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. 

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.  

A Conversation on Brows with Kristie Streicher

With the launch of our new Brilliant Brow Gel, we’ve got brows on the mind and wanted to go straight to the guru, Kristie Streicher. Kristie is a co-founder of STRIIIKE, a cult-favorite beauty salon in Beverly Hills that she runs with her sisters, Jenn and Ashley, who specialize in makeup and hair, respectively. (Talk about triple threat!) Having worked with countless celebrities, Kristie has achieved brow-guru status—she’s best known for her feathered brow and believes in the power of the hair you leave, rather than the hair you tweeze (read: waxing is a no-no in her book).   

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How to Master the Perfect Brow

Brows are such a statement-making feature, and when groomed well, they can transform your face and add beautiful definition. So, in honor of the launch of our Brilliant Brow Gel, we asked our Chief Artistic Officer, Christy Coleman, to share exactly how she creates the perfect everyday brow. Watch the video to learn the two power products she uses for creating the ultimate arches, then read on for answers to all of your other burning brow Qs.  

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How to Apply Flawless in Five Like a Pro

Our Flawless in Five makeup kit is designed to be easy, but we all know that certain tricks of the trade can take an everyday look to the next level. Watch our video to learn how Christy Coleman, our very own in-house Celebrity Makeup Artist—a.k.a., Chief Artistic Officer—achieves that polished look we all covet in a quick five minutes (it was actually four, but who’s counting?). 

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Raise your ponytail’s volume with this weekend-ready style (and soundtrack)

Raise your ponytail’s volume with this weekend-ready style (and soundtrack)

When the weekend hits, sometimes all you feel like doing is throwing your hair in a basic ponytail and calling it a day. But taking your updo to the next level doesn’t have to require a lot of effort—and with the right music and styling tricks as motivation, it can even be a ritual you look forward to.

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5 BRILLIANT TIPS FOR USING FACE AND BODY OILS IN SUMMER

5 BRILLIANT TIPS FOR USING FACE AND BODY OILS IN SUMMER

Oils might not be the first skin solution you reach for when temperatures rise, but they can also be good in warmer weather—they’re actually lighter than the majority of creams. A few tiny drops will absorb instantly and seamlessly, smoothing fine lines and wrinkles, balancing out oil production, and soothing dehydration. The end result: Plump and radiant skin that feels nourished, healthy, and hydrated.

But all-over application isn’t the only way to use these glow-getting products. We asked our Chief Artistic Officer, Christy Coleman, for some face and body oil tips that you might not have considered. Read on for her genius advice!

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

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

Out of all the so-called “miracle” ingredients on the skin care scene, it can be hard to tell which ones are the real deal and which are little more than snake oil. One nutrient that’s proven to be worth the hype? Vitamin C—a powerful, safe, science-backed compound that doesn’t just refine your complexion, but actually protects it from future damage.

Here, we break down vitamin C’s benefits for skin, whether you should get it topically or through food, and how to find it on an ingredient list, since it usually goes incognito. (As all the biggest superstars often do.)

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