Six years ago my second book was published. It’s called Ecothrifty, and in there I explain that there is no meaningful regulation of the personal care product industry. Basically, a personal care product can’t cause immediate harm, such as blinding someone, and they can’t make any medical claims, such as saying that their facial cream can replace a face lift. Beyond that, it’s pretty much the Wild West, and it’s definitely a case of “buyer beware.” There is no one policing those claims that a product can make you look younger in 30 days, and even worse, only about 30 ingredients have been banned in the US, which means that products do contain 1400 ingredients that have been banned in Europe because they are known to be carcinogens or endocrine disruptors or cause other health problems.
In Ecothrifty, I encouraged readers to use simple things like homemade soap to clean, baking soda as a facial scrub, sugar and oil as a body scrub, and grapeseed or another natural oil as a moisturizer. Even though the book sold a few thousand copies, I’m not aware of anyone who actually stopped using unsafe personal care products and switched. (A few hundred women did make sugar scrub in my workshops, and hopefully they continued to make it in the future.) Unfortunately, a lot of people doubted that such a simple skin care regimen could possibly work, and some even thought it was just weird — even though I’ve been doing it for years.
So I realized fairly quickly that I could actually help more people and create more change if I found safer commercial products and encouraged people to use them, especially because 80% of women have no idea that they are using unsafe products — products that include the 1400 ingredients that are banned in Europe. That’s why I decided to get involved with Beautycounter. In addition to not using any of those ingredients, Beautycounter has an additional list of another 100 or so questionable ingredients that they will never use in their products, for a total of 1500 ingredients on “the never list.” All of Beautycounter’s products on the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database are ranked 1-3 on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the safest. And many of their products are EWG Verified, which means they contain no ingredients of concern, and the company is fully transparent about their ingredients and manufacturing practices.
So, if you are not into making your own soap, and you don’t want to use baking soda as a facial scrub or olive oil as a moisturizer — and I’m not even going to suggest you try making your own mascara! — you do have options that are safer than buying whatever is at the department store. Beautycounter has several different skin care regimens, as well as a full line of cosmetics. It should not come as a surprise to know that my favorite products are the charcoal soap, the charcoal mask, and the facial oils, which are all really simple products that are high performers. I’ve also used their skin care products that are more like what you will find in the department store, and I love them too.