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My Honest Beautycounter Review

Written by Irina Webb
Health-related claims have been reviewed by Myrto Ashe, MD, MPH, IFMCP

Every step a manufacturer takes towards consumer safety is worth acknowledging.  Yet another company has made an exciting change that you are going to learn about.  Indeed, Beautycounter has disclosed their heavy metal test reports for 10 products on their website.  This is great news!  Read on to find out why knowing about heavy metals in makeup is important.  Plus, you will see my recommendations for the safest Beautycounter makeup products.   

My Honest Beautycounter Review. The picture of Beautycounter makeup and skincare products.

Because heavy metals are serious contaminants, makeup companies should disclose their heavy metal test reports, in my opinion. 

To begin with, heavy metals are not ingredients in makeup – they are contaminants.  In other words, companies, including Beautycounter, do not intentionally add them to their products.  For instance, they can sneak in via color additives, whose raw materials – petroleum or minerals – come from the Earth’s crust.  Heavy metals are present in the water and soil, and also in the air because of industrial pollution or natural occurrence.  As a result, dyes and pigments used in cosmetics may have trace amounts of heavy metals. 

Of the two kinds of pigments – petroleum-based and mineral – I give preference to mineral ones.  Petroleum-based colorants may contain residues of benzo[a]pyrene, PAHs, and resorcinol.  To clarify, these substances arouse concerns related to cancer, endocrine disruption, and allergies.  While mineral pigments do not contain contaminants typical of petroleum, they are not perfect either because of heavy metal residues.  In my post Heavy Metals in Makeup you can learn about regulations for heavy metals in dyes and pigments. 

The bad news is that most heavy metals tend to “bioaccumulate,” meaning they stay in our bodies for a long time.  Although there are ways to get rid of them, no method is perfect.  Several years ago, upon discovering high levels of lead and mercury in my body, I did a 5-month course of chelation therapy.  While the improvement was significant, the levels were still higher than normal.  That is why I am so adamant about knowing the levels of heavy metals in cosmetics before recommending any. 

Beautycounter disclosed heavy metal test reports for ten products.

In 2015, Beautycounter makeup and skincare company published a bold claim on their blog.  “The only way to be sure that your color cosmetics have undetectable or only extremely low levels of heavy metals is to use Beautycounter.”

Naturally, I requested their test reports, but they responded that I would have to sign a very restrictive non-disclosure agreement first.  In other words, they wanted me to agree not to tell my readers about what I learned or even that I talked about that with them.  That made no sense to me because my mission is to inform you so you could make informed decisions.  So, I kept corresponding with the company till March 2017, but to no avail.  I finally gave up.

Good news!  In 2021, they published their test reports on their website.  Additionally, they removed the claim I mentioned above.  Instead, now they say they do their best to keep heavy metals undetectable but always within “health-protective company standards.” 

Ultimately, I applaud them for becoming more transparent.  I still have some questions, though.  Why did they post test results for only 10 products?  And why these 10?  However, it is a great start!  Moreover, I completely understand the difficulty of full disclosure for all products and their batches. 

So, now I know that they test for heavy metals and the results are well below Canadian and European limits (the US has only guidance, not enforced limits, for lead and mercury).  But is Beautycounter safe enough so I could promote their products on my blog?  Let us discuss their pros and cons.

There are more pros than cons for Beautycounter makeup and skincare company.

The features that make me like this company are as follows:

  • Absence of almost all controversial ingredients
  • Presence of preservatives (read on to find out why this is a good thing)
  • Ethical mica
  • Sustainable production and packaging
  • Advocacy work
  • Job opportunities for women

Alternatively, there are some things that raise my concerns:

  • Phenoxyethanol in some products
  • Synthetic colorants in some products
  • Most plant extract and oils are not organic

Let us talk about these points a little more.

There are almost no controversial non-colorant ingredients.

The ingredients I am talking about are fragrance, ethoxylated ingredients, formaldehyde releasers, parabens, and harsh preservatives.

First, Beautycounter discloses natural fragrance ingredients according to the European law.  Thus, rather than additional ingredients, linalool and limonene are components of essential oils.

Second, they do not use ethoxylated ingredients, such as PEGs and those that end with -eth (e.g., laureth).  The process of ethoxylation makes harsh petrochemical raw materials less irritating to the skin.  However, it involves carcinogenic ethylene oxide and may produce 1,4-dioxane as a byproduct which can remain in the final product if not treated properly.  On my blog, I do not recommend products with ethoxylated ingredients.  You can read more about that in my Hidden Ingredients in Best Baby Wipes post.

Third, Beautycounter makeup and skincare has no formaldehyde releasing preservatives, such as methenamine, diazolidinyl urea, and some others.  In 2011, the National Toxicology Program classified formaldehyde as one of the “known human carcinogens” (source).  Find out how to protect yourself from formaldehyde in products.

