Let me tell you something, ladies!
It is a BITCH to find super natural, super safe things to use when you’re pregnant ( and not). You buy teratogenically tested line of pregnancy products and then a few weeks later, after hours of research, you realize that while they might be free of teratogens ( substances that cause birth defects), they are DEFINITELY not free from other potentially harmful toxins that didn’t make it into the teratogen list (yet), or don’t necessarily cause birth defect but have been linked with cancer or such (yikes!).
What pregnant woman in her right mind, who possesses this information would say:”Potentially carcinogenic? That’s all right! I’ll be fine and my baby will too”
So after I discovered the Good Guide ( a website that rates products based on their safety) or EWG Skin Deep, I was introduced to a whole world of “causes toxicity” and “developmental problems” and this and that. It didn’t stop there though. Good Guide apparently thinks that some ingredients are just fine, while there’s information out there about these that contradicts that. EWG Skin Deep Database is a bit more reliable in my opinion.
So there I was… on a QUEST to find the safest products I could find.
I think everyone at this point knows that parabens are bad, so I instantly excluded any product that had parabens in them ( look for methylparaben, and other words containing “paraben”). They are preservatives used in a lot of products and it’s just really really bad ( don’t want to take my word for it? google it). The sneaky part is tat fragrance/perfum might contain parabens as well, but due to trade laws, companies don’t have to disclose it.
Then I learned about Sodium Laurel Sulfate ( SLS- a chemical so strong they use it to effectively clean oil grease off the engines) – so there went all the products that had SLS ( and that’s pretty much EVERYTHING – look at your hand soap, under the first or second ingredient)…
So there I was spending hours checking drugstore.com and amazon.com for the best products according to good guide and then checking their ingredients against a few more lists.
Every time I’d think I found something, I would then discover another preservative that causes cancer or what not. And while I might be ok with a small amount of that product for myself, how could I possibly know what it could do to a tiny baby whose IMPORTANT cells are constantly dividing.
At one point I thought I found the perfect line of products: Aubrey Organics
So finally, here’s what I came up with. It’s THE BEST line up I could put together. There were some other products that might have been just as good or maybe better, but they were $26-40 for a bottle of shampoo and that’s just ridiculous.
Also there were certain things I wasn’t concerned with, like warnings about ingredients that might be connected with some skin sensitivity or something like that. I basically went by what could possibly harm the baby, and not by the fact that “lemon oil makes you sneeze” ( joking of course).
Note: I also checked them against potentially harmful herbs during pregnancy.
So here is what I use now and where you can buy them:
1. HAIR TREATMENT
Burt’s Bees Pre-Shampoo hair treatment
It’s a super nice smelling avocado pre-wash. Not sure if it helps but it doubles as a really good hair product to use in dry hair and for fly aways.
Alba Botanica Gardenia Hydrating Hair Conditioner
Smells DELICIOUS!!! Works really well, too, compared to other organic conditioners I’ve used.
3. BODY WASH
Tom’s of Maine Natural Body Wash
Took me a while to find a reasonably cheap and safe wash. Lavender is very calming and the wash itself is, well, a good wash.
More recently I discovered the most amazing line of healthy skin care, Lavanila. They carry a healthy deodorant, healthy body wash, healthy body butter and even a healthy fragrance. I would definitely recommend that line over anything else that is non-pregnancy specific.
4. STRETCHMARKS OIL
At first I was SUPER turned off by the smell. To me, it didn’t smell like cookies AT ALL. Plus I don’t like oil based moisturizers.
But after 3 months of searching for a moisturizer that didn’t have every single bad ingredient in the book, I gave up. This has no preservative, no chemicals,nothing but oils.
