If there’s one thing you think about during pregnancy almost as much as your baby, it’s your skin: How it’s changing, how it’s stretching, how it’s kind of, well, freaking out. Not to mention the overwhelming amount of info out there around just how dangerous so many of the ingredients in your skincare products are for you and your baby. No wonder you don’t have time to get that nursery in order! Tara Foley’s got you covered. As founder and CEO of healthy skincare retailer Follain, Tara stocks her four stores and online shop with a curated selection of skin, hair and cosmetic products that are safe (non-toxic), eco-friendly, high-performance, luxe, and U.S.-made, including a recently launched house label. And now that she’s expecting her first baby in June, she’s seeing the world from your (pregnant) point of view. We recently caught up with Tara at one of her Boston shops, and got her to dish on breakouts (yes, hers!), balance, and why you might want to revisit your beauty bag before that baby arrives. How has your own skin changed during pregnancy? Luckily, I didn't need to worry about the safety of my skincare products when I became pregnant! But unfortunately, my skin--which I usually understand and know how to control--has thrown me many curve balls over the past six-plus months. Early in the first trimester, my skin started breaking out for the first time in years. Imagine how I felt about this, as an owner of a skincare business! I broke out along my chin and neck area (where hormones stand out most on the skin), and had to completely change my skincare focus for the first time in years. I multi-masked, spot-treated, and used balancing face oils rather than the super-moisturizing oils in my normal routine. Luckily, I was able to heal and regulate my skin fairly quickly. I feel grateful to have experienced this firsthand--and to be able to share my experience with customers and friends. Any other skincare issues you’ve had to deal with? My skin evened out in my second trimester, but the third trimester has greeted me with the driest skin and scalp I've ever had (to the point of having dry patches and itchiness) and I'm back to getting the occasional breakout again. Now I only use milk cleansers, hydrating toners, and much heavier oils to moisturize my face -- plus heavier oils and scrubs for my body (which is stretching more by the minute)! Balancing a baby and biz isn’t easy! What’s your wellness routine been like during pregnancy? Before starting my business, exercise and meditation were not optional for me--I made to sure to include these practices daily. That dropped off for a while when I launched Follain in 2013, but during pregnancy exercise and meditation have become priorities again--and that feels great! Spin classes and prenatal yoga have become my go-to's. My stress levels have been pretty nuts during pregnancy, as I've been strategizing the next steps for my business and personal life. Increased exercise and meditation has helped me control these stress levels, too. Ultimately, the biggest change to my wellness routine during pregnancy has been sleep; I'm getting way more sleep than I ever had before! The moment I became pregnant, I began feeling dysfunctional when I didn't get eight hours of sleep. This has been a huge change for me, as I was able to function on much less sleep before. The combination of exercise, meditation and sleep has made me feel great...and also feel that this pregnancy thing isn't so bad, after all! Have you noticed other pregnancy symptoms affecting your skin? Unfortunately my diet changed for the worse during pregnancy, and I believe that these diet changes are taking the biggest toll on my skin. My first and third trimesters have left me seriously craving starchier, fattier foods that don't provide tons of nutritional density. I went from being a big leafy greens and colorful veggies gal, to craving bread, dairy, potatoes, and other foods that I rarely ever ate before pregnancy. Thoughtful beauty product choices, stress maintenance, sleep, exercise, and nutrition are all extremely important, to maintain glowing, healthy skin. When one or more of these aspects is lacking, things are thrown out of balance. Hormonal changes--in addition to my diet changes--are what take a toll on my skin. Luckily things aren't getting too bad, though! Why is it so important to reexamine your healthcare regimen during pregnancy? Pregnancy is such a special, unique, and crazy time--in every way. I still can't believe--and have to remind myself daily--that I'm growing and nurturing another human being! While there are tons of things to think about (cleaning products to car seats), skincare should really be top of mind during pregnancy. Here's why:


