Last Friday, I did a Q&A on insta-stories and someone asked a skincare question, which led to Beautycounter being brought up in the conversation. Right after that, my inbox started overflowing with questions about the brand! So I figured it’s long past time for me to answer all of your FAQs, share which products I love and use, and then also share the ones that aren’t for me.
Why did I make the switch to safer?
Before I start, I want to share a little background on Beautycounter and why I use it. For the long, detailed version of this, check out this post where I really let it all out. But in short, a couple years ago I became aware of all the harmful chemicals that are in the personal care products I was using day to day.
I honestly didn’t realize that ingredients in my makeup, body wash, and other personal care products immediately enter my bloodstream once they are absorbed through my skin and potentially could make my body a breeding ground for hormone disruption, reproductive issues, allergies, organ toxicity, and even worse… issues like cancer among other diseases.
But surely our government wouldn’t allow that to happen, right? The Food and Drug Administration (the agency that regulates cosmetics in the United States) allows companies to use chemicals known to be extremely harmful in their products. Our government has not passed a major federal law to regulate the safety of ingredients used in personal care products since 1938 and they’ve only partially banned 30 chemicals. Compare that to Europe, where over 1,300 chemicals are banned that are commonly used in personal care products. They’ve also restricted the levels of 250 other chemicals.
But the US has only banned 30 chemicals total?? We are far, far behind.
Beautycounter has taken this issue into their own hands and have banned over 1,500 harmful and questionable ingredients. Not only that, but they are investing tons of money and resources into rigorously screening every single potential ingredient for safety. They have brought on a team of scientists, experts, and industry leaders to develop safer chemicals and ensure the safety of their products, all while making sure their products perform just as well as any other on the market.
So that’s why I started using their products and in general, have made efforts to switching to a safer lifestyle when it comes to the chemicals I expose my family to. (I guess that wasn’t that short after all.) Sure, there are toxins in the 3 mini snickers I ate yesterday and in the furniture I’m sitting on. But switching over my body care, skincare, and makeup are areas that are no brainers for me.
Do I exclusively use Beautycounter and other safe personal care products?
No. When I first started this journey a couple years ago, I stated very clearly near the end of this post that I am not going to switch over a product unless I love it just as much as the products I was previously using before Beautycounter. I said it then and I’ll say it again now: I am only going to use and share products that I honestly love. So, if I can’t find a “safe” dry shampoo that I love, I’ll happily keep using my “unsafe” one and I’m not going to beat myself up about it. Just like how I try to buy organic meat, dairy, and produce at home, but I won’t bat an eyelash about pulling through McDonald’s for a burger occasionally. In my opinion, you just can’t live your life otherwise because there are toxins and harmful chemicals all around us and there’s no way to avoid it totally. But I strongly believe in making a switch where you can because every little effort makes a difference and plays a role in our health. That said, the majority of the products I use for personal care are either Beautycounter or another safer brand that I trust, but not everything—until I find an equivalent or better alternative that is.
Have I noticed good results from using Beautycounter skincare?
YES! Before I started using it, I had very aggravated, congested skin with deep acne spots all over. I was extremely oily in my T-Zone, but the outskirts of my face were dry. I finally went to the dermatologist and was prescribed a small dose antibiotic to take orally every single day (that’s scary), as well as two very powerful topical ointments and creams. It helped, but my skin became red and inflammed… and although it was better, the acne was still there. I stayed on this regimen for about 3 months and then discovered Beautycounter.
When I switched over my skincare, my skin cleared up within two weeks tops. I mean, I noticed a difference after day one. I literally quit everything else I was using for my skin cold turkey—right away. It was AMAZING and I was shocked. I think all the harsh chemicals I was using on my skin were actually making it all worse. You know, the fancy “clarifying cleanser” they sell at the spa and all the super powerful serums and treatments that I splurged on from Neimans. I started with the Beautycounter Nourishing Collection and not only did all of my acne clear up, but my skin became totally normal and balanced. I no longer really have to blot my skin throughout the day. It’s just happy. (For the record, I don’t have perfect skin or close to it. I have melasma, but that is a hormonal thing that is related to a thyroid imbalance I have and pregnancy. But as far as acne? I honestly don’t know the last time I’ve had a pimple or any sort of blemish. I really need to knock on some wood somewhere.)
Is Beautycounter “all natural” and chemical free?
