October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month—and while we can’t prevent all breast cancer, we can reduce our exposure to chemicals that are linked to the disease. As clean beauty advocates, we believe we can all play an active role in our own health by steering clear of toxic ingredients—and that includes making health-conscious adjustments to our everyday beauty routines.
That’s why in addition to our in-house team of scientists, we surround ourselves with leading doctors, researchers, and organizations who help guide and inform us about ingredient safety as we strive to make the beauty industry a safer place.
Read on for actionable advice from top researchers, members of our Science Advisory Council, and the President and CEO of the trusted non-profit, Breast Cancer Prevention Partners (BCPP), an organization spreading the word about prevention. Their tips for avoiding hormone-disrupting chemicals highlight easy steps we can all take to live safer lives.
Here’s some food for thought.
“Hormone-disrupting chemicals negatively impact our health and economy through increased health-care costs. Avoid food packaging and to-go containers to reduce exposure to known toxic chemicals like PFAS.”
—Dr. Leo Trasande, MD, MPP, NYU School of Medicine
Support companies with a clean mission.
“Use clean products and support companies that go above and beyond to research ingredients. Chemicals in our daily products can impact fertility.”
—Dr. Lora Shahine, MD, FACOG, University of Washington in Seattle
Choose quality, chemical- and fragrance-free products.
“Go minimal and choose quality safe products without fragrances whenever possible. We are proud to partner with Beautycounter to advocate for stronger regulation and updated policies.”
— Amanda Heier, President and CEO, Breast Cancer Prevention Partners
Make the clean beauty swap, and check those labels.
“Beauty products can be a critical source of reproductive harm and environmental injustice. Support companies that provide full ingredient transparency and develop healthy products for diverse communities.”
Typically, October is known as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. We at Beautycounter like to refer to it as ‘Prevention’ month, because we believe we can play an active role in our own health by making a few changes to our everyday routines.
Did you know that around 85% of breast cancers are not linked to family history? This means that there are steps you can take to reduce your exposure to environmental factors linked to the disease. With this encouraging fact in mind, we’ve teamed up with an organization spreading the word about prevention: Breast Cancer Prevention Partners (BCPP).
Introducing the Beautycounter Science Advisory Council.
Decades of peer-reviewed research show
a link between daily exposure to certain harmful chemicals and negative health
outcomes such as cancer, infertility, and hormone disruption. But, as we know,
cause and effect are complex and dependent on a variety of factors. That is why
we work with leading academic researchers and scientists across the country to do
our best to reduce environmental exposure wherever possible. We believe that using the best-available
science is important to reduce exposure to harmful ingredients and we’ve hired
an all-star, in-house team of scientists to help us do so. We also recruited
some of the brightest minds within the independent scientific and medical
community to serve as a sounding board for our approach to safety.
Today, we’re excited to introduce
these leading researchers, health professionals, and organizations as we launch
the Beautycounter Science Advisory Council. This group of experts shares our
passion for making informed and precautionary decisions when formulating
products. Their research will help guide and inform us about ingredient safety,
making sure we are always ahead of the curve. We are so honored to have this
team on our side—together, we’re going to make better beauty for all.
It’s hard for us to describe the
breadth and caliber of these leaders, so we will let their work speak for
itself. Collectively this group has published nearly 500 peer-reviewed papers on topics ranging from the health impacts of endocrine-disrupting
chemicals to the effects of inaction on our global economy.
Get to know our esteemed Science
Harley is a reproductive epidemiologist whose research focuses on endocrine-disrupting
chemicals and women’s health, including associations with fertility, birth
outcomes, timing of puberty, and obesity. Her latest research investigates
chemicals of concern in cosmetics and personal care products marketed towards
minority women. Dr. Harley has published more than 100 peer-reviewed papers on
the health effects and exposure patterns of phthalates, parabens, BPA, flame
retardants, pesticides, and other endocrine disruptors in our homes and daily
Director, Science Policy at the Endocrine Society—the leading professional organization for endocrinologists, who are on a mission tounite, lead, and grow the endocrine community to accelerate scientific breakthroughs and improve health worldwide.
helps the world’s leading experts in the field of endocrinology to advance
policies that accelerate scientific discovery and ensure that endocrine science
is reflected in legislation and regulatory decision making. Dr. Laakso is
passionate about the promise of research and the ability of governments to use
scientific knowledge to advance effective, science-based policies. He uses his
blend of scientific and policy expertise to distill and communicate complicated
scientific issues to policymakers and other audiences.
