Updated: Aug 5, 2019
Beautycounter’s mission is about creating safer products, education, and reforming our outdated cosmetic safety laws. This is extremely important to me because not only do I use beauty products, but so do my children and my husband. #betterbeauty starts with me and I am excited to add Beautycounter to my #shopwithpurpose mission.
Beautycounter is not only making safer products, but they are on a mission to educate others and they are advocating for #safebeauty ingredients. This company is actually doing something about the outdated regulations that are in place.
Policy 101: Beautycounter’s mission is about creating safer products, education, and reforming our outdated cosmetic safety laws.
What do the terms “policy” and “advocacy” mean?
“Policy” is a term that is used to describe existing or proposed laws. When we talk about Beautycounter’s involvement in policy work, we are referencing our desire to have more health-protective laws on the ingredients used in the beauty industry.
To be an “advocate” simply means you are standing up for something you believe in.
Our advocacy work references mobilizing the Beautycounter community to help move the market toward safer products, pass better consumer safety laws, and truly get safer products into the hands of everyone. Is this work political or partisan in nature? Beautycounter never takes sides with any political party.
We know that protecting our health from harmful ingredients is widely supported by people and elected officials of all political backgrounds. We will never take sides, because we believe this is a people issue, not a political issue.
What are the key statistics I should know regarding policy?
1. The last time U.S. Congress passed a major law regulating the cosmetic industry was in 1938.
2. The European Union has restricted nearly 1,400 ingredients from personal care products; the United States has only partially restricted 30.
3. While Canada is far ahead of the United States in terms of regulations, it has still only restricted HALF the ingredients the European Union has.
Why does Beautycounter care about reforming federal cosmetic safety laws?
Our Founder and CEO, Gregg Renfrew, had a vision when she started Beautycounter: that the company would provide safe, high-performing products to the market and would also be a champion in reforming the cosmetic industry overall.
Beautycounter recognizes that in order to really clean up the cosmetic industry, we need to look at the root of the problem, which is a federal law that does not hold the industry accountable for the safety of its products.
What do I need to know about the 1938 cosmetic safety law?
The Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act of 1938 addresses a lot of different topics; the section related to the cosmetic industry regulations is only 1 1/2 pages long and has no teeth. Currently there are a few regulations the cosmetic industry needs to comply with: FDA-registering colorants, ingredient labeling, and other small regulations. What this means in practice is that it’s perfectly legal for beauty companies to use harmful ingredients banned in other countries or linked to health problems like cancer, infertility, hormone disruption, and early puberty.
Do other companies get involved in policy?
Yes. Every major company in this country, in the beauty space or otherwise, is working on policy. Major companies have large teams of lobbyists in Washington, D.C., advocating for their companies’ best interest.
What makes Beautycounter’s advocacy work unique is that we are actively advocating for laws COUNTER INTELLIGENCE that protect public health, rather than just focusing on what is best for business. We know that you can be pro-health and pro-business at the same time. What is the difference between state and federal cosmetic laws? At the federal level, the U.S. cosmetic industry is virtually unregulated. There are a few existing regulations in effect, and those that do exist are not widely adhered to (like labeling requirements).
In some cases, states like California have taken a proactive approach to pass some state laws regulating the cosmetic industry. The state laws that do exist are small and still allow harmful ingredients in the products we use on our skin every day. Despite having some of the best cosmetic safety laws in the country, California’s regulatory landscape is still very thin in protecting our health from harmful ingredients.
What is Beautycounter doing to help advocate for cosmetic safety reform?
Advocating for strong cosmetic reform is a long process, and we are engaged at various levels. Beautycounter HQ will continue to develop strong relationships with congressional offices so they are aware of our company’s unique position.
Beautycounter works with Consultants, Members, and Clients to activate them and communicate the kind of cosmetic reform we would like to see. This includes calls to action via emails, social media, and telephone calls.
Do U.S. & Canadian governments make sure products are safe?
No. The U.S. law that governs the $60 billion cosmetics industry was passed in 1938 and does not provide the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with the power to ask cosmetic companies for safety data or issue recalls of cosmetics found to be unsafe.
In the U.S., only 11 ingredients are restricted or banned from cosmetics.
The European Union (EU) bans close to 1,400 ingredients from cosmetics.
The federal Canadian government currently prohibits less than 600 substances for use in cosmetics through Health Canada. The Office of the General Auditor in Canada announced in the spring of 2016 that Health Canada, “...does not regularly test cosmetic products to verify the accuracy of product labels or to check for the presence of prohibited substances, microbial contaminants, and heavy metals.” Products from the EU, Canada, and Japan, which also has more health-protective regulation than the U.S., are often made with fewer harmful or untested ingredients.
How can you take action?
Check out my Beautycounter website and explore all the ways to get involve. Then browse our products for you and your whole family. It is gifting season and this is the perfect time to make the clean beauty swap!
Call the capitol switchboard at 202.224.3121 and ask to be connected to one of your U.S. senators. Say which state you live in. The operator will connect you to one of your U.S. senators’ offices. Once you are connected, you will have the option to either leave a message for your senator or speak with a friendly staff member.
Simply let your senator know you are concerned about harmful ingredients in cosmetics and skin care products. Here is a sample script: Hi, my name is ____________, and I’m calling to let the senator know that I’m very concerned about harmful ingredients found in cosmetics and skin care products, which currently are perfectly legal for companies to use. This is unacceptable, and I’m asking the senator to take action and update our cosmetic safety laws to better protect our health.
Text “BetterBeauty” to 52886 to ask all of your members of Congress for better beauty laws.
Make the Clean Swap to safer beauty products for you and your family.
I'd love to hear your thoughts!