Everything you need to know about pregnancy beauty.

… will probably not be found in this post.

That’s because I DON’T KNOW ANY OF IT YET. I’m sorry! God, stop looking at me like that. New to this. Still finding my feet (among all the Twisties wrappers.)

Look, pregnancy is something that I, like many of us, spent most of my life actively trying to avoid; my information on it relegated to how it happens (“sex”) and how it ends (“a baby”).

But now that I have been lucky enough to have scored my sweet little uterus tenant, I am suddenly and acutely aware of just how much I do not know about this strange, mythical new world. I imagine it’s much the same for those who have recently taken up neuroscience, competitive wind sailing or Minecraft. That’s not to say I am not learning. I have my books, I have my body pillow on order, and I am missing sashimi more than you will ever really understand, to be honest. But the beauty stuff? The stuff that I am good at in Real Life, (similar to Pregnant Life, but with smaller bras and more wine), it hasn’t just immediately manifested.

I’ve picked up a few things, of course. I ask a lot of questions, especially when getting beauty treatments and when in the company of mums who have a vested interest in that stuff, and some of it is obvious. But a lot of it is NOT obvious. Like spray tans, for instance. Are we allowed to get them or not? I had an organic one and wore a face mask, just to be sure/paranoid. (The answer is below, for the record.)

I can’t help thinking there are a lot of unnecessary precautions in the world of pregnancy beauty, and that common sense, as always, should prevail. But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to ask you all to throw up your beauty beauty tricks and tidbits in comments below, so that we can all learn, together, at once, united in lower back pain and nausea. (Just on nausea, which I was slammed with all-day for the past three months but am finally seeing the end of, I think sugar definitely makes it worse. Ditto too long between meals/snacks. Also my hunch is that pregnancy can definitely exacerbate it.)

Here’s what I’ve gleaned so far:


I wrote a huge post on this recently, which I urge you to read if you haven’t already. Hyperpigmentation can become a real bitch during pregnancy, due to hormonal changes and an increased sensitivity to UV. Your best chance is to use a pregnancy-safe pigment inhibitor, followed by a physical or mineral sunscreen, (zinc or titanium dioxide based) each and every day. Also, a wide brim hat, and sunglasses. IT’S WORTH IT. It’s only going to be harder to shift once your hormones return to normal, so you may as well try to keep a lid on it now. Tight lid. Screw top. Vacuum sealed. Sticky tape on the sides.

At home I use: Aspect Pigment Punch OR Aspect Vitamin C serum (less active than Pigment Punch), followed by O Cosmedics Mineral Pro during the day, and the serum plus a lovely thick face cream at night. (I have heard from another pregnant beauty ed that Aspect’s Exfol L is great, too.)


O Cosmedics Mineral Pro Tinted

In salon: I am keeping up with my occasional lactic peels. (I go here, Brooke is unreal.) AHAs are fine through pregnancy, but lactic is the best bet, being the most gentle. My skin is glowing, which is terrific for people thinking you have the “pregnancy glow” when really you’re sleeping terribly and engaging in a diet more suitable to a stoned teenager. Just be mindful, if you do go for a peel, that your skin may be more sensitive due to hormones, and it may actually make the pigmentation flare up, (and return swiftly) so do small patch tests and low solutions to begin, and have a full “I’m with child!” consultation with the therapist.

The standard avoid list…

– Things with irritants and toxins. Skin can be more sensitive when you’re preggo, so go easy on it.

– Products with more than 2% salicylic acid (found in a lot of acne treatments), also known as BHA. Small amounts, such as in a cleanser once a day, or a spot treatment are fine. If in doubt, switch to AHAs, which will have a similar effect but are deemed totally safe.

– Vitamin A, Retinol, retinoids, retin-A, retinoic acid, Retinol Palmitate, Retinyl Palmitate etc.

Soy products, which can aggravate your pigmentation.

– Oil of Bergamot, for the same reason.


Every woman has her swear-by-it stretch mark preventer, but I really swear by mine. I do! I stand next to it and yell obscenities each morning. Hilarity aside, as long as you are using something on your stomach, hips, thighs, back and bum, you will help a lot. That’s not to say all products are created equal… Share your pick below, obviously, and stop hogging all the non stretch marks.

Before we do that though, the best piece of advice I’ve received is to keep up with the lotions/oils/butters post birth as well. Don’t drop the ball just cos you dropped a baby.

