Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Beautycounter: My Search For Non-Toxic Makeup


Let's talk makeup.  Women wear it everyday.  Pregnant moms wear it everyday.  Teens (and even preteens) start wearing it at a younger age.   It is part of almost every woman's daily routine.   In fact, it is estimated that the average woman uses an average of 13 beauty products, including makeup, every single day.  

But did you know that cosmetic companies do not have to disclose the ingredients they are using in their products?  Furthermore, they don't even have to test the ingredients they use in their products for safety.  

Even worse?  The European Union has banned over 1,300 chemicals from beauty products, while the US has only banned 11.

So when we use makeup, or when we allow our daughters to use makeup we are, essentially, guinea pigs because  no one has ever tested most of these ingredients we are putting on our largest organ, our skin.  Think about it: 
  • You might be using hundreds of untested chemicals on your face and body every single day for decades.  
  • Your skin is absorbing hundreds of untested chemicals every single day for decades.  
  • If you are pregnant?  Your unborn baby is absorbing hundreds of untested chemicals every single day for its first 40 weeks of development.
Some more bad news?  Some of the most common chemicals used in cosmetics have been tested and can be really bad for you.  According to EWG  some common ones you should avoid: 
  • Formaldehyde releasers: Some cosmetics chemicals are designed to react with water in the bottle to generate formaldehyde, to keep the product from growing mold and bacteria.  But formaldehyde is a potent allergen and carcinogenic. This can be found in: shampoos, conditioners, bubble bath and other personal care products—even those intended for children. 
  • Parabens: Parabens are used as preservatives in some cosmetic products and can act as estrogens and disrupt hormone signaling.  They have been linked to impaired fertility, cancer. 
  • Retinyl palmitate and retinoic acid: Retinoic acid is used in anti-aging skin creams. Retinyl palmitate, a related chemical, is added to roughly one-quarter of the sunscreens.   These chemicals speed the development of cancerous lesions on sun-exposed skin.
  • Phthalates: Commonly found in anything that contains synthetic fragrance, scientific studies link phthalate exposure to reproductive abnormalities in baby boys, reduced testosterone and sperm quality in men and early puberty in girls.
  • Heavy Metals: Including cadmium, lead and mercury can build up in our bodies and lead to lower IQ, heart, kidney and lung damage and cancer.  They can contaminate ingredients that are used to color cosmetics (common in lipstick, blush, eyeshadow etc

In spite of this, women are really faithful to their makeup brands and resist making changes to safer, less toxic makeup.  I was one of these woman, until recently.  The main reason I resisted switching my cosmetics?  Mainly because the more 'natural' cosmetic brands just weren’t good.  The colors were funky, the makeup didn’t last, the foundation made me shiny or just felt very heavy.  

Until now.   In the last two years some really good non-toxic makeup brands (Ava Anderson and Beautycounter among many others) have emerged.   Even more exciting news?  In the next year two large companies- The Honest Company and Gwenyth Paltrow's Goop are planning on launching their own non-toxic makeup lines.

Finally,  good options really do exist for switching out our dubious and sometimes toxic chemical makeup for safer options.

Today, I am going to review some of my favorite Beautycounter Products.  These are products I have purchased on my own and products I use in my daily or weekly routine.

Why I like these products:
  1. The ones I have tried work well
  2. Beauty Counter does not use any of the 1,300 banned chemicals in EU  nor does it use an additional 200 chemicals it deems unsafe.  In total they have over 1,500 chemicals on their Never List 
  3. Beautycounter discloses the ingredients in all of their products.  Most mainstream cosmetic companies do not do this (most cite “trade secrets”  as the reason why they keep their formulations secret)..... but I like to know exactly what I am putting on my body and am suspect of any company that won’t tell me:  what are they hiding?
The catch?  You can’t buy these products at a store.   It is part of the company’s core to empower women (“consultants”) to create a business selling their products.... this is great, but if we are being honest about it,   I do like to go to the store and buy my cosmetics.   This might be your (it was mine!)  main hurdle in buying these products.  The good news is that once you find the products you like it’s really easy to go online and not have to go to the store.   Beautycounter has consultants all over the country, constantly hosting events - you can always find a local consultant  and attend an event where you can try all their products first.  In  Los Angeles I have purchased from Mimi MacLean, in Texas  you can contact Janice Ezell  

If you are looking to make a switch to safer non-toxic makeup - these products are a great start!


