Beautycounter Full Collection

We live in a complicated world. Passion, power, politics and pollution dominate the headlines. The more that I watch Dr. Oz or The Doctors, the more paranoid I become.

What do they mean my lipstick is poisoning me? Yikes! Consumers now have easier access to information about what goes into the products we purchase.


I now carefully scrutinize skincare products before buying, looking for less harmful chemical alternatives and willing to try organic versions. Most of them don’t perform as well as their price tags have led me to believe. When Beautycounter offered up three products for review, I was eager to give this newcomer a try.

Beautycounter is only a four-year old toddler when compared to the grand dames of the cosmetics industry. Founder Gregg Renfrew launched the California-based line in 2013 “to get safer products into the hands of everyone.”

After watching An Inconvenient Truth in 2006, she was both inspired and disgusted at the array of toxins we slather on ourselves daily. Beautycounter follows its