What’s the Deal with Beautycounter?

*Updated March 27, 2018

I’m sneaking in a little extra post since I wanted to write about Beautycounter, which I discovered when researching toxin-free beauty products for the blog. I’ve heard of the line through bloggers and US friends, but had never used their products. And I had no idea they were in Canada.

Since transparency is one of my trademarks, I wanted to disclose that I’ve signed up to be a Beautycounter Consultant. Yup, like my Avon-selling Aunts before me, I’ve decided to jump on in. I called the mommy blogosphere “Tupperware 2.0” in my essay in Mothering and Blogging: The Radical Act of the Mommyblog, so this foray into cosmetics Tupperware is a rather strange departure.

All I really wanted to do was try one of the Beautycounter lipsticks, since I’ve read such great things online. Several Beautycounter products have won Allure awards and – if you speak cosmetics – you know that’s really good.

While looking up info on Beautycounter lipsticks, I stumbled across a whole bunch of information on the company.

It’s a seriously good company from what I can see. Gregg Renfrew, their founder and CEO, is a serial entrepreneur who was just looking for a way to buy safe beauty products for herself. I have a bit of a girlcrush on her since, as a business person, she’s awesome.

I’ve ordered a lot of things and the products are lovely. They rival department store cosmetics brands, which was what I was looking for.I really like the way she’s gone about building her company through activism, education, and transparency. Beautycounter has published The Never List of 1500 ingredients they will not use since they have been shown to cause harm. They lobby for improved regulation of chemicals allowed in cosmetics, and continue to work to reduce their own chemical footprint (you can read about all of the good things they do in the Sustainable Brands case study on them.) I’ll never be fully rid of the part of me that was an MBA in Finance who did deal due diligence for an investment bank so I’ve done a fair amount of research. With the exception of some customer service complaints and a dud lipgloss wand (it’s been fixed) the word on the street is pretty good. The thing that most won me over was their B Corporation rating of 95. They are the real deal. I thought if their products are even remotely good, I’m in. If they turn out to be Theranos, I’ll be crushed.

The only thing I didn’t like about Beautycounter is that they are an MLM business. Even though a number of my friends are involved in MLMs and they are all lovely people, the model is still not my favourite. Did I mention how I wrote about blogs being like Tupperware parties? I don’t want to eat my words. In spite of the fact that I’m now one of them, I promise I won’t be sales-y. I’ll review the products along with other things in my beauty cabinet. And if you are interested in anything you see, you can click the Shop button on my home page, which will bring you to my Beautycounter page.

Beautycounter offers you three ways to shop: as a Client, as a Member, or as a Consultant. I found it all quite confusing, so here’s a précis of how they all differ. I’ve used Canadian dollars but the program seems to work seamlessly between Canada and the US (the only Beautycounter people I know are Americans so this part is a bit of an experiment!) The full range of products is offered in both countries and the only difference seems to be the currency and exchange rate.

Member. A Band of Beauty Membership, which is 29 CAD per year, gets you a 15% product credit with each order, free shipping on orders over 125 CAD, a free gift with purchase on sign up, and access to special offers. You don’t have any buying obligations.

Right now the gift with purchase is pretty awesome.

Consultant. If you want to be a Consultant, as I did, it will cost you 98 CAD and then 50 CAD each year after that. If you don’t sell a certain amount of product, you are switched to Band of Beauty (you do not get your $98 back but it sounds like you don’t pay the $29 that first year, so you are kind of rolling the dice) You get 25% off the price of each product and have access to six amazing starter kits at a discount (which you don’t have to buy.) Consultants always seem to pay for shipping (it seems to be 9.95 CAD per order.) And of course, the whole point of being a consultant is you get paid as you build out your network of people. They encourage hosting parties à la Stella and Dot, but I don’t even like attending those parties. I’m an introvert with a capital I and prefer shopping online, where I can browse at my leisure. I like the fact that for my $98, they give me a turnkey website that allows introverts like me to check it all out without feeling pressured to buy.

Beautycounter recently launched a new consultant kit and it’s so good!

For your $98 buy in, you get the best-selling Adaptive Moisturizer and Rose Lip Sheer worth $98.

Plus you get physical marketing materials, a start-up guide, a website, online training, online marketing materials, sample jars, a tote bag, a makeup bag, and access to a mentor (like yours truly!).

If you are thinking of taking on a side hustle or are looking to step back into the workforce after having kids, you might want to give this a thought. Frankly, I joined because it was the cheapest way for me to get my hands on their toxin free goodness (products are 25% to 40% off), but after talking to the Canadian GM, I was totally sold on the business model (and I’ve lectured on what makes a good business case at the University of Toronto so I know my business models!) Frankly, there just are not that many Beautycounter consultants out there so the market has lots of room for growth. If you live in the US or Canada and are remotely interested, shoot me an email and we can chat!

If you are curious, click here to learn everything you want to know. OK, sales pitch over! (But seriously, even if you don’t want to sell it, you should you totally join Band of Beauty to buy the great products at a discount, get a free gift, and get free shipping!)

Client. You can also just order the products you want, pay for shipping, and be done with it. Without joining anything.

If you summer near Nantucket (!), they usually have a popup shop. And they’ve done partner selling with J. Crew, Target, and Goop. So you can access their products in a variety of ways. They’re kind of a cool company.

If you want to buy product at some point, I’d love it if you’d do it through my link. Or if you want to sign up as a Consultant, it could be an adventure. We could be Beautycounter pals and go for taco bowls at lunch on Friday in our respective cities and gossip about our boss.

OK, that’s it for the commercial. Back to the regularly scheduled blogs.



  1. Good to hear from you. Thanks for the feedback! I'm trying their tinted moisturizer. Good to know about the eyebrow pencil. I currently get my brows henna-ed but was thinking of moving to pencil. Good to know this one is not very good. I can't imagine using one brand for everything. I'm trying to identify the winners. Xx


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