Our Favorite Places to Shop for Pregnancy-Safe Skin Care & Clean Beauty
If you are like us and you are embarking on a journey to “clean up” your beauty routine for baby, but you don’t know where to start, look no further! We’ve listed our favorite places to shop and a few major benefits for each retailer, so that you can bypass the frantic Googling that consumed much of our pregnancies.
Best Luxury Boutiques
If you want to buy luxury green beauty items, with high-end brands that are more comparable to those you’d find in Sephora or a department store, start here:
Founded in Boston in 2013, Follain is aiming to be the Sephora of green beauty. The store, which has three retail locations in Massachusetts and an e-commerce site, sells highly curated, non-toxic beauty products. Our favorite benefits of the store include:
Thoroughly Vetted Products
Follain only sells products that pass its five-step vetting process and are cross-referenced with a list of banned ingredients. Consumers can feel confident that Follain’s products are safe, effective, and luxurious to experience.
Easy, Convenient Guidance
If you need help choosing which serum, moisturizer, etc., is right for you, you can request a Clean Consult with a Follain beauty expert via text or chat, or you can take the skin quiz which will tailor product recommendations to your test results.
Specific Info for Pregnant Women: The beauty expert I chatted with at Follain advised pregnant women avoid topical retinols, salicylic acid, and clary sage oil (which is found in some of their products).
The Detox Market started as a pop-up shop in Los Angeles and has since grown to include five retail locations and an e-commerce site that sell curated natural beauty products that are pure, effective, and elegant. Our favorite benefits of this store include:
Tested for Efficacy and Checked for Purity
The Detox Market’s team of experts, made up of green make-up artists, facialists, nutritionists, and naturopathic doctors, try every product, which also must meet the store’s strict product safety standards.
Ability to Request Samples
How awful does it feel to spend $60 (or more) on skin care and makeup only to realize you hate the fragrance or consistency of the product? The Detox Market sells samples of most of their products, which gives you an affordable way to try a few options before committing to the full-sized product. To purchase samples, click on the product listing you want to try, then find the “sample it” link over to the right (you get to choose four samples for $7.99 plus shipping.)
Specific Info for Pregnant Women: The customer care representative at The Detox Market said they typically don't recommend Retin-A for anyone. Instead, they offer plant-based, safe alternatives. As far as essential oils, she tends to recommend pregnant women avoid undiluted rose and jasmine.
With six retail locations and an e-commerce site, Credo sells clean beauty, which the store defines as either natural (formulated using plants), or made with a combination of safe/non-toxic synthetic ingredients combined with plants. Our favorite benefits of the store include:
Transparency & Global Brands
Credo promises to never carry products with known harmful ingredients, offering peace-of-mind that you don’t have to scrutinize ingredient labels because they’ve already done it for you. They also curate the best in clean beauty from around the globe, with brands from their hometown of San Francisco to the farms of New Zealand.
Product Selection Help
If you need help deciding which products will work best for you, you can chat with a beauty expert. I (Lindsey) went to the Chicago store and the beauty experts there were very helpful in walking me through their products and making recommendations. They also offer how-to videos on their website.
Specific Info for Pregnant Women: The beauty expert we spoke with at Credo said: “While we’ve curated our collection with clean and non-toxic beauty products, it’s true that some are still not safe for pregnancy. Chiefly, those that contain synthetic Vitamin A, aka Retinol. You’ll want to be sure to check labels and avoid retinols (ex: Juice Beauty’s Green Apple Peals, select Goldfaden MD items, select African Botanics items, and Marie Veronique’s Gentle Retinol Night Serum). Some women choose to avoid AHAs and BHAs as well, like salicylic acid (we sell many products with salicylic acid). If you are curious about whether any item is safe, we include a full ingredient list on each product page. The bottom line is: please consult with your physician, as different concerns may occur for different women.”
Beautycounter was started by a wife and mom who decided to create “safer products you can trust” after learning that the personal care industry is not regulated, meaning that companies are allowed to use harmful ingredients and make their own judgements about safety. The brand sells a comprehensive lineup of skin care, makeup, bath & body, and family products through independent Consultants or online through their website.
