The New Year is a great time for cleaning out your home and that shouldn’t stop at your beauty bag. I’m not just talking about expired mascara, that disappointing eye shadow you only used once or that dry shampoo that left you more gray than greaseless. I’m talking about getting rid of some of the toxic beauty products that you use on yourself and your kids day in and day out.
Think we live in a country that regulates everything?
Think again. The Food and Drug Administration — the agency that also regulates cosmetics — allows companies to use chemicals like lead, formaldehyde and phthalates that are known to be extremely harmful. These ingredients have been linked to cancer, reproductive issues and hormone disruption.
Why is this allowed?
While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does administer and require some cosmetic regulations, the United States has not passed a federal law to regulate the ingredients used in personal care products since 1938. While the European Union has spent the past two decades banning or restricting more than 1,300 ingredients, the United States has only banned 11 to date.
Want to check out the safety of your products?
Check out the Environmental Working Group (EWG) Skin Deep Cosmetics Database or the free app, which is a great resource for researching your favorite products to find out what’s in them and how they rate for toxicity. Tip: Choose products in the 0-2 least toxic range, with the green “go ahead” circles next to the product.
The great news in all of this is that the personal care industry is really cleaning up its act, in large part to the EWG and its Skin Deep database, which allows consumers to research these ingredients and gives voice to consumers who are clamoring for safer options and more transparency about ingredients and formulas.
One example of a personal care company looking to redefine beauty standards is Beautycounter. Their self-imposed strict ingredient selection process is noteworthy. In the absence of government regulation of cosmetic ingredients (the U.S. government doesn’t review the safety of cosmetic products before they’re sold), Beautycounter defined “safety” themselves and have set a new health and safety standard by banning more than 1,500 ingredients from appearing in their products.
They are fully transparent about all of their ingredients with no mystery fragrance and no hidden preservatives. EWG Skin Deep ratings even appear on their product information pages. Beyond that, Beautycounter serves to educate with its “Never List” — a roundup of the ingredients you will never find in Beautycounter products (and that you should avoid even if you don’t buy Beautycounter products), with brief-but-impactful explanations of why they’re banned. Other great companies with similar “no secrets” missions include Vapour, Ilia, Eos, RMS, Ava Anderson and Tata Harper.
I like to do well by my body, my family and the environment as much as possible — but I make allowances for real life, too. At least, I have the power of choice. So before tossing everything out, run your routine products through an EWG Skin Deep search and make educated decisions based on that. That’s what got me to ditch my Suave Advanced Therapy Body Lotion (a 7!) for a Beautycounter Hydrate Everyday Body Lotion (a 2!), which I love even more.
I went to my first Beautycounter party in May of last year and I’m hooked. You don’t have to attend a party or have a Beautycounter consultant to place your order (simply purchase on beautycounter.com), but thousands of Beautycounter consultants across the country are becoming local, small business owners thanks to their personal belief in the product. My rep is a Raleigh mom of two who sells Beautycounter in order to offset the cost of her nursing school education. Another perk of using a rep is being able to try-before-you buy. A Beautycounter rep will gladly drop off a bag of products for you to test drive before you make a purchasing decision. Products returned within 30 days from the ship date of your order are also eligible for a full refund no matter if you bought through a rep or the regular website. No more wasted money on barely used products!
Looking for more beautycounter recommendations? Here are some of my tried-and-true favorites.
From top to bottom, left to right:
Hydrate Everyday Body Lotion A lightweight, nongreasy formula that is deeply moisturizing and quick to absorb. It doesn’t feel like you have anything on. This is by far my favorite product in the line. I have one in my beauty bag and one by the kitchen sink.
Routine Clean Cream Cleanser This nonfoaming, creamy cleanser is my everyday face wash. It’s gentle and doesn’t strip the skin like other harsh cleansers.
Wash Everyday Body Wash The fresh, citrus scent of this body wash is perfect for the entire family.
Gentle Exfoliator Polishing Cream My go-to for a weekly exfoliating treatment. Many facial scrubs exfoliate the skin with tiny plastic beads, which can sneak past waste water treatment facilities and end up in waterways and harm wildlife. This exfoliator uses natural, biodegradable jojoba beads rather than plastic, so rivers and oceans stay clean.
Lustro Face Oil 3 – Ylang Ylang & Wild Chamomile I’m so glad I got to try-before-buying this product, as like many face oils, it is on the pricey side. Two drops are all I need to keep fall and winter skin in line (along with the Every Day AM Hydrating Cream on top) and I go solo with the oil only in spring and summer as my main moisturizer.
Protect All Over Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Many sunscreens use chemical sun blockers like oxybenzone, which soaks through skin and can trigger allergic skin reactions or disrupt hormones. Protect All Over uses non-nano zinc oxide, which is an effective, natural and safe mineral sun blocker. Easy to rub in and no streaks. Perfect for everyone but especially pregnant women.
Twig Lip Sheer Keyword is sheer. This neutral, brownish pink lip sheer is buildable for more color or polished and shiny with one swoop. There are nine different colors in the Beautycounter arsenal, each one tasting a bit like vanilla. Twig is my favorite so far.
Rosewater Uplifting Spray Definitely a nice-to-have (not a need-to-have) product, but this cooling spray creates a dewy glow and can even set your makeup. Imagine how good this would be chilled and sprayed on a hot summer day. Beautycounter also recommends a few quick spritzes around your bed pillows to impart a light rose aroma as you sleep. Heavenly.
Every Day AM Hydrating Cream Beautycounter sells an AM and PM cream, but I’m just sticking to the AM formula. For more hydration, I pair with the Lustro Face Oil No. 3. Like the Hydrate lotion, this product is also nongreasy and lightweight.
Beautycounter also has a new makeup line that I can’t wait to try and a kids’ line that I haven’t tried yet either.
What’s the worst score one of your products received on the Skin Deep registry? Comment below and let us know.
Lauren Isaacs, mom of one and digital media specialist for Carolina Parent and CarolinaParent.com, writes about everything that’s popular in modern motherhood. She also writes the Carolina Parent “Style” column.
This post was not sponsored. All opinions and selections are purely mine. Photos courtesy of Beautycounter.