The Importance of Safer Personal Care Products
Updated: Oct 30, 2019
And this isn't just for the ladies
*This post contains affiliate links. If you're not sure what this means, read my Disclaimer here! In short, I make a commission if you click a link and buy a product I recommend. But rest assured, I only recommend products I love and use myself!
Women use approximately 12 personal care products a day, and men about 6, and teenage girls average around 17 products a day, according to Environmental Working Group's website. If you think about it, that's a lot of moisturizer, shampoo, pomade, you name it...
I never really thought about what was in the products that I was using on my body every single day. Maybe that's because I was never taught to read the labels. Heck, maybe it's because all those terms were so scientific I never knew what any of them meant! And, these products were all made in a lab anyway, so of course there are going to be some terms that I would just have no idea about. I am an opera singer, after all...
But when the information of how toxic so many of our products are was presented to me I was floored. I thought I was doing the best that I could to decrease my risks of getting cancer, diabetes, and all of the other preventable illnesses I knew of...
We all have to start somewhere
From a few years of trying to buy more "all natural" and "earth friendly" products, I thought I knew exactly what I was buying, and that I was actually being kind to the earth. I laugh now at how little I knew, and I've only been doing my research for about 6 months now!
An example of some of the products I switched over the years:
Deodorants - A lot of mainstream brands cause me to break out and itch. Not to mention, there are phthalates in a lot of them, and we DON'T want to be putting that on or in our bodies!
Shampoos and Conditioners - Again, a lot are riddled with phthalates, which are endocrine disruptors (messes with your hormones)
Toothpaste - encased in plastic, that could be leeching chemicals into the product itself
Never did I think to switch my makeup, though. It just didn't dawn on me that my beauty products could also have a negative impact on my life...
My journey to safer beauty began when my voice teacher from high school, of all people, introduced me to a company that wasn't just making safer products, but actually starting a movement of getting more transparency within the highly unregulated industry. This company is Beautycounter.
What does this company stand for, and why am I so crazy about it?
In a nutshell, Beautycounter's mission is to get safer products into the hands of everyone. And this doesn't mean just their own products. The founder and CEO of the company, Gregg Renfrew, started this company because she wanted to disrupt the 60 billion dollar industry, and bring awareness to the general public about what exactly are in the products we use everyday. She wanted to hold the government and other companies accountable to the safety of the products we use, and this I can get behind 100%.
I believe that it's a company's responsibility to look out for the customers and clients, and not just to make a profit. Because of this, Beautycounter is a certified B-Corporation. What does that mean?
According to benefitcorp.net these are the specifications required to be a B-Corp:
"A benefit corporation is a new legal tool that creates a solid foundation for long term mission alignment and value creation. It protects mission through capital raises and leadership changes, creates more flexibility when evaluating potential sale and liquidity options, and prepares businesses to lead a mission-driven life post-IPO.
A benefit corporation is a traditional corporation with modified obligations committing it to higher standards of purpose, accountability and transparency:
Purpose: Benefit corporations commit to creating public benefit and sustainable value in addition to generating profit. This sustainability is an integral part of their value proposition.
Accountability: Benefit corporations are committed to considering the company’s impact on society and the environment in order to create long-term sustainable value for all stakeholders.
Transparency: Benefit corporations are required to report, in most states annually and using a third party standard, showing their progress towards achieving social and environmental impact to their shareholders and in most cases the wider public."
Beautycounter rated a 95 as a Certified B-Corp. That's pretty damn cool, in my opinion. But let's move on to some important ingredient information...
Ingredients to be wary of and WHY*:
Formaldehyde: Used as a preservative in cosmetics. A known carcinogen that is also linked to asthma, neurotoxicity, and developmental toxicity. Present where quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, 2-bromo-2- nitropropane-1,3 diol (Bronopol), and several other preservatives are listed. Found in: shampoo, body wash, bubble bath.
Hydroquinone: A skin-lightening chemical that inhibits the production of melanin and is linked to cancer, organ toxicity, and skin irritation. Found in: skin-lightening creams.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS AND SLES): SLS and SLES are surfactants that can cause skin irritation or trigger allergies. SLES is often contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, a byproduct of a petrochemical process called ethoxylation, which is used to process other chemicals in order to make them less harsh. Found in: shampoo, body wash, bubble bath.
