Though exciting, life-changing, and beautifully wonderful, it's safe to say that pregnancy brings about its fair share of challenges and complexities—many of which go beyond the physical. For instance, not only do expectant moms have a transforming body, fluctuating hormones, and endless planning to contend with, but there are also adaptations and adjustments to consider when it comes to the beauty and wellness routines that have practically become religion, which can feel intimidating, overwhelming, and maybe even impossible. Plus, due to those aforementioned chemical and hormonal changes, things like hair loss (or growth), skin pigmentation, stretch marks, and plenty of other unexpected idiosyncracies can pop up—most of which likely present very uncharted territory.
So to open up the conversation and gain some insight, comfort, and much-welcomed tips and tricks on the topic, we talked to two inspiring influencers within the beauty industry who have some experience in the business. In other words, they're badass businesswomen with a passion for beauty and motherhood. Keep reading to find out how they changed their approaches to beauty after becoming pregnant and the tips, tricks, and products they feel have proved most valuable.
Sara Azani, Creator and Editor of Style MBA
In addition to running the ultra-successful lifestyle blog Style MBA detailing fashion, beauty, décor, and travel, Sara Azani is also a recent mom to twins. (In other words, she's officially one-part Wonder Woman.) Curious to see how her approach to beauty changed after pregnancy? Keep reading for her personal experience and advice.
BYRDIE: After you became pregnant, how did your routine and approach to beauty change?
Sara Azani: I've always been mindful of what I put on my skin and my body, so adapting my beauty routine to pregnancy wasn't a big shift. However, I was mindful that I was carrying two babies, so I became extra diligent about product quality and only using nourishing formulas free of toxins. I knew anything I put in my body would subsequently affect the babies, so my mantra was always “baby before beauty.”
I also believe that beauty starts from the inside, specifically what you put into your body reflects on your skin, so I've always tried to eat foods that are organic, low-glycemic, and locally produced.
BYRDIE: What did your makeup, haircare, and skincare routines look like while pregnant and what products did you love?
SA: I tried to avoid using any heavy makeup, which wasn't a stretch, as I always believe that “less is more." And it's true what they say about the pregnancy glow, as my skin's radiance did increase naturally, so I began to rely less on products. For the most part, I loved using tinted moisturizers, cheek stains, and a great lipstick—always.
As far as haircare, it's advised that you don't highlight or color your hair, so I had to go on a break from my hairstylist. That being said, I appreciated my pregnancy locks—your hair really does become thicker and shinier when pregnant, or at least mine did! RMS and 100% pure makeup brands were my go-tos, and I continued to use Oribe hair products. Even though I'm no longer pregnant, I still use these products today!
BYRDIE: What about after you gave birth? Did you stick to the same regimens?
SA: My beauty routines pretty much stayed the same afterward, but I also began incorporating other products like brightening creams and masks for my face that I didn't use while pregnant. And there was definitely lots of undereye concealer to cover those dark circles after many sleepless nights.
BYRDIE: Do you have any advice for pregnant or new moms?
SA: Wow, I have so much advice—a lot of which I put on my blog. Personally, I found good nutrition to be key, and really, just making yourself a priority. Things like resting, drinking a lot of water, not giving into every single craving, staying active (as best as you can), and also not beating yourself up because your body is changing. It's a real gift to be able to give life to your child, so I really tried to enjoy the present as best I could, even though it was uncomfortable at times.
BYRDIE: What did you find most valuable for maintaining a positive mental and physical space?
SA: Pregnancy was such an interesting journey, and I learned a lot about myself. It was empowering and also amazing that my body was able to carry two (thankfully, healthy) babies. I became very aware of what I was putting into my body, which products I used, and how I chose to spend my time.
I don't want to fully gloss over my pregnancy because at times it was challenging, uncomfortable, and difficult. I really recommend trying a clean diet and becoming more aware of how you nourish your body through food, and not only did this impact the way I felt, but it also affected my skin and hair.
I also try not to beat myself up if I can't fit back into my favorite pair of jeans, for example. My life has changed, my priorities have shifted to two little people, and since I was pregnant for nine months, I'm aware it will take nine months to a year to get back to a weight that works best for me. Post-pregnancy, I've learned so much about patience, balance, and gratitude. I try to really enjoy the present, so my best advice to is to stop and enjoy the moment. You will never be this age again.
Not only does Ilia's ultra-sheer tinted moisturizer come in a comparably diverse range of colors (tinted moisturizers are notoriously stingy in shade range), but it's also infused with healing botanicals like aloe vera, white tea, and rosemary extract.
Already a cult classic, RMS Beauty's infamous Lip2Cheek pot is the ultimate multitasker for creating a perfectly flushed lip and cheek look in T-minus two seconds. Plus, there are nine shades (all equally flattering) and the formula is certified organic.
If you want to treat your tresses to a luxurious and restorative treatment, Oribe's iconic Gold Lust formula is practically magic in a bottle. Enriched with the nourishing likes of cypress, argan, and maracuja oils, strands are left glossy, bouncy, and healthy.
