Whether you’re in the throes of your third trimester or feeling your way through the myriad firsts of infancy, chances are there aren’t too many spa days on your calendar right now. The irony is, of course, that you’ve probably never needed one more. Just imagine: a muscle-melting rubdown to silence your screaming back; an aromatherapy scalp massage to bliss out your buzzing brain; or maybe a marine-inspired foot soak, just because.
While a DIY spa situation may not seem immediately appealing — is a clean tub a prereq for a milk bath? — it does have its advantages. Think: no awkward naked moments or obligatory small talk… and, um… well, that’s all we can really come up with, because in truth, legit spa days are pretty awesome. But if it’s not in the cards right now, we get it — and we’ve got you.
The in-the-know women on our product-nominating committee shared with us some winning ways to recreate all the ritual and relaxation of a proper spa day in the comfort of your own home — and without a lot of fuss. So light a candle, cue up some Enya, and revel in the mind-body benefits.
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Best Soothing Facial Tool
Is it just us or are modern-day humans incapable of watching TV without a device in their hands? If you are one of the guilty ones, try this: Next time you’re zoning out to Netflix’s latest docuseries, put down your phone and pick up this neat little gizmo instead. “This is the best tool that I used pre- and post-pregnancy,” says Aya Kanai, head of editorial and creative for Google Shopping. Simply uncork the leakproof top, fill it with warm or hot water, and massage the nubby base over your scalp, neck, or anywhere you please, to simulate a hot-stone massage at home. “The warmth really makes a difference — and I feel instantly relaxed when I use it,” Kanai adds.
Best Bath Product
Queen Cleopatra was perhaps the most famous proponent of milk baths. (She also had four children — who knew? — making her bath habit all the more relatable.) While the ancient ruler reportedly preferred soaking in sour milk for its naturally occurring lactic acid, which aids in hydration and exfoliation, we’re pretty sure she’d approve of this ultra-extravagant version, featuring milk protein, Japanese camellia oil, and oat extract. Romper contributor and beauty know-it-all Carly Cardellino channeled the royal while pregnant, milk-bathing on the regular, always with Elemis. “It was honestly the most luxurious-feeling bath, and when you’re pregnant, that’s exactly what you need — to feel pampered,” she says.
Best Hair Ritual
Beauty rituals can be grounding and meditative — but certain ones, we’ve found, can breed more stress than they relieve, requiring untold products and time we just don’t have. Bucking that trend, this gorgeous rose oil — the brainchild of hairstylist and cosmetic formulator Sabrina Rowe (the “Sabs” behind this Black- and female-owned brand) — makes no such demands. A medley of natural oils (argan, jojoba, grape seed, and rose) plus vitamin E, the vegan elixir can be applied to skin, hair, scalp, and even beards. And while it was made with textured tresses in mind, it promises to impart softness and shine to any hair type. One or two drops, raked through damp or dry strands, “will moisturize your hair endlessly,” says makeup artist Janice Kinjo.
Best Body Tool
When influencers are influenced by other influencers, how can we not be similarly, well, influenced? Beauty editor Janell M. Hickman-Kirby turned us on to this curvy pine paddle after being “100% influenced by Carly Cardellino to give it a spin,” she says. And now, she swears she “couldn’t be more obsessed” with the tool and its impressive ability “to keep bloating at bay.” Designed to make DIY lymphatic drainage massage easier and more enjoyable than, say, the scratchy dry brush that Gwyneth Paltrow promotes, the tool, when glided over limbs using prescribed strokes, moves stagnant fluid out of the lymphatic channels to rev up circulation and maybe even blur the appearance of cellulite dimples a bit. The brand provides a step-by-step guide to make the process crystal clear, but also suggests talking to your doc before trying it in pregnancy. Assuming you get the green light, adds Hickman-Kirby, “it’s a lovely self-care treat.”
Best All-Over Cream Spray
Minimalism is a boon in pregnancy — and this cheeky, does-it-all mist clearly understood the assignment. Regarded by beauty insiders to be the ultimate skincare multihyphenate, this milky spray is a 3-in-1 toner-serum-moisturizer made to hydrate and refresh the face, body, and hair with its microbiome-friendly combination of fermented birch sap, mineral-rich water, olive leaf extract, squalane, and antioxidants. “It’s so, so gentle on the skin,” Cardellino notes, and it somehow stays dewy for hours after application — “and you want dewy when you’re pregnant, since skin tends to get super dry and dull.” Hickman-Kirby appreciates how it performs in a pinch: “If I need to look presentable quickly,” she says, “I’ll spritz this on and swipe on a lip — then I’m good to go.”
*For a full explanation of any ingredients we’ve noted, click here.
Photographer: Graydon Herriott
Art Director: Shanelle Infante
Set Stylist: Amy Elise Wilson