Bonus Episode 005.5: Beautycounter and the Movement for Better Beauty

Bonus Episode 005.5: Beautycounter and the Movement for Better Beauty

In Episode 005 I share the 10 things that I've done to reduce my exposure to toxins. And #10 on that list was switching to save for personal care products. So, in this bonus episode, I'm expanding on that topic and sharing my favorite brand for safer beauty products.

In this episode you'll hear:

  • How this movement came onto my radar

  • How I found Beautycounter

  • What is Beautycounter

  • Why safety, education and stricter laws are necessary

  • Why I chose to join Beautycounter

  • How you can join the Better Beauty Movement


Click Here to Read the Episode Transcript...

In Episode 005 I share the 10 things that I've done to reduce my exposure to toxins. And #10 on that list was switching to save for personal care products. So, in this bonus episode, I'm expanding on that topic and sharing my favorite brand for safer beauty products.

But first a bit of my back story:

My struggles with acne began when I was in the 5th grade and they only got worse as I got older. By the time I was 14 years old I was already seeing a dermatologist. He put me on Erythromycin and Tetracycline which, at the time, were popular treatments for acne. And I stayed on pharmaceuticals to manage my acne for the next 27 years. You can imagine, and perhaps relate to how frustrating and stressful it was deal with the breakouts, the excessively oily skin and the scars it left behind.

These days I understand that skin problems are an indicator of an internal problem, like Leaky Gut Syndrome, but that doesn't make the external problems that it causes any less bearable.

I’ve tried every product under the sun. I used some of the strongest drugstore, department store and over-the-counter cleansers and astringents, along with the heaviest of foundations that would give me the maximum coverage to cover my scars.

And I admit along the way I became a bit of a product hoarder having containers full of beauty products. But when I began struggling with digestive issues and hormonal imbalances, I learned that there are harmful ingredients in the name brand personal care products the products that I was using every day that was known to contribute to the kinds of problems that I was experiencing.

And this is something that we discussed in Episode 002 and also in Episode 003. So if you haven't listened to those episodes yet I encourage you to go back and listen to them as well.

When I learned that this was a problem I took immediate action and threw out all of my bins and bins of cosmetics and personal care products without a Plan B.

(For clarification by personal care products I mean lotions, toothpaste, hair products, sunscreen and even deodorants. Things that we use for personal hygiene but aren't necessarily make up.)

When I threw everything out, the first thing I did was the DIY route and attempted to make my own homemade products. I went to Pinterest, the mecca for these types of recipes, and I quickly learned that I am not a DIY kind of girl. I didn’t have the patience, nor the skills, nor the time, nor did I have the space to store all of the ingredients. It just isn't something I enjoy doing, but if that's your thing then by all means more power to you.

So instead, I asked some of my makeup friends and visited some popular beauty stores and asked what could I use instead. The brands that were recommended to me were either “cruelty-free” which means they weren't tested on animals (which is great!), but that doesn't mean they're safe or void of harmful chemicals. Nor were these recommended brands as clean as they claimed (which I found happens a lot). Or, they simply didn't perform well. And I really value high-performing products.

So, I spent a full year searching for products that were safe and high-performing. I spent a lot of time researching every product that I wanted to try. It was exhausting and I was frustrated because I wasn't finding anything that met my standards - that is until I saw an image of a charcoal bar on Instagram.

I’d heard about the benefits of activated charcoal. So, when that image appeared in my feed, it piqued my curiosity and it clicked on it. And I saw that it was from a company called Beautycounter, who I'd never heard of before. So, I went to their website and I went into this deep black hole or reading everything about them.

And here is what I learned:

WHAT IS BEAUTYCOUNTER? Beautycounter is a rapidly growing company whose mission is to get safer products into the hands of everyone. It was founded by a woman named Greg Renfrew who I've actually heard speak in person and she is a mother and an entrepreneur. And after she watched the documentary, “The Inconvenient Truth.” She was so moved by the movie that it compelled her to take action.

So she founded a beauty company but it's not just any beauty company. It's one that is multi-purpose.

  1. Safety

It creates beauty products but these products are safer products and that means that they have an entire team dedicated to safety, and also has a rigorous ingredient selection process to meet the safety standards that they have set for themselves, that far exceeds industry regulations. So safety is the top value.

  1. Education

They also value education. Education is a major priority for them which is why they've chosen a direct retail sales model. That means that their main route-to-market is through consultants because consultants can provide clients with a high-touch, educational experience that you just don’t get in a traditional retail setting.

And this has proven to be successful because most of my Beautycounter colleagues are practitioners in the health and wellness.

  1. Lobby for Stricter Laws

Third, and this is a unique thing about Beautycounter that I love because it aligns so well with their mission to get safe products into the hands of everyone, is that they also lobby and work with members of Congress to legislate for tougher regulations to make the whole beauty industry a safer one.

It’s unusual for a company to ask for more regulations of their industry, so this is pretty impressive.

WHY ARE SAFETY, EDUCATION, AND STRICTER LAWS ARE IMPORTANT? It's important because of serious health issues like allergies, asthma, cancer and hormonal imbalances, as well as infertility, digestive issues and autoimmune diseases and more, that are all on the rise.

Decades of studies are indicating that this is due, in some part, to our ongoing exposure to toxic chemicals.

We talked about where chronic, ongoing exposures to such chemicals are happening in Episode 003. It's through the foods that we're eating, the products that we're using to store food in, products that we're using to clean our home, as well as the products that we're using on our hair and skin.

Today there are more than 80,000 chemicals on the on the market and these chemicals are used in the products that I just mentioned. While not all of them are bad, not all of them are good either. And many of them have not been tested for safety because they're not required to.

