A BIG DAY FOR #BETTERBEAUTY: WE TESTIFIED FOR COSMETIC REFORM

On December 4, Beautycounter made history when Founder and CEO Gregg Renfrew testified before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Subcommittee on Health. Speaking for millions of Americans, Gregg delivered a powerful message: the FDA must better protect consumers, and the time to act is now.

FDA Acknowledges Reform is Needed

Over more than three hours, two panels appeared before Committee members. The first panel featured Dr. Susan Mayne of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), who presented testimony on current FDA enforcement of personal care products manufactured both domestically and outside the U.S. Upon questioning from the Chairwoman of the Committee, Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Dr. Mayne admitted that the FDA cannot currently compel companies to register their products, inspect facilities where cosmetics are manufactured, list all ingredients on labels, or recall products that harm consumers. The FDA acknowledged that its cosmetics program is small and welcomed collaboration with Congress to expand its authority over the personal care industry—but noted that it must be given enough resources to do so.

Industry and Consumer Advocates Weigh In

The second panel featured Gregg, as well as witnesses from consumer advocacy organizations (Scott Faber from EWG, Isabelle Chaudry from the National Women’s Health Network) and a trade association for small businesses (Leigh O’Donnell from the Handcrafted Soap and Cosmetic Guild). All four witnesses agreed that FDA must have greater oversight of the rapidly growing beauty industry in terms of identifying and restricting ingredients of concern as well as the ability to recall products that cause injury.

Several of the issues that Beautycounter has brought to the state level were discussed, including fragrance ingredient disclosure and supply chain transparency, particularly for products imported into the U.S.—the number of which has grown to more than two million lines annually. A lighthearted moment in the hearing occurred on the subject of fragrances. When Rep. Morgan Griffiths (R-VA) mused whether he should ask his wife to stop using fragrances after several witnesses explained the health consequences of fragrance ingredients, Gregg noted that phthalates, which bind scent to the skin, can be one of the most harmful ingredients. Spray the fragrance on clothing if she must, said Gregg, but avoid direct contact with the skin. Upon questioning by Chairwoman Eshoo, Gregg also emphatically stated that Beautycounter fully supports fragrance ingredient disclosure and already discloses all fragrance ingredients—including the most commonly recognized fragrance allergens.

What’s Next

Currently, two pieces of legislation on comprehensive cosmetic reform have been introduced in the House. H.R. 4296—The Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Act—was introduced by Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) in September and is endorsed by Beautycounter. On the eve of the cosmetics hearing, Congressman Frank Pallone (D-NJ), the Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, introduced the Cosmetic Safety Enhancement Act, although key sections must still be developed.

While Beautycounter has asked Congress to act on these two bills, we need your help. In her testimony, Gregg noted to the Members that there are millions of committed advocates who stand ready to support cosmetic reform.

Your calls, texts, and postcards matter more than ever, as this issue is primed for legislative action. Let’s get cosmetic reform across the finish line (or “across the home plate” as Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) noted) and take action today. Text BETTERBEAUTY to 52886 and tell your Representatives that 81 years is too long to wait for better beauty laws.

Interested in reading Gregg’s full opening statement? Read on-

S. Gregg Renfrew Founder and Chief Executive Officer Beautycounter

Before the Subcommittee on Health of the U.S. House Committee on Hearing and Commerce on “Building Consumer Confidence by Empowering the FDA to Improve Cosmetic Safety” December 4, 2019

Chairwoman Eshoo, Ranking Member Burgess, and Members of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee, thank you for holding this important hearing and for inviting me to participate.

My name is Gregg Renfrew and I am the founder and CEO of Beautycounter, a company with a mission to get safer products into the hands of everyone.

Beautycounter is the result of a personal journey where I found the connection between our environment, what we put in our bodies, and what we put on them. I’ve seen first-hand health impacts on friends and family, and I was compelled to change the personal care industry. In addressing the need for clean beauty laws, the business opportunity also became apparent. The clean beauty industry continues its impressive growth, on track to reach a value of nearly $22 billion by the year 2024.[1]

But one company, even with the combined efforts of others, cannot fix this problem alone. And so in that spirit, today I will focus my testimony on what we believe is critical to creating cosmetic safety laws that protect consumers, while simultaneously advancing the beauty industry.

First, we need a health-protective safety standard.

The current absence of federal safety regulations in our industry forces businesses like Beautycounter to make their own decisions about the safety of ingredients. A uniform safety standard is paramount to gain consumer trust.

