Why the safer skincare stuff I’ve been talking about lately? I figured it was time I give you a few answers to the questions you probably have.
Last year, Beautycounter launched a campaign called “This time, it’s personal.”
On May 11, 2017, the Personal Care Safety Act was introduced to US Congress. The bill, introduced by Senators Diane Feinstein and Susan Collins, aims to reform the personal care product industry. Currently, the regulations in place are outdated – going back as far as 1938 – and the FDA does not require safety testing of the ingredients used in personal care products.
In this post, I’m introducing you to why safer skincare is personal to me, why I changed my mind about supporting this company, and providing answers to your most common questions (like, “Is this an MLM?”).
I don’t know about you, but I admit to being very unaware of anything related to personal care products for a really long time. I wrongly assumed the ingredients in my shampoo, deodorant, face care products, soap – products I put on my skin every day – were tested for safety. It wasn’t until the last couple years that I’ve started to pay more attention to these items and make some swaps.
Skincare Swaps: A Work in Progress
Plus, we eat pretty well – though not perfectly, because who has time for that?! – and use a high-quality water filter. Both of us are in pretty damn good health even though I have endometriosis – considered by many practitioners now to be an autoimmune disease.
(Aside: I’ve been asked several times to discuss my endometriosis here on the blog, and the truth is, I’m not quite ready yet. I’m still carefully weighing how to present it in a way that will be truly helpful. This condition is painful, debilitating, and many women have been systematically disempowered in their struggle for answers. All of that weighs heavily on my mind.)
But earlier this year, as a result of my own nutritional therapy studies, I figured out that my liver needed a lot of support. (I’ll probably talk about that more in a future post.) So, naturally, I started supporting my liver, a crucial organ for detoxification, digestion, blood sugar handling, amongst others. In this process, I also turned an eye back to my personal care products lineup because there were still improvements I wanted to make. I have a ton more to say about this in the coming months so stay tuned.
So, I ordered a few more products from Beautycounter to round out my swaps. Over the last year, I’d dabbled around but wasn’t quite sold yet on endorsing the company. Your trust is so incredibly important to me, and jumping onto a passing bandwagon isn’t how I do things. But in the interest of making a few more edits to my routine, I picked up some shampoo and conditioner, the occasional skin treatment (this one is my current favorite), and the last of my makeup. I’m not that into makeup, though I do use it when filming for my cooking show, photo shoots, and occasional special events…so it’s the last thing I’ve addressed.
See, I Was Skeptical About Beautycounter For a Long Time
I’ve seen people talking about Beautycounter for years and always remained a bit skeptical…and I am not afraid to admit that I made a lot of incorrect assumptions about the company along the way. I was wrong about them in a lot of ways, and I’m sad to say that I repeated a lot of this to people without really knowing the facts. For example…
For a long time, I thought it was only about makeup.
I don’t wear it daily, mostly because I’m lazy. In general, most brands caused some kind of general skin irritation for me, whether that was itchiness or tightness. Because I don’t get jazzed about cosmetics, I knew that making it an emphasis about it would feel, well, fake.
Over time, however, I learned that Beautycounter was about way more than cosmetics…think safer skincare, sun protection, and hair care options. And I started getting more interested in what I can do (within reason) to reduce my exposure to potential toxins, endocrine disruptors, and who-knows-what in what I put on my body.
THAT is something I can get behind, especially as I work to manage my endometriosis. And that includes trying to limit my exposure to excess estrogens and other chemicals that may overburden my liver…hence the connection back to my nutritional therapy education.
Also, whenever a bunch of people are running toward a trend, I usually run the opposite way.
For a long time, it seemed like every blogger I knew was becoming a consultant for Beautycounter. I guess I’ve always been a little rebellious this way, but whenever something gets popular, I tend to hold out joining because in my mind, it’s too good to be true.
So I waited. And watched. And read about the company. And waited until it seemed like the mad rush died down a bit. Beautycounter hasn’t slowed down one bit, though, and that’s what tells me that it, as a company, is not just a fad. I also learned about what a B Corporation is, and why it’s important that Beautycounter has that designation.
Finally, I didn’t like the pressure I got from some people.
Earlier this year, I shared a photo on Instagram of me wearing red lipstick for the first time in years. Funny enough, this is my most-liked IG post ever. And while I appreciated the support, what sucked was the pressure I got in my DMs from people to join their teams. In a few cases, the words were harsh or the language used was over the top inflammatory (think “you’re poisoning yourself”, to paraphrase). It was pushy and felt icky. I don’t know if these ladies realize that how they approached me was tactless, but it really turned me off, and I can see how it would turn you off as a consumer.
