At Beautycounter, we use a comprehensive Ingredient Selection Process to develop our formulas that is comprised of five steps: we ban intentionally, screen rigorously, learn constantly, source responsibly, and share transparently. Despite our best efforts, we realize that there are still many potential ingredients for use in beauty products that simply do not have enough safety data.
Robust scientific evidence shows certain natural and synthetic chemicals can disrupt the body’s endocrine system, which controls hormone production. This is important because our hormones regulate and influence almost every cell, organ, and function of the body. We felt it necessary to play a part in helping to expand this area of research, especially as it relates to ingredients used in the beauty industry. We saw an opportunity to go above and beyond our own screening process by non-animal testing ingredients that we－and the industry－know little about, so we went for it.
We contacted Dr. Ana Soto, a cancer biology researcher at the prestigious Tufts School of Medicine in Boston, MA to propose an exciting collaboration to learn more about the safety of ingredients in our formulas. Dr. Soto is a pioneer in the field of endocrine (hormone) disruption, and her lab developed the first bio-assays that do not use animal testing to rapidly and reliably test chemicals for hormone activity. Earlier this year, we embarked on a research collaboration to study ingredients used in our industry for their ability to potentially interfere with estrogen, androgen, and/or the thyroid hormone action.
While it is exciting that we are now able to test questionable ingredients for possible effects on hormone activity, it is important to understand just how challenging it is to directly link potential endocrine disrupting chemicals to adverse health effects. We are exposed to a vast amount of chemicals every day and the risks they pose can vary greatly from individual to individual for many reasons.
One of our goals at Beautycounter is to increase the scope and accessibility of new information about the safety of ingredients used in the cosmetics industry. Unfortunately, companies and regulatory agencies in the U.S. have not prioritized the importance of ingredient testing as robustly as the EU, where they continually conduct tests and have banned over 1,400 ingredients for use in cosmetics and personal care products to date.
This is only the tip of the iceberg. We plan to keep testing ingredients and releasing scientific findings once they are available, so that other companies and academic institutions can use this important information to make better choices as well. We hope this will encourage other companies to use safer ingredients, push for better laws, and take the initiative to learn more on their own so they can protect the consumer. It’s time for a new beauty standard.