I’ll be honest, when I first tried Beautycounter products in 2016, I expected to hate them. Basically every green beauty brand I'd tried previously had been a fail, and the fact that Beautycounter was an MLM made me feel like the products were only getting hype because the hype person was getting a kick-back.
Spoiler alert: I didn’t love everything I tried, but I was super surprised by most of it. Here's my full Beautycounter review including what I loved (and what I didn't).
When it comes to ‘green beauty' (aka beauty products that are free from harmful ingredients), the options are pretty hit or miss. Up until 2016, I had used W3llpeople, Bare Minerals, 100% Pure, Cocokind, and basically every brand carried at Whole Foods and Natural Grocers. To say I was disappointed is an understatement.
I felt like I was continually purchasing an expensive product, only to have it not work as well as the conventional (read: toxic) counterpart. Then I tried Beautycounter.
Honestly, I was pretty skeptical when I placed my order given my previous experience with green beauty brands, but I decided to try it since I'd heard it was clean beauty that rivaled the quality of department store brands (Clinque, Mac, and La Mer).
Read on for my full Beautycounter review on what's good and what's bad…
First, what is Beautycounter?
Beautycounter is a brand with a mission to provide high-performing personal care products formulated with safer ingredients. Beautycounter sells make up, skincare, personal care products like body wash, lotion, and hair care, and even men’s and kid’s personal care products.
Why did I choose to try Beautycounter?
As you know, I’m all about that non-toxic life. When I first started my journey into switching out my household and personal care products for safer alternatives, I ran into trouble finding trustworthy brands. Or, I’d find ‘organic’ or ‘natural’ products and find out that they didn’t screen for heavy metals, or that they were just plain greenwashed.
I was skeptical at first that I could find a brand that was high quality and safer, but I did my own research and decided to give Beautycounter a try. I was impressed with the products and with the social mission: Beautycounter advocates for change at the political level to make safer products the norm.
The good and the bad
First and foremost, there is a caveat. Beautycounter would be an 11 out of 10 (in regards to their approach to consumer health, environment, and performance), but there are 2 things that I don’t love about the brand, so I’m giving them a 9 out of 10 in total.
The Cons: Beautycounter Controversy
They are not an “all organic” brand
Now, remember that “organic” does not necessarily mean “non-toxic.” Organic lead is still lead, for example. But it is important to have as many ingredients as possible be organic to help reduce your toxic load and protect our environment.
Beautycounter offers plenty of organic ingredients, such as organic peppermint essential oil in a Balancing Charcoal face mask, but also includes conventional ingredients, like conventional shea butter as a moisturizer.
Price point scares people away
Most Beautycounter products come in at a higher price point than many people are used to paying. Paying $49 for a moisturizer, for instance, can cause people to balk when they’re used to paying $25 at Sephora or even $10 at the drugstore. Beautycounter markets itself as a more “luxury” brand, which can deter some potential customers.
That being said, there is a new entry level line of products being added to Beautycounter’s collection, and they’re very affordable. Great for someone who wants to swap out their conventional cleanser and moisturizer, but aren’t ready to invest in the more advanced skincare products!
THIS is so important to me, and it should be to everyone! Only 3,000 companies internationally have earned B-Corp status. Certified B-Corps have better standards for workers, suppliers, customers, communities, and the environment.
The never list
Beautycounter’s trademarked Never List is a huge pro. They’ve compiled a list–that you can view most of here–of ingredients that are known to be harmful or that may cause harm. They formulate every product without any of these 1,500 ingredients.
The mission to improve the industry
I love that Beautycounter advocates for social change as well (this is part of what earned them B-Corp status!) Using grassroots campaigns and lobbying, Beautycounter fights to earn stricter safety regulations, more stringent testing, and education about the products we use in our homes and on our bodies. You can find out about their social mission for reform here.
Products are superior quality (very comparable to quality of department store brands of the same price)
What hooked me on Beautycounter is the quality of the products. I’d tried so many non-toxic or safer beauty brands before and almost always been disappointed in an aspect of the quality. I love that I could blind test a Beautycounter product and a conventional product of a similar price point and not tell one brand was safer, on quality alone. In many cases, Beautycounter’s products even perform better than their conventional counterparts.
Diverse set of products
Another thing that drove me nuts before I found Beautycounter was finding one brand I liked, and discovering they only had a few products. This meant I had to personally purchase and try out multiple brands in order to find the perfect non-toxic mascara, blush, foundation, shampoo, on and on! Needless to say, it got expensive and annoying. Beautycounter is like a “one-stop shop” for all my safer personal care needs.
Good for someone brand new to better/green beauty and skincare
For all the reasons I’ve stated above and more, a lot of people find it too overwhelming to switch over their products to safer alternatives. After all, personal care products aren’t like groceries; that is, you may be able to glance at a nutrition label and know what ingredients to avoid, but the same doesn’t apply to personal care products all the time. Some chemicals that sound scary are actually totally safe and necessary in products. Beautycounter makes an effort to explain their ingredients to avoid intimidating anyone new to the space.
The direct sales model helps with this, as well. When you purchase through a consultant, you have an advocate who will help you navigate better beauty (sometimes, your consultant can even recommend safer brands for household products, food, and more!)
