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I’ll be honest, a part of me thought that this post was going to be more of an exposé about the dark side of Beautycounter. I expected to lift up the rug during this Beautycounter review and find some dirty, shameful secrets about the natural beauty company everyone in the wellness space seems to be talking about.

Spoiler alert: I didn’t discover anything horrible but I can’t say I’m drinking the kool aid either.

Maybe it’s because I’m pitched by a consultant at least once a week or because I’m just inherently skeptical about everything, but my first inclination was to think “this is too good to be true”. And in some ways it is (which I’ll get into) but I’m a firm believer that you can’t knock anything until you try it, so my 30 days of Beautycounter officially kicked off and now it’s time for my official Beautycounter Review.

We've been hearing so much about beautycounter lately so I decided to try out their products and give you a real, unbiased beautycounter review.
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Before you jump to any conclusions, this post is not a sales pitch. It’s an unbiased review of beautycounter’s products from someone who has tried their fair share of natural beauty/skincare products.

Most of the reviews I’ve read out there are from people who are brand new to this space and undoubtedly have found comfort in using beauty/skincare products that aren’t laden with hormone-disrupting chemicals…and then they become a consultant. I get the allure! But as someone who has two enormous cupboards stacked full of green beauty products, how does Beautycounter stack up? That’s what this post is all about.

What is Beautycounter?

But before I jump into that, let’s go back to basics and explain what Beautycounter is. Beautycounter was founded in 2013 by Gregg Renfrew in Santa Monica, California as a natural, safer alternative to conventional beauty and skincare products. They’re different than most beauty companies because of the vast array of products they sell. From makeup, to skincare to hair care they sell everything and it’s all marketed as “clean”.

Mainstream beauty products and cosmetics tend to be full of ingredients that you likely wouldn’t feel good about putting on your skin. The biggest culprits:

-Parabens: it mimics estrogen and disrupts your endocrine system

-Phthalates: a chemical used to make plastic more malleable, which also can affect your reproductive system

There are many others including talc, butylated compounds and petroleum, but let’s start slow. They’re used to both emulsify (think blending water and oil to make a moisture cream) and extend the shelf-life of your beauty products, but they actually do more harm than good.

So why are they included? Because they’re cheap and there’s very little regulation in the beauty industry. In fact, in the United States no federal regulation regarding personal care products has been passed since 1938! Note: Beautycounter (along with other clean beauty brand) actually does a lot of advocacy around this issue.

Now I also want to preface this by saying a lot of the research shows correlation rather than causation. You can’t say that eating a box of Oreos everyday will cause cancer, but it’s likely that eating a box of Oreos is associated with other unhealthy behaviors that add up to future health problems.

Since I originally published this post in 2017, things have changed a lot for Beautycounter. In 2021 Renfrew and the founder-led team sold their majority stake to Carlyle Group, a Washington DC based investment group.

Beautycounter - it's all the rage. But is it worth it? In today's post I'm sharing my 30 day Beautycounter experiment and what I learned from this Beautycounter review.

Where to Buy Beautycounter?

When I initially published this article in 2017, Beautycounter exclusively sold through a Multilevel Marketing (MLM) model and you couldn’t buy through stores or direct to consumer. Things have changed a lot and Beautycounter is available today at Sephora and without having to purchase through a consultant. This is undoubtedly a good thing, but I cannot forget that they used an MLM to grow brand awareness and then undermined their consultants/free marketing to sell direct to consumers.

Let’s chat about Beautycounter being an MLM….

When a company uses an MLM model, they sell their products through consultants or “independent sellers” and each consultant has a mentor so with each sale of a product (through link cookies), that consultant makes a commission and their mentor, and their mentor’s mentor etc… make a commission. 

So unlike the products I buy from Credo Beauty (my favorite clean beauty store), which normally specialize in a couple of products within either the skincare or beauty world, Beauty counter brands all of their products across categories and everything is purchased through a consultant. Truthfully it becomes hard to tell if the business is more about clean beauty or recruiting sales consultants to your team. More thoughts on MLMs below.

But like I said, you can now purchase Beautycounter from Sephora (and other physical retail stores) and on their website while they also continue to sell through their MLM model.

Why Did I Decide To Try Beautycounter?

