BeautyCounter: The Future of Green?

BeautyCounter was introduced in 2013 and focused on spearheading the movement for safer cosmetics through legislation and offering greener products. Their philosophy of advocating for legislative change for safer cosmetics while introducing these safe cosmetics were made simple through products that looked beautiful with a price point that was unexpectedly fair – although their prices have systematically increased through the years.

Despite my initial interest, I never pulled the trigger in purchasing any products due in large part to their sales strategy that focused on growing a network of independent consultants which instantly drew comparisons in my mind to pyramid operations such as Amway and Herbalife that leave a bad taste.

Then in late 2016, one of their independent consultants sent me an e-mail to try their products and I thought, why not? Especially as at the time, BeautyCounter was being carried in Target stores which I only later realized was a temporary engagement.

I received sample packs of their Countertime Rejuvenating Collection which includes:
Soothing Face Wash
Radiance Firming Complex
Uplifting Day Cream
Restorative Night Cream
Vibrant Eye Perfector

If you click the links, you’ll see that the names of the products I linked to have all changed, and I actually could not find Soothing Face Wash nor it’s current iteration on their site. I’m not sure why this is, but it is pretty confusing. As I only received small 4ml sample tubes, I also don’t know the ingredients, so if the ingredients or formula has changed as well, my insight on the products may be obsolete.

The first thing I noticed was how all of the 5 products were so similar in texture, consistency, weight, and fragrance. They’re all white-ish creams with a lighter more gel like feel and fragranced ever so subtly with natural essential oils. To the immediate senses, despite the uniformity across what should be 5 different categories, the products all pass the initial impressions test.

Here are my mini run downs of each product:


Soothing Face Wash: a good cleanser very similar to many cream/milk cleansers on the market. It’s good if you’re not wearing a lot of make-up and just want a time saving, simple cleanse, ideally in the morning or when you’re tired in the evening. I like that there is no foaming and the cleanser washes off clean. With that said, I preferred to use this with another cleanser: an oil/balm make-up remover if I wore full make-up during the day as my first cleanse then followed by this, or this as my first cleanser followed by a more in-depth cleanser if I went more bare faced.

I think those with drier skin will especially find this cleanser agreeable, if it even currently exists in the line?

Radiance Firming Complex: This is the serum of the collection. It combines Vitamin C, fruit acids, algae and marine extract to tackle wrinkles, skin tone and improve hydration. Looking at the ingredients list which includes lots of plant oils that provide antioxidants and good amounts of algae (first ingredient), I definitely think that it is a pretty solid all-around serum. I don’t know if it has the high concentration corrective ingredients to really turn over wrinkles and skin tone, but I think for someone in their 20s to 40s, this will be a solid standard serum at a very reasonable $63 for 1 oz. The only caveat is that there are citrus oils so I recommend it for night time use. This would be my top pick of the collection.

Uplifting Day Cream: First thing to note is that the uplifting day cream doesn’t contain any ingredients that make it especially advantageous for day time use other than a lighter weight than the night cream. The good news is that it also doesn’t contain anything that makes it unsuitable for night time use either. I’d recommend picking between the two day/night moisturizers based on your skin type (choose the heavier night cream if you’re dry, or the lighter day cream if you’re oily, and try out both if you can’t decide). I’m not taking any points away for not including things like SPF which I actually prefer as a separate product, but what I will call to attention is that many of the beneficial ingredients are listed after phenoxyethanol, which as a preservative is either too concentrated in here or the beneficial ingredients are not concentrated enough to actually do any “uplifting”. I think that at $73, for a ‘meh’ ingredients list, there are better moisturizer options out there.

Restorative Night Cream: See note on day cream above. The Night Cream is thicker, and contains more emollients such as shea butter and heavier plant oils. For a restorative product, there aren’t actually that many anti-aging ingredients as one might assume given the very promising marketing language. You’re pretty much getting a heavier moisturizer that has good antioxidants, which isn’t bad but in a similar vein to the aforementioned products, probably won’t deliver top performance for the fanciful “lifting/firming/restoring” results that are promised.

