Natural, paraben-free, toxin-free, gluten-free, formaldehyde-free… the beauty industry is changing and consumers are getting smarter.
I sat down with Director/Independent Consultant at Beautycounter, Charlotte Magee, to understand more about the importance of being mindful of our makeup.
I think there is a false sense of security that “someone” is looking out for us. But because of the lack of regulation in the industry, there are hundreds of harmful ingredients that are legally used in the common products we use every day, many of them undisclosed.
This is not a women’s issue – it’s something that affects men, women and children through shampoos, body washes, sunscreens, and lotions. It’s important to educate yourself about ingredients you should avoid, but companies don’t make it easy. It can be confusing.
The Environmental Working Group, a non-profit research and education organization, has a great resource called EWG.org/SkinDeep – you can look up the products you are currently using to see their safety rating from 1-10. The higher the number, the more harmful a product is considered based on available data and research. All Beautycounter products score low on this scale, and we disclose every single ingredient in our products.
Beautycounter is also a Founding Member of “EWG Verified”, a new program that helps consumers identify safer products in the marketplace through a seal printed directly on the product package.
Beautycounter has two important pillars: performance and safety. As a lover of beautiful, luxurious and high-performing products, our CEO/Founder, Gregg Renfrew, simply didn’t feel that consumers should have to compromise one for the other.
Our Head of Innovation, Christy Coleman, develops each product to the high standards she has set for herself in her work as a top makeup artist – if it doesn’t perform, Beautycounter doesn’t launch it. On the safety side, we believe there is no other company going to the lengths we are going to screen ingredients to ensure none are linked to human health harm.
Beautycounter intentionally bans 1,500 ingredients from our products – that includes the 1,400 currently banned in the EU, plus an additional hundred or so that our Head of Health and Safety, Mia Davis, felt were unsafe for human application. This is a dynamic list which is consistently under review as new research becomes available.
One of the key culprits is fragrance: because it is considered a “trade secret”, companies are not required to disclose the ingredients that make up a fragrance, and it can contain many synthetic chemicals known to be endocrine (hormone) disruptors. Another issue is undisclosed and harmful preservatives, like formaldehyde and parabens.
I think there is great power in numbers. Social media has made it easier to leverage enormous groups of people to affect change. We’ve seen it in the food industry, and now we are beginning to see it in the personal care industry through the work that companies like Beautycounter is doing. Beautycounter is committed to taking this mission all the way to Washington.
When Gregg Renfrew envisioned this company, she purposely created a “direct retail” model, primarily led by a network of independent consultants (of which I am proud to be one!) We all have different backgrounds – some of us (like me) former corporate people, others from the health/wellness industries, nursing, or stay-at-home moms – and many of us have never done anything like this before. But what we all have in common is that we want to make a positive impact, we want to create massive change in this industry, to protect the people we care about and future generations.
As consumers, we can vote with our dollars by choosing responsibly made products for our families. As a Beautycounter Consultant, I take the company’s mission of getting safe products into the hands of everyone very seriously. I love educating people and spreading awareness of the issues in the marketplace, but also providing a solution through our high-quality products.
Joining Beautycounter as a Consultant is an exciting business opportunity, especially since the company is only three years old and recently launched into our first international market, Canada. There is so much potential to work hard and grow a successful business. But when a new Consultant wants to join my team, I always make sure that they share the enthusiasm for Beautycounter’s mission. People can hear the passion in my voice when I talk about Beautycounter – I never feel like I am “selling”.
With Beautycounter, performance is paramount. In our Countertime collection, for example, our product development team uses many active botanical ingredients, like fruit acids, flower and marine extracts, to achieve performance without the use of potentially harmful ingredients like retinol or retinyl palmitate. Over 80% of our ingredients are organic, natural or plant-derived. The others are synthetic – the company is not marketing itself as “natural” – but that doesn’t mean they are unsafe.
My favorites are constantly shifting! Besides using the Countertime “aging gracefully” collection, I’m a huge fan of our Lustro Face Oils – they are so “clean” and fast-absorbing, and smell amazing…I love using the Countertime Cleansing Balm as an overnight super-hydrating mask…and the Tint Skin foundation is by far the most amazing makeup product I’ve ever used – when applied with the Retractable Brush it gives a light, sheer evenness to your skin tone, and is buildable so you can control your level of coverage. The Color Pinch Cream Blusher in Hibiscus is another favorite – I don’t leave my house without it! I’m looking forward to the launch of Beautycounter’s mascara this month – it’s a product my customers have been asking for.
As an independent Consultant, I have my own e-commerce website: beautycounter.com/charlottemagee. Gregg knew the story of safe ingredients was best-told person to person, which is why she decided to structure Beautycounter as a direct retail company, driven mainly by a growing team of Consultants. The brand is not available in stores.*