Celebrating Black History Month Through Uncompromising Beauty

Celebrating Black History Month Through Uncompromising Beauty

Getting safer products into the hands of everyone is our mission, and in celebration of Black History Month, we’re honoring the Black community by uplifting through action. 

Beautycounter has worked tirelessly to advocate for safer beauty and regulation of the personal-care industry, helping to reduce toxic exposures that disproportionately affect communities of color. This effort recently paid off with the passing of the Modernization of Cosmetics Act, which will allow the FDA to more effectively regulate the industry. These reforms mark the first meaningful change in cosmetics regulation since the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act was signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1938. 

In order to pursue safer standards in beauty, we look to the guidance of our Science Advisory Council—and integral to our mission to create a more equitable beauty industry is Dr. Ami Zota. Dr. Zota, a Columbia University Professor, investigates how social-structural factors, such as racism, classism, and sexism, shape beauty product use, environmental chemical exposures, and health inequities in women across the life course.  

To further underscore the importance of Black History Month, we’ll be interviewing Dr. Zota about her work and actionable steps that can be taken. Be sure to check back here later in the month for a link to the full video. 

And as we continue to push the industry beyond clean—in our aim to create uncompromising beauty for all—we pursue a holistic commitment to equity and inclusion among our diverse community of Associates, Consultants, and consumers.  

Unequal exposure, unequal harm  

Research[1] shows that Black and Indigenous communities as well as People of Color (BIPOC), experience higher incidences of certain chronic diseases, including diseases associated with harmful chemical exposures. Unfortunately, beauty and personal-care products can be a source of these toxic chemicals. This presents a unique opportunity for prevention. Over the past eight years, Beautycounter has made significant progress toward stronger regulation and systemic change through our product formulations, more responsible sourcing efforts, and advocacy.  

Our work, our promise 

The Modernization of Cosmetics Regulation Act was a big step in the right direction for our industry—but our work doesn’t stop there. We also pledge to actively advocate to address racial disparities when it comes to unequal toxic exposures. Thus far, we’ve helped pass two California laws: the Cleaning Products Right to Know Act and the Safer Salon Bill. These bills work to protect vulnerable populations like domestic professionals, 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.[2] 

We’ve also held two high-profile Congressional briefings, highlighting the disparate impacts of harmful ingredients on people of color, for Members of Congress and their staff. The briefings were sponsored by leaders of the Congressional Hispanic and Black caucuses. Beautycounter also helped pass two California bills that remove some of the worst offenders from personal-care products as well as promote greater transparency for fragrance ingredients, which can have links to cancer and hormone disruption.    

Through Beautycounter’s unmatched safety standards, we provide a broad lineup of safe and effective makeup, skin care, and body-care products. And to ensure our makeup products authentically serve diverse skin tones, we continue to expand our shade range options.   

Powered by community 

We understand the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion in our Consultant base, which plays a crucial role in achieving our mission of getting safer products into the hands of everyone. To this end, we have implemented various initiatives to support our DEI efforts. One notable example is our Beautycounter BIPOC Leadership Forum, where we collaborate with a group of BIPOC Consultants to develop resources and programs that promote diversity within our Consultant community and help us advance our goal to transform beauty into a positive force for good.  

Over at HQ, we work to ensure our HQ employee base represents the diversity of the world around us. One way we foster an inclusive workplace is by celebrating our Associate Resource Groups (ARGs)—and this month, Beautycounter’s Black ARG will host an outing to the Pasadena Black History Parade and Festival. 

 Actionable steps for change 

  • Join us February 23 in New York at our Prince Street store for an exploration into the Beauty of Inclusion with Beautycounter’s Sr. Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Jenny Aspinwall, alongside our esteemed local Beautycounter Consultants. RSVP here
  • Advocate for ongoing policy change and mobilize our community in support of clean beauty. Take action by texting BETTERBEAUTY TO 52886 in the U.S. to add your voice in celebration this month.  

[1] 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 

[2] https://www.finance.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Professional%20Beauty%20Association-%202014%20Economic%20Snapshot%20of%20the%20Salon%20Industry.pdf  

Today Marks an Important Step Forward in Beauty Regulation 

Today Marks an Important Step Forward in Beauty Regulation 

Today, Congress passed its Fiscal Year 2023 Spending Bill to fund the federal government through September 30, 2023. Lawmakers included the ‘‘Modernization of Cosmetics Regulation Act,” which includes important provisions to strengthen the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) ability to regulate cosmetic and personal-care products.  

