Just when I start giving serious thought to switching from Ban to a “natural deodorant” comes word I should pitch every stinkin’ beauty product in my bathroom.
That word comes from Beautycounter, the “safe” products line that just paid the Main Line its first official visit.
About 80 local lovelies showed up at Radnor’s Avenue Kitchen the other night for a taste of Beautycounter culture.
Not a bad crowd but nothing approaching the 300+ that regularly turn out for Beautycounter’s celebrity-strewn NYC events.
I’ve never been big on shopping via “consultants” and sky-is-falling health pronouncements, so I strolled a tad warily into Avenue K.
And I wandered out … dazed and confused.
See, these fools/geniuses have the gall/guts to put retinol on their “Never List” of 1,500 dangerous ingredients! Retinol, as in the non-prescription form of Retin-A (the synthetic form of Vitamin A), which happens to be The Best No-Needle Wrinkle Fighter There Is – just ask your dermatologist.
I’ve been slathering my face in multi-syllabic no-no’s like Retin A for years.
But that’s not all. My body’s in big trouble, too.
Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer – my annual ticket to a gradual, passable and cheap fake tan – contains at least five bad guys, mineral oil among them. Parabens, and BHT I get, but mineral oil? Jeeze.
BC does sell a bronzer but skips sunless tanners altogether. (An omission that might tempt some to get all sunful and wicked, thereby inviting skin cancer, wrinkles and other nasties, no?)
Another villain: my trusty Coppertone Broad Spectrum UVA/UVB Sport Lotion SPF 50.
Coppertone calls it “equipment for your skin.” Beautycounter calls it a “hormone disrupter” that “triggers allergic skin reactions” because it’s loaded with oxybenzone. (At least it doesn’t contain retinol – which, in a daytime cream or sunscreen, apparently makes your skin MORE prone to sun damage. Other studies suggest retinol use (at night) prevents skin cancer. See how confusing this stuff is?)
BC does make a SPF 30 sunscreen, formulated with “non-nano” zinc oxide.
The company’s National Sales Director appealed to would-be consultants and customers in the audience to “make a difference in your life – and the lives of those who matter most to you.”
And truly, the stats she shared were scary:
* The European Union has banned nearly 1,400 ingredients in the personal care industry; the U.S. has restricted exactly 11. (We haven’t passed a law regulating ingredients in the personal care industry since 1938.)
*50 years ago, one in 20 U.S. women got breast cancer. Today, it’s 1 in 8 (and only 10 percent have the gene culprit).
*Half of men and a third of women will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetimes. Childhood cancers have increased 20% since 1975.
*One third of U.S. babies are born with one of the four As: autism, allergies, ADHD or asthma.
*Each morning, “the average woman uses 12 beauty products, which adds up to hundreds of chemicals every single day.”
A born skeptic, here’s the question I asked the sales director: Isn’t the skin’s job to protect our vital organs? I get that our constantly exfoliated (read: shaved) pits and legs might be more vulnerable, but how much stuff really gets through the epidermis and dermis?
Her answer: “We believe the effects are cumulative.”
Point well taken. I shell out big bucks for my “medical-grade” face products; obviously, I believe something’s seeping in.
And so I say “bravo” to Beautycounter for empowering women with information and for setting a higher bar for safety and performance in the personal care and cosmetics industries.
I’m just not certain I’m going to clear out my toiletry drawer.
My hesitation might be generational. I would certainly advise my 24 year old to check out Beautycounter.
And clearly, the youngish Main Line crowd at Avenue Kitchen seemed to buy into BC. Which makes sense: they’ve got plenty of time to let everything sink in (literally) and to “make a difference” with wee ones.
Those of us with a shorter shelf life and grown kids, facing our mirrors each morning, may need a little more convincing.
ABOUT BEAUTYCOUNTER: Beautycounter is sold online and through consultants and “socials.” Prices are comparable to mid-to-upper range Sephora brands. BC donates $10 from each $25 annual “Band of Beauty” membership fee to three “trusted non-profits”: Environmental Working Group, The Breast Cancer Fund and Healthy Child. A special SAVVY thank you to Bryn Mawr BC consultant Kerry Lenehan for the lovely product samples. Click here to visit Kerry’s website.