8 Years, 8 Game-Changing Products

8 Years, 8 Game-Changing Products

This month, we’re celebrating eight years of advocacyinnovation, and transforming the beauty industry. That’s right—it’s our birthday, and we’re taking a minute to reflect on what we’ve been able to achieve since 2013.  

In 2011, our Founder and CEO, Gregg Renfrew, learned the United States only bans 30 ingredients from personal-care products. (For context, the European Union bans over 1,400. Canada? Over 600.) Beautycounter launched two years later with two very specific goals: first, to become the leader in clean beauty by developing safer high-performing clean skin care and makeup, and second, to advocate for stricter beauty laws—because everyone deserves access to safer products.   

Despite many wins over the past eight years, we’re just getting started—there will always be more to accomplish and bigger milestones to reach. We’re constantly evolving, and dedicated to becoming more sustainable, and more innovative, more effective. Of course, we can’t help but look back and feel proud of everything we’ve achieved so far. Here’s to many more years of changing beauty forever, one innovative, game-changing product at a time. 

A #BETTERBEAUTY TIMELINE 

Here are some of our biggest wins—and the iconic, clean products we created along the way. 

2013: A Safer Sheer Lipstick 

B-Corp-certified from the very beginning, we set out with the mission of getting safer products into the hands of everyone. We debuted with an early version of our Counter+ Facial Oils and our first step into the makeup game: Sheer Lipstick. Reinventing that product in 2020 as Sheer Genius Conditioning Lipstick shows just how far we’ve come. 

What makes Sheer Genius Conditioning Lipstick a game-changer? 

Mindfully sourced vanilla: ECOCERT-certified organic vanilla from Madagascar is responsible for this lipstick’s signature sweet scent. Our woman-owned supplier is committed not only to sourcing the highest quality of vanilla, but also to improving the quality of life for its community of farmers. 

2014: A Clean Tinted Moisturizer 

Year two was kind of a big deal: we introduced our cult favorite Cleansing Balm (which, to this day, remains one of Gregg’s favorite products) and our best-selling, award-winning Dew Skin Tinted Moisturizer

What makes Dew Skin Tinted Moisturizer a game-changer? 

Safer SPF and skin-care benefits: Dew Skin’s SPF 20 comes courtesy of non-nano zinc oxide, an effective mineral sunscreen active ingredient that physically bounces the sun’s rays away. What’s out? Octinoxate and oxybenzone, two common sunscreen ingredients that contribute to the collapse of coral reefs. The lightweight formula is also infused with a blend of black currant seed oil and peony root extract, and is clinically proven to increase skin firmness and elasticity**. 

*Based on a 32-subject consumer perception study after eight weeks of daily use. 

**Based on an independent 28-women clinical evaluation study after eight weeks of daily use. 

2015: A Lip Gloss That Goes Beyond 

In 2015, we saw our advocacy in action. We helped pass the Oregon’s Toxic-Free Kids Act, requiring manufacturers to disclose—and eventually remove—harmful chemicals from children’s toys, clothes, and personal-care products. Another win? We supported the US government in banning plastic microbeads with the passing of the Microbead-Free Waters Act.  

This was also the year we launched Lip Gloss—the first generation of what you now know as Beyond Gloss (okay, now we feel old). Reimagining these original products to improve their safety, efficacy, and shade ranges goes to show that there’s always room for clean improvement, and we won’t stop pushing ourselves to do better. 

What makes Beyond Gloss a game-changer? 

Next-level shine: The formula for Beyond Gloss formula features the same responsibly sourced vanilla as our Sheer Genius Conditioning Lipstick, plus our BeyondShine Filter Effect, a unique light-bending technology that captures a rainbow of colors and filters them for multidimensional luster and an ultra-glossy look. 
 

2016: A New Way to SelfCare 

This year, we held our first congressional briefing in Washington, D.C. It was also the year we introduced our Counter+ Charcoal Facial Mask, the perfect combo of clean ingredients and simplified self-care (because we’re big believers in an impromptu spa night). 

What makes Charcoal Facial Mask a gamechanger? 

