Finding the best pregnancy stretch mark oil or cream is like a rite of passage during your baby-growing journey. The search starts pretty much the moment you find out you're pregnant, even though your belly won't really start “stretching" for several more weeks. That soothing little rub each day reminds you of the crazy amazingness happening inside you, even if you can't quite see it yet.
So where the f do you start? Here. We picked some of favorite natural options and sent them to some of our favorite pregnant New Yorkers. For variety, we picked one lady in each trimester. We asked for the good, the bad and the ugly. And we told them not to stop rubbing till they found a winner. Below, find out how they rated some of the top pregnancy stretch mark oils in the market. Not an oil girl? We've got a pregnancy stretch mark cream showdown coming in a few weeks!
Notes on judging: All oils were tested for the following attributes: Packaging, Scent, Feel, Absorbency and Effectiveness. Products were judged 1-5, so 15 was the max score in any category.
Nine Naturals Natural Belly Oil, $36
Pros: “I love the Nine Naturals brand and all the great content they offer to educate pregnant and new moms."
“Fastest drying of all the oils."
“I love the packaging and it's easy to travel with!"
“The product itself is awesome: silky, smooth, and relatively absorbent for an oil."
Cons: “Lack of any discernible smell made it feel like I was rubbing cooking oil on me (boring)."
Cliff Notes: Nine Naturals rated high for packaging (14) and absorbency (12). But it was the overall low-scorer for scent (5).
Total Score: 52
Weleda Stretch Mark Massage Oil, $25.50
Pros: “From the moment I opened it, I fell in love with its aromatic smell."
“The light citrusy scent not only wasn't offensive during my months of morning sickness, but actually quelled my nausea!"
“It relieved my itchy skin!"
“I love the all natural ingredients and the silky smooth feel."
Cons: “The heavy glass bottle is impractical when my hands have oil on them!"
Cliff Notes: Weleda outperformed in the scent category (14), effectiveness (14) and feel (13). But our panelists thought the packaging could use a serious upgrade (8).
Total Score: 59
Earth Mama Angel Baby Natural Stretch Oil, $14.99
Pros: “This has an intoxicatingly sweet smell that reminds me of Spring."
“This is a brand that friends rave about--I've already earmarked their nipple butter for those early days of breastfeeding."
“Overall, it does it's job and is recommended for those who love stronger scents."
Cons: “I found the packaging slightly juvenile."
Cliff Notes: Our moms-to-be thought that Earth Mama Angel Baby's feel was its strongest quality (10), but they didn't love the packaging (7) or the scent (8).
Total Score: 43
Zoe Organics Belly Oil, $20
Pros: “Zoe's lavender undertone is amazing and therapeutic, my favorite feature of the product."
“The fun, modern packaging and branding for Zoe Organics makes it super accessible."
“The super safe and natural ingredients had me slathering it all over--from my belly to my boobs and on my dry, cracked feet!"
Cons: “This was the heaviest feeling/greasiest of all. It took too long to dry/absorb."
Cliff Notes: Zoe Organics impressed our testers with the product's feel (12) and had a strong score for effectiveness (10). Packaging (8) and absorbency (8) were less impressive.
Total Score: 47
Soapwalla Resilience Pregnant Belly Oil, $30
Pros: “I like the addition of arnica, the oil smells herbaceous and delightful."
“I love that this brand refers to themselves as the Soapwalla Kitchen. The ingredients really do make it safe enough to eat (and give me peace of mind when applying so close to my baby)."
“The flowery/lavender scent was relaxing, and I enjoyed applying this before bed.
Cons: “It was too thin/watery, which made it difficult to apply without spilling."
Cliff Notes: Soapwalla's scent made a lasting impression on all three ladies (13), and it scored well for packaging (10) and feel (10). But our testers found it lacking in absorbency (8).
Total Score: 50
And our Best Pregnancy Belly Oil Winner is.... Weleda Stretch Mark Massage Oil!
Photography and illustration by Evan Gubernick of 485 Creative.