That is until I found Mama Mio Tummy Oil. This is by far the best pregnancy product out there and it smells heavenly. You can read more about it here
5. Burt’s Bees More Moisture Raspberry & Brazil Nut Shampoo
6. Burt’s Bees Super Shiny Grapefruit & Sugar Beet Conditioner
7. Weleda Almond Soothing Facial Cream
Facial creams ( along with body creams) was the hardest category to find something safe in. If it doesn’t have some harmful chemicals, it will definitely have Aloe Vera. While I love Aloe Vera in general, for pregnancy it’s one of the herbs to be careful with ( an emmenagogue (mimics hormones), teratogen and muscle relaxant). I don’t know at which point it can cause harm, but like I said before, I am not taking any chances ( a small sacrifice to make). At first I got Dr Hauschka Rose cream, but I just didn’t get into its God-awful smell and too thick texture ( was impossible to spread it out). Weleda is perfect, light but rich, smells amazing and is perfectly safe.
8. Tom’s of Maine Clean and Gentle Care
Surprisingly, toothpaste, the one thing we put into our mouths, is full of SLS. That’s pretty much how it “cleans” and foams. So we both switched to a SLS free version. Doesn’t foam as well as a traditional toothpaste, but it makes me feel 100% better, not putting a chemical that they use to clean oil grease off the engines into my mouth.
For anything else you might need check out the safest pregnancy skin care brand (I checked their ingredients personally)- Mama Mio. You can read my review here
We also changed our laundry detergent and dishwasher soap and detergent to a greener brand.
Hope this was helpful and will save you some agonizing over what to buy and hours of research.
Can I just tell you, as a woman slated to TTC soon, that I am so grateful that you did all of this research and put together this lineup so that I don’t have to? Seriously.
Thank you, Carly! I was hoping the hours spent on looking for products would help someone else as well.
What an amazing job you’ve done Heloon!
Do you know if these brands have anything harmful in them?
I use the Tea Tree Line from the Body Shop (cleaner, toner and moisturizer), Abba brand shampoo/conditioner.
I love Albi products as well, but can’t use Burts Bees unfortunately, because I am allergic to bees/bees wax products. I also don’t like the greasy feel of Mother’s Special Blend, but, it works. :-/
Depending on which exact products from Body shop you’re using, they range for pretty bad to pretty good. Go to goodguide.com and type in the exact products you’re using, then go the the health part and read up on the chemicals that it contains that cause issues. Good guide doesn’t consider sodium laurel sulfate dangerous per se, but i saw most body shop products have it ( most traditional products do), so read a bit about SLS and see if it something that concerns you.
Also here’s a link to all known teratogens: http://www.purdue.edu/rem/ih/terat.htm use the find feature ( ctrl+F) to enter the ingredients to see if any of them match up. As long as there’re no teratogens, you should be relatively safe, but I don’t even want other harmful chemicals in my body while I’m pregnant or breastfeeding.
Try other Albi products, most of them are good.
As far as Burt’s Bees, do ALL their products contain bees wax? I don’t believe they do.
Just wanted to let you know I recently found many sources online that talk about the Oil Cleansing Method for cleansing the face and neck. I’ll let you do a web search for it (my first intro to it was Simple Mom but there’s a lot out there including a website by that name), but I started using a combination of e-v-olive and castor oils to cleanse my face, and virgin coconut oil to moisturize at night and so far it’s working great (I just rinse with warm water and apply a sunscreen in the AM). It sounds counter-intuitive to put oil ON your skin – particularly since I’ve been dealing, mostly unsuccessfully, with acne and combination oily/dry skin for the past 18 years – but the way I understand it is when you strip the oil from your skin with acne products or just regular cleansers your skin has to work harder to replenish it, and causes overproduction. It’s actually a neverending cycle.
The castor oil is anti-inflammatory and also has healing and cleansing properties, and the olive oil will help restore moisture. I know castor oil is sometimes used to help induce labor, but that’s a bit of an old wives’ tale and also refers to the consumption of it, not when used externally.
Anyway, I’ve read about the trouble you’ve had with your skin in the first trimester (it was always terrible for my in my 1st tri, but then cleared up by the 2nd trimesters in both my pregnancies) and thought this might be something else to try. Plus it’s about as natural as you can get!
Oh wow that’s very helpful! I’ll definitely look into it. And yes, the thought of putting OIL on my face freaks me out, since I am breaking out like crazy, but I see the point in what you’re saying.
Awesome website! Thanks!
