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
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
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!
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:
Styrene Butadiene Rubber
Styrene Butadiene Styrene
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.
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.
Smell is one of our most powerful senses. One whiff of a perfume
or cologne can instantly transport us to another time and place: our
grandmother’s house, a childhood vacation, or a first date. Unfortunately, many
fragrances may also contain ingredients that have been linked to allergies, and
are on our Never List™.
The Fragrance Loophole
Believe it or not, it’s still industry standard to keep fragrance ingredients secret. This is known as the “fragrance loophole”, and it allows companies to shield their ingredients from the public, under the guise of trade secrets. At Beautycounter, we are committed to creating high-performance products that are also enjoyable to use, which is why many of our moisturizers, lotions, and cleansers are lightly scented with fragrances. But our commitment to transparency means we disclose all of our fragrance ingredients, so you know exactly what is in our products.
Following the EU’s Example
Beautycounter has long paved the way for transparency and disclosure. Not only do we disclose our fragrance ingredients, we are stepping up our game to list allergens that the EU mandates brands disclose. Although this type of disclosure has long been available to consumers in the EU, U.S. consumers have not enjoyed similar transparency. We are proud to be trailblazers in the U.S. beauty industry by providing this important information to our Clients.
Essential Oils and Natural Fragrances
The fragrance issue is complicated. We feel confident that the essential oils and natural fragrances we use in our products are safer than synthetic fragrances. However, some essential oils and natural fragrances contain naturally-occurring allergens. What this means is that we carefully screen our fragrances for allergens, knowing they are impossible to avoid completely. Moving forward we use only the safest essential oils and natural fragrances.
Our commitment to fragrance disclosure extends beyond our
products. Beautycounter has been a leading business voice advocating for the
passage of SB 574, the Safer
Fragrance bill in California. SB 574 requires manufacturers to
disclose any fragrance ingredient in personal-care products that is linked to
harmful health consequences. This would be the first major step towards closing
the “fragrance loophole.”
A pleasant scent should be enjoyed, but never undermine your health, or the health of your loved ones. That is why Beautycounter will continue to lead in transparently sharing each ingredient in our products. Safety and transparency will always be Beautycounter’s North Star, and we will continue to advocate and empower our Clients and Consultants to choose safer, healthier products.
past Tuesday was the 81st anniversary
of the passing of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act—the last major
legislation governing personal-care products.
The legislation is long overdue of an update, and the good news is that Congress is motivated to create comprehensive cosmetics reform. To help build momentum and continue to educate Members of Congress and their staff on this important issue, members of our HQ and Consultant teams—along with some esteemed members of the clean beauty movement—paid a visit to the Capitol to meet with key Members and hold a Congressional Briefing.
Chemicals and You
front of an audience of Hill staff, Drs. Ami Zota of George Washington
University, Tamarra James-Todd of Harvard, and Leo Trasande of NYU made the
connection between endocrine-disruptive chemicals and public health as well as
their impacts to the U.S. economy. These chemicals include phthalates, parabens,
and formaldehyde which are found across consumer goods, including personal-care
products. Moreover, certain populations are especially vulnerable to the
adverse health effects of these chemicals including children, teens, pregnant
women, and people of color.
example, 25% of pregnancies today experience one of four complications such as
infertility, preterm birth, preeclampsia, and gestational diabetes. These four outcomes can all
be traced to higher exposures to phthalates and BPA, chemicals found in
different types of plastics.
the prevalence of endocrine disruptors in everyday life, the panelists noted
that there are easy ways to protect ourselves and our families such as refusing
receipts which are typically coated with BPA and using cast-iron or stainless-steel
cookware rather than non-stick pans. Changes in public policy are also critical
to protecting public health as well as saving the U.S. economy billions in lost
productivity due to illnesses resulting from exposure to endocrine disruptors.
Consultants Hit the Hill
the Beautycounter advocacy HQ team in Washington were five Consultants who earned the
trip by building their businesses. Audrey Vargas, Jenn Torres, Morgan
Rasmussen, Nicole Christensen, and Dawn Parry each hosted one or more Pop-ups
this past March with an advocacy focus to earn the opportunity to come to D.C.
and meet with their Members of Congress. Beautycounter’s advocacy is built on
the collective voices of our more than 40,000 Consultants
across North America, and these five women made a significant impact by sharing
their personal stories with both Members and staff.