Addressing the Criticism and Questions Head On
When I shared that I’m a Beautycounter consultant on Instagram, most of the people were supportive. But I wasn’t surprised when I got a few audible groans from folks operating under a lot of the assumptions I first did.
So in the spirit of transparency, I wanted to address some of these so you have more information.
Is Beautycounter a MLM?
Let’s get this one out of the way.
No. Beautycounter operates in two ways. One is as a direct retail company. That means you can go on the website or into select retail outlets like Target and buy the products directly without working with a consultant. In fact, that’s how I purchased and played around with my first Beautycounter products. Hopped on the website. Ordered. Done. The other way is through a consultant like me. If you wanted to build a business around it or support your friends by ordering from them, you totally could, but it’s not required in order to buy the products.
That dual nature is why I think a lot of people are confused about Beautycounter. Many people have had bad MLM (multi-level marketing) experiences in the past and assume they’re all a devil-incarnate-pyramid-scheme-cult that eats babies. Trust me, I have read many an exposé piece about the predatory nature of MLMs, so I get it. But as a consultant, I’ve never been pressured to spend my own thousands of my own money, keep an inventory, or even recruit my own team.
And I don’t have to hit a highly monthly minimum to stay active. (There is, however, a 6-month requirement that’s pretty easy to reach through a combination of avenues.) I didn’t have to invest thousands to get started…just a start-up fee of $98. I also made sure the team I joined that wasn’t going to pressure me to recruit because I want to focus on education first and foremost.
Unfortunately, there are bad apples out there…folks who are predatory, pushy, and use shady tactics. Frankly, they’re making it hard for others and I wish they’d stop. This is absolutely not the way the company itself encourages its mission to be disseminated from corporate headquarters.
Do the products *really* work?
So far, I’ve tested a couple dozen products, and I’ve been really impressed with the quality and effectiveness. That doesn’t mean I’ve fallen head over heels for everything; I personally found the lip gloss too sticky and the eyebrow pencil too waxy, for example. And everyone’s skin and preferences are a bit different, so there might be a bit of trial and error involved in finding your best match.
One of my biggest hesitations was in the haircare department. My hair is quite long and fine and wavy which makes for constant tangles. I really didn’t hold out much hope that the shampoo and conditioner would work, but it’s pretty damn great. Overall, I continue to be really impressed with the products.
Are the products actually safer?
The personal care and cosmetics industries are highly unregulated, and many of the ingredients in common use have not passed through any kind of safety testing. Beautycounter has a list of 1500 questionable or harmful ingredients that it doesn’t use in its safer skincare products. It’s worth noting that 1400 of them are already banned or restricted in some way by the European Union. See more about The Never List here.
If you have needs for gluten-, soy-, nut-free, etc products, check out the FAQ for more details.
I try to avoid hyperbole as much as possible because it’s easy to overstate claims. I use the word “toxic” with great care because I’m not here to freak anyone out about their choices or elevate any one lifestyle choice above others. Using “safer skincare” is unlikely to cure you of anything – especially if you’re treating your body like a hot dumpster fire in other ways. On the other hand, small choices do add up, and if you’re working to reduce, say, the amount of potential endocrine disruptors you get exposed to, swapping out your personal care products may be an avenue to explore.
The Bottom Line About Safer Skincare
I’ve come to really respect Beautycounter’s mission for greater transparency in personal care products, safer skincare, and their advocacy for changing how the personal care product industry does business. With continued research and personal experimentation, I finally felt comfortable joining and more importantly, recommending them to you. For me, the chance to help share and educate anyone who is interested about how to take care of their skin – and their bodies – from the inside out is part of my greater vision.
There’s a resonance there. My purpose isn’t just about food anymore, especially as I transition this brand. It’s to help people be their strongest and to feel empowered to make the best choices FOR THEM. Personal care products are one slice of that proverbial pie.
It may be worth it to you to have peace of mind that the products you use exclude certain problematic ingredients. It may also be worth it to support a company that’s actively involved in advocacy. Then again, it may not and that’s totally fine! My job is to make sure you know more about your options and how to build your health on your terms.
On that note, if you’re open to it, I invite you to receive my skincare newsletter that goes out once a month. It’s packed with information and education about the link between skin and inner health, what to know about personal care products, special offers, and more. Click here to join the Safer Skincare newsletter!
Have a question about Safer Skincare options? Let me know in the comments below!
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