We believe that how Congress defines what is “safe” is one of the most important elements of reform. By creating a strong safety standard in this bill, Congress has the opportunity to protect the health of American families, while making sure that our business community is keeping pace with international markets.

Beautycounter supports a safety standard where the FDA has the tools to adequately assess both short and long-term impacts of ingredients. We believe that “reasonable certainty of no harm” best reflects a public health approach that consumers can trust.

Second, we encourage timely ingredient review, based on the best available science.

We support legislation that reviews as many ingredients as possible each year. The sooner that safety determinations can be made on ingredients, the faster manufacturers like ourselves can bring products to market. Additionally, we encourage you to allow the FDA to review classes of ingredients, where relevant, to conserve agency resources, while noting that determinations must be made on individual chemicals.

Reflecting on Beautycounter’s early days, we would have benefited from a federal program that allowed us to either avoid, or use, ingredients based on a comprehensive review of available scientific literature. I have no doubt that many other companies feel the same way.

Third, we support a user fee system that fully funds the FDA.

As the CEO of a company that started with just a handful of employees, I understand how the notion of fees can seem daunting. Through this experience we have gained an appreciation for the need to make reasonable accommodations for small to mid-sized businesses. That is why we support a sliding-scale user fee program that takes into account large and small businesses. As a company grows, we believe the responsibility should increase accordingly.

Fourth, federal law must account for existing state protections.

Given the lack of federal laws on cosmetics and personal care products, many states were forced to take action. Beautycounter supports a state preemption approach that preserves existing state laws, while creating a strong federal program that will negate the need for new laws to be passed.

At Beautycounter, we refer to the concept of “progress vs. perfection,” and I believe that the sentiment also holds true for the legislative process. We are encouraged by the key elements reflected in proposals before the committee, including: setting mandatory Good Manufacturing Practices, granting the FDA the ability to recall harmful products, increasing ingredient transparency, and requiring the disclosure of fragrance allergens.

I believe that this Committee can, and must, come together to pass bipartisan legislation, as you have done many times before. But I am not asking you to do this important work alone. I, on behalf of Beautycounter, our advocates, and our clean beauty movement, commit to mobilizing our community of millions to support this important public health issue.

In closing today, I am asking you to act.

Act to protect the mother trying to find safer products for herself and her family. Act to empower companies large and small across America. Act to meet consumer demand for greater transparency.

When you pass legislation that will protect the health of American families, you are not only responding to a growing, passionate, and bipartisan electorate eager for reform, but you are protecting the health of American families, now and forever.

Thank you for your time today and for your leadership on this important issue.


[1] Statista, available at https://www.statista.com/statistics/750779/natural-organic-beauty-market-worldwide/

Baking Clean: Healthy Holiday Cookies with Laurel Gallucci from Sweet Laurel Bakery

Laurel Gallucci is a sweet-tooth connoisseur, mother of two, and co-founder of Sweet Laurel Bakery. She was inspired to start her own business after being diagnosed with a life-changing autoimmune disease six years ago. Fueled by her love for baking, she found delicious and innovative ways to accommodate her strict diet by tinkering with safer ingredients in her test kitchen, which would later turn into her now full-time business, Sweet Laurel Bakery.

In the spirit of safer ingredients that deliver, we partnered with Laurel to talk about beauty, business, balance, and best of all, the reason she created a very special cookie recipe—just for us.

Beautycounter: Where are you from?
Laurel Gallucci: Santa Monica, CA

BC: What drew you to a healthier lifestyle?
LG: I was raised in a very health-conscious home, and when I was diagnosed with my autoimmune disease, I was at first treated medically with lots of hormones. I got worse, and discovered healing through food via my functional medicine doctor. She told me if I wanted to get better, I needed to remove all grains, refined sugar, and dairy from my diet. I did that overnight, and Sweet Laurel began very shortly after that! I feel so good eating this way, I’ve maintained it for almost six years now. My autoimmune disease is in remission, and I’m healthy enough to have babies (a miracle for me!), work out, and enjoy life!

BC: What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced in parenting while opening up your own business?
LG: Balancing motherhood and running a company has been very challenging for me, and I’ve learned there are days I need to be okay with everything not being completely perfect. I’ve set up boundaries for myself, in an attempt to not compromise what I love doing. I truly adore motherhood and my role at Sweet Laurel, so being intentional about the time I spend on both is important to me.

