Life + Style

November 7, 2016

BeautyCounter Review

Happy Monday!

Y'all know I like to take what could be answered in one or two sentences and turn it into a short novel.  But I think it's important to dig deeper and not just give polished answers.  I can read a succinct statement from any website, I want to know the behind the scenes why of something and I know y'all do too.

I used the bathroom during a Life Coach session in my friend's home and noticed the cute striped kids body wash.  Because I notice stuff like that.  Not in a judgey is your house clean or messy or perfectly styled kind of way.  I'm just fabulous at I-spy.  As in even in a home full of life and memories and spills and toys and laundry that some may try to apologize for (although lord knows I can never understand that;  om, you and your people LIVE there) my eyes will still seek out the special and they typically land on that cute baby announcement on the side of your fridge, the fabulous new pillows on your sofa, and the cute label on your hand soap by your kitchen sink.  I'm such a sucker for good packaging.

A few weeks later I was at a *regularly scheduled work meeting; which in code stands for two work-from-home Mom's with four kids under six and four schools and schedules between them who refuse to let our lack of nightlife or coordinated kids' routines stand in the way of our friendship.  So we meet up every other week for coffee to talk about work and kids and husbands and life and call it a work meeting.  During our three hour coffee chat my friend mentioned she had just bought the cutest kids shampoo and body wash during her recent trip to Nantucket.  She pulled a picture of it up on her phone and laughed that she literally bought it just for the cute bottle!  Y'all know I'm a sucker for stripes and pretty branding so this made perfect sense to me.  It was the same bottle I had seen on the edge of the tub in the scene above.

I first sought it out because it looked like it belonged in a child's bathroom but it possessed zero cartoon characters and I pick out most of what I buy based on how it looks.  Both of my kids, but especially my son, have terrible eczema so those fun for kids body washes and strawberry scented shampoos are already out for us because the ingredients irritate their ultra sensitive skin.  I figured that I'd buy this shampoo to get the cute pump bottle and just refill it with something gentler that I can actually use on them.  My friend mentioned that she actually thought the kids would be safe using it because she remembered the sales woman at the pop-up shop talking about the company being big on safe ingredients.

Out of curiosity, we looked it up.  Both of us spent the next week researching the crap out of this stuff and were pretty horrified by what we found.
Holy Crap.  Neither of us had any idea that a pretty label on a bottle of freaking kids shampoo would ultimately lead us to overhaul the entire way we think about skin care and beauty.  Because as we've already learned with the food industry, the government isn't regulating our safety for us despite their claims.  No new laws have been passed regulating the cosmetic industry since since 1938 and companies are allowed to use harmful ingredients and make their own judgments about safety.  It is left up to us to take the extra steps to look out for our families. 

Science is proving there is a direct link between the chemicals we are generationally exposed to and the increase in Asthma, Allergies, Autism, and ADHD.  Genetically modified ingredients are also genetically modifying our bodies.  Decades of studies indicate that serious health issues (including but not limited to asthma, cancer, and infertility) are on the rise and are due in some part to our ongoing exposure to toxic chemicals—whether it’s in the shower, on our commute, while we eat lunch at a local restaurant, or when we clean our kitchens at home.  That scares me. 

I talk openly on here about my journey caring for a child with life-threatening food allergies, severe asthma and eczema.  In order to keep my son safe I've had to become vigilant about what he's exposed to at all times.  We make a good attempt to eat as clean and minimally processed as we can.  I buy organic as much as possible.  I use unscented detergents and avoid air fresheners, perfumes and most scented candles.  My kids pretty much only wear 100% cotton clothes because it's softer on their skin.  We stay inside on some of the prettiest days in the spring and the fall because of mold and pollen counts.  I use the extra whole house air filter to help eliminate toxins in our home.  It's a lot to think about it.  Sometimes I feel like I'm drowning in safeguarding my children.

But really I'm just doing the best I can with the information I have.  I'm not going to pretend I always get it right.  It's feels like there are so many things on the *will cause immediate danger list* that I just let the rest slide.  I mean, Tagg's favorite foods are hotdogs and gummies.  And no not the Amy's organic fruit gummies but the Kellog's full of sugar and red dye number everything Zootopia shaped probably half poison gummies.  So really I'm preaching to myself here.

I've had to look for alternatives to what I bring into my home in order to keep my kids healthy.  The one area I've never really thought about are the cosmetics + beauty products I wear.  Over the past two decades, the European Union has banned more than 1,300 chemicals in the product formulas of personal care products and restricted the levels of over 250 more. The United States has only partially banned 11 to date.  Yikes.  Suddenly my six year old playing with my makeup doesn't feel so cute.

