BeautyCounter Review - The Dermatology Review

BeautyCounter Review

Skin Care Reviews


There’s a good chance that the last time you logged on to Facebook or Instagram, one of your connections posted about Beautycounter products that she’s selling. Maybe it was a hydrating lipstick, or she’s urging you to stock up on sunscreen for the summer. Beautycounter is a brand of nontoxic makeup and skincare products that is sold peer-to-peer, just like Rodan + Fields, Younique and Nu Skin. Here’s a closer look at Beautycounter products, its history, and whether it may work for you.

What are the Best Skin Care Products of 2019?

What Is Beautycounter?

Beautycounter is the brainchild of Gregg Renfrew, a former executive who sold her online startup, The Wedding List, to Martha Stewart in 2001 and was formerly the CEO of the children’s retail group Best & Co, owned by Tommy Hilfiger. Renfrew was inspired to launch Beautycounter after doing research on the ingredients in daily products such as sunscreen and lotion and discovering, as she explains, “Companies are allowed to use harmful ingredients and make their own judgments about safety.”

She launched Beautycounter in 2013 with a handful of moisturizers and exfoliators. Today the company sells a wide range of skincare, makeup and sunscreen products for women, men, adults and babies. Beautycounter also promotes its social mission, which is to be an “advocate for stricter guidelines and regulations to shift the personal-care industry away from using harmful and questionable ingredients.” The company has an SVP of Social Mission, and Beautycounter’s social media feed highlights its products as well as its advocacy outreach. For example, Beautycounter was recently in Ottawa to advocate in Parliament for more health-protective laws.

What Does Beautycounter Sell?

Beautycounter sells more than 100 products, including skincare, sunscreen, makeup and products for men and babies. Here’s a closer look.

Beautycounter Makeup
Volumizing Mascara – A bestseller, Beautycounter claims this mascara increases volume by 385% to create fuller, more dramatic-looking lashes.

Color Intense Lipstick – Available in eight shades, Color Intense Lipstick is designed to be long lasting but also hydrating.

Tint Skin Hydrating Foundation – Beautycounter’s foundation is available in 10 shades, and offers buildable coverage.

Beautycouter Skincare
No. 1 Brightening Facial Oil – This face oil contains a blend of seven oils, including avocado, grapeseed, blackcurrant and meadowfoam.

Countermatch Eye Rescue Cream – Beautycounter’s eye cream is formulated to hydrate the eye area and help reduce fine lines with nourishing squalene as well as betaine, which is derived from sugarbeets. The Countermatch Collection includes a cleanser, moisturizer, serum and night cream.

Overnight Resurfacing Peel – This peel contains a mix of both resurfacing and soothing acids to hydrate and replenish the skin and is formulated with AHA and BHA acids.

Cleansing Balm – More than just a cleanser, the Cleansing Balm can also double as an overnight mask.

Rejuvenation Regimen – Beautycounter’s Rejuvenation Regimen is designed to tackle the signs of aging such as fine lines and dark spots. The collection includes a cleanser, serum, toner pads and day cream.

Beautycounter Sunscreen
Countersun Mineral Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30 – Beautycounter’s sunscreens are physical ones – in other words, they use minerals such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide to block the sun. The waterproof formula is also available as a spray, lotion and a stick.

Dew Skin Tinted Moisturizer – Available in five shades, this tinted moisturizer offers SPF 20 protection, and a dewy finish.

How Much Do Beautycounter Products Cost?

Beautycounter products are priced in line with department store prestige brands. The No. 1 Brightening Facial Oil retails for $69, and the Overnight Resurfacing Peel is $63. A jar of Cleansing Balm is $80. The four piece Countermatch Regimen is $167, while the Rejuvenating Regimen, which also contains four items, is $206.

Is Beautycounter Cruelty Free?

The company states “None of our products or ingredients are tested on animals at any stage in the product development process, nor do we ask our contract manufacturers to conduct animal testing. To ensure compliance in our supply chain, we require documentation of no animal testing from each supplier we source our raw materials (ingredients) from.”