Major provisions include:  

  • Mandatory recall authority which will enable the FDA to act when products harm consumers. 
  • Fragrance allergen disclosures which will require allergens to be disclosed to consumers. 
  • Registration of new Good Manufacturing Practices which will increase oversight and inspections.  
  • Requirements for safety substantiation to be on file which will force many brands to articulate what ingredients are safe.  

These reforms mark the first meaningful change in cosmetics regulation since the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act was signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1938. While we celebrate this progress, there is more work to do. The bill includes provisions limiting states from taking action on important cosmetic safety policies. We look forward to continuing our work with lawmakers to improve cosmetic safety laws, and to make all beauty and personal-care products safer for everyone. 

Over the past decade, Beautycounter has led the industry in urging policy changes to better protect the health and safety of all people, and we have continued to drive advocacy work this year. Collectively, the Beautycounter community has sent over 236,000 emails, made over 16,000 calls, and held over 2,200 meetings with Members of Congress. Many of the small wins in Congressional reform have been made possible by the 10 years of hard work from within the Beautycounter community and our partner organizations, as well as leadership from our champions and supporters in Congress. 

Beautycounter’s mission has always been to get safer products into the hands of everyone—and we’d like to thank our community for joining our movement to demand better beauty. Together, we helped pass the biggest change to federal cosmetic safety laws since 1938. Take it in. Celebrate it. And when we regroup in the new year, the work continues. 

Celebrating Native American Heritage Month Through Safer Beauty 

Celebrating Native American Heritage Month Through Safer Beauty 

Getting safer products into the hands of everyone is our mission, and in celebration of Native American Heritage Month, we want to highlight some recent national wins from this community, as well as share important science around environmental health impacts to Native American and Indigenous communities. 

At the start of the 117th Congress, five Native Americans served in the U.S. House of Representatives, the largest Native delegation in history. In 2021, Debra Haaland made history when she was confirmed to serve as President Biden’s Secretary of the Interior, making her the country’s first Native American to serve as a cabinet secretary. In August 2022, Alaskan voters elected Mary Peltola, the first Native Alaskan in U.S. history to serve in Congress.  

While representation has grown and some progress has been made, we have a long way to go—particularly as it pertains to protecting the health of this community.  

Advocating To Eradicate PFAS Chemicals From Consumer Products and the Environment 

Recently, California banned the sale of cosmetics containing PFAS—a.k.a., “forever chemicals.” Here’s a quick primer on PFAS: These chemicals are used in a variety of applications, and in beauty they can be used to create products like long-lasting lipstick, longwear foundation, and waterproof mascara. PFAS have been linked to a potential cause of cancer and numerous health harms. They are also known to pollute drinking water and persist in the environment, harming wildlife and ecosystems—along with people. That’s why Beautcyounter bans formulators from using PFAS ingredients in our products; they were added to The Never List™ years ago, and we documented our efforts to eradicate these ingredients from the beauty industry supply chain through our product development program, rigorous testing, and advocacy.  

PFAS chemicals also disproportionately affect Indigenous communities, particularly in Alaska, as groundwater across the state is contaminated by the “forever” chemicals. In addition, the food sources of Native American populations are also at risk. For example, marine mammals such as whales, walruses, and seals represent a significant component of the diets of Indigenous people in Alaska. However, metal contaminants and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)—both byproducts of manufacturing processes—have been found in concentrations from marine mammal samples that trigger advisories for severely restricted consumption. 

We believe that Native Americans (and all Indigenous peoples) should not be forced to choose between maintaining a traditional diet and protecting their health. Beautycounter supports recent EPA efforts to study, restrict, and repair PFAS contamination, and prioritizes the agency of disadvantaged communities. We also work at both the state and federal levels to advocate for safer ingredients not just in personal-care products, but also consumer goods in general. Eliminating ingredients like PFAS—and asking lawmakers to fund green chemistry initiatives—are ways we’re demanding change. You can join us by clicking here

Ethical Sourcing To Protect Indigenous Communities 

The science around Native American impacts calls us to action, as do similar issues in global supply chains. For this reason, we have responsible sourcing programs that focus on protecting communities in our vanilla, palm, and mica supply chains.  

