Like many green beauty brands, the story behind BeautyCounter began when its founder — Gregg Renfrew — discovered the ugly truth that most personal care products are laden with toxic ingredients. With this new knowledge, Renfrew set out to transform the beauty industry by creating clean, high-performing skincare and makeup — while fighting to change the laws that control what can and cannot be used in products. And that’s how BeautyCounter was born.
OUR TOP SKINCARE PICKS
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Our BeautyCounter review will give you all the details on the brand’s best selling products. We’ll discuss the key ingredients in BeautyCounter products, including how they work and whether or not there’s any research to back up these ingredients. We’ll also share some BeautyCounter reviews so that you can get a better idea of what customers really think of these products.
Is BeautyCounter Skincare Worth The Money?
A common question about this brand is if the products are worth the cost.
In our opinion, BeautyCounter products are worth the money, but there are other brands that deliver greater value.
One brand is Carrot & Stick, a clean skincare brand that perfectly balances the gentle nurturing of plants with the powerful results of innovative science.
What’s Inside The BeautyCounter Products?
One thing to know about BeautyCounter is that this brand believes what’s not in their product formulations is just as important as what is. That’s why BeautyCounter has a list of over 1,500 questionable ingredients that are never used in their formulations, which they call The Never List.
But what about the ingredients that you will find in BeautyCounter products? We noticed that the brand uses a variety of ingredients to formulate their products, but a few key ingredients that you’ll find throughout the collection include vitamin C, peptides, bakuchiol, and squalane. Let’s take a closer look at how these ingredients will affect your skin.
We’ve been hearing for years that Vitamin C is the best anti-aging ingredient. It’s a potent antioxidant that protects the skin from free radicals, the unstable molecules that contribute to the formation of premature wrinkles and fine lines on the skin.
Vitamin C also helps fade dark spots, evens out skin tone, and increases radiance. As if that wasn’t enough, research suggests that when vitamin C is applied to the skin, it significantly reverses aging-related structural changes by influencing collagen and elastin synthesis.
It’s in BeautyCounter All Bright C Serum. The formula includes a 10% blend of two forms of vitamin C, as well as turmeric and camu camu extract.
But our favorite Vitamin C serum is Carrot & Stick The Defence Serum. It contains 3 distinct types of Vitamin C that work together to help fight free radical damage. We recommend using it every morning.
As you age, your body’s production of collagen and elastin slows down. These two proteins are responsible for your skin’s structural support. As a result, the skin loses its natural plumpness and smoothness.
While collagen is necessary for maintaining youthful-looking skin, the collagen protein is too large to absorb into the skin topically. That’s why applying skin care products that contain collagen won’t provide the anti-aging benefits you’re looking for.
This is where peptides come into action. Peptides are the building blocks of protein, and they are easily absorbed into the deeper layers of skin due to their smaller size.
BeautyCounter Countertime Tripeptide Radiance Serum contains a tripeptide to minimize the appearance of lines and wrinkles.
One peptide serum we recommend is Carrot & Stick The Repair Serum. It contains 7 plant-based peptides to promote plumper and smoother-looking skin.
Retinol is the go-to anti-aging ingredient recommended by dermatologists and skin experts. It’s clinically proven to minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, improve uneven skin tone, restore skin firmness, and shrink the appearance of enlarged pores.
The only downside? Retinol can often lead to side effects like skin dryness, peeling, and irritation.
That’s why brands like BeautyCounter are turning to retinol alternatives, such as bakuchiol. Bakuchiol is the “plant-based alternative to retinol” that’s used in all of the products in the BeautyCounter Countertime collection. But can bakuchiol really provide the same anti-aging, anti-acne, skin-smoothing effects as retinol?
Well, first, it’s important to know that bakuchiol and retinol are structurally and chemically completely different. Bakuchiol is a seed extract derived from the Ayurvedic Babchi plant. Retinol is another name for vitamin A, which is only naturally found in foods derived from animals. The retinol used in skincare products is produced synthetically in a lab.
So bakuchiol and retinol are quite different, but they work similarly in cosmetic applications. In fact, bakuchiol has been shown to produce many of the same effects of using retinol, including the ability to diminish the appearance of wrinkles and reduce the effects of sun damage (including uneven skin tone). One of the main benefits of bakuchiol is that it provides retinol-like effects without irritation.
For example, a 2019 study published in the British Academy of Dermatology compared bakuchiol and retinol in a head-to-head 12-week, double-blind clinical trial on human subjects. For the study, 44 participants received either a twice-daily 0.5% bakuchiol product or a once-daily 0.5% retinol product.
Both groups saw improvements in hyperpigmentation, wrinkles, and redness, and there was no statistically significant difference between their results. This suggests that using bakuchiol twice a day is as effective as using retinol once a day.
Another retinol alternative is Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate, an ingredient that provides the same benefits of retinol but without the irritation. We recommend this retinoid oil serum with Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate.
