I recently learned about Beautycounter from a friend; a beauty brand dedicated to creating safe, yet luxurious and high performing beauty products. They refuse to use over 1500 common ingredients which have been found to be potentially harmful to our health. They also source ethically and package sustainably. Normally, you can only buy Beautycounter online or from a personal consultant, but right now, they have a special limited-time partnership with Target. This is Target’s first ever partnership with a beauty brand.  Read through to the bottom to learn how you can receive a free gift with your Target purchase. 

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I read a lot about how toxic, deadly and gross the stuff that we consume and use on our bodies regularly is. It all reads like a horror story. If you somehow missed the memo, check this out.

I read these things before I was a mom, and I kind of cared, and kind of changed my ways, but not nearly as much as I probably should have cared about my own body in my 20’s. However, something about bringing home a tiny, perfect, unblemished specimen from the hospital and loving him, and not wanting to KILL him made me care a whole lot more. Every decision those first couple of years felt so critical! And they were. Truly. I’m not belittling my duty to care for my children in the best way I can. Still, my faith says, “Do not be anxious in anything.” (Philippians 4:6) and honestly, all of those parenting decisions were making me downright anxious. The balance between what I wanted to feed my kid, diaper, clothe and bathe him in and what our budget allowed was frustrating at times. Of course I wanted everything to be organic and natural. But we live on a real life budget. And what about other people my decisions are affecting? The people who produced the things we are consuming and the amount of our budget that we were leaving to generously give to those in need- those who don’t even have food, clothes or shampoo themselves- how does that play in? The decisions are endless.

Recently, I read this post entitled, “Excuse Me While I Lather My Child In This Toxic Death Cream” and as I read it, I just kept thinking, yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. I’m tired too. A couple more kids and a heaping dose of perspective later, and I just can’t. Certainly not all the time and in every situation anyway. I can’t get it all right. I can’t feed my kids a perfect organic, sugar-free diet or ensure that nothing toxic ever touches their skin. And, as she discusses, I’m not going to get all bent out of shape about it because there are a lot worse things going on in this world. At least my kids have food and shelter. At least they know they are loved. After years of prayer and challenging ourselves, we choose to sacrifice some things we would love to buy for our family so that others can have a little too. Modeling that for my kids matters more to me. It means we can’t always buy natural, organic everything. I wish we could. I wish everyone could. In fact, I wish those were the only options. Truly. I just want to preface this review by encouraging us all to keep a clear perspective. After all, this is an honest review, and now you know my heart on these matters.

A few months ago, a friend reached out and asked if I’d be at all interested in trying some safe skin care products, and of course, my first reaction was, “Yes!” because as mentioned, yes, I care about what my family uses on our bodies and if you are offering for us to try them, I’m all in! I told her that I would review them on my blog. But in the interest of full disclosure, seconds after she stopped by to drop them off a few days later and before I even opened the bag, I thought, ‘Why did I agree to this?’ because we already use many safe beauty care products, especially for the kids. I’ve tried a lot of them over the years, and honestly don’t usually love them. I use them because they are safe, not because I am like, THIS STUFF IS AMAZING! In general, the nature of these products is that they are, to me, usually rather unimpressive. Like, “Yep, smells like nothing. Must be safe.” I even find that after shampooing Henry’s super thick hair with almost every truly safe product we have ever tried, (not the bottles that say the word natural, which is not an FDA regulated word, but have 47 ingredients you can’t pronounce), he sometimes smells almost like a (clean) wet dog. That makes sense since we are mammals and probably just aren’t meant to smell like deliciousness, but that’s hard to adjust to after a lifetime of using shampoos that make me feel clean simply because my hair smells good. I appreciate these super natural products for what they usually are – better for us – and for the results they produce, (especially for my sensitive skinned, eczema prone child), but not for being luxurious or making my people smell yummy.

So, there I was waving to my friend who had just dropped these products and already worrying about how I was going to tell her that I couldn’t review something that did indeed have a quite impressive ingredients list but also left my kid smelling like a wet dog. However, as I opened the bag, I was super impressed with what I saw. (I am a total sucker for packaging). Fancy.

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I loved THE NEVER LIST that was easily referenced on Chelsea’s business card.

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Most importantly (to me), I loved the yummy smells! Maybe it was because I was pregnant at the time and hadn’t had a drink in months, but the Citrus Mimosa scent (made without synthetic fragrance ingredients) in the body wash, body lotion and body butter were unbelievable. I was definitely impressed. Not the barely-there scent I was expecting. And this. This was my favorite item:

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The sugar scrub felt so luxurious. I kept inhaling the smell over and over.