Next for Cosmetics Reform
Over the past six years, Beautycounter’s on-the-ground advocacy for better beauty laws has resulted in more environmentally friendly sunscreens, safer children’s products, and healthier work environments for salon professionals and customers. This year, we are working on 12 bills with significant impacts on public health.
the Safer Fragrance bill (SB 574) has passed the Senate floor, and we expect
the bill to reach the Assembly floor in August. If passed, the bill would be
the first of its kind in the U.S. to require the disclosure of fragrance
federal level, Beautycounter continues to work with Senators Feinstein and
Collins on moving forward S.726, the Personal Care Products Safety Act. We also expect a similar
bipartisan bill to be introduced in the House this year, granting the FDA the
ability to better regulate personal-care products. Last year’s passage of the Safer Sunscreen bill in Hawaii is also spurring federal
action as H.R. 1834, the Marine Sanctuaries Act, was introduced this year,
prohibiting the use of sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate in the 13
national marine sanctuaries across the U.S. and its territories.
Want to be up to speed on #betterbeauty laws? Be sure to follow Beautycounter
on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to
learn about the latest developments and how you can play a role in advancing
our mission to get safer products
into the hands of everyone.
 Pre-eclampsia and assisted reproductive technologies: consequences of advanced maternal age, interbirth intervals new partner and smoking habits (Tandberg et al)
 Trimester-specific phthalate concentrations and glucose levels among women from a fertility clinic (James-Todd et al)
of more than 20 clean, high-performance beauty
brands made its debut in Washington, D.C., in 2017,
led by Beautycounter founder and CEO Gregg
Renfrew. We’re thrilled to stand alongside some of the top leaders in our
industry to push for safer cosmetic ingredient laws. While many may balk at the
idea of working with “competitors,” we know that collaboration is key
to moving the beauty industry forward.
agree. “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,” says Kristine Keheley, co-founder and formulator at
Vapour Organic Beauty. Adds Jenefer Palmer, founder of OSEA: “Safe cosmetics
are a consumer’s right and our earth’s rightful due…we are thrilled to partner
with Beautycounter to create meaningful change.”
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,” says Johanna Peet, founder of Peet Rivko. “The time for this type of
smart regulation is long overdue.”
Counteract Coalition members will be
a unified front sharing the unique and important perspectives of the
rapidly growing safer and natural beauty industry. Our work will always
remain non-partisan—just like Beautycounter’s solo advocacy
efforts—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 safer personal-care brands to join the fight for ingredient reform, eventually bringing the U.S. 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.
Most dads wouldn’t pull their nine-year-old out of school for an impromptu camping trip in Mexico. But Jack Rose isn’t most dads. His son Jon, now 40, remembers “sleeping on the beach, just totally winging it and having no plan…it’s not surprising that I created a very similar lifestyle as an adult.” That nine-year-old grew up to lead a nomadic life as a pro surfer, crisscrossing the globe in pursuit of the best waves.
In 2009, Jon was hunting swells in Sumatra when a 7.6 earthquake struck, decimating the coast of Indonesia. It was by chance that Jon had brought along the vague idea for a charity—called Waves For Water—as well as ten ceramic water filters. Watching those filters in action at the Red Cross, Jon found his life’s purpose.
Before the earthquake, Jon had lived what he described as an aimless, “very self-indulgent lifestyle,” and his father had encouraged him to try giving back. Jack’s fatherly advice wasn’t idle talk: he’s a carpenter who had built rain-catchment systems in Uganda and Kenya. His passion and dedication are at the root of Waves For Water, where he works today and which helps communities in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Haiti, Brazil, Indonesia, and Africa.
In celebration of Father’s Day, this radical duo reflects on their love for adventure and their unshakeable bond.
Beautycounter: Jack, what’s the best Father’s Day gift you’ve ever received? Jack: The best Father’s Day [gift] I ever received was catching my son Jon when he was born at home. It was like catching a football; I crossed the finish line.
BC: What do you admire most about each other? Jack: What I most admire about Jon is his consistency and his integrity, and how strong he is for standing for what he believes. But not in a showy way. It’s more behind the scenes. It’s like the root of a tree, where it’s there, it’s solid, but he’s not trying to get any attention.
Jon: It’s really hard for me to say what I admire most about my dad because there’s a lot of things, but I think the key piece since I’ve been a kid is just to really stay adventurous. At a very young age, he was showing me a lot of unorthodox adventures and experiences. I look back now, and I can see that they were really different choices for a parent to make. I’ve carved a different path for myself as a result, and when I have a family, I will probably do the same for them.
