“I was watching an environmental documentary that had nothing to do with beauty, and it sparked something,” recalls Gregg Renfrew, the founder of new skincare line Beautycounter, which launched in March.
The Santa Monica-based mother of three began seeking products that were free of harmful chemicals. Through research, she found that 80% of the ingredients used in daily personal care products have never been tested for safety. It was clear; there was still a void in the marketplace. “Healthy products should be available to every woman in America, [and] I wanted to make a difference,” says Renfrew, whose goal is to develop natural products that perform well.
The first step was eliminating 1,300 ingredients that have already been banned in the E.U. (There, cosmetics safety standards are listed.) Renfrew then consulted with Mia Davis, a health and safety specialist for the cosmetics industry, and eco-savvy celebrity makeup artist Christy Coleman.
Now, Heidi Klum, Emmy Rossum and Miranda Kerr are snapping up the lightweight Every Day AM hydrating cream (with aloe, lavender, pomegranate) and the vitamin-rich trio of Lustro Face Oils (with calendula, jasmine, chamomile and ylang ylang) for their anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties. The brand also has a social-selling platform that encourages fans to sell via social media or at parties (à la Avon), where they can make up to 35% commission off suggested retail prices. Standouts like the Glow sugar scrub and Routine Clean cream cleanser will pave the way for a kids division this summer; a makeup line (complete with tinted SPF) launches in the fall. $18-$68; beautycounter.com.
Written by Caroline Cagney.