19 Weeks: Belli Skincare

As you’ve probably sensed, I’ve been addicted to Pregtastic podcasts. I’ve listened during many-a-walks, while cooking dinner and while in the shower. The information featured on the show – from chatty Ups and Downs to the serious medical issues discussed — has been wonderful.

I listened to these two episodes earlier this year about skincare during pregnancy:

Safe Skincare During Pregnancy

Skincare Concerns: During And After Pregnancy

Not surprisingly, I hadn’t given much thought to the products I was using. I generally lean toward more green products free of sulfates and parabens (Alba Sea Minerals is my face care favorite, and I love Organix shampoos and handmade soaps), but not everything I use is considered natural.

The Pregtastic episodes featured Dr. Jason Rubin, founding physician and medical director for Belli skin care as the first expert, and the second show featured his wife, Annette Rubin, co-founder of Belli, sharing some skincare advice. The team had me convinced I needed to try their products – especially with the smell testimonials from the Pregtastic panelists in the room! Every single ingredient in Belli products has been scientifically tested to be safe for pregnancy, so there is no reason not to feel great about slathering the products all over your skin. Read their FAQ for more information on the safety and research behind the products.

A big bonus: Pregtastic listeners get 20% off with the coupon code Pregtastic, a huge plus considering these products are not cheap!!

I mentioned in this post that I went to ULTA to give the products a smell before ordering, and Belli got a tip from my KERF link and offered to send me a bundle to review. I couldn’t wait to try them, so I accepted, with the promise to write my thoughts on them on BERF.

I don’t think I have ever been more excited to receive a package in the mail!!


After a few weeks of using them, here are my thoughts:

Acne Cleansing Facial Wash [$22]

I learned from the episodes that most acne medicines, like salicylic acid, glycolic acid, and benzoyl peroxide, are not safe during pregnancy, and ironically many women see an increase in acne from all the hormones. What’s a girl to do!? The Belli facial wash uses lactic acid to clean and prevent bacteria build up, which is considered safe. I really like it, but it isn’t as heavenly in smell as my sea minerals : )

Smell: Like lemonade!! It has a combo of green tea and lemon peel that I love.

Plus: A little goes a very long way.

Would I Buy Again? Yes

Fresh Start Pre-Treatment Scrub [$19]

Possibly my favorite product, this scrub smells amazing – of a sweet peppermint. The micro-beads are small enough that the scrub doesn’t hurt my face at all. And a little goes a long way.

Smell: Peppermint and WONDERFUL!

Plus: I don’t use this everyday, so it is lasting a long time.

Buy Again? Yes, but I’d make it last a looong time since it’s more of a want than need!

Healthy Glow Facial Hydrator [$32]

The facial moisturizer is probably my least favorite of the line. Not because it’s bad, but I’m just not wild about the smell and I find that it’s a bit difficult to manage. It comes out REALLY fast and I’ve made quite a few messes in my bedroom with it squirting all over. I’ve learned to open it upsidedown! It’s a thin consistency and more of a serum than a lotion. I don’t think it moisturizes my face as well as a lotion would (my face is usually really tight after a shower) but once I put the sunscreen on (below), all is nice and comfortable.

Smell: Lemony/Chamomile (which I don’t love in general)

Cons: A bit too liquidy for my taste, but a little goes a long way.

Buy Again: Probably not.

Anti-Chloasma Facial Sunscreen SPF-25 [$24]

This is the best facial suncreen I have ever used. In the past I’ve worn traditional sunscreens (from brands like Aveeno and Neutragena) designed for faces. I have no idea if those are safe for pregnancy, but based on the info in the podcast, I’m guessing they are not. I also tried a natural, zinc-based sunscreen last year (Alba Mineral Vanilla) and it left my whole face white! It was also very hard to rub in. The Belli brand is more like a tinted moisturizer so it doesn’t change the color of your skin, and it blends in really well. Really like it!

Smell: Like a day at the beach – love it.

Con: Expensive and I use it generously. Wish they made it affordable enough for the whole body! I suppose I will just turn my limbs white from a zinc product for whole-body coating.

Buy Again? Yes!

Elasticity Belly Oil [$39]

This product is designed to minimize (not prevent) stretch marks. This is the article Belli cites to support that the formulation in the belly oil reduces stretch marks, and there was a significant reduction in stretch marks. From what I hear, stretch marks are mostly genetic, but reducing their severity can be controlled with topical products. I’ve been putting the oil on my breasts, stomach and hips, where I have had stretch marks in the past. We’ll see how my body does!

Smell: Lovely lavender essential oil – a bit strong at times.

Con: The oil spritzes out, which I like, but it comes out hard so it sometimes sprays on things. It also makes me feel pretty oily for a little bit, but it hasn’t been a huge deal. It lasts long!

Buy Again? Yes.

All Day Moisture Body Lotion [$19]

Absolutely love this lotion! The lemon smell is awesome – like a lemon cookie – and the lotion is great. I feel good about putting all over head-to-toe because I know it’s safe. Lotions can be sketchy and full of perfumes and unknowns.

