Tried and Tested Skincare Products

Pregnancy Second Time Around: Products for Bumps and Bellies…

Preganacy skin products

Back in 2011, Hazel Davis and new baby Clementine reviewed some natural babycare products for us. When we heard a second baby was on the way, asked Hazel to undertake an exhaustive review of natural pregnancy skincare. Here’s the first of her three-part Pregnancy Special.

So it was with great surprise that I found myself pregnant some nine-and-a-bit months ago. I honestly have no idea how it happened and, having only given birth eight months previously, one of my first concerns, apart from where it was going to sleep, was what on earth it was going to do to my poor, already-stretched skin.

During my first pregnancy I religiously smeared Bio Oil on my body. It’s not cheap and I have no idea whether it prevented worse stretchmarks but I wasn’t going to take any risks. This time I decided to try a few different products to ensure I was giving my body the maximum opportunity.

First up was the Beyond Organic Stretch Mark Cream (£28.94, 50ml). Containing tamanu with shea and cocoa butters, it states this clearly on the box, showing its wares up front. However, though the box is a nice subtle greeny-blue, the pot inside is a slightly garish, shiny affair. However, packaging issues aside, the cream itself is a lovely texture and is nice to apply. The ingredients state that no essential oils are used, making it extra safe in pregnancy. Instead, it contains things like calendula, chamomile and rose geranium. The cream feels substantial even after application and the smell is reassuringly plant-like but also expensive-smelling as though it might be used in a spa. I also used this on my face a few times and it really moisturised me. I also felt as though I was rubbing expensive face cream on my bump a few times, which is nice.

The presentation of the Thea Hip, Thigh and Tummy Butter (£24.95, 200ml) was awesome. All purple bags and ribbons; just what a hormonal pregnant woman wants. The sample pot was neat and simple but there were no ingredients listed on it at all. I really like the cream’s thick texture but unfortunately it smelled to me of emulsion paint (I checked after giving birth too and it wasn’t some weird pregnancy thing). But application was nice, the cream stayed around for a while before rubbing in, though I had my doubts about what good it was doing.

The Melvita Stretchmark Prevention Cream (£20, 150ml) impressed me with its packaging. A tiny photo of a real baby (and you don’t see that much on babycare products, at least not on the bottles themselves) alongside pictures of nice things like oranges and flowers makes you feel all reassured. The ingredients also sounded reassuringly exotic – sea buckthorn, musk rose, baobab and inca inchi oils – and I really like to see the word “restructuring” in anything to do with my flagging skin. The smell wasn’t overly exotic (a standard organic cream-type scent) but seemed reliable and unscary. The cream itself wasn’t too oily either. On application my skin felt softer and well-moisturised and after a few days’ use my bump skin certainly felt more supple.

I’m a big fan of Weleda products anyway so I was pleased to give the Weleda Stretch Mark Massage Oil (£15.95, 100ml) a whirl. As always, I love the simple and elegant glass packaging. For some reason glass makes me feel like I am using products prescribed to me by a medieval apocathery and, therefore, like it must be working. I have to say I don’t like the way Weleda doesn’t state the ingredients on the bottles themselves but in the packaging (which one invariably throws away). Anyway, the ingredients include sweet almond oil and jojoba. I adore the heady smell and it lingers, which is nice. The oil feels as if it’s doing some good when it goes on and is thicker than my usual Bio Oil. I also used it on my face when I felt particularly dry. A winner.

Again, I quite like the apothecary feel of the Kadria Belly Balm (£22) packaging, all glass and mysterious. I was sent a sample size, so there was nothing on the pot to say what was in it (rosehip and neroli). The balm itself is a pleasingly effective-looking yellow and the texture is substantial. The smell is ok, not horrible, not particularly nice but it felt like I had to do a fair bit of work to get enough on my hands to spread around my massive tummy. I’m not sure what size the full pot would be but for the price I would hope it would last quite a long time.

The Essential Care Organic Bump Butter (£23, 175g) was easily absorbed and not overly greasy. Like the Melvita product, it also contains sea buckthorn fruit oil and the fragrance comes from ylang ylang and citrus organic oils. The packaging, though a fairly standard organic-style, was pleasing enough and, I was delighted to find out, a 100% recycled jar which used to be a milk bottle. Which makes it worth buying for that fact alone.

I have a confused relationship with the Lulu and Boo Shea Belly Butter (£22, 200ml). On the one hand, the packaging is marvellous, all luxury and heavy and bathroom-friendly, but on the other hand the tub is so heavy and huge that it’s a bit unwieldy and means you can’t carry anything else in your hand at the same time (it’s worth considering!). Similarly, the contents are equally trying for me. The butter is thick, a gorgeous bright yellow colour and very substantial but if you’re not in the mood for it, it can be a little overpowering. But the butter goes on well and feels like it’s doing something good. It also sticks around, as does the scent (very citrusy) and my skin felt well-nourished afterwards. The ingredients are reassuring; shea butter, organic avocado and rosehip oils. The only downside of this butter is that I always felt like I had to wash my hands thoroughly afterwards, whereas some others doubled nicely as hand creams.

One of my absolute favourites, at least scent-wise, is the Mama Mio Tummy Rub Butter (£23, 125g). Though comparatively I am not a fan of the packaging (too bright and block-colours-y), it is at least simple. And it smells LOVELY, like a posh spa. I have to confess to using it a few times on my face just to improve my mood. The cream itself isn’t too oily to apply and skin feels fresh afterwards. The ingredients include the ever-reliable shea butter and wheatgerm oil and the “Gravida fragrance” is created via 10 pregnancy-specific essential oils. The cream also comes in a handy handbag-sized tube, which means I can use it as hand cream, face cream and everything else.

Nine months on and I have a second baby (Gilda Birch) (not named after the Weleda Birch Cellulite oil). My stretch marks are worse than before, but that’s to be expected. Tune back in for which ones did the job in removing them… and for my thoughts on other products for all over bodycare and breast-care …

For Part II - All-over Products for Pregnancy - click here.

For Part III - Breast and Nipple Care Products - click here.

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