10 Beauty and Makeup Tips for Moms-to-Be

Tried-and-true advice to keep you looking and feeling gorgeous during pregnancy.
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By Celia Shatzman, Contributing Writer
Updated April 21, 2023
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Whether you prefer “no-makeup makeup” or a full face of glam, your beauty outlook doesn’t have to change just because you’re expecting. Of course, you might want to make some swaps in your product arsenal and try a few new application tips as you embrace your newfound pregnancy glow. Ready to get your beauty on? Below, makeup artists and dermatologists share some tried-and-true advice to keep you looking and feeling gorgeous—plus, a few nifty tricks to help with some common beauty pain points during pregnancy.

1. Slather on the sunscreen

It’s no secret that sunscreen should be worn every day. (We’re talking rain or shine—even on days when you barely leave home, since UV rays can penetrate windows.) It’s especially important to follow the daily SPF rule when you’re pregnant, since you’re more prone to dark spots and melasma, thanks to hormonal changes in pregnancy. Stick to a mineral or physical blocker, such as zinc oxide, as it’s less irritating—and look for a formula with SPF 30 or higher.

“In addition to helping to protect the skin against the harmful effects of UV damage which can lead to sunburn, photodamage and skin cancer, sunscreen is important especially during pregnancy to help protect the skin against hyperpigmentation,” says Marisa Garshick, MD, a New York City-based board-certified dermatologist. Wearing sunscreen can prevent hyperpigmentation—or at least help discourage discoloration from worsening. Tinted formulas can be particularly helpful for someone dealing with melasma, as they also camouflage the appearance of dark spots.

2. Avoid Foundation Altogether

“With all the hormonal changes your body is experiencing, your skin is more sensitive than usual. Instead of wearing a heavy foundation—which can clog your pores and cause acne—let your skin breathe,” advises Markphong, a New York City-based makeup artist. He suggests simply using a concealer to even out your skin tone. “You always want to work in layers to work up to the level of coverage,” says Monika Blunder, a Los Angeles-based celebrity makeup artist and founder of Monika Blunder Beauty. “I also don’t worry about covering every bit of redness or darkness all the time—sometimes just toning them down a bit with a flexible concealer can do the trick. Letting your natural skin shine through is beautiful.”

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3. Target Dark Under-Eye Circles

Under-eye circles are par for the course in pregnancy. Exhaustion is inevitable, and a burgeoning belly, middle-of-the-night heartburn and leg cramps make getting a solid night of quality shut-eye a rare event. To address resulting darkness or under-eye circles, Blunder suggests using a concealer one shade lighter than your skin tone to brighten the area. “Avoid placing it in a triangle under your eye, and focus the brighter shade around the inner corner of your eye where it tends to be darkest,” she says.

4. Skip Harsh Ingredients

In general, it’s important to be aware of the ingredients in your skin care and makeup arsenal, and avoid certain ones, such as retinols and certain strengths of salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide. That said, it’s still okay to maintain a general skincare routine and continue with regular use of gentle cleansers, moisturizers and sunscreen, says Garshick. Run any product you’re using by your ob-gyn to make sure it’s considered safe in pregnancy.

5. Use Blush to Add Dimension

Contouring may have been your go-to trick pre-pregnancy, but it can be too heavy on your now-sensitive skin, Markphong says. “Instead, use blush to lift your face and create a healthy dimension," he suggests. “It’ll create a light and bright glow, making you look more rested and fresh.”

6. Bust Breakouts

Seeing spots? You can blame hormonal changes for the appearance of pimples in pregnancy. “Acne can be treated with ingredients like azelaic acid, though it’s best to see a board-certified dermatologist to determine if any other treatments may be helpful,” Garshick says. “It can also help to stay consistent with your skin care routine by regularly washing your face at bedtime and applying moisturizer that’s oil-free and noncomedogenic.” Remember that acne medications with high concentrations of benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid aren’t recommended during pregnancy.

7. Look for Hydration Helpers to Enhance Your Glow

Looking to get that pregnancy glow? It doesn’t always happen naturally. “The skin can become more dry during pregnancy related to hormonal changes and stretching skin,” Garshick says. Regular use of moisturizer will help. Apply it as soon as you get out of the shower to help trap in moisture and prevent the skin from drying out further.

When your skin is feeling like the Sahara, it’s also best to put down the powder makeup. “Sticking to dewy and glowy products will help a lot,” Blunder says. “I prefer creams for almost everything—foundation, concealer, blush, contour and more. Creams tend to blend together beautifully and will generally leave you with a dewy skin-like finish,” she adds.

8. Make Room for Multitaskers

“Personally, when I was pregnant, I didn’t want to wear a ton of makeup or spend a lot of time getting ready every day,” Blunder says. “Finding easy-to use, versatile, multi-use products can be a huge time saver!” Garshick agrees that multitasking makeup is key. That’s why one of her go-to picks is a tinted moisturizer, which does double duty while providing coverage that doesn’t feel heavy.

9. Curl Your Lashes

Since some mascaras include diazolidinyl urea—a preservative that releases formaldehyde—Markphong suggests skipping the mascara and using an eyelash curler instead. “Use a blowdryer on low heat to blow directly to the lashes, staying away from the eyeball,” he says. “This will add volume to your lashes without the risk of using mascara with potentially harmful ingredients.”

10. Give Yourself Facial Massages

“I really can’t tell you how much of a difference massage makes,” Blunder says. “It drains and flushes our stagnant lymph, it tightens and tones your skin, making you feel and look more awake and fresh and it feels amazing.” Simply use your hands or try a gua sha facial massage tool.

About the experts:

Monika Blunder, is a Los Angeles-based celebrity makeup artist and the founder of Monika Blunder Beauty.

Marisa Garshick, MD, a New York City-based board-certified dermatologist. She earned her medical degree from Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston.

Markphong, is a New York City-based makeup artist.

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

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