Smell: The best part! Lemon desserts!

Plus/Cons: None, other than it’s not cheap.

Buy Again? As much as I love the smell, I might search for a less expensive natural lotion.

Stretchmark Minimizing Cream [$49]

I haven’t tried this yet because I guess I’ll have to wait and see if I get stretch marks first! But the research numbers sound promising. It is very expensive though!

In addition to the Pregtastic discount, you can also purchase the products in sets, which reduces the price. For face, body, and more.

Belli products are pricey, but they are very high quality, well researched and safe. And for almost all of them, a little goes a long way, so they are lasting a while. There is also a Baby Line, which I bet smells amazing!

43 thoughts on “19 Weeks: Belli Skincare”

  1. That is awesome that you got the opportunity to test drive all of those products. I considered buying some of them when I was preggo but they were so expensive I was worried about whether I would like them or not…now I’m considering buying the sunscreen to wear now, post-pregnancy. 🙂 I’m glad I can use this post as a resource whenever baby 2 comes along- thanks so much for sharing!

  2. How awesome that you got to try all that! I’m always looking for new brands to try, so thanks for sharing! I admit, I got stretch marks from pregnancy (so did my mom so I wasn’t too surprised but they snuck up on me in the last few weeks!). Anyways, despite having got them anyways, it was still a nice ritual to rub creams into my belly everyday. It reduced the itchiness and it gave me something to do while I stared at my belly! I found that my scars have faded almost completely over time but I credit the creams I used afterwards to speeding that process along. Besides, just for aging’s sake, you can never say no to a good moisturizer, lol! Have a great day Kath! xx

  3. I heard from both my OB and dermatologist that while salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide were not ok during pregnancy, glycolic acid is perfectly safe.
    I’m interested in listening to the podcast to see what Dr Rubin has to say.

  4. All of the products sound awesome! FYI, many OBs (mine included) say benzoil peroxide products are safe during pregnancy.

  5. I don’t buy or use a lot of “products,” but I did want something to help with my dry, itchy skin when I was pregnant last winter. I decided keeping my skin in good shape to possibly help with stretch marks wouldn’t hurt either. I couldn’t find anything I liked (i.e., no bad ingredients) that wasn’t super expensive, so I ended up making my own.

    I ordered organic shea butter, cocoa butter, jojoba oil, and sweet almond oil and used those to make a really rich body butter. (Up front cost for ingredients wasn’t cheap, but they made MANY batches of body butter and lotion.) My skin felt great and I was pleasantly surprised to see NO stretch marks (despite having some on my thighs from the past, so I know I’m not completely immune to them).


    1. That sounds delectable! I was gifted two organic belly lotions at my baby shower, but I have found that plain old coconut oil is working pretty well on my belly!

  6. Really excited for you that you got all those products to test! They are a little pricey! My first Trimester nose didn’t really like the facial cleanser but I’m glad it agreed with you. If there is a baby #2 in my future I will refer back to your review for sure!

  7. I am glad I am reading this at the end of my pregnancy, or my bank account might be taking a hit!
    If you hadn’t been gifted all of these products, which do you think you would have purchased on your own?

    1. I was planning to get the sunscreen, facial cleanser and elasticity oil myself (with the 20% off!) I noted in the post which I would buy again

  8. You lucky duck! Those would be so awesome to try! ….I am so scared of getting crazy yucky stretch marks but I know it will all be worth it if they do happen. You’ll have to keep us posted on if that cream works……. I too am loving those podcasts while running or walking! It’s like chatting with friends!

  9. Thanks for this info Kath! I’ll definitely be needing stretch mark relief during my pregnancy – i think they are genetic but will do my best to keep more away!

    Do you know if they test on animals or use ingredients that were tested on animals? I checked their site but do not see any info – will have to send them an email.

    I need to check out those podcasts!

    Glad you are feeling so good lately 🙂

    1. I do not know for sure, but my guess would be no since they are using mostly ingredients that are natural or very well studied already

  10. I’m so excited that you did this post! (And super jealous that you got a whole care package!) I was planning a trip to our “local” Ulta (which is 30 minutes away!), and hadn’t realized that there was a pregtastic coupon code (I haven’t gotten to that discussion yet!). Too bad they can’t come to your Open Sky shop to get you a bit of a “kickback” for the referrals!

  11. This information surprises me because in order for companies to sell acne care OTC, the active ingredient (salicylic or benz) must be below 2%. Most that I have seen are around the 1% range and if you consider the pharmacokinetic and bioavailability properties I find it hard to believe that such low concentrations of natural products would do any kind of significant damage to a developing fetus. Also, in order for the full 1-2% (or whatever the concentration is) to be absorbed, you need to let it sit on your face or rub it in for at least 45 seconds and I don’t know if people really do that. And then many wash it off if it’s in a soap-form.
    Of course that being said, it’s always best to err on the side of caution! However, if you’re drinking even a little bit of alcohol during pregnancy I would say in comparison that would likely do more damage than using 1% salicylate on your face. (and I’m not saying you are drinking-just putting it in perspective)

    1. I was also curious about natural salicylic acid being un-safe. Most of the drugstore acne products are not naturally derived, but the ones I prefer (Aveda or Burt’s Bees) do get their active ingredient from plant, not chemical sources. Or at least this is what they claim. Maybe it’s one of those cases where they can’t claim it’s 100% safe so it gets categorized as unsafe? Anywho, guess it’s a question for the doctors.

