Beautycounter Takes Action in D.C.

This 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.

Endocrine-Disruptive Chemicals and You 

In 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. 

For example, 25% of pregnancies today experience one of four complications such as infertility, preterm birth, preeclampsia, and gestational diabetes.[1] These four outcomes can all be traced to higher exposures to phthalates and BPA, chemicals found in different types of plastics.[2]

Despite 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.

Beautycounter Consultants Hit the Hill 

Joining 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. 

What’s 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. 

In California, 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 ingredients. 

At the 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.  

[1] Pre-eclampsia and assisted reproductive technologies: consequences of advanced maternal age, interbirth intervals new partner and smoking habits (Tandberg et al)

[2] Trimester-specific phthalate concentrations and glucose levels among women from a fertility clinic (James-Todd et al)

Meet the Counteract Coalition

This collective 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.

Our members 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.”

“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,” 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.

Brands in the Counteract Coalition:

• Annmarie Gianni Skin Care
• Biossance
• Côte
• Credo
• Follain
• Goddess Garden
• Innersense Organic Beauty
• Josie Maran
• May Lindstrom
• OSEA
• Peet Rivko
• Primal Pit Paste
• Rahua Hair Care
• rms beauty
• Seventh Generation
• Silk Therapeutics
• SkinOwl
• S.W. Basics
• tenoverten
• the detox market
• Vapour Organic Beauty

What Does “Clean” Really Mean?

 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 created this process because scientific evidence told us we could make better beauty products. Noted medical organizations and academic institutions have highlighted the link between the chemicals found in our environment—including personal care products—and public health. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Endocrine Society all recognize the link between exposure to environmental agents and health and have endorsed the Personal Care Products Safety Act which empowers the FDA to begin reviewing ingredients used frequently in beauty products.  

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.  

Beautycounter Launches A New Green Initiative

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: 

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: 

●      How to prepare the product for recycling (e.g., before recycling, empty, rinse, and discard cap) 

●      Degree of recyclability (widely recycled, check locally, not yet recycled, or store drop-off) 

●      Component 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. 

— 
   
Unilever, J&J Campaigns Aim to “End Bottle Bias”, Boost Bathroom Recycling. Sustainable Brands. Link
   
The New Plastics Economy: Rethinking the future of plastics. World Economic Forum, Ellen MacArthur Foundation, and McKinsey & Company. 2016. Link
   
Image source: How2Recycle 

This is Big: Beautycounter Joins the United Nations Global Compact

This is Big: Beautycounter Joins the United Nations Global Compact

One of the things we’re proudest of is our mission, because it goes beyond our company, our local community—and even our industry. Making a positive impact on people and ecosystems across the globe is incredibly important to us, and we couldn’t do it without some help. So, what we are about to announce is a big deal.

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OCTOBER IS BREAST CANCER PREVENTION MONTH

OCTOBER IS BREAST CANCER PREVENTION MONTH

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 two organizations spreading the word about prevention: Breast Cancer Prevention Partners (BCPP) and Keep A Breast.

Continue reading “OCTOBER IS BREAST CANCER PREVENTION MONTH”