously I was using products like Seventh Generation, but found that it didn’t have EWG high rated ingredients. Bummer, but I feel SO much better about using Branch Basics! I’m a super fan, really. I have the starter kit and love it. Use the code ‘AK’ for 15% off your own starter kit!

“Branch Basics is a unique, proprietary blend of plant-derived ingredients that are all natural, fragrance free, non-combustible, non-hazardous, non-fuming, non-toxic, and biodegradable. The ingredients are purified water, coconut oil, fatty acids, minerals and enzymes from edible and seed-bearing plants, sodium bicarbonate.” –the Branch Basics website.

See how I use Branch Basics in my home:

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Perfumes and fragrances during pregnancy

In general, I just tried to avoid using perfume and synthetic fragrances during my pregnancy as much as possible. This is just a personal choice, but I felt like it wasn’t necessary for me to wear.

Is it okay to dye your hair while pregnant?

During the first trimester, it’s best to avoid. You also want to make sure you aren’t bleaching your hair at any point during your pregnancy. I went back to doing biolage and made sure that none of the dyes ever touched my roots (which is why my hair is a lot more dark!). Check out this article for more helpful info on dyeing your hair during pregnancy.

Is it safe to get a spray tan while pregnant?

Unless you are sure about the ingredients in your spray tan formula, then it’s best to avoid.

Pregnancy safe deodorant

I got a lot of questions about this one on Instagram. I just started using Nécessaire deodorant and LOVE it. It’s all natural, safe and actually works. Since some conventional deodorants contain aluminum, parabens, and phthalates, you may want to consider the switch too!

Sandalwood is my current favorite scent. Use the code ‘AK10’ for 10% off your first order!

pregnancy belly oil

Skincare products to use to avoid stretch marks

Surprisingly and lucky me, I haven’t had an issue with stretch marks during pregnancy — that I can see, anyway! Obviously keeping your skin hydrated is essential; not only does that mean drinking plenty of water, but also eating nourishing and hydrating fruits and veggies, and of course, a cream or oil won’t hurt. I highly recommend these products:

monique reaching for skincare products on a table

My skincare motto during pregnancy

Less is more! You don’t need to spend a ton of money on products to make your skincare routine effective. I’m a skincare junkie so I love buying and testing new products (so I can share them with you!) but frankly keeping it simple is perfectly fine and probably best for a nice, clear complexion that glows.

For your face, I recommend using a good facial cleanser, vitamin C serum, a moisturizing cream and a facial oil.

pregnancy photo

My pregnancy skincare routine + product suggestions

Again, while I use all of the products mentioned in this post, it doesn’t mean you need or should go out and buy ALL of them. If you’re looking for something new, I suggest picking 1 product from the following categories (and btw I would totally use the same routine if I wasn’t pregnant):

Cleansers I use and love

all natural cleansers on a bench

Pregnancy Safe Body Products

Pregnancy Safe Shampoo & Conditioner

three bottles of all natural sunscreen

Sunscreen

hands holding a bottle of pregnancy safe facial oil

Face Oils & Moisturizers

bottles of natural face serum on a white table

Serums

Deodorant

four jars of natural face masks on a bench

Facemasks

What to use for breakouts during pregnancy

I recommend using a product like Thayer’s witch hazel with Rose to dry out and calm the area down (use this a few times per day), and then ice the zit so the swelling goes down. Avoid makeup on the area as much as possible, and limit washing your face to 1-2x per day.

monique in a black dress with a black hat

Are there any pregnancy safe skincare products that you love?!

I hope you found this pregnancy skincare post helpful — feel free to share it with mamas to be! xo.

Shop my pregnancy favorites & recommendations

Head over to the Ambitious Kitchen shop to see everything I recommend during pregnancy & beyond.

P.S. Don’t forget to check out our baby registry, pregnancy books I’m reading and my first trimester, second trimester and third trimester posts!

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