Squalane is an emollient that you’ll find in many of the BeautyCounter products. It’s derived by hydrogenation of squalene (note the e). Squalene is naturally produced by the oil glands in the skin of humans and animals, and it plays an important role in skin lubrication and protection. However, the amount made and retained in the skin decreases over time. It peaks in our teens and then starts to decline in our 20’s, leaving skin rough, dry, and vulnerable.
Squalene is very unstable, which is why squalane is used in skincare products. Squalane works by replenishing the skin’s lipid barrier in order to keep it strong, healthy, and intact. According to a publication in the journal Advances in Food and Nutrition Research anticancer, antioxidant, detoxifying, skin hydrating, and emollient activities of both squalene and squalane have been reported both in animal models and in vitro environments.
What Are The Top 10 Best BeautyCounter Products?
BeautyCounter offers a comprehensive line of beauty products, from mascara to sunscreen to serums and more. Here’s a breakdown of the top 10 best BeautyCounter products.
BeautyCounter Countertime Tripeptide Radiance Serum
If you’re trying to prevent or reduce signs of skin aging, then you’ve probably heard that it’s a good idea to add a retinol cream or serum into your nightly routine. But what about a peptide serum? Peptides are the building blocks of proteins, and proteins — like collagen and elastin — are important components of your skin that keep it firm and youthful.
Fortunately, BeautyCounter Countertime Tripeptide Radiance Serum combines the benefits of both retinol and peptides into one serum. The serum features a tripeptide (N-Prolyl Palmitoyl Tripeptide-56 Acetate) along with bakuchiol, a plant-based retinol alternative (don’t worry, we’ll give you all the details on bakuchiol in the Key Ingredients section below)
BeautyCounter Countertime Lipid Defense Cleansing Oil
Tired of harsh cleansers leaving your skin dry, tight, and uncomfortable? If so, the BeautyCounter Cleansing Oil may be for you. This lightweight oil not only feels luxurious, it effectively removes makeup and excess oil – without stripping essential lipids from the skin.
Adding warm water transforms this oil into a light milk that rinses off easily, leaving the skin soft, smooth, and clean. The formula has a light pleasant smell due to fragrant essential oils like lemon peel oil, orange peel oil, and bergament. However, these essential oils could lead to irritation and/or sensitization, especially if you have sensitive skin.
BeautyCounter Countertime Mineral Boost Hydrating Essence
On hot summer days when your skin needs hydration without feeling heavy or sticky, you may want to consider the Countertime Mineral Boost Hydrating Essence. It has a very lightweight, milky texture that absorbs quickly into the skin. It provides an instant tightening effect thanks to pullulan, a polysaccharide polymer produced from starch by the black, yeast-like fungus (Aureobasidium pullulans). After application, pullulan forms a soft, invisible film on the surface of skin that temporarily improves skin’s texture and provides a tightening effect. However, this effect is purely cosmetic and washes away after use.
Fortunately, Countertime Mineral Boost Hydrating Essence does include ingredients that provide long term benefits, such as the brand’s proprietary Retinatural Complex, mineral-rich sea water, and a fermented blend of sugars. One review of this essence says, “It’s like jumping into a pool….just for your face!”
BeautyCounter Countertime Antioxidant Soft Cream
This velvety face cream is packed with natural emollients like coconut alkanes, shea butter, and squalane to help the skin feel soft while locking in moisture. One unique ingredient in this cream is Nasturtium flower, a native of Chile and Peru that produces beautiful yellow to orange flowers. When applied to the skin, Nasturtium flower extract helps reinforce the skin barrier, thereby protecting the skin from drying environmental stressors.
BeautyCounter Countertime Tetrapeptide Supreme Cream
A winner of the Women’s Health 2020 Beauty Awards, the BeautyCounter Countertime Tetrapeptide Supreme Cream is one to consider if you have normal to dry skin and you want to prevent and reduce fine lines and wrinkles. This cream has a rich texture thanks to emollients like shea butter and cocoa butter, so a little bit goes a long way.
However, cocoa butter is comedogenic, meaning it may clog your pores. In fact, cocoa butter has a comedogenic rating of 4, meaning it has a fairly high chance of clogging your pores. And after reading through the BeautyCounter reviews for this cream, we noticed that several customers experienced this problem. For example, one review shares, “The cream was too rich for my face as it made my skin breakout.”
But if your skin isn’t prone to breakouts, you may still want to consider BeautyCounter Countertime Tetrapeptide Supreme Cream because it does contains beneficial anti-aging ingredients, like bakuchiol, tetrapeptide-21, and fermented sugars (biosaccharide gum-1).
BeautyCounter Countertime Ultra Renewal Eye Cream
This BeautyCounter eye cream has a rich, decadent texture that absorbs into the skin quickly without feeling greasy. One unique ingredient in this eye cream is Albizia Julibrissin (silk tree) bark extract, which works by counteracting the noxious effect of glycation — a process that damages collagen and elastin fibers. Silk bark extract can neutralize or detoxify the products as they are leading up to glycation, resulting in a reparative effect on tired skin, in particular a loss of radiance and suppleness. Recent clinical studies have found that users experience the benefits of this ingredient in as little as 7 days.