No. They use chemicals in their products. I mean, water is a chemical. Beautycounter just uses safe chemicals and chemicals that are sourced in a way so that they are safe for us to use. Also, a lot of times when a brand has “natural” on their packaging, it’s often a scam. They may have one tiny natural ingredient in there among tons of harmful chemicals and then they market the whole product as “natural.” And doing this is perfectly legal since our government has no essentially no regulation on what a personal care company can or cannot do when it comes to their ingredients and marketing.
What ingredients do I personally try to avoid in the products I use? (Reading a product ingredient label is hard!)
Personally, parabens and fragrance are the big things. Saying a product has fragrance in it is like saying a house has furniture in it. There isn’t simply one item known as “furniture”… there are chairs, sofas, tables, desks, etc. Likewise, fragrance isn’t just one thing… it’s LOTS of things that are usually kept secret by companies. So they put “fragrance/parfum” on their ingredient list, but in reality that fragrance could be made up of thousands of harmful, secret chemicals that disrupt our hormones and are toxic to our bodies. So, that’s the main thing I try to avoid. “Try” being the key word.
“The Never List” is a great place to start when learning ingredients to avoid because it contains the “big offender” chemicals—ones that will never be used in any Beautycounter product. I try to avoid these the best that I can in all products I use on my body because these are the super scary ones. Also, check out the Environmental Working Group’s “Skin Deep” database. You can search actual products on there and see their safety scores. If a product isn’t in the database, then you can search individual ingredients and read all about why they are safe or unsafe.
Now for the good stuff…
What are my favorite Beautycounter products that I use and love?
After two years of religious use, there are plenty of products I don’t feel are for me when it comes to Beautycounter, but these are the products I absolutely love…
- this cleanser and this one (I alternate both! They are so gentle. I honestly think these are what balanced my skin and totally stopped acne breakouts.)
- this rosewater mist (Our skin is like a sponge. After you cleanse, spray a little of this on so that the next products are absorbed more efficiently. Also, this makes for a great setting spray for makeup and a perfect midday refresher! I also spray it on after I finish all of my skincare at night to sort of mesh everything together.)
- cleansing balm (It’s pricey, but a best seller for a reason. It’s a great makeup remover and super hydrating. It also contains Vitamin C, so it’s brightening too. You can use this as a makeup remover, cleanser, or mask.)
- this eye cream (I love this one, too, because it’s simple and super moisturizing, but the other one does more for your eyes!)
- this moisturizer for day and this cream for night (If you can only do one, just get the day moisturizer because by mixing in the oil at night, it becomes rich! I also love the Nourishing AM and PM creams, but these seem to be a little more brightening for me.)
- this oil (It just won an Allure best of beauty award – don’t be afraid by oil. Just mix in a few drops with your moisturizer at night and it makes a big difference! It seemed crazy to me to put oil on my face, but now I can’t go without it! Sometimes I even use a drop or two in my day moisturizer, which is something I never ever would have done in the past.)
- this lip conditioner (When you get it in, push your finger in it a bit to sort of mix it. I feel like this “activates” it.)
- tint skin hydrating foundation (It’s awesome. I wear linen when I’m at my palest and sand at my tannest… and mix when in between. Sometimes I use a heavier foundation when I need more coverage, but this is a good daily one for me and it can always be built up to a heavier coverage.)
- this foundation brush (It’s like peanut butter and jelly to the tint skin foundation and really makes it go on airbrushed!)
- powder (Sets everything in place like a dream and is invisible.)
- powder brush (It’s an awesome brush with multiple uses. I personally use it for all over powder or bronzer.)
- brow pencil (Seriously the best. I use shade medium and blend blend blend with the spooley end.)
- blush (My preference is bloom/tulip, although all the shades are great!)
- these lip sheers (I love “plum” for fall/winter, “rose” and “petal” for everyday looks, and “coral” for the summer!)
- these lip glosses (I love them! My favorite is “bare shimmer.” I put it on top of both the light and dark lip sheer shades.)
- this whole body set (It includes the shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and lotion—and I’m obsessed with all. You can buy each of these individually too. The signature citrus mimosa scent that is used in these is one of my favorite smells in the whole world—it’s not overly feminine or masculine, just fresh. Brandon uses these too!)
- body scrub (It makes your skin feel like silk and has so many hydrators in it as well, so lotion afterwards just glides on! Although truth be told, you really don’t even need lotion on after this.)
- body butter (Use when your skin is extra dry or when you just really want to be indulgent and pamper yourself. I use this on my pregnant belly, too!)
- body oil (There are so many uses for this. Use it alone on your skin or mix in with the body lotion. I use it on my cuticles and sometimes on the ends of my hair, too! It’s also great to put on your arms and legs when you’re going out to dinner or a special event. It makes your skin glow and feel amazing.)