That's because the United States has not passed a major federal law to regulate the safety of ingredients used in personal care products since 1938. That’s a long time ago.

What's more, there are 80,000 chemicals on the market and the U.S. has only partially banned 30 of them. Canada has banned 600, and the European Union has banned over 1300. You can see the wide gap there.

Now a single exposure is unlikely to cause any serious harm or effects, but when are we only exposed to one chemical?

I listed all the ways that we can be exposed to these toxins, just by using things that we use in our daily lives, simply living in 2017. And those harmful chemicals disrupt our endocrine system, something we really got into in Episode 003. Toxins hide in our bodies, bind to our fat cells and build up over time.

And what manifests are the health issues that I mentioned: unexplained weight gain, gut problems, allergies, asthma, autoimmune diseases – all symptoms of Leaky Gut Syndrome.

WHY I JOINED BEAUTYCOUNTER? As a health coach, these are all the kinds of things that people come to me looking for help with. They're doing all the things they've been told they're “supposed to do” - they're eating healthy and exercising but yet they're still not feeling well.

And this is why I say that environmental toxins is something that's so important but not talked about enough - at least not on the same scale as diet and exercise.

For me, Beautycounter is a trusted brand with a business model that just makes sense and makes it easy for someone like me to offer as an accessory offering to my clients.

As women, we all love products that make me feel good and beauty products make us feel pampered. Having a brand that I know that I can trust, that I don't need to research every individual product, that I know has a safety standard that is not going to harm me, and that offers products that are high performing – it solves a real problem that many of us face when we want to make safer choices.

It was a no-brainer for me to become a consultant and align myself with them.

Just to provide context, I've been blogging for 10 years. And over those 10 years, I've been approached by many different brands from many industries inviting me to partner with them, and I've never accepted any of them. I may have written about products that I love but I've never accepted any free products or any form of compensation for products in all my years of blogging. (and I still proposals every week from my personal blog that I’ve barely posted on in the past three years - how crazy is that?!)

I'm someone who is very careful about which brands and products I align with because what I put out on the internet is important to me. I don't take who align with lightly.

So, if you've been following me for a while, it may seem kind of odd that I’m a Beautycounter consultant, but it’s because I truly believe in the mission and I love the quality of the products.

Beautycounter solves a problem that I struggled with for a long time, and I know it has thousands of other men and women who share the same concerns that I've had.

HOW YOU CAN GET INVOLVED So I've told you about what Beautycounter is and why it's important to me. Now you might be thinking how can you can get involved. There are four ways:

  1. Vote with your dollars and become a customer or a member

Beautycounter has an awesome membership program called Band of Beauty. It's an annual program, and when you join you get a free gift and perks like free shipping, product credits, and special offers.

  1. Share the message with your community

You can do this by hosting a social. A social is simply a gathering to bring people together for an hour or so to share the Movement for Better Beauty message.

It’s an effective way to share the message, and as a host, you can also earn free product rewards!

  1. Lobby your lawmakers and advocate for change

You can voice your concerns with the lawmakers who represent you in Congress. Here's a great tool to make this easy to do.

  1. Take the job and become a Beautycounter consultant

It’s not for everyone but if you think it's right for you we have a wonderful community that has a lot of fun, and you can get paid for it!

BUT WHAT ABOUT THE PRODUCTS? You might be thinking, “So you said the products are high quality but what does that really mean?”

Well, I can tell you that the products are very good and I have a very high standard for product performance. I've been using Beautycounter products for almost 1.5 years and I couldn't be happier with them!

Previously I used department store brands, so if you're someone who also uses department store brands then it is very comparable, and I’d even go as far to say it’s just as good, if not better than the stuff in department stores.

What I love is that every single ingredient in every single product is listed on the Beautycounter website - and they even tell you how to use each product.

This kind of transparency is important because we know that it's important to read food labels, right? We need to know what’s in the food that we're putting in our mouth.

It's equally important to read labels on the other products that we use whether that be cleaning products, personal care or beauty products.

In Episode 002 we talk about how important to use brands that are transparent, meaning, they tell you exactly what is in all of the ingredients that they use, where it's sourced from, and how it’s selected.

I’m very sensitive to fragrances, and if you look at the ingredients list for many beauty products they will have something that is just listed as “fragrance.” But what does that mean:” Fragrance is not a chemical, so what is that fragrance? Most of the times we don’t know because legally, brands do not need to disclose it.

And typically, the fragrance is where a lot of the problematic chemicals are, do transparency is very important.

HOW TO GET STARTED I know how overwhelming it can be to want to try something new and not know where to start.

So I’ve created a free downloadable list with my daily skincare routine that you might find helpful to figure out what products to start with.

I have I had oily and acne-prone skin from most of my life, and while I don't anymore, I tend to still use some of the products that are best for that type of complexion.

I also mix in some anti-aging products because Lord knows I'm not getting any younger.

Also, I don't wear makeup every day but I will wear some minimal pieces a few days a week so I've included those in the downloadable list as well.

To wrap things up, if you've heard about Beautycounter and wasn't sure what the hype was, or you wondered why I became involved with it, now you know.

If you have any questions and/or would like product recommendations, leave a comment on the show notes, or use the contact form on my site and I’m happy to help.

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Naomi Nakamura is a certified Holistic Health Coach who takes a holistic approach through functional nutrition. Through her weekly show, The Live FAB Live Podcast, coaching programs, and safer skincare solutions, she helps people with acne and other chronic skin issues clear up their skin by teaching them where food meets physiology and how food, gut health, stress, and toxins are intricately connected to the health and appearance of our skin. Naomi resides in the San Francisco Bay Area and can often be found romping around the city with her puppy girl, Coco Pop! Connect with Naomi at: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest.