Wondering what the hype is about Beautycounter? This post is explains the brand and how it’s different.
Beautycounter is one of my absolute favorite brands, for so many reasons. I talk about it a lot on my blog and on my Instagram stories, but I know there are many of you who still don’t know exactly how it’s different from other beauty brands. So, I’m breaking it down for you in this post.
I was first introduced to Beautycounter by a long-time blog friend, Ally, after I posted on Facebook that I was looking for a new tinted moisturizer. I had used lots of brands – Laura Mercier, Bare Minerals, Dr. Jart — but I didn’t love any of them. Ally replied and suggested the Beautycounter Dew Skin tinted moisturizer. I’d never heard of Beautycounter but the website looked nice and Dew Skin indeed had fantastic reviews.
So, I got some Dew Skin. She was right – I LOVED it. So then I got their Cream Blush. Then concealer. Then body wash and body lotion. Cleansing Balm next. Then a face serum. Then a moisturizer. Fast forward five years, and I’m obsessed with Beautycounter skincare products and makeup. The skincare and makeup I use now are almost all Beautycounter. I love the way they look and feel and I like knowing they’re safer products.
Okay, so let’s dive in.
In short, Beautycounter is a clean beauty company. I’m going to go into a lot of detail in this post, but that’s the short and sweet of it!
They sell high-end skincare, makeup, hair care, and body care. Beautycounter’s products are always free of 1,800 questionable ingredients that are very commonly used by other companies. And they’re leading change in the entire beauty industry through advocacy work.
Beautycounter is also a Certified B Corporation, an exclusive group of businesses dedicated to using their profits for positive change. (For reference, getting B-Corp certified is very hard so it’s quite impressive when a brand earns that label. Other B-Corp brands you may know are Patagonia, Allbirds and Athleta.) They also support many nonprofits and partner with leading scientists to find safer ingredients (many that are plant based) to create better products.
The Beautycounter mission is simple: to get safer products into the hands of everyone.
“One by one, we are leading a movement to a future where all beauty is clean beauty. We are powered by people, and our collective mission is to get safer products into the hands of everyone. Formulate, advocate, & educate—that’s our motto for creating products that truly perform while holding ourselves to unparalleled standards of safety. Why? It’s really this simple: beauty should be good for you.”
Beautycounter was founded by Gregg Renfrew in 2013. She kept seeing so many of her friends and family go through so many health issues — infertility, cancer, hormone issues — and wondered what was happening. She never thought that the products she was using on herself and kids might be part of the problem since the U.S. is so highly regulated.
But personal care companies in the U.S. are allowed to — and do — use harmful ingredients. The same ingredients commonly used in the United States are banned or restricted in other countries due to safety concerns.
She wanted to lead the entire industry to safer products by upping safety standards. Beautycounter bans over 1,800 questionable ingredients (they call it their Never List™).
I’ve attended a few meetings with Gregg and she shared that part of her goal was to make products that are extremely high performing. Because if the products are safer but they don’t work as well as other high-end brands, that’s not going to really lead change. She’s incredibly passionate about what she does and I’m so lucky to have spent time with her over the years at leader events. (Here’s a photo from the most recent visit with her!)
She also wanted the brand to help educate people on what we’re putting on our bodies since we don’t know what we don’t know. Education is part of why she set up the company with the consultant business model – more on that below. Beautycounter also advocates on Capitol Hill (I’ve participated in this advocacy work) for stricter guidelines and more regulations around personal care products. I don’t typically like more regulation, but in this instance, I think it’s necessary. Companies are knowingly using harmful chemicals in their products, prioritizing profit over consumers’ health, and Beautycounter wants to change the industry so that’s not the norm.
Gregg has since left the company but the new CEO, Marc Rey, has a strong background in the beauty industry. Prior to joining Beautycounter, he was the CEO for Shiseido Americas, and oversaw a large portfolio of beauty brands, including NARS, bareMinerals, Drunk Elephant, and Laura Mercier. I’ve been in a few meetings with him and have been very impressed. He’s smart, kind and aggressive in his goals but very data driven. You can read more about him here.
Since I first tried Dew Skin five years ago, Beautycounter has expanded their product selection a lot. They’ve been popular for their sunscreen and face oils for years, but now they have multiple skincare lines, even more makeup, hair and body products.