BC: How do you structure your day to get everything done, while balancing work and family?
LG: In the morning, before leaving for work, I have quality time with my son. From the time I drop him off at preschool to when I pick him up, the emails, phone calls, and meetings are full throttle. I’m often back-to-back during this time, and I try to schedule my day that way. I find I get the most done. When I get home, we have family time and dinner, and then I plug back in when my son goes to sleep. This is all going to change very shortly when I give birth to my second child due in January, but this is my “normal” right now, and it’s working!

BC: Owning your own business can be challenging. What’s your favorite way to unwind?
LG: A day at home with my husband and baby—and no plans!

BC: What are some things you’ve faced that you didn’t expect when opening your business?
LG: The full-on, 24/7, relentless nature of it.

BC: What’s your favorite way to “self-care”?
LG: Microcurrent facials and body work with my girl Valentina in Santa Monica!

BC: What does your skin-care routine look like?
LG: I have very dry skin (especially during pregnancy), so I tend to get rashes on my face easily. The Countertime Collection from Beautycounter has been a lifesaver at this time of my life!

BC: Why did you decide to switch to clean beauty products?
LG: When I changed my diet, I also changed all my products, including beauty and cleaning products. I’m happy to say I have a non-toxic home!

BC: What’s something you’d say to someone wanting to open up their own business?
LG: Maintain a clear yet flexible vision. Surround yourself with a good team, including a mentor whom you can check in with often.

BC: How are the beauty and food industries similar? How can they both do better?
LG: There’s lots of synergy between Sweet Laurel and Beautycounter. That’s just one reason I love Beautycounter so much! We both believe in the integrity of the ingredients we put into our products and will not compromise. I also love that Beautycounter’s founder, Gregg Renfrew, advocates and lobbies on behalf of the clean beauty industry. I hope to one day do that for clean eating.

BC: What’s your favorite holiday tradition?
LG: Besides the baking…now that I have a baby, I’ve gotten into wearing matching, festive jammies when we’re at home together!

BC: What’s your favorite hostess gift?
LG: Freshly baked goods (usually cookies)!

BC: How did you dream up of “A #Betterbeauty Cookie”?
LG: I used a few ingredients that Beautycounter uses in some of their products (coconut oil, orange peel, and cacao butter), and I turned them into a delicious recipe! I haven’t made an orange cookie dipped in chocolate before, and it sounded lovely!

A #BetterBeauty Cookie:
Chocolate-Dipped Orange Cookies

 2 zested oranges
 1/4 cup orange juice
 2 cups almond flour
 1/4 cup coconut oil (melted)
 1/4-1/3 cup maple sugar
 1/4 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
 1/2 cup Sweet Laurel Vegan Chocolate Chips

1. In a bowl, combine the almond flour, maple sugar, orange zest, and pink salt. Mix well. Add the melted coconut oil and orange juice, and stir until a soft dough is formed. Place the dough between two sheets of parchment paper and roll out the dough, then place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

3. Remove from refrigerator and take off the top sheet of parchment paper and place it on a baking sheet. Using a small cup, circle cookie cutter, or cookie cutter of choice, gently press into dough, and using a spatula, place the cutout dough on prepared baking sheet.

4. Bake for about 10 minutes, and while doing so, melt the chocolate. To melt the chocolate chips, place them in a small saucepan over VERY low heat. If your stove’s low heat setting is unpredictable, use the double boiler method instead. Slowly melt the chocolate, stirring frequently. When melted, remove from stove and allow to cool.

5. Remove cookies from oven and allow to cool. When completely cool, dip cookies in melted chocolate and place on a piece of parchment paper to firm up. Enjoy!

(Storage instructions: store at room temperature in a sealed, airtight container for up to three days, or place in an airtight container and freeze until the day you’d like to serve.)

BC: What are your goals for 2020?
LG: Grow Sweet Laurel as much as possible! We are expanding our wholesale, retail, and online footprint in 2020 and we’re very excited about that. I also want to enjoy my family as much as possible while doing so.

When it comes to decadent desserts, Laurel Gallucci has delicious, safer ingredients down to a T, and it shows in Sweet Laurel Bakery. What you put in (and on) your body matters, so we believe good-for-you ingredients are worth the effort.

Learn more about our own Ingredient Selection Process.

A big day for #betterbeauty—We’re testifying for Cosmetic Reform

For the past seven years, Beautycounter has led the fight for better beauty. And now, our collective work advocating for clean beauty is culminating in a hearing on cosmetic safety in the House—only the second in the past 40 years.