Its high-performing formula: Our mask is formulated with nutrient-rich kaolin clay to purify, detoxify, and clarify for visibly minimized pores and a calmer, smoother complexion. Pro Tip: If you’re making the switch to clean deodorant, you can apply this mask to your underarms to speed up the detoxifying process. 

2017: Science-Backed Hydration 

In 2017, we helped pass the Cleaning Product Right to Know Act, bringing ingredient transparency to cleaning products sold in California. It was also the year we founded the Counteract Coalition, a collective that has grown to over 30 like-minded businesses in the beauty and skin-care industries fighting for more health-protective laws in Washington, D.C. Last, but definitely not least, we introduced Countermatch Adaptive Moisture Lotion—one of our most innovative, scientifically advanced skin-care products to date. 

 What makes Adaptive Moisture Lotion a gamechanger? 

Serious innovation: This lightweight lotion adapts to skin throughout the day* to keep up with modern life. Not only does it provide up to 24 hours of hydration,** it offers the essential building blocks of hydration, nutrition, and oxygenation to keep skin soft, smooth, and glowing. Best of all? It’s formulated without sulfates, formaldehyde releasers, or ethoxylated surfactants (which are toxic to the aquatic environment due to their persistence). 

Real results: After just two weeks* :

 94% said it provided instant and long-lasting hydration 

94% noticed skin looked smoother 

90% said skin looked and felt healthier 

*Based on a 31-subject consumer perception study after two weeks of use

**Based on a 30-subject clinical hydration study over 24 hours. 

2018: A Gentle-Yet-Effective Peel 

We’re proud to count three major advocacy wins from that year: 

  • We advocated for the Safer Salon Bill, giving salon workers and consumers the right to access ingredient information in professional products. 
  • We supported Hawaii’s Safer Sunscreen Bill, which bans oxybenzone and octinoxate—known hormone disruptors harming coral reefs—from sunscreens sold in the state. (The bill became a law on January 1, 2020.) 
  • We traveled to D.C. again to hold over 100 meetings on Capitol Hill. Concurrently, hundreds of District meetings were held across North America—all asking for stronger personal-care product safety laws. 

On the #betterbeauty side, we introduced our compostable, biodegradable One-Step Makeup Remover Wipes and the blockbuster Counter+ Overnight Resurfacing Peel. This fan-favorite delivers the glow-getting results of other peels without harmful, irritating ingredients. 

What makes Overnight Resurfacing Peel a game-changer? 

Its gentle-yet-effective formula: Featuring a proprietary multi-acid complex, this leave-on AHA/BHA peel improves skin texture and boosts clarity without irritation or over-drying. With glycolic, malic, and botanically derived lactic acid, the formula clears away dull surface cells, while arginine and essential fatty acids help soothe to reveal a brighter, healthier-looking, renewed complexion.  

2019: The New Age of Aging Well 

In 2019, we introduced one of our proudest innovations to date: the groundbreaking, age-defying Countertime Collection. On the advocacy side, our CEO and Founder, Gregg Renfrew, was the first clean beauty CEO to testify at a hearing on cosmetic reform in Congress. We also supported Washington State’s Pollution Prevention for Our Future Act, which banned phthalates, (a known endocrine disruptor included on our Never List™) from consumer goods. Meanwhile, our Associates and Consultants traveled to Ottawa to lobby Parliament for stronger personal-care product safety laws. 

What makes Countertime Tripeptide Radiance Serum a game-changer? 

Retinatural Complex: A clean retinol alternative formulated with bakuchiol and Swiss alpine rose, for results that are comparable to retinol, without any questionable side effects. This transformative, rejuvenating ingredient visibly increases skin firmness and elasticity, while reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. (The sustainable glass packaging? An added bonus.) 

Real results: After just four weeks of using Countertime Serum*: 

  • 97% agreed the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles was reduced 
  • 100% said skin texture felt smoother 
  • 97% experienced brighter and more radiant-looking skin 
  • 97% agreed skin felt firmer 

*Based on a 31-subject consumer perception study after four weeks of use. 

2020: The Better Brightener 

What happened last year? We helped pass two landmark clean beauty laws in California: the Safer Fragrance Bill, which takes a significant step towards closing the “fragrance loophole,” and the Toxic-Free Cosmetics Act, which prohibits the use of 24 harmful ingredients in personal-care products. We also played a key role in the passing of the Sustainable Chemistry Research and Development Act, supporting green chemistry to help bring safer ingredients to the marketplace. 