Lastly, there are no parabens and no methylisothiazolinone and methylchloroisothiazolinone preservatives.  Parabens may cause endocrine system disruption and accumulate in human breast tissue (source).  Both methylisothiazolinone and methylchloroisothiazolinone are fatal if inhaled in big amounts and allergens (source). 

Beautycounter uses preservatives to protect its products from bacterial contamination.

Common sense tells us that preservatives are bad, and it is best for products not to have them.  Well, this is true to an extent.  Obviously, it is important to avoid high risk preservatives, like those we discussed above.  Fortunately, Beautycounter makeup and skincare does not use those. 

At the same time, preservatives are a must for products with water or some other liquid ingredients.  In short, preservatives protect against mold, fungus, bacteria, and rancidity.  So, imagine what will happen to a water-based product that has no preservatives.  There is a description of some such cases in my WaterWipes Baby Wipes post. 

Unfortunately, not all companies disclose what preservatives they use.  Some companies claim that citric acid is a sufficient broad-spectrum preservative.  By that they mean that it is effective against most types of mold, fungus, bacteria, and rancidity.  Even more so, some claim there is no need for preservatives in their products.  For example, one popular skincare company explained the absence of preservatives with the fact that they use Miron glass bottles.  I believe opaque glass protects products from sunlight and oxidation, not from bacteria, especially after you have opened the bottle.  In my rating lists, I put an asterisk next to the products which, in my opinion, have insufficient preservation systems.   Knowing that will help you make an informed decision.

The mica mineral colorant is ethically produced and supplied.

For starters, high-performing color cosmetics, such as Beautycounter makeup, need mica.  However, the mica industry can come with unethical practices such as child labor, forced labor, and wage theft.  So, Beautycounter looks into its supply chain to confirm responsible sourcing.  Thus, they prefer to source domestically and work with a supplier in Hartwell, Georgia.  They also ensure that the supplier uses industry-leading practices for sustainable mining and processing.

Additionally, the company is supporting a Children’s Foundation in India that is working on regulating of mica mining.  The hopes are that the formalization of mining will bring transparency and opportunities for traceability within the industry.  Plus, the company actively supports the idea of the importance of education, rather than working in mines.

The production process and packaging are sustainable.

In simpler terms, sustainable production requires awareness of every step of the process.  It calls for thinking not only about safety and environmental impacts, but also about human rights issues.  In other words, one should take into consideration the origin of the materials, the sourcing methods, and the impact of waste.  And Beautycounter makeup and skincare company does that.

As for the packaging, the company says they have excluded plastic spatulas, over caps, lid inserts, and cleansing cloth towels.  In addition, they have removed the secondary packaging from many of their product lines and extra product literature.   

Furthermore, Beautycounter sets such goals as eliminating unit cartons, launching the first refillable product, avoiding virgin plastic in a minimum of 30% new launches and repacks.  Besides, they move packaging closer to home when possible, and seek 100% recycled, recyclable, refillable, reused, or compostable packaging by 2025.

The company advocates for more health-protective legislation.

For starters, the last time U.S. passed a major federal law governing the cosmetics industry was in 1938.  To compare, the European Union has banned or restricted 1,328 ingredients from personal-care products (source).  Alternatively, the US FDA specifically prohibits or restricts only 11 substances (source).  In 2016, the FDA banned 19 more chemicals used in making antibacterial soap (source).

Just pause for a while to comprehend the difference. 

So, Beautycounter makeup and skincare works with lawmakers to ensure the safety of product ingredients.  They stand up for transparent labeling and advocate for the beauty industry that is friendly to the planet.  Additionally, company consultants meet with congress members in their hometowns, advocating for updates to laws governing personal care products.  As a result, more and more lawmakers place cosmetics safety at the top of their legislative agendas.

Moreover, Beautycounter helped pass a law requiring manufacturers to disclose 66 harmful chemicals in children’s clothes, toys, and personal care products.

They also supported the Microbead Free Waters Act which prohibits the manufacturing and distribution of personal care products containing plastic microbeads.

In sum, the advocacy work the company does is impressive.  I appreciate their level of awareness and the fact that their interests go beyond mere product marketing.

The company provides job opportunities for women.

Finally, Beautycounter makeup and skincare is a direct sales company.  That means that it gives an opportunity to women to make money whether they stay at home with kids or are navigating job displacement due to COVID, or look for extra income.  Beautycounter makes it easy to sign up as a consultant and an initial investment can be as low as $50.  There are no risks, penalties, or inventories to hold if your business does not pan out.

Additionally, compared to other MLMs, such as Rodan & Fields and Arbonne, Beautycounter has obvious improvements in terms of safety.

