Beautycounter Review: The Best (And Worst) Skincare + Makeup Products
In this Beautycounter review, we reveal the facts of how this safe, non-toxic beauty brand is one of the best on the market for natural makeup and clean skincare. We also share our favorite products from each cosmetic category and how you can save money today with their Band of Beauty Membership!
This post was originally published in July 2018 and has been updated in February 2020 with my most recent favorite products and new releases.
Did you know that there are 80,000+ chemicals found in beauty and personal care products–even the high-end ones from department stores and luxe beauty boutiques–most of which have not been tested for safety?
While, thankfully, education around the importance of eating organic, real food for a healthy life is becoming more prevalent, sadly most people still don’t know the dangers of the other products we put in or on our bodies, even though they can be just as damaging.
In fact, our skin is our largest organ and absorbs over 60 percent of what we put on it–and these harmful chemicals go directly into our bloodstream!
And sadly, the FDA is doing essentially nothing to protect us. The last time a law was passed in the cosmetic industry was 1938…raise your hand if you think a lot has changed since then?!?
In fact, while Europe has banned over 1,400 chemicals, the United States has banned a whopping 30…because that makes sense, right?
Because the FDA allows companies to use untested chemicals in their makeup, skincare and hair products, many of which are already known to be extremely harmful to our bodies, it’s up to us to learn what’s safe and determine what brands we can count on.
I know–it’s scary and can definitely be overwhelming when you’re trying to transition to a healthier life. Sometimes it’s hard to know where to start. That’s why I absolutely love Beautycounter. If you’re looking for safe, non-toxic makeup, skincare, hair care and body products, you have just been introduced to your new happy place!
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- An Honest Look at Beautycounter’s Flaws
- Beautycounter’s A+ Mission
- Makeup Faves
- Best Cleansers + Masks
- Best Skincare Products
- Body Care Faves
- How to Save Money at Beautycounter
Here’s the deal: Not only was Beautycounter was THE MOST GOOGLED beauty brand in 2018, but they are truly changing the industry by changing the laws. Their advocacy work (like lobbying for the Personal Care Products Safety Act) is so inspiring and makes a huge impact, and the company personally does a ton of ingredient research, studies, and third-party testing to make sure their products are safe.
Beautycounter is truly committed to a health and safety standard that goes well beyond what is legally required in the United States. Plus, they actually work!
That last part is key–because I’ve tried plenty of crunchy products that, quite frankly, just don’t cut it.
But I’ve been using their products for over four years and they’re the perfect compromise between crunchy, natural beauty and high-end, Sephora-quality products. Plus, they work. Seriously!
But look, I’ll be honest. No company is perfect and Beautycounter is not exempt.
I wish their products were all organic (though they do use some organic ingredients). They’re definitely not the absolute purest beauty brand on the market, meaning you can’t eat their face masks and they do contain some synthetic ingredients.
BUT… they are WAY safer than most conventional products, most of their line is rated a 1 by the EWG, and the company is personally responsible for making a lot of change in the personal care industry to make our products safer, our labels more transparent, and our environmental impact smaller.
I don’t know any green/natural beauty brands that third-party tests all of their products (for example, Beautycounter tests their makeup three times for 10 heavy metals before its sold) AND creates laws around transparency and safety.
And that’s something I can get behind.
Ready to make the switch to cleaner cosmetics?!
(Psst… I have a private Facebook group all about clean beauty where I make recommendations, share discounts, do giveaways and so much more, not just with Beautycounter but all green beauty–click here to join, it’s free!)
What makes Beautycounter so special and reliable?
Other than the very important distinguishing factor that their safe products actually work, the brand is committed to admirable business practices that make me feel really great and at ease about buying from them again and again.
Plus, Beautycounter offers a 60-day return policy, no questions asked, even on used products. So it’s literally 100% risk free.
Check it out.
- Their Never List™: Over 1,800 ingredients are NEVER used in their products, including over 1,400 chemicals banned or restricted in personal care products by the European Union, plus additional chemicals screened by Beautycounter and found to be of concern. This includes things like parabens, phthalates, oxybenzone, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and formaldehyde.
- Rigorous screening: Using the best available sources, Beautycounter screens every potential ingredient for information on specific hazards like cancer, developmental toxicity, hormone disruption and infertility. In fact, they go so far as to third party test for contaminants in color cosmetics at three different points in the development cycle, as well as testing for heavy metals to ensure non-detectable levels of lead, cadmium, nickel, mercury, arsenic, and other toxic elements. And when they do use a synthetic ingredient, like phenoxyethanol, they ensure that it’s below 1%.
