9 Steps to a Clean, Pregnancy Safe Beauty Routine The comprehensive guide.

By Annie Vallely | Photos by HATCH

We know clean beauty is one of the hottest topics when thinking about fertility and pregnancy (hence why we launched our own HATCH Mama Beauty line). We thought it would be helpful to understand the do’s and don’ts as google can be a never ending hole. We tapped Annie Vallely, HATCH’s former Director of Beauty (and new mom!), who put together a robust list of her must-haves and no-no’s.

One of the most significant changes we hear about and that is closest to my heart is not only what you’re putting in your body but on it.

Annie Vallely, on clean beauty during pregnancy

As someone who has been in the beauty industry for over 10 years (and mom to a 15-month old),  I can attest that so much changes even before the baby comes. When I was pregnant, I was so surprised by the amount of flexibility I needed to channel and the shifts in my routine (err sense of control..) that seem to start from the beginning (hello morning sickness, bra changes, belly bands, falling asleep by 8:30 pm, and (very) specific cravings at all hours!) 

One of the most significant changes we hear about and that is closest to my heart is not only what you’re putting in your body but on it. Growing data about endocrine disruptors and our reproductive systems is making the news as of late, but we pregnant millennials have been in tune with this early on. That said, the overwhelm in deciding what pregnancy no-no lists to follow, clean labels to trust, let alone products that actually work and make you continue to feel like you can be a challenge. I can only hope my own personal research and favorites help put you at ease and help you on your journey… 

First let’s start with the guardrails. Clean brand or product labels can be tough to trust and varying definitions make it harder. My advice: lean on pregnancy brands and clean beauty shops who do the work for you in eliminating the bad like Credo, HATCH (yes, we have beauty!), goop or Blue Mercury’s Conscious Beauty section. They follow the strictest of guidelines and guardrails; their entire gig is to ensure product safety and to get into their shop takes some serious review!

Within those clean spaces, be mindful of pregnancy specific no-nos. As a general rule try to stay clear of anything with the below ingredients. NAHA has a great list to follow for essential oils to avoid (and those to embrace!):

  1. Phenoxyethanol
  2. Retinols
  3. Traditional acids used for acne care and exfoliation (like salicylic acid)
  4. Essential oils + plant extracts known to be contraindicated in pregnancy (such as neem oil or sage). 

Here’s my 9 go-to list of core products I recommend swapping into your pregnancy skincare routine:

1. Deodorant: I think this is the first product most people change when making the swap to clean beauty. You want to avoid the neurotoxin aluminum, that is found in a lot of over the counter deodorant brands. You also want to avoid endocrine disruptors like parabens and phthalates that can alter hormone function and introduce plastics into the body. HATCH’s deodorant is one of my favorites and great to have in the rotation.

2. Body Moisture: You will start to get itchy so you definitely need to look for something that is nutrient-packed with soothing botanicals like calendula and rosehip. I have to call out our HATCH MAMA Belly Oil here as it is the perfect non-greasy, quick dry oil that allows me to throw my clothes right back on and packed with all those nutrients and botanicals. It also is important to make sure anything is free of silicones, mineral oils, synthetic fragrance.

3. Bath Time + Exfoliation: I urge you to become friends with a dry brush (if you haven’t already) to help exfoliate your dry, hormonal skin and allow for maximum moisture absorption while enhancing circulation. Great to do before the bath to activate your lymphatic system. A big myth is you can’t take a bath while pregnant; the only thing to be mindful of is the water temperature (you don’t want to overheat). If you are feeling discomfort in your hips and lower back, it is a great way to relax, unwind, and get some relief. Look for non-pungent salts with no strong essential oils (especially in the early stages of pregnancy – like peppermint and lavender).

4. Feminine Wash: In pregnancy, your flora and fauna are on overdrive trying to keep things in check down there, and you’re more prone to UTIs and other infections. There aren’t a lot of clean fem washes on the market so of course, lean on some of your go-to beauty retailers for guidance. I always use Lady Suite on my nether bits instead of a regular cleanser throughout pregnancy to ensure my pH is maintained!

5. Hair Care: One of the most vulnerable places in your body is actually your scalp in terms of toxin absorption. You want to look for a clean, phenoxyethanol and PEG-free shampoo and conditioner without sage.

If you’re new to clean hair care, stick with it for a couple of weeks before you cast judgment. Without sulfates, you won’t get the same sudsing experience but you will get just as clean. Similarly, without petroleum-based ingredients that give you that physical sense of moisture-locking in a conditioner, you might not feel like you’re walking out of the shower the same way, but your hair is getting enriched with nutrients it needs. You can also snag a gorgeous plant-based hair oil to supplement for detangling, additional moisture and styling.

6. Face Care: The most important thing in pregnancy face care is to enjoy your routine and keep it as consistent to what you already love. We must preach about the power of bakuchiol and vitamin C during this time. When you’ve given up your skin-clearing and brightening acids or your toning and wrinkle-fighting retinols, these two are going to be your best friends. Bakuchiol is proven to be as effective as retinol on hyperpigmentation and fine lines, and vitamin C is one of derms’ favorite ways to boost skin tone in pregnancy. Go test things out and have fun with it. HATCH’s Brighten Up Serum is a great option.

7. Sun Care: Okay mamas, if no one has told you this I’m here to say: stay away from oxybenzone and avobenzone particularly in pregnancy. The data around what it can do to you and baby is a bit disheartening. That said, melasma is pretty typical during this time so putting on a daily SPF is important. Head to a mineral sunscreen, and even better, grab one that has been developed for more sheerness so you don’t feel like you’re coating yourself in pure zinc. 

8. Makeup: Color cosmetics is sadly one of the dirtiest categories in the market. You definitely need to play around with different brands and shades since it’s a personal journey, but there are some great innovations hitting the market. Priscilla Tsai, founder of cocokind, has some great makeup inspiration with a look inside her beauty cabinet.

9. Nail Care: Hormonal nails tend to grow fast but break quickly. Let’s not even discuss cuticles. We love tenoverten for not only clean nail colors but also for gentle polish removal and treatments to protect from breakage and dryness. P.S. our Nipple + Lip Rescue Balm makes for the perfect cuticle oil. I use it nightly on my lips and cuticles.