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 Climate 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. 

The #BetterBeauty Advocacy Update: Summer 2021

The #BetterBeauty Advocacy Update: Summer 2021

While this summer may still look different than years past, lawmakers across North America have begun focusing on legislation beyond pandemic relief. Public health remains a focus, and Beautycounter has been working to ensure cosmetic reform is part of the policy agenda.

Beautycounter Takes Action on Cosmetic Reform and Protecting Vulnerable Populations

Last year, Beautycounter helped pass the Toxic-Free Cosmetics Act, which bans certain per and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from personal-care products sold in the U.S. Used for its waterproof, long-lasting, non-stick, and stain-repellent properties, PFAS is found in cosmetics, non-stick pans, food packaging, and waterproof clothing, among many other household products. Unfortunately, PFAS chemicals can take decades to break down in the human body and the environment, and research has linked these chemicals to certain cancers, endocrine disruption, and fertility problems. We believe PFAS should not be used in the products (including raw materials and packaging) we use every day and have been working with federal policymakers on bipartisan legislation to ban these harmful ingredients in consumer products.

Introduced by Reps. Dingell (D-MI), Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Kuster (D-NH), and Katko (R-NY), the No PFAS in Cosmetics Act bans the intentional use of these “forever” chemicals in personal-care products. Similarly, we also support the bipartisan PFAS Action Act introduced by Reps. Dingell (D-MI) and Upton (R-MI), which is comprehensive legislation to prevent PFAS ingredients from contaminating drinking water, limits industrial discharge, and allows the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to clean up sites contaminated by PFAS across the country.

Additionally, Beautycounter supports five key cosmetic bills that were introduced this July which aim to address gaps in the regulation of personal-care products. They include:

  • Cosmetic Fragrance and Flavor Right to Know Act of 2021 – Similar to the CA Safer Fragrance bill, this federal bill requires disclosure of certain fragrance ingredients such as fragrance allergens that are harmful to human health and the environment.
  • Toxic-Free Beauty Act – This bill is similar to the CA Toxic-Free Cosmetics Act, which bans 24 of the worst offender ingredients from personal-care products sold in the U.S., including PFAS ingredients.
  • Cosmetic Safety for Communities of Color and Professional Salon Workers Act –Salon workers are continuously exposed to potentially harmful ingredients, and this bill provides transparency for workers to make more informed decisions. The bill also creates funding for the FDA to consult with community stakeholders on ingredient review and research grants to identify chemicals of concerns for communities of color
  • Cosmetic Supply Chain Transparency Act – Requires upstream suppliers like fragrance houses, contract manufacturers, and suppliers of ingredients to provide brands with ingredient disclosure and safety data.
  • Personal Care Products Safety Act – This comprehensive cosmetic reform bill introduced in the Senate requires the FDA to regularly review ingredients for safety, gives the FDA the authority to recall products that harm consumers, and creates higher standards for manufacturing practices.

This summer, the FDA also announced that it would consider people of color as deserving additional consideration when assessing cosmetic ingredients for safety. Taking into account the risk of vulnerable populations was one of Beautycounter’s key asks of the FDA as part of our participation in the joint FDA/National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) protocol development committee, where we advised the agency in developing cosmetic ingredient risk assessment protocols. This marks a significant first step towards closing the risk gap for people of color and their exposures to harmful ingredients in personal-care products.

Canada Makes Strides Towards Closing the Fragrance Loophole

When Beautycounter held our inaugural lobby day on Parliament in 2019, one of our key asks was for Health Canada to close the “fragrance loophole” which currently allows companies to hide potentially harmful ingredients under the term “fragrance.” This summer, Health Canada began the rulemaking process to take a significant step towards closing the fragrance loophole when it announced a proposal to amend the Cosmetic Regulations. Specifically, the FDA is considering requirements for brands to disclose fragrance allergens and allow consumers to access the disclosures. As a company built on transparency, Beautycounter has always listed every fragrance ingredient in our products, including fragrance allergens. We support the Canadian government’s efforts to provide consumers with the information needed to make healthier choices.

As cosmetic reform continues to gain momentum with lawmakers, our movement will continue to grow with your engagement. Use your voice to advance cosmetic safety in North America: text BETTERBEAUTY to 52886 in the U.S. and 18888867542 in Canada.

The Beauty of Being Made With Pride

The Beauty of Being Made With Pride

At Beautycounter, we are committed to getting safer products—made with trusted, obsessively-tested ingredients—into the hands of everyone, regardless of their race, religion, or sexual orientation.  

Here, we explore how these members of our HQ and Consultant community are celebrating Pride Month, what allyship looks like, and what being Made With Pride means to them. And below, find the ways in which we’re showing up for the LGBTQ+ community—at Beautycounter and beyond. 

