I’m not going to claim to be an expert on beauty products (if you’ve seen me put on mascara you know how advanced I am in this department ;)) or the ingredients in them, but what I’ve learned about food and how it impacts our bodies is that the more natural and less processed the food, the better it is for our bodies and minds. I believe that this principle is similar for the products we put on our body, as they are absorbed into the skin and impact our physiology. Sara Gottfried, a Harvard educated functional medicine doctor explains, “I’m a Berkeley girl, and the natural look is big here in the Bay Area. But along with keeping your style natural, I think it’s even more important to also seek out natural products. Plain and simple, your skin will absorb what you put on it, whether it’s toxic endocrine disruptors, harmful chemicals, or artificial estrogens. These types of cosmetics don’t just mess with your hormones; they can actually take a toll on your skin, damaging the collagen and coloring, forcing you to use more of the harmful cover-ups that caused the problem in the first place!”
And of course, I am all about finding the most natural products for myself and my family so when a like minded nutrition guru and former coworker reached out to me about doing a post on Beautycounter’s non-toxic Skin, Makeup, and Bath & Body products I was happy to learn more and share. Enter a Q & A session with Penina Gunyan:
To check out Beautycounter’s products click HERE for purchases check “Naked Eating Social.” Word has it that there will be Black Friday and Cyber Monday Specials!
Q & A with Penina Gunyan of Beautycounter
Tell me a little bit about your background and what got you into Beautycounter:
My Ulcerative Colitis diagnosis 10 years ago was the catalyst for changing my lifestyle to what it is today. This has been a long journey for me – changes didn’t happen overnight. Over the last 10 years I’ve left the corporate world, became a certified health coach, earned a Master’s degree in Human Nutrition and perhaps most important and relevant to my role as an educator and consultant at Beautycounter, became a wife and mother. When I discovered Beautycounter, not only did I fall in love with the products, but also their social mission to get safer products into the hands of everyone.
What is Beautycounter’s mission?
Beautycounter is an education-first company with a mission to get safer products into the hands of everyone. Beautycounter is leading a movement for better beauty, putting health and performance first. We rigorously screen chemicals for safety, setting a new standard for high performance, health-focused beauty products. There hasn’t been a federal law passed governing the ingredients in our personal care products since 1938. The US has only banned 11 ingredients compared to more than 1,300 ingredients in the European Union. We deserve better and at Beautycounter, we are doing something about it.
Why would you recommend buying Beautycounter products over other brands?
Beautycounter’s products are gorgeous, luxurious and high-performing, but what makes us stand out among other skincare and cosmetic companies is our Never List, which is more than 1,500 questionable or harmful chemicals that we never use as ingredients in our products. This includes the more than 1,300 chemicals banned or restricted in personal care products by the European Union, plus additional chemicals screened by Beautycounter and found to be of concern. Beautycounter is committed to a health and safety standard that goes well beyond what is legally required in the United States. We believe that consumers have the right to know everything about what goes into their products and we make our labels easy to read. Beautycounter’s promise is that products can be safe and effective.
What would you say the biggest surprise has been in the Beautycounter journey so far?
It’s only been about 3 months since I became an educator and consultant at Beautycounter, so my journey is just beginning, but the biggest surprise has been how much I am enjoying this job. I know that sounds cliché, but it’s true! Initially I was skeptical of working in direct sales, but as I learned more about the personal care industry and how Beautycounter is working to disrupt the industry as we know it, the more compelled I felt to be a part of the solution. I love the flexibility, financial freedom and the time I get with my family while still making a difference.
What is one beauty ingredient you’ll never touch?
Anything on our Never List.
What beauty ingredient are you in love with?
What are 3 natural brands you love aside from Beautycounter?
What Beautycounter products do you and your family members use?
We use a lot of Beautycounter products! My 5 favorites are the Nourishing Cream Exfoliator, Charcoal Cleansing Bar, Balancing Face Oil, Lip Gloss and Eyeshadow Duo. For my boys, I love the Kidscounter Bath Collection.
What do you like most about the products?
That they actually work! I had been using “good-for-you” products for years. My hair and skin felt ok, but never great, no matter what brands I tried from the local health food store. I accepted this as the status quo – a compromise for not putting harmful ingredients into my body and the environment. Since meeting Beautycounter, I don’t have to choose between products that are gorgeous and make me feel good about myself, and things that are healthy for my body, my family and the environment.
If you were to just buy one product, what would it be and why?
That is a tough question! If you asked me this before the Holiday Gift Sets came out, I would have to say the Rejuvenating Eye Cream. I use it everyday on the skin around my eyes to safely moisturize, fight aging, and now that I’m a mom, hide exhaustion. It targets dark circles, reduces puffiness and diminishes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It feels silky and creamy and I love it!
The gift sets for this holiday season are wonderful and gorgeous and while I love them all, my favorite is the Winter Dream Palette. I love the warm tones that celebrity and fashion makeup artist, Christy Coleman (now head of creative design), selected for this palette. It’s compact and has 6 shadows, bronzer, blusher and highlighter.
So many people are overwhelmed by making the switch to a non-toxic lifestyle. What is your best advice there?
Start small. Big changes don’t happen overnight. Pick one thing you’d like to change or eliminate in your lifestyle and go from there. Wait until you use up a current product before purchasing its non-toxic counterpart. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Progress, not perfection.