Wednesday, January 20, 2016

BEHIND BEAUTYCOUNTER

Beautycounter is one of the first brands that actually helped educate me on what to avoid in my products. I'd heard a friend raving about their shampoo so I made my way to the site to check it out. Little did I know I'd spend hours down the rabbit hole of reading in horror about what I was likely consuming daily. Of course, I bought the shampoo, and with the next order of the Lip Sheer and Skin Tint, I was so impressed that I signed up to be a Consultant. No, I hadn't tried the entire line, with 2 jobs I wasn't really trying to earn an extra income, but somewhere deep inside I did want to be a part of a business that was actively making an effort to change the status quo. And the makeup, well I was obsessed, so a discount didn't hurt!

There were 1,000 of us (Consultants) then, there are almost 10,000 now, so to see the momentum gain has been inspiring. But it has also come with pitfalls. On one hand you have pushy sales people who can turn anyone off from a brand with their aggressive tactics, much to the detriment of everyone else just trying to share things they love. They're in every person-to-person (or multi-level marketing) sales group. You know one from Beautycounter, Younique, essential oil companies, I'm sure of it. Then there are the green beauty busters out there throwing a fit over Beautycounter not really being "non-toxic". There's that word, "non-toxic". So to be fair here, claiming to be non-toxic would mean your products have no toxins or highly harmful substances. Right? Now, if you're well versed in ingredient research, it won't take long for you to find an ingredient in Beautycounter that raises your eyebrow. You might even find something that could mark as high as a 7 on Think Dirty. (1-3 green and good, 4-7 yellow and cautious, 8-10 being the worst). So, what's going on here?

First, no one is ever wrong for being concerned about ingredients, as a collective we should all be more scrutinous about what is in our products, and many of those green beauty busters are my friends, but let's cruise the site shall we (go ahead, cruise, I'll wait). Nowhere do I see the words "non-toxic" or anywhere Beautycounter claims to be as such. After all, it's a lofty claim. But you will find words like "safer", you will find words like "better", and you'll definitely find their slogan "This is about progress—not perfection. Because every little bit counts.


Now if that isn't transparent, not sure what is. That's also probably where they derive their tag line "truth in transparency." Listen, I totally get if them having some mid level ingredients in their products bothers you, it bothers me. If you want to go as natural as possible, that is honorable and I respect that, but I also think it's honorable to recognize when a brand is making strides. 
Beautycounter isn't just a MLM scheme, the brand and people behind it have taken the industry and actually made an impact. Their top level gals are on Capitol Hill challenging reform and movements, they're drafting legislation and gathering legal power... because they care. They are just as tired as you are of being fooled by brands with hidden harmful ingredients, or brands claiming to be safer than they really are, and they are trying to do something about it. They have taken a systematic approach to this brand unlike anything I've ever seen. 

First, they took the European Union standards (1400 banned ingredients) and applied them to their brand, plus an additional banned 100 ingredients, why? Well one because none of that should EVER be in our products; two, to show not only consumers, but the government that a brand could make high performing products that were profitable without the top toxins. And why would they do that? Because any reform in the industry is going to get a load of opposition from the big money makers out there (P&G, etc), the big conglomerates who support the government financially and have powerful lobbyists. Point: The EU has a successful standard in place which is easy to model, they operate with it successfully, now Beautycounter has done it successfully, which is a case in favor for consideration of a cleaner direction on a national scale.

Then, if goals are achieved, Beautycounter can continue to drill down their ingredients and keep chipping away at their formulations until they are as clean as they can be. But to be honest, they knew what they were doing from the start. They needed a cleaner alternative, they needed it to perform perfectly, they needed their business practices to be without gaps (research, fact checking, screening) because if they are lobbying so hard for change, you better believe they're going to be under the microscope from opposition. No one would take them seriously if they came out with some ineffective items, or were just throwing ingredients in willy-nilly, the cause would be lost. Oh, and they also needed it to be a hit and sell like hot cakes, so what did they do, they placed it on a multi-level marketing platform. Nothing says growth like someone who has something to personally gain. Are you seeing the picture now?

If their products and ingredients aren't for you, I totally get that. Heck, I'll even tell you which ones to avoid if you're trying to make that decision. But as someone who should adamantly care about change in the industry, it's hard to NOT be on board with what they are accomplishing. It may not be the way you would have done it, but it's being done. Millions of dollars are invested into this brand by the month, that's millions of touch points of education, that's quite a few chemically laden cosmetics hitting the trash can every month and that's millions of votes in support for change in the industry. 





