When one of our former Contributors, Elizabeth Birenbaum, announced that she’d become a Beautycounter consultant and asked us to do a review of their products, I was thrilled to be offered the opportunity!
I had heard about Beautycounter before and even tried out one of their eye creams (more on my love of eye creams below). But because it’s not sold in stores and doesn’t have a traditional marketing campaign, I was still pretty unfamiliar with them. Plus this was a chance to review a DOZEN different products in their skin and body care lines, and to find out more about what makes Beautycounter different from other beauty companies out there! Elizabeth was more than happy to do a deep dive with me on the ethos of the Beautycounter company and all its products. Here’s a brief distillation of our initial discussion, followed by my product reviews!
I’ve known for quite some time that the beauty industry harbors some pretty dark secrets. Animal testing for one. Toxic chemical additives for another. According to Elizabeth, it’s legal for US cosmetic companies to use known carcinogens in everyday products. What’s worse, the United States currently only bans 30 harmful ingredients from personal care products (including baby shampoo!) whereas the European Union bans 1,400. In fact, the word “fragrance” can legally be used to describe up to 3,000 additives in these products. So when you see the word fragrance, it’s a vague code word for a vast variety of stuff we probably wouldn’t want to put on our children’s bodies. You can find out more about what inspired the creation of Beautycounter in this video here.
Beautycounter’s mission is to educate people about what is going into their beauty products so they can make more informed decisions about what they’re using on themselves and their family. The company is working from both ends to change industry standards – with consumer products as well as advocating to Congress to get stricter laws passed to oversee the beauty industry.
To that end, Beautycounter is what’s known as a “B Corp” where the B stands for Benefit. This is a special designation given to companies, like Seventh Generation, TOMS, Ben & Jerry’s, to name a few. To earn B Corp status, they must meet higher standards of accountability, sustainability, and social justice than a regular corporation. It’s not easy to attain this certification, and so that’s a big mark of approval in my book.
Daily Shampoo / Conditioner:
I recently wrote a post for my personal blog where I admitted to having had a sort of addiction to mini hotel toiletries. At one point, I had stockpiled so many of these delightfully small bathroom products that I didn’t have to buy myself shampoo or conditioner for a year. You can read more about what that did to my hair in my post if you want. But the bottom line is, now that I’ve broken the cycle of mini hotel toiletry hoarding, I’ve realized the importance of buying quality haircare products!
Beautycounter’s Daily Shampoo has a cheerful citrus scent, an opaque consistency, and sudsed up easily. The Daily Conditioner was thick and moisturizing. After rinsing and brushing, my hair felt clean but not weighed down by product like some overly heavy conditioners can sometimes leave you feeling. I thought the combo of the two worked perfectly.
Charcoal Mask and Charcoal Bar:
Charcoal beauty products are all the rage right now. And I can see why! The bar has active charcoal powder as well as witch hazel, which according to the ever-knowledgable Elizabeth helps to purify and balance skin. I’m using it to wash my face in the evening, and the small sample-size bar has lasted me for a week and counting. My facial skin can sometimes dry out easily (that is, when it’s not overly greasy – gotta love that T Zone combination skin). But this charcoal bar didn’t dry out my face at all.
My make-up-loving colleague here at Orange County Moms Blog, Viv Jones, has written about her penchant for face masks. It’d been several years since I’d taken the time to do a liquid mask, and oh, had I been missing out! Now I know why she loves them! This Charcoal Mask had a surprisingly minty scent, and went on smoothly. It kinda felt like I was in preschool painting my own face and I guess in fact I was. I left it on just until the mask started drying out, about 10-15 minutes, and then washed it off carefully with water. I also used a washcloth to pat my face dry afterwards, in case I missed any spots.
An unexpected bonus: the look of shock on my toddler’s face when she ran into my room while I had the mask on. She has never seen a person wearing a facial mask before, let alone a charcoal grey one on my face, and thought it was the strangest, funniest sight ever. She got a little mad at me when I washed it off, so this is one I may need to do again soon just for her entertainment lol.
Rejuvenating Eye Cream:
I am a BIG believer in eye cream! It reduces puffiness and helps decrease the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, and those dark under-eye circles that seem to be a permanent mark of motherhood. I have been using eye cream since college as a pre-emptive measure, and credit it for keeping the crows feet at bay (so far). I really liked the ultra-moisturizing feel of Beautycounter’s eye cream, and think it’s worth every penny.
Countermatch Adaptive Moisture Lotion:
This is a lightweight moisturizing lotion and helps to even out oily skin by using something called Bio-Mimic Technology. It didn’t feel at all greasy to the touch and went on smoothly. You couldn’t tell I had just applied lotion to my face, which is exactly the point.
Dew Skin Moisturizer:
This is a sheer-coverage moisturizer with SPF 20. It has a tint to it and you can pick which shade fits best for your skin color. I used Shade #2, and though it had color, it didn’t feel like it was coloring my face if that makes sense. It was very lightweight and smooth. If you want something like a foundation but not an actual foundation, this is an ideal option. Also, SPF 20! Great for everyday use and basic sun protection.
Tint Skin Foundation:
If you need something more powerful than the Dew Skin to even out your skin imperfections and cover up little blemishes, this liquid foundation works like a charm. I’m not a big full face make-up kind of person, and usually find foundations to be too heavy and chalky. To me, they seem to accentuate all the bumps and wrinkles you’re supposedly trying to cover up. But thankfully, this Tint Skin Foundation went on super smoothly and was almost imperceptible on my skin. It comes in a variety of hues (I chose “Linen”) and didn’t dry my skin out by the end of the day. I also noticed that it did not clog my pores like some cakey foundations tend to do. That is a huge plus in my opinion.
This is a lightweight powder to dust on after you’ve applied your foundation and make up, just to set it in. I applied this (along with foundation and a bit of blush) the night we went to see Hamilton. (Yes, I just shamelessly named-dropped that musical. And yes, it’s worth every accolade and award that it’s received!) It’s a long show and we did dinner beforehand. But I’m pleased to report that by the end of the night, my face was not an oily mess, so this powder did the trick.
Countersun Mineral Sunscreen Lotion:
Right as I was testing out these products, Beautycounter released an updated product line of Broad Spectrum sunscreens. If you don’t know yet, many commercial sunscreens (including the ones made and marketed for kids) contain hormone-disrupting ingredients called Oxybenzone or Octinoxate that have been proven to lower testosterone levels. There are a few more names to look for – you can read all about it on the Environmental Working Group’s website here. These toxic ingredients help those commercial sunscreens absorb quickly and stay on longer.
Mineral sunscreens on the other hand do not contain these chemicals and are thus MUCH safer to use, especially on children. I’d personally rather have to rub in lotion a bit longer and more frequently if it means not permanently altering my children’s hormone levels, wouldn’t you?
The new Countersun mineral-based formula protects against UVA, UVB, and Blue Light. Its consistency is much lighter and less gloppy than my current mineral sunscreen, which is a big selling point to me. Though it has a white tint thanks to the active ingredient zinc oxide, the lotion absorbs quickly and did not leave my face looking greasy. It’s got an SPF of 30 which is good for everyday use. Since we live in SoCal, you should probably reapply every couple hours if you’ll be in the sun all day long.
Citrus Mimosa Body Lotion:
I loved the scent and feel of this lotion. It went on so silky smooth and didn’t make me feel like I needed to wash the oil off my hands immediately like some lotions do. It has an ultra luxurious consistency that absorbs into your skin immediately but keeps it hydrated for hours. The feel reminded me of this fancy french lotion my Nana used to use called La Mer. I just stopped writing for a minute to go put some on my hands in fact and, ahhhh, now I feel much better typing away at this keyboard.
Calendula Lip Conditioner:
I had mentioned to Elizabeth, my Beautycounter consultant, that the only plant I’m allergic to is the Peppermint Willow tree. (Strange huh?) So she thoughtfully sent me this lip conditioner in Calendula flavor instead of the other option which is Peppermint, just in case that would trigger an allergic reaction (it wouldn’t because they’re different plants but I appreciated the sentiment). I really enjoyed the Calendula scent which is lightly floral and pleasant. I keep this in my nightstand to apply before bed to keep my lips hydrated. And I didn’t hesitate at all to put it on my toddler’s chapped lips, even though I knew chances were high she’d end up eating some of it, because I also know it doesn’t contain one of those should-be-banned 1,400 chemical additives.
How To Buy:
This brings me to the whole sales approach behind Beautycounter. Because it’s uses a direct retail sales approach, you sign up with a consultant who can answer your questions and provide you with guidance and samples when available. Kind of like your own personal customer service rep who doesn’t ask you security questions every time to contact them. I’ve bought from other companies with this kind of sales structure before. And I have to say that Beautycounter really does an outstanding job in training its consultants to know every detail of the product ingredients, usages, and even packaging. I peppered Elizabeth with SO many questions, and she answered each one with aplomb.
Speaking of purchasing, you can order online directly from the Beautycounter website and have the items shipped directly. Just go to https://www.beautycounter.com/elizabethbirenbaum. Add whatever you’d like to your cart before checking out with Elizabeth Birenbaum selected as your consultant. It’s as easy as buying any other online product.
When you hear buzzwords like natural or sustainable, you sometimes think that translates into expensive items you can’t afford.
I did a comparison of Beautycounter prices to comparable items, like the make-up sold at department stores for example. To my relief, I found that Beautycounter products were priced at around the same cost as similar items from the nicer make up brands. You may be able to find cheaper eye liner at your local big box pharmacy. But it’ll probably contain chemical additives, be tested on animals, and not have the same high quality feel to it.
You may want to convert all your skin and body care products to Beautycounter but don’t want to go broke in the process. If you plan on ever ordering more than once, they offer a membership program called Band of Beauty. That provides its members with 15% back in product credit with each purchase and free shipping on orders over $100 for a $29 annual fee. Kind of like Amazon Prime. Plus there’s no monthly minimums, no auto-ship, and no auto renewal. And you get a free sign up gift with qualifying purchases of $50.
Now if you have any questions about any of the above, you can email Elizabeth directly at [email protected]. Or join her Facebook group at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/beautycounterwithelizabethbirenbaum.
I am personally sold on Beautycounter both as a company and a skin and body care line. And I can’t wait to explore their other products. If you’d like to read more about the eco-friendly aspects of Beautycounter products, I’ve written a companion post on my personal blog, Eco Friendly Mama.