Palm oil is an ingredient frequently used in the beauty industry for its moisturizing abilities, all while being safer and highly versatile. Unfortunately, the palm oil industry is a major driver of deforestation—which contributes to climate change and negatively impacts the low-income communities who live in areas where palm trees are prevalent. Palm harvesting has also displaced many Indigenous communities and is rife with abusive labor practices

For these reasons, Beautycounter joined the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), the leading organization that sets best practices around the production of palm oil. Transparency has always been our North Star, and being a part of the Roundtable means that we are able to better track where our palm oil is harvested and source more environmentally friendly palm oil. These efforts support our goal to create the safest products while always ensuring that both human and planetary health come first. 

Join us this month in honoring Native American communities by taking our text action and exploring resources within our 2021 Social Mission Report  to learn more.

VOTE 2022: Your Guide to the Midterm Elections 

VOTE 2022: Your Guide to the Midterm Elections 

2022 is a midterm election year. That means that this November, all 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives, 35 seats in the United States Senate, 36 gubernatorial seats, and thousands of state and local seats are on the ballot.   

This election is a chance to shape the future. You’ll have the opportunity to vote for candidates who will represent you in Congress and to vote on ballot initiatives that will affect the community in which you live.  

We gathered nonpartisan resources to empower and inform you, so that you can create a voting plan. Use the links below to ensure you are vote-ready: 

1. Make sure you’re registered to vote. 

First, visit Vote.org to check your voter registration status and, if necessary, register to vote (assuming the deadline has not already passed in your state).  

2. Make a voting plan.  

Once you’ve confirmed your registration status, make a plan to vote by looking up your polling place, finding early voting locations, or requesting a vote-by-mail ballot on Vote.org

In addition to Congressional seats, you will have the opportunity to vote in down-ballot races for officials such as State Senator, Mayor, and School Board Member. Visit Ballotpedia’s Sample Ballot Lookup tool to see what will be on your ballot and ensure you’re prepared to cast your vote. 

3. Consider working the polls.  

Once you have a voting plan in place, consider signing up to be a poll worker on November 8. Poll workers help Election Day run smoothly and are part of the critical infrastructure of our democracy. In 2020, the U.S. faced a record shortage of poll workers and over 700,000 people stepped up via Power the Polls to help address that challenge. If your voting plan is in place and you want to serve as a poll worker, sign up at Power the Polls.   

4. Read up on your rights. 

It’s important to know your voting rights. If you have any questions about when you’re at the polls or voting early or by mail, call or text 866-OUR-VOTE to speak with a trained Election Protection volunteer. 

At Beautycounter, we believe that beauty should be good for you. That’s why we are the most outspoken beauty brand on Capitol Hill. We also believe in taking part in our democracy. Your vote matters, and this election is an opportunity to elect lawmakers who will work to make our communities cleaner, safer, and better.  

After you vote, don’t forget to post a picture of you and your “I Voted” sticker on social media using the hashtag #BeautycounterVotes. See you at the polls! 

Policy Win: California Bans PFAS, Commonly Known as “Forever Chemicals,” From All Cosmetics 

Policy Win: California Bans PFAS, Commonly Known as “Forever Chemicals,” From All Cosmetics 

Last month, Governor Gavin Newsom signed legislation that bans intentionally added per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), commonly referred to as “forever chemicals,” from all cosmetics sold in California.

Co-sponsored by two Beautycounter partners, the Environmental Working Group and Breast Cancer Prevention Partners, The PFAS-Free Beauty Act is the latest of California’s hard-hitting actions to tackle PFAS.

This marks a huge win for the clean beauty industry. Unless cosmetics companies intend to formulate California-specific products, they will need to ensure that all products sold nationally are compliant with this new California law.

Here’s a quick primer on PFAS: These chemicals are used in a variety of applications, and in beauty they can be used to create products like long-lasting lipstick, longwear foundation, and waterproof mascara. PFAS have been linked to a potential cause of cancer and numerous health harms. They are also known to pollute drinking water and persist in the environment, harming wildlife and ecosystems—along with people. That’s why Beautcyounter bans formulators from using PFAS ingredients in our products; they were added to The Never List™ years ago.

An important thing to note about PFAS is that they can appear at various points across the beauty product supply chain, such as cleaners used on manufacturing equipment, undisclosed treatments of packaging and raw materials, and coatings for containers used for shipping raw materials and formulas.

These supply chain complexities play a significant role in why we advocate for more regulation and have openly addressed the issue with consumers. So, while a company may source with a higher standard of safety and quality in mind, trace levels of a chemical may inadvertently be introduced into a cosmetic product due to the complexities of the supply chain.

