Before becoming pregnant, I was obsessive with my skincare routine. Acids, peels, retinoids—you name it, I had probably given it a try at least once. However, the moment I became pregnant, my tried and true skincare routine went out the window, and wouldn’t come back until after I was done breastfeeding over a year and a half later.
When you’re pregnant, there are a variety of different skin-care ingredients that are no longer safe to use. Popular actives like Hydroquinone, Retinol, Salicylic Acid (in high doses) are all generally agreed upon as being best to avoid while pregnant or breastfeeding, according to a National Library of Medicine journal.
When I became pregnant, I sought out products with pregnancy and breastfeeding-safe skin-care ingredients that could still effectively treat my common skin ailments–namely dullness, dryness, and discoloration. Luckily, I knew of just the brand.
I’ve been a fan of True Botanicals long before celebrities like Olivia Wilde and Brooke Shields were touting the benefits of its products. Way back in 2016, I first discovered the brand when I began to make the switch to more “natural” beauty products that could really make a difference in my skin. Since then, the brand has grown tremendously in popularity–and for good reason.
I’ve always found the products True Botanicals creates to be top-of-the-line in effectiveness, but I really began discovering more from the brand during my pregnancy. The brand touts several “pregnancy and breastfeeding safe” products in its collection, and even recommends certain products from its lineup as alternatives for ingredients like retinol and salicylic acid. I ended up switching out my entire routine for the brand, and these were the products that I found really worked.
While I found my skin to actually be less dry than usual during pregnancy, post-pregnancy was a different story. My skin was incredibly sensitive and dry postpartum, and that’s when I switched to the very gentle cleanser. With ingredients like lactic acid and azelaic acid—two very mild chemical exfoliants—the balm manages to remove any trace of makeup (or sunscreen) without stripping your face of moisture. It also smells incredible, which may not be as important as the effectiveness of the formula, but is a huge plus.
I also started using the Microbiome Enzyme Essence postpartum. The product is one of the newest in the line, with ingredients like prebiotics and green tea extract that help “strengthen your skin barrier.” After a few months of using it, I found it helped with brightening my skin, and also was extra beneficial in making sure my skin absorbed all the goodness of the serum that followed.
The two products that made far and away the biggest difference in treating a lot of my hormonal complexion woes were the Chebula Active Serum ($90) and the Vitamin C Booster ($90). The Chebula Active Serum is described by the brand as a “hydrating anit-aging serum that helps fight visible signs of aging while supporting your skin barrier.” The Vitamin C Booster is a powder that combines Vitamin C and Ferulic Acid to "support surface skin cell turnover" and help with dark spots and dullness.
For me, aging wasn’t my biggest skin concern–dullness and dark spots were. Specifically, during pregnancy and postpartum, I had to deal with a new, major skincare concern–melasma. While pre-pregnancy I would have turned to something like Retinol to help fade the melasma, I didn’t have that choice during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. Instead, I used a dropper full of the Chebula Active Serum, combined with a few shakes of the Vitamin C Booster, and it made a world of difference.
If I had any sort of pregnancy glow, it was solely due to the combination of these two products, which I found to help even out my skin tone and give my dull skin the luminosity I was looking for.
To finish things off, I locked everything in with a face oil (followed by sunscreen, of course). I used the Renew Pure Radiance Oil ($110), made with ingredients like camellia seed oil, marula oil, and grapeseed oil. The vibrant orange oil is incredibly rich, and for someone like me with dry skin I found it ultra-hydrating.
The brand actually offers three variants of the Pure Radiance Oil: Clear (for oily skin), Calm (for sensitive skin), and Renew (for “normal” skin). Out of all the products I used from the brand, this is probably the one I was able to find the most effective alternatives for with equally pregnancy-safe options that worked just as well. Nevertheless, I can’t deny that it gave my skin all the hydration it needed!
Now that my journey with pregnancy and breastfeeding have ended, I have reincorporated a few pre-pregnancy skincare essentials such as Retinol and peels. However, even with these options available to me, I’ve stuck with quite a few of my True Botanical picks. The Chebula Serum, Vitamin C Booster, as well as the Essence and Cleansing Balm have all become essential parts of my routine to keep my skin glowing post-pregnancy. Let’s just say that this is a brand that is worth all the hype it gets.
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