- Responsibly sourced: They choose the best organic, natural, sustainable and, when necessary, synthetic ingredients that meet their high standards. Over 80% of the ingredients in Beautycounter products are natural or plant-derived.
- Ingredient transparency: Every formula ingredient, including known components of fragrances, flavors, and intentionally added preservatives are listed on the product labels or the website.
- Non-toxic + recyclable packaging: Beautycounter’s packaging has no harmful chemicals that could potentially leach into the product formulas (like PVC and BPA). They opt for glass, safer plastic materials, and sustainable paper. The majority of product packaging, including the shipping materials, is recyclable in most communities in North America.
- Commitment to ongoing education: There are major data gaps on most cosmetics ingredients, so Beautycounter reviews emerging data regularly and even commissions their own studies, which is hugely expensive and time-consuming–that’s why most companies don’t do it.
- Certifications: Beautycounter is a member of the American Sustainable Business Council; the Safe Cosmetics Business Network; they’re a CarbonFree® Partner of Carbonfund.org; and certified B Corporation (a type of biz that puts a huge emphasis on solving social and environmental problems).
Now you may still have a few questions about Beautycounter, especially because there are some other brands out there that many people consider to be their competition. Like:
What’s the difference between Beautycounter vs. Rodan + Fields? Or Beautycounter vs. Arbonne?
IMHO, the answer is everything! Sadly, these companies put up an appearance of being healthy and natural, but they are far from it; in fact, some of the products are downright toxic.
Let’s take some ingredients found in Rodan + Fields products, for example. There’s DMDM Hydantoin (which releases formaldehyde), fragrance (one of the most dangerous ingredients in the cosmetic industry), and parabens (linked to breast cancer), to name just a few.
These ingredients and others found in popular mainstream brands contain ties to cancer, hormonal disruption, liver damage, skin irritation, eye irritation, breast cancer and birth defects. (source; source; source)
The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics put together this list of concerning chemicals in ‘The Big 7’ companies (Avon, Estee Lauder, Johnson & Johnson, L’Oreal, P&G, Revlon and Unilever) that I highly recommend you check out. Note all the brands listed at the bottom that are owned by these companies; pretty much…. every mainstream brand known to man.
BEAUTYCOUNTER REVIEW: BEST BEAUTYCOUNTER PRODUCTS
Okay, by now you’re probably convinced that Beautycounter really does live up to its hype and reputation. If you’re just getting started and want to try some products, I highly recommend the following items that I’ve personally tried and absolutely adore.
You’ll love the way natural makeup feels on your face, how clean your skin feels and how healthy, silky and voluminous your hair looks when you swap over to these products.
- Tinted Moisturizer: Beautycounter’s Dew Skin Moisturizing Coverage SPF20: This lightweight tinted moisturizer feels super hydrating and has the added benefit of protecting your face with SPF 20. It also enhances skin brightness and promotes firmer, smoother-looking skin. Perfect for summer or a ‘no makeup’ look!
- Foundation: Beautycounter’s Tint Skin Foundation: A perfect daily moisturizer, this creamy foundation looks natural, blending effortlessly to cover your imperfections and even out skin tone. For light coverage, apply with the Retractable Foundation Brush; for medium coverage, apply with the Flat Complexion Brush.
- Concealer: Beautycounter’s Concealer Pen: I love this convenient pen that gives great coverage to dark circles, redness and other skin imperfections. The click-pen design and brush applicator make it easy to apply just the right amount exactly where you need it.
- Blush: Satin Powder Blush: The perfect amount of pigment, lasts all day, goes on smooth and looks super natural. I love Guava, Nectar (the perfect dupe for Nars’ Orgasm) and Sorbet.
- Highlighter: Luminous Powder Highlighter: I apply the beautiful Halo color to my cheekbones, eyelids, nose and forehead. The perfect subtle glow!
- Bronzer: Beautycounter’s Matte Bronzer: I love the shimmer-free finish on this bronzer that delivers a refined, natural-looking, sun-kissed glow.
- Lipstick: Beautycounter’s Lip Sheer: This is my go-to daily lip color (I love Plum, Currant, and Petal)! It’s so smooth, ultra-moisturizing and delivers a polished sheen. Give a quick swipe for a natural look, layer it on to intensify the color or try it under lip gloss for a shimmery look. When I want more intense color, I go for the Color Intense Lipsticks (my fave shades are Boardwalk, 9-to-5, Premiere and Sunset). These lipsticks are deeply pigmented and yet still very hydrating.