Beautycounter vs Rodan and Fields

If you look at the Rodan and Fields ingredient list, you will notice ethoxylated ingredients, such as sodium laureth sulfate, polysorbates, and PEGs.  As you remember, ethoxylated ingredients may have carcinogenic contaminants.

Also, Rodan & Fields uses fragrance and does not seem to disclose its ingredients.  To clarify, fragrance is a blend of multiple ingredients, many of which can be allergens.

Lastly, they use non-mineral UV filters, such as avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, and octocrylene.  For example, homosalate penetrates the skin and may interfere with the normal function of hormones by disrupting them.  And octinoxate showed hormone activities affecting the reproductive system, thyroid, and behavior. 

You can learn more about UV filters and find a safe sunscreen in The Best Non-Toxic Face Sunscreen Guide

Beautycounter vs Arbonne

Unlike Beautycounter makeup and skincare, Arbonne uses ethoxylated ingredients, such as polysorbates and PPG-26-Buteth-26.

In addition, they use fragrance and flavor, both of which are mixtures of undisclosed ingredients.  Thus, I have contacted them twice requesting their fragrance ingredients and received no response both times.  Meanwhile, the Arbonne consultants told me on Instagram that their fragrance is safe, and they are transparent about it. 

In short, in comparison to these two MLM companies, Beautycounter is walking a few steps ahead.

The downsides of Beautycounter makeup and skincare are phenoxyethanol, synthetic colorants, and few organic oils and extracts.

First, phenoxyethanol is a common cosmetic preservative in skincare products.  To me, it is a “middle-of-the-road” preservative because it is not the worst one.  It is definitely safer than the preservatives we discussed above, such as methylisothiazolinone and methylchloroisothiazolinone or formaldehyde-releasing preservatives.  But I believe it is possible to find products with more natural preservation systems.

For example, the American Society of Contact Dermatitis lists phenoxyethanol as an allergen even in concentrations as low as 1%.  By the way, Beautycounter promises not to exceed 1% in all their products.  Another reason I do not promote products with phenoxyethanol on my blog is its manufacturing process.  You can learn more about that in my post about phenoxyethanol

However, as a broad-spectrum preservative, it effectively protects a product from yeast, mold, and all types of bacteria.  So, between a product with phenoxyethanol and a product with no apparent preservative, the former is safer.  This is especially true for mascaras because eye infections caused by bacteria are no fun at all!

Second, Beautycounter uses some petroleum-based synthetic colorants which can be contaminated with traces of heavy metals and petroleum contaminants.  As compared to mineral pigments, some synthetic colorants have higher limits for lead, arsenic, and mercury (source).  In my post about lead in lipstick you can find out how to protect yourself from lead in cosmetics.

Last, I wish Beautycounter makeup and skincare used more organic plant oils and extracts to reduce our exposure to pesticides and GMOs.    

Conclusion about Beautycounter cosmetic line

In conclusion, Beautycounter makeup and skincare cosmetic lines have both positive and negative sides.  On the one hand, they do not use harsh chemicals and actively participate in the improvement of the industry.  On the other hand, they use phenoxyethanol, synthetic preservatives, and not enough organic ingredients.  Yet, in my Instagram posts, most Beautycounter products fall into the “better” or “best” category versus “bad.” 

Importantly, everybody is at a different stage in their health journey.  Therefore, it is a good brand to switch to if you have just recently learned about potential risks associated with beauty products.  For the most part, maybe except for mascara, their products work as well as Macy’s or Bloomingdale’s or Nordstrom brands.  Safety-wise, it will be a big improvement compared to these brands or drug store brands.

My personal favorite makeup products are Crunchi.  Feel free to read my review of Crunchi Non-Toxic Makeup to find out what makes it special. 

My recommendations

I am happy that now I can recommend some products in the Beautycounter line.  Here is a list of products that I believe are some of the cleanest:

Skin Twin Featherweight Foundation

Tint Skin Hydrating Foundation

Skin Twin Creamy Concealer

Lid Glow Cream Shadow

Dew Skin Tinted Moisturizer with SPF 20

Beautycounter One-Step Makeup Remover Wipes

Counter+ No. 1 Brightening Facial Oil

Countermatch Adaptive Moisture Lotion

Countertime Tripeptide Radiance Serum

Countertime Ultra Renewal Eye Cream

Baby Daily Protective Balm

To get 20% off on your first purchase, sign up here.   And to get free shipping, a welcome gift, 10% credit, and other perks, consider becoming a member of a Band of Beauty.

Browse my shop for safe and healthy products and book a consultation with me if you need help with your non-toxic journey.