Titled “Building Consumer Confidence by Empowering FDA to Improve Cosmetic Safety,” we’re excited and proud to have Beautycounter Founder and CEO, Gregg Renfrew, testify as an expert witness before the House Energy and Commerce Committee in Washington, D.C. This testimony means three things:

  1. Congress recognizes that clean beauty is here to stay.
  2. Our voices are being heard.
  3. Business can be a force for positive change.

This is a huge moment for the clean beauty space, and we are honored to be a part of these powerful conversations. Tune in here to catch Gregg live on Wednesday, December 4 at 10am EST. For those who cannot watch the live broadcast, we’ve got you covered. Follow us over on Instagram @beautycounter, where we will be sharing a detailed, play-by-play recap in the coming days.

As we take part in this profound step towards changing the industry, we want to urge you to use your voices to show your support from your hometown. Send a powerful message to Congress that their constituents are concerned about the lack of FDA oversight of the products they use every day. Text BETTERBEAUTY to 52886 and tell your Representatives that 81 years is too long to wait for better beauty laws.

We want to acknowledge that we couldn’t have done this without tens of thousands of Beautycounter Consultants and Clients who have helped us blaze this trail towards getting safer products into the hands of everyone. Because—as we’ve said from the beginning—beauty should be good for you.

The Best Beauty Mark

Step into a drugstore or department store today, and you’re greeted with aisle upon aisle of products. For the health-conscious consumer, the first step might be to look at the product label. Words like “natural,” “organic,” and “dermatologist approved,” along with various seals and certifications, abound as more and more companies are vying for a piece of the more than $60 billion domestic beauty market. But when it comes down to it, which products can you really trust when it comes to safety? 

One certification stands above the rest: The Environmental Working Group (EWG). The EWG, one of the most respected voices in protecting consumer health, founded the EWG VERIFIED™ program* in 2015 to review products against the strictest safety standards. (Beautycounter is proud to be a founding member of the EWG VERIFIED ™ program.) So why is this particular mark of approval such an important tool for consumers? 

First, the program drives companies to disclose ingredients like fragrance allergens that are rarely listed on product labels. It’s also the first third-party non-toxic certification for personal care products in the U.S. The EWG’s criteria for certification focuses on the safety of a product’s ingredients—for example, products must score “green” in EWG’s Skin Deep™ data base and cannot contain any ingredients with significant health, environmental, or contamination concerns. The program gets an additional credibility check because companies cannot influence the verification process. As one condition of participating, companies must agree that EWG has the right to perform random product verification to ensure that their products continue to meet the criteria for certification. 

As a pioneering clean beauty brand, we take our commitment to ingredient transparency seriously. Certification is a rigorous process and in order to earn the EWG VERIFIED ™ stamp of approval for our products, we share every ingredient that goes into our formulations. Take our Countertime line: all six products are EWG VERIFIED ™ and our transparent approach extends to listing allergens that the EU requires—but the U.S. does not. Our hope is that by doing this, we set an example for other brands to similarly share these naturally occurring allergens, empowering consumers to choose safer, healthier products. 

In the coming months, watch for more Beautycounter products to begin sporting the EWG VERIFIED ™ logo as we continue to submit products for verification. While some products (like acne treatment products and sunscreens) cannot go through the verification process because they are considered by the FDA to be an Over the Counter (OTC) drug and are therefore excluded from review, the majority of Beautycounter’s products will be EWG VERIFIED ™ by the end of 2020. 

In the crowded personal care marketplace, a clean authority can be hard to find. Without a government-backed certification administered by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA), the EWG VERIFIED ™ logo is a trusted mark for consumers denoting rigorous, independent verification done by EWG’s team of scientists. By participating, Beautycounter aims to empower our #betterbeauty community with the information they need to vote with their dollars and transform the beauty industry so that one day, all beauty is clean beauty. 

Staying (Body) Positive with Clémentine Desseaux

How do you define beauty? This is one of the questions we asked ourselves—and all of our models—in our fall campaign, Looking Good Is Only Half the Picture. We’ve always run counter to the traditional beauty industry, and by casting this campaign with an eye towards diversity, we strove to redefine outdated beauty definitions and standards. In hopes to shed more light on these issues, we sat down with French plus-size model and CEO of All Womxn Project, Clémentine Desseaux—one of the faces of our fall campaign. She opens up about body positivity, and how the beauty industry can do better.

