On a dreary mid-winter day a few months ago, my good friend Deirdre came to the house and gave a presentation on a company called Beautycounter. Deirdre’s passion about the company – and its mission – really made me want to learn more, particularly in light of the fact of how apparently ZILCH I knew about the safety of the products I blithely sprayed, lathered and applied to my skin and hair – and that of my family’s.
Apparently, there is little to NO regulation of skincare and cosmetics, yet I had no clue about sifting through labels, warnings, jargon and buzzwords. Beautycounter is fiercely committed to upending this “cloak of mystery”, and I asked Deirdre to share with all of you what she presented to me and my guests:
When it came to cosmetics, I always thought I was making the right choices by buying “good brands”, and leaning towards “natural”. I thought I avoided what was bad, but I had never really stopped to focus on what that meant – and more importantly, what would bad products do to my family and me? Hurt my skin? Dry out my hair (part of me just didn’t want to know)? But once I found out I was horrified – and wanted to shout it from the rooftops.
Here are a few hard facts that might surprise you:
* A law has not been passed regulating the personal care and cosmetics industry since 1938, and it does not provide the FDA with the power to ask companies for safety data OR to issue a recall of cosmetics that are found to be unsafe.
* The European Union bans about 1,400 ingredients from personal care products that may be hazardous to human health. The U.S. has banned 11.
* Many of these ingredients have been linked to endocrine disruption, allergies, asthma, developmental disabilities, infertility and cancer. In the 1960’s 1 in 20 women were diagnosed with breast cancer. Now 1 in 7 are diagnosed.
* “Fragrance” can be a screen for many harmful ingredients – such as phthalates – as it’s considered a “trade secret” (so companies don’t have to disclose what is in it). Phthalates are what make plastics pliable (think vinyl shower curtains), and what make a fragrance last on your body or hair. Parabens are a class of preservative, and are found in many skincare and cosmetic products. Both phthalates and parabens have been linked to many serious health problems.
* Words such as “natural”, “botanical” and even “organic” are completely unregulated in personal care, so seeing them on packages means very little. In addition, natural isn’t always good (lead and arsenic are natural, for example). Conversely, chemicals are not always bad.
In founding Beautycounter, my friend Gregg Renfrew wanted to create the most stringent ingredient screen in the industry, so she tapped Mia Davis as our head of Health and Safety. Mia was one of the people who urged companies to remove BPA from baby bottles, and she is incredibly knowledgeable about the effects of many ingredients on our bodies.
Gregg also knew that if the products didn’t look beautiful, and perform with the best that you’d find at Sephora, demanding consumers (like me) wouldn’t want to use them. So she tapped Christy Coleman – a renowned makeup artist. Christy lost her father to ALS, and made the connection that his disease might have come from the pesticides he encountered daily on the family farm (there was no family history of cancer). Christy is committed to safety, yet she also needs products to work at the highest level. With Beautycounter she has created an amazing line of skincare and cosmetics.
Beautycounter is not necessarily a “natural” brand, since that means nothing. We are focused on long-term safety, and the mission of the company is to get safer products into the hands of everyone. If one of those products is organic coconut oil instead of a moisturizer loaded with parabens, we’re happy. We’re trying to create a movement, so that people can make more educated choices about what’s in their products and what certain ingredients could be doing to their bodies.
So what can you do? You can’t change everything all at once, but making small changes can add up. Look up your products on the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database and see how they score. Check out Beautycounter’s Never List to learn what we will never put in our products and why. Have a few friends over to learn more and experience some of the products – if you’re in the tri-state area I’d be happy to come to you (or can find someone close to you). Purchase products or ask questions on my website here or if you’re really moved by this, join us as a consultant. It’s a great business opportunity.
I have been using the “Countertime” products for almost 3 months and I am 100% THRILLED with how my skin looks and feels. If you’ve spent any time here you know how seriously I take my skincare – I want results that I can SEE. The fact that I can now also feel thoroughly comfortable with the products I’m applying is the icing on the cake.
Thanks so much, Deirdre!
UPDATE! Deirdre’s offering my readers this chic canvas pouch – perfect for your new safe beauty haul – for FREE with the purchase of $100 or more through her site by Noon on Monday, 7/27.