Impressive Safety Mission
Beautycounter has banned the use of more than 1,500 questionable or harmful chemicals in its products, which includes roughly 1,400 ingredients that have already been banned in the European Union. This makes consumers feel confident that all Beautycounter products are much safer than their conventional counterparts. We also love that they help us moms-to-be out by clearly stating that their products are safe for use while pregnant! (see below)
One Stop Online Shopping & Simple Packaging
If you end up liking Beautycounter’s products - from lipstick to handsoap and sunscreen - you can become a member to receive discounts and free shipping, and easily purchase the bulk of your family’s personal care products in one spot. Plus, the simple, cohesive packaging of Beautycounter’s products look nice displayed on your vanity. (A select number of products are also sold through Goop.com!)
Specific Info for Pregnant Women: (From website FAQ’s:) Are your products safe for use during pregnancy and nursing? Yes. All of Beautycounter’s products are safe to use during pregnancy and nursing. We screen every ingredient for safety, keeping those especially vulnerable—like pregnant women and babies—in mind. Many pregnant women are concerned about using essential oils. The essential oil fragrance blends for all of our scented products make up less than 3% of the product formula. If a Client is concerned about using a product with a higher percentage of essential oils, please consult your health care provider.
Best Everyday & Value Stores
If you want to purchase green beauty items that offer a little more bang for your buck and stores that have many locations that you can pop into across the country, start here:
As it’s widely known, Whole Foods has established high quality standards throughout their entire store. In addition to establishing stringent criteria that bans food ingredients they find unacceptable, they also have identified hundreds of potentially harmful beauty and personal care ingredients they will never carry. With more affordable brands than luxury green boutiques, the health and beauty department at Whole Foods is a great place to experiment with green beauty, offering many tester items and a lenient return policy. Our favorite benefits of the store include:
Accessible, Affordable & Easy Returns
With hundreds of retail locations across the country, Whole Foods tends to be more accessible and convenient than green beauty boutiques that only have a few physical stores where you can test the product before you purchase it. Whole Foods sells beauty products that might be a little more expensive than your old conventional drugstore favorites, but they are a lot more reasonable than many of the high-end, luxury green boutiques. Also, the store has an extremely accommodating return policy that lets you basically buy any beauty product, try it at home, and return it (with your receipt) if you don’t like it. Another great benefit is that you can buy your prenatal vitamins (and ingredients for dinner) in the same stop!
High Quality and Hundreds of Banned “Dirty” Ingredients
There are more than 100 potentially harmful chemicals and other ingredients common in conventional body care that Whole Foods does not allow in their stores, and 400+ ingredients they don’t allow in their Premium Body Care™ products! (One of our favorite body lotions is from the 365 Whole Foods brand, which earns a Premium Body Care ranking and is only $7!)
Specific Info for Pregnant Women: A Whole Foods customer care representative said they are “not able to make health or product recommendations about Whole Body products unless those claims are on packaging. Because we are not medical professionals, we are not able to give advice to customers. If you are looking for guidance on Whole Body products that will work for you I suggest you consult with your healthcare provider.”
Target continues to add cleaner beauty products to its shelves. However, because they sell both green brands AND big name, conventional brands, it can be a bit confusing for a mom-to-be to sort through products and read labels, as they don’t have a “restricted ingredient list” like the other retailers on this list. Plus, you have to look out for “green washing” here, as some not-so-clean brands try to market themselves as being more natural than they really are (cue teary meltdown in aisle 3!). Our favorite benefit of this store is:
Convenient One-Stop Shop & Less Expensive Options
If you know what natural beauty brands you’re looking for, like W3ll People or Burt’s Bees, it’s super convenient to pop into a store and - while you're at it - pick up clean baby products from brands like Babyganics and California Baby at the same time! (You can also sort out unwanted ingredients on their website, which makes looking for natural products a bit easier.)
Specific Info for Pregnant Women:
We recommend you take a look at the list of common ingredients that pregnant women avoid, and then cross check that list with the ingredients found in Target’s products. Because they offer so many conventional and natural products mixed together, it will require more digging.
These are just a percentage of the retailers now offering alternatives to conventional beauty and personal care products. No matter where you live and what your price point, it’s becoming a lot easier to find cleaner beauty and personal care products that make you look and feel your best!