BEAUTY Cosmetics

11 Pregnancy Makeup Tips All Women Should Know

Written by Bryce

Pregnancy makeup routines are different than when we’re not with child — and for good reason.

It doesn’t really matter if you’re 2 days beyond your expected period or about to go into labor — what you put on your body, even your face, really matters when it comes to being a healthy mom and creating a healthy child. Rashes, acne, melasma, and irritation are amongst the top complaints of pregnant women, but when it comes to pregnancy makeup, most women are just looking to feel like their best pre-pregnancy selves, without all the potentially harmful or irritating additives that regular, everyday cosmetics are likely to offer.

pregnancy makeup

  1. Switch out your nail polish because it’s potentially dangerous. Regular nail polishes are loaded with chemicals like Formaldehyde, which are known to be unsafe for pregnant women. Opt for a triple-free or five-free formula to ensure that your nail beds (and nostrils!) aren’t absorbing all sorts of potentially harmful irritants and fumes. Believe it or not, they can cross the placenta. MAXUS nail polishes are mostly five-free, easy to apply, and last nearly as long as a gel manicure without the need for a UV lamp or crazy efforts to remove it when you decide you’re ready for a new color.


2. Shea butter is about to be your best friend. No, that doesn’t mean a body butter that includes shea in its list of ingredients. That means pure, organic, unadulterated shea butter that appears so hard and chunky when it’s chilled that you’ll actually be confused how to use it. The truth is that this stuff is possibly your best beauty weapon during pregnancy because it’s devoid of all irritants, dyes, weird stuff, and scents — and it’s so safe you can cover your baby in it after he or she is born. Try letting 2-3 small spoonfuls of this stuff melt into your belly skin each evening before bed, and then rubbing it it. It’s a no frills, easy way to avoid excess stretch marks. Just make sure you wear an easily washed cotton tee or nightgown because you don’t want the natural oils to ruin your sheets. This one by Shea Terra Organics is cheap, easy, and will last you a few weeks even if you use it every night.

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3. Put coffee on your face, not in your belly. It’s no secret that pregnancy makes caffeine-loading hard, and that means no venti triple shot mochas anytime soon, but it doesn’t mean your skin shouldn’t be drinking in the many benefits of coffee beans. Coffee is a great gentle exfoliant and gradually helps treat hyperpigmentation, and companies like Kaffe Cosmetics are making paraben-free collections tailored for women with sensitive skin (you know, like pregnant gals) that smell just like the best cup of Kona joe you’d ever dream of. Starting with great skin is the best way to master your pregnancy makeup game.

night treatment

4. Don’t overdo your makeup. “The key is to maintain that pregnancy glow is to embrace it. Keep it simple and clean- naturally defined brows, mascara, a hydrating foundation or tinted moisturizer,” shares celebrity makeup artist Alexandra Rutkay.

5. Gentle contouring is okay, but full on contour is a definite no. Alexandra says that mild contouring during pregnancy can help define puffy cheeks in the third trimester, but pregnancy is the time to put away the full on contouring kit thanks to open pores, potential irritants, and dyes.

bad contouring


6. Stretch the life of your roots. Instead of heading in for fresh hair color as frequently as you might’ve before baby, try giving yourself an extra few shampoos with natural color boosters you can find right in your kitchen. To brighten a head of brunette hair, try adding 1-2 large spoonfuls of instant coffee or pure cocoa powder to your deep conditioner and letting it sit for 30 minutes before rinsing. Blondes can brighten their golden tresses by steeping 4-5 chamomile tea bags in hot water for an hour, letting the tea cool, and combing the strong brew through hair. While it’s not exactly the same level of definition you’d get from a salon chair, it’s a noticeable color tune up that’ll carry you through an extra week or two between appointments.

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 7. Give yourself a soak. Instead of loading your bath up with overly processed bubble baths and gels, try running a hot bath and adding 1 cup or Dead Sea salts. Be sure to let the salts dissolve fully and let the bath cool down to lukewarm (it’s dangerous for pregnant women to soak in baths that are too hot) before getting in. A 15 to 20 minute soak will help your body absorb much needed magnesium, a mineral with is most easily absorbed through the skin and helps keep energy levels high. Dead Sea salts are also an extremely rich source of the exact balance of potassium and salt that skin cells need to retain crazy levels of moisture. That means you’ll have to slather on less lotions and oils after the bath, and we all know how unappealing the act of bending is when pregnant. Try AHAVA Dead Sea Salts.

pregnancy bath

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8. Perfect your eye game. Pregnancy makeup depends on the ability for the products to last through sweat, tears, and hormonal swings that can send skin into disarray. Alexandra suggests making an eye primer your go-to for this special time in your life, because few other products will have the ability to keep your eyes looking fresh when you decide you need to have a good cry over a commercial with puppies, hot chocolate, or just about anything else. “Using an eye primer is a must. Use cream to powder eyeshadows and press the shadow on the lid instead of sweeping because it on will help the pigments to adhere to the base.” Try Votre Vu Eyelid Smoother.

9. Give up your red lipstick. Sorry ladies, this will be hard for you to hear, but red lipstick (and anything in the red color family) is likely loaded with CI 75470, Red 28 Lake Aluminum, Red 30 Lake Aluminum and Acid Yellow 23 Lake Aluminum. They’re all potentially harmful for your fetus, and basically the main ingredients for the vibrant red you love to wear. Switch to a tinted, natural gloss for your lip smacking pregnancy makeup, or make your own by whipping together organic coconut oil, a smidgen of the shea butter you have for your bump, and any natural tint (think crushed raspberries).

10. Check your mascara, you may need to switch it. Make sure your fave formula doesn’t contain the preservatives diazolidinyl urea, which goes on to release formaldehyde on your eyeballs basically, acetate or nitrates, and literally any form of the known toxin, mercury. If you’re into the fiber lash variety, PriyanaMD makes a mercury-free formula, or if you’re into the traditional lengthening and strengthening mascara Susan Posnick makes an easy to use mercury-free mascara wand that treats lashes like the princesses they truly are and makes this pregnancy makeup thing a total cinch.


11. Hide your maternity melasma the least obvious way. “The most important thing is to wear sunscreen every single day — sunscreen is even a must in the winter season,” shares celebrity makeup artist Jessika Bekteshi. “I recommend using a highly pigmented, natural foundation and always using a BeautyBlender type tool to make sure the product blends seamlessly into the skin. After that I go back and spot treat with a concealer for the perfect.”

About the author


Bryce Gruber is a Manhattanite mom who can be found jet-setting off to every corner of the globe. She loves exotic places, planes with WiFi, summer clothes, & Sucre brown butter truffles. Bryce's aim is to do to luxury what Elton John did to being gay. Follow her on twitter @brycegruber

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