People hear me talk about Beautycounter and ask frequently about how to know whether the products they’re using are as detrimental to their health as they fear. It’s easy to retreat back into your bubble of safe, comfortable ignorance rather than face the reality of this industry, as terrifying as it may seem, but take a deep breath, step away from the Google machine and read on — There are some easy ways to educate yourself on the chemicals that you may be unknowingly consuming, and this awareness is the first step in making a change. I’ve included a few practical steps to limiting your toxic burden below, so scroll down for tips beyond the beauty cabinet!
Walking through the airport today, I was inspired to share some of my thoughts on the environmental toxins, namely the conventional makeup and skincare, with which travelers are bombarded every time they step foot in an airport. The consumer market, rife with toxic substances, is incredibly hard to avoid and even harder to avoid becoming victim to. SK-II, you’re not fooling me with those tantalizing celebrity face mask promos and glossy posters. Plus, who the hell spends $200 on sheet masks?!
The average American woman will spend $15,000 on beauty products over the course of her lifetime. The beauty industry is currently valued at over $62 billion, and is expected to climb exponentially to over $200 billion within the next 5 years. The main aspect of this market that upsets me is that millions of women spend thousands of dollars on beauty products that are potentially extremely harmful to their overall health; a fact that is often intentionally hidden from them, a disclosure that is not required by any regulatory institution as of yet.
Many women, previously myself included, are unaware that approximately 85,000 chemical substances are used in commerce today. Many of these chemicals are known to be harmful, but most have not been assessed for their long-term health impacts. In fact, we only have significant safety data on about 10% of these chemicals.
So how do we know whether the products we’re using are safe?
1. First, I would recommend referring to Beautycounter’s Never List (https://www.beautycounter.com/the-never-list) . Beautycounter’s health and safety standards, in particular, their ingredient selection process, goes above and beyond what is legally required in the United States. The Never List is made up of over 1,500 known harmful or questionable chemicals that they never include in their products. This includes the 1,400 chemicals banned by the European Union, and takes it a step further by also banning chemicals that they have screened and found to be harmful or questionable to human health. Elimination of toxins is not necessarily the issue here,
2. Cross check your current products! Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Database (https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/) allows you to search any product, from your favorite drug-store mascara to high-end luxury face creams, with a breakdown and warning of which toxic ingredients they contain and the health implications of each. It can be a bit scary finding out the salon-quality shampoo you’ve been using for years and spending tons of money on is actually loaded with hormone-disruptors or may contribute to cancer growth… But knowledge is power
3. Ask me! I love when friends or acquaintances come to me in search of a safer alternative to their favorite concealer, shampoo or moisturizer. Email me or go to my personal shopping site at www.beautycounter.com/jessiecoleman to shop and learn more about how you can participate in the clean beauty movement! My favorite part of my work with Beautycounter rests on the foundation of human-to-human connection; we do not pay for celebrity endorsements because we believe in the power of sharing our personal stories and journeys.
This is one of the facets that sets Beautycounter apart from any other brand out there! Not only are we creating safer products and providing a tangible, competitive solution, but also fighting for change in Washington. Several (big name) beauty brands are against the new proposed Personal Care Act (not yet passed) promising we ban Formaldehyde.
Formaldehyde can still be found in many products (including baby products!), particularly in eye creams and moisturizers, and some companies are fighting to keep it IN your products because they prioritize their bottom line over consumer health and safety. There is hardly a distinction between cheaper drug-store brands and expensive, high-end products you’d find at luxury department stores. If we learn this information and continue to buy these conventional products, we are supporting these companies and sending the message that our health is not a priority.
Now imagine, formaldehyde is just one of 1,500 ingredients known to be harmful or questionable to human health STILL permitted in the U.S. market. Doesn’t it seem criminal that consumers are spending hard-earned cash on products known to be harmful to their health and that of their family? Doesn’t it seem unjust that so many beauty brands are making billions of dollars off of this ignorance and lack of awareness?