Medical oncologist and attending physician in hematology and medical oncology at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center; Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine at the Weill Medical College of Cornell and the Sandra and Edward Meyer Cancer Center.
Dr. Ocean is a principal investigator on clinical trials with novel therapeutics, radiolabeled therapies, antibody-drug conjugates, and targeted therapies. She is the author of numerous peer-reviewed articles and abstracts and is an active member of several professional societies, including the American Society of Clinical Oncology and American Association for Cancer Research. Dr. Ocean also represents Stand Up to Cancer, and is the co-founder of two nonprofits in the cancer space: Michael’s Mission and Let’s Win Pancreatic Cancer.
Shahine, MD, FACOG
NW Fertility and Clinical
Assistant Professor at the University of Washington in Seattle specializing in infertility and recurrent pregnancy loss.
Dr. Shahine is the accomplished
author of three books that take an integrative approach to fertility care and
recurrent miscarriage, including her best-selling book, Not Broken,
as well as over 50 peer-reviewed clinical research papers. She is passionate
about increasing awareness of the reproductive and overall health impact of
environmental toxins and endocrine disruptors through legislative advocacy,
speaking, writing, and an active social media presence.
Soto is an internationally renowned leader in environmental health and a
pioneer in the field of endocrine disruptors. Her research team discovered the
deleterious effects of fetal exposure to bisphenol-A, a chemical often used in
plastic products. She was instrumental in providing evidence that resulted in
laws banning BPA from food-contacting materials in France. Together with Dr.
Carlos Sonnenschein she authored the book TheSociety of Cells; published in 1999,
it has become a classic of cancer biology. Dr Soto has published over 150
peer-reviewed articles both on experimental and theoretical biology. She and
her team of scientists also work on identifying the endocrine effects of
ingredients used in personal care products and plastic packaging. Dr. Soto was
elected a member of the prestigious Collegium Ramazzini, Carpi, Italy in 2011,
and is the recipient of several awards, including the Grand Vermeil Medal, the
highest distinction from the City of Paris, for her pioneering role in the
discovery of endocrine disruptors and her contributions to public health.
Trasande, MD, MPP
and Vice Chair, Department of Pediatrics; Chief, Division of Environmental
Pediatrics; Professor of Environmental Medicine & Population Health, NYU
School of Medicine
Trasande is an internationally renowned leader in children’s environmental
health, a pediatrician, a prolific researcher, and the author of the
best-selling book Sicker
Fatter Poorer. His research focuses on identifying the role
of environmental exposures in childhood obesity and cardiovascular risks. He
examines the effects of chemicals like phthalates, bisphenols, organophosphate
pesticides, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons on fetal as well as postnatal
growth and early cardiovascular and renal risks. Dr. Trasande leads one of 35
centers across the country as part of the National Institute of Health’s
Environmental Influences on Child Health Outcomes program and is Principal
Investigator on numerous NIH-funded projects. He is perhaps best known for a
series of landmark studies that document disease costs due to endocrine-disrupting
Wordingham, MD, FAAHPM
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Center for
Palliative Medicine, Mayo Clinic
Dr. Wordingham is an accomplished clinician
and patient advocate who is passionate about medical ethics, whole-person
care, and maximizing quality of life for patients and loved ones facing advanced
illness. After watching her older sister become an advocate for
clean beauty products, she began questioning if there were not safer ways to
care for our bodies and exploring how physicians can help promote change. As someone
who sees patients with advanced cancer and heart disease on a daily basis, she
hopes to continue to innovate and advocate for safer environmental health
We are proud to lead the movement to a future where all beauty is clean beauty—but there is power in numbers. In 2017, we founded the Counteract Coalition, a collective of like-minded businesses in the personal-care and beauty industries that are eager to see more health-protective laws passed in Washington, DC. Today, the Coalition has grown to 29 leaders (and counting) in the clean personal-care sector. Together, we’re using our collective voices to advocate for stricter guidelines and regulations to shift the personal-care industry away from using harmful and questionable ingredients.
While some may balk at the idea of working with “competitors,” we know that collaboration is key to moving the beauty industry forward, and our unified front is made up of a diverse range of perspectives from the rapidly growing safer and natural beauty industry. Just like Beautycounter’s solo advocacy efforts, the work of our Coalition will always remain nonpartisan, since we realize that Americans from all political affiliations want more health-protective laws regulating their personal care products.