 I can't say I'm going to immediately throw out everything in my makeup bag but I will be replacing products as I run out.  I already ditched my daily staples like Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer and Bobbi Brown bronzer and shimmer brick because they ranked as a Moderate Risk on, an online safety guide to help people find safer products.  Another long time staple in my routine is Trish McEvoy but that wasn't listed on the site so I googled the ingredients in a few of my favorite products like the Treatment Foundation and then looked them up individually and they ranked as a Low Risk so it got to stay for now.  The Beautycounter products I've been using are almost all EWG verfied as no known risk with a few items flagged as Low Risk. That's not perfect but it's better than what I was using.  If I wanted to go completely organic I'd probably quit wearing make-up altogether.  My mom doesn't wear makeup and she is gorgeous!

I waited several weeks to look up my all time favorite face wipes because I had a feeling the results were going to suck and I wanted to live in denial.  It's one thing to find a new bronzer but an entirely different thing to let go of my lazy face washing habit.  I literally hate to wash my face and pretty much have exclusively wiped my makeup off every night using neutragena make-up remover wipes since I first discovered them over a decade ago.   It didn't rank well overall and is full of allergy causing fragrance.  CRAP.  I can't unknow this. 

The more I researched this the more I fell in love with Beautycounter.  They don't claim to be organic or completely free of hard to pronounce chemicals.  But they do promise to be transparent about their ingredients and stand behind their mission to deliver safer products into the hands of everyone.  The formulas are free of all 1,300 ingredients banned by the EU, those restricted in the States, and a list of other chemicals—called The Never List—that may be carcinogenic, irritating, or otherwise damaging to health.  They do extensive testing and research to ensure that the ingredients they use are safe to the best of their knowledge and if they find something to be unsafe or to not be just as high performing as their more toxic counterpart they pull the product immediately.  Just like the rest of us doing the best we can with what we've got.  It's so refreshing to see a company with such authenticity!

Only it doesn't stop there; real life women are marching into Washington and demanding a change in the entire beauty industry.  Beautycounter is demonstrating firsthand that women are showing up in droves to purchase pretty, safe, and effective beauty products.  The strong message isn't just a marketing gimmick to set them apart from other brands, in fact, they are begging congress to make every other beauty company accountable to the same stringent safety guidelines.  And that's not just crap they say with no action behind it.  If you scroll through the leaders' social media pages they are full of links and pleas for their friends to email congress about this very personal and important issue. They are lining up meetings with Senators and actually going themselves to ensure an industry change.   Our children deserve better.  We deserve better.

Okay, you can tell I'm drinking the Koolaid so let's go ahead and get the head shaking and eye rolling out of the way with the number one question you're asking yourself right now and then we'll move on to few more you might have.

Is Beautycounter a pyramid scheme?

Alright y'all, I know everyone has their own experiences and opinions on multi-level marketing and I'm not going to try to change your mind but I do want to share why I'm joining one such company when I have turned down a crazy amount of similar "business opportunities" in the past.  I also want to make it clear that I have 100% respect for any person that attempts to make any positive contribution to their family either through financial contributions or with their time and love.  Either through a traditional 9-5 career, full or part time self-employment and contract work or through direct sales, stay at home moms who are literally giving their minds and bodies and energy to their families without a break, women who have barely weened their babies or finally retired from their careers and are now responsible for caring for their aging parents, single ladies who just want something better for themselves.  We are all just doing the best we can with what we have.  Enough with the stigmas. 

There are certainly more credible "business opportunities" than others and there are a million companies you could attach yourself to so if you are curious about one you need to do your research and some soul searching about why you want to invest in something.  If you're in it to make a million dollars you may want to invest in advanced education or career advancement courses instead.  Very very very few people are going to secure their retirement selling earrings or lipstick over the internet and at home parties so you should go into it assuming you are not going to be that person.

 My advice to is find the company who's culture you relate best to.  Scroll through social media and ask yourself if the leaders and other consultants seem like people you'd be friends with.  That answer is going to be different for every person.  Find the group that you want to belong to and join.  You will be gaining friendship and community with like-minded women.  If you surround yourself with empowering and uplifting people you would hang out with anyway selling something you would buy anyway you will have tremendous success.  Your genuine excitement and commitment will shine through and your village will support you. 

Why did I want to be a part of Beautycounter? 