While I did grow up in the notoriously outdoors-y, health-centric city of Portland, I didn’t personally prioritize my health until I was forced to. I continued to push forward, disregarding the clear warning signs, but chronic health issues caught up with me full force, eventually forcing me to quit my job so that I had no choice but to put my health first. This meant diet, exercise, lifestyle, and especially the products I was using in my skin and around my home everyday. I equipped myself with the research, information and data I needed to see there was a clear disconnect between what we were being sold and what we, as consumers, were being told.
I encourage anyone who reads this to not wait like I did until you have no choice. Make your health a priority now, even if in the smallest ways like changing your hand soap or one product out of the 12 that you use everyday.
Vote with your wallet. Vote with your dollar. When you support the big name, conventional corporate brands, you are supporting an industry that disregards your health in favor of a profit. That means these brands are profiting off of your ignorance and lack of knowledge, intentionally withholding information that would force them to make the change that I hope will someday be inevitably required of all brands: to inform their consumers of safety concerns, and to provide better product solutions.
YOUR PURCHASE IS A POLITICAL STATEMENT
Every dollar that you spend is a vote that shapes the world we live in, and the world we leave behind for generations to come.This information can scare you, or empower you to make a change for the better, for your own health and that of the planet. Remember, not only do these chemicals go on your skin, but down the sink, into the ground water and oceans. If every person in the U.S. swapped just one of their daily products for a safer Beautycounter alternative, we would reduce a few chemicals from being exposed to our bodies and oceans, and when you consider that there are 325 million people in the U.S… that’s a massive reduction in the chemical burden we are placing on ourselves and the environment! Small changes, over time and cumulatively, have a massive impact.
When I pass by the airport duty-free or one of the big-name cosmetics stores, I can't help but feel overwhelmed by the gratitude and amazing fortune I have to be in possession of this information, and how so many around me are not. I’m sharing this information purely to help educate others on all the things that I’ve learned, to help advance this important social mission vital to everyone, especially future generations. I want to participate in the creation of a world where women don't have to worry about whether their lipstick or lotion could be contributing to the growth of cancer.
Every person who comes to Beautycounter does so because they have faced some kind of health crisis or personal adversity. We cannot control our exposure 100%, but we can lessen the burden of chemical exposure the best we can by learning and choosing the best, safest options out there.
A couple practical tips as I sign off…
Shop Beautycounter! Support the safe beauty movement (and me! I need support!)
The next time you need to re-up your cleaning products, choose safer, non-toxic options. I recommend DoTerra laundry detergent, cleaning solution, toothpaste and deodorant, or Seventh Generation if you’ve just got to shop in the grocery and don’t have patience to order online (but honestly does anyone NOT shop online for everything at this point?). You can shop DoTerra with me at my.dottera.com/jessiecoleman and becoming a wholesale customer.
Follow Asian house rules and keep a bin by the door so that people can remove their shoes before entering your home. This is a common practice in many Asian countries, which I hope more American households follow suit. You track a plethora of pesticides, insecticides, herbicides and other toxic chemicals (and God knows what else) onto your shoes throughout the day, and removing them before entering your house will prevent you and your family from exposing your bare feet to these chemicals… Plus it keeps your house cleaner and I’m all about that added benefit.
Swap your non-stick cooking utensils for cast-iron skillets or the Green pan, which doesn’t leach toxic chemicals into your food. You can buy a Lodge (my favorite, pre-seasoned cast-iron) or Green Pan at most Targets, on Amazon, or directly from https://www.greenpan.us
The next time you have to purchase a mattress, pillow or furniture, double check The Good Trade for a reliable ranking and list of safe, healthier options. You’d be shocked to learn some of the toxic chemicals in mattresses, and considering we spend 1/3 of our lives in bed (probably more for me), it’s totally worthwhile to make a better investment when you can! https://www.thegoodtrade.com/features/natural-and-eco-friendly-mattresses
I want to reiterate that when you support my Beautycounter and DoTerra businesses, you are supporting women entrepreneurs, environmental causes, community-based business, and conscious consumption. I personally would prefer to support individuals (particularly my friends) and socially-responsible businesses rather than large corporations who do not give a damn about me or my health. Thank you so much to all my loyal Beautycounter and DoTerra clients! You make it possible for me to live my passion in bringing better health to women, men and kids everywhere. I am so grateful for this work.