As if that wasn’t enough, we got to watch beauty industry history in the making: on the heels of the 2019 cosmetic safety hearing, Congress held the first vote on a cosmetic reform bill in 82 years. 

Also noteworthy? Just a little, tiny launch that shook up the clean beauty industry and became our best-selling product everCounter+ All Bright C Serum

What makes All Bright C Serum a game-changer? 

Our unique 10% vitamin C blend: Because vitamin C can lose stability and effectiveness quickly, we worked hard to develop an ultra-stable blend of two forms of Japanese vitamin C to instantly brighten skin and reduce the appearance of existing dark spots. Meanwhile, its antioxidant-rich co-stars, turmeric and camu camu, help prevent new ones. 

Real results: After just eight weeks of All Bright*:

  • 100% said skin looked brighter 
  • 94% said it reduced the appearance of dark spots 
  • 97% said skin looked more youthful 
  • 94% said skin tone looked more even 

 *Based on a 32-subject consumer perception study after eight weeks of use. 

2021: Continuing Our Mission 

That brings us to today—we’re still actively advocating for cosmetic reform bills in the 117th Congress, still innovating, and still spreading the word about #betterbeauty. This is what changing beauty forever looks like: a marathon, not a sprint. We’re proud of our progress, but know that we’re just getting started. 

Ready to join us in the fight for stronger beauty regulations? 

Text BETTERBEAUTY to 52886 to ask Congress to pass clean beauty laws.  

In Canada? Text 70734 to do the same. 

And—as always—choose #betterbeauty. 

The Link Between BIPOC Women’s Health and Toxic Exposure

The Link Between BIPOC Women’s Health and Toxic Exposure

We are proud to announce a commitment of $100,000 to mission-aligned organizations dedicated to supporting racial equity. To date, we have selected three community-based organizations—Black Women for Wellness, Visible Men Academy, and Agents of Change—to be recipients of our donation, as we continue to invest more resources into organizations and internal staffing. Back in June, we also matched all HQ associate contributions to organizations of their choice working to fight racism.

Beautycounter supports the Agents of Change science communication program, a joint initiative between GW Milken School of Public Health and Environmental Health News, amplifies neglected voices in environmental health. Fellows are early-career scientists, health professionals, and public health practitioners from backgrounds historically under-represented in science and academia. The program’s mission is to increase diversity of thought and help shape the public dialogue on environmental health sciences, policy, and justice, while fostering a new cadre of diverse thought leaders.

Here at Beautycounter, getting safer products into the hands of everyone—regardless of where they shop—is at the core of our mission. And while we really do mean everyone, harmful ingredients in personal-care products disproportionately affect women of color. In the fight to change the beauty industry for the better, advocacy for stronger regulations and for systemic change is of vital importance. 

Research tells an upsetting story: Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) suffer from a higher incidence of chronic disease linked to toxic chemical exposure.[1] While various factors contribute to this statistic, personal-care products play a significant role and—importantly—create an opportunity for prevention.[2] 

According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a non-profit dedicated to protecting human health and the environment, Black people make up about 13% of the U.S. population, but their spending accounts for upwards of 22% of the $42 billion-a-year personal-care products industry. This margin suggests that the Black community is buying (and being exposed to) more potentially harmful ingredients than other communities.[3]  

Here’s What We Know—BIPOC Face Higher Incidence of Disease Linked to Chemical Exposure

One reason for this higher risk is that the hair products, skin lighteners, and nail polishes marketed to this community contain ingredients that are known carcinogens and hormone disruptors.[4][5] A December 2019 study published in the International Journal of Cancer found that women who used hair dye or chemical straighteners were at higher risk of developing breast cancer.[6] This link was notably higher among Black women who regularly use products such as relaxers that contain formaldehyde, a preservative that is linked to certain cancers, and feminine hygiene products which often contain phthalates, a known hormone disruptor. [7] In fact, the EWG’s research found that less than 25% of products marketed to Black women fall into their “low hazard” category. Beauty must do better. Another study from UC Berkeley found that when Latinx teenagers switched to clean beauty products, the levels of parabens and phthalates in their bodies dropped significantly within three days.[8] 

These findings show us two things: BIPOC have higher exposure to harmful chemicals in personal-care products, and switching to safer products can reduce one’s exposure within a short period of time. 