TOM’s has been my favorite tooth paste brand for years. I notice a difference in taste (natural vs chemical) immediately when I have to use Colgate or any other brand.
BB’s stuff I’m not so crazy about, except for their marvelous carrot cream.
BTW, thought you might like this anti-stretch marks cream. It’s got great reviews and my friend is raving about it : http://www.sephora.com/browse/product.jhtml;jsessionid=LLBW1MCKBZNQMCV0KQRQIGQ?id=P268005&categoryId=C23110#BVRRWidgetID
Oh no, this one is strictly off limits for pregnancy and breastfeeding, so no way! It’s only good for existing stretchmarks but like I said you can’t even use it after birth if you’re breastfeeding. Otherwise i heard it’s wonderful!
Have you checked out Lush: http://www.lush.com/. I love their shampoo bars and their skin products. And they don’t sit around in plastic all day. Their shower jelly smells amazing.
I just did. They look super cute but they all have parabens and SLS. SLS I can live with in certain products but parabens are just really bad and most organic products don’t use them anymore.
Unfortunately handmade no longer means good, organic or safe 🙁
I wish I knew this information earlier… I’ve just perused the box of my recently bought Clarins facial moisturizer and found out that (“suprisingly”) it contains SLS amoung other quite suspicious stuff. Not to mention that it costed me about four times more than most of the organic moisturizers would… Oh well, at least now I know what to look for in cosmetics in the future, so thanks a lot!
I’m sure there’s a lot more bad stuff in there than just SLS. Check out good guide and find your products there. And jsut make sure you don’t use anything with parabens, whether you’re pregnant or not.
I really like all the research you’ve done. It’s helpful! I saw the korres brand at sephora: http://www.sephora.com/browse/product.jhtml?id=P116805&categoryId=B70#moreInfo that is supposed to be natural. No paraben and sls. I could not find this product on goodguide.com.
Also there 2 or 3 books for natural skin care that is only using things from your fridge and pantry. Example facial with honey, skin scrub with olive oil and sugar. Mask with grape, lemon and egg white…. I can give you the links if anyone is interested. I made my own stretch mark prevention cream with cocoa butter, coconut oil, shea butter, etc. I’ll check more about sls but I’d like a trustworthy website to get my info from. Any idea?
Yes I’d definitely like the links to natural skin care.
I looked at Korres- it doesn’t seem bad. There are a few ingredients I’d like to research but none of the ones I know are bad. Good find! Too bad it’s not exactly cheap.
Also I don’t have a link for SLS info for you. Just google it- I’m sure you’ll find smth reputable .
For anyone interested, I just found a great website to do your research: http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/
And this ( http://planetgreen.discovery.com/fashion-beauty/teenage-girls-avoid-cosmetics.html ) talks about the main things to avoid.
May I ask — what do you use for hand soap? Apologies if this is covered elsewhere in your blog. Did you have to switch to anything new? Thanks, your info is very helpful.
After not being able to find anything without either aloe or SLS, I resorted to using the organic hard soaps from Whole foods. I did the same with my face soap. I’m actually liking it.
Ah, thank you so much for the reply! I’ve been looking into these stupid soaps all day. I think I’ve decided on this one — http://www.drbronner.com/DBMS/SD0904/OrganicShikakaiUnscentedSoapHalfGallonBulkRefill.htm — but I really like your hard soap solution!
Oh that’s the same brand of soap I bought for the baby. Completely forgot about them. I only discovered them recently. That’s a good option.
I’m strangely digging using hard soap for hands for some reason, so I’ll continue doing that past the pregnancy.
I highly recommend checking out Earth Mama Angel Baby for you and baby! I also really like Episencial for me and my toddler. Another great site is http://chemicaloftheday.squarespace.com/ . As much as I love the Skin Deep site from EWG, some chemicals are bashed as horrible when they really aren’t due to how they achieve the ratings. The studies are often skewed or categorized wrong. That’s why I love Chemical of the Day!
I’m new to being pregnant and new to this site. Thank you for all your research and sharing it with all of us! Did you ever find a safe sunscreen?
