BeautyCounter Review

Hey Babes!

I have to tell y'all about something SO AWESOME today!!  I'd like to introduce you to 2 ladies: 1. Gregg Renfrew, who is a MAJOR girl boss. Four weeks ago I didn’t even know her name and now I am a HUGE FAN. And 2. a local Beauty Counter consultant, Kellie House, reached out asking me if I would be interested in trying some of their products... I was intrigued, so I did some research and fell in love with their story. 

Gregg Renfrew was in the digital wedding industry where she began a website that digitized wedding registries, The Wedding List. After years of developing that product, Martha Stewart acquired her business and Gregg was back to the entrepreneur drawing board. Her next career move was in the retail space, where she did fashion consulting for celebrities and businesses like Jessica Alba and J. Crew.

In March of 2013, Gregg launched BeautyCounter. Her brand of beauty products follows a “never list” mantra where Gregg and her team created a list of 1,500 harmful products that are never included in her items. The never list took years to create, but is the foundation of her business. 

Where did the never list idea come from? Well, the Federal Drug Administration of America (the group that should regulate any type of chemical that touches the human body… like beauty products) has not created a governance surrounding cosmetics since 1938. The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) was written mainly to regulate manufactured drugs and the food service industry. The word Cosmetic is only mentioned 223 times in a 800+ page legislation, most of which are written in the chapter titles. You can read the whole thing (if you need a sleep aid) HERE. This startling information sent Gregg Renfrew on a mission to create a brand that was safe even though the legislation does not require it. 

Most ingredients in American every day beauty products are full of elements that frankly would blow your mind. Theses ingredients are legal because the FFDCA only requires that manufacturers include truthful labels on their products. Some of those harmful ingredients on the ‘never list’ include (taken straight from their website):

1.    Coal tar hair dyes and other coal tar ingredients- A byproduct of coal processing that is a known carcinogen. It is used as a colorant and an anti-dandruff agent. Found in: hair dye, shampoo. 

2.    Formaldehyde- Used as a preservative in cosmetics. A known carcinogen that is also linked to asthma, neurotoxicity, and developmental toxicity. Found in: shampoo, body wash, bubble bath.

3.    Retinyl palmitate and Retinol (Vitamin A)- A nutrient that may damage DNA and speed the growth of skin tumors when used topically. Found in: moisturizer, anti-aging skincare.

4.    Synthetic flavor or fragrance- An engineered scent or flavoring agent that may contain any combination of 3,000-plus stock chemical ingredients, including hormone disruptors and allergens. Fragrance formulas are protected under federal law’s classification of trade secrets and therefore can remain undisclosed. Found in: all types of cosmetics.

5.    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.

I can’t even pronounce some of those ingredients!  But with my background in Biology/Chemistry, knowing that companies use these ingredients made me sick to my stomach.  For example, Formaldehyde is used to preserve dead bodies as well - UGH!!  So, BeautyCounter has promised that none of the products on the "Never List" will ever be included in their products.

Kellie asked me what BeautyCounter products I would be interested in trying... Makeup or Skin care?  I told her that since I don't use any skin care products at all, at this point, that I should try the makeup is I wanted to clean up my beauty routine... So, here are the products she gave me, and my own, genuine thoughts about them. It's their makeup package called “Flawless in Five," which is $150 for 6 items, and then the Mattifying Powder.

Tint Skin Hydrating Foundation

Beauty Counter's Flawless in Five Liquid Foundation
Beauty Counter's Flawless in Five Liquid Foundation

Using this foundation was challenging for me at first!  I hadn't used a liquid foundation in NINE YEARS!!  I thought that because of my oiliness I couldn't use a liquid, but this one proved me wrong (and it's hard for me to admit when I'm wrong...)!  I was in-between colors... Porcelain & Linen, but since its Summer time, and I could afford to go a little bit darker, I went with "Linen."  I put it on with a makeup brush, instead of my fingers, and then let it set for about 5 minutes before moving on it the next step.  It leaves a dewy finish at first, but that settles with time!

Touchup Skin Concealer Pen

Beauty Counter's Flawless in Five Concealer

Next, I use the concealer pen under my eyes, on the bridge of my nose, and on any blemishes I feel that I may have at the time.  It clicks like a pen, and 3 clicks is typically enough to cover all of that!  I went with the lightest color offered, "fair," not only because I'm super light skinned, but also to use it doubly as a highlight!  LOVE. LOVE. LOVE!  So, I use the pen's brush to get the concealer onto my skin, but then a blend it in with my finger... I use the SAME FINGER to blend everything in, as to not lose any extra product on a stupid finger LOL!