Now back to products. Sure, I would love for some to be "cleaner", but in comparison to mainstream, they are cleaner. Don't get that confused. These are a step in the right direction. And if you are coming from a chemically laden product and you find a Beautycounter alternative that is a 5 and your other one is a 10, I applaud your step in the right direction. All that matters is that it works for you. And as always, if something causes an alarm to go off, don't buy it, but don't also discount the rest of the line and the items that are clearly in the green. Again, progress... 

If you have questions about a certain item, please do contact me. I certainly don't recommend the entire line, because I've never loved an entire line in my life outside of Josh Rosebrook. But what I do love is their flawless makeup, and their sumptuous body oil, and their nourishing shampoo and conditioner. Seriously, the makeup is stunning. It's flawlessly formulated with the perfect amount of pigment that is so supple on the skin. It's appropriate for all ages. Christy Coleman (celeb artist to Heidi Klum, Miranda Kerr, etc) helped develop these products so they could perform on a professional scale, but be worn by the everyday woman, without the most harmful ingredients. If I could shout from the rooftops about the Skin Tint, Brow Pencil and Lip Sheer I would. If I could tell you even just one thing to get, it would hands down be the Lip Sheer (Twig and Petal, straight staples).

So as a closing, if you are interested in these products, be interested. Be excited, I am. And I'll share with you my favorites, which won't be anything that ever scores high or contains the brow raising ingredients, because outside of having minimal to gain personally, there is a much bigger picture - our health. Or by all means, purchase from someone you know that you want to personally support. 

If you want to be part of the movement yourself and make some money (or just get the discount), it's really the most seamless brand to work with and you get bonus education and opportunity to lend your voice to change. Just make sure you're in it for the right reasons and ready to educate yourself and others.

And if you are a fellow green beauty lover who isn't quite thrilled with their ingredients, tell them. Don't just spread the negative connotation of what they may or may not contain, everything is available to you on their site. And I know that a huge downfall with the MLM system is anyone can sell for them. I chose it as another means to broaden my knowledge and exposure on my journey, but I am positive not everyone stays up all hours of the night reading chemical studies. I am also positive it is most of the aggressive sellers out there that are claiming this brand to be "non-toxic" or any other buzz word to get the transaction. Little do they know their need to make money is causing a misinformed consumer base, and it needs to stop, pronto. I hope by sharing this article, this will somehow help that, if you want to share the same, please do. And if you have concerns about their education and their ingredients, email them, challenge them - but bottom line I think it's all in our best interest to support Beautycounter, even just energetically. They are doing the work out there in the field that we are working for behind our computers and lenses. 



A Note:

You could go to the eyeshadow on Think Dirty and see that it scores a yellow (caution) 7. Ekk, not so great. You click in, see the offender is Talc, but do you know where this Talc is sourced from? Do you know how they've tested this version and cross checked it with at least 4 different organizations? Think Dirty doesn't know that. I only know that because I looked at their Ingredient Glossary (SOURCE: Mineral (certified asbestos-free). Think Dirty knows generally what mainstream Talcs rank, sees it as an ingredient in this product and ranks it the same. This goes for any brand. These ingredients aren't brand or source specific, so to simply judge on a number, isn't the actual fact. Now, I adore Think Dirty, but this is just something to keep in mind. Always search further, use more than one source. And hopefully one day we don't have to search, we will have laws that don't allow this to begin with. 

Phenoxyethanol, hot button. It's in many of Beautycounter's skincare products, it's in the Perfekt Mascara and some of my favorite green beauty retailers carry products that contain it. Sadly, since the ban of Parabens, now it is the best alternative preservative for products - products that have to be stabilized to prevent bacteria growth. It is my hope that this changes soon, someone develops something else, but you need to see where you stand and whether this is important to you. You also need to read the studies fully and interpret them for yourself. Studies are at best conflicting, but from my personal POV if even a smidgen of the findings are in fact true, I think I'll pass on any neurological or reproductive effects. The EU limits it's percentage to 1%, as does Beautycounter. EcoCert doesn't allow it. Again, if it or any other ingredient bothers you, avoid the products that contain it, they are clearly listed on the BC site.

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