90 thoughts on “My Honest Beautycounter Review”

  1. This is a great article! Thank you for sharing. I am a PUREhaven essentials consultant and every time I do an event with a BeautyCounter Rep I end up so frustrated! They “sell” their products as having no harmful chemicals and I know otherwise. It gives a bad name to the rest of us who are trying to educate others on these harmful items

      1. Facts? 3rd party company did not disclose all ingredients. That has changed how everything is done with our products now. Everything is made in house and tested by an outside company. All testing protocols and ingredients are available. Yes, someone very high up in the company made a mistake and they are no longer a part of this company and it has only made our products better and safer.
        You should know that not everything on the internet is truthful

  2. Thank you!!

    I was just looking at their sunscreen yesterday. I guess I will not be buying it…

    This is off-topic, but have you done any research on upholstery fabrics? I am about to have my sofa re-upholstered and I am concerned that the fabric, as well as the foam may be toxic…

    1. Hi, Julia: My favorite upholstered fabric is hemp but there are many other good choices. Have you looked into the flame retardants issue? After the change to TB 117, we bought a new couch and refurbished the other. We could have a phone consult and devise a plan of action for your budget and preferences. Let me know what you think. ~Irina

    2. I have the sunscreen. I am new to this site I bought there sunscreen because I thought it was the best option for my daughter. I have only used it on my daughter once. Does this mean all beauty counter products should be avoided or just their makeup??

  3. I find this company to be worse than mainstream cosmetic companies. They tout themselves as a revolutionary clean beauty company, and have even gone so far as to become EWG verified, and yet they still have questionable ingredients in their products. So while they talk about taking on the government and the need for higher and healthier standards in the beauty industry it seems like they are talking out of the other side of their mouths. We are all aware of greenwashing but the fact that they refuse to back up their claims and be transparent about their testing practices (and results) makes them downright despicable. Just another MLM company doing a huge disservice to the public. I for one will be refusing to buy any of their products and will continue to put my money towards truly clean products. Thank you for this website and all that you do Irina!

    1. Shaunna,

      Do you know that there are many many products on EWG that have harmful ingredients in them, yet they are EWG Verified? That’s because they don’t just look at what is in the products, but they look at the amounts used. In other words, unfortunately, due to government regulations, there must be some ingredients used to preserve the product, especially if there is water in it. Sadly, preservatives can be harmful, toxic even, when used in certain amounts. I’m so tired of people bashing companies that are actually working to do good and get the government to regulate Even Crunchi, which this blogger endorsed, has been found to have trace amounts of heavy metals in it. My point is this: Do your own homework. Don’t rely on one person’s blog to get your information.

    2. I cannot in good faith accept that Beauty Counter or any other MLM is a safer or ethical choice when they thinly veil “jobs for women” under predatory sales tactics. Podcasts such as The Dream deep dive in how MLM’s use women’s vulnerable positions in society to prey on other women. I’d like to see more in depth reviews on non-MLM brands.

      1. Hi, Keri: I genuinely would love to watch that podcast (where can I find it?) and sit down with you and find out from you what you mean by “predatory sales tactics.” Do you mean that MLMs exploit me? I am signed up with 4 direct sales marketing companies and largely because of them my business has survived even in the pandemic. Even in these hard times, I am able to keep all my employees. I am a small US business and a job creator and I hope you can support that. Email me if you want to talk on the phone because I really want to know what you mean about “predatory sales tactics.” ~Irina

        1. How are you able to rep companies in similar industries? Aren’t their non-compete clauses? (Genuinely curious because I have wanted to do the same!)

          1. Hi, Savannah, you can email me about this. The short answer is it depends on a company, the amount of sales, your status and etc. ~Irina

  4. You gave me a birthday present early! You have just helped me justify and add closure to a decision I made about a year ago. Thank you. What is your opinion on cosmetic companies that have ECO certified iron oxides? Is that the highest standard to assure heavy metals are at the smallest amount possible? Are there other ingredients companies can use for pigmentation? Always wanting to learn to make sure I am using and offering the best choices. Thank you.

  5. Thank you for your hard work in delivering transparency to consumers! We have a right to know what we put in or on our bodies.

  6. I am very curious what cosmetic companies you do recommend, as most don’t appear to test for heavy metals at all-even the “clean” brands.

      1. Poofy Organics just released their heavy metal testing for cosmetics. They use organic ingredients in their makeup and are waaaaay more affordable than BC. Plus the company has their organic certification with many individually certified products. AND all products are handmade! It’s a win, win, win!

        1. Hi Allison, I understand that you are a Poofy Organics consultant. Where can the test reports be viewed? I do not see them on the website… ~Irina

          1. Hi Irina, do you share your knowledge on poofy ORGANICS or melaleuca products with us through your blog or private consultation? Thank you!

  7. Thank you for your hard work. I hope a company steps up quickly because I’m beginning to look pretty frumpy. Tee Hee.

  8. Thank you so much for this article! I have been looking into Beautycounter but honestly hadn’t taken the plunge yet because I thought it was odd you had not ever recommended them in any of your posts. Now I know why! Thank you again for all you do.

