Pregnancy is a beautiful thing. You’re “glowing” with excitement to meet your little one, and you’re probably doing all that you can to prepare for them. It’s truly an amazing thing—and definitely not easy on your body.
But if there’s one thing that isn’t “easy” about pregnancy (besides vomiting, mood swings, and heartburn), it’s that sometimes the things we’ve always done are either not safe to do anymore, or just downright harmful for the health of our little ones.
When you’re pregnant, hormonal changes often cause an increase in skin problems such as acne and overly-dry or oily skin. You may be using more makeup and skincare products than you used to, and you’re probably wondering what’s safe to use and what isn’t.
Well, you’ve come to the right place.
In this article, we’re going to look at some of the best brands and products for pregnancy-safe makeup. We’ll also go over how to choose what you need, where to buy it, and other tips to help you make great choices for your sensitive skin!
This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may be compensated if you decide to make a purchase. You can read my full disclosure here.
Do I Need To Change My Makeup When Pregnant?
If you don’t think you’re using “clean” makeup products (or if you’re suddenly reacting to products you’ve used for years) you should check the ingredients and change the brands that you’re using.
Expecting mothers often place a large amount of time, energy, and focus on eating healthier in order to support their growing little one. But did you know that what you put on your body is just as important as what you put in it? The skin is our largest organ, and anything we put on it is absorbed into our bodies easily. Many chemicals can pass through the placental barrier once they enter our bodies too, and you want to avoid toxic chemicals whenever possible.
A commitment to natural living is an investment in your family’s health, and making some simple product switches is often much simpler and easier on your wallet than you might expect. (Check out my post on budget-friendly natural makeup.)
When you are pregnant, these product switches are even more important as anything applied to the skin may go directly into your bloodstream and eventually affect your developing baby. To make matters worse, the cosmetics industry is subject to very little government oversight, and there is almost no regulation of what kinds of toxic ingredients could be lurking in your beauty products.
There’s no need to panic though. Changes in your makeup routine don’t have to be difficult or expensive. There is a huge selection of natural and organic makeup that is safe to use during pregnancy, but you need to know what to look for.
Makeup Ingredients You Should Avoid During Your Pregnancy
If you still want to wear makeup during pregnancy, there are a few specific ingredients you should avoid when possible. With so many formulations and brands available (even within the same product type), it can be difficult and time-consuming to research each ingredient in your makeup and personal care products. But clean beauty products should be formulated with as few ingredients as possible and should avoid the use of a few key toxic ingredients in particular.
The most harmful cosmetic ingredients are parabens, phthalates, retinol, petrolatum, fragrances, polyethylene glycol (PEG), triclosan, BHA, and heavy metals. In addition, some preservatives are formaldehyde releasers, and they should be avoided as well.
These “dirty” ingredients can function as endocrine disrupters, hormone disrupters, reproductive toxins, neurotoxins, and carcinogens – all of which could be harmful to you and your baby. Here’s a little more information about each one:
Parabens – Researchers believe parabens mimic estrogen and disrupt hormone function. Parabens have been linked to reproductive toxicity, endocrine disruption, organ system toxicity, neurotoxicity, and skin irritation. They are one of the most toxic chemicals in beauty products… and they’re used in a TON of different products as a preservative.
How to spot them on the ingredients label: words ending in -paraben (butylparaben, propylparaben, etc.)
Phthalates – Phthalates are chemical plasticizers that make liquid products (like nail polish) more pliable or solid products easier to squeeze out. They can also be found in many scented lotions, foundations, lipsticks, and other makeup products.
When phthalates are absorbed into your body, they can disrupt hormone function, and they cross the placental barrier – meaning they can enter your developing baby’s body too.
How to spot them on the ingredients label: ingredients with the word “phthalate” (like butyl benzyl phthalate), or they may be hidden in an acronym like BBP (for butyl benzyl phthalate), DBP, DEHP, etc. Basically, if you see an ingredient ending in the letter “P,” look it up before purchasing it. They may also be hidden in the umbrella ingredient “fragrance,” which we’ll discuss further below.
Retinols (Vitamin A) – Retinol is a form of vitamin A that can speed up your skin cell turnover rate. This sounds good (in fact, many “age-defying” products market their use of retinols as a good thing), but they can actually be quite damaging.