At the end of the day, we want to make it as easy as possible for brands to join the fight for ingredient reform, eventually bringing the US industry in line with Europe and Canada. Clean skin care and cosmetics companies are outpacing traditional beauty brands in terms of growth—and if we work together on the legislative front, there’s no doubt we’ll be just as unstoppable.
Read on to see what some of our incredible partners have to say about their part in the Counteract Coalition:
“We are delighted by the work of the Coalition and embrace working with this alliance of brands who understand this critical moment in human and environmental health.” —Kristine Keheley, Co-Founder and Formulator, Vapour Organic Beauty
“Safe cosmetics are a consumer’s right and our earth’s rightful due… We are thrilled to partner with Beautycounter to create meaningful change.” —Jenefer Palmer, Founder, OSEA
“Clean beauty and protecting the health of consumers is important to our brand because we believe clean beauty should be accessible to everyone. We focus on nail strength over length, so protecting the health of our customer’s nails is essential to our business to continue to grow and be successful. Healthy nails make us proud!” —Jacqueline Carrington, Founder, People of Color
“We believe everyone has a right to effective skincare that doesn’t compromise health. The need for cleaner alternatives in this industry really hit home for me personally when I was diagnosed with cancer in my late 20’s and had to critically evaluate my skincare routine. I had a hard time finding products with ingredients that didn’t irritate my sensitive skin but were effective. This experience inspired me to start Silk Therapeutics, a line of clean, minimal-ingredient formulas that can be used with confidence by anyone, in any stage of health.” —Dr. Rebecca Lacoture, Co-Founder and COO, Silk Therapeutics
“As consumers, we assume our government is looking out for us and making sure that the products sold in this country are non-toxic and safe for us and our families. The time for this type of smart regulation is long overdue.” —Johanna Peet, Founder, Peet Rivko
“Credo exists to provide a platform for brand founders conscientiously formulating products that are safer for humans and the planet. As it should be.” —Annie Jackson, Co-Founder & COO, Credo
“Clean beauty is about safer ingredients, more sustainable practices, smarter, more ethical sourcing, and of course—transparency. This holistic definition of ‘clean’ protects the health of people and the planet—which is Credo’s MO.”
—Mia Davis, head of Environmental & Social Responsibility, Credo
Did you know that by making small changes to your daily routine you can protect yourself from toxic chemicals that can have potentially harmful effects? Read on for a curated list of small ways to refresh your day-to-day habits to help you lead a safer (and more socially conscious) lifestyle.
Out of all the so-called “miracle” ingredients on the skin–care scene, it can be hard to tell which ones are the real deal and which are little more than buzzy words with not much ground to stand on. One nutrient that’s proven to be worth the hype? Vitamin C—a powerful, safe, science-backed compound that doesn’t just brighten and refine your complexion, but actually protects it from future damage.
Here, we break down how to harness vitamin C’s benefits for your skin.
It’s been a summer of working to help keep our communities safe, but Beautycounter’s advocacy for #betterbeauty laws hasn’t stopped—in fact, we’re making some big strides. From legislation that empowers consumers to choose safer products to taking steps to ban dangerous ingredients, we’re excited to share the progress we’ve made.
California Bills Signal Nationwide Change
As a clean beauty brand founded in Santa Monica, we’ve always been proud of our Southern California roots. This summer, we have two more reasons to be happily headquartered in California: the passage of the Safer Fragrance bill (SB 312) and the Toxic-Free Cosmetics Act (AB 2762).
The Safer Fragrance bill takes a significant step towards closing the “fragrance loophole” which allows companies to keep their fragrance ingredients a secret. Under the new law, companies are required to disclose fragrance allergens to the California Department of Public Health who must then create a publicly accessible database. We believe in the power of transparency and advocate for consumers to have the right to look up—and more importantly, avoid—ingredients that could be problematic to their health.
The Toxic-Free Cosmetics Act also protects consumers by prohibiting the use of 12 ingredients in personal-care products sold in the state of California. These ingredients, such as formaldehyde, parabens, and mercury, have long been a part of Beautycounter’s The Never List™, as peer-reviewed research links them to negative health consequences.