  9. Can I ask what company you do recommend? What company has given you access to their heavy metal testing results?
    I’m curious what other company has given you the amount of time Beautycounter did.

    1. I have the same question. I’d like to know which of the touted “clean” lines with a large variety of products does testing and is willing to provide all of it.

  10. I love Beautycounter. I love the products. The important thing to me is that they are moving the needle in the right direction!! They do a lot of work in Washington and a lot of grass-roots educating. I think that in this day and age, that is commendable and I applaud their efforts!!

    1. agreed. this is not a article but rather an opinion. not sharing their test results does not make them liars, that’s just silly. BC is doing more for the industry than any other company by advocating for regulation and laws for safer ingredients. This writer should be recognizing that and helping along the way by sharing her opinion and urging BC to listen rather than telling everyone to boycott it. So ridiculous.

  11. I love Beautycounter. I love the products. The important thing to me is that they are moving the needle in the right direction!! They do a lot of work in Washington and a lot of grass-roots educating. I think that in this day and age, that is commendable and I applaud their efforts!!
    I would love to know what other companies are doing that level of testing? Maybe I’ll suggest that as your next blog post. 😊

    1. Wow, Sarah and Louisa both have the same comment, word.for.word. in first paragraph. Script much Beautycounter?

      1. Sarah McCormick


        Not sure who Louisa or why she copied and pasted my response but I assure you that is not a script. That is exactly how I feel about BC. I use that and a few other brands that I love and I’m glad they are moving the needle in the right direction!

        1. Hi, Sarah: just so you know your comment and Louise’s comment came in less than 30 minutes apart, and I approved them at the same time. I guess some people think alike. 🙂 ~Irina

          1. Interesting, I just tried to leave a comment but you won’t approve it Irina? Is it because I too love BC and find some fault in your blog? I appreciate your work, but I don’t think you did enough research to fully understand the business model. Don’t be so quick to dismiss and hurt a company that advocates for safe beauty laws and maintains a Certified B corp status.

          2. Hi, RSK: Thanks for your comment! I’m not sure what you mean that this post is not an “article,” but you are correct that this blog is a set of my opinions. And you are also correct that not everybody agrees with my opinions, especially when their ox is being gored because they have a financial interest in the subject matter. Is that the case here? You don’t say, but are you a sales consultant of BeautyCounter products?
            Yes, BeautyCounter does do some work trying to change the law to require more disclosure, and that is laudable. But it doesn’t change the fact that BeautyCounter itself does not disclose its test results. I worked patiently with them for two years trying to get the information I needed, and in the end . . . well, you read the post. I wish it weren’t so, and I am happy to review any information they send me. I still haven’t heard from them after publishing this post, and this is information that most of my readers appreciate knowing.
            It’s also important to note that even if they had provided me the information, their products simply do not rise to the standards I have set. You can read those standards here: BeautyCounter uses phenoxyethanol, which the American Society of Contact Dermatitis lists phenoxyethanol as one of its core allergens, even in concentrations as low as 1%:
            Parenthetically, while I am on the subject, there are brands that I recommend that do not test their pigments for heavy metals. That’s not my standard, because in order to be conclusive, a manufacturer would have to test every new batch of all products they are making. This would be prohibitively expensive, and, to my knowledge, nobody does that. Instead, my standard is to require EcoCert certified mineral pigments that are NOT made in China due to their high levels of background pollution.
            If you are a representative of BeautyCounter, it sounds as if you have “drunk the Kool-Aid.” And that works for you, but my goal is to encourage companies to be fully disclosive and to remind consumers of the importance of not taking manufacturers’ claims about their products uncritically; a point of view shared by the vast majority of my readers.
            You also fault me for not appreciating BeautyCounter’s business model. The problem is threefold. First, apparently, part of BeautyCounter’s business model is to use ingredients that, in my opinion, are not as safe as my readers deserve. Second, apparently, part of BeautyCounter’s business model is to not disclose the test results that I tried for two years to try to obtain, as outlined in the post. Finally, I don’t put manufacturers’ business models on my skin, and I don’t think any of my readers do, either. I just look at the ingredients and provide my opinions as to whether a product is healthy.
            And yes, these are my opinions. Most of my readers seem to appreciate the fact that I take the time to develop my opinions, and to provide support for them, and then share them. In fact, I am asked for my opinions on products and issues, multiple times, every day. Maybe your opinion is different, and that’s fine. I respect your ability to form and express them.
            Finally, you were critical because I did not approve your comment within four minutes of you sending it to me. You may have a misunderstanding that I was simply waiting for your comment and made a determination on whether to approve your comment the instant you sent it. Far from it. I am at present a one-person operation. I approve many comments, even from those who disagree with me. My criteria on whether to approve a comment is whether a comment adds to the discussion of ideas discussed on this blog.
            Your comments do meet this standard, because I think it is important for my readers to understand how there can be a difference between a manufacturers’ claims and its actions, and that it is important for consumers to think critically, including reading labels and demanding transparency and the use of healthy ingredients. Our exchange here also helps educate others as to the dangers of uncritically lumping companies into “good guys” and “bad guys” when there are really shades of gray. Obviously, I spent a lot of time coming to the opinion set forth in the post.
            I will close with an anecdote. When I started this blog, one of my first posts was on Kirkland Baby Wipes. I did a review of them, and did not recommend them. I was pretty critical of them, actually. The post was well-received, and did very well on Google, to the point where it would show up just under the official Kirkland Baby Wipes page, so anybody Googling “Kirkland Baby Wipes” would also likely see my review of them.
            I do not know whether my post had any effect on the good people at Costco/Kirkland, but I noticed that over time, they improved their ingredients. Was this a coincidence? Maybe. But I’d like to think that perhaps having light shed on the issues provided them with an incentive to improve their product. And when this happened, I changed my post to reflect the positive changes they made.
            That’s the thing about this blog – I am happy to change my opinions as circumstances change. I am very open-minded when it comes to this type of thing. But I notice that BeautyCounter’s response to this post has been silence. They have not provided the test reports. If and when this changes, I am happy to re-visit my opinion. I’m not vain enough to think that I can impose these changes all by myself. I am also not vain enough to think that my opinions matter to BeautyCounter.
            But if enough consumers complain, companies either adapt or suffer the consequences of not bowing to consumer demands.
            Thanks for reading this blog!

