Whether while trying to conceive or if a baby is already on board, it's more important than ever for women to stay informed about their everyday cosmetics. With tricky to read labels, complicated ingredients, and limited FDA involvement, we’re definitely up against a lot!
As Kourtney and cosmetics-reform proponents noted, “It’s been more than 80 years since Congress passed any sort of cosmetics legislation.”
Kourtney Kardashian loving mother of 3 and clean beauty advocate—recently journeyed to Washington, DC to advocate for cosmetics reform. As per The Cut, “Beauty companies aren’t required to share a product ingredients list with the FDA. Furthermore, the FDA lacks the authority to recall faulty or harmful cosmetics from the market."
Yikes! Luckily, many of the major beauty brands like L’Oréal, Estée Lauder, Johnson & Johnson, Unilever, Procter & Gamble, and Revlon are making an effort to promote more clean beauty.
Along with them, Sephora also contributes to the effort by including ingredient information on the majority of product pages to let shoppers know what they’re getting before they buy. Bringing a baby into the world is a tough job; this list drops some serious knowledge to help us determine 15 Sephora Products to ditch when TTC (trying to conceive) and 5 that are safe to keep using. Good info to have at our non-acetone polished fingertips!
15 Sephora Products To Ditch When TTC
20 Parabens Are Not Your Friends
As per Motherly, Dr. Aaliya Yaqub, a doctor who specializes in wellness recommends avoiding anything that has the word “paraben” in it.
According to her and many other experts in the field, this chemical is inclusive in makeup, creams, and soaps, and should be minimized or eliminated in the six months leading up to conception and during the conception process.
This includes examples like methylparaben, propylparaben, isopropylparaben, isobutylparaben, Butylparaben, and sodium butylparaben. Makeup without parabens will sometimes not last as long, but it’s definitely worth it for staying safe.
For women who are fans of the celebrity-fave Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation, should take note that this product includes butylparaben, which can alter your body’s hormonal balance by mimicking estrogen.
19 Give Retinoids and Retinols A Rest
According to Motherly, tapering off the use of face creams that include retinoids or retinols is critical.
These ingredients which are often found in anti-aging, cosmetic creams or serums and can cause harm to developing embryos and fetuses.
Though this is generally more of a risk when retinoids are related to vitamin A and taken orally, it’s still a safe bet to reduce them from your topical regimen.
With that in mind, beauty babes who are expecting or TTC should steer away from Murad’s Youth Renewal Night Cream which contains a proprietary combination of a fast-acting retinoid, a time-released retinol and a retinol booster that visibly minimizes lines, wrinkles, and crow’s feet. Ta-ta!
18 Dilute The Use Of Dye
Dr. Yaqub cautions readers on Motherly to avoid hair dyes which can be absorbed into the scalp.
Still, Sephora shopper JNewman claims the DP Hue Color Boosting GLOSS+ Deep Conditioning Treatment, “was perfect for in between salon visits where my blonde got a bit much in the winter. Saved me money for both getting a gloss treatment myself, or doing something more severe like darkening my hair when seasonally appropriate. I plan on working this into my routine during winter months.”
Women who are TTC or pregnant should steer clear as this particular product contains Basic Blue 99, Basic Red 76, Basic Brown 17, Basic Brown 16, Acid Violet 43, Basic Yellow 57, Basic Red 51 dyes. No thanks!
17 A Risky Spritz-uation
Women, who are TTC or expecting, may want to put their favorite fragrance on hold.
According to Motherly “avoid synthetic fragrances and scented perfumes, which can disrupt hormone levels," Dr. Yaqub says, “Often the ingredients aren't listed on bottles."
Many of Sephora’s best-selling fragrances like Clinique Happy Heart and VIKTOR&ROLF Flowerbomb are prone to include dangerous synthetic chemicals, which can be absorbed through the skin. Dr. Yaqub warns women also to consider home deodorizer sprays that are known to contain similar chemicals.
While eliminating synthetic fragrances, try giving essential oils like lavender or argan oil a try. Be sure to check with your a doctor on what’s safe for you!
16 Many Problems With At-Home Manis
While a DIY manicure can be a fun and relaxing go-to for a night in, those who are TTC should be eerie of reaching for acetone-based products like nail polish or nail polish removers.
As advised by Motherly, women should be careful with nail polish and remover and seek out nail polish options that are natural and polish removers that are acetone-free. This means some of the beautiful nail polish shades at Sephora are off-limits for ladies who are thinking about starting a family.
A few Sephora products and brands to avoid include Nails Inc, Marc Jacobs, and Pretty Vulgar Nail Liquor, which list ethyl acetate and butyl acetate as its primary ingredients. Just keep a cute color aside for a later date!
15 Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff
Many women are versed in general things to avoid while TTC, like lots of wine with dinner, certain medications or indulging in delicious sushi dinners. Another one to be mindful of is the deodorant you apply.
According to Fit Pregnancy, the ingredient aluminum chloride hexahydrate found in antiperspirant should be avoided for potential risks.