The skincare lines include:
The most high-end of all their skincare lines, designed for dry and/or aging skin (this is what I use).
For combination, sensitive or normal skin (it adapts to your skin’s needs, hence Counter”match”).
For oily and blemish-prone skin (this is what my husband uses).
A very basic line for those with young skin or for those with extra sensitive skin. (I compare this to Cerave or Cetaphil, but a much safer option.)
Add-on products, to use in addition to your skincare routine. It includes oils, masks, balms and charcoal products.
How is their skincare different and safer than other brands? So many reasons. Their cleansers never use carbomers, EDTA or PEGs commonly found in cleansers. Instead, they use plant-derived surfactants and natural thickeners. Also, their eye creams never use formaldehyde, a potentially carcinogenic preservative commonly used in eye creams which has also been linked to detrimental effects on the immune system. Their moisturizers don’t use mineral oil, which may inhibit your body’s ability to absorb Vitamin D.
Their oily skin + blemish line doesn’t use harsh surfactants, silicones, or irritants such as benzoyl peroxide commonly found in other acne products. And their anti-aging line doesn’t use retinol or retinyl palmitate (forms of vitamin A) commonly used in anti-aging products. Why? When vitamin A is exposed to UV light, it can produce free radicals that damage DNA and may be linked to cancer. Instead, their anti-aging line uses a plant-derived, vegan anti-aging ingredient call Bakuchiol that research shows is actually just as effective (if not more so) than retinol but without any of the potential negative side effects.
And none of their skincare products contain SLS or SLES, synthentic fragrances, silicones, polysorbates, parabens, colorants, toxic dyes or synthetic polymers.
Think about the products your doctor tells you to stop using during pregnancy (e.g. retinol). Beautycounter’s products are designed with safety in mind, especially for those who might be extra vulnerable – like pregnant women and babies. They screen and assess each of their ingredients for 23 distinct, safety endpoints, including reproductive toxicity. I used Beautycounter throughout my pregnancy (more details here on my pregnancy skincare routine) and was very comfortable knowing they were extensively tested for safety.
And yes, I own nearly every item now, five years later. The only thing I’m not obsessed with is their mascara since oil soluble mascaras always smudge on me, no matter what. But, the way that it looks is incredible and it doesn’t smudge on everyone!
I prefer a simple makeup routine most days and my routine takes 5-10 minutes. Gotta love that. And if you’ve used “natural” makeup before that didn’t cut it in terms of staying power or pigment, trust me when I say Beautycounter makeup is long-lasting and highly pigmented.
Foundations and eye products often contain emollients and emulsifiers known as polyethylene glycols (PEGs) that may be contaminated with known carcinogens. PEGs may also disrupt hormones and trigger allergies. Beautycounter instead uses a safer combination of plant-derived skin conditioners and emulsifiers.
Most color cosmetics (e.g. eyeshadow and blush) contain lead. Beautycounter does third-party testing of every batch of color cosmetics for heavy metals and have industry-leading safety levels. They are also very very selective when it comes to pigments. Of the 63 cosmetic colorants allowed in the US, they use only 18 in their cosmetics.
Their lip products use vitamin E, peppermint oil, and jojoba instead of instead of synthetic fragrances or flavors and never uses butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), a preservative commonly used in lip products that may have harmful health effects.
While they do have hair care products, the selection is limited since they focus more on skincare and makeup.
These are some of my very favorite Beautycounter products. I previously used things like Dove, Jergens or Aveeno and once I learned what ingredients were in those, I very quickly swapped them out for safer option.
Since body products cover a lot of my body vs. a small area like my eyelashes, I wanted to get those replaced quickly. Conventional body products use potentially toxic ingredients, like mineral oil, synthetic fragrances and PEGs. Beautycounter’s body care products use naturally derived ingredients (like coconut and oils) instead. They also use zinc-oxide rather than chemical sunscreens, which can harm the environment and your health.
I love using this for Thomas.
The Balm is designed for very sensitive skin and doesn’t contain potential irritants commonly used in other brands.
Beautycounter also sells limited edition holiday sets. The holiday sets are great for two reasons. First, the packaging is beautiful so you could just put a ribbon on it to give. Second, the holiday sets include products and shades that aren’t in their usual product line-up so it’s fun to try something new. After the holiday season, I always have people reaching out asking me to help them track something down since they’re sad it’s gone! The holiday products are super popular so keep an eye out in November each year!
