I’ll begin by saying this: This isn’t my first rodeo. This isn’t a badge of honor that I wear or a claim to expertise on all that is pregnancy, labor, baby and motherhood. It is, however, simply the truth.

Currently pregnant with my fourth baby in four years, I’ve been here before. My skin and body will vouch for it — my skin has reacted completely differently with each of my pregnancies. With my first, I had that ever spoken-of glow we all imagine. With my second, I barely remember life in general, much less my skin. And with my third (a girl, I might add) I looked like a character from Tales From the Crypt.

So, it’s true what they say: every pregnancy is different. And thus, the effects of every pregnancy are different as well. But one thing is for certain, whether glow or grit, if you’re pregnant, then your skin will tell your story.

This time around, the story my skin was telling was that this Momma was TIRED. Gone was the glow of my first pregnancy and in its place were some well-earned dark circles, a bit of hormonal acne and just an overall appearance of dullness only partially masked by well-placed highlighting cream and bronzer. It wasn’t the skin of a 30-year-old and it wasn’t the skin I was accustomed to seeing in the mirror. Ever the believer in the French philosophy that your best make up is a good skincare routine, I knew mine needed an upgrade.

When Amareta, a new skincare brand developed specifically for pre and postnatal women, approached me and asked if I would be willing to try their new line, I was more than happy to do so. On one condition: I was given the freedom to be brutally honest in my review. (Because let’s be real, the last thing we mamas need is another gimmick. What we NEED are results. Who has time for anything else?)

Like any good mother — scratch that, like any modern day woman in general would do — I did my research on Amareta prior to choosing my products. Without being an expert I knew that the skin is the body’s largest organ. Whatever we choose to place on it gets topically absorbed directly into the bloodstream and, in turn, goes directly to baby. I wanted to make sure that what Amareta was marketing was not only “safe” in the general sense for me, but completely safe in the ultimate sense for my baby.

In the hope of sounding as “non-sponsoredly” as I can, what I found is that Amareta places your skin’s health at its top priority. CHECK! This means that they exclude from all of their formulas potentially harmful fragrances, colorants, preservatives, mineral oils, chemicals and even certain essential oils. CHECK! CHECK! And to boot, not only is their packaging beautiful, it is entirely BPA-free as well. CHECK! CHECK! CHECK!

(You know how we moms love our BPA-free.)

But now for the real test; does it actually work?

With only nine products in their arsenal, I went with what I felt was right for my personal skin care needs. I chose:

* Moon Light Brightening Gel Cleanser
* Fresh Dew Serum Lotion
* Skin Lullaby Ultra Moisturizing Cream
* Grow Together Nourishing Belly Oil
* Natural Flush All Over Color

When it came to the cleanser, the serum lotion and the cream, the felt effects were almost immediate. It was as if my skin was literally drinking each of them in. However, over the course of the next few weeks I began to not only feel the effects on my skin, but see them as well. Slowly but surely my skin actually began to look nourished, fresh and awake in a way that it hadn’t in a long time.

Yet, in my opinion, the real ace in the deck is the Grow Together Nourishing Belly Oil. In my first two pregnancies, I thought I got off scott free and sans stretch marks, but in my third go around those tiger stripes finally made themselves known. Though minor in comparison, they were still enough to make me a bit self-conscious and were certainly enough to make me hope for zero more.

I began using the belly oil in the fifth month of this pregnancy, the month that historically I’ve gained my most weight, and I’m happy to report that I not only haven’t acquired any new stretch marks but the oil has aided in diminishing the appearance of the ones that were currently there.

Whether glow or grit, if you’re pregnant, then your skin will tell your story

If there was one area that Amareta could stand to grow, it would be in the fact that they lack an eye cream in their line; one product that I feel all women, regardless of their stage in life, need to incorporate into their skincare regiment. Perhaps they are in the process of developing one but as it stands now, that’s the one area I feel they come up short.

Though I still have a few more weeks to go in pregnancy, I look forward to continuing this routine with Amareta for the remainder and beyond. Because every mother knows that, contrary to science, pregnancies are actually four trimesters long. You have the three normal trimesters and then the dreaded beast that is known as the Post-Natal Trimester where, once again, hormonally everything goes haywire.

I will tell you this, while on the road to feeling like “me” again, I will absolutely be putting the Flush All Over Color to solid, daily, use. And hopefully Amareta will continue to be as helpful then as it has been now.

Amareta founders Claire Zhoa and Jen White believe that powerful women are born from powerful self-care rituals; a belief that I, along with Darling, too share. Caring for others — whether your baby, your spouse or your friend — always starts with caring for yourself.

**Amareta would love to offer Darling readers a 20% discount effective now until 12/31/2017. Enter DARLING20 at checkout to gift yourself or a mama friend with a little extra glow! (Limit to one use per customer tracked by email.)

Feature Image via Alex Lianopoulos; Product Images via Amareta


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