Christine Chang, Co-CEO and Co-Founder of Glow Recipe
Not only is Christine Chang an inspiring entrepreneur, but she also happens to be a self-proclaimed "Korean beauty junkie." Thus, it's fitting that she's half the brains and beauty behind Glow Recipe, a dreamy one-stop shop for the newest natural Korean skincare and beauty products. But she also plays another title role: mother. Below she shares her pregnancy beauty experience with us.
BYRDIE: After you became pregnant, how did your routine and approach to beauty change?
Christine Chang: In the beginning, I was really paranoid about what I could and couldn't use. Everything is new when you first become pregnant with having to avoid certain foods and ingredients, so even though I had been in the beauty industry for a long time, I wasn't sure where to start with my beauty routine. I stopped getting manicures and using any of my existing products until I had my doctor check the ingredient lists of every single product. It took a few weeks for me to relax and realize I was probably stressing myself out a bit more than I needed to. However, I did continue to avoid salon manicures (pregnancy-friendly polishes were much rarer back then!) and most makeup products for peace of mind. And eventually, I found skincare products that I could really enjoy and took the time to pamper myself daily from head to toe.
BYRDIE: What was the process like for finding and choosing new products that worked for you? What did you love?
CC: I specifically looked for products that were free of parabens, SLSs, minerals oils, and synthetic dyes. I also avoided AHAs and BHAs. Skin is the largest organ on your body, and I wanted to be as discerning about the ingredients that could potentially be absorbed topically as I was about what I was ingesting.
I had heard of Whamisa's organic skincare from some friends and started using natural products like the Whamisa Eye Essence ($40) and the brand's Organic Seeds & Rice Fermented Hydrogel Mask ($9)—this was the start of an obsession with Whamisa products and it ultimately became one of the first brands that launched with us when we started Glow Recipe in 2014. I wasn't really big on body products, but I started using a vitamin E body oil and body lotion from a health food store. I applied them one after another every day after showering when my skin was still damp to prevent stretch marks. I had previously gotten stretch marks from when I had a growth spurt in high school, so I know I wasn't immune to them—the daily layering seems to have really helped. Since I didn't want to get a manicure, my mother helped to dye my fingernails a pretty sunset color with crushed balsam petals—it's a longtime mother-daughter tradition in Korea.
BYRDIE: How did your pregnancy routine impact your beauty aesthetic after giving birth?
CC: I was much more aware of ingredient lists in every product I was using and gravitated toward products with natural ingredients. I continued to use bodycare products more regularly than before, whereas previously it was one of the areas I neglected. And while I like how a chemical sunscreen applies, I continue to use a physical sunscreen such as the Blue Ray Sun Cream from Make P:rem for the most part.
Courtesy of Christine Chang
BYRDIE: How did your expertise in Korean Beauty influence your approach to beauty and what proved most valuable?
CC: In Korea, the routine is very geared toward improving hyperpigmentation during pregnancy and after, as expecting mothers can have fluctuating levels of melanin production. I got a fairly prominent lineanigrea early on, and a dermatologist friend advised that I could be more prone to dark spots and uneven skin tone. So I began using two layers of physical sunscreen from La Roche Posay's Anthelios 50 Mineral Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid ($34) daily to keep my skin tone even.
Another Korean postpartum tradition is that you have an "auntie" come to your house for a few weeks to help with household chores and watch the baby so that the mother can really focus on healing and bonding with her child. The traditional length of time of this rest is 21 days. While it was an investment and we had to streamline other expenses to make sure this could happen for us, it was the best choice I could have made for my health and general well-being. Being a new mother is joyous, but it can also be overwhelming, and I think leveraging every avenue of help you have available to you—family, friends, and even colleagues—is really important so that you give yourself as much room as possible to adjust.
One piece of advice that didn't work was using natural oils to cleanse—I tried a pure coconut oil to try to remove sunscreen and BB, and I didn't feel like it worked at all. I prefer mineral oil–free oil cleansers such as Yuri Pibu's Green Tea Cleansing Oil ($36) that are formulated to dissolve grime.
BYRDIE: Looking back, what would be your biggest piece of advice for pregnant or soon-to-be moms?
CC: To look at the big picture. A few days of applying a body oil or face cream that doesn't have the "perfect" ingredient list isn't a catastrophe! Pregnancy is a personal journey over nine months. My biggest piece of advice is to try to enjoy yourself and pamper your body and skin as much as possible—you definitely deserve it! And as I mentioned, to really leverage your resources. All in all, receiving advice and help really helped my pregnancy experience!
For glowing hydration (without the clogged pores), Whamisa's 95% organic sheet mask is one to incorporate into your Sunday night routine ASAP. The hero ingredients: fermented seeds and rice.
Quite possibly one of the most high-tech sunscreen formulas you'll ever encounter, this hydrating pick magically cools the skin's surface (to keep your complexion calm, cool, and collected), is great for all skin types, and delivers top-notch UVA and UVB protection, to boot.
Ultra-lightweight, this mineral oil–free cleanser erases stubborn traces of makeup and grime while leaving skin satisfyingly moisturized and soothed. And since antioxidant-rich green tea is the main ingredient, you'll be powering up your complexion with a one-two-punch of nutrition and damage prevention.