- I want my daughter to watch me go the extra mile to ensure the beauty industry cleans up it's act.  This is a mission-based company that wants to get important information out to women.  If I can get even one of you to start a conversation about this issue then I will have succeeded.  I knew it was a ground floor opportunity but the fact that I was a part of something bigger...a disruptive brand that is lobbying in DC for change was truly my motivator!

- It's the first product sold through direct sales that I am excited to share.  Not only did I picture myself using the line long term but I feel natural talking about it on the blog.  I don't personally feel that way about other Direct Sales/Multi-Level Marketing companies selling skin care or essential oils or wraps or drinks or fitness routines or jewelry or monogrammed cooler bags.  I'm not mocking those companies or the women who sell them, in fact I have very good friends representing Stella and Dot, Rodan + Fields and DoTerra and they LOVE it, it's just not the right fit for me. I have made it my mission to only endorse products and companies I genuinely like and would recommend without compensation driving my selections.  I'm also very thoughtful of price point and all of the BC products are actually less expensive or on par with what I was using before. 

- It doesn't feel like other direct sales companies which is a breath of fresh air.  I can't exactly put my finger on why but it just feels more like a sorority than a Tupperware party.  That might be because of their strong mission or perhaps just the type of person that it attracts being a natural fit for me.  The initial investment was nominal and there are no hidden monthly fees which also caught my attention.  They've partnered with J.Crew, Target (the collection is in stores until Nov.13th), and Goop which certainly brings some street cred and shows they are not your typical company.

- There are no trickle down campaigns that tell me I have to post certain things on certain days or send my friends from high school direct messages every other month on a schedule.  Again, I'm not saying that's bad.  In fact I think that kind of support is really important for some people. Y'all know I'm all over the place and that freedom to organically post what and when I want is so important to me.  I might post about white jeans every day for a week but tell me I have to talk about white jeans on a certain day and I'll stomp my feet and grow a strong aversion to white jeans.  My poor parents during my teenage years. 

- It's something I can share with my grandmother and my mother and my daughter.  None of whom need to correct or improve the appearance of their skin.  I know this sounds sentimental but I love the message that it's not trying to change or fix us as women.  The results it's going to give me won't come in the form of dramatic before and after pictures but rather in a change from within that will trickle outward.  I don't think we need all of the lotions and potions and regimes to feel good in our skin.  Plus I'm lazy when it comes to skin care and I just don't really use anything that takes more than a minute.  

Is the blog going to turn into a Beautycounter website or a constant pitch to readers to join your team?

Nope.  I'm also an artist and a photographer and a licensed full-time Realtor® with Long & Foster Christie's International but I rarely talk about those things on the blog.  There are links at the top of the blog and if you want to get in touch with me about those areas you can.  The same rule will apply to Beautycounter.  I have added a link on my sidebar that will take you to the Beautycounter website where you can browse makeup and skin care products or learn more about the company.  Or not.  It's all out there and you don't need any secret behind the scenes access.  I'm not a preachy heavy sales kind of person so just like I do with my favorite jeans or cute pillows for your couch I'll just throw out what I like and leave it at that.  If you have any questions you know where to find me!


  1. I would assume the pop-up shop on Nantucket was Follain,
    great source of safe products, Boston based small chain.

    1. It was a BC popup but I'm sure the company you mentioned is sold there as well! I checked out the site and it looks like a great company, thanks for sharing!

  2. Julia, I just love this review and I am so excited that you have taken the plunge and become an advocate for change. I joined Beautycounter a little over two years ago and have yet to be let down by the performance of their products or their safety standards. It is so empowering to see women all around the country take charge and become ambassadors for change. Thank you so much for sharing our social mission and a little bit about this wonderful company!

  3. Beautycounter is the absolute BEST. Use the baby wash on Tag instead of the Kidscounter wash, and the baby oil and the baby balm. It will help his eczema 10fold. I found Beautycounter due to my daughter's eczema, and it is massively under control to the point where most days her Dr can't tell she even has it (apart from having known she does). Good luck! The culture and mission are second to none.

    1. Good to know! Thank you so much for sharing. I love our doctors but I swear other moms always have the most useful information to actually help with these problems!

  4. I have a friend coming to visit this weekend and she's bringing all her Beautycounter goodies and giving me the full run down, I'm so excited to learn more! Cheers to you and your new endeavor!

    Erin, Attention to Darling

    1. I can't wait to hear what you thought! Report back :)

      And cheers to a fun weekend with your friend!!!

  5. You should check out Fresh Living by Sara Snow. I think you would love the book and it talks about healthy living with cosmetics, clothing, food, etc. Thanks for all your research!


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