Adriana Villalobos (She/Her), Account Executive

LA native, newlywed, fan of ice hockey, busting out Cher and Adele ballads, and Golden Girls reruns.

On Celebrating Pride Month… 

“Pride Month has always been like a holiday in my family, and each year we celebrate by volunteering locally and attending events and festivals together. Being able to share these celebratory experiences with my nieces as they’ve grown up has been a highlight for me.” 

On Allyship… 

“A good ally listens, learns, and continually deepens their understanding of a marginalized community. A great ally seeks opportunities within their circle of influence to spark positive change for that marginalized community.” 

On Being Made With Pride… 

 “To me, ‘Made With Pride’ means being unapologetically you. Embracing your own uniqueness, making bold decisions, and living bravely. “ 

On Beautycounter Embodying the Spirit of Pride… 

Beautycounter is a company that makes bold decisions and is unapologetic in its mission to get safer products in the hands of everyone. It is a team-oriented company rooted in community, and acts as an incredible ally to all of its Associates. Beautycounter backs words with actions, and, from the products to the people, shows they are proud of who there are made up to be.” 

Luis Figueroa (He/Him), Account Executive

Inspired and driven by music. On a mission to make this world a better and happier place.

On Celebrating Pride Month… 

“I celebrate Pride Month by giving my parents weekly lessons on the history of the LGBTQ+ community. I started doing this when I first came out to my parents.  It makes me happy knowing they have more knowledge to pass on to others.” 

On Being Made With Pride… 

To be ‘Made With Pride’ is about achieving a higher level of self-love. It means you stay true to yourself and show the world who you really are. You don’t try to fit in, instead you pursue what makes you happy no matter what others have to say or think of it.” 

Jovie Lopez, (She/They), Senior Copywriter

LA native, first-generation Filipino, motorcycle enthusiast.

On Celebrating Pride Month…  

“I’m celebrating by giving back to the community. This year, my partner and I plan to donate to the LA LGBT+ Center’s Pride Pantry. It helps community members fight food insecurity and supports over 400 households per week.” 

On Allyship… 

“To me, allyship starts with education—by educating yourself and taking a closer look at (untold) history and systemic injustices the LGBTQ+ community faces, even today, you can (hopefully) make more informed decisions, shift your perspective, and find compassion in your heart in order to effect real change.” 

On Being Made With Pride… 

“To me, ‘Made With Pride’ means encouraging everyone to channel their inner power and confidence. While there are still many places where it’s illegal to be married, or even out of the closet, Made With Pride reminds us that we have a lot to be grateful for—and that our fight isn’t over yet. Once we’re empowered, we need to pay it forward.” 

Bryant O’Donnell, (He/Him), Consultant

Husband, New Yorker, Recovery & Progress Coach.

On Celebrating Pride Month… 

“My husband and I will attend drag shows and other Pride events to help bring awareness to our community.” 

On Being Made With Pride…  

“My life is designed by living with pride for what I do, and who and how I support. But most importantly, you stand up for what you believe in and value.” 

Elizabeth Seaman, (She/Her), Customer Care Specialist

LA native and beach lover. Bibliophile. Cat mom to Charles and Plant mom to well, plants.

On Allyship… 

The most important aspect of allyship is to constantly be doing this work. Allyship can be uncomfortable and there will be missteps. It is about learning from those missteps and continuing to do the work.” 

On Being Made With Pride… 

 “To me, ‘Made With Pride’ simply means joy and acceptance. Joy for our lives and acceptance of who we are no matter what that looks like. It means confidence and radical love for ourselves and those around us.”  

BC GIVES BACK 

In addition to highlighting our amazing employees, Beautycounter is excited to give back to the LGBTQ+ community in the following ways: 
 
Donating product to the LA LGBT Center Senior Services Program and the Trans Wellness Center. Both centers are part of the wider LGBT Center, an LA-based organization that provides services for more LGBTQ+ people than any other organization in the world. 

Partnering with Out & Equal, the premier organization working exclusively on LGBTQ+ workplace equality, which will offer Beautycounter employees training on allyship, education, awareness, and more. 

Continuing to stand up for equality. We believe that one of the most effective ways to create meaningful and lasting change is by voting. We’ll continue encouraging our employees to use their voice in a way that makes a positive impact for the LGBTQ+ community. 

IMPACT YOUR COMMUNITY 

Interested in getting involved? Look for registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations that serve and raise awareness for LGBTQ+ members in your community. 

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.

Continue reading “The New Beauty Standard: An Update on Beautycounter’s Social and Environmental Efforts”