At Beautycounter, we work hard to minimize risks for a product to contain trace levels of a Never List™ chemical, due to inadvertent contamination through product testing and substantial disclosures from our suppliers.

Nonetheless, cleaning up the entire beauty industry is virtually impossible without strong federal regulation that holds all parties along the supply chain accountable. We are proud that Beautycounter has been the most outspoken brand on Capitol Hill calling for supply chain transparency measures to be included in federal legislation.

While this California victory is a major step in the right direction and absolutely should be celebrated, we still have a long way to go. Please join us as we continue to call on Congress to take action that ensures public health, and the environment are protected from harmful exposures associated with the beauty and personal industry. We will continue to keep you up to date on this important work and in the meantime, you can support our efforts by texting BANPFAS to 52886 to ask Congress for federal change.

Climate Week 2022: Celebrating Our Commitment to the Planet

Climate Week 2022: Celebrating Our Commitment to the Planet

As Climate Week NYC wraps up, we’ve been reflecting on what else we can do to help combat the climate crisis here at Beautycounter, as our mission to get safer products into the hands of everyone is now more important than ever.  

Protecting the health of the people and places we love is our number one priority—and that means committing to climate solutions that reduce our environmental impact. We know the window to act is small, and we’re committed to being a part of the solution through the following ways: 

  • Since day one, we’ve been a Certified B Corp dedicated to using our business power as a force for good. In 2021, we achieved our highest-ever B Corp score—97.7. 
  • We are committed to being carbon neutral by 2030
  • We conduct Life Cycle Assessments to guide decision-making for our packaging materials, and  we’ve also been piloting a tool from BlueBird that gives us data and insight to strategically design low-carbon and low-waste products.  
  • We calculate our annual carbon footprint for all scopes across our business in alignment with the GHG Protocol Corporate Standard
  • We partnered with the Pact Collective to provide a solution for our hard-to-recycle packaging.  
  • We’re actively participating in the B Corp Coalition, a coalition of more than 40+ beauty B Corps around the world who unite to share best practices, pioneer responsible innovation, and create transparency around outcomes in hopes of changing the beauty industry for the better.  
  • We’re a proud member of the Planet A Coalition—for the second year in a row, we’ve joined @ItsPlanetA and over 100 brand allies to pledge our continued commitment to climate action.  
  • Lastly, we’re working closely with our investors, the Carlyle Group, to help scale our work to develop decarbonization initiatives that can solve industry-specific challenges.  

In light of all this, we still have a ways to go. This is hard work, but we are committed to holding ourselves accountable to do better. For more information on our progress, look out for our annual Social Mission Report, and stay tuned as we plan to share more information on our climate goals before the end of the year. 

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month Through Safer Beauty

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month Through Safer Beauty

From September 15 through October 15 (and beyond), we at Beautycounter celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month by honoring the diversity of the Hispanic and Latinx communities. And part of honoring this community means uplifting through action. 

Our mission has always been to get safer products into the hands of everyone. The Latinx/Hispanic community among other BIPOC suffer from exposure to a disproportionally higher toxic load as it relates to beauty and personal-care products. Here are some ways we are taking action. 

With the help of our Science Advisory Council (our in-house team of academic researchers and scientists), we make sure we are considering vulnerable groups—including communities of color—when making decisions related to the safety of our products.  

  • A recent study1 that included 100 Latina teenagers, conducted by UC Berkeley’s Dr. Kim Harley (also a member of our Science Advisory Council), showed that when this group switched to cleaner cosmetics (without phthalates, parabens, triclosan, or oxybenzone) for just three days, they had a 25-45% drop in the levels of these four chemicals in their bodies.   
  • We helped pass the Cleaning Products Right to Know Act and the Safer Salon Bill, which protect salon professionals, hotel workers, and maintenance staff by providing them with information to make safer choices.   
  • We held two high-profile Congressional briefings, sponsored by the Congressional Hispanic and Black Caucuses, calling attention to the disparate effects of harmful ingredients on people of color.  
  • Beautycounter helped pass two bills in California that remove some of the most dangerous ingredients from personal-care products, and promote more transparency for fragrance ingredients, which can be linked to cancer and hormone disruption.   
  • Currently, Beautycounter is supporting federal legislation that requires the FDA to examine the effects of ingredients with a lens towards impact on vulnerable populations.   