- Lipgloss: Beautycounter’s Lip Gloss: I’m addicted to these–they’re super moisturizing and non-sticky, with a hint of peppermint. Their mini vault is a great deal as you get 10 shades to suit every look, including a mix of limited-edition shades and customer favorites, for just $89 (a $126 value).
- Eyeshadow: Beautycounter’s Velvet palette in Romantic: Not to sound sensationalist, but I believe this is THE BEST eyeshadow in green beauty–it’s super pigmented, but natural colors, stays on ALL DAY (seriously!) and doesn’t crease! I also have their Necessary Neutrals palette and it comes with pretty much every eye shadow color you’d ever need, plus a dual-ended brush for easy application!
- Brow Gel: Beautycounter’s Brilliant Brow Gel: This was just launched last year and is already a cult favorite. I can’t believe how much I love it and what a difference it gives my brows to make them look balanced and full! I wear medium.
I’ll be honest: As far as their products go, the only thing I’ve tried from Beautycounter–out of dozens of products!–that I personally don’t care for is their mascaras (see which mascara brand I love here), but of the two options I prefer the volumizing over their lengthening mascara.
- Makeup Remover, Cleanser + Hydrating Mask: Beautycounter’s Lotus Glow Cleansing Balm: This is all-time favorite beauty hero!! There’s a reason it’s nicknamed ‘magic in a jar’. It hydrates your skin while it cleanses, removes makeup and other impurities, you can leave it on overnight as a moisturizing mask, and so much more (great for skin challenges like rosacea and eczema)! It’s even been shown in independent studies that ONE HUNDRED PERCENT of women showed a signification increase in skin hydration after eight hours–convinced yet?
- Cleanser: Countercontrol Clear Pore Cleanser: I use this for everyday cleansing to remove all my makeup, and without harshly stripping my skin of its natural oils, but jojoba beads gently exfoliate and clean out my pores. Made for acne-prone skin. In the spirit of honesty, I don’t love their Countercontrol line as a whole, as I find it to be a bit too harsh for most skin types and can irritate and dry out your skin and cause it to produce excess oil. So my solution for acne-prone skin is their amazing Countermatch line in conjunction with the Overnight Peel and Charcoal Mask (more on those below).
- Oil Cleanser: Beautycounter’s Countertime Lipid Defense Cleansing Oil is also in my regular rotation, as a cleanser and makeup remover–my skin always feels so nourished when I use it!
- Makeup Remover: Beautycounter’s One–Step Makeup Remover Wipes: Disposable wipes are typically filled with chemicals, and they wreak havoc on the environment by adding unnecessary waste. These wipes are biodegradable, compostable, remove makeup and cleanse your skin in one step with hydrating aloe vera & soothing cornflower water. Perfect for when you’re on-the-go!
- Moisturizer: I love Beautycounter’s Countermatch regimen, designed specifically to optimize hydration. These days I’m using the daytime combo of Countermatch Intense Moisture Serum (it’s got two forms of hyaluronic acid so it’s super age-preventing and hydrating, while vitamins C and E provide antioxidant protection and improve skin radiance) with the Countermatch Adaptive Moisture Lotion, which actually adjusts hydration levels throughout the day with its Bio-Mimic Technology and the unique life-giving properties of plants to exactly match the structure of skin. At night I use the Countermatch Recovery Sleeping Cream. It’s silly, but I love the pump dispenser that gives you the exact amount you should apply when pressed. And then, of course, the advanced blend of hyaluronic acid, plum oil, and tara gum creates a protective layer to help replenish hydration and revitalize skin while you sleep—so skin looks youthfully smoother, softer, and more radiant in the morning. YAAAAS! (See the bottom of this post for how to save money on this regimen!)
- Toner: Beautycounter’s Countertime Mineral Boost Hydrating Essence, which is kind of like a toner but more nourishing. It’s lightweight and lends vital nutrients to the skin’s moisture barrier.
- Overnight Treatment: Overnight Resurfacing Peel: This new peel is incredible for shrinking pores, reducing wrinkles, evening skin tone and smoothing your skin. It works so well to plump, brighten and resurface your skin! Go to bed with dull, blemished, rough skin… wake up with a glowing, clear complexion!
- Face oil: No. 1 Brightening Oil: This Allure Best of Beauty winner is a non-greasy, lightweight blend of seven natural oils. It’s bursting with Vitamin C, which is the #1 ingredient to look for if you want to brighten and lighten your skin. Some women say its helped them with melasma and minimizing dark spots and that they’ve literally seen results in a matter of days! I can attest that my acne scars have lightened since I started using this oil. YES! If you want to brighten dull skin and boost your radiance, this oil is for you! As an added bonus, it smells heavenly, like fresh oranges. (Use this oil on its own or under moisturizer if you need extra hydration.)