I use: Gernetic Synchro, (I got my facialist Natasha – who, wait for it – swears by it) to snaffle me the bucket/salon size as it is generally used as a face cream… which I use it for, as well) and a special belly butter made for me by my dear friend at Sodashi, Megan Larsen. HOW LUCKY I AM. I also use (this might be the most frustrating list of products in history) a dreamy body oil that is not yet on the market but will be early 2014 and will blow any socks off you happen to be wearing. Ideally you would alternate between oils and creams, because the skin is made of and needs both moisture AND sebum/oil.

Gernetic Synchro

Others use: Check comments below for evangelical ideas from women who have actually HAD a baby, but I know that The Body Shop and Palmer’s body and shea butters rate well, as does Weleda’s stretch mark oil.


DHA, the ingredient that marks your skin in spray tans is considered safe, however, you should cover your schnoz and mouth while you have your spray tan to prevent inhalation, so check your salon has face masks available. Also, maybe wait til you’re in your second trimester to salon spray.


Not approved or recommended. The definitive jury is out on its effects on the baby, due to not enough research, but why on earth, wind or fire would you risk it. Also deemed unsafe while trying to conceive, breastfeeding and flying planes.


Not advised. Nor are depilatory creams, due to heightened chance of allergy. Guess it’s back to waxing, ay bro.


One of the joys of pregnancy is being allowed to leave early when dinner parties are dull. Another is gingivitis, AKA inflamed, sore, bleeding gums and manky breath. Cute. I saw my dentist last week and it was a godamn blood bath. Horrible. Definitely see your dentist at least once during up duffery, and absolutely brush, tongue clean, floss and mouthwash daily. (Cause we all have two hours to get ready, yah?) Important though. Bad breath is about as alluring as month-old sushi.

I use: My Philips Sonic Airfloss (read my review here, it is AWESOME and excellent for floss-haters), toothbrush, Listerine Zero (no alcohol, means no drying out of the mouth) and a shitty tongue scraper I bought from the chemist.



There are lots of (around 798,982 at last count) conflicting reports regarding what you can and can’t do with your hair when pregnant, but generally the guidelines are to wait until you’re in your second trimester (you know, the one when you can stomach more than white toast and walk up stairs without gasping for breath), opt for highlights rather than tints, so as to avoid scalp contact (things like balayage are great, because the highlights begin at the mid-lengths) and go for semi-permanent colours rather than permanent to avoid ammonia. I had my hair coloured recently and sacrificed exactly nothing in terms of its appearance by using these techniques.

Okay. Time to pop an Elevit/a hairband around the button on my jeans.

What are your pregnancy beauty tips and favourite products? For the love of leg veins, tell us.

Responses to this drivel: 51 Comments
Responses to this drivel ( 51 )
  • Sofie

    Hi Zoe, the greatest anti-stretchmark product around is ‘Egyptian Magic’ from Mecca Cosmetica. A close runner-up is Trilogy’s ‘Everything Balm’. I still use both products – on bubs and myself 😉

  • Sarah

    Great post and I’m really looking forward to reading the comments.

    I’m currently in the TTC group and really fear the prospect of pregnancy pigmentation. Having ensured a number of peels to get it down to a manageable level, I fully intend to engage every line of defence against its reoccurrence during pregnancy.

    Good to know that lactic peels are still ok in pregnancy!

    • Sarah

      Also Aspect Pigment Punch is awesome. I purchased it after reading your blog Zoe and I fully credit it with keeping my pigmentation at bay. I am beyond thrilled.

  • Shannon

    Zoe, I’ve been waiting years for you to do a post on products during pregnancy!! Bubs is now 2 but I’m still so excited that you’ve written this post 🙂 I swear by bio oil for stretch marks and to help with that incredibly itchy 3rd trimester belly. I was unable to use most of my moisturisers during pregnancy because I found their normally subtle smell to be overpowering. Moo goo moisturisers seem to be preg friendly.

    • veruca_soph

      I am a huge fan of Moo Goo! It all natural, smells devine and soaks in well. I’m in my third trimester not a single stretch mark in sight. It’s baby friendly (ie: edible) so you can use it post birth without any issues. I use Bio-Oil too and just alternate between that and Moo Goo morning and night.

      Moo Goo also make a great nipple cream for breastfeeding (hilariously entitled Mudder Udder) which I’ll be applying in gigantic quantities to my poor nips post-birth.