DIVERSIFYING OUR COMMUNITY OF LEADERS IN CLEAN 

For us, education is fundamental for our #betterbeauty movement to succeed, and that’s why we prioritize Consultant programs that help raise awareness within their network and communities.   

We recognize that we have an opportunity to further diversify the 50,000+ strong Consultant base that supports us in our mission to get safer products into the hands of everyone. Through Mi Comunidad: Legacy Circle, one of our Consultant programs, we help develop leaders to be agents of change for the beauty industry. These programs include trainings, community webinars, newsletters and events held in English and Spanish, and the opportunity to engage on social media using our hashtag #Somosbeautycounter.   

“To be a Latina, for me, is to be passionate and resilient. To be loud about my values. To feel free to speak Spanish without hesitation. To bring Puerto Rican culture everywhere I go. My culture represents hard work and I celebrate it every day. I’m proud to have partnered with Beautycounter, because they are setting the bar in the beauty industry—of going beyond clean—and that means creating a safer future for all.”—Dhlama M., Sr. Manager Consultant 

EMPOWERING OUR HQ ASSOCIATES 

Over at HQ, our commitment to inclusivity goes beyond Hispanic Heritage Month. Last year we were excited to announce our partnership with Hispanic Association for Corporate Responsibility (HACR) Leadership Pipeline Program (LPP). This partnership was a two-day virtual experience for Hispanic/Latinx managers who aspire to accelerate into executive roles. We are always looking for opportunities to elevate and support our Associates.  

“As a proud Latina and lead of Voces, our Latinx/Hispanic Associate Resource Group, I love that Beautycounter is invested in DE&I (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) and the future Leadership development of our Associates. It’s important that we continue to stay committed to this very important work and ever-evolving DE&I journey.” —Jenny A., Senior Director of DE&I 

1 https://cerch.berkeley.edu/research-programs/hermosa-study 

Our Founder Gregg Renfrew’s Letter to Congress Regarding the FDASLA Bill

Our Founder Gregg Renfrew’s Letter to Congress Regarding the FDASLA Bill

Today, an important Senate committee voted on a piece of legislation that would comprehensively update the FDA’s regulation of cosmetic and personal-care products for the first time since 1938. It’s an important step in the right direction—and we’re proposing some changes we believe need to happen before it becomes a law. Read Beautycounter Founder Gregg Renfrew’s letter in full below:

 
June 6, 2022 

Dear Chair Murray and Ranking Member Burr,  

Beautycounter, the industry-leading clean beauty brand, and our tens of thousands of consultants across the country commend the Chair and Ranking Member for your bipartisan leadership seeking to modernize Food and Drug Administration regulations in the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Landmark Advancements Act (FDASLA) of 2022.  

We appreciate your recognition of this urgent need; however, there are several areas in which we hope you will strengthen the bill to protect consumers, raise standards in the beauty industry, and recognize the rights of states to guard their citizens’ health and safety.  

Beautycounter is a skincare and cosmetics company leading a movement to a future where all beauty is clean beauty. Since the company’s founding in 2011, Beautycounter’s mission has been to get safer personal care products into the hands of everyone. We go above and beyond to screen and assess every ingredient we use against our strict safety standards, which includes 1,800 questionable ingredients we never use in our formulations. Beautycounter is also a Certified B Corporation, a business dedicated to using its profits for positive change, leading the charge in the beauty industry through advocacy work. 

Beautycounter recommends the FDASLA be strengthened to bring us closer to ensuring that all cosmetics and personal care products are free from harmful chemicals. We urge the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions to make changes to the FDASLA that address the scope of federal preemption, create a more robust safety standard, and ban the use of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAs) in cosmetics. Below, we outline these recommendations in detail.  