Beautycounter is priced comparably to other high-end skincare and makeup lines. It’s not a drugstore brand, so don’t expect to pay $5 for a cleanser! If you’re used to using “natural” products from Target or using things like coconut oil for your skincare, the prices may feel high. But keep in mind these are high-performing products with active ingredients to actually make a difference in your skin’s appearance now and over time. And, they’re significantly more enjoyable to use than slathering oil all over your face and body! (I tried that for a time – I couldn’t stand feeling that greasy.) You’ll find you also can use a LOT less product with these.
However, if you’re used to paying a higher price point for nice beauty products (e.g. department brands or high-end brands at Ulta or Sephora), you’ll find the prices are similar. However, those department store brands do not have the same stringent requirements on their ingredients so when you consider the safety factor, Beautycounter is a much better deal, all around.
And, that’s part of the reason Ulta partnered with Beautycounter – they wanted to provide a clean option and Beautycounter is the leading brand. And Beautycounter benefits because they get increased awareness in a shorter amount of time vs. their own marketing efforts only. (Beautycounter has also done partnerships with J.Crew, Goop, Sephora and Target since my time with the company – each one has helped my business, not hurt!)
Counterstart is a very basic line and Countertime is the most “active” line to help prevent signs of aging. Cleansers range from $22-$54 and moisturizers range from $32-$98. Most makeup is $24-$50 with a few exclusions. And hair and body care products from $25-$50, with a few exclusions.
One thing to note about Beautycounter products is that a little goes a LONG way. You should use significantly less product than other brands so you’ll find products last a LOT longer. Some products last 10 weeks and some products last 6+ months. It obviously depends on the product but I always tell people to start by using a very small amount and then only use more if necessary. For example, with my night cream, I use about a black bean size amount of product.
While sales don’t happen often, there are a few other ways to save money. Additionally, Consultants get a 25% discount on all their orders and often get 40% off new products before they launch. Since I love and use so many products anyway, becoming a consultant was a great way to save money. And considering I talk about skincare and makeup a lot anyway, it’s nice to make money when people order through me.
Beautycounter products are typically sold direct to consumer. They’ll occasionally do partnership with other companies (e.g. Target, Goop, Birchbox, J.Crew, Sephora) but that’s not the norm.
The main way Beautycounter is sold is through consultants. The founder felt the mission of the company (i.e. safer products) was best communicated by individuals, and she saw the way most purchase decisions are now made (from a recommendation of a friend!) and structured the company accordingly. And she’s not wrong: Think about it, when you are thinking about a purchase, whether it’s new shoes, a restaurant or a doctor, don’t you like to have a recommendation from a friend or someone you trust? Yep. Same goes with skincare and makeup – it’s easier to make the decision when someone you know vouches for it and can guide you through picking the right products.
When you shop with me as your consultant (I’m listed under TeriLyn Adams), I help you choose the right products based on your skin’s needs and then Beautycounter pays me commission on the sale. And then I provide a very high level of service to my customers so they always have a personal contact (vs. calling a customer support line) to help them with any questions or recommendations. Plus, it’s a great way to support a small business by shopping with a consultant.
It’s super simple to sign up as a consultant. You just sign up on their website, choose what starter set you want and you’ll have your own website within a few minutes. You’ll be able to start sharing your link right away so people can shop with you. You can also choose a mentor and I’m happy to mentor people, so feel free to select my name as your mentor (also under TeriLyn Adams).
Consultants earn 25-35% commission on every sale and the average order I see is $100-$125 so it really adds up quickly. People will reorder when they run out and as you continue to get new customers, the paycheck can be quite substantial.
Be sure to read my blog post with some FAQs about being a Beautycounter Consultant here. And if you’re toying with the idea, fill this out and I’ll email you back. I love mentoring to help consultants on my team launch their business. My corporate career started as a financial analyst at Goldman Sachs and then managing marketing and social media strategy for Wells Fargo so I have extensive business experience to help you. I figure if I can promote checking accounts and credit cards, selling beauty products is a breeze! 😉
Here are Beautycounter reviews I’ve already written. If you want a review of any other products, leave a comment and let me know!
You can also see a full list of my skincare and makeup routine here.
This post was first published in 2018 and I’ve updated it regularly since then as new products launch. Look how much their product line has changed since the first time I published it. Kind of fun to see.