Meet Grace. Grace is a beauty maven. A guru. I worked with her when she was a beauty editor at GLAMOUR, now she has two new babes: the beautiful Noémie Rae and her brilliant blog (and book in process) The Pregnant Beauty Guide.
“I got pregnant and I waited to bloom. And waited. And waited. You see, that glow – that radiance that blossoms as soon as your other half has rolled ooff you, leaving your eggs fertilising nicely while you sleep – well….it doesn’t exist. Sure, some lucky women find their hair grows a bit thicker, or they have long nails they’ve always hankered after. But, on the whole, the myth of a ‘pregnant glow’ is exactly that – a myth most likely dreamt up by, well ,possibly beauty editors like me, come to think of it. I lost control of my stomach, my emotions, my waistline, some would say my mind. So it gave me some comfort to take a little bit of control back through my daily ablutions and the little familiar rituals that reminded me of feeling well and strong.
Luckily, I also had access to the beauty industry’s top talents and best products to help me get my pregnant glow on. It’s not about vanity, it’s about the coping mechanisms, the much-needed treats, the miraculous lotions and potions, and busting the myths that say you can’t do the things which make you feel better in the face of the insane hormonal surges.
1. ZAPPING SPOTS
Most skincare experts advise against using products that contain glycolic acid, salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide during pregnancy and nursing. That’s the three major spot-fighters off the menu at a time when many women experience acne. I myself was a pizza face, and discovered REN’s ClearCalm range – everything is free from all three ingredients, but calm breakouts from the first use without ravaging already inflamed skin.
2. CALMING IRRITATION
A blotchy, red, itchy complexion is a common complaint of pregnancy, and is exacerbated by both the sun’s heat and air conditioning. Dr Sebagh’s Rose de Vie Serum Delicat calms this hormonal irritation, keeping your skin hydrated and plumped up.
Although you should avoid hot baths (above 37 degrees), wallowing in the tub can ease your aches and pains, and NEOM’s Cocooning Bath Oil makes it all the more pleasurable. You have to be careful when using essential oils, and this blend takes away the guesswork.
When it comes to stretch marks, I’m a massive cynic. I’d love to see a topical product that can actually knit the dermis back together. I played the game though, and slathered various oils all over my belly, only to see the angriest red splits appear at 36 weeks. And my sheepskin slippers were ruined. I wish I’d ditched the oils and tried the lotions I’ve since experimented with – my favourites are Aden & Anais Ultra Gentle Lotion (not yet available in the UK – keep your eyes peeled for the launch!) and Bumps a Daisy Pregnancy Body Moisturiser.
SPF is essential to each and every woman, and never more so than during pregnancy. The pregnancy hormones estrogen and progesterone stimulate the melanin cells in the skin to produce more pigment. So basically, your skin can darken faster than usual. Sounds like you’re in for a sexy tan, right? Wrong – you’re looking at a patchy pattern of dark spots, long-term damage and the dreaded ‘pregnancy mask’ – A.K.A. melasma – of yellow and brown blotches. You’re also more prone to heat rash, skin cancer and burns. You should up your factor to SPF 30-50+, regardless of what you currently use. I recommend Alpha H Daily Essential Moisturiser SPF 50.
Thank you so much, Grace! Now, the rest of you – go read her blog (even if you’re not pregnant, you must know someone who needs her…)