Even though these are California laws, they affect more than just its residents. California has the largest consumer market in the U.S. and the fifth-largest economy in the world, which means its policies have a major impact on the behavior of companies everywhere. With the passage of these two laws, companies will not want to make two versions of the same product (like one with formaldehyde and one without) and thus will most likely default to producing the version that is allowed in California, resulting in safer products in all fifty states.
Want to help us keep the momentum going? Text SAFERSCENT to 52886 to support the Safer Fragrance bill and TOXICFREE to 52886 to support the Toxic Free Cosmetics Act. With your support, we can encourage Governor Newsom to sign these bills into law later this year.
Federal Legislation Spurs Ingredient Innovation
While lawmakers in D.C. have been focused on the pandemic response, they’ve also been supporting legislation that promotes safer personal-care products. For three years, Beautycounter has worked closely with the Sustainable Chemistry Alliance to advocate for the Sustainable Chemistry Research and Development Act. This bill provides federal funding for research and coordination of green chemistry initiatives which will bring safer and more sustainable ingredients to market. For Beautycounter, this means that we will have a wider array of safer ingredients to choose from, which means more innovative products for you.
A problematic beauty ingredient—hydroquinone—has also recently been under scrutiny. Used in skin-lightening creams marketed to Black women and women of South Asian descent, hydroquinone is linked to health concerns ranging from skin irritation to long-lasting damage. The March 2020 COVID response bill included an expedited process for the FDA to ban an ingredient when determined unsafe for consumer use—and hydroquinone was one of them. Though it is still available through prescription, over-the-counter products with the ingredient must be removed from the market by the end of September 2020.
Believe us: advocacy works, and our dedication is paying off. We’re changing the beauty industry for the better, but we can’t do it without you. Text BETTERBEAUTY to 52886 to join our movement.
Over the past few weeks, we have been listening, processing, considering, and discussing the injustices impacting our BIPOC friends, family members, Associates, and community at large. In this moment, change is paramount, and we want to do that collectively as one community. We are holding ourselves accountable and reflecting on how we can use our platform to amplify Black voices. We’re doing the work to support our Black community, and we’re taking action in support of true change. (Learn more on that here.)
After much consideration and due diligence in researching where to donate funds in support of this change, we’ve chosen organizations that truly align with our mission and quest for safer products. We selected community-led groups that are working to eliminate systemic racism, have a history of leadership on these issues, and have Black leadership and/or founders. We have chosen these organizations because we believe that fighting for racial and environmental justice involves supporting those that directly impact and improve the lives of Black individuals and their communities. Keep in mind that by choosing to donate to these organizations, Beautycounter recognizes the important work they do, but does not automatically endorse the organizations’ past or present policy positions. We support their programs specific to removing toxic chemicals from beauty products for BIPOC and investing in the education of the next generation of leaders.
Today, we are proud to announce a commitment of $100,000 to Black Women for Wellness and the Visible Men Academy, while continuing to invest more resources into organizations and internal staffing. We also matched all HQ associate contributions to the organizations fighting racism of their choice for the month of June.
What Is Black Women for Wellness?
Black Women for Wellness (BWW) is a Los Angeles-based organization that promotes the health and well-being of Black women and girls through research, education, advocacy, and access to affordable health services. The organization is particularly focused on reducing the harmful ingredients often used in hair-care products marketed to Black women.
For years, Beautycounter has worked with BWW on advocacy initiatives to make personal-care products safer for our health. This year, we’re joining BWW again to support the California Toxic-Free Cosmetics Act, which would ban harmful ingredients, like formaldehyde and parabens (often found in hair relaxers), from products sold in the state.
What Is Visible Men Academy?
Visible Men Academy (VMA) is a tuition-free school for boys in Bradenton, FL. The mission of VMA is to deliver a high-quality educational experience that meets the specific needs of at-risk elementary school boys through the collaborative efforts of administrators, teachers, parents, the broader community, and the students themselves.
Neil Phillips, CEO of Visible Men Academy, is regarded as a national thought-leader on Black male achievement, minority education, and youth empowerment. He is a member of Beautycounter’s expert advisory group focused on Community Expansion.
Today, we are taking the next step in shifting Beautycounter into a new paradigm, by partnering with Paradigm to design and implement a comprehensive, data-driven diversity and inclusion strategy. We are proud to have Paradigm’s interdisciplinary experts leading the way, along with our internal Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Advisory Hub at HQ, to build a stronger, more inclusive Beautycounter.