Honestly, it comes down to pure and simple curiosity. I’ve just been hearing so much about it. Like I said, I hear from at least one consultant a week (in 2023 this number has since increased to once a day!) asking me to join their team. While I appreciate the thoughtfulness, it’s just never been something I was into. But then a lot of my friends started joining and it got me thinking, there must be more to this than meets the eye so I decided to inquire more.

After years of struggling with acne, I discovered the world of clean beauty brands. Through years of experimentation I started to share some of these safer products and have been on a collective mission to share some of my skin care and makeup favorites free of harmful ingredients.

I now have the Green Beauty Shop where I share the products I’m loving and my YouTube channel where I review clean beauty products. It’s safe to say I have some experience in this area. I wanted to see how Beautycounter would hold up to some of my favorite clean beauty brands. Put simply: I wanted an unbiased Beautycounter review from someone who isn’t a consultant and actually knows what they’re talking about.

My Full Beautycounter Review

I’m not going to individually go through each of beautycounter’s products here on the blog, but for the full review, I filmed a video capturing my honest thoughts. I’m holding nothing back so this is all the 100% honest truth.

Besides my thoughts on each individual product (everything from lipsticks, toner, skin tint to dew skin to vitamin c serum), I did appreciate the packaging and delivery of the products. I definitely don’t need beautiful packaging, and there’s nothing I hate more than excessive packaging, but I do want to receive products in tact and well organized. I’ve had products from other companies show up exploded or broken and especially for a beauty company, I do expect a step-up from Amazon Prime #justbeinghonest

But let’s chat some pros and cons and my initial thoughts after 30 days of Beautycounter.

Is Beautycounter Worth It?

The Pros of Beautycounter

Like I said, I wasn’t expecting to find any pros, but honestly was surprised by the things I discovered!

1) They are great for someone who is new to green beauty/skincare – As someone who is well versed in this space and also loves experimenting with new products, this isn’t a priority for me, but for someone who is brand new, it is nice that there is a single company you can get all of your beauty, skincare and hair care products from.

2) Their product selection is vast – It’s awesome that you can basically get all of your products at the click of the button and in the mail. They pretty much have everything so it’s a one-stop-shop for anyone who doesn’t enjoy shopping for beauty and skincare products.

3) Their products are pretty good quality – I definitely don’t love all of their products, but there were some that I really enjoyed. Overall I’d say they are decent quality albeit very expensive.

4) They actually care about cleaner products – They go beyond just offering more natural products to consumers. They’re actually lobbying in Washington to get certain ingredients banned from our conventional skincare/beauty products and are trying to increase regulation.

We've been hearing so much about beautycounter lately so I decided to try out their products and give you a real, unbiased beautycounter review.

The Cons of Beautycounter

1) They are not the most natural – Some consultants discuss this, others do not. Beauty counter may be cleaner but they are not chemical-free. They use quite a few synthetics in their products, but ones that are shown to have little to no impact on the body (their “never list”). My biggest complaint is that I’ll find a comparable product to one that I already use and the ingredients are twice as long in the beautycounter product. I believe they use more synthetics to increase the shelf-life, which I understand but personally prefer products that use fewer and less synthetic ingredients. This is really a personal preference thing but worth noting for this Beautycounter review.

2) Multilevel Marketing scares me – It’s the truth. Consultants are presented as “experts” but the reality is that they are just like me and don’t have all the answers. Experts in skincare usually spend years studying and understanding skin so I don’t love that people without credentials are giving out advice when they don’t always know what’s best. And then there’s the fact that MLMs generally aren’t built for people or “businesses” to succeed. In the end it’s a lot of consultants supposedly “investing” in their businesses but really it’s just Beautycounter’s gain…more on this below.

3) Not all of their products compare to alternatives out there – Based on my experience, only about a 1/4-1/3 of the products compared or were better than other alternatives. There are just simply companies out there that are making better products and sometimes for MUCH cheaper. Maybe it’s because they’re more focused on one or several products rather than a whole line of skincare and beyond, but I just wasn’t overwhelmed by how amazing everything was. Some were good, some were bad and I would hate for people to give up on green beauty just because a product they tried from Beautycounter didn’t work for them.

We've been hearing so much about beautycounter lately so I decided to try out their products and give you a real, unbiased beautycounter review.