What Ingredients Are in Beautycounter Products?

Many Beautycounter ingredients are organic, and many are naturally derived. The Dewy Tinted Moisturizercontains black currant, peony flower root extract, and vitamin C along with sodium hyaluronate, while the Volumizing Mascara contains plant-derived carnauba wax and rice bran wax, along with bataua oil. The Color Intense Lipstick is flavored with natural peppermint oil, and the Cleansing Balm hydrates with raspberry and cranberry seed oils along with vitamin C. The Charcoal Cleansing Bar is crafted with Japanese binchotan charcoal, organic green tea and organic coconut oil. The Rejuvenation Regimen is powered by pure jambu extract, a plant that is native to Brazil, which the company says works to firm, nourish, and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

What Is the Beautycounter Never List?

Beautycounter says it is committed to “a health and safety standard that goes well beyond what is legally required in the United States.” As part of that mission, the company published its Never List, which contains more than more than 1,500 ingredients that Beautycounter will never use it in its products. The company calls them “questionable or harmful chemicals” which includes 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.” The list includes hydroquinone, a controversial skin lightening chemical; formaldehyde, a preservative; and oxybenzone, a sunscreen agent.

Where Can I Buy Beautycounter Products?

Beautycounter products are available on its website as well as Goop, and through its network of sales consultants. Brick and mortar stores are located in New York, Denver and Nantucket.

Do Beautycounter Products Work?

A little trial and error, plus a deep dive into reviews, is always necessary when deciding if a product is right for you. One person’s miracle cream may do nothing for you, or could even cause a break out. Beautycounter certainly has its fan, and generated plenty of press.

The No. 1 Brightening Facial Oil received a Best of Beauty Award from Allure in 2017, and the Countersun Mineral Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30 received the same award in 2018, as well as a Beauty Innovator Award from Refinery29. Rachael Ray magazine declared the Dew Skin Moisturizing Coverage a “beauty fave”- “It actually feels good to put this lightweight cream on. It’s thin, refreshing, and once it’s on, it sinks right in so your skin doesn’t feel greasy or cake-y. It gives you that natural, dewy look that everyone wants in the summertime and you can count on it lasting throughout the day, without any oily build-up. The thing even smells good!”

Customer reviews are available on Beautycounter’s website. The Dew Skin Tinted Moisturizer gets 4.5 stars from more than 1600 reviews. Fans say “Love it! I don’t usually wear foundation, but I have worn this nonstop since receiving it. It just gives me an evenness that I love without feeling heavy or even rubbing off on my husband’s shirt! Plus, I am wearing sunscreen every day!” Those who aren’t love complained that it didn’t offer enough coverage. “This make up has almost no color or coverage. It would be better to use a good moisturizer and apply a less expensive makeup.”

The Brightening Facial gets 5 stars from nearly700 reviewers. Feedback ranged from “It instantly quenched my dry, flaky winter skin, is completely none-greasy, and smells delicious. I use it morning and night” to “Sadly I have not seen any noticeable changes to my skin. I was hoping it would reduce dark spots. The oil feels and smells good but that’s about it. Skin looks the same.”

The Countermatch Regimen has only 64 reviews and gets a 4.5 star rating. Postive feedback includes “Very hydrating but light and doesn’t leave my skin greasy” and “In a week my face already feels more hydrated and smooth. Not greasy or over moisturized!” Customers who didn’t like it complained of the fragrance, or said that the cleanser didn’t take everything off. “Most working and doing what it says but facewash doesn’t lather or seem to take off makeup/dirt. Needs a toner as part of the regimen.”

The Countersun Mineral Sunscreen Mist SPF 30 is a bestseller, and gets a 4.5 star rating from nearly 400 reviews. Customers wrote positively about the texture and feel of the spray- “We use the lotion before getting dressed then the spray for reapplying throughout the day. Last a long time & works without the gross cake-y feeling of most sunscreens” and “Countersun Mineral Sunscreen Mist is so easy to spread and does not leave a residue that can be seen. It has a very pleasant, slight citrus scent. I plan to buy more of this in the future.” Customers who gave it one star complained that the spray button was hard to use, and thought it was too thick. “It’s also very thick and hard to wash off (which you’d think would make it protective) but I still got a burn while wearing it. On the bright side it smells great!”