Beautycounter specifically recommends the following modifications to the FDASLA language: 

  1. Address the scope of federal preemption to ensure that states can legislate to strengthen personal care product safety (Sec. 614). Beautycounter urges the committee to protect states’ ability to enact their own laws and regulations that protect the health and wellness of their residents by not preempting any state cosmetic safety legislation. Dozens of states across the country have passed state-level protections that limit exposure to harmful chemicals. FDASLA must ensure that states can continue to legislate to strengthen personal care product safety.  
  1. Create a more robust safety standard based on a “reasonable certainty of no harm” (Sec. 608). Beautycounter also urges the committee to include language that requires companies to consider the long-term health effects of ingredient use, including links to cancer, reproductive and developmental harm, and other health conditions. This would push companies beyond only considering acute reactions.  
  1. Ban the use of PFAs in cosmetics (Sec. 806). Beautycounter urges the committee to replace the proposed “assessment” of PFAs in cosmetics with  a ban on the use of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from raw materials and packaging used in personal care products. Current peer-reviewed scientific studies have shown that exposure to certain levels of PFAS may lead to a host of adverse health effects, including increased risk of cancers, interference with the body’s natural hormones, and developmental effects or delay in children. Curbing the use of these “forever chemicals” has attracted broad bipartisan interest and Congressional and state-level action in recent years. Existing bipartisan legislation in the House and Senate (H.R. 3990 and S.2047, the No PFAS in Cosmetics Act) would require the issuance of a rule to ban the use of intentionally added PFAS in cosmetics.

The use of harmful chemicals in personal-care products affects the daily lives of all Americans, who deserve to have access to safe products. A regulatory framework that prioritizes the safety and transparency of cosmetic products will ultimately protect consumers and make the American cosmetics industry more competitive, both domestically and internationally.  

We appreciate your consideration of these requested changes. We look forward to continuing to work with you as this legislation moves forward.  
Sincerely,

Gregg Renfrew

Executive Chair and Founder
Beautycounter

CC: Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee members

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month Through Education and Advocacy

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month Through Education and Advocacy

At Beautycounter, we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month by honoring the diversity of the Hispanic and Latinx communities in the United States. We acknowledge the powerful presence of this multifaceted group—the Hispanic/Latinx population was 62.1 million in 2020, and continues to be the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population, according to Census data—and praise their endless contributions to the evolution of our country. 

“Hispanic Heritage Month is not only a time where we come together and celebrate this community for their incredible contributions; but also, an opportunity where we can amplify the message that harmful ingredients in personal-care products disproportionately affect people of color,” says Beautycounter’s Senior Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Jenny Aspinwall. “As a Hispanic/Latinx woman and a mother, I am honored to be a part of an organization that is advocating for stronger regulations and systemic change.” 

La historia del Hispanic Heritage Month 

Hispanic Heritage Month is observed every year in the U.S. from September 15 to October 15. It’s a time to appreciate the contributions of Hispanic-Americans and Latin-Americans—those whose ancestors came from Central and South America, the Caribbean, Mexico, and Spain.  

The holiday was first introduced in 1968 by California Congressman George E. Brown, Jr. and made official by President Lyndon B. Johnson that same year, calling upon all people of the U.S. to celebrate the role of these communities in American history. 

Manos a la obra: Advocating for the Latinx/Hispanic community 

Beautycounter’s mission is to get safer products into the hands of everyone, and that means todas y todos. While advocating for federal cosmetic reform, we also must acknowledge that Hispanic and Latinx consumers, along with other communities of color, may have been disproportionately exposed to potentially harmful ingredients within the beauty industry for many years. This segment of the population has a strong cultural foundation for beauty and, according to research, spend more than the average consumer on beauty and personal care.1  

A recent study2 which included 100 Latina teenagers, conducted by UC Berkeley’s Dr. Kim Harley (who is also a member of our Science Advisory Council), showed that when this group switched to cleaner cosmetics (without phthalates, parabens, triclosan, or oxybenzone) for just three days, they had a 25 – 45% drop in the levels of these four chemicals in their bodies.  

With the help of our Science Advisory Council, our in-house team of academic researchers and scientists, we make sure we are taking into account vulnerable groups—including communities of color—when making decisions as it relates to the safety of our products. 

Our advocacy efforts over the past years have focused on the disparate impacts of personal-care products for people of color and vulnerable communities. Our education of policymakers on this important issue has resulted in several legislative wins with national impact: 

  • We helped pass the Cleaning Products Right to Know Act and the Safer Salon bill, which protect salon professionals, hotel workers, and maintenance staff by providing them with information to make safer choices.  
  • We held two high-profile Congressional briefings, sponsored by the Congressional Hispanic and Black caucuses, calling attention to the disparate effects of harmful ingredients on people of color. 
  • Beautycounter helped pass two bills in California that remove some of the most dangerous ingredients from personal-care products, as well as promote more transparency for fragrance ingredients, which can be linked to cancer and hormone disruption.  
  • Currently, Beautycounter is supporting federal legislation that requires the FDA to examine the effects of ingredients with a lens towards impact on vulnerable populations.  