      1. Ha- I was just going to comment on this! I used Burts Bees all during my pregnancy when they came out with it a couple of years ago, and we’re just fine 😉

  12. I found out I was pregnant on a Wednesday and by Saturday I was slathering on stretch mark lotion. I used it twice a day the whole time. I didn’t end up with any stretch marks so I like to think that the lotion prevented it.

  13. A friend recently shared this great website http://www.ewg.org which allows you to search your current sunscreen and skin care products to determine if any of their ingredients are harmful to you. They will also share their top products lists in different areas to help you find a new safer product. This was one area I hadn’t put a lot of thought into and now am looking at doing a complete product makeover! Thanks for sharing!

  14. Sounds like a great line of products! Although they say stretch marks are heriditary and you can’t prevent them, that still didn’t stop me from lubing up both times! I will have to look into this line more next time!

  15. Stretchmarks are a genetic crapshoot, ladies. You can slather up 3 times a day and still end up covered with them. You can ignore your belly skin completely and get no stretchmarks….or be covered with them like the 3x day slatherer.
    The best thing you can do is gain your baby weight mindfully.
    My mom had 5 kids and not a single stretchmark. I was covered with them by week 37 of baby #1 and even after a tummy tuck, there are still some there. My sister had two babies and none. As I said, it’s a crapshoot.
    No harm in trying to minimize or even prevent them, but the reality is, it’s pretty much out of your control. Best weapon is to allow the skin to stretch gradually by controlling weight gain.

    1. I couldn’t agree more. Slow weight gain and heredity are the controlling factors in stretch marks. But really, stretch marks aren’t the worst thing in the world. They fade – faster for some, slower for others – and none of the creams/serums/etc on the market that claim to reduce them have ever been shown to have any real effect. Time is the only thing that will really help. In the grand scheme of things, they’re really a small price to pay!

  16. Oh man, too bad you didn’t negotiate a giveaway with them. That would have been fun. Also, isn’t it a bit misleading to say “Buy Again” since you didn’t buy it in the first place?

  17. i’m surprised there’s a review on BERF. i’m not criticizing the practice, i’m just curious about it. did you agree without a second thought or was this something you had to consider carefully? i’d love to hear your thoughts.

    1. I was under the impression that the primary reason for starting a separate blog was that she wouldn’t be bound by Foodbuzz guidelines like she is on KERF so she can review whatever she wants, free baby products included.

      1. Gotcha, just genuine curiosity. Reviews geared towards mothers/this specific group of readers make sense. I originally wasn’t sure how you’d approach this since BERF seems to be more of an intimate diary than the other blog.

  18. Have you noticed that there have not been any new pregtastic podcasts in over a month? Do you think they have stopped now that Sunni is moving on to a different project? Any insight from the blogosphere?

  19. those products look so lovely and i have heard great things about the brand! LOVE delicious smelling and nice cosmetic products — i think they are a little luxury that truly do make life nicer!! however i have to say i didn’t (and still don’t) buy into the hype abut preventing stretch marks 🙂 i think it’s so much more about the type of skin you have + genetics! i was a lazy bum about doing anything to prevent them other than an occasional shea butter moisturizer (emphasis on ‘occasional’ . . .) and i can say that i ended up totally mark free in the end!! (YAY!)

  20. Hey Kath! I just started reading recently, per recommendation from a friend. I can’t find the ingredients for the products on the website- am I missing something?

  21. I’m commenting on this so far after the fact – I read it when you posted it, but I’m not much of a skin care product person (I use moisturizer with sunscreen and…regular soap; that’s about it) and was only mildly interested. Then this past weekend, I got an early Mother’s Day present from my mom (which is a totally weird and surreal experience, by the way). She didn’t give me Belli products, but Basq products (http://basqnyc.com)? Which are also all-natural, safe for preggos and babies, not tested on animals, etc. I don’t know how they compare (except they’re at least as pricey, if not more so!), but I have loved all four that she gave me: the Resilient Body Oil (stretch mark reducer/body moisturizer), Rebalancing Face Cleanser, Citrus Sugar Body Polish and Sweet Dreams Aromatherapy Oil. Maybe I’ll talk about those on my own blog soon – that would be fun!

  22. Most people use products that have so much crud in them, and pregnant or not, really shouldn’t. The alternatives can be expensive and turn people off from trying. You may be surprised to hear that a consultation with a nutritionist or Naturopath may be more beneficial that a trip to the dermatologists office. Great skin starts from within, so consider looking at how changing your diet will improve your skins appearance. You may be surprised with how little depends on what you put on your skin as opposed to what you put in your body. Good luck!

    1. As a dietitian who aims to eat real food, I definitely think you gotta start from within 🙂

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