Q: How can I KNOW Beautycounter products are the safest available?
A: Behind the Science
The formulas behind Beautycounter skincare and cosmetics are the result of extensive research and innovative thinking. Together with Mia Davis, our Head of Health and Safety, and likeminded chemists at leading cosmetics labs in California, Texas, and Michigan, our product development team works to continually create safe, effective and desirable products for you and your family.
The Ingredient Selection Process
Every ingredient that goes into a Beautycounter is chosen with intent.
After eliminating the 1,300 ingredients banned or restricted by the European Union, the 11 that are banned in the U.S., and the dozens on our own Never List, we consider each ingredient individually, asking ourselves: Is it safe? What do we know about it? Do we need it? Will it make the product better?
The Ingredient Screen
Our stringent and comprehensive Ingredient Screen ensures ingredients are systemically evaluated using several important environmental health endpoints (i.e. carcinogenicity, reproductive toxicity, mutagenicity, skin and organ irritation).
Our Ingredient Screen is based on the Clean Production Action GreenScreen, a tool utilized by manufacturers, non-governmental organizations, and the government to compare chemical hazards and identify safer alternatives. Our Screen also takes into account even the very low dose exposures that are common with cosmetics.
We consult with scientists and industry leaders working to reduce exposure to toxic chemicals, and to develop safer, green chemicals from the start. Our health and safety team collects for data and information from many sources, including:
· CosIng (the EU Commission database)
· Environmental Protection Agency’s Design for the Environment program (EPA’s DfE)
· EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database
· International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)
· International Cooperation on Cosmetics Regulation (ICCR)
· Material Data Safety Sheets (MSDS)
· Peer reviewed journal articles on ingredients (e.g. PubMed)
· Substitute It Now (SIN) List
· The CA Department of Public Health Safe Cosmetics Program
· The Endocrine Disruption Exchange (TEDX)
· The Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
· Pharos Project Database
Weighing The Options
We give preference to ingredients that have available safety data over those without because the absence of data does not mean an ingredient is safe. But since more than 80% of cosmetics ingredients have not been adequately assessed for safety, it isn’t always possible to use only ingredients with data in our products.
When our formulators would like to use an ingredient that has no publically available safety data, we consider the following:
· Has it been used for a long time without any known health impacts?
· Is this ingredient related to or structured like other chemicals for which there is data?
· What is the source of the ingredient?
· What kind of processing is it put through?
· Is the molecule large, and therefore less likely to be absorbed by the skin?
· Do we absolutely need this ingredient to have the product function?
· Is this ingredient taking the place of a functional ingredient that is very undesirable from a safety standpoint?
· Who else is using this ingredient?
If an ingredient is approved, we flag the lack of data, and search for emerging data on a quarterly basis. If studies later reveal a health concern, we will reformulate without that ingredient.
Developing Safer Products
When we are satisfied with a product’s formulation, efficacy, and performance in the lab, we send finished samples to a third-party testing facility to search for any background contamination. Products are sent to testing facilities twice a year or whenever there is a change in formulation to ensure our suppliers are maintaining trace or no-detect levels of potential contaminants like including lead, mercury, arsenic and cadmium.
We have what we believe is the strictest heavy metal rule in the cosmetics industry – while zero is always the goal, our allowable background levels a extremely low. We arrived at these levels by analyzing the amounts that the EPA allows in drinking water and that the FDA allows in food, and by ensuring that our limits are far below what other studies have found in lipstick and children’s face paint.
The Final Test
All of our products are tested for potential irritation using human volunteers (not animals).