Check deodorant products for the ingredient aluminum chloride hexahydrate and aluminum chlorohydrate before buying. Women should consider natural alternatives rather than classic favorites like Ralph Lauren’s Romance deodorant, which includes notes of Sungoddess Rose, Marigold, Ginger, Chamomile Oil, Yellow Freesia, White Violet, Lotus Flower, Day Lily, Patchouli, Oakmoss, Musk.
This product contains traces of potentially harmful ingredients like Aluminum Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex Gly. We’re all set without that!
14 Actively Avoid Acids
Fit Pregnancy recommends avoiding beta hydroxy acids like “salicylic acid, 3-hydroxypropionic acid, trethocanic acid and tropic acid.”
These are often found in topical acne medications and anti-aging products. Medical News Today reports, “Doctors generally recommend avoiding excessive or frequent use of salicylic acid during pregnancy. However, the skin absorbs very little salicylic acid from creams. Face and body peels that contain salicylic acid pose a greater risk. Women should always speak with a doctor before using one of these products during pregnancy.”
Based on this data, the Peter Thomas Roth PROfessional Strength 40% Triple Acid Peel rated 4 out of 5 stars by Sephora, shoppers would be one to avoid while TTC.
13 Screen for Chemicals When It Comes To Sun Care
Practicing safe sun protection is more important than ever while TTC—be sure to shield from harmful ultraviolet rays before your body’s pigment-producing cells kick into overdrive and make your skin more susceptible to UV-induced discoloration.
According to Fit Pregnancy, “Make sure your sunscreen doesn't list oxybenzone on the back. The chemical, which readily absorbs into your skin, has been linked to low birth weights—a risk factor for future coronary heart disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and other diseases. It's also known to interfere with the body's hormones, which may cause developmental problems in unborn babies.”
Eek! Ditch Shisheido Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion WetForce SPF 50+ which contains 3% oxybenzone.
12 Check The Can Of Your Self-Tan
Women who are TTC or expecting may be tempted to bronze skin with a bit of self-tan but according to Fit Pregnancy, dihydroxyacetone (DHA) commonly “found in spray self-tanners; could be harmful if inhaled.”
As per AP, “the only concern is whether the active ingredient, dihydroxyacetone (DHA), is able to penetrate the skin. Studies do not confirm that it can, but some health care providers encourage women to wait until after the first trimester, just to play it safe.”
Therefore, St. Tropez’s Self Tan Classic Bronzing Mousse which contains a 100% Natural DHA tanning agent should be avoided before TTC and throughout at least the first trimester.
11 No Lash Decisions
Some ladies may be used to indulging in individual or strip eyelash extensions for everyday glam or a night out.
As per Fit Pregnancy while TTC, women should beware of formaldehyde, which is “found in hair straightening treatments, nail polishes and eyelash glue. This ingredient can be classified as formaldehyde, quaternium-15, dimethyl-dimethyl (DMDM), hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, Diazolidinyl urea, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, and 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol (bronopol) on these products."
Though it comes with high ratings, if you’re used to using Duo Eyelash Adhesive to seal your lashes, you may want to give it a rest during this time when perfect health is more important than ever!
10 Skip This Primer To Stay In Your Prime
Hair primer is also known to include parabens. Women who are TTC should take a closer look at their daily hair-care routine to make sure they’re choosing formulas that are safe.
The KÉRASTASE Resistance Blow-Dry Primer for Damaged Hair (a Sephora exclusive) includes traces of methylparaben. Save this product for postpartum hair styling.
According to Sephora shopper Keen16, “This primer is worth the money. You don’t need a ton so it should last a decent amount of time. The packaging is very nice, which is a plus for some people! I added a little bit to my ends on towel dried hair and it left my hair looking so healthy and shiny after my blow dry.”
But is the risk worth the reward?
9 Zap The Zap
As per AP, “There are no studies that evaluate the safety of laser hair removal during pregnancy. Many health care providers recommend avoiding laser hair removal during pregnancy because of the lack of information about the effect on the fetus.”
Given that, the majority of women who are TTC should stick to traditional shaving (be careful of parabens in shaving cream) and waxing for hair removal. Big ticket laser hair removal machines like the Illuminage Touch Permanent Hair Reduction are likely to be a no-go for women who are erring on the side of caution.
For a less painful and safer solution treat yourself to a luscious bath with a natural shaving cream to remove unwanted hair!
8 Say No To This Tea
As outlined in Vogue, many essential oils like rosemary and tea tree are not yet assessed by the FDA but are included in beauty products that are promoted as safe.
As a rule of thumb, essential oils can be extremely harmful when not used appropriately.
According to Dr. Sassoon, “Often they have 50 times the concentration used in a cup of tea and can be harmful even in a nonpregnancy state. The problem also is that we don’t know how much of a specific oil is absorbed.”
For this reason, beauty babes will want to skip out on popular products that contain tea tree oil such as Sunday Riley’s U.F.O. Ultra-Clarifying Face Oil. Bummer!