My Honest Beautycounter Review
Beautycounter Products I didn’t love
First of all, I think it’s important for me to share that in my 1 year as a customer and 2+ years as a consultant, I’ve tried nearly every product Beautycounter sells. Here’s a review what Beautycounter products I personally didn’t love:
I have a couple clients who swear by this mascara and re-order it religiously, but it’s not my personal favorite. Since this is a clay based mascara, it has a thicker, dry consistency. I’ve found that while it looks great once on, it just takes longer for me to apply. Instead, I use this clean mascara, and it’s the only beauty product I choose to purchase from a different brand.
If you’d like to try a mascara from Beautycounter, I personally prefer the Volumizing formula to the Lengthening, but that’s just personal preference.
There is a caveat here: the Countercontrol line is very effective for a small portion of the population dealing with acne. It is not a universal acne skincare line (TBH, a universal acne line doesn’t exist). If you’re struggling with dry/combination skin acne, this line won’t work well for you.
If you have acne and/or oily skin, try this line. If you don’t, you’ll want to look into another collection.
Here’s a quick example how an acne line isn’t the right solution for all acne, This is a Beautycounter client of mine who wanted to try the Countercontrol line. I suggested she try Countertime instead, as it’s better for dry skin (she had very dry skin). After a couple months using Countertime, here are her results.
Instant Eye Makeup Remover
This is actually a great product that very effectively removes eye makeup. However, there is be an ingredient in the product that I’m allergic to because it irritates the skin beneath my eyes. I don’t think this is a common reaction, as I have many clients who use and love this eye makeup remover without issue.
I feel like this is a good time to remind you the importance of adding one new skincare product at a time so you can test your skin for reactions.
Beautycounter Review: Products I do love
I’ve tried nearly every product in my 2 years with the company, and 98% of it I truly did like. This means that if I didn’t list the product in the “Products I don’t love” section above, please know that I truly liked it. If you’d like my honest opinion about a specific product, you can post a comment below or send me a DM on Instagram and I’ll reply.
I’ll use the section below to share my must-have products for this Beautycounter review.
I’m obsessed with this skincare collection, and that’s coming from someone who previously did not have a skincare routine at all! It’s a very hydrating and effective anti-aging skincare line, and is really hydrating. If you can’t afford to start with a full regimen or collection, I suggest the Cleansing Oil, the Serum, and the day cream (for normal to combination skin) or the night cream (for dry skin).
I use the charcoal mask once a week. I apply it only to my nose and chin to help reduce my blackheads and pore size. It’s a widely loved product mostly because of its versatility. It can be used to balance oil production, clear pores, and spot treat breakouts.
Overnight Resurfacing Peel
The Overnight Resurfacing Peel is one of my all time favorite products. It’s another MVP since it’s so versatile, and is a product that I recommend for literally any skin type and concern. I can confidently say that if “universal” skincare products exist, this is one of them! It’s good for reducing acne, scarring, discoloration, pore size, purifying pores, wrinkles and fine lines. I use it for basically all of the above. 🤣
The Cleansing Balm was a product I didn’t “get” at first, but have truly grown to love it. You don’t need to have dry skin to love it, but I would say that people with dry skin need it. It’s a thick balm you use to cleanse and remove makeup. You can gently exfoliate it off with a washcloth, or wash it off with just your hands and water. The latter will leave a thin layer of the balm on your face almost like a hydrating overnight mask. It’s very gentle, so it’s good for people with sensitive skin.
Makeup Remover Wipes
I have nights where I don’t want to spend 5 minutes on my Countertime skincare routine, so I use a Makeup Remover Wipe in bed, add a night cream, and call it a night. Done in 30 seconds. They are large wipes, so I cut mine into ¼ making a package last a really long time (4 months if you were to use 1 a day). I cut a few at a time and store them in a ziploc bag. The wipes are compostable, too!
Where to buy Beautycounter products
After reading this Beautycounter review, I'm sure you're wondering where you can purchase the products to try them for yourself.
In addition to being able to purchase directly from the company on their website and in Beautycounter retail stores, you can also choose to purchase from a consultant (like me – Anne Garland!)
Beautycounter has also partnered with retail stores like Target and Sephora to sell select best-selling products. Starting July 2020, for a limited time you can find about 12 different Beautycounter products online and in stores at Sephora.
Now I did mention that you can purchase from a consultant, which means, yes, Beautycounter has an MLM business model. Many Beautycounter consultants choose to promote the brand as an affiliate, while others use standard multi-level-marketing strategies to make money promoting the brand.
Why I joined Beautycounter as a Consultant
I became a consultant after reviewing Beautycounter and using the products as a customer for over a year. It just made sense to sign up as a consultant when I was using the products and talking about the products anyway! Now I’m able to get all my personal products 25% off, and earn 25-35% commission on all orders from my clients.
Aside from the discount and commission earned, Beautycounter has also given me invaluable training and experience with sales, which has in turn helped grow other revenue streams in my online business.
All in all, I'm a huge fan of Beautycounter, and that‘s why I chose to become a consultant. If you'd like to try Beautycounter, I'd love to help you figure out which products would be right for you! You can click here to shop or take my free skincare quiz (only takes 2 minutes) below.
Thanks for sharing valuable insights on best & worst green beauty products. Products quality are great.