What Are Some Alternatives to Beautycounter?

Beautycounter may not be the right choice for everyone, because it may not react well with your skin or the price tag is too high. Or maybe you are put off from acquaintances trying to sell you Beautycounter products over social media. If you’re looking for skincare products, consider Formulyst and Advanced Dermatology.

Formulyst’s philosophy is long-term and effective skincare. The brand wants to help its customers achieve their best looking skin, rather than covering it up with makeup. The comprehensive line of products targets everything from wrinkles to dark spots and dry skin.

For any eye concerns, try Formulyst’s Complete Anti-Aging Eye Cream. The multi-tasking formula contains retinyl complex and peptide technology to help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, while hyaluronic acid and cucumber extract soothe and hydrate the delicate eye area.

If you like the feel of a lightweight moisturizer, try Formulyst Super Hyaluronic Water Moisturizer. Hyaluronic acid helps keep skin plumped, hydrated and dewy looking. This oil free formula is packed with multiple types of hyaluronic acid and it works as a moisture magnet by drawing water to the skin.

Fans of skincare kits, which take all the guesswork out of creating your own regimen, should try Advanced Dermatology. This no nonsense brand offers a pared down approach to skincare. The packaging is simple and streamlined, and the products bring skincare back to the basics. The kit contains just six essential items including a daily cleanser; serum; anti-wrinkle firming treatment; night cream; day cream and an eye cream. In other words, everything you need to achieve your best possible looking skin.

The Best Skin Care Lines

Take a look at the very best skin care products of 2019:

The philosophy of Formulyst is long-term and effective skincare, rather than covering up any imperfections. The comprehensive line of products tackles everything from wrinkles to dark spots and dry skin. While some brands rely on unnecessary fillers and scents, Formulyst focuses on ingredients that help create results, such as vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. 

Advanced Dermatology
The Advanced Dermatology skin care regimen addresses the most pressing aging concerns. It can be used by men and women in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s and beyond

  • Marian Jacobs 07.10.18 Reply

    I am 53, very active, med tantone skin, t-zone and have endured skin troubles most of my life.
    I’ve tried so many things. First of all, I really have been using Beautycounter since they first started and seen them evolve quite a bit. My facial skin has never been better and I’m starting to use the charcoal bar on my troubled skin on my arms to clear up excema and psoriasis. I love the new facial wipes (One step makeup remover wipes). I love the kids body wash and use it all over my house. It smells like a citrus Margherita, yum. I love all 3 of the facial masks. They are fantastic. I use the makeup, Dew Skin is an awesome product. I love the thick body butter, excellent stuff. Some of the facial oils are just amazing. I love the white illuminating cream highlighter stick. You gotta try it. There are so many good things in the line, both in the skincare and the makeup. You need to test things out and see how they work for you. ❤️

  • Liz 05.12.18 Reply

    Used for 2 years. Perfect for first few months. Started to notice red bumps on forehead and cheeks, which later formed a rash. Had a terrible reaction to rejuvenating line. This included the eye cream that burned my outer eye area and left my eye area red, bumpy and sensitive for 3 weeks. I was unable to apply makeup during this time because I was trying to heal the area. I also had a reaction with both the cream sunscreen and the bar sunscreen. The cream sunscreen made my skin painfully dry and scaled and the bar caused an awful reaction on my neck and face. My consultant couldn’t help me because the window to return had passed. I get one product not working, but significant reactions should be considered at a higher level than consultant. I can’t help but feel the company is having complaints overlooked by consultants who are too scared to return s product at the risk of loosing income.

  • Krissy 03.21.18 Reply

    I love the charcoal products. I have always had issues with extreme dry skin. I use the charcoal bar and #3 charcoal face mask, and the daily moisturizer.