For the kids, I tried the shampoo, conditioner and body wash.

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Guess what? No wet dog smell! The kids smelled great even after I rinsed it out. The conditioner is probably the real victor here. Very helpful for this girl’s curls (unbrushed and air dried straight from the bath, and still very manageable).

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Soon, we had a new baby in the house and I was able to try these products for Francie’s first bath.

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It definitely put my mind at ease to know that these products were safe for our baby, especially as she sucked the soap on her hands before I could get it rinsed off.  The baby products do not have any scents and I am totally ok with that. Francie had terrible cradle cap and oiling her head before bath then using a soft bristle brush to loosen the flakes before shampooing was very helpful. I loved knowing that this oil was made especially for baby skin. Later, when she got baby acne, I didn’t have to second guess if it was actually a rash caused by something we had used on her skin.

Above all, I love Beautycounter’s mission. Here is a screenshot straight from this page on their site:

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So, those are the pros. Not your typical boring but safe products. Truly, an impressively luxurious beauty care line.

The only con for me is price. I texted Chelsea and told her the truth about how I had worried they would be super boring and would leave us all smelling, ummm… “natural”. And she responded by saying that I’m not alone. Many people equate safe to boring. In her words, Beautycounter is like Chanel meets Whole Foods. And that is AWESOME! I want it ALL! I want 20 jars of that sugar scrub so I can feel like I’m at the spa every day. I want their sunscreen so I know I’m not giving my kids (or myself) cancer while trying to protect us from cancer. I want to trade in all of the makeup I’ve used for years for this safe and ethically sourced stuff (that’s still fancy and works well). But, the reality is that I absolutely cannot, within our budget, have it all. I can’t buy Chanel or shop at Whole Foods regularly either. I do understand why the products are more expensive. It’s because they are made with safe, sustainable, ethically sourced ingredients and packaging. They are doing it RIGHT. Not cheapest. Right.

 Most of us have heard this all a hundred of times, and we know we should buy safe, organic, sustainable, ethical, fair trade products when we can. But why don’t we? For me, it’s sometimes habit (when my mascara runs out, I don’t even think about it, I just go buy the same toxic stuff I have used for years), but of course, it’s also price. Every time I need something new, I stand there and compare the price of the safe one to the price of the one I’ve always used and I can’t stomach it. I rationalize that I’ve been using it for years and I’m fine, (which is terrible rationalization because everyone is fine right up until they aren’t). Two things happen when we continue to buy the stuff we know we shouldn’t: 1. We risk our health. 2. We support systems of injustice and continue padding the pocketbooks of CEOs who want to do things the cheap way, not the right way, because of their bottom line. Unfortunately, big business and politics are so intermingled that change is unlikely to happen until the large corporations feel a drop in sales because people are fed up and not buying their products.  

I’m not suggesting we ever reach beyond our means to buy the most expensive stuff. Here is what I am suggesting (and challenging myself to do): Go to the Skin Deep Database to search the safety ratings of your favorite, every day products, then look for safer alternatives for those with poor ratings. If you are already buying all your beauty products from [insert not-so-safe-or-ethical luxury brand here], then consider switching to this luxury brand instead. If you don’t need all the luxury products, then just start small and do what you can to be a force of change. I will continue choose the safer but less expensive/luxurious items for most of our beauty care needs. However, there are a few things that I’ve realized I am buying the toxic versions of simply because I like the smell or because the other “natural” brands I have tried just don’t cut it. For those things, I will slowly replace them with Beautycounter. I usually replenish my makeup supplies on my birthday or at Christmas and rarely buy beauty products otherwise anyway, so this feels very manageable. I love that we can all use Beautycounter’s NEVER LIST when shopping, even if we aren’t buying their products. You can print a pocket-size version here, but I actually don’t like that nearly as much as the one on Chelsea’s business card. She offered to give me a stack to hand out to friends and if you’re not going to see me in person, email her and she will send you one! 

Like I said before, the unfortunate part is that safe products should be the only option. Our budgets shouldn’t have to determine our accessibility to safety, and I love that this company is truly making efforts to get safe products into the hands of everyone. They are working with many other organizations to get regulations changed. (Please check out this page and this page for much more info). I really respect that and I’m happy to support them in the small ways I can.

Shop online or check out Beautycounter’s limited partnership with Target, in stores and online now (only for a limited time). This is the first time Target has ever partnered with a beauty brand, so that’s super exciting! There is a free gift with your Target/Beautycounter purchase if you redeem the promo code that will come with your product on a consultant’s personal website <– (that’s my friend Chelsea’s and she will be so thrilled if you stop by).