Hi, Ella. Any with Zinc Oxide as am active ingredient will do.
I know this is an old post, but when searching for a good shampoo to use I noticed that they all have sodium chloride in them (including the Burt’s bee’s ones you posted). I have no idea what sodium chloride is (excuse my ignorance!) but it flags up on the teratogen website you linked to. All the natural brands I normally use have it listed in their ingredients…
Honestly, I have no clue what SC is but Burt’s bees was the best I found even though I don’t like how it cleans 🙁
FYI sodium chloride is just table salt.
Isn’t sodium chloride, salt?
Thanks for that list! What do you know about Earth Mama, Angel Baby products? I’m newly pregnant and have been looking at some of those skin care products.
Yes! I haven’t looked at their ingredient list though, but they seem like a reputable company! Congrats on your pregnancy 🙂
Thanks for this post. I’ve been doing research for months and am surprised that I haven’t come across your site until now. I switched to all natural products several months before trying to conceive, but I didn’t realize how many essential oils and herbs should be avoided in pregnancy until now. So I’m starting my research again, 7 weeks into my pregnancy. I was also surprised to learn upon closer scrutiny that my Kiss My Face hand soap that I’ve been using had retinyl palmitate in it!
This past weekend I switched to an unscented french milled vegetable glycerin soap from Whole Foods but then just saw on the Teratogen link you posted that palm oil is on the list. What bar soap are you using?
Also, do you have any recommendations for deodorant/anti-perspirant and mouthwash? I’ve been using Tom’s of Maine’s Original Care Unscented Deodorant and their Wicked Fresh Cool Mountain mint Mouthwash, but there are some questionable ingredients in both.
Finally, I’ve given up face soap altogether and am using a product called Magic Mitt by Jane Iredale, a cosmetic company that I recently switched to and adore. It removes makeup and cleanses without any cleanser. You should check it out.
It’s so hard to find perfect products. You end up just using the lesser of all evils.
I too used a bar soap from WF, not sure about palm oil.
As far as deodorant, I’d highly recommend Lavanila.
I used Tom’s for mouthwash as well.
Or you can make your own!
Thank you for this post, it is extremely helpful!!!! We recently found out we were pregnant and I have been on the search ever since…and like you mentioned it has been very frustrating! I have started looking at some of your other posts, so maybe I just haven’t come across it yet, but as far as makeup goes – what have you been using/have you done any research on it? Thanks in advance.
One of my recent posts featured some make up by Josie Maran. I just don’t know how safe it is for pregnancy specifically.
Thank you for the helpful post! I have very dry skin (and it gets red sometimes too) that’s also a bit sensitive so I was wondering if you’ve come across any safe facial cleansers?
I just started using the Weleda Almond Soothing Facial Cream you had suggested…and it’s great (although I wish there was a larger tube).
Also, how do you feel about the Burt’s Bees line of skin care products? There are just so many things to look out for!
FYI I just found out I’m pregnant, so now I am being really careful 🙂 (just about 4 weeks along so far) Thanks in advance!
Burt’s bees has to be taken one product at a time. Each one has diff. ingredients.
If you’re pregnant if recommend you use a simple bar of soap from whole foods to cleanse your face and then moisturize with weleda.
THANK YOU!!!!! I have been looking everywhere to find a list of safe products to use when prego. Just can’t say it enough….THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Hi, Love this post, and I have been looking for prego safe stuff to use. I have been hearing things about citric acid is not good. AND almost everything has it in it. Have you heard anything about it? should I not use anything with citric acid?
Hello! We will be trying to conceive in a few months, and I’m taking the time to get rid of as many potentially harmful things as possible. Thank you so much for this list. Do you happen to have a list of the ingredients that were no-nos for you in creating this list? I’ve got down parabens, SLS, phthalates… what else?
there are soooo many it’d be super hard to list. Here is a post on Daily Mom that goes over some: http://dailymom.com/shine/10-common-cosmetic-ingredients-deciphered/. It doesn’t talk about pregnancy speficially but gives you a good idea.