A strike against this cream is the jar packaging which I wouldn’t mind (especially as it looks beautiful in the photos), but will accelerate the antioxidant breakdown which is unfortunate since that is the main source of the “restoration”. Again, as a general moisturizer, I’m not sure that I’d spend $75 on it but if you can score one of the day/night creams for around $40-$50, it might be worth it to try as long as your expectations of performance are aligned because they are good, solid moisturizers, just don’t count of them for too much anti-aging performance.

Vibrant Eye Perfector: This is a great eye cream that feels very emollient and disperses quite beautifully. Similar to the night cream, the jar packaging is problematic which may explain why the phenoxyethanol preservative is listed so uncomfortably high in the ingredients list again *sigh*. I probably sound like a broken record but the truth is that the limitations of the products are all very similar since the products themselves as I explained at the beginning are so similar to one another. I still enjoy using this eye cream but I know that there are better options out there both in terms of efficacy and formula.

For some of you, the fact that Beautycounter advocates for safe cosmetics but uses phenoxyethanol in their formulas might be a turn off. I try to steer away from phenoxyethanol in my products but do not consider it a deal breaker. For others, the independent consultant sales strategy might be a detractor for you as it was for me, which can easily be mitigated through purchasing directly through their website.

I found the samples a pleasure to use, and while I do not think there are enough good ingredients to back up the proposed benefits of many of the products, I do think that if you’re currently spending your money on products like Origins/REN, it would be worthwhile to give this line a try as well.

Clinique All About Eyes

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I know what you’re thinking. ‘What’s this? A review for a line that isn’t clean and that is widely available anywhere?’ I think there are certain products that are iconic, such as La Mer’s moisturizer and the Clinique eye cream. There is so much marketing out there and word of mouth that the truly performance of the product often takes a backseat to the myth and hype. 

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When my eyes felt fatigued and in need of a pick-me-up during finals, I didn’t want to take the chance with a new product so I turned to the product that garnered a legion of devotees and was voted best department store eye cream year upon year – the All About Eyes.

Clinique’s All About Eyes is the product that started it all for their now comprehensive range of eye products and it continues to be a top seller for this gigantic skincare empire. The product housed in a plastic amber jar the same color as the gel-cream housed inside. Clinique describes the product as a lightweight gel-cream that diminishes puffiness, darkness, and fine lines. And doesn’t that just about cover everything we could hope for in an eye product? 

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The product has a chemical scent that is neither pleasing nor unbearable, but simply a reflection of the formula. The gel-cream consistency is indeed light, and feels like a quality formula in it’s beautiful silky texture. 

Upon application the cream immediately breaks down into almost a slick on the skin. This can be attributed to the silicones, which is the most abundant ingredient in this gel-cream. The silicone helps make skin feel instantly smooth and velvety, giving the appearance of immediate results but these are temporary. In the long term, excessive use of silicone in skincare can clog pores and age skin.

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The ingredients list shows this silicone-based gel cream relies mostly on emollients to deliver moisture and provide that silky skin feeling. Non-coverage pigments such as Iron Oxide and Mulberry Root change how light is reflected off shadowed areas (i.e. undereyes) which makes areas prone to dark circles appear brighter although this again is temporary. There are good ingredients like the aforementioned Mulberry Root which has brightening capabilities, as well as antioxidants from Green Tea Extract, Grape Extract, Olive Extract, and Vitamin C and E. Whey protein, the stuff used by bodybuilders is used to lock in hydration which is good but the not-so-good is that petrolatum is its partner in moisture. Petrolatum and the humectant Butylene Glycol are both going to aggravate skin, and I would go as far as to suggest people with blemish prone skin should avoid these two ingredients altogether. 

There is no alcohol or fragrance in this formula which allow Clinique to use the description that they’re Allergy tested and 100% Fragrance Free. Something I should point out though is that Clinique is a company that performs animal testing. Some might view this as a necessity but I do not. Most modern lines are able to formulate without animal testing and I urge Clinique to move away from this obsolete practice. 

 

Soapbox note aside, I had good results with the Eye Cream. It made my eyes feel hydrated and less tired. Eventhough much of this might be temporary and the result of silicones/emollients, I think it might be a good product to use when you need to feel better and look better immediately. Just know that it probably won’t make any real improvements to your skin because the good active ingredients, those antioxidants are not a concentrated part of the formula. 

Available pretty much everywhere for $50