  12. Honestly, none of this suprises me. It is sad the lengths we have to go through to find out what is in any product. It goes well beyond the flip phrase ” do your research”.

    Thank you for digging deep.

  13. I have a question? If there are concerns about products and the companies won’t share their info for whatever reason, Have you ever personally sent products you use to get tested. That way you know what you are getting. Or do you just go off what’s on their site and by talking with them? I’m curious to what your standards are?

    1. Hi, Sarah: I am thinking about testing some products soon once I get some resources. Testing is expensive. It is sad/frustrating that in order to make sure that we buy safe products, we have to invest time (I spent the last 5 years researching consumer products as a full-time occupation) and money. So the easiest way to buy products of companies that disclose their test reports. ~Irina

      1. This is making me think about 3rd party testing that is available for vitamins and supplements. This is a well-known problem, where some of the supplements on store shelves do not contain what they claim to contain. So a company sprang up called ConsumerLab. It costs $65 yearly to join, and they third-party test supplements. Their info cannot be cut and pasted, so if you want to see a detailed review, you really need a membership. If the results are bad, a company is given the option to pay ConsumerLab to keep the info out of the writeup. Thus, one can trust the writeup but can’t draw any conclusions on the products not listed. Also, it usually only tests one aspect – might tell you if there’s any coenzyme Q10 in the product, but not if it’s also contaminated with something.

        I think it’s an interesting model, and it sounds like many other industries are ripe for that.

  14. It’s rare to find a company that will release heavy metal test results. Poofy Organics just did for anyone interested. They are one of the few companies willing to release results including sunscreen SPF and Broad Spectrum tests as well as their USDA organic certification.

    1. since it is rare why are you so upset about Beautycounter not releasing them? What company have you found that will release these to you? Other than Poofy?

  15. Irina,

    I would love to hear about the other companies that do share their results with you. Beautycounter products rate very well on EWG and I have been doing my own research for the last 7 years because of infertility issues. I have been using their products for over 2 years and have had my heavy metals levels tested and they came back much lower than 5 years ago. I am very happy with them.


  16. I guess I’m confused here. It sounds like you had a hard time getting documents released to you, which is frustrating, but at the same time you don’t have independent testing to back up a claim that the company is misleading people. I am a small business owner and even I would consult a lawyer before releasing any info about my work! Sounds like your blog post is based on your frustration and not a true review on the product. I’ll keep doing my own research.

  17. Irina,

    This obviously is an old post, but I’m surprised to see your stance on Beautycounter, and I also wanted to leave a comment just in case this helps someone with Eczema or Atopic Dermatitis. I’m not affiliated with the Beautycounter, but I’m a happy customer of their products, especially the Protect Allover Sunscreen. I suffer from Eczema and Atopic Dermatitis, and practically this is the only sunscreen I can wear without having to scratch my face. While I’m interested in going more natural and organic route to cosmetics and that is why I discovered your website, I’d also mention that just because ingredients are ‘organic’ or ‘plant-based’, they don’t really mean that it is gentle for your skin – especially for those like me with skin conditions. I’d love to see you give it a try for reviewing some of their products (even if your opinion of lipsticks is a no-go). Thanks!