Phthalates (DBP, DEHP, DEP and others): A class of plasticizing chemicals used to make products more pliable or to make fragrances stick to skin. Phthalates disrupt the endocrine system and may cause birth defects. Found in: synthetic fragrance, nail polish, hairspray, and plastic materials.
Polyethylene Glycol (PEG Compounds): PEGs are widely used in cosmetics as thickeners, solvents, softeners, and moisture-carriers. Depending on manufacturing processes, PEGs may be contaminated with measurable amounts of ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane, which are both carcinogens. Found in: creams, sunscreen, shampoo.
*This shortened list of ingredients came from Beautycounter's website and it's Never List™.
Another thing I LOVE about this company is how honest it is. Instead of trying to preach that it's completely pure and 100% nontoxic, this is what they say:
"At Beautycounter, we've committed to a health and safety standard that goes well beyond what is legally required in the United States. The Never List™ is made up of more than 1,500 questionable or harmful chemicals that we never use as ingredients in our products. This includes the over 1,400 chemicals banned or restricted in personal care products by the European Union, plus additional chemicals screened by Beautycounter and found to be of concern.
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™."
It's pretty much impossible to ensure that a chemical is completely eliminated from a product, unless you make that product yourself. Even though, if you aren't sure where those raw materials are sourced from, then, again, it's hard to determine the safety of those ingredients.
This company is honest, and doesn't "greenwash" the consumers. Beautycounter tells it like it is, and if they find they aren't happy with a formulation, then they will pull out the product and reformulate it until it reaches Beautycounter's strict standards.
Now onto some of my absolute FAVORITE products!
These three products here are the winners in my book.
The Overnight Resurfacing Peel is a favorite among many people. Never have I used a peel before because it sounded so daunting. I imagined dead skin "peeling" off my face like when you put glue on your hand as a kid, let it dry, and then peeled it off as if you were shedding your snakeskin... (weird image, I know, but that's EXACTLY what I thought of every time someone talked about a peel).
But this is NOT that. This has made my nightly routine so easy when I'm wanting to wake up with an even complexion the next day and not have to put on makeup. I work early mornings, and if I can hit my snooze button three times because I don't have to put on makeup, then I will.
I'm not going to lie. I am pretty lucky with my skin, but I've always had a little redness, but this peel helps zap that issue pretty darn quickly. And I only use it 2/week because any more than that would be too harsh. It is a peel, after all.
This peel is probably the #1 product I would recommend to anyone from Beautycounter's skincare line.
Now, my second favorite has got to be the Dew Skin Tinted Moisturizer. I've tried a few tinted moisturizers in my day, and some with SPF, but quickly gave them up because they were too chalky, and did not hydrate my already-dry face.
This tinted moisturizer, on the other hand, is more hydrating than I ever thought it could be. And there's SPF 20 in it! The coverage is light, so it's more to help even out skin tone for that "no makeup" look.
I actually have to omit my regular moisturizer when wearing this because it's too oily, otherwise. So, if you have oily skin this might not be the best product for you, but for moisture-craving faces like mine, this is pure gold.
If I need to have a full face of makeup on, say for an audition or interview, then the Tint Skin Hydrating Foundation is the next product I reach for. It's a medium coverage foundation, so if you're looking for something with more coverage, then you'd probably have to layer this quite a bit, or just opt for a different foundation completely.
I will use this rarely because the Dew Skin Tinted Moisturizer is usually enough coverage for me, but when I do use this foundation, it makes my skin look FLAWLESS the entire day. It doesn't get cake-y and blotchy like some other foundations I've used in the past, and it certainly doesn't dry me out. I mean, "hydrating" is in the name of the product!
Why should you care?
Well, to be perfectly honest, I can't tell you how to think or what you should believe in, or how you should live your life. But if you are passionate about decreasing your carbon AND chemical footprints, but not having to give up your makeup addiction, this company is seriously for you. Beautycounter also practices sustainable packaging, so when you receive your products you can rest assured that your packaging isn't covered in toxins, and that the boxes and materials used are recyclable.
A lot of the products come in glass bottles as well, so that's a major plus when it comes to recycling the used up bottles.