¡Sí se puede! Empowering Consultants to be the change within their communities 

For us, education is fundamental for our #betterbeauty movement, and that’s why we prioritize Consultant programs that help raise awareness within their network and communities.  

Through Mi Comunidad: Legacy Leaders Circleone of our field programs, we help develop leaders inspiring change in the beauty industry. These programs include trainings and webinars, newsletters and events held in English and Spanish, and the opportunity to engage on social media using our hashtag #Somosbeautycounter.  

We recently highlighted one of our Consultants, Karla Vazquez, in our BCWorks video series. Watch it here, and below, read about how she expresses the pride she takes in being Hispanic in the U.S.:  

“To me, being Hispanic means: to love passionately and talk loudly. Hug and kiss without hesitation. Dance when I hear my Spanish music. Celebrate every event with delicious food.” –Karla Vazquez, Senior Manager, Mi Comunidad: Legacy Leaders 

On our @beautycounter and @leadersinclean social channels, we’ll be celebrating #hispanicheritagemonth by featuring Hispanic and Latinx leaders and influencers in the clean beauty arena, social media takeovers, HQ spotlights, and much more. Follow along to take part in the conversation. 

As we join our hermanas and hermanos during this important celebration, we reaffirm our efforts of education and advocacy towards a safer and cleaner future for all. Text BETTERBEAUTY to 52886 in the U.S. or 70734 in Canada to add your voice in celebration of this important month.  

1 https://nielseniq.com/global/en/insights/analysis/2021/multicultural-consumers-are-set-to-drive-beauty-growth-amid-continued-category-shifts-in-2021/ 

2 https://cerch.berkeley.edu/research-programs/hermosa-study 

The Truth About PFAS and Fluorinated Compounds

The Truth About PFAS and Fluorinated Compounds

Here’s the thing about bringing clean beauty products to the market: if you’re doing the real work, it’s really, really hard. As we’ve said for years, clean beauty is not just about banning ingredients—and our most recent journey into PFAS and fluorinated compounds is the perfect example of just how hard this work is. 

In the spirit of transparency, we want to bring you along on this journey (just like we have done with child labor in the mica industry, heavy metals in color cosmetics and phthalates in manufacturing equipment), because our work is always about progress over perfection. Each day we show up, aiming to take on the conventional ways of doing beauty, challenging the status quo. 

Here is a quick primer on PFAS ingredients, which are part of a class of fluorinated compounds. These ingredients are used in a variety of applications but are specifically used in the beauty industry to create products like long-lasting lipstick, longwear foundation, and waterproof mascara. Beautycounter bans PFAS ingredients from our formulations as part of the The Never List™.  The issue is that fluorinated compounds are also used in the beauty industry supply chain, which is very difficult to control, including cleaners used on manufacturing equipment, undisclosed treatments on packaging and raw materials, and coatings for plastic totes that ship raw materials overseas, and they even contaminate water supplies. 

These supply chain complexities are part of the reason we advocate for more regulation and have openly shared the issue with trace contaminants with consumers. Case in point, while all of our ingredients are sourced with a higher standard of safety and quality in mind, it is well recognized—and accepted by regulatory authorities around the world—that incidental, trace levels of a chemical may inadvertently be introduced in a cosmetic product due to the complexities of the supply chain and manufacturing process. At Beautycounter, we work incredibly hard to minimize—but unfortunately, can’t eliminate—the potential that a product may contain trace levels of a chemical from The Never List™ due to this inadvertent contamination.

This work is ongoing, and it brings us back to what we can control: our product development process. Knowing the desire for longwear finishes for makeup, we have spent years improving our formulas to have this desired effect without using PFAS ingredients. Select makeup products were tested for 23 commonly used PFAS ingredients in cosmetics and all the test results were “non-detect,” which is a scientific way of saying the chemicals we tested for are not detectable (for the discerning eye out there, the detection limit was less than 3 ppb). 

We also wanted to take things a step further and we sent select makeup products to a different lab that tests for fluorine generally (rather than just select PFAS ingredients). We selected high-risk makeup products, produced by three different manufacturers. 

So why test for fluorine? By way of background, the overarching family of chemicals called fluorinated compounds consists of over 9,000 different chemicals (PFAS are some of them and many are hard to test for), but they all break down into fluorine. Which is why we tested certain finished products for fluorine to see if there were other exposure points we should know about. 