  18. I would like to just toss this out there – Beautycounter might not be the most organic or clean, but they are far better than most, and they are still effective! What’s the point in wearing makeup if it doesn’t work well? That’s where they trump most other clean/organic lines. They also produce the result you’re looking for!

    1. I agree there is no point in wearing makeup that does not work. I use makeup so I know. 🙂 ~Irina

  19. Hi Irina,
    I use foundation from Adorn cosmetics, have you heard of them? It’s an Australian based company and they source their ingredients from Australia. I like that they’re nontoxic, vegan, cruelty free and don’t use palm oil. The foundation is amazing. Maybe you can research them? Hopefully they meet your criteria.

  20. Recent literature states that while the threshold for individual metals varies, they generally believe that they can achieve high performance with a threshold of around .5 ppm or lower. Let me know if you’d like to see the literature.

  21. Completely agree. Thank you for posting and doing your due diligence about a company that continues to claim to be “non-toxic.” BC makeup still has talc and heavy metals in it. And my skin can tell immediately when I use BC products–so can my hormones. I use RMS beauty, Lilly Lolo, and Cover FX instead.

  22. I have had largely positive experiences with the actual products but have been disappointed by the customer service I’ve received from BC consultants, who have been quick to share that my physician-recommended skin care products are actually toxic in their sales pitch. I love the BC’s mission and have worked for B Corporations, but at the end of the day, they are driven by profit. Fortunately for BC, their messaging is working and people are buying the message without due diligence. Thank you for rolling up your sleeves and doing the hard work to keep people informed.

  23. Thank you for all your time and research! Have you checked out Young Living’s Savvy Minerals makeup line? I’m curious to how they fare to your standards. I have heavy metal issues and would love to make sure I’m not adding to my problem!! Thank you!

    1. Hi, Karen: I sent an email to their production team. Their reps are not trained to answer ingredient questions. ~Irina

    2. Irina, When you referred to young living’s production team not being equipped to answer ingredient questions, can you clarify for me what questions there would be beyond the ingredients being listed themselves?

      1. Hi, Annie: I asked them two questions: 1. What country are the pigments used in their products made in? 2. Which ingredients listed in their products are antibacterial preservatives? I consult with beauty products to help them choose safer preservatives so I have some understanding of the pool of antibacterial preservatives a formulator can choose from. ~Irina

  24. Have you done any research with Glo beauty or Nerium? This is all so confusing! I mean all I want is a product that is safe to use, not cause cancers etc, and gives results. Thank you for all of the info you shared in the article.

    1. Hi, Sheila: Thank you for asking. I know it can be very confusing. Both companies do not adhere to my blog’s standards. However, in the private consultation, we can go over the specifics of the ingredients so you can make an informed decision as to whether you want to their products. How does it sound? ~Irina

  25. Can you please recommend a company that has safe ingredients for their makeup. I am in the public spotlight and not wearing makeup and having my hair fixed is not an option for me. I just left IT Cosmetics and spent a lot of money converting my make up over the Beauty COunter just to find out what I thought was safe really isn’t. Thank you for your help in advance and any point in the right direction would be very much appreciated.

    1. Hi, Kelly: I’m sorry to hear that. Just to be clear I am not saying that Beautycounter products are unsafe. What I am saying is that they did not disclose their test reports to me and from I what I hear, they do not disclose them to their sales reps either. I settled on Crunchi. Apparently, it is a challenge to find makeup made with pigments that are NOT made in China. Currently, they are in a process of expanding and add new products almost every month. You can read my review of them here: Have a wonderful day! ~Irina

  26. Hello! Thanks for sharing your research and opinion with us all. I just stumbled on your blog. Not sure if you mentioned this somewhere so I apologize in advance if you do but I was wondering what do you think of 100 pure makeup, W3LL PEOPLE, RMS, George, ZuZu, INIKA, Zuii Organic, Nude by Nature and Vapor?

    Here is a site that sells a lot of natural makeup

  27. I almost just ordered $1,300 worth of BeautyCounter products for me and my daughter. I decided to dig a little deeper before I submitted my order and I’m so glad I did! I will not be purchasing their products. They would be very eager to release their test results if they weren’t hiding something. Thank you for all you do Irina!

  28. It boggles my mind how Beautycounter has not been exposed and shut down. They are running the biggest scam with their greenwashing and their MLM pyramid scheme. It’s a cult mentality and it feeds off of vulnerable women, with promises of making bucketloads of money. I had a friend who turned into a nightmare sales rep, doling out free samples initially and then obsessively emailing me with catchphrase marketing traps trying to lure me in. I’m disgusted by how they work. Save your money and stay away.

  29. I am confused because I read this post and decided not to buy Beautycounter products but then received an email from you saying “the best beauty products (which is Beautycounter)” I am in Canada so crunchi is not available to me and am desperately looking for a healthy alternative to switch to. Also do you teach classes on how to read labels so that we can spot what isn’t safe in our products ourselves?

