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Stretch your budget and buy something cheaper!
I was first attracted to Sanctuary Spa Mum To Be Stretch Mark Oil because I have used the Sanctuary Brand previously (and been very happy with the results) and also because the packaging states that the product is mid-wife approved and also free of chemicals like parabens and SLS.
The oil should be massaged into clean skin as often as possible, I used it morning and night (and a third time during the day too if I felt a little itchy!). As with most oils, you do get a greasy feeling afterwards which means it can be a little time before you can put your clothes on afterwards. The oily texture of the product does mean that a little goes a long way- I have only used one bottle of this oil throughout my pregnancy so in that way is represents good value for money.
In terms of effectiveness, my stomach was (and still is) lovely and moisturised however I have still developed the dreaded stretch marks around my belly button! I was really disappointed about this because I have religiously applied the oil, which is even more expensive than other well-known brands such as Bio-oil.
I should point out that the stretch marks are quite superficial so they may heal up quite well after I give birth but they are so red and angry that even the mid-wife commented that my stomach looked "pretty sore". I am not someone who is "prone" to stretch marks and I know that nothing can work miracles but my skin type (and the fact I haven't actually put on more than a stone during my pregnancy!) has led to this negative review.
At some times when my skin has felt particularly stretched and itchy I have resorted to applying body shop body butter to my bump instead which as far as I am concerned did a far better job of soothing the stretched skin and relieving that awful itchy feeling.
All in all, I would say that this oil has essentially been a very, very expensive moisturiser. It's plus points are that it is mid-wife approved and free of many chemicals however I doubt it's effectiveness as a preventer/reducer of stretch marks and I would advise consumers to either use an ordinary body moisturiser or an alternative product.
At the time of writing this review I am 28 weeks pregnant. My tummy is lovely and big but gets quite dry and sometimes feels itchy, which is apparently quite common. Because of this I have tried various lotions and oils designed for pregnant women. When perusing the shelves in Boots, I spotted this Sanctuary Mum to Be oil. I have used a lot of Sanctuary products in the past and have always really enjoyed them so I was drawn to this oil. However, I decided the price of £10 for a 150ml bottle was too expensive (I've never been one to spend much on myself) so opted for a cheaper alternative. A few weeks later I was visiting my Mum and, to my delight, she had treated me to a bottle of this oil. It was especially surprising as I hadn't mentioned it to her.
*Using the oil*
I used the oil that night and completely fell in love with it, instantly wishing I had bought it weeks previously so I could have been enjoying it all along. The oil smells lovely and the bottle states that it contains tamanu, borage and organic rosehip seed oils. There are many essential oils that can't be used during pregnancy. As this product has been specifically designed for pregnant women I felt reassured that it would be totally safe to use. The bottle also states that the product is midwife approved.
As I said, the oil has a wonderful scent. I was pleased to find that the scent lasts all day. I even had people comment on my 'gorgeous perfume' when in fact the only product I had used was this oil!
You don't need to use much oil to get full coverage of your bump; a little drop of it spreads a long way. It doesn't fully soak in straight away so I would recommend applying the oil 5 minutes before getting dressed. I found the oil instantly soothed my bump and stopped it feeling dry and itchy. This feeling lasts all day as well, not ust a couple of hours like the other cheaper products I have tried. I tend to apply the oil every morning and occasionally at night too, but the night time application is mainly because it feels and smells nice and not because my skin actually needs it. I have been using this oil for approximately 12 weeks and have used just over half a bottle.
This product claims to 'prevent and reduce the appearance of stretch marks'. I am always dubious of claims to stop stretch marks, especially since my midwife told me it is almost certainly down to genetics as to whether you get stretch marks.
With my son, born nearly 4 years ago, I tried various creams and lotions (but not this Sanctuary one) and still developed huge, angry red stretch marks from 15 weeks onwards. They did eventually fade to whitish silver in colour but I can't say I was looking forward to getting more with this pregnancy.
Now, I don't know if it's due to this oil or not, but I am now 28 weeks pregnant and, as yet, have not developed a single stretch mark. Of course, it's quite possible that my skin had already been stretched more than should be possible in my first pregnancy so this bump is growing into that, or it could be that I have found a miracle oil that actually does what it claims. I would be interested to hear from other people who have used this oil.
Either way, whether it stopped the stretch marks or not, it doesn't really matter to me. I didn't get the oil in the hope of preventing them, it's just an added bonus if it has. I would definitely recommend this Sanctuary oil to other pregnant women. It might seem like an expensive treat but it really is worth it.
THE SANCTUARY MUM TO BE OVERVIEW
The Sanctuary Mum-To-Be range uses natural ingredients and Essential Oils, specially designed for pregnant and post-pregnancy skin.
The Sanctuary blind tests each product on a panel of 60 women between 3-8 months of pregnancy and each product scored 8/10 or higher.
MUM TO BE STRETCH MARK OIL
The Stretch Mark Oil contains several essential oils to moisturise and soothe tight skin. It contains Tamanu Oil, a soothing and calming antioxidant to help prevent and reduce the appearance of stretch marks. It also has Borage oil and organic Rosehip Seed Oil, which retain skin suppleness, along with Wheat Germ Oil, Coconut and Sweet Almond oil to add moisture. Now that is a lot of oil in a little bottle!
It is about £10 for 150ml and does not last long if you apply is as liberally as I do! However, it is no more expensive that bio oil.
I had a trial size of this and so took it on holiday with me. It was quite greasy, as you would expect with all those essential oils, but it was easily absorbed into the skin. It is a slightly thicker consistency than bio oil but not nearly as thick as straight vitamin E oil. I have generally tended to use bio oil throughout the pregnancy and so I put my lack of stretch marks down to the bio oil rather than the mum-to-be oil. However, for two weeks I used nothing but the mum-to-be stretch mark oil and no stretch marks appeared.
It smells truly divine and the smell lasts all day. I put some on before going to see the midwife for a check up and when she was examining she commented on how nice I smelled! Bit weird but a good recommendation for the oil!
I would rate this product very highly indeed. On price it is more expensive than bio oil but it smells really really nice. I would definitely use it again.
Take extra special care of your stretched skin with this concentrated cocktail of super hydrating and smoothing oils / Laced with Tamanu Oil, a powerful soothing and calming antioxidant, it helps to prevent and reduce the appearance of stretch marks / Borage oil and organic Rosehip Seed Oil retain skin suppleness, whilst Wheat Germ Oil, Coconut and Sweet Almond deliver an intense moisture boost /