BEHIND THE SCIENCE
The proprietary formulas behind Beautycounter skincare and cosmetics are the result of extensive research, sound science, and innovative thinking. Together with Mia Davis, our Vice President 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 product is chosen with intent.
After eliminating the 1,300 possible ingredients banned by the European Union and the 11 banned in the U.S., we consider each ingredient individually, asking ourselves: Is it safe? 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, greener chemicals from the start. Our health and safety team collects 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)
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.
To learn more, please visit http://www.beautycounter.com/our-mission/health-safety
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 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
• 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.
THE FINAL TEST
All of our products are tested for potential irritation using computer modeling, in vitro test methods, dermatologist reviews, and trusty volunteers, including our staff and friends and clients of expert makeup artist Christy Coleman, our Vice President of Creative Design. We do not test our products on animals.
While there are many safety challenges in this industry, we are trying our best, and encouraging others to join us in finding new solutions. If you are a chemist, formulator, or someone who would like to learn more and join our movement, we would love to hear from you.