Retinyl palmitate is the ester of retinol that is usually found in makeup products, and a U.S. study found that it may speed up the formation of tumors when you’re in the sun. Which is a major problem because many retinol products are for daytime use (it’s even found in some sunscreens!).
How to spot them on the ingredients label: retinol, retinyl palmitate, vitamin A
Petrolatum – Petrolatum, also known as petroleum jelly or vaseline is highly comedogenic (meaning it clogs pores). It’s also greasy and hard to wash off. When used properly, it’s not actually cause for concern, but it can easily be contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are toxic.
How to spot it on the ingredients label: petrolatum, vaseline, petroleum jelly (WHITE petroleum jelly, on the other hand, is refined, not contaminated, and completely safe to use when you’re pregnant.)
Fragrances – You’ve probably heard that “fragrance” or simply the word “parfum” on your beauty products’ ingredient list is a bad thing. That’s because fragrance is oftentimes synthetic and not something you should be putting directly on your skin (or breathing in). Synthetic fragrances can also be irritating and may contain phthalates, which we already discussed above.
And no, you cannot “wash off” fragrance by washing your face after using it – fragrance lingers long after the other ingredients are washed down the drain because it’s not an ingredient, it’s a chemical mixture that may enter your bloodstream and even cross into the placenta.
How to spot it on the ingredients list: words like “fragrance,” “parfum,” “aroma,” and “essence”
(If you enjoy wearing perfumes, however, you may be interested in learning more about our favorite non-toxic perfumes.)
Polyethelene glycol – Polyethelene glycol (PEG) is a petroleum-derived ingredient, and on its own it’s actually safe. Unfortunately, it’s easily contaminated with ethylene oxide and 1,4 dioxane, which are known human carcinogens.
How to spot it on the ingredients label: PEGs are usually listed as “PEG,” with a number and/or ingredient name after it.
Triclosan – We talked about triclosan a bit in our article about non-toxic hand soap, and luckily it’s not in most makeup products. It’s typically used as an anti-microbial agent, but some studies have found it may interfere with endocrine function and contribute to a higher number of antibiotic and antibacterial resistant bacteria.
How to spot it on the ingredients label: triclosan, triclocarbon
BHA and BHT (butylated hydroxyanisole and butylated hydroxytoluene) – Butylated compounds, such as salicylic acid, are widely used in makeup products to prevent oxidation and increase shelf stability. Studies have shown, however, that these chemicals can lead to endocrine disruption and organ system toxicity, and pregnant women are especially susceptible to their effects.
How to spot them on the ingredients label: butylated hydroxyanisole, BHA; butylated hydroxytoluene, BHT, salicylic acid
Heavy metals – Heavy metals are often used in makeup as colorants (especially metallic shades) and can be toxic if absorbed into the skin. They include lead, mercury, and cadmium, which can cause skin irritations, reproductive harm, and even cancer. In the United States, heavy metals are regulated for use in cosmetics, but occasionally they contaminate products.
How to spot them on the ingredients label: most won’t be on the ingredients because they’re usually a contaminant. The best way to avoid them is by avoiding bright-colored cosmetics as much as possible.
Safe Makeup Brands During Pregnancy
While there are many safe makeup brands to choose from and more being added every year, there are a few particularly well-known and committed clean beauty brands we’d like to highlight below.
100% Pure is a cruelty-free brand that makes all-natural and organic cosmetics. They don’t use any synthetic chemicals, artificial fragrances, or colors in their products, and you can rest assured knowing that their ingredients are completely free from toxins.
Gabriel Cosmetics produces many clean beauty products through their 2 product lines that claim to be formulated with “100% natural ingredients with no synthetic chemicals or animal byproducts.” Both Zuzu Luxe and Gabriel Cosmetics products are great clean beauty options that are sold at many health food stores such as Whole Foods.
Kosas makes clean makeup with minimal ingredients, and it’s formulated to improve your skin too. They’re cruelty-free, Leaping Bunny certified, and they go beyond the typical banned ingredients lists, banning more than 2,700 ingredients from their products, including parabens, talc, phthalates, aluminum, and more.