      Congrats again Zoe!

  • Michelle

    Congrats on the pregnancy Zoe 🙂
    I used l’occitane products on my belly – the almond oil for the first pregnancy and shea butter (the heaviest duty cream from the range) for my second one. Both worked well.

  • Nat

    Congrats Zoe! When are you due? I’m due in May so I was so excited to see this post! I’m loving the Mama Mio products for stretch marks, and have ditched my ultraceuticals skincare for MV organics. I’ll definitely book in for a peel soon though. Also, I can personally attest to taking a great gelatin supplement like Great Lakes do. Awesome for skin, hair, joints etc, and nutritious too! Taking a tablespoon with smoothies definitely helped with the sickness.

  • Nico

    I used lots of oil during pregnancy – rose hip on my body/belly and a Kosmea face oil. Pregnancy is definitely problematic for your teeth! So important to look after your gums.

  • Nicole

    Hi Zoe, congratulations to you both, morning sickness remedy for me that worked was before your head leaves the pillow in the morning have a dry salada biscuit and I sip of water, it is an old wives tale but did really seem to help and of course hamish could prepare for you the night before!

  • Georgie

    Hi Zoe! Congratulations! So excited about your news. For my first pregnancy I used Stretch Mark Oil by What Works which was incredible, however I am not sure they are still making it! totally devastated. Am looking for a new remedy (eating a cupcake a day seems not to be working!!!) so can’t wait to hear more about your top secret oil in 2014. Have heard mixed reports about Bio Oil as it is Petro based and not great for baby, but on the other hand many women swear by it. Mustela and Weleda both have gorgeous pregnancy products and beautiful baby products too – Weleda Calendula nappy cream is AMAZING! but that may be for another post!

  • Nicole

    Im 8 months now and found my face broke out early, then went super dry – the lovely ladies at Made in Hawthorn gave me a beautiful facial in my second trimester to deal with my outbreaks, then got me into Sodashi Calming Serum – it was $100 but I’ve used it nightly for 6 months and still going!

  • Mandy

    Congrats Zoe! Enjoy this amazing time. My daughter is almost 8 months old and the best advice I can give you is get some sleep. Get as much as you can! I never felt better during pregnancy, my skin glowed & I had happy hormones due to just saying no to Social events sometimes & resting. Good luck! Xxx

  • Alice

    For stretch marks I found good old sorbelene did the trick! Really what you want to do is grow slowly – so put down that packet of twisties Zoe!

  • Lynne

    I have a 6 month old daughter and bio oil worked for me. No stretch marks anywhere and I put on 17kg. Whatever you use don’t forget the very sides of your tummy (thanks to my mum for that tip), and your bum, thighs and boobs, particularly in the first trimester for the latter. I love Aspect Pigment Punch too! A bit hard to find in Perth though.

  • Jerri

    Hi Zoe, where do you buy your synchro from? X

  • Em

    I’m so excited for you and so grateful for this post… I’m about 4 weeks behind you!
    I’ve been using Bio Oil so far, but might change to some of the recommendations above.

    I’m not normally a facial gal, but noticed my skin misbehaving (breakouts, clogging) and I’m very fearful for hyper-pigmentation, so would love any recommendations from anyone for a fabulous pregancy facialist in Melbourne. Preferably CBD or inner suburbs.

  • Leisa

    It is also really important to keep up with the stretch mark creams for a few months after the birth as your skin is shrinking back. I have had 2 babies and did this… Some friends did not and got them weeks and months after the fact.

  • Mel

    Congrats Zoe, i’m in the same boat as you at the moment. I had a look at the Gernetic Synchro you recommended and someone mentioned that it has parabens in it. I personally will only use products on my skin that are completely paraben and sulphate free. I’m looking at Zoe Organics – Belly Butter to avoid stretch marks and it’s totally natural.

  • Angie

    You’re bloody hilarious Zoe. Wish I’d known about the hyper pigmentation during my pregnancy as got a sexy blob right smack bang on my décolletage. Add that to 7-months-breastfeeding-boobs and I may be wearing skivvies for the rest of my days. Congrats!