BC: Tell us a little about your father-son work dynamic. Jack: If we have a really big decision to make in our life, we run it by each other. We don’t ask for an immediate response. It’s just like, meditate on that. We totally trust each other, so it’s great to get that reflection and feedback that perhaps is better than you can do for yourself.
Jon: Our transparency is so deep-rooted and embedded that we don’t even have a conscious system, it’s just the way we are. Like he said, we run every big decision by each other. We are partners in crime, you know—we have been forever. And that goes across the board, heavy times, light times, we’re just there to keep each other honest.
BC: Jon, what makes your dad a Counterman? Jon: My dad is definitely a Counterman. Counterculture in the best way. He has carved his own path since day one. He’s got a very special way of looking at things. It’s very creative. Very expansive. And I’ve learned a lot from that.
Want to shop for the Countermen in your own life? Click here
At Beautycounter, we believe beauty should be good for you, and the ingredients we choose to use in our products back up this belief—they are clean, safe, and never harmful to your body. However, we do occasionally get asked: “Does it really matter?”
It’s a good question—and we get it. There’s a lot of information out there, and it’s hard to know who and what to trust. When you walk into a drugstore, you probably see a ton of claims on shampoos, lotions, and makeup: “clean,” “natural,” “paraben-free,” “non-toxic,” just to name a few. It’s important to understand that the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) actually has little regulatory authority to oversee personal care products and their marketing claims. So, you’re right to feel a little suspicious.
However, we never use safety as a marketing tactic, because we know personal care products can have a meaningful impact on our health. That’s why science-backed research is so important to us. Our Never List contains over 1,500 questionable ingredients that are never used in our formulas—this is our definition of clean beauty. In addition, we rely on our five-step ingredient selection process to inform each ingredient that we choose to include in our formulations.
We rely on the research that institutions such as Mount Sinai and UCSF have published describing the endocrine-disruptive (a.k.a. hormone-disruptive) effects of chemicals found in the environment, including personal care products, cleaning products, and other consumer goods. These chemicals have been shown to increase the risks of disease later in life as well as negatively affect the human reproductive system.
Lastly, government bodies (a.k.a. organizations affiliated with the government) have proven the disparate impacts of personal care products on people of color. One of the studies also shows, however, that making a few changes can have an immediate beneficial health impact.
For example, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) notes that women have higher levels of parabens in their bodies than men and that African-Americans have been tested to have the highest levels of parabens. The HERMOSA study, funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), found that switching to personal care products with lower levels of endocrine-disrupting ingredients can lead to dramatic reductions in the levels of harmful chemicals in teen girls.
So, to answer the question: “Does it really matter?” Yes, it does. We believe that everyone deserves safer personal care products and we’ll always turn to science to verify safety. If we’ve peaked your interest and you want to learn more, we recommend reading Sicker, Fatter, Poorer by Dr. Leo Trasande, a noted leader in children’s environmental health.
Follow us on social media @Beautycounter for more resources on how to limit your environmental exposure.
Ever stand over your trash can or recycling bin, holding a used Beautycounter product, thinking, “What do I do with this?”
Yeah, so do we.
There’s a reason it’s confusing: the infrastructure
that handles our recycling does not always capture small items (the technical
term is “Small Format Packaging”), even if they are made from recyclable
materials. This renders many bottles, jars, compacts, and other commonly used
personal-care packaging unrecoverable —regardless of the materials used.
But even if this infrastructure is optimized,
human behavior must change. In fact in 2016, only
14 percent of Americans reported recycling bathroom items at all1.
That’s why Beautycounter is
working towards innovative sustainable packaging: so our products
can be recycled more easily—and after their first use.
You may be curious as to why we have decided to transition to a new disposal labeling system now, and our answer is this: when we began using our past system, it was the best option available to us. The recycling industry is complicated and constantly evolving. It’s directly impacted by the specific recycling facility’s infrastructure, state and federal policies, and how much a material is worth for resale, which is always changing. We have partnered with How2Recycle® to better understand this landscape, as well as to help pass that knowledge on to our Consultants, Members, and Clients. We are constantly striving to evolve our sustainability practices, and will continue to share our journey because transparency is important to us. At the end of the day, progress and positive impact—not perfection—are our goals.
Being part of the solution:
For us, conserving natural resources is about
improving our ability to make better products, as well as protecting the places
we live and play in. That means addressing a few critical issues head-on.