- Face Mask: Beautycounter’s Counter+ Charcoal Facial Mask: I adore this face mask; it has a 5-star average rating from 1,150 reviews! It’s perfect if you’re concerned with congestion and oily skin since the kaolin clay mask deep cleans and balances, absorbs excess oil and draws out impurities. Activated charcoal minimizes the appearance of pores and the salicylic acid stimulates exfoliation.
- Eye Cream:By a landslide my favorite eye cream ever is Beautycounter’s Countertime Ultra Renewal Eye Cream. It’s clinically proven to reduce under-eye puffiness and discoloration, visibly increase skin firmness, and reduce crow’s feet, fine lines, and wrinkles.
I’ll be honest, I do find most of Beautycounter’s body care products to be too expensive–there are clean brands on the market available for a fraction of the price, so I rarely use their body wash, hand soap, or lotions, even though they smell amazing, work super well and have clean ingredients.
But one product of theirs that stands out as better than any other I’ve ever tried in the category is their sunscreen!!
- Sunscreen Lotion: Beautycounter’s Protect All Over Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30: Formulated with non-nano zinc oxide and antioxidant-rich California Poppy, this non-toxic formula is gentle and actually rubs into your skin without leaving that white, ashy residue common in natural sunscreens. Plus, it smells AMAZING (a light citrusy scent), and most importantly, it actually works!
- Sunscreen Spray: Beautycounter’s Countersun Mineral Sunscreen Mist SPF 30: Unlike many spray sunscreens, Beautycounter‘s non-aerosol mist sprays on white to help guide application (no sunburn stripes!) and ensure you’re fully covered. It’s an effective shield from UVA, UVB & Blue Light rays, reef friendly, safe for children 6 months+ and water resistant. Also check out their Tinted Countersun Mineral Sunscreen Mist SPF 30 if you want a subtle glow!
- Body Scrub: Sugar Body Scrub in Lemongrass: One of their bath products I do absolutely adore is the body scrub! It’s made for energizing exfoliation and smells totally ah-maz-ing!
While Beautycounter doesn’t really offer promo codes or coupons, they frequently run sales and special promos. But if they’re not when you’re looking to buy, here are some of our favorite ways to save money at Beautycounter:
1) Take advantage of bundles.
Beautycounter discounts products when you buy in bundles, so it’s an amazing way to get more bang for your buck. Plus, these products are meant to work in tandem synergistically, so you’ll have the best skincare results when you use the entire regimen or collection together, vs. a one-off product that you randomly throw in to your routine.
- Skincare Regimens: Get four products bundled together–a cleanser, serum, moisturizer and night cream–and save 10% compared to buying them separately! For dry skin, the Countermatch Regimen is mega hydrating; the Countertime Regimen is designed for advanced anti-aging (with a much safer ingredient than conventional retinol but equally as potent); the Countercontrol Regimen is best for acne prone skin; and, they’ve even got a men’s line called Counterman (which my hubby loves!)–choose from the Beard Regimen or the Shave Regimen. Not sure what line is best for you? Take one minute (seriously!) to take Beautycounter’s skincare quiz.
- Makeup Starter Kit: Flawless in Five: Save $37 when you start with this amazing collection of six products–the Tint Skin Hydrating Foundation OR Dew Skin Tinted Moisturizer, Touchup Skin Concealer Pen, Color Define Brow Pencil OR Brilliant Brow Gel, Lengthening or Volumizing Mascara, Powder Blush Duo and your choice color of Lip Gloss.
2) Join Band of Beauty.
One of the other major perks about Beautycounter that many people don’t know about is their loyalty program, Band of Beauty.
It includes some awesome benefits like:
- Every time you shop, you get a 10% off product credit that you can use on your next order, essentially saving you 10% on all future orders.
- Get a FREE full-sized product as a complimentary gift for signing up when you spend $50.
- Free shipping, always, when you spend over $100.
- Special offers, discounts and exclusive access to new products before they’re available to the general public.
It’s only $29 to join, which you’ll make back with the free gift and future savings. If you’re going to spend more than $100 with Beautycounter each year, this is seriously a no-brainer!
Questions about what products will suit you best? Please do email me with a detailed description of your skin type, concerns and goals and I’ll make some personalized recommendations for you! I’m happy to help. 🙂
What are your favorite Beautycounter buys? Let us know your picks in the comments below!
Photo Credit: Heidi Geldhauser
Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links, and I will earn a commission if you purchase through these links. Please note that I've linked to these products purely because I recommend them and they are from companies I trust. There is no additional cost to you.