In addition to these top safe makeup product lines, some of the best clean beauty brands include Mineral Fusion, Maia’s Mineral Galaxy, W3LL PEOPLE, Ilia Beauty, Juice Beauty, Rejuva Minerals, Vapour Beauty, RMS Beauty, and Au Naturale. Keep reading for our top 3 product choices for each makeup category from these brands and more.
Safest Foundations During Pregnancy
100% Pure is one of my favorite makeup brands, and their Fruit Pigmented Foundation is one of the first products I tried. I use the Full Coverage Water Foundation, which comes in 19 different shades (one of the most inclusive foundations I’ve found!). It provides lasting coverage, a natural finish, and a ton of skincare benefits, all without any toxic ingredients. Pair it with the brand’s 2nd Skin Concealer, and you’ll have a perfectly even skin tone without any caking or creasing. You can purchase these products on Amazon, or directly from 100% Pure (which I always prefer because your money goes straight to the brand).
Rejuva Minerals Foundation
Rejuva Minerals has a line of popular foundations that is verified by the EWG, approved by MadeSafe.org, and rated “clean” by the Think Dirty app. Their prices are really affordable too! I’ve used their foundation in the past and loved it. Its formula is a little wetter than most, but it will give you great lightweight coverage that lasts all day.
Zuzu Luxe is a well-known non-toxic product line made by Gabriel Cosmetics. Zuzu Luxe offers both a liquid and a powder foundation that are popular with people who are just getting started in their clean beauty journeys.
Safe Concealers for Pregnancy
BaeBlu’s full coverage organic concealer is lightweight, long-lasting and loved by many women with sensitive skin. It’s great for dark circles, blemishes, scars, or dark spots. You can even use it as a highlighter, which is what I do!
The W3LL PEOPLE Bio Correct Multi-Action Concealer comes in 6 shades and is very popular for covering up dark undereye circles and other imperfections. In addition to being non-toxic and EWG VERIFIED™, it is also cruelty-free and sustainably made.
This concealer is available in a lot of different online stores, including at Thrive Market. If you don’t already have a Thrive Market subscription, you can sign up for one and get an additional percentage off of your first purchase, and sometimes they also offer a free gift!
The Harvest Natural Beauty Concealer is a fantastic clean beauty option for women who prefer cream concealers and a thick full coverage look. The ingredients list for this concealer is one of the best on our list!
I have an entire post dedicated to the best natural concealers. Check that one out if you’d like to see more of my favorites!
The Best Bronzer, Highlighter, & Blush During Pregnancy
Mineral Fusion Blush is EWG VERIFIED™ and comes in several vibrant colors for bold makeup lovers. Reviewers love this product for its clean ingredients and ease of use. It’s a great budget pick too!
This bronzer from W3LL People is my go-to. It has a beautiful color that works for nearly any skin tone, and it has a bit of shimmer to it that will make you feel like you did a little something extra. It’s perfect for daytime wear, and it’s also great for those few additional date nights you might try to squeeze in before baby arrives. I use it as a bronzer and also as a daily eyeshadow.
Another favorite from RMS Beauty is their Living Luminizer product. This highlighter comes in 5 gorgeous colors and is also rated a 1 by EWG. Reviewers love the natural shimmer and subtle glow it provides for their skin. RMS Beauty also has a palette you might love.
The Best Eyeshadows During Pregnancy
The Pretty Naked Palette by 100% Pure has five stunning shades that makeup lovers will enjoy. Its neutral tones are perfect for everyone, and the palette includes eyeshadow, blush, and highlighter. 100% Pure has other palettes as well, or you can purchase your favorite shade of eyeshadow on its own.
For a liquid eyeshadow option, Kosas 10-Second Liquid Eyeshadow is fast-drying and long-lasting while still earning a 2 on the EWG Skin Deep Database for low toxicity. This gorgeous eyeshadow comes in 8 beautiful shimmery colors.
The Ilia Necessary Eye Shadow Palette comes with 6 blendable shades that are good for all skin types and will last all day. This shadow is also formulated with jojoba seed oil and vitamin E for enhanced eyelid moisturization.
