Controlling Contaminants in the Beauty Industry

Outdated and under-regulated in the US, the beauty industry is a crowded, confusing marketplace with many products and manufacturers making bold claims. It’s difficult to discern fact from fiction, and choose products that are both safer and effective. That’s why we make transparency and consumer education a top priority… it’s central to who we are at Beautycounter.

Our mission is to get safer products into the hands of everyone, and we have a lot to share about what it takes to make better beauty products. We’ve talked about the “fragrance loophole”, heavy metals in color cosmetics, health impacts of harmful ingredients, nanomaterials and more, and we’re just getting started.

Below, we’ll uncover one of the industry’s biggest secrets: contaminants which may appear at trace levels in raw ingredients or a finished product.

We’ve discussed this topic before – heavy metals can be found in color cosmetics, posing a challenge for businesses to control and reduce exposure to these toxic elements. It’s important to note that companies are not actively formulating cosmetics with heavy metals—instead, trace levels can contaminate raw ingredients, which are then used to create the product.

There are other common, hard-to-control-for contaminants found throughout the industry. For example, raw ingredients come into contact with various materials before they make their way into a formulating lab. And they can be stored in plastic totes for weeks or months, during which time leaching of chemical additives may occur. Even in the most state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities, sometimes hot liquids are passed through plastic tubes or pipes that transport the product bulk to the final packaging.

Additionally, it’s possible for suppliers to pre-preserve raw materials with undisclosed preservatives, such as: parabens, formaldehyde releasing agents, etc. This widespread issue has been one of our top legislative priorities in Congress since 2015.

At Beautycounter, we do our best to control contaminants, while always looking for ways that the industry can do better. We third-party test color cosmetics at three different points in the development cycle. We’ve worked with our partners to implement quality assurance checks during the manufacturing process and replace plastic storage vessels with stainless steel. And we spot check finished products.

The truth is, even with all the layers of quality control, strict supplier rules, and our best attempts to eliminate trace contaminants, we can’t currently control the entire supply chain. It’s the primary reason we work tirelessly with our elected officials for stronger laws governing the beauty industry. The need for transparency throughout our entire supply chain is of the utmost importance for safer cosmetics, but without federal regulation, our partners (and their partners) aren’t obligated to disclose critical information to us, or other safer beauty brands trying to do the right thing.

So, our promise to you is this:

We will work with our suppliers and manufacturing partners to control and eliminate contaminants as much as we can. As new information becomes available to us, we will update our processes and assets to reflect our high standards of safety and performance. And we will be candid with you about our successes – and struggles – in making safer products in a vastly unregulated industry.

As always, thank you for joining us on this journey.

Email Congress and ask your elected officials for better beauty laws HERE.