Why I Became a Consultant {Read on…It Didn’t Last Long!}

After my 30 days and completing this Beautycounter Review, I decided to become a consultant for two reasons:

1) I wanted to see what this process looked like – I was curious what it meant to become a consultant. Basically all you need is a mentor, so essentially someone who is already a consultant and can guide you (mine is Lexi) and $85 to sign-up. In the mail I got a HUGE stack of papers and books that I’m expected to read. Truth is, I haven’t opened them. Mainly because I’m a digital person and I prefer to read online, but also because it was so overwhelming. Which makes me wonder how many consultants have felt the same way. They do have modules available online for training, but again how many consultants actually complete these? Which brings me back to point #2 above about MLMs. This is a huge generalization, but I do have my doubts.

2) I support their mission and some of their products -There were some products that I was really impressed by and would 100% purchase again. If I would repurchase something I always tell you about it, because I think it’s worthwhile. And because I make a living off of this, it’s always nice to get a kickback from recommending it. I also love that they are a company that isn’t just selling products but also trying to change legislation and that is something I can definitely get behind.

In the end these were the 3 products I actually liked: Nude Eyeshadow Palette |  Cleansing Balm |  Balancing Face Mask

NOTE: About 6 months after this article was originally published in 2017 I decided to no longer remain a consultant.  As I wasn’t a huge fan of most of the products, I wasn’t pushing and selling intentionally. To remain a Beautycounter consultant you must sell a certain amount within 6 months or pay to be reinstated. None of this sat well with me so I left the program.

* * * * *

So there you have it! Don’t forget to watch my video review of all the products I tried. I really hope this post has been educational for you and I’m always here to answer questions if you have any. You know I try to keep this space 100% transparent and I love being a guinea pig and providing my feedback, but as always this is just my personal opinion. I’m all ears to hear your thoughts!

Like this post? Here are a few others you might enjoy:

5 Natural Skincare Alternatives to Beautycounter
The Best Skincare Products from Whole Foods
Natural Deodorants that Actually Work

Meet the Maven

Hi! I'm Davida and welcome to my corner of the internet. I'm a wellness blogger, yoga teacher, certified herbalist, and green beauty lover.

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  1. What are your thoughts about the ordinary skin care products compared to Beautycounter?

  2. I would like to see a betterTONER dispenser. I have several friends that complain of the same problem. It dispenses toner all over unless you hold a cotton ball over the end while you plunge to dispense. It usually ends up on the mirror. It is too expensive to waste. Please take a look at this dispenser. Thank you.

  3. You can definitely buy Beautycounter without a consultant! If you’re concerned about MLM, just go to the site and shop, no consultant required. They also do have a few stores and are now partnered with Sephora!

  4. Thank you for this!! I have used BC products for about four months now. I have my favorites, but I too am skeptical about some things. I am new to green beauty products. Could you guide me in the right direction? Could you recommend cheaper alternatives to BC? Perhaps, you’ve already done some reviews or videos that I could view. Thank you for your help!!!

  5. Hi Davida,

    I was the creative director at Beautycounter for 3 years. I was actually semi-retired when I got a call from Gregg. ( I’m now, finally, a full time artist.) I’ve known Gregg for 20 years and helped her brand other companies. I adore Gregg. Estee Lauder was my client for 13 years but I was not involved with their product development or packaging materials.

    At BC I was involved in everything. I witnessed first hand how very thoughtful they were in product development. AND we were also extremely careful in designing the packaging and the materials we used. My team created the paper eye shadow palette you reviewed. Making the mirror removable allowed for the rest of the packaging to be recycled.

    Beautycounter continues to make a serious effort to get unsafe ingredients banned by the US government. If they succeed it may actually diminish the BC brand. That’s how serious Gregg takes this issue.

    I thought your review was very smart and fair. But as a man who doesn’t use a lot of stuff on my skin I find the Countermarch moisturizer terrific.

  6. Thank you for sharing your insight on this brand – I received a sample of a couple items and really wanted to know how chemical free are they. So again I appreciate your insight here.

  7. I recently came across the company where they kept talking about “clean beauty” “sustainability” and cruelty-free.” Yet, after I reviewed one of their product’s ingredient list online, I saw they use LANOLIN! How can you say “cruelty-free” and use lanolin?!! Shameful!