Beautycounter: Where are you from?
Clémentine Desseaux: I was born in Toulouse, in the South of France, where I spent all my summers growing up. I moved a bunch and spent my childhood in Alsace until college, then moved to the city of Lyon to study.

BC: How did you get into modeling?
CD: I wasn’t camera shy. I first started in high school, as a hobby. I remember a small agency had just opened in Lyon and was offering to represent plus size; that was the very first in France, but after I signed with them at 17 years old, they closed down three months later, so nothing happened—but the rush of the possibility was inside of me. After that, I signed my first agency contract in Paris at 19 years old after sending some holiday pictures. My first jobs were for Kiabi and Gémo in France. I later signed with a German agent, then a UK agent, before I finally moved to Miami in 2011 to follow my dreams; and that’s when I started taking this a bit more seriously and signed with MUSE, my NYC agency in 2012!

BC: How did modeling fit into your upbringing? What was that experience like for you?
CD: Modeling helped me through my self-love journey. At first, it showed me I, too, could be beautiful. Then, it empowered me in making a change in other women’s lives just by being me and being out there. It really gave me a voice and the independence I needed to be happy, and taught me how to be okay being alone—that was a hard one, but I am so glad I enjoy my alone time now.

BC: Can you describe the arc of your modeling career?
CD: When I first started full-time about eight years ago, I was pretty green. It was before Instagram was a thing, before diversity was something fashion really cared or talked about. I used to be the cool, awkward freckled girl. I was edgy and considered a bit too “different” to book commercial jobs at first. That shows how fashion changes; trends and styles are always evolving and require the market to adapt. I feel like I naturally just grew into who I am today as a model. I am grateful to have a voice, thanks to the inner work I have done in addition to modeling. I couldn’t be a model without a voice—I’d be too frustrated!

BC: What led you to becoming a body positivity advocate?
CD: My own struggles with body image as well as my calling to take care of people most likely created that need to become an advocate, as I struggled a lot growing up as a chubby freckled kid, and I hated my body and myself more often than not. I found some purpose in advocating and becoming an open, uncensored storyteller in order to help and empower others to hopefully save time and free themselves from society’s pressures to fit in.


BC: What kind of responses have you gotten from other models and girls whom you’ve reached via your advocacy?
CD: I will always remember the day I decided to use my career to become an advocate. It was in 2011, I had just moved to Miami from Paris, and my first commercial aired on French TV. That day was filled with all kinds of messages from supporters and haters alike. I decided to focus on supporters and positive messages from women. I received touching messages from French girls telling me how much seeing someone that looked like me on their screen changed their whole outlook on themselves and how they see their bodies. I received tons of heartwarming, empowering messages and, that day, I understood the power of representation. Since that day, I have made it a point to make it a mission of mine to advocate for it.

BC: What are the greatest challenges you’ve faced being a female entrepreneur?
CD: I think my greatest challenge is to deal with critics and expectations. As women, we are expected to be great at everything. I suffer from impostor syndrome and tend to feel overwhelmed by those feelings. This is part of the self-work I am doing for myself. My biggest fear is to be wasted potential—it’s not easy, but it’s a work in progress.

BC: What does being a body positivity advocate look like, day to day?
CD: There are many ways of being one. For me, it starts with self. I am trying to work on my issues first so that I can help others. That means making myself a priority, listening to what I need and want, taking time off, cooking, working out, being in the sun…then it means giving back. Choosing to help and advance others daily by what you share, what you do, how you communicate. Being involved in my community, being part of events, panels, reforms that involve what I am working for…every day is different and takes different forms but most of all, it’s being raw, unfiltered, and true to who I am regardless of how flawed it can be.

BC: What other forms of activism are important to you?
CD: Anything that makes sense to me, I support. That goes from environment to social justice and animal rights. Being an activist is being active, caring, and using our voice.

BC: What does clean beauty mean to you?
CD: Clean beauty to me is a lifestyle. It means caring as much about what I put on my skin as what I eat. It means being conscious and very minimal in the way I use skin care and beauty products. I am simply a no-BS, clean beauty addict.


BC: What does joining the “clean revolution” mean to you?
CD: I believe that clean beauty is closely related to self-love, and so I was so thrilled to work with a brand that truly cares on all levels. Using minimal, non-invasive beauty products to only highlight, not change, your features is key to me. It’s a beautiful way to learn to love your looks. Taking care of my face and body taught me how to actually love both better by bringing care and purpose to everything I apply on it.