The results for most of the products we tested showed non-detectable levels and other products we tested had minimal fluorine contamination found (at varying detectable levels).  We weren’t surprised by these results given the widely shared understanding that fluorine is a widespread environmental and supply chain contaminant (like heavy metals and phthalates as we have addressed previously). While we feel confident in the safety of our products, the testing inspired a complex journey to understand where the select contamination could be entering our supply chain. 

Here is an overview of our current approach to this issue and what we are finding along the way. Please stick with us until the end because we have a call to action that will help us address this issue in meaningful ways. 

1. We ban PFAS ingredients outright. 

We do not formulate with fluorinated compounds. They were added to our Never List years ago.

2. We ask raw material suppliers for certain high-risk products and packaging suppliers to verify, in writing, that they do not use fluorine treatments in our products and packaging. 

PFAS can sneak their way into products without companies knowing in a variety of ways, one of which is through the treatments of pigments on packaging. Pigments (also known as colorants) are sometimes treated with PFAS to help the color have lasting power. Oftentimes brands don’t know about these treatments and therefore, they don’t make their way onto product labels (legally treatments like these don’t need to be included on product labels). In addition, packaging suppliers may use fluorine treatments for packaging—specifically, certain plastics like high-density polyethylene (HDPE)—without necessarily disclosing this to brands. 

For certain high-risk products (makeup products mentioned earlier like foundation, mascara, and lip products) Beautycounter has requested in writing that raw material and packaging suppliers confirm that they do not use any fluorinated treatments in our products and packaging. Moving forward, this documentation will be requested for all new products and packaging (not just those identified as high-risk). Without federal legislation, we are taking suppliers at their word. Which is why we take things even a step further. 

3. We periodically test high-risk products for PFAS and fluorine. 

We recently tested certain high-risk products like mascara, foundation, lipstick, and lip gloss for 23 PFAS chemicals and the test results were “non-detect.” We also went further and tested certain high-risk products for fluorine, where the results were mostly non-detect, but minimal contamination was detected in some, which pushed us to continue on this journey.

4. We audit and press manufacturing partners for certain high-risk makeup products. 

The presence of fluorine without PFAS raises important questions as to the potential root causes of the issue. Fluorinated compounds are known to be highly effective cleaners in industrial settings. So, we promptly asked our manufacturing partners of high-risk products to confirm if they use any fluorinated cleaners, agents, or treatments anywhere in their facilities. Some of our manufacturers noted they didn’t use fluorinated compounds and others transparently shared how some fluorinated compounds are used in the manufacturing equipment. We are working with them to address the use of fluorinated compounds in their facilities. And as you might expect, given the persistence of fluorinated compounds, simply washing equipment doesn’t make them “go away.” (We are even going so far as to test water samples from three of our manufacturing partners. This testing is underway.)

5. Raw material and packaging testing

Fluorinated compounds can also sneak into products since they may often be used to treat the barrels that raw materials are sent in (even at the very beginning of the supply chain), where brands don’t have any visibility. Talk about a wild goose chase, right? 

In order to understand this, we initiated independent fluorine testing of all raw materials for select makeup products and the empty finished good packaging, so we could learn more about these as potential sources.  This testing is underway and will help us pinpoint and further inform future development and packaging selection.  

6. Advocate, advocate, advocate

Like we have discussed with other contaminants (heavy metals, phthalates, benzene), we believe getting to the bottom of a clean supply chain is virtually impossible without federal regulations that hold our manufacturing and raw material suppliers accountable. Beautycounter has been the most outspoken brand on Capitol Hill asking for supply-chain transparency measures to be included in federal legislation, including the recently introduced PFAS language (because banning PFAS outright is not enough). Please join us and demand that Congress and Parliament take immediate action to hold the entire beauty supply chain accountable. Without new oversight, it is hard for companies like Beautycounter to truly make meaningful change. 

We value transparency; it’s painted on the walls of our office. And to us, that’s not lip service, it’s the truth. We hope you value being brought along on this journey with us, because doing the real work to bring clean beauty products to the market does not start and stop with banning ingredients. 

It takes long and painful investigations. It takes pressuring raw material, packaging, and manufacturing partners. And it takes intentionally asking Congress to better regulate our industry. 

We will continue to keep you up to date on this important work and in the meantime, we need your help. Please support our efforts and text BANPFAS to 52886 to ask Congress for change.