Pregnancy Files: My 8 First Trimester Beauty Essentials

*Affiliate links and PR samples used. Full disclaimer details here.
Kicking off this pregnancy series, I figured it would be apt to begin with my first trimester beauty essentials. After all, this is a beauty blog. You’ll also find a correlating first trimester “bumpdate” on my YouTube channel (later in the day on 5/10/18) if you’re interested in other pregnancy details. But back to beauty. Let’s just say it’s been a very interesting introduction into the world of hormones, as my insanely oily skin has taken a turn for the dry side, and after 11 years of Retin A, I’ve had to bench my go-to anti-aging/anti-acne treatment. How are things holding up and what am I using it its place? Let’s see…

First Trimester Beauty Essentials | Brighter Darling Blog

first trimester beauty essentials

I’m going to start out saying that I know there is an opinion about everything regarding what is safe during pregnancy.

Some people believe a small percentage of Salicylic Acid or Benzoyl Peroxide (usually under 2%) is fine, others say no way.

Some people say acids are fine, some don’t.

The list goes on and on regarding conflicting pregnancy-safe skin care.

All I will say is consult your OBGYN or dermatologist to ask her what she believes. Bring her your products (or the ingredient list) and let her review.

As for my skin, as mentioned in the intro, my crazy oily skin has taken a turn for dehydrated and dry… which has been so ironic for me to manage (the Queen of oily skin).

I think it’s a combination of pregnant women having to drink a crap-ton of water (which was never something I was good at) and fact that my Retin A usage went away (helps with skin cell turnover).


However, I still break out. Not nearly as much as when I was really oily, but I definitely still need products to combat breakouts – even with the dryness.

So here we are. I am 32 years old and finally discovering the entirely new world of beauty for dry skin.

my routine


  • Still cleansing with my CeraVe… except I’ve switched from the foaming cleanser to the hydrating version.
  • I tone and exfoliate with Biologique Recherche Lotion P50 (without phenol now… phenol is not pregnancy safe). This product is super Holy Grail for me. I still think the original Biologique Lotion P50 1970 that I used previously is way better/stronger, but for now, this is what I can use.
  • New-to-me has been the addition of Fresh’s Black Tea Kombucha Essence* for added hydration, anti-aging and anti-pollution. I just love this watery essence. It leaves your skin feeling bouncy and plumped like a little baby’s bum.
  • I then layer on my Drunk Elephant C Firma Day Serum, which is 15% vitamin C and helps with anti-aging, as well as, brightening. I’ve been using vitamin C serums for years. They have made a huge difference in lightening my acne scars. Drunk Elephant’s formula is very pricey, but I love that it includes a light blend of Marula Oil in it (not too heavy) for added hydration and I find it to work quicker than other cheaper formulas (exception: Soko Glam Triple C Lightening Liquid is also very good). 
  • Lastly, I layer on my go-to Paula’s Choice RESIST SPF30 physical sunscreen. That’s nothing new, but I cannot be without this. It’s so lightweight and melts into my skin while providing excellent sun protection.

First Trimester Beauty Essentials | First Trimester Beauty Must Haves | How To Manage Breakouts During Pregnancy | The Ordinary Azelaic Acid, Fresh Black Tea Kombucha Essence, Biologique Recherche Creme Masque Vernix


  • After removing my makeup (which is a category I’m working on finding a new favorite in), I still use the CeraVe hydrating face wash.
  • Tone with Lotion P50 again.
  • Layer on 5-7 drops of the Fresh Essence again.
  • Fight acne and continue to address brightness with the addition of The Ordinary’s Azelaic Acid cream. Years ago, I was prescribed an acne medication called Finecea and it worked wonders on my adult acne. It was Azelaic Acid-based. Then my insurance changed and it no longer was covered and cost a fortune so I stopped using it. I waited for literally YEARS to find a brand that had Azelaic Acid as the main ingredient and The Ordinary FINALLY did it! BONUS: Azelaic Acid is 100% pregnancy safe (you can check everywhere on that one). 
  • After that, I’ll layer on a pea-sized amount of *THE MOST RIDICULOUSLY EXPENSIVE BEAUTY PRODUCT I HAVE EVER PURCHASED IN MY LIFE* Biologique Recherche Creme Masque Vernix. People reading this. I am fully aware how crazy this product sounds like and costs. This shit mimics a newborn’s vernix (that waxy protective layer that is on newborn babies) and costs $190 for 1.7oz. I know. I have lost all sense of sanity.

This is why I bought it:  after getting my first pregnancy facial at Rescue Spa in Philly (where I go a few times a year for my regular facials), the facialist could see that my skin was super dehydrated and I just kept telling her I was lacking that pregnancy glow! I just felt so dull. She used this creme (among a couple of other BR magic potions), and I left that facial looking like a different woman. Luckily, I was sent home with a generous sample that I milked for two weeks and after noticing a huge difference in the hydration, plumpness and glow to my skin (several people commented in person and on my IG stories), I bit the bullet and bought the full size.

*Someone who is an ingredient analyst beauty junkie friend of mine said that I may want to try Drunk Elephant’s Protini moisturizer after I finish this because she felt the ingredients would perform similarly (also a fraction of the price at $68 haha).

makeup products

As we now know, the dryness/dullness situation has been so real for me.

Thankfully, I’m not breaking out like a teenager (which was a HUGE fear of mine pre-pregnancy), but I totally have an appreciation for my dry skinned friends that are always telling me they want a GLOWWW.

First Trimester Beauty Essentials | First Trimester Beauty Must Haves Hourglass Luminous Light, MAC Fix Plus Spray, Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter

For that, I have three must tries.

  1. In my first trimester, I was near death most days. However, on the rare occassions I felt like rising from the ashes, I would apply a BB or CC cream and it HAD to be lightly dusted/set down with Hourglass’s Luminous Light finishing powder (also comes in a mini at $22). I used to call this a subtle highlighter (and it kind of is), but when you’re dry, this super-refined powder gives the skin a healthy sheen without looking oily or sparkly. It’s a beautiful powder. I like to refer to it as ‘bridal skin to-go.’
  2. No matter what base/foundation I used, I brought back out my old faithful, Mac Fix Plus spray. This is a makeup mist that is typically used as a finishing facial spray that takes away that powdery look to the skin. It has a nice amount of glycerin in it which is what helps hydrate and melts your makeup together to look more natural.
  3. Newer to me that came late in my first trimester was something I’ll be doing an in-depth review of later this week. Charlotte Tilbury’s Hollywood Flawless Filter* is something I never thought I always needed! Part coverage, part liquid highlight, part blurring primer… the Flawless Filter product gives your skin a poreless, healthy glow. It’s multi-functional, as well. You can use it on its own, as a primer, mixed in with your foundation, layered over foundation… any and all ways, it looks amazing on the skin. Cannot wait to talk more about this one!

Alright… so those are the first trimester beauty essentials! I hope you found this helpful or learned something new and of course, share with a friend who may be having similar struggles.

If you’re curious about more details regarding my pregnancy, check out my YouTube channel for my Bumpdate. You can also subscribe to be the first to see when new videos go live by clicking here.

are you following me?
Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Bloglovin’ *NEW* YouTube


First Trimester Beauty Essentials _ First Trimester Beauty Must Haves for Acne Prone Skin

Similar Posts