Color Define Brow Pencil

Beauty Counter's Flawless in Five Eyebrow Pencil
My Makeup Routine by Beauty Counter

I went with the "light" pencil, obviously :)  But, I do feel like its a little orange-y for me.  It could be great for a fair-skinned, red-head, strawberry blonde, or a true blonde...  But since my hair gets darker with each passing year, I will probably go up a shade when its time for a new pencil.  I've never used an eyebrow "pencil" before... I've always used either a loose powder, or an eyebrow liquid with a mascara-style wand.  And I have to say, I really love how sharp of a line I can get with the pencil!  My eyebrow game has been very on-point (pun intended)!

Lengthening or Volumizing Mascara

Beauty Counter's Flawless in Five Volumizing Mascara

I chose the volumizing mascara!  My eye-lashed are my favorite facial feature, so I have to admit that I am tragically disappointed with this mascara.  It was very clumpy and dry.  I even spoke with Kellie about my disappointment in the mascara, and she reminded me that I should still continue using it because most other mascaras use "Carbon Black" to give them their black color.... That's the same chemical used to make tires black!!!!  And she's right, I don't want to put that nastiness on my eyes anymore!  So, she suggested adding 3 drops of lavender essential oil to a brand new tube of the BeautyCounter mascara to make it less dry, AND it will act as a natural lash serum as well!  Helping them be healthier, fuller, and longer!!  Praise Jesus for Lavender Essential Oil!!  Also, she informed me that BeautyCounter does actually plan to re-formulate their mascaras this Fall!!  

Powder Blush Duo

Beauty Counter's Flawless in Five Blush Duo

Love this Duo!  I chose the "Bloom/Tulip" color combination & very much love it for my fair skin!  There is another set that is brighter pink, and much better for tanner/darker skinned ladies.  Then, there is a third set that's good for you braver, contour-master ladies!  It has a light pink and a bronzer-colored brown, together.  I just went with the safest option LOL!  I apply my blush with the same brush I use to apply the mattifying powder (but I apply the mattifying powder first).

Lip Gloss

Beauty Counter's Opal Lip Gloss

I chose the "Opal" color.  It is a very faint pink & I love it!!  Its thick, stays on for a long time, and is so much better than the "faint pink" color from BareMinerals that I've been wearing since college!

The Mattifying Powder

Beauty Counter's Mattifying Powder
My Makeup Routine by Beauty Counter

This item IS NOT part of the Flawless-in-Five set, but a product that I would deem necessary for this make-up routine IF you have oily skin.  This is the powder that sets your face, removes the dewiness from the liquid foundation, and continues to absorb your natural facial oils throughout the day so that you don't have to keep "touching-up."  I would like to note that when I put it on, I use a dabbing motion, instead of a brushing motion.  I feel like doing it that way keeps me from disturbing the liquid foundation that I've just put on to absolute perfection, AND I feel like it gets it down into my pores better, for longer-lasting oil-free-ness! :)  I may have made the benefits of that application strategy all up in my head, but for the first time in my life, I haven't had to carry around an extra compact in my purse to touch up my makeup during my sometimes 14 hour days, so I'm telling you that THAT is how you NEED to apply it!!  

Now, I know what you're thinking... $150 is a lot of money to spend on makeup, and you're absolutely right!  However, when I go to the MAC counter and Sephora to purchase all of the items for my previous day-to-day face, I would still spend $130-ish dollars if I had to re-stock everything AT ONCE.... And they wouldn't be guaranteed to be clean and healthy!  Truthfully, I know for a fact that MAC uses some less than desirable ingredients.... So, I have to ask you: You don't think that healthier, cleaner, better-for-you products are worth 20 extra dollars!!?  Because I know I sure do!!  If you are already purchasing makeup products from the higher end companies (i.e. MAC, Clinic, Urban Decay, Tart, Estee Lauder, Tom Ford, etc.), then you're already right there with BeautyCounter's price-point!  Plus, each item can be purchased individually, not just as a complete set!  So, start small if you need to!

BeautyCounter has created a brand that is healthy and safe for Americans to use, but so many brands are ignoring the facts and still marketing products that are harmful. So what can we do to help? I don’t know about you, but connecting with my senator is a freedom I don’t take advantage of enough. Lobbying for cosmetic legislation reform is a small action we each can do. To find out who to send your thoughts to, simply look up your Senator HERE.

Send a letter saying you care about the largest organ in the human body (yep, the skin) and that we need to require businesses to use healthy ingredients. 

I honestly can’t believe the passion I found in this topic when I simply started researching a new face wash. I look back to four weeks ago and realize I had no idea what I was putting on my body, and now I am embarrassed for anyone to see my bathroom counter. As I walk into the weekend, I plan to reorganize and toss the harmful bottles and tubes and only use products that aren’t toxic and harmful.
What will you do to make sure you are giving your body the best ingredients possible?

Each product title is linked to the item if you want to purchase, but if you want to know more, please email my local consultant who sponsored this post!  You can reach her directly at:

XOXO - Rachel

Disclaimer:  These products were gifted to me by Kellie House, my local Beauty Counter consultant, but all thoughts and opinions are my own!