  1. Health and safety. There's little-to-no regulation of the beauty industry in the U.S. Unfortunately this means that everything from drugstore brands to department store brands usually contain some level of toxic ingredients. These ingredients are absorbed through our skin (our largest organ!) into our bloodstream, and can be helpful or harmful to us--and to the babies growing and developing inside of us! Because toxic beauty ingredients have been connected with everything from birth defects to uterine contractions (and many things between), it's incredibly important to know our skincare ingredients. Of course, Follain believes that it's important to use safe skincare all the time--not just during pregnancy--but this is an especially important time.
  2. Self-care. With all the decisions, pending life and career changes it brings, pregnancy can sometimes be a stressful time. It also happens to be the time we need to be most careful about maintaining our calm, and emotional well-being. Kind of difficult to manage, if you ask me! The nice part is that many healthy skincare products can be used to help maintain that calm. Taking time for yourself with a bath soak and mask, or including aromatherapeutic body oils into your daily routine, can make a world of difference in your outlook and well-being. Taking a deep breath and appreciating the nutritional, functional, and aromatherapeutic properties of plant-derived skincare products can sometimes be the part of the product experience! I take a deep breath every time I apply my face oil now, and I'm convinced it makes the product (and me!) work better.
  3. Skin maintenance. There's no getting around skin changes during pregnancy. Some women will break out in acne, some will get seriously dry skin, and others (like me) will experience both. Finding the "right" skincare products for your unique pregnancy skin can sometimes be tough, but it's well worth it. Believe me, your skin doesn't want to break out or get super dry. These break outs are cries for help. Angry pregnancy skin needs to be maintained and regulated, to prevent scarring, cracking, and fine line development. Given that our faces are what we present to the world--and our skin protects us in more ways than one--it's important to maintain it during pregnancy and beyond!
  4. Confidence and self expression. As our bodies change during pregnancy, sometimes a little (non-toxic) makeup can boost morale more than usual. As I grow bigger every day in this third trimester, I've found myself wearing more lip and eye color than ever before. At this point, I'll take anything that makes me feel sexier and more confident, and I'm happy to be able to rest easy knowing that the products I've added in--and begun wearing all day--are safe for me and the baby.
Photography by Cambria Grace for Well Rounded NY.


When I was expecting my first child, I wanted to know everything that could possibly be in store for his first year.

I quizzed my own mom and the friends who ventured into motherhood before I did. I absorbed parenting books and articles like a sponge. I signed up for classes on childbirth, breastfeeding and even baby-led weaning. My philosophy? The more I knew, the better.

Yet, despite my best efforts, I didn't know it all. Not by a long shot. Instead, my firstborn, my husband and I had to figure it out together—day by day, challenge by challenge, triumph by triumph.


The funny thing is that although I wanted to know it all, the surprises—those moments that were unique to us—were what made that first year so beautiful.

Of course, my research provided a helpful outline as I graduated from never having changed a diaper to conquering the newborn haze, my return to work, the milestones and the challenges. But while I did need much of that tactical knowledge, I also learned the value of following my baby's lead and trusting my gut.

I realized the importance of advice from fellow mamas, too. I vividly remember a conversation with a friend who had her first child shortly before I welcomed mine. My friend, who had already returned to work after maternity leave, encouraged me to be patient when introducing a bottle and to help my son get comfortable with taking that bottle from someone else.

Yes, from a logistical standpoint, that's great advice for any working mama. But I also took an incredibly important point from this conversation: This was less about the act of bottle-feeding itself, and more about what it represented for my peace of mind when I was away from my son.

This fellow mama encouraged me to honor my emotions and give myself permission to do what was best for my family—and that really set the tone for my whole approach to parenting. Because honestly, that was just the first of many big transitions during that first year, and each of them came with their own set of mixed emotions.

I felt proud and also strangely nostalgic as my baby seamlessly graduated to a sippy bottle.

I felt my baby's teething pain along with him and also felt confident that we could get through it with the right tools.

I felt relieved as my baby learned to self-soothe by finding his own pacifier and also sad to realize how quickly he was becoming his own person.

As I look back on everything now, some four years and two more kids later, I can't remember the exact day my son crawled, the project I tackled on my first day back at work, or even what his first word was. (It's written somewhere in a baby book!)

But I do remember how I felt with each milestone: the joy, the overwhelming love, the anxiety, the exhaustion and the sense of wonder. That truly was the greatest gift of the first year… and nothing could have prepared me for all those feelings.

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Our Partners

My husband and I always talked about starting a family a few years after we were married so we could truly enjoy the “newlywed” phase. But that was over before it started. I was pregnant on our wedding day. Surprise!

Keep reading Show less