BeautyCounter Dew Skin Tinted Moisturizer
BeautyCounter Dew Skin Tinted Moisturizer is a sheer-coverage tinted moisturizer that’s available in 6 shades. It blends easily, helps even out skin tone, and provides a dewy finish. Plus, the formula contains non-nano zinc oxide to provide SPF 20 protection. What’s great about this moisturizer is that it also contains a decent amount of vitamin C, which optimizes the sunscreen in this formula. Why? Because vitamin C is a very potent antioxidant, which means it helps to protect your skin from free radical damage. Not to mention that vitamin C can also help to brighten skin tone, fade dark spots, and improve skin firmness.
BeautyCounter Sunscreen Lotion
Formulated with non-nano zinc oxide, this BeautyCounter sunscreen lotion provides broad spectrum SPF 30 protection while being gentle and pleasant on the skin. The smooth, nourishing formula blends evenly onto skin with limited white residue. And there are plenty of BeautyCounter reviews that confirm this, for example, one reviewer shares “No white cast!! Blends in so well. Hands down the best mineral sunscreen I’ve tried.”
BeautyCounter Counter+ All Bright C Serum
This BeautyCounter vitamin C serum contains a 10% blend of two forms of vitamin C: 5% tetrahexyldecyl (THD) ascorbate and 5% bis-glyceryl ascorbate. These stable vitamin C derivatives are paired with camu camu fruit extract, a natural source of vitamin C.
And you can thank turmeric root extract for this serum’s vibrant bright yellow hue. But turmeric isn’t just included for it’s beautiful color. The main bioactive component of turmeric extract — curcumin — provides antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Plus, research demonstrates that curcumin has the ability to fade dark spots by inhibiting melanogenesis.
BeautyCounter Counter+ Lotus Glow Cleansing Balm
The Beautycounter Cleansing Balm can be used both day and night to remove makeup and impurities with nourishing ingredients that won’t strip away your skin’s natural moisture. A few of the key ingredients in this cleansing balm include apricot kernel oil, shea butter, sunflower seed wax, avocado oil, jojoba oil, and lotus extract. And the best part about this cleansing balm is that it doubles as a mask that can be used as a hydrating overnight facial.
Where to Buy BeautyCounter Products?
BeautyCounter products are sold on the brand’s website, and can also be purchased through one of the brand’s 44,000+ consultants.
What is The BeautyCounter Return Policy?
The BeautyCounter return policy states, “Beautycounter is confident that you’ll love everything you purchase from us. However, if you aren’t satisfied with a product for any reason, simply return the unused portion within 60 days from the ship date. We will happily refund the purchase price (excluding the original shipping and handling fees) of the returned item(s) to the original form of payment.”
Is BeautyCounter Cruelty Free?
BeautyCounter is cruelty free. None of the BeautyCounter products are tested on animals, and the brand requires that all their contract manufacturers confirm that they do not test on animals.
BeautyCounter reviews on the brand’s website are overall very positive. One product that has been very well-received is the BeautyCounter Countertime Tetrapeptide Supreme Cream, which has earned an average rating of 4.9 out of 5 stars after more than 2,600 customer reviews.
The positive BeautyCounter reviews for the Countertime Tetrapeptide Supreme Cream mention how it leaves the skin feeling soft, smooth, and moisturized. Many say that their skin hasn’t looked this good in years.
For example, one review says, “I’m 71 and looking at my skin for better treatment. I love this face cream so much. Makes my face and especially my neck feel so moisturized and soft.”
And another very positive review says, “This cream is rich, smooth, and thick. It feels clean and smells wonderful too!”
However, it’s also important to consider the negative BeautyCounter reviews for this product before purchasing. After we read through the 1-star reviews for the Countertime Tetrapeptide Supreme Cream, we noticed that most of them were from customers who didn’t see any results.
For example, one review says, “Didn’t expect miracles but would have been happy with the slightest improvement. Did not happen.”
Overall, we like that BeautyCounter is creating safer skincare products that can help customers reduce the toxic burden in their lives.
- Products contain evidence-based ingredients (bakuchiol, squalane, vitamin C, etc.)
- Many positive BeautyCounter reviews
- BeautyCounter is cruelty free
- High price point
- Most BeautyCounter products contain fragrant essential oils, which can lead to irritation and sensitization
What Are Some Alternatives to BeautyCounter Products?
There’s no need to compromise when it comes to finding skincare that’s effective and safe.
If you’re looking for effective skincare products that skip harmful toxins, one brand we recommend is Carrot & Stick.
Carrot & Stick is committed to creating plant-derived formulas that deliver extraordinary results without relying on toxic chemicals or standard preservatives.
Carrot & Stick takes a tough love approach to skincare, perfectly balancing the gentle nurturing of plants with innovative science.