What I love about it:  it gives me very light coverage for daily use with SPF protection.   It also moisturizes  (I have dry skin) and leaves your skin somewhat, well, dew-y - but in a good way.  I use this every morning because of the SPF and light coverage.

Safe Because: We use non-nano zinc oxide as our mineral sunblocker. We avoid chemical sunscreens, which may be linked to hormone disruption, and nanoparticles, which are extremely small, understudied particles.”

What it is not: It is not a full coverage foundation. I wouldn’t use this at night to go out.

What I love about it:  It is no wonder this is one of their best sellers. I love the fact that it gives you a perfect, almost sun kissed, color,  I use this daily: for both casual and formal events. 

Safe Because:   No detectable levels of heavy metals like lead, cadmium or mercury, commonly found in cosmetics that use color.

What it is not:  It probably isn’t the right color for all skin tones.   Never fear: Beautycounter has you covered with 3 other blush duos and 2 bronzer tones

What I love about it:  The colors in all of their eyeshadow’s are pretty neutral and  perfect for daily use (and younger clients).  

Safe Because:  No detectable levels of heavy metals like lead, cadmium or mercury, commonly found in cosmetics that use color.

What it is not:  I don’t feel the color stays on all day.  Personally, for nighttime, I prefer bolder colors.

What I love about it:  more than anything else, I love knowing I am not putting toxic chemicals, like lead, on my mouth.   Many mainstream lipsticks still contain lead as an ingredient - can you imagine putting lead on your mouth every single day?  I also love the color of this gloss.... very natural.  If you are going to switch to one non-toxic product I would switch my lipstick or lipgloss (especially if it is something you use everyday!) because of how easy it is to ingest. 

Safe Because: Some lip glosses are made with butylated hydroxytoluene, or BHT, a toluene-based preservative and fragrance ingredient that is linked to cancer and organ toxicity.”  This one is not

What it is not:  IT is not bold in color, but I don’t wear bold lip colors.   They do have darker colors like Raisin, Plum and Scarlet and Sienna lip gloss which I have not tried.  

What I love about it:  I use this night cream on and off (I like to use coconut oil on my face and body too).  I like it.  It is not too heavy, and thus does not leave your skin feeling oily or dirty like some heavy creams do.

According to Beautycounter, “100% OF WOMEN SHOWED A SIGNIFICANT INCREASE IN SKIN HYDRATION AND 81% OF WOMEN SHOWED A SIGNIFICANT IMPROVEMENT IN SKIN ELASTICITY AFTER 8 HOURS.*”

Safe Because: “Restorative Night Cream is formulated without butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), a toxic ingredient commonly found in anti-aging products, that is linked to cancer. BHT is a toluene-based ingredient that is used in everything from nail polish to paint thinner”

What it is not:  It is not a heavy face cream.  



What I love about it:   Another of their best sellers, I recently became obsessed with this oil.  My mother actually purchased it and I tried it over the summer.... I can’t tell you how silky smooth it glides on (yet it doesn’t leave you feeling oily) and the smell is a-mazing.   I normally just use coconut oil, but this made me feel I was leaving a spa after using it.  If you like products that smell nice and want to feel like you are leaving a luxury spa, try this body oil

Safe Because: Usually I warn against beauty products that contain fragrance,  This product is a great example of how pure essential oils (instead of synthetic fragrance) can offer amazing smelling and safe fragrance.   

What it is not:   At $68 it is not cheap - but it is cheaper than visiting a spa! 



What I love about it:  Great body wash for kiddos that does not over dry sensitive skin.  I am very careful about what I slather on my children’s developing bodies and this is a safe, efficient, non-toxic wash

Safe Because:  uses mild cleansing agents and essential oils instead of harsh surfactants such as SLS or SLES and synthetic fragrance (all on Beautycounter's Never List). Unlike many kids' bath products, (this one) does not contain any ingredients that have been linked to health harm. 

What it is not:  It is not particularly inexpensive ($16) however, because it is not a body wash and shampoo it could last you longer than other less expensive options.  ( for my boys I usually prefer a 2 in 1 shampoo/wash but I know many people - especially older girls with longer hair- prefer separate wash and shampoo!) 

*Disclaimer: I did not receive any products from Beautycounter to write this review.  The products I listed were purchased by me in the past and are used in my daily or weekly routine. The links I have included for the products in this review link back to Beautycounter consultant, Janice Ezell who is an acquaintance of mine. 


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