  • Bella

    I am 8 months pregnant and have been through a range of skin issues during my pregnancy including breakouts and dry skin patches ( and both at the same time for a few weeks!). The lovely ladies at Mecca Cosmetica have been very kind in suggesting products (with samples) to target these issues as you can’t always be sure of your skin’s reaction.
    I have found Kiel’s pineapple papaya scrub to be helpful with clearing breakouts, and Ren Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask has really delivered results in the last few weeks, helping my skin feel clear and very glowy. I have also used buckets of Weleda Stretch Mark massage oil and so far so good!

  • Tamara

    Congratulations Zoe! I would definitely NOT recommend Bio Oil for stretch marks as its just mineral oil that is coating and blocking all the pores in your your skin. Its gives the illusion of soft skin but its just a layer that sits on top (like an oil spill in the ocean! Yuck!) . The best oil for preventing stretch marks when your pregnant is Baobab Oil. Halka B. Organics (a small company in Fremantle WA) do a great certified organic one that is very reasonably priced. Good Luck! xx

  • Katherine

    Congratulations Zoe! My little one has just turned three months. I developed dry sensitive skin during my pregnancy. After years of using AHA’s no probs my skin suddenly freaked out and became red and flaky. At night I used Neostrata’s PHA Ultra Moisturising Face Cream. During the day my secret weapons were Philosophy’s When Hope is Not Enough serum and Origin’s Ginzing eye cream. Even when I felt my worst people kept commenting on how glowing I looked!

    I didn’t get a single stretch mark. I used bio-oil but I suspect the real reason was that I put on weight slowly.

  • Claire

    I’m six months pregnant and after trying heaps of different moisturisers I am loving Sanctum’s Body Balm, it’s completely natural, has the most beautiful texture and sinks into the skin. I am also about to start using Weleda’s Calendula Nipple Cream which is also natural and I have had friends swear by it. And as others have said I think the key to avoiding stretch marks is slow and steady weight gain!

  • Frae

    I found coconut oil great on belly while preg0 and I would often apply morning and night but as you say I think as long as you are using something it’s all you can do, some people are just more prone to them than others so in that case even the best products aren’t going to stop them! I thought I’d escaped the pigmentation right up until the very end, I’m a sunscreen nut and even that didn’t help but what did was a few face laser sessions post birth 🙂

  • Kate A

    Two biggish babies down and no real idea of any beauty tips for pregnancy I’m afraid! I was lucky enough to escape stretch marks without using products (I feel now 6 years past my last pregnancy I might be getting stretch marks due to muffin and hot chip addiction but that’s another story), you’re fave new creams post birth will be Lansinoh for your well, for breast feeding and Bepanthen for your little one’s bot-bot, I swear I never had so many bath oils, creams and lotions as when I brought a baby home! Those suckers need a lot of stuff 🙂

  • Gin & tonic

    I used lots of different creams for stretch marks during my two pregnancies and I dont reckon they made a squat of difference. You have to try and not put on too much weight and lose it slowly afterwards.

    During my first pregnancy I was so proud that all the creams I was using had “worked” until I got to the very end of my pregnancy and was doing my hair up into a pony and caught sight of the underside of my suddenly very large boobs. Devastated, they were covered in purple stripes.

    • fruity

      Sucky. And I’ve just learned that the word on the street is that stretchies are chiefly genetic. Which seems unfair.

      • Danliz

        I agree that they are genetic- I used nothing on my tummy during my two pregnancies and I don’t have any stretch marks. Something to thank my mum for 🙂

  • Corina

    Congratulations Zoe!
    I got no stretchmarks from two pregnancies and my only tips are:
    1. Exercise daily and eat healthily so that you gain weight slowly.
    2. Crack open a Vitamin E capsule (or two or three) and lather it all over your tummy before donning a Belly Bra to bed. I designated one of these specifically for bed as the oil ruined it.
    3. Wear a Belly Bra at all times when you get big! I sincerely believe that keeping that tummy supported helps to preserve your skin.
    Good luck 🙂

  • Kiss & Make-up

    Lol, I loved the intro to this post 🙂 I don’t have a clue about pregnancy and raising kids and all that stuff either. And I am still veeeeery much trying to avoid both those things! 🙂 I still suffer from hyperpigmentation though, so I do know a thing or two about that. So far I’m afraid that nothing has worked though…

  • Miss Mia

    Congratulations! Such a wonderful time. I loved being pregnant and mourned it being over. I did however get an awesome baby at the end of it. I second what Mandy said above – cherish your sleep now and do it as often as you can.

