Safer cosmetics for pregnancy and breastfeeding are a must, considering the lack of regulation in the beauty industry.
You know that innate feeling of responsibility that develops when you first become a mom? For me, it happened almost instantly after I found out I was pregnant with my first baby.
I suddenly had this overwhelming sense of responsibility to give my babies the very best. MY best (not anyone else’s). It was like a calling to become a better version of myself. My mama bear instincts kicked into full gear as I tracked my baby’s growth during pregnancy, and from the very moment I first saw his face and held him in my arms. The same applies for my second baby boy.
To me, health and wellness are a huge part of this responsibility, and that includes being conscious about what I consume and which personal-care products I use. Before I got pregnant with my oldest, I was still pretty new to the idea of prioritizing my health and well-being. There wasn’t really any “pregnancy-safe makeup” on the market at the time. But, thankfully I knew enough to stop using a ton of makeup and personal care products.
Changing My Beauty Routine for Pregnancy
Prior to getting pregnant, my go-to beauty routine included Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer or Bare Minerals Powder Foundation, Tarte Mascara, Lancôme Eyeliner, NARS Orgasm Blush, and lipsticks and glosses in different shades from MAC and Chanel. My nails were usually polished with a neutral shade from OPI or Essie. (Ballet Slippers was my go-to.) I would never leave the house without eyeliner and mascara (still won’t) and I loved the feeling of being glamorous and put-together (still do).
After finding out that I was pregnant, I stopped using most of these products and kept a minimal routine using only blush, mascara, and eyeliner.
Still, I knew deep down that this wasn’t quite good enough. I sensed that the makeup brands I was using weren’t very healthy. At the time, there weren’t many natural or non-toxic makeup lines available. Tarte was pretty new to the market and their options were limited. I was also pretty exhausted and overwhelmed with my pregnancy and putting together my non-toxic baby registry, so researching makeup ingredients never became a priority.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Shocking fact: each year, your body absorbs up to 5 lbs. of chemicals from makeup #safercosmetics #pregnancy #nursing” quote=”Each year, your body absorbs up to 5 lbs. of chemicals from makeup”]
Now, a few years later I am happy to report there are some amazing alternatives to drugstore and department store beauty brands. Pregnant and nursing moms no longer have to worry about the cosmetics they use to bring out their natural beauty (or to stop using them altogether)! There are safer cosmetics for pregnancy and nursing, and I am excited to tell you about them.
First, let’s talk about some of the harmful and toxic substances found in a number of mainstream personal care products.
Which Toxic Chemicals are Used in Personal Care Products?
The laws governing cosmetics and personal care products are so limited that known cancer-causing chemicals are legally allowed in personal care products. – Campaign for Safer Cosmetics
There hasn’t been a major law passed in the United States to regulate the safety of personal care products since 1938. If you use makeup on a daily basis, your body absorbs up to 5 lbs. of chemicals from your makeup and personal-care products each year — so these ingredients matter. 
Here are just a few of the harmful and toxic substances that are often used or found as contaminants in mainstream personal care products. 
- 1,4 Dioxane: A carcinogen found in shampoo and liquid soaps
- Formaldehyde: This carcinogen is often found in shampoos and liquid soaps (as are formaldehyde-releasing preservatives)
- Heavy Metals: Dangerous levels of heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, and arsenic have been found in several products including lipsticks, eyeliner, and nail polishes
- Parabens: These widely used preservatives are hormone disrupting chemicals.
- Petrolatum: Though it is highly refined, petrolatum (and other petroleum-based ingredients such as mineral oil or parrafin) is made from a byproduct of of the oil refining process and runs the risk of being contaminated
- Phthalates: These chemicals are widely used in personal care products and fragrances, and have been linked to cancer, developmental and reproductive toxicity, and endocrine disruption
- Triclosan and Triclocarban: These bioaccumulative endocrine disrupters are antimicrobial agents that are used in a variety of products to kill bacteria and fungus, and reduce odors
And this is just a handful of them! These are just some of the ones what we want to avoid.