  • Kristin 03.08.18 Reply

    I just began using Beautycounter, so I don’t have a rating for it. So far I have only used the body wash, lotion and scrub. I am wondering if all the people who experienced problems with the products are sensitive to coconut oil. Coconut oil and other coconut derivatives are in several of the products. I have found that coconut oil dries out my skin, so I will be avoiding those products. I did this research when my sister was thinking of becoming a consultant as she is allergic to coconut. I think, as with everything, some products work for som and not so well for others. I do think the products are rather pricey, but I know that is is because it is an MLM company and the cost is higher in order to pay commission to all the distributors.

  • Lauren 12.10.17 Reply

    Can you help educate a curious reader? How would I know if BeautyCounter is bogus? I’ve been searching for reviews etc on this company.

  • Melissa Gupta 08.14.17 Reply

    Using what you’ve been using throughout past years has been filled with chemicals etc, the skin isn’t balanced, good oils in your face are congested. When switching to ANY kind of natural based product, especially Beautycounter the skin will go through a short ‘detox’ per say. BC’s products are completely natural, those ingredients work towards reconditioning the skin to its natural state. The same thing happened to mine too and I had already been using decent so called natural products. This small example is what makes their products worth using. BTW I’d suggest purchasing the charcoal bar and mask. (I am a consultant for BC however my words above come from my experience with the products) Could explain more but am sure you understand:)

  • MD 07.29.17 Reply

    Like Katie, I also had to do food eliminations under advise of licensed nutritionist: wheat, soy, onions (top 3) and number of other offending foods. I also switched to BeautyCounter. My face has cleared up within 6-8 weeks. No more burned look, redness, age-spots, dark and varying peeling skin colors.

    Started with sample products. Upgraded to Daily DayCream, charcoal bar, and peppermint lip balm. So far no breakouts or “sunburned” look.

  • KJ 03.10.17 Reply

    I really wanted to like this product line. I love the simple elegance of product content and packaging, and as someone who works in natural healthcare I was hopeful I’d found “the answer” for my clients looking for clean, effective skin care. I purchased a starter kit for $289 that contained Day Cream, Night Cream, a cream cleanser, an exfoliating cleanser, three face oil combos (Hydrating, Soothing and Balancing) and eye cream. I also bought their Dew Skin Tinted Moisturizer. After the first couple of days, I realized my skin wouldn’t tolerate the Balancing and Soothing oils for some reason. They seemed to dry my skin out in a way I hadn’t experienced before, and to do the exact opposite of balance and soothe. No problem, I just stopped using them and figured not all their products can be right for everyone. I continued using the remaining products – including the Hydrating Oil – for about six weeks. By the end of the six weeks, my skin was extremely dry to the point of flaking AND I was starting to break out. My skin has always been on the dry side but never flaked and I’ve never had breakouts in my life. My skin was irritated and felt inflamed, and the final straw was waking one morning feeling as if I’d been sleeping all night in a clay mask – my skin actually felt and looked shriveled, desiccated. So now I’m in the process of trying to repair skin that is hyper-sensitive and constantly burning, flaking and dry and that appears dull and even kind of grey in places. To say I’m disappointed is an understatement. I AM, however, glad I tried these products out on my own skin before selling them to my friends, family and clients as I had considered. I was a little hesitant originally anyway because they seem very expensive, and now I know for certain there’s no way I can sell them after the experience I had.

  • Amalan 03.04.17 Reply

    These products should be considered similar to other high end department store products…overpriced, but if you find a perfect shade of blush and it’s in your budget, fine.
    *The problem is this: Their health claims are mostly bogus. Only a basic understanding of science and dermatology is needed to get this. Put on your skeptic hats, ladies, and their many claims are easily refuted.
    Its unethical to fearmonger women into purchasing products based on false or overstated health claims.