Our goal has always been to create a movement to protect the health and safety of people by getting safer, high-quality products to everyone. We cannot achieve our goal without making sure that we are doing our part to address the health and safety of a key part of our community: our BIPOC Associates, Consultants, and customers.
While we have grown our community and made progress toward that goal, we know that there is much more to be done. We recognize the road to change is not always smooth; however, we are committed to making a difference, and we are grateful to have Paradigm to guide us along the way. We strive to cultivate a community in which Associates, Consultants, and customers—regardless of race, gender, or ethnicity—truly feel that they belong.
As a brand with a unique voice and audience, we are not only utilizing our platform to take a stand, but we are learning how Beautycounter as an organization—and we as individuals—can become active allies to the BIPOC community in all that we do. We want to make sure all voices are heard, and we will ensure that there will be opportunities to engage in this work. Our Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Advisory Hub will work with Paradigm to help us facilitate a streamlined and efficient way for everyone to get involved.
Our partnership with Paradigm marks a first step on what we know is an incredibly important journey. We are committed to sharing news and developments with you along the way. Watch this space for more information about the work we will be doing.
Beautycounter’s mission is to get safer products into the hands of everyone, which is why our advocacy work is so important. Beauty regulations must change in order for all people—regardless of where they shop or what brands they buy—to have access to safer personal-care products. This advocacy work is especially critical when it comes to protecting communities of color.
BIPOC face higher incidence of disease linked to chemical exposure
Research tells an upsetting story: Black, Indigenous,and People of Color (BIPOC) suffer from a higher incidence of chronic disease linked to toxic chemical exposure. While various factors contribute to this statistic, personal-care products play a role and—importantly—create an opportunity for prevention.
One reason for this higher risk is that the hair products, skin lighteners, and nail polishes marketed to this population contain ingredients that are known carcinogens and hormone disruptors.A December 2019 study published in the International Journal of Cancer found that women who used hair dye or chemical straighteners were at higher risk of developing breast cancer. This link was notably higher among Black women who regularly use products such as relaxers that contain formaldehyde, a preservative that is linked to certain cancers, and feminine hygiene products which often contain phthalates, a known hormone disruptor. 
Another study from UC Berkeley found that when Latinx teenagers switched to clean beauty products, the levels of parabens and phthalates in their bodies dropped significantly within three days.
These findings show us two things: BIPOC have higher exposure to harmful chemicals in personal-care products, and switching to safer products can reduce one’s exposure within a short period of time.
We actively advocate to address racial disparities—and we won’t stop.
Our advocacy for safer products has resulted in tangible steps forward for consumers, especially communities of color. Our efforts so far have included the following:
● Two laws we helped pass: the Cleaning Products Right to Know Act and the Safer Salon bill protect vulnerable populations like cleaners, hotel workers, and salon professionals by arming them with information to make safer choices. These professions are dominated by women (often women of color) who are exposed to dangerous chemicals for long periods of time in poorly ventilated areas.
We believe that access to products without harmful ingredients is a human right. By passing legislation to move the whole market forward, many industry players will be forced to innovate and create safer products for women of color.
Meanwhile, at Beautycounter HQ…
In tandem with our federal reform efforts, we’ve been working hard to offer more clean beauty products for women of color, including 18 new foundation shades and more pigmented blushes, lipsticks, and eye shadows. According to the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Skin Deep database, fewer than 25 percent of products marketed to Black women score low in potentially hazardous ingredients. We want to change this and we are committed to creating more beauty options for women of color.
We will continue to place environmental justice at the forefront of our advocacy efforts, so Beautycounter can have a meaningful impact on eliminating the gap in racial health disparities. We know we must do more—and this is just the beginning.
 Adamkiewicz G, Zota AR, Fabian MP, Chahine T, Julien R, Spengler JD, et al. Moving environmental justice indoors: understanding structural influences on residential exposure patterns in low-income communities. Am J Public Health 2011;101(suppl 1): S238–45www.pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21836112/
 James-Todd, Tamara, African American and African-Caribbean women are more likely to use hair products that contain hormonally active chemicals (placenta, estrogen, endocrine disrupting chemicals), www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21626298
 Zota, Ami, Women of color are disproportionately affected by environmental toxins such as beauty-product related environmental chemicals. This is independent of socioeconomic status, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28822238