    I didn’t get stretch marks or anything like that. My little girl is now 7 months old and The only advice I can give is during the 6 weeks after your baby arrives try to maintain your dental regime. I found I never knew when bedtime was because I was up at all hours and my gums suffered as a result. My previous strict regime was all over the place and I ended up with inflamed gums which I am still trying to get back to healthy.

    Enjoy this wonderful time!

  • Annie

    I used Kleins Creme de la Corps – bought the jumbo pump and slathered it on everywhere during pregnancy – no stretch marks. I got pigmentation on my face which I still have (and skin folds in some annoying places which is very strange). 2 years later and I am still battling my pigmentation on my face – will definitely try the pigment punch by aspect you’ve recommended.

  • Rachel

    Thanks for wonderful advice. Can anyone recommend a good and safe self tanner to use while pregnant?

  • Claire

    Congrats Zoe, a little of the beauty thing but the best thing that I discovered while pregnant was the the Lifepod in Paddington for prenatal yoga. Lauren’s classes are bliss and really helped with keeping feeling great.

  • Chrissy

    As you say, I think it’s largely genetic, but I always enjoyed buying the Mustela pregnancy products. Being French makes them sure to work. My obstetrician told me buying them was a waste of money, but what would he know? I didn’t get any stretchmarks anyway. You can get the Mustela anti stretchmark cream at the pharmacy at Epworth Freemasons in Melbourne. Their baby products are beautiful too & an excellent way to throw away cash in the newborn days (but your baby will smell beautiful).

  • cath

    my obstetrician and a dermatologist friend both swear there is NOTHING, no cream , no potion or lotion that will stop stretch marks, if there is a hereditry predispositions and basically if your mum got stretchmarks when she was pregnant chances are you will too.
    but you know what? they are my tiger stripes. I got them because i was lucky enough to have two beautiful babies ( not at the same time) so if I got a few stretch marks along the way it doesnt matter, I got a baby.

  • Trixy

    Congrats Zoe!
    I had 2 blissful pregnancies and had absolutely no stretch marks until the last week when they suddenly appeared our of nowhere – devastating! Second time round, they took slightly less time showing up. I rubbed a cocktail of potions religiously for both….I now sport (some 8yrs later) faint silvery lines….I hope for your sake the suckers stay away.

    On the Synchro front – I can’t recommend it highly enough. It is a magical cream that lift saggy eyes (slather it all over before bed – kinda gives you a mini eye lift- bonza!) and super duper amazing if you ever get caught out too long in the sun (which don’t happen no more after your good teachings) and for clearing up scarring or redness. I buy from amazon for less $.

    Good luck x

  • Helen

    Alpha Keri Oil for stretch marks – I put it on twice a day straight after the shower while I was still a bit damp …. inexpensive and seemed to work for me.
    Also Busby Pure tissue oil is a good alrounder – I use it on my face still rather than rosehip oil (which smells like rotten fish to me).

  • Anne

    I had two biggish babies (I was 31 and 35). I did not use anything at all on my belly, and fair dinkum I do not have 1 stretch mark. I have no idea why, because as I say, big babies, and I have always had fairly dry skin. It’s a mystery!

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  • Nicole

    I had no stretch marks with all my pregnancies…just luck I reckon. I am so put off by smell during pregnancy and find most hair and beauty products quite stinky. I’ve also gone off perfume completely since my first pregnancy (which is probably a good thing because they’re full of nasty chemicals…) I really like weleda products during pregnancy…especially the almond range. Since becoming a mother I’ve chucked out all my dior/mac/chanel makeup and now I tend to gravitate towards organic products like Inika/Mukti/La Clinica.

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  • Ali

    Hi Zoe, I just wanted to check if Aspect Pigment Punch is safe to use in first trimester? I’ve been using it since you recommended it and I just found out a week ago that I’m expecting my first baby (woohoo!) and I’m extra worried about dangerous chemicals in skincare during pregnancy. Can you reassure me that it’s all good?! Thanks (only moderately freaking out)

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  • Dyan

    A friend recommended Dermalmd Stretch Mark Serum I use to dimish stretch marks – she used during pregnancy with twins and swears by it. I am a fan too! Im using this daily and exfoliate first; key is you have to use it regularly. Im really dedicated to keeping my skin looking good!! THe texture is light and whipped. Loving the light fresh aroma too!

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