**This post has been revised on 4/4/18 to correct the spelling of Beautycounter (removal of the capital c) and to give an accurate account of Target's involvement with Beautycounter. My apologies for the mistakes.**
When I learned that the CEO of Beautycounter, Gregg Renfrew, would be speaking to us while I was on Spring Break in Orlando, I started thinking of questions that I wanted to ask in case I had the opportunity.
At my first Beautycounter party three years ago, a consultant gave us information that included the purpose and goals of the company, shocking eye-opening statistics and we were told that the government has been neglecting the regulation of ingredients in beauty products for many decades. I wanted to take immediate action after this newfound awareness so I purchased products for skin care, hair care and sun screen for my whole family. The only make-up artists I knew and trusted worked at the Bobbi Brown counters at the mall. Therefore, I always skipped the Beautycounter cosmetics offered at every Beautycounter party I have attended. The trouble about the make-up was that neither the Beautycounter consultant or the friend hosting the party knew anything about make up for my skin color. Beautycounter products are not cheap and I refuse to buy make-up unless someone knowledgeable sells it to me.
I already felt good about the Beautycounter products that I was using so I wasn't looking to be re-educated about all the false advertised products existing in our country today. I attended the interview of Gregg Renfrew in Orlando because I wanted to see her in person and I hoped for an opportunity for comments and questions. Surprisingly, I got a lot more out of the interview than I expected. I was glad to witness, first hand, that Gregg is an extremely transparent person:
1. I love how she admitted that she doesn't wear much make-up. She isn't just one of the lucky ones who doesn't have to wear much. Gregg recently turned fifty and stands behind the fact that less can really mean more. I agree! What impressed me the most about her not being a make-up person is that when she set out to create cleaner make-up products, she realized that there was a bigger problem. Why sell clean cosmetics if people are putting it on faces washed with products containing unhealthy ingredients? I think this type of thoughtfulness is MAJOR. She didn't have to go down this road but she, in good conscience, would not put out a cosmetics line without also having a skin care line. I think about the extra costs, extra years of hard work, extra research, extra investment, extra packaging, extra everything. I think this type of thoughtfulness is a selfless act because she could have easily left it up to us to figure out a way to have clean skin care and use her clean cosmetics.
2. Ever since one of my friends chose not to buy products at another Beautycounter party I went to, I had a nagging feeling about the company. My friend did not want to support Beautycounter and she shared with me her belief that this movement would create separation between the elite and those who could not afford it. She was correct in that the products are not cheap. Even though I am glad to pay for the convenience not to have to conduct my own research for safe products, I understood her point. It's similar to paying more for my groceries at Whole Paycheck, whoops I mean Whole Foods - time is money and shopping at Whole Foods saves me time. I felt guilty that those who can't afford Beautycounter do not get to pay for this convenience. When Gregg addressed this issue, I was all ears. What would she possibly say? I LOVED her transparent response. She didn't apologize for being a business person; of course she needs to make a profit. I believe that because of her business, she can face congress and say, "Look at my company. I am the example of making products that are safe." She is not merely throwing theory around - she has tangible items. She is not asking for other businesses to fail. Instead, she is showing that this way of thinking must be considered as a model for the greater good of all people. She set off to change the world. It may seem like a bold statement - some may think it's either too aspirational or they may think she's full of herself. But pay attention - this change, this one business, will be the reason that many giant companies will HAVE TO change. This leader will be the reason that those who cannot afford her products right now, will be able to buy products free from harmful ingredients in the near future. Gregg's hope is that all products will eventually be safe for everybody. She is like the Alice Waters of the organic food movement - making organic food available for all students, not just for those who could afford it.
3. Speaking of organic foods, when I moved to Minnesota the over-used buzz word at the time was organic. Perhaps it was the timing but I was sick of changing everything. My sleep schedule, eating schedule, I couldn't drink alcohol and breast feed etc. because I was a new mom - I could not handle another change so I refused to join the organic movement. I purposefully purchased non-organic items because I thought it was a fad and I didn't want to spend extra money on a fad. The more I hung out with my tree-hugger, crunchy, yoga moms, I would listen to their conversations about CSAs and BPA-free items etc. I wanted to ignore this exchange of information but I just couldn't. I knew too much about why I needed to make the change and soon I found myself buying organic. During the interview, I made another connection to Gregg's transparency. She said something to the effect of - at the end of the day, there is no concrete evidence that unhealthy ingredients in our skin care, hair care and sunscreen is directly related to our younger generation having a hard time getting pregnant or contracting cancers and illnesses. But if there was even a chance that her products could prolong a long healthier life, wouldn't you rather pay for them than to continue rolling the dice hoping that harmful chemicals are NOT going to effect you? This is my exact sentiment and conclusion that I came to when I stepped over to the "other side" (a.k.a organic living). Sure I could save $2 buying the regular grapes instead of the organic grapes but would the savings be worth it if I had to pay for chemo therapy later? Harsh, but it was my wakeup call.
4. Harsh brings me to another transparency statement from Gregg that I really admired. She could have sat on stage and listed off many products that would make us all squirm in our seats and feel ashamed because we had them in our purses. But she didn't. In fact, she refused to bring any one company down for being culprits containing harmful chemicals and ingredients. Someone in the audience asked her about a specific company and she said that she is totally fine with companies who own up to who they are. This particular company is known for being loaded with harsh chemicals but they don't hide from it and therefore she respects their niche in the beauty world. However, the companies that upset her are the ones who claim that they are all natural and promise to contain wonderful ingredients that are good for us when in reality, they are none of the above. I totally dig that she respects legitimate business over little white lies.
I know we love our fancy products. They make us feel good because they give us hope and status whenever we buy the expensive shampoos or $70 mascaras. Unless you're an "all or nothing person", throwing away your current products to switch over exclusively to Beautycounter products is a HUGE life style change and could effect your bank accounts. My suggestion is to finish up your current products then replace them with products that are either from Beautycounter or wonderful items on this website. Go at a pace that is comfortable for you - if that means years from now - that's fine. Just control your destiny. Love yourself enough to want to find products that don't contradict your goal of looking and feeling good.
I was the first person to raise my hand for questions after Gregg was finished with her interview. It felt great to grab the mic and first thank her for changing the packaging of the hair care products to differentiate the shampoo from the conditioner and body wash. I was tired of the hub asking every single time - which one is the shampoo? After the chuckles, I asked her why Target was not carrying her products anymore. She told me there was a miscommunication about her intention. I was impressed that all of the products flew off the shelves in record time but Gregg's intention was to educate people. I can only imagine that would be a direct conflict for Target who sells too many beauty brands. Gregg did tell me that they will most likely have free-standing stores because when I told her that attending these parties does not help me for cosmetics, she said that they were working on that. Yay!
My wish is that Beautycounter has so much success in doing what it does best - offering clean beauty products in a transparent way. I hope that you would consider Beautycounter for some thoughtful pinches . A mud mask is great for teenage guys. Lip gloss for your besties. For the newborn gifts there are baby products. The possibilities of giving clean beauty products to those you care about are endless.