The Best Finishing Powders to Use During Pregnancy
Ilia Organic Radiant Translucent Powder is rated a 2 by EWG for low toxicity. This popular powder contains aloe, rosemary and bamboo for a natural shine-free finish, and it’s SPF 20 to help protect you from the sun’s harmful rays!
Mineral Fusion Setting Powder is EWG VERIFIED™ and helps women accomplish an airbrushed look with oil-absorbing Kaolin clay. Reviewers love its ability to make their foundation last longer and keep unwanted shine away.
Honest Beauty’s Invisible Blurring Loose Powder is translucent and lightweight for a natural feeling matte finish. It helps absorb oils to complete your look, and it’s one of the best-priced products on this list. You can even buy it at Ulta!
The Safest Eyeliner to Use When You’re Pregnant
Safe ingredients don’t stop Pacifica’s liquid eyeliner from a gorgeous and rich color. It has a defining fine tip, and is made without talc, parabens, phthalates, or mineral oil. It’s great for all skin types and those with sensitive eyes.
Rated a 2 by EWG for low toxicity, the Honest Beauty Liquid Eyeliner is highly-rated on Amazon for long-lasting, easy-to-use liquid eyeliner. It is also cruelty-free.
Maia’s Mineral Galaxy Eye Liner Pencil
Maia’s Mineral Galaxy Eye Liner Pencil is an EWG VERIFIED™ product made with 100% minerals for sensitive eyes. Maia’s Mineral Galaxy eye liner comes in 20 different shades, and most include shimmer for a fun look.
Top Mascaras for Pregnancy
Honest Beauty Extreme Length Mascara is a top-seller on Amazon with more than 3,000 reviews from satisfied clean beauty lovers. Reviewers love the included lash primer and found this mascara to stand up to its claims of longer, fuller lashes!
W3ll People Expressionist Pro Mascara is EWG VERIFIED™ and has won the Allure Best of Beauty Award for its “clump-free look that lasts”. Like all products by this brand, it is also cruelty-free and sustainably-made.
Erin’s Faces Matcha Mascara is fortified with healthy ingredients that will actually help promote hair growth! Just one layer, and your eyelashes will be volumized and lengthened, and they’ll get a little extra strength from the formulation too.
The Best Lipsticks to Wear During Pregnancy
Many popular lipstick brands contain lead and other heavy metals. It is important to find clean lip products that are safe. Always check the ingredients on your lipsticks!
For a subtle and moisturizing color, many women swear by Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm. All of Burt’s Bees lip products are formulated with mostly plant-based products and do not contain parabens, phthalates, petrolatum or SLS.
Clove + Hallow Lip Velvet
Clove + Hallow’s lip velvet was one of my all-time favorite non-toxic makeup products. Unfortunately, the brand closed its shop in December 2022. When they closed, they assured me that this truly amazing product would be available again soon from their sister brand, Clover. I’ll update this post when they release it again.
Where to Buy Pregnancy-Safe Makeup
Many women find great success purchasing their clean cosmetic items at local or chain health food stores such as Whole Foods or Sprouts. This is especially ideal for shoppers who like to be able to shop a large selection of brands in person and try things out via tester items. In addition, even large “mainstream” retailers like Target, Sephora and Ulta are starting to pay attention to clean beauty as more and more brands begin to offer natural and non-toxic makeup options.
For online shoppers, Amazon can be a very helpful option to search out products from a variety of makeup brands while having access to full ingredient lists and customer reviews.
Reading consumer reviews can be especially helpful for women who are just getting started with making clean product switches. Oftentimes, reviewers will call attention to hidden toxic ingredients, questionable product additives or any false advertising tactics that may be going on. These reviews can be quite informative and helpful when you are first learning what truly makes a product non-toxic or “clean”.
Making healthy choices in your makeup purchases is ultimately up to you as the consumer. Thankfully, with a little bit of guidance and product transparency, it is easy to avoid the most harmful chemicals lurking in many beauty products. Whether you are a clean beauty expert or just getting started, with today’s online resources there are many ways to ensure you are buying a pregnancy-safe product.
Consumers should research the claims of natural product lines when possible, check the item in question against clean ingredient databases such as the EWG Skin Deep website, MadeSafe.org, or the Think Dirty app, and browse consumer reviews to learn the truth of a product’s ingredient safety. Happy shopping!