- hand cream (I can’t go without this in my bag.)
- Protect All Over Sunscreen (I use it on my face and body. It blends in like a dream. It is high in zinc oxide, which is awesome because that is the one ingredient that prevents dark spots from the sun. So, the higher the zinc oxide %, the less chance of dark spots.)
- Gentle All Over Wash (Fragrance free, but babies smell so good on their own, they don’t need to be covered in other smells, right? It’s gentle and always has agreed well with Watson’s skin.)
- Daily Protective Balm (There are a million and one uses for this with a newborn. I use this on any scrapes Watson gets on his knees or dry skin spots. You’ll find so many reasons to pull this out!)
- Soothing Oil (This is what I have always used on Watson instead of a lotion. It soaks right in and makes his skin feel amazing! I love it!
There’s also a super sweet gift set that includes each of these products and a Finn + Emma stuffed animal. It’s limited edition and comes packaged in a nice red gift box for the season.
What products have I tried and do not like?
This was a super popular question on instagram and I’ll be totally honest in answering it. I don’t want to bash these Beautycounter products at all because everybody’s skin and tastes are different. You may dislike the products that work for me and vice versa. But with that said, here are some products and tools that were just not for me:
- dew skin (People absolutely go nuts over this product, but for me, it has zero coverage, so I just don’t see the point of it other than the wonderful level of SPF it has. But unfortunately, I can’t even enjoy it just for the SPF because this product makes my skin appear flaky and tight almost immediately after I put it on.)
- concealer pen (I can’t seem to get the shade just right, even with mixing the fair and the light. It’s just too much work for me.)
- bronzer (I don’t have anything against the actual formula, but for me, shade #1 is too light and shade #2 is too dark. Again, just too much work to try and mix them.)
- lengthening mascara (I just really hated this, but I have the volumizing mascara in my next order and I’ve heard it’s amazing. Excited to try.)
- eyeliner pencil (Doesn’t glide on and it smears easily… on me, at least.)
- eyeshadows (I don’t mind the formula at all. They are great, but I just don’t have a color that I absolutely love and I own every single one of those little duos. I think I may order this limited edition ultimate nudes palette and give the shadows another shot… I heard the stock is running low on them!)
- brushes (I love the big powder brush and the foundation brush, but the rest are too small and stiff in my opinion.)
- toner pads (They just didn’t really do anything for me, but every time I read about them, I want to give them another try.)
- radiance serum (This is another one of those cult favorite products, but for some reason, when I use this, my skin doesn’t look very good. I can’t put my finger on it, but I finally just stopped using it.)
- charcoal bar (Everyone swears by it, but it makes my skin too tight feeling.)
Those were my most frequent questions. Here are a few more questions that have been asked on instagram.
“If I had to start with just a few Beautycounter products, where should I start?”
I’d start with the cream cleanser, a moisturizer (this one if you need brightening, moisture, and anti-aging… or this one if you just need moisture only), and one of the oils, which you can mix in with the moisturizer for night. If you can, I would also highly suggest investing in the shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and lotion.
Depending on your budget, there are sets you can purchase where many of these products are bundled into one kit, making the price a little better.
“How do I know which foundation shade to order?”
I know, it’s so, so hard to buy color cosmetics online! Here is a shade finder chart that will help you figure out what your shade is, as well as which shades to buy in other products based on that. The good thing is that the foundation is very natural and blendable, so if you are a tiny bit off, it should still blend in totally fine. That’s why there aren’t a ton of shade options. Again, I am “Linen” at my palest and “Sand” at my tannest. Also, don’t forget that Beautycounter has a no questions asked returns policy if you don’t like something or get the wrong shade!
“I battle redness on my cheeks, but would like a product for brightening. Everything I’ve tried results in breakouts. Which products are best for that?”
I would stick with very gentle products. I’d recommend the Nourishing Cream Cleanser or even the Cleansing Balm because it’s a gentle cleanser that contains Vitamin C, which is going to brighten your skin. You can also use the balm as a mask! And it’s fabulous at removing makeup. For moisturizer, I’d stick with the Nourishing Cream and then add in a few drops of an oil to the cream for night. I’d recommend the Brightening Oil, but the Balancing Oil may be your best bet since you have redness and this oil is going to calm and soothe the skin. The oils are amazing!
If you have more questions, leave them in the comments! Also, you can see all the Beautycounter posts I’ve ever done here.
*First image is my own. The additional ones are from the Beautycounter Facebook page!