Here’s How We Can All Take Action  

Progress begins with education, but advocacy is key to effecting change. We praise the advocacy of organizations such as Black Women for Wellness, a Los Angeles-based leading environmental justice organization, who have reported on this disparity and created guides for minimizing exposure to potentially harmful ingredients.  

Our own advocacy for safer products has resulted in tangible steps forward for consumers, especially communities of color. Our efforts so far include the following: 

  • Two laws we helped pass: the Cleaning Products Right to Know Act and the Safer Salon bill protect vulnerable populations like cleaners, hotel workers, and salon professionals by arming them with information to make safer choices. These professions are dominated by women (often women of color) who are exposed to dangerous chemicals for long periods of time in poorly ventilated areas.[9][10] 
  • Partnerships with our friends at Black Women for Wellness as well as the California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative, which organizes and advocates for salon workers, a demographic that is composed of predominantly Asian women—with nearly 50% of Vietnamese heritage.[11] 
  • Holding two high-profile Congressional briefings, highlighting the disparate impacts of harmful ingredients for people of color for Members of Congress and their staff. The briefings were sponsored by leaders of the Congressional Hispanic and Black caucuses who recognize the importance of these issues to communities of color. 
  • Most recently, Beautycounter helped pass two bills in California that remove some of the worst offenders from personal-care products as well as promote greater transparency for fragrance ingredients, often linked to cancer and hormone disruption.  

We believe that access to products without harmful ingredients is a human right. By passing legislation to move the whole market forward, many industry players will be forced to innovate and create safer products for women of color. 

Meanwhile, at Beautycounter HQ… 

In tandem with our federal reform efforts, we’ve been working hard to offer more clean beauty products for women of color, including the introduction of a more inclusive foundation range with Skin Twin Featherweight Foundation.  

Because environmental justice and racial justice are inextricably linked, we will continue to place environmental justice at the forefront of our advocacy efforts. We know we must do more—and this is just the beginning.  

Finally, we also highly encourage making your voice heard with your hard-earned dollars. In support of Black History Month, below is a list of Black-owned beauty brands we love that deserve your support: 

Aba Love Apothecary 

Anne’s Apothecary 

Black Girl Sunscreen 

BLK + GRN 

Briogeo 

Dr. Locs 

Ellie Bianca 

Epi.logic 

Golde 

Hanahana Beauty 

Herb ‘n Beauty 

Hyper Skin 

I+I Botanicals 

Lamik Beauty 

Melanin Essentials 

Mented 

Meraki 

Minimo Skin Essentials 

Mischo Beauty 

NaturAll Club 

Naturally London 

Nyakio Beauty 

Obia Naturals 

Ooli 

OrganiGrowHairCo 

Oui the People 

People of Color 

Shani Darden 

Sienna Naturals 

The Glowcery 

Unsun 

Vegan Skin 

[1] Pestano, Leiba, Hawkins. (2016, December 6). Big Market For Black Cosmetics, But Less-Hazardous Choices Limited. https://www.Ewg.Org/. https://www.ewg.org/research/big-market-black-cosmetics-less-hazardous-choices-limited#ref20 

[2] Maningding E, Dall’Era M, Trupin L, Murphy LB, Yazdany J. Racial/Ethnic Differences in Prevalence of and Time to Onset of SLE Manifestations: The California Lupus Surveillance Project (CLSP). Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken)https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/acr.23887 

[3] Adamkiewicz G, Zota AR, Fabian MP, Chahine T, Julien R, Spengler JD, et al. Moving environmental justice indoors: understanding structural influences on residential exposure patterns in low-income communities. Am J Public Health 2011;101(suppl 1): S238–45 www.pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21836112/ 

[4] James-Todd, Tamara. African American and African-Caribbean women are more likely to use hair products that contain hormonally active chemicals (placenta, estrogen, endocrine disrupting chemicals), www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21626298 

[5] Zota, Ami. Women of color are disproportionately affected by environmental toxins such as beauty-product related environmental chemicals. This is independent of socioeconomic status. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28822238 

