If only we could bottle that pregnancy glow, right? The one where our cheeks flush, our lips fill and our eyes overflow with love for our unborn child. Don’t recognise the symptoms? No, neither did I, as not all pregnancy glows are made equal.
My glow was very much of the ‘faux’ variety. And I am not alone. Bad sleep, an insatiable sweet tooth, plus that perpetual hormonal rollercoaster mean that a lot of faces don’t love the pregnancy ride. Luckily, as a beauty editor if my face wasn’t full of light, at least my bathroom cabinet absolutely was. If it was safe, easy to use and did little to offend my now extremely sensitive nose, I was game – and thankfully, my face now glowing.
The fake-it-until-you-make-it (somewhere between meeting your baby and getting your first good night’s sleep, it does eventually come back I promise) kit included five minutes, or less, with the big five, those being: vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, peptides and a really, really, good SPF. This quintet has all bases covered, while it also stays well within the guidelines of what is safe to use throughout your pregnancy.
Hyaluronic acid is a no brainer for any beauty buff. Already present in our skin, every skin would do well to add more of this drenching ingredient to plump, hydrate and smooth. Even if you do feel generally plumped up and as if you’re carrying a lot of extra water around with you, your skin might not, so apply on damp skin as the first step of your routine, morning, and night.
Don’t skimp on your vitamin C, but do shop for stabilised, low pH varieties for extra caution – look for L-absorbic acid on the label if you can. It’s also worth flagging that vitamin C is an extremely volatile ingredient, so keep it out of the sunlight and choose a product in a dark glass bottle which also goes someway to protecting the blend. But, when you do find the one, keep it close – this wonderstuff regulates melanin in the sun which so easily becomes unregulated when pregnant.
On that note, an SPF is imperative – and not just because vitamin C can make our skin more sensitive in the sun, but also because more than ever we must regulate pigment now so prone to dark spots if we so much as wink at the sun. Choose a mineral screen, which reflects UV rays rather than absorbs them, and works more gently on your now sensitive skin. I would always suggest going for SPF30 or higher, and wearing it every single day, rain or shine. I also love a tinted variety, which does all the heavy-lifting for perfecting and protecting my face.
Niacinamide you might not know about, but I’m calling it as a skincare essential – babe or not. There’s not much it can’t do, but its main appeal is the way it shrinks pores and evens out skin tone, while it is also said to lift dullness, fade lines and wrinkles while empowering your skin barrier. Exactly! Apply liberally, twice a day.
If you’re confused about peptides, we don’t blame you. In skincare they boost the comms between skin cells, so that your own system can better produce plumping collagen and elastin. When we are tired, it follows that our skin is too, and so this super safe ingredient feels like a good idea for keeping up the great work below surface level.
Was that five minutes? I’m hoping less, because sometimes I know a skincare routine only happens in those stolen moments in the first few weeks…. months. Remember skin prefers sleep above all, so if you would prefer to take a five-minute nap over and above your mini-facial, that’s also fine by me.