I’d avoid SLS as it can mimck estrogen. Also use this page here for some teratogens and herbs that can cause an issue.
Thank you! I’ve been working through the EWG Skin Deep database (love their smartphone app!) and making a list. I think I’ve got most of it down 🙂
I discovered the Belli products – all pregnancy safe. I use their facial cleanser and spot treatment.
This is such a helpful site! Just learned I was pregnant and got online to start researching products and found your site. THANK YOU for saving me so much time and giving me resources to use in the future. I do have a question about deodorant. You mentioned that you are liking Lavanila for deodorant, but the first ingredient is aloe juice. What are your thoughts about that? I have been using Tom’s for a while now, but wanted to see if it was still the best choice.
Thanks so much
I don’t think I used it during pregnancy. But thinking about it now, it would be used in such small amount on one part of your body that I don’t think it would be a problem. A bigger concern would be a body moisturizer that covers the whole body. Either way, aloe is an issue when it’s ingested, but we are just being careful here
Thank you soooooo much!!!! I see this is from 2011 but wow — I love you!!! I’ve already spent an hour searching the internet for advice and stumbled upon your post!!! You are the absolute best!! Thank you sooooo much!!!!
Hahah thank you! 🙂 always good to receive love!
Thank you very much for this helpful article! Even though is relatively old is very informative!Especially for me that I just moved to USA from Europe!! I did also a search and I concluded on some of these products too! But I am very confused about the herbs! They don’t always write all the essential oils they use and I am worried about that!
What about makeup products during pregnancy? Do you have any ideas?
I barely used make up. And for the times I did, I just used foundation and mascara. Since it was seriously rarely, I didn’t stress much about switching it all out.
Check out 100% pure, they have great make up.
Thank you very much! I rarely use make up myself too but we have some weddings coming up so I will need some! Thanks again!
Hello again!!! It took me three days to search the web for safe products and not expensive ones!!! I liked the ones you suggested but some of them were overpriced for me! I found the brand Nature’s Gate which I think doesn’t have any harmful ingredients. What do you think about it? The most difficult part is to find natural products without the harmful essential oils!! So, I bought the ones with the minimum amount of Aloe vera and hopefully that won’t be a problem!!! Thanks again for you help!!!
Nature’s Gate is one of the better ones, but the body lotions had something I can’t remember now that made me decide to get a better option.
Did you check out Desert Essences? I love their products and use them now
This article is absolutley amazing! My go-to guide for all of my pregnancy buys! Thank you so much!! I am obsessed with all natural products too and research every ingredient like crazy. I am curious, do the Lavanilla body butters work as pregnancy safe moisturizers as well? I noticed some contain kakadu plum and canadian willowherb, are those safe in pregancy? I have been trying to find out for ages but have had no luck! I absolutley agree, it is impossible finding moisturizer that is all natural and aloe free!
So glad you find it useful!
I can’t comment on the plum and willowherb, because I don’t know much about them, but a moisturizer can’t be made of water, so I figured as long as it doesn’t contain something shady as the top few ingredients, it’s fine. So technically you could use Lavanila, too.
Good advice! Thank you again and thank you for responding so quick too! Super helpful!! 🙂
What is the best product to use for make up? Foundation, Blush, Mascara, Eye Liner…?
Try 100% pure
Hello, I have scoured this blog and the recommended websites but it’s so confusing. Do you have a recommendation for a whole body lotion that comes in a big pump bottle. I used to use jergens but I see now that it is not safe, and am looking for a reasonably priced alternative in bulk. Any suggestions?
I have not found anything in large bottles unfortunately. Try coconut oil instead
Thank you so much for this article! It made me feel like I wasn’t absolutely crazy trying to find products to use that are not harmful and toxic! I have the Honest products are great for Shampoo/Conditioner, Belly Butter and cleaning products around the house. I am going to try the Weleda for the facial moisturizer you suggest since I don’t see to find one that doesn’t have some kind of bad ingredient in it. I mean it is tough to find good products when you are not pregnant but now that I am I feel like its even harder!
Absolutely! It can drive you insane! Good luck! Glad you found this useful.