BC: What ways of clean living do you pursue in your own life, day to day?
CD: I am trying to be the best version of myself every day. Some days are more successful than others. I care about quality foods and products—growing up in France, that’s something that I was taught very early on. I grew up going to the market, choosing small local farm products, touching them, smelling them, bringing our own fabric bags (and reusing them). I am very respectful of everything I cook and eat. I also am very careful with what waste I generate and try to minimalize it, especially in a country that’s really pushing you to create more waste.

BC: What inspires you to continue being a voice for change?
CD: I personally have evolved, so I understand the power of change. I am dedicated to keep working towards it and hope to inspire others along the way.

BC: How do you want to leave the planet for the next generation?
CD: I’d love to leave a clean, conscious, and loving planet. That’s the biggest challenge of all.

BC: Why did you decide to start www.bonjourclem.com?
CD: I was a model in NYC for six months when I started the blog. I was bored and needed more intellectual activity—something to open me up to the world around me. Modeling can be very lonely and self-centered, so I created my blog, Bonjour Clem.

BC: What makes you feel empowered?
CD: I am empowered being able to empower other women. I am empowered seeing change, and I am empowered when I am able to create it.


Even in a newly awakened world, the expectations placed on women today, let alone female models, still require them to measure up to extreme standards that are often impossible—so how do female plus-size models stay empowered? According to Clémentine, the answer is self-love and advocating for positive change.

Feeling inspired? Learn more about what we’re advocating for here.

OCTOBER IS BREAST CANCER PREVENTION MONTH

OCTOBER IS BREAST CANCER PREVENTION MONTH

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).

Continue reading “OCTOBER IS BREAST CANCER PREVENTION MONTH”

Beauty Comes Clean: The Truth About Mica

Our Ingredient Selection Process is an intense, lengthy one—and we take the fourth step, Responsible Sourcing very seriously. When we set out to make safer, high-performing color cosmetics, we started down a complex journey of finding responsibly sourced mica and have been learning a lot along the way.   

Why mica? Because in the beauty industry, it’s widely used as a base for powder formulations and creates that shimmery glow we all know and love (highlighters, eyeshadows, pressed powders—we’re looking at you). Simply put, if you want high-performing color cosmetics, you need mica. But the mica industry can come with some alarming, unethical practices, including forced labor as well as child labor. Obviously, we won’t stand for that, so we recently took a deeper dive into our supply chain to confirm we, together with our suppliers, are upholding the “responsible” part of our sourcing.  

It Starts with the Source 

Mica is a globally sourced material, but our strong preference is to source domestically and sustainably from our supplier in Hartwell, Georgia. We work closely with this sourcing partner to ensure that they’re using the leading practices for sustainable mining and processing. (We’ve literally gone into their mines to trace our mica through to the manufacturing stages—when it comes to responsible sourcing, we’re not messing around.) We’re proud to be leading the way. 

Of course, all mica is not created equal, and in order to create certain effects with some of our color cosmetics, we have to reach beyond our mica partners in Georgia. When it comes to our global sources, we’re committed to transforming the way the mica industry works and supporting the many people who help bring our products to market. We can’t do this alone, so we sought out two partnerships as we dove even deeper into our  mica supply chain.  

A Partnership to Be Proud Of  

If the name Kailash Satyarthi sounds familiar, it’s because he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014. He also was featured in a Participant Media documentary called The Price of Free (watch this ASAP—it’s free on YouTube). Kailash is one of the most credible leaders working to eradicate child and forced labor through the creation of child-friendly villages.  We’re proud to be designing a custom program with the KSCF, to support children in the Jharkhand region of India (a hotspot for international mica mining) while also working with the local community to better understand the mica industry’s opportunities for change.

As an international buyer, we believe it’s critical that we listen to the needs of the communities impacted. Too often, international companies implement solutions that aren’t what communities want or need. As we ramp up our work on the ground, we’re listening closely to make sure we are helping find the right solutions on the ground.  

Using Technology to Increase Transparency  

You’d think most suppliers know where their mica comes from—but this isn’t necessarily the case. So we’ve also partnered with Sourcemap, a technology platform founded at MIT that is helping us map our entire supply chain to give us fuller visibility as to where our mica is sourced—mine by mine, day by day. The level of transparency we’re seeking in this industry is unprecedented, and in a super-secretive industry, this information isn’t easy to come by. With the help of Sourcemap and participation from our suppliers, we hope to share a traceable mica supply chain with you in the future. Eventually, we’ll be able to tell you exactly where the mica in your favorite eye shadow comes from. Literally, straight from the source.  