[6] Eberle, Sandler, Taylor, White. Hair dye and chemical straightener use and breast cancer risk in a large US population of black and white women. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/ijc.32738 

[7] Zota, Ami. Vaginal douching increases exposure to certain phthalates and contributes to the racial disparities in phthalate exposure. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26174070 

[8] Pestano, Leiba, Hawkins. (2016, December 6). Big Market For Black Cosmetics, But Less-Hazardous Choices Limited. https://Www.Ewg.Org/. https://www.ewg.org/research/big-market-black-cosmetics-less-hazardous-choices-limited#ref20 

[9] Harley, Kim et al. Reducing Phthalate, Paraben, and Phenol Exposure From Personal Care Products in Adolescent Girls: Findings From the HERMOSA Intervention Study. pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26947464/ 

[10] Professional Beauty Association, Economic Snapshot of the Salon and Spa Industry, Senate Finance Archive. https://www.finance.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Professional%20Beauty%20Association-%202014%20Economic%20Snapshot%20of%20the%20Salon%20Industry.pdf 

[11] Nail Files: A Study of Nail Salon Workers and Industry in the United States, UCLA Labor Center. www.labor.ucla.edu/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/NAILFILES_FINAL.pdf 

[12] Le, Trang. (n.d.). A Brief History and Unspoken Reality of the Vietnamese Nail Salon Worker. VSA Academy. Retrieved January 5, 2021, from https://vsacademy.unavsa.org/project/a-brief-history-and-unspoken-reality-of-the-vietnamese-nail-salon-worker/ 

The New Beauty Standard: An Update on Beautycounter’s Social and Environmental Efforts

The New Beauty Standard: An Update on Beautycounter’s Social and Environmental Efforts

Earth Day may only come once a year, but at Beautycounter we work to protect the planet every day by making environmentally conscious decisions throughout our business. And because human health and environmental health go hand-in-hand, we felt Earth Day was the perfect day to release this year’s Social & Environmental Responsibility Report. To learn more about our achievements, read the full report HERE and check out some of the highlights below.

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Advocating for Safer Beauty for Our 5th Anniversary

Advocating for Safer Beauty for Our 5th Anniversary

For the month of March, we are celebrating our 5th anniversary by advocating for safer beauty. At Beautycounter, advocacy is an important part of who we are. Using our voice to advocate for change is one of the ways we are working to fulfill our mission of bringing safer products into the hands of everyone.

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Earning Our B: Inside Beautycounter’s Highest-Ever B Corp Rating

Earning Our B: Inside Beautycounter’s Highest-Ever B Corp Rating

The New Year excitement may be settling, but we’re still in celebration mode. Why? Not only was Beautycounter recently re-certified as a B Corporation, but we received a score of 95—our highest rating ever, and a 14-point jump from two years ago. Here’s how we did it, and why we’re so proud of this major achievement.

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8 Ways You Helped Us Make Beauty (and the World) Better in 2017

8 Ways You Helped Us Make Beauty (and the World) Better in 2017

When you support Beautycounter, you’re not just making your own personal care routine safer. You’re also fueling our fight to get safer products into the hands of everyone. In 2017, we reached many important milestones in our advocacy work, charitable giving, and corporate responsibility efforts, and we couldn’t have done it without our Consultants, Clients, HQ staff, and brand partners. Check out some ways that the better beauty movement advanced last year, thanks in part to your loyalty.

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Why We’re Taking a Stand Against Phthalates in Canada

Why We’re Taking a Stand Against Phthalates in Canada

If you’re familiar with The Never List™, you’ll know we never formulate our products with phthalates. (Scientific research shows these chemicals are linked to endocrine disruption and birth defects.) So when we learned the Canadian government recently deemed these chemicals safe for human exposure—despite much evidence to the contrary—we decided to take action.

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Beautycounter Endorses the Personal Care Products Safety Act

Beautycounter Endorses the Personal Care Products Safety Act

We’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating—the United States hasn’t passed a major law regulating cosmetic safety since 1938. Yes, this is shocking, but we’re continuing to fight for change. Our latest move: An official endorsement of the Personal Care Products Safety Act (S.1113).

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