Our Journey to Formulating Without Talc

You know the velvety textures and rich colors of your blush, eyeshadow, and face powders? Those qualities are often thanks to talc, but in recent years, talc has come under scrutiny as asbestos-contaminated talc has been found in cosmetics marketed to children and teens.  

While the talc we use is tested for asbestos contamination, we understand why consumers are concerned. The Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) do not regularly test personal care products for safety, nor do they have the authority to force companies to remove products from the marketplace. That’s why we’re excited to announce that Beautycounter will be eliminating talc from all formulations by June 2021.  

Though talc is currently used in just five of our products, this transition is not easy—and there are trade-offs that are not widely shared within the industry. In the spirit of transparency, we wanted to explain exactly what the journey to eliminating talc looks like for us.  

The several times we attempted to remove talc from our powder formulas, our internal testing showed that the level of heavy metals increased, particularly for more richly pigmented shades. Beautycounter is dedicated to creating products that work for everyone—that includes delivering an inclusive range of shades for all skin tones. Currently, only the lighter shades of our powders formulated without talc have passed our rigorous heavy metals standards, so, we’re taking a new and innovative approach to color cosmetics: we’ll pivot to cream formulas for blush and eye shadow—planned to launch Summer 2021—while continuing to work on developing beautiful bright powders formulated without talc.  

What does this mean for our current powder products? The talc is tested for asbestos contamination (the primary safety concern of using talc) and the results have been published publicly here. In addition, every batch of our current powder products have passed strict heavy metals testing, based on our health protective standards. We expect to have inventory of all our powders through early 2021. In the meantime, our new Golden Hour All-in-One Palette is our first step toward formulating cosmetics without talc, and we are excited to continue innovating our powder line in the months ahead. 

At Beautycounter, safety is our North star, and we will continue to prioritize producing high-quality, trustworthy products that you can feel good about using. A major part of that is transparency. We’ll always keep you informed, so check back for updates on our journey toward formulating without talc.  

Ask the Experts: On Steering Clear of Harmful Chemicals

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.” 

—Ami Zota, ScD, MS, George Washington University 



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).


Meet the Experts Making Beauty Better

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 Advisory Council: 

Kim Harley, MPH PhD

Associate Professor of Maternal, Child, and Adolescent Health, UC Berkeley School of Public Health

Dr. 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 lives.  

 Joe Laakso, PhD

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.

Dr. Laakso 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.

Allyson Ocean, MD

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.

Lora Shahine, MD, FACOG

Reproductive endocrinologist at Pacific 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.

Ana Soto, MD

Professor of Immunology, Tufts University School of Medicine. Blaise Pascal Chair 2013-15 and Fellow at the Centre Cavaillès, Ecole Normale Supérieure of Paris.

Dr. Ana 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 The Society 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.

Leo Trasande, MD, MPP

Professor and Vice Chair, Department of Pediatrics; Chief, Division of Environmental Pediatrics; Professor of Environmental Medicine & Population Health, NYU School of Medicine

Dr. 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 chemicals.

 Sara 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 practices.

Meet the Counteract Coalition

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 

Brands in the Counteract Coalition:  

  • Annmarie Gianni Skin Care  
  • Beebe Lab/Eighteen B  
  • Biossance   
  • Côte   
  • Credo   
  • Follain   
  • Goddess Garden  
  • Grove Collaborative  
  • I+I Botanicals   
  • Innersense Organic Beauty   
  • Josie Maran   
  • KORA Organics   
  • May Lindstrom   
  • ONDA Beauty   
  • OSEA   
  • Peet Rivko  
  • People of Color   
  • Primal Pit Paste   
  • Rahua Hair Care   
  • rms beauty  
  • Seventh Generation    
  • Sienna Naturals  
  • Silk Therapeutics   
  • SkinOwl   
  • S.W. Basics   
  • tenoverten   
  • the detox market  
  • The Honey Pot Co.     
  • Vapour Organic Beauty   

How to make a big impact on your health (and the planet)

How to make a big impact on your health (and the planet)

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. 


Continue reading “How to make a big impact on your health (and the planet)”

Why You’ll Want To Add Vitamin C To Your Skin-Care Routine

Why You’ll Want To Add Vitamin C To Your Skin-Care Routine

Out of all the so-called “miracle” ingredients on the skincare 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. 

Continue reading “Why You’ll Want To Add Vitamin C To Your Skin-Care Routine”

The #BetterBeauty Advocacy Update: Summer 2020

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.

In Support of Racial Equality, Here’s Where We Are Donating

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.

Shifting the Beautycounter Paradigm

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.