  • Allison 10.24.16 Reply

    I had to comment on this topic. I am 45 and have had Hereditary Milia my entire life. I have spent thousands of dollars to try to help my skin. I started using the Charcoal Cleansing Bar in April and my skin has totally changed. My dermatologist could not believe it. I get bad reactions to ALL retinol products. In addition to the bar, I have also started using the Purifying Charcoal Mask at least 3x a week, the Cleansing Balm and the entire Rejuvenating Line. I now use all of the Makeup – my skin has never looked better in my life! My daughter is 10 and also has the Milia, she uses the charcoal mask and soap – I hope that she will not have to go through what I have my entire life.

  • Mary Ellen 09.29.16 Reply

    I’ve been using some beauty counter products for a few months now, and was specifically interested in products that would help with my cystic acne. I use the charcoal cleansing bar, charcoal mask, and cleansing balm. I’ve seen a phenomenal change, and can honestly say that my cystic acne is nearly obsolete. Harsh chemicals in my pharmaceutical grade acne products left my skin with burns and no relief.

  • Cindy 09.12.16 Reply

    I love the idea of healthier cosmetics. I also love the way the Beauty Counter skin tint and brush on blush look on me. However, I have been having trouble with my skin breaking out since I switched to Beauty Counter, which is a problem I had not experienced for many years.

    I would like to know if others have had this problem?

  • andrea price-johnson 09.09.16 Reply

    I became a consultant with Beautycounter after my mother’s early onset alzheimers got worse (and soon after my father diagnosed/died from cancer.) I began examining what chemicals I can prevent in my family. What I didn’t expect was to fall in love with the skincare, charcoal soap/mask and so on. Safe and high quality! I’ve been giving charcoal samples to my daughter’s tween friends and they have been sending photos/texts of their vast improvement. I love to educate them about the importance of knowing what’s in their products. To see their posts check out Beautycounter for You on facebook. I will never give them up!

  • JCarter 08.19.16 Reply

    I love the Countertime line and the Calendula face oil (as well as Jasmine Oil). My skin has never been better! My rosacea is gone and I don’t even need to wear makeup now!!!!

  • JCarter 08.19.16 Reply

    My rosacea was better after one use! Getting rid of the chemicals cured my skin! I don’t even have to wear makeup anymore. I’m using the Countertime line, Rose Water and the Calendula face oil! The Sunscreen is also phenomenal, it is not white or pasty and it smells divine. I really love this line and my skin has never been better!!!!

  • Cheryl 08.12.16 Reply

    Good to read Katie’s comment. I have learned that many skin issues are a result of gut issues. Nutrition is THE key to overall good health, including skin issues. I am using the beauty counter foundation and found it to give good smooth coverage. I have other skin care products I prefer.

  • Samantha 08.08.16 Reply

    Katie, which products do you use for your cystic acne? I have struggles with it for years and am now pregnant and need a more natural approach to cleaning my skin bc I can’t use what I am currently using. Thanks.

  • Kirsten Doody 07.31.16 Reply

    Hey Everyone,

    I started using Beautycounter products a few months ago and they are amazing. They are very gentle on my skin and have made it the softest and healthiest it has ever been. The countertime products are awesome, but I’ve only used the sample size of those so I want to get the full set. I use the face collection everyday and the face oils are some of the nicest I’ve ever used. They absorb really quickly and smell really nice. I’ve tried using a lot of “all natural” products in the past but they all smell like tea tree oil and hippies and don’t really work.

  • Katie 02.25.16 Reply

    I came across this post while looking for reviews of beauty counter and couldn’t help but add a comment. As someone who has very much struggled with cystic acne, I agree that these products alone probably wouldn’t cure the problem. However, as someone who spent three years with dermatologist and being prescribed harsh medications, I can truly say that the cystic issues became worse. It was only when I switched to a more natural & gentle approach (as well as eliminating dairy, specifically milk) that my skin improved dramatically. I wholeheartedly disagree that harsh (and even potentially harmful!) chemicals are ever the answer, no matter the issue.

  • ann 10.12.15 Reply

    Can anyone vouch for the effectiveness of Beauty Counter, specifically the Countertime and oil products in the line?

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