  30. Hi! Thank you for all of your posts and what you’re doing! Truly amazing. So, I would say I am in-between beautycounter and Crunchi (because you recommended it). I noticed that beautycounter released their heavy metal results as of Jan 31, 2020 under their blog. The metals tested were Antimony, Arsenic, Cadmium, Mercury, and Lead for seven of their products. After viewing these results, would you still recommend Crunchi over Beautycounter?

    1. Hi, Linda! Yes! Because there are other ingredients that I do not like in some of the Beautycounter products. Also, I am so curious as to why they released test reports for only those 7 products. By the way, the Crunchi team is currently undergoing a Beta Testing Program. They report that they are beyond thrilled with the results so far. After seeing their product test reports, I feel even more confident using their non-toxic makeup products. Thanks! ~Irina

  31. Thank you so much for this article. I hope you’ll do a follow up. I could go on and on being a former Beautycounter consultant for 4 years about all the bad practices in that company- the biggest being consultants at the higher level are told what to do and say to increase sales, but told never put those things in writing to protect yourself and consultants “encouraged” to spend their own money to hit goals because “you’ll make it back” by their mentors. (It makes me sick to my stomach thinking how I fell for all their talking points and messaging, making money off people below me and deepening corporate pockets (also corrupt- dealt with quite a few VPs)- it was seriously like being in a cult). I feel free like I escaped something.

    Anyway, I would like to point out they always told us not to say “non-toxic”, but to use the word “safer” or “cleaner”. So they know what they’re doing. Shows they took the MLM route for a reason.

    Also, people think they are paying high prices for Beautycounter because they are high end. But look where the money is going-: 25%-35% direct commission from the product to the consultant you bought it from, up to 9% for the three consultants above them, and 3% from director branches, plus corporate needs to profit. Subtract all that from the cost of a product, and what are you left with. Something much less expensive. So there is no way they are using the highest quality ingredients. Definitely not saying products need to be super expensive, but when you look at what a product from Beautycounter should really cost, it should raise some concerns about how much they are paying for their ingredients.

  32. I wonder what Crunchi is paying you. I think you are a fraud. You have a blog that makes money and you pretend to be an expert and you are not. I think it’s sad that people don’t call you out for what you really are. A scam artist making money off your so called investigations. You expect big corporations to return your emails, and when you don’t get a response you claim they are unsafe because, lo and behold, they didn’t drop everything to respond to your one of a million emails they get a day. Get over yourself. Start talking about SAFER products, give people information they need and should read, like how to read labels, how to choose what works for you, how to avoid carcinogens, etc. etc. instead of bogus reviews based on research in which you are not even trained in. People like you do more harm for the community than good. I don’t expect you will publish this post either.

    1. Hi, Linda: I could not resist publishing your comment. I know it does not add any value to the conversation but just want people to see what kind of comments I get from some people. I’m wishing the best though. ~Irina

  33. I do much appreciate the insight you provided for us . It is so helpful!
    Have you checked out Lemongrass Spa? I’d love to hear your thoughts on their ingredients.

    1. Hi, Emma: It takes days to properly evaluate a brand. While I have certain impressions of Lemongrass Spa, I would rather not give you hasty and incomplete answers. Thank you for asking though. How familiar are you with Lemongrass Spa? ~Irina

  34. Manojnatha Shekhar

    Every one of us tries to have some information about the product before buying it. It takes major time to decide whether to buy the product or not. Reviews make it very easy to make a hassle-free purchase and use the product.
    Thank you for listing your thought about the foundation together and sharing them with us and letting us know more about it. Keep sharing more such articles like this with us in the future also.

  35. Hello!

    I understand where you are coming from. I would like to help update your webpage and improve the transparency of it.

    Arbonne does not use polysorbates. As for PPG-26-Buteth-26 only one product contains this and that is our Mascara. Can you elaborate on the harm of PPG-26-Buteth-26 please.

    Thank you!

    1. Hi, Whitney: I described ethoxylated ingredients in the section titled “There are almost no controversial non-colorant ingredients”. What additional questions would you like? PPG-26-Buteth-26 is one of the ethoxylated ingredients Arbonne uses. Arbonne uses other ethoxylated ingredients besides PPG-26-Buteth-26. For example, there is Beheneth-25 in the Supercalm Soothing Hydrator. But again, it all depends on where you are in the journey in your health journey. For some people switching to Arbonne is a big improvement. If you are not ready to make the change and comfortable with Arbonne so be it. 🙂 It is a process. ~Irina

  36. I’m currently looking at the Farmasi brand and am curious if you’ve done any research into their products? In the past I’ve used Arbonne, Beautycounter, and Rodan and Fields. I’m wondering if Farmasi would be a step above, same level, or step below those other companies? Thanks for any insight you can provide!

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