Isn’t it funny how a routine stop at the drugstore can provide a sense of escapism? You run in to restock your prenatals, grab some wipes, or snag that now-very-belated birthday card — and inevitably find yourself mere aisles away from all things beauty. Which is kismet, really, because your shampoo bottle has been upside-down for days. And, wait… what’s this? A new shade of your favorite lip balm? Yes! And look: Here’s that peptide cream everyone was raving about at book club. Two rows down sits the all-mighty Aquaphor — you can never have too much.
The drugstore is an underrated beauty oasis, its shelves stuffed with affordable, accessible products for every body part, skin type, and hair texture. And did you know that many of the big drugstore brands are famous for investing small fortunes into research and development? It’s true — they funnel significant money and manpower into ingredient exploration and clinical trials, to ensure their formulas are safe and up to snuff. Consequently, the quality of drugstore products is often on par with that of more high-end picks.
Indeed, there’s a feeling of promise in the beauty section of your local Walgreens or Rite Aid. On your next trip, be sure to browse these beloved pregnancy-safe products.
We at Romper only include products that have been independently selected by our editors. We may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.
The once basic wash has gone extra while staying true to its core values. Still affordable, ultra-mild, and suitable for every face in the family — equally adept at tackling baby’s zinc-based block, your little leaguer’s eye black, and whatever remains of your makeup come day’s end — the creamy cleanser has upgraded its ingredients to include niacinamide, panthenol, and glycerin to help fortify the skin’s protective barrier, making sensitive complexions less irritable over time. “I have combination skin and am prone to both hormonal acne — especially during pregnancy, OMG! — and cystic acne, so I need cleansers that are for sensitive skin types,” says Kaitlin Cubria, deputy editor at Elite Daily, whose derm introduced her to this one. Free of fragrance and parabens, the reimagined formula also strikes a chord with clean beauty connoisseurs. “I love [this product] because it’s a completely clean skin solution — a makeup remover that I can [use to] wash my face, eyes, body… and I don’t have to worry about my or my child’s endocrine system being harmed,” says Shari Siadat, founder of TooD Beauty.
The price tag may seem steep for a drugstore product, but the science backing the Regenerist line is truly valuable. Coming in second on the Ultra Rich ingredient list, niacinamide (vitamin B3) is the multitasking star of this cream, serving to smooth, soothe, protect, and strengthen skin while preventing water loss to improve hydration. The shea butter-based blend also includes a pentapeptide, or protein chain, shown in studies to ramp up collagen production — which makes this sumptuous formula a great substitute for the retinoid you responsibly shelved when you learned you were pregnant. “I have tried tons of fancy creams — and many of them are wonderful, but I come back to this again and again because it quenches and soothes my reactive skin and I know it’s packed with ingredients clinically proven to improve the skin barrier and plump everything up with moisture,” says Romper Editor-in-Chief Elizabeth Angell.
Best Lip Balm
We stash one of these in our every coat pocket — and seasons later, upon re-discovering our forgotten treasures, we always get a little thrill from squeezing any remnants from the crinkled tubes before we inevitably restock. The slick blend of fatty alcohols, castor seed oil, glycerin, panthenol, and shea butter “soothes and heals, keeping lips hydrated,” says celeb makeup artist Janice Kinjo — “and a little goes a long way.” It’s true — the sparest of swipes offers lasting comfort, whether worn alone as an overnight salve or under your lipstick as a smoothing base. With zero fragrance, flavor, or tint, the formula is no-frills in the very best way, giving it a familywide appeal. So don’t be surprised if your tubes turn up empty sooner than expected.
Best Body Lotion
If speed-showering were an Olympic sport, moms would win by a mile — no contest. But we all know the real race begins once we towel off and reach for the body lotion: How many parts can we tend to before the bathroom door knob starts jiggling? When there’s no time to fuss with oils and butters, this fast-absorbing, pump formula makes quick work of moisturizing. Packed with healing ceramides and amino acids — and free from fragrance and dyes — the medium-weight lotion delivers heavy-duty hydration, banishing ashiness and itchiness without turning limbs tacky, notes NYC plastic surgeon Dr. Umbareen Mahmood, so you can promptly dress and get on with your day.
Best Hand Cream
Anyone who’s ever drawn an oat bath to soothe baby’s rash or eczema — and later marveled at how incidentally soft the experience left their hands — can attest to the power of this lipid-rich grain. In this powerhouse cream, oat extract mingles with humectant glycerin and myriad skin conditioners to soothe and replenish cracked, weathered hands. The cream’s silky feel and neutral scent (it’s fragrance-free) ensure no worries when touching kiddos with freshly moisturized fingers. “It’s a forever go-to of mine, offering everything I want in a hand cream,” says Cubria. “It's moisturizing, but not sticky or greasy, and it leaves my skin feeling hydrated all day but never reliant on it, so if I skip reapplying after washing or don’t use it before bed, my hands don’t wind up dehydrated.”
From the all-nighters of infancy to the sleep struggles of toddlerhood, kids are a constant source of dark shadows. And while those inky circles often seem indelible, this under-eye concealer, which comes in 18 shades, is surprisingly true to its name — emphasis on eraser, without hyperbole. With a design that reminds us of a preschooler’s dot markers, the sponge-tipped applicator deposits the perfect dose of full-coverage, blendable color to blot out blue hues and make you look less zonked. Glycerin and dimethicone give just enough moisture and slip to keep the color from dragging across skin and settling into creases. “It really feels like using a magic eraser on your skin!” notes Romper managing editor April Daniels Hussar.
“I have a drawer full of mascaras and this is my No. 1,” says writer-artist-activist and Romper columnist (not to mention makeup enthusiast) Tabitha St. Bernard-Jacobs. “It’s the only one that lengthens my lashes and makes them fuller without flaking or pulling on my lashes.” Plus, she adds, at $5, “it’s so affordable.” Since the mascara went viral on TikTok early last year, influencers have racked up views by comparing it to wands with far bolder names and bigger price tags. For our nominators, the beeswax-based formula continues to come out on top, scoring points for producing unreal flutter without weighing down — or clumping up — lashes. While the effects are only temporary, it might just make you miss your (off-limits-during-pregnancy) Latisse a little bit less.
Best Body Wash
Unlike some natural soaps that sacrifice suds for green chemistry, this one yields a veritable bumper crop. In lieu of traditional detergents, a coconut-based surfactant generates loads of lather to gently dissolve grime. The probiotic lactobacillus dials down inflammation while rice bran and jojoba pump up skin’s moisture content. While the formula boasts various coconut-based compounds, it also contains a hint of fragrance to heighten the island aroma (just a little FYI, for anyone keeping an eye out for perfume in their products). “It really feels luxurious but clean, an incredible steal at this price point,” says Hussar.
Contains phthalate-free parfum*
*For a full explanation of any ingredients we've noted, click here.
Photographer: Graydon Herriott
Art Director: Shanelle Infante
Set Stylist: Amy Elise Wilson