Credit: BASF Colors & Effects

Striving for an A+ in Auditing  

All of this work is supported by our third-party audits of each and every mica supplier we work with. We started with obtaining certificates from our mica suppliers, noting child labor wasn’t used—and this is actually where many companies start and stop. But understanding the issues in the industry, we wanted to learn more. After all, a certificate is only the first step inside the complicated story of where products come from.  

In the past year, we have audited 100% of our suppliers via phone—and taken it a step further. We enlisted the help of a well-respected third-party auditing firm and personally hopped onto planes, trains, and ferries around the world in order to be the first beauty brand to have implemented our rigorous responsible sourcing standards for on-the-ground audits of our mica supply chain. By the end of 2020, we will have conducted third-party traceability audits of all of our mica mine locations—a radical step towards transparency in the beauty industry.  

Creating a Toolkit for Change 

As we learn more about responsible sourcing, we want to share our best practices with other leaders in the beauty industry. Early next year, we will launch our public toolkit for beauty companies (and beyond) seeking to validate their supply chains.  

We look forward to sharing our progress with you as our journey evolves. It would have been easier to just get a certificate from suppliers and call it a day. But real change takes hard work, and we don’t take the easy route.  

Thank you for continuing to support a beauty brand that is doing everything in our capacity to have a vetted, responsible mica supply chain. You make us want to do beauty, better.  

Want to Stay in the Know?  

Be sure to follow along as we share our responsible sourcing journey.  

Good (Clean) Scents for All: Our Sacramento Safer-Fragrance Lobby Day

Between allergens and harmful chemicals, the term ‘fragrance’ can be frightening. In the personal care industry, companies can use this umbrella term to hide the ingredients behind their scents, meaning the public never has to know what is truly making up their favorite perfume. This is known as the “fragrance loophole.”

The truth is, many fragrances may contain harmful ingredients and chemicals—like those found on our Never List™.  (Luckily, we put all our ingredients through our rigorous ingredient selection process—so you can enjoy safer scents with plenty of clean benefits.)

Here’s more good news: companies like Beautycounter are moving the beauty industry forward by proactively listing our fragrance ingredients on our product labels. For example, we fully disclose EU allergens in our Countertime line, and we have always been fully transparent in disclosing the essential oils and natural fragrances we use to scent our products.

Our Day in Sacramento

On August 14, Beautycounter, along with 15 Consultants, participated in a lobby day in Sacramento, CA, urging legislators to support the Safer Fragrance bill (SB 574). This bill requires manufacturers to disclose any fragrance ingredient in personal care products sold in California if they are identified as harmful to health and present on one of 23 authoritative lists referenced in the bill (for example, Prop 65).

To give this bill its best shot at being passed, more than 70 participants spent the day walking the halls of the California state legislature, meeting with more than 80 member offices and asking them to vote “yes” when the bill reaches the Assembly Floor.

Passing this bill would be huge.

SB 574 would be the first bill ever in the US to require the disclosure of fragrance ingredients. Consumers today are rightly demanding more transparency in the products they purchase for themselves and their families. The Safer Fragrance bill would empower consumers to make healthier choices and more informed decisions.

We are also working with other like-minded organizations we love, like Breast Cancer Prevention Partners, Women’s Voices for the Earth, Black Women for Wellness, as well as breast cancer survivors and salon professionals. We came out in numbers and our presence was definitely felt.

Friends, the work never stops. Here’s what you can do.

Take our text action. Text SAFERSCENT to 52886 to urge California legislators to close the fragrance loophole and support the passing of the bill.

Follow our progress. Be sure to check out @beautycounter on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for the latest on the bill!


We’re Thinking Outside the Box

As the leader in the clean beauty movement, we pride ourselves on caring about every single ingredient that goes into our products. Jojoba, green tea, avocado, apricot, beeswax—you’ll find many naturally derived ingredients in our #betterbeauty supply, as well as carefully crafted safer synthetics. We’ve even gone so far as to ban 1,500 ingredients that are known to be potentially harmful or questionable—we call this The Never List™.

But it doesn’t end there: we also care about the impact our products have on the environment. Bottom line: our packaging has high standards, too. Here are five ways our sustainable packaging initiatives are making clean beauty look even better.

Never List: Packaging Edition

Similar to our ingredient Never List, we have certain materials we prohibit or restrict in our packaging. BPA is one of them, as it may leach into the products when heated, thus contaminating formulas. We also do not use vinyl, as it can release phthalates, which are known endocrine disruptors.