7 Stay Clear Of The Enhancing Serum
Sephora’s GrandeLASH™ - MD Lash Enhancing Serum is generally a great go-to for women who want to strengthen and lengthen their natural lashes, but women who are TTC should be wary of the ingredients—namely phenoxyethanol.
As per Brooklyn Acupuncture, “Phenoxyethanol is a preservative found even in organic cosmetics, although it is restricted in Japan and banned in Europe. It can also cause reproductive defects and nervous system damage. In cosmetics, concentrations are typically less than 1 percent, but may be cumulative and could affect a developing fetus.”
As an alternative, women can explore a range of mascaras that do not include-paraben related ingredients.
6 Don’t Splash In This Bath
Beauty babes who are seeking a little indulgence on their next self-care Sunday will want to steer clear from the Laura Mercier Crème Brûlée Honey Bath. Though this product is rated four out of five stars by Sephora shoppers, it contains a combination of ingredients that are in the paraben family including methylparaben and propylparaben.
As per Sephora, “This decadent, fragrant bath leaves skin feeling clean, fresh, and moisturized. Inspired by Laura Mercier’s French upbringing, the Crème Brûlée Body & Bath Collection features playful yet sophisticated formulas inspired by the aura and aroma of the French pâtisserie.”
Ladies who are trying to conceive should opt for something more organic or save this product for a later date. Again, the risk simply isn't worth the reward.
5 That Are Safe To Continue Using
5 Ready To Face The Day
For a beautiful, full-coverage foundation that is free of parabens look no further than the Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Full Coverage Foundation SPF 15.
In addition to being vegan, cruelty-free and gluten-free, this formula is free of mineral oil, sulfates SLS and SLES, parabens, formaldehyde, formaldehyde-releasing agents, phthalates, retinyl palmitate, oxybenzone, coal tar, hydroquinone, triclosan, triclocarban, and fragrance.
As per Sephora shopper KatieWinright, “I've been searching for a perfect foundation since I started doing my own makeup. This one is perfect. It handles my job (working in high heat as an oily person) with no signs of wear after 8 hours and I stay matte.”
4 C-ing is Believing
According to Motherly, when swapping out retinols and retinoids women who are TTC should “use glycolic acid and vitamin C products instead.”
Vitamin C is widely known as a vital molecule for skin health that has beneficial effects on skin cells. For ladies who are looking for their vitamin C fix, Sephora shoppers are raving about the Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum.
This serum is formulated without Sulfates SLS and SLES, parabens, formaldehyde, formaldehyde-releasing agents, phthalates, mineral oil, retinyl palmitate, oxybenzone, coal tar, hydroquinone, Triclosan, Triclocarban. It treats the skin with a super-potent vitamin C day serum packed with a powerful antioxidant complex, essential nutrients, fruit enzymes, and a chronoPeptide.
3 Line ‘Em Up
For women looking for that fresh nail fix, the popular nail polish brand Deborah Lippman is worth a shot.
According to Sephora, this brand is “considered vegan and seven-free: It’s formulated to be free of formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, toluene, DBP (dibutyl phthalate), camphor, parabens, or xylene."
Give the Welcome to Paradise Nail Set a try for a fun array of colors like vibrant ocean blues and beaming corals. This is the perfect set to keep a vibrant set of colors in the rotation and includes six-pieces of full-coverage, fashion-size, tropical shades. Grab a friend and paint nails together as the next girl's night-in activity.
2 Rethinking Retinol
Though traditional retinol formulas are considered no-nos for women who are TTC, Sephora’s Biossance Squalane + Phyto-Retinol Serum appears to be a viable alternative due to the inclusion of “bakuchiol, a plant-derived retinol alternative that offers retinol-like results—without the skin irritation or sensitivity.”
According to Sephora shopper Remie, “I am really pleased with this serum. I think as with any product, you never know how your skin will react to it. I have zero dryness, no irritation, no breakouts and it leaves my skin looking so smooth. I used to use retinol and it wrecked havoc on my skin for months. I love how my skin is responding to the product.”
1 The Sweetest Thing
For ladies looking to relax and enjoy a pretty scent, the Ren Clean Skincare Moroccan Rose Otto Body Lotion is the perfect treat for your bod post-shower. As per Sephora, “This rich body cream deeply hydrates and replenishes the skin’s moisture barrier. It will leave skin silky soft, supple, and lightly fragranced with roses."
This product is formulated without Sulfates SLS and SLES, parabens, formaldehyde, formaldehyde-releasing agents, phthalates, mineral oil, retinyl palmitate, oxybenzone, coal tar, hydroquinone, triclosan, triclocarban.
Though women who are TTC should stay away from fragrance, this lotion contains less than 1% of synthetic fragrance. The outlook is looking quite rosy on this one!
References: The Cut, Motherly, Fit Pregnancy, Medical News Today, American Pregnancy, Vogue, Acupuncture Brooklyn, Sephora, Motherly