The shocking truth is that the United States has only banned 30 chemicals from being used in personal care products, and a huge loophole in our legal system allows manufacturers to use phthalates and other hazardous chemicals without even disclosing them to consumers.
Why Do We Need Safer Cosmetics While Pregnant and Nursing?
As you can imagine, this is troubling regardless of whether you are pregnant or nursing. But, this is especially concerning when the health and well-being of a developing baby is also involved. In 2005, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) published a study that found toxic chemicals in the umbilical cord blood of newborn babies.
The umbilical cord carries not only the building blocks of life, but also a steady stream of industrial chemicals, pollutants and pesticides that cross the placenta as readily as residues from cigarettes and alcohol. This is the human “body burden” — the pollution in people that permeates everyone in the world, including babies in the womb. -Environmental Working Group, “Body Burden: The Pollution in Newborns”
The study screened for more than 400 chemicals and detected 287 in the fetal blood. Of the chemicals that were detected, 180 are known carcinogens, 217 are neurotoxins, and 208 have been shown to cause birth defects or abnormal development in animals. These included flame retardant chemicals, pollutants and byproducts from the plastic manufacturing process, stain- and grease-resistant coatings like Teflon and Scotchguard, pesticides, and heavy metals. In cord blood. 
Your skin is your largest organ, and it absorbs everything it comes in contact with; within seconds, anything you apply to your skin will end up in your bloodstream. And if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, this has a direct impact on your baby.
Children’s vulnerability derives from both rapid development and incomplete defense systems: A developing child’s chemical exposures are greater pound-for-pound than those of adults; an immature, porous blood-brain barrier allows greater chemical exposures to the developing brain; children have lower levels of some chemical-binding proteins, allowing more of a chemical to reach “target organs”; a baby’s organs and systems are rapidly developing, and thus are often more vulnerable to damage from chemical exposure; and systems that detoxify and excrete industrial chemicals are not fully developed. – Environmental Working Group, “Body Burden: The Pollution in Newborns”
What’s in Your Makeup Bag?
These findings are especially dangerous when it comes to cosmetics because many popular makeup brands have been found to contain known carcinogens and endocrine disrupters, and even dangerous levels of heavy metals.
For example, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics found that over 61% of lipsticks tested contained lead.  After much consumer pressure, the FDA conducted their own testing and found levels as high as 7.19 parts per million (which is very high!).
“The recent science indicates there is no safe level of lead exposure. Lead is a neurotoxin and can be dangerous at small doses,” writes the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. “Medical experts are clear that any level of lead exposure is unhealthy.”
The top-10 lead contaminated lipstick brands included Maybelline, L’Oreal, NARS, Covergirl, Stargazer, Revlon, Sonia Kashuk, Avon, Fashion Fair, and Burt’s Bees. Lancôme and MAC were also pretty high up on the list.
Safer Cosmetics for Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Of course, the safest route while pregnant or breastfeeding is to not wear any makeup at all and to limit your use of personal-care products to an absolute minimum. But, that may not be realistic for everyone. Though I am pretty conservative with what I use, I feel it’s unrealistic for me to go out into the world completely bare-faced!
After becoming fed up with mainstream makeup brands, I started looking for a healthier, safer line of cosmetics. Some of the moms in my Facebook Group recommended Beautycounter, so I started to look into their products.
I loved the company’s mission of getting safer products into the hands of everyone. This is something I can easily get behind. But I wasn’t satisfied with a clever marketing slogan, so I started to dive a little deeper into the company’s products and practices. The more I learned, the more impressed I became.
Why I Trust Beautycounter
Beautycounter’s makeup line feels just as luxurious as the brands I was already accustomed to, such as Chanel, MAC, and Lancôme. But more importantly, I was excited to learn that Beautycounter has committed to a health and safety standard that goes above and beyond what is legally required in the United States.
Here are the key reasons I trust Beautycounter enough to use their products while nursing.
- Better Ingredients. While only 30 chemicals are banned from use in personal care products in the United States, Beautycounter has voluntarily banned 1,500 ingredients from their products, including formaldehyde, polyethylene glycol (PEG), sodium laurel sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate, parabens, and triclosan (see the full list here)
- Material Safety. Before allowing an ingredient in their products, Beautycounter evaluates every ingredient for human health hazards (cancer, endocrine disruption, developmental toxicity). If there isn’t enough data available on an ingredient, Beautycounter will commission their own study
- Thorough Testing. Heavy metals are naturally occurring, but can also be found as contaminants in ingredients used to add color to cosmetics. Beautycounter uses independent third-party testing to screen every batch of color cosmetics for heavy metal contamination, and their allowable limits are below the most conservative standards found anywhere in the world: Beautycounter strives for non-detectable limits of heavy metals in their products. A lot of companies can claim to be organic or pure, but I am more impressed by a conscious, proactive company that chooses their ingredients well and tests for impurities and contamination.
- Transparency. Beautycounter voluntarily discloses every ingredient in each of their products; this is not the case with any other cosmetics company
- Natural Ingredients. Over 80% of Beautycounter’s ingredients are organic, natural, or plant-derived. The company utilizes natural ingredients like organic coconut oil, hyaluronic acid, blue agave, and citrus extracts and sources non-GMO ingredients whenever possible
- EWG Ratings. Beautycounter products are rated from 1-3 on the EWG Skindeep Database, and many of them are EWG-verified for avoiding materials of concern, providing full disclosure, and using good manufacturing practices
Beautycounter’s commitment to testing their ingredients is what really stood out to me, along with the long list of ingredients and chemicals that will never make it into their products. Is the company perfect? No – most makeup products still require some preservatives, and I would still encourage you not to excessively use any products while pregnant or nursing. But Beautycounter is leading the charge for improving the beauty industry and I rest assured knowing that each of their ingredients goes through a rigorous screening and testing process. I was so impressed with the products and the company itself that I decided to join their mission myself.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Stop compromising your health for your beauty – Gregg Renfew, founder of Beautycounter #beautycounter #safercosmetics #beauty #pregnancy #breastfeeding” quote=”Stop compromising your health for your beauty – Gregg Renfew, founder of Beautycounter”]
My Favorite Beautycounter Products
By making a few easy switches to Beautycounter products, I have been able to look my best without compromising my health and safety, or my baby’s! I really do love how their products make me look and feel.
Here are my favorites from their makeup line:
1) Tint Skin Hydrating Foundation: For light, smooth coverage, definitely try Tint Skin! (I don’t miss my Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer at all.) It’s a lightweight, creamy foundation that gives you flawless coverage without feeling heavy or cakey.
2) Sheer Lipstick: Beautycounter’s Lip Sheers are ah-mazing! I think this was one of the first products I tried and I have been buying them up ever since. The colors are beautiful and pair really well with their lip glosses. Each shade of lipstick is tested to complement different skin tones, so you almost can’t go wrong when picking out a shade; Terra and Twig are popular choices too!
3) Powder Blush Duo: Available in three shades, the Powder Blush Duo is a fantastic blush. I use the Flamingo/Apricot shade instead of NARS Orgasm.
4) Touchup Skin Concealer Pen: This concealer pen hides nearly any imperfection. It works so well and is really light and easy to put on. It’s long-lasting without feeling dry or heavy.
5) Color Outline Eye Pencil: I don’t think I’ve ever left the house without eyeliner and mascara on, and Beautycounter’s eyeliner works beautifully! It is a perfect substitute for any eyeliner I’ve used from Lancome, Chanel, and the likes. It’s long-lasting and also goes on very smooth. The pencil comes with a smudge tip for easy blending.
Ready to Switch to Safer Cosmetics?
I’m so glad you’ve decided to try Beautycounter! Please note there is a 60-day return policy, so you can return any items you buy if you decide you don’t love them. There are two ways to shop with me and get access to exclusive deals and announcements:
- Shop with me. Shop Beautycounter with me for access to safer cosmetics for pregnancy and nursing. Use this link for all your Beautycounter shopping and then send me your order confirmation email for a special freebie from me.
- Join my non-toxic beauty group. Join my Beautycounter Facebook Group for updates and special offers from me, including product freebies, free shipping, and more!