Here’s what else you won’t find in our packaging:

  • Polycarbonate
  • Polymethylmethacrylate (Acrylic)
  • Polyurethane
  • Polyvinyl Chloride
  • Polyvinyl Siloxane
  • Styrene Acrylonitrile
  • Styrene Butadiene
  • Styrene Butadiene Rubber
  • Styrene Butadiene Styrene
  • Thermoplastic Urethane
  • BPA/BPS
  • Plastic added phthalates

Just to name a few…

Reducing Our Footprint

If you are a long-time customer, you may start to notice a few things missing from your Beautycounter packages—such as plastic spatulas, overcaps, lid inserts, extra product literature, and cleansing cloth towels. By redesigning our packaging without additional plastic parts, we will eliminate an estimated 800,000 parts in the next year alone. *Pat on back*

We’ve also removed the secondary packaging (the box in which the product is placed) from the complete Countersun line, saving 450,000 cartons annually. Sun care never looked so good.

For the remaining secondary packaging, we use Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified only. The FSC sets the gold standard for forest-sourced products and independently certifies that those standards have been met. Basically, FSC only uses materials from environmentally sound and socially responsible sources—and in an economically viable manner.

Let’s Hear it for Glass

Did you know glass is recycled more easily than plastic? Whether recycled or in a landfill, glass doesn’t release harmful toxins that contribute to greenhouse gases, and doesn’t run the risk of ending up in our waterways. We did the math and found that in terms of energy, water, and waste it was more sustainable to launch our new Countertime line in glass.

As we rethought our packaging, we also decided to move our Countertime glass supplier closer to home, saving an estimated 5,200 miles distance per product. We estimate that this transition will reduce Countertime’s fossil fuel use by nearly 35% and reduce the line’s greenhouse gas footprint by about 38%. Although glass is heavier and more expensive to ship than plastic, it is more likely to be reused—and recycled into another product—than end up in a landfill.

We’re Rethinking Recycling (as you may have heard)

Ever stand over your trash can or recycling bin, holding a used Beautycounter product and thinking, “What do I do with this?” Good news: in partnership with How2Recycle®, when you shop our products, you’ll now have clear instructions on how to recycle or dispose of them, too. Look out for How2Recycle labels on our product web pages at beautycounter.com.

Keeping Score

We’ve developed a Packaging Scorecard that helps guide packaging design decision-making around sustainability, performance, and logistics. Unique to Beautycounter, the Packaging Scorecard was developed to enable us to simultaneously consider functionality, sustainability, cost, and aesthetic appeal. The tool incorporates indicators for energy use, water use, recoverability, emissions potential, supplier quality, and more. As we fine-tune this tool it will help us make better packaging decisions. Basically, if a packaging option doesn’t meet our standards, we aim higher.

Plus, we have two exciting initiatives in the works:

Can I get a refill?

With the transition to glass, we are also exploring refillables. We are aware that one of the biggest issues facing the beauty industry is the lack of recyclability of small products, such as lipsticks and eyeshadows. Refillables could simplify your vanity, ensure freshness of product, and reduce carbon emissions. Stay tuned!

Cleaning Up Our Oceans

Get this: we’ve begun exploring the use of ocean waste and recycled plastics for potential packaging solutions. Ocean waste plastic (OWP) represents an opportunity not only to recycle previously used material, but also to help remove plastic pollution from our beloved oceans and waterways. There are still questions about the sourcing and safety of this material so we’re carefully considering our brand safety standards during our research process. Throughout this exploration we’ve had the pleasure to partner with some incredible industry leaders and academic groups who are leading the charge in plastic solutions—including Algalita and Bureo. Both companies are on a mission to protect our oceans and to educate future generations to take a stand against plastic pollution.

We are also proud to put our advocacy efforts to good work in our sunny Santa Monica hometown. Last year, we supported an ordinance that required the city’s food establishments to use marine-degradable silverware. Plastics (#1-6), and bioplastic (#7) are prohibited under this ordinance. What does this mean exactly? Plastic utensils will no longer be entering our waterways or setting up shop on our beaches.  This ordinance is one of the most progressive in the country, and we’re happy that Santa Monica is leading the charge in policy protections for our beaches and oceans. Want in on the movement? Opt out of single use food utensils and bring your own. We love 5 Gyres’s ToGoWare Set.

Want to learn more about our outside-the-box thinking? It’s what we’re all about.