Plastics are a key part of most consumer
goods packaging. They allow us to create, move, store, and use countless
things, but most of the plastics we interact with in our daily lives do not end
up getting recycled. It’s estimated that 95% of the value of plastic packaging
material is lost to the economy each year. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation
estimates that this lost value translates to $80-120 billion per year2—more
than the GDP of many nations. Here’s the good news: we are working hard to
figure out ways to help.
In the coming year, Beautycounter intends
to begin the shift towards putting more products in plastics that are widely
recycled, and also to
replace plastics with alternative materials—such as glass—wherever possible.
This is an evolving process, but we are committed to making great strides in
the coming year. In the meantime, one of our biggest challenges is ensuring
that as much of our packaging as possible makes it to recycling facilities.
One of our highest priorities is figuring out ways to minimize the environmental impacts of our products, packaging, and operations—and it starts with each one of us. That’s why we’ve partnered with How2Recycle®, a standardized labeling system that clearly and concisely communicates disposal instructions that everyone can understand.
By combining the most critical pieces of information
into one easy-to-interpret symbol, it makes recycling simple and precise.
Starting today, you’ll see the labels on applicable product web pages at
beautycounter.com, allowing you to check whether certain product packaging is
widely recycled, recycled only in certain communities, eligible for store
drop-off, or not yet recycled. And late this summer, we will begin phasing in
How2Recycle labels on the packaging of new product launches, as size allows. (Any
products too small to accommodate a legible label on their packaging will have
guidance on their respective product web pages.)
Each How2Recycle® label includes the following information:
to prepare the product for recycling (e.g., before recycling, empty, rinse, and
of recyclability (widely recycled, check locally, not yet recycled, or store
and its material (e.g., plastic tube, glass bottle, metal lid)
You’ll see that some products are not yet recyclable. This means that many recycling centers will not recover the material, often for one of three reasons: it’s too small (think: lipstick), it’s made of mixed materials, or there is not a big enough market for that material in its recycled form (like dark plastics). The whole beauty industry is challenged by these limitations, and Beautycounter is committed to being a leader in getting more products recycled and recovered. And a gentle reminder: it’s important to keep non-recyclables out of the recycling stream, so please read your labels carefully.
How2Recycle® labels give you all the information you need to responsibly dispose of your Beautycounter products, so they can have future lives as parts of other fantastic products. Working with How2Recycle® also allows all of us to play a part in a movement towards greater stewardship of our natural resources. Thank you for your role in our journey towards #betterbeauty. It’s not only what’s on the inside that counts, but also how we package change.
As a company founded in California, Beautycounter is proud
of the groundbreaking work our state legislators have done in the area of
personal-care safety. This year, we are honored to lend our voice in support of
two bills recently introduced into the California legislature, which will
further protect consumers from harmful ingredients in the products they use
Know What’s in
The first, the Toxic Fragrance Chemicals Right to Know Act (SB 574), requires companies to report any fragrance or flavor ingredients in their products to the Safer Cosmetics Program in California. This program then makes the information public.
This bill closes the “fragrance loophole” which allows
companies to hide the ingredients used for a particular scent within the words
“parfum” or “fragrance,” even when that scent may contain chemicals of concern.
At Beautycounter, our commitment to transparency means that
we fully disclose all fragrance ingredients, and we screen and assess the
safety of each ingredient in our products. Moreover, to fragrance our products,
we use essential oils, natural products extracted from plants that are often
also beneficial to skin.
We are proof that it is possible to make safer beauty that
contains a pleasant aroma without compromising health.
Ban the Worst
The California Toxic-Free Cosmetics Act (AB 495), introduced by Assembly Members Muratsuchi and Wicks, creates a list of 15 ingredients and classes of ingredients that may not be used in personal-care products sold in California.
These 15 ingredients have long been included on The Never List, of which Beautycounter has pledged never to use in our products. Given the fact that California is the fifth largest economy in the world, if passed, this bill would mean safer personal-care products across the U.S.
Both bills must move through their committees of jurisdiction before being brought to the Senate and House floors. In the meantime, if you are a California resident, you can show your support for these bills by emailing your California legislators.
Just text SAFERSCENT to 52886 to support SB 574, and TOXICFREE to 52886 to support AB 495. Live outside the state? Share the text actions with your friends and family who live within the state to make their voices heard, too. Beautycounter will keep you updated on both bills’ progress over the coming months.
When you pick up a Beautycounter product, you know that the ingredients in the moisturizer, lipstick, or shampoo you hold have been rigorously screened as part of our Five-Step Ingredient Selection Process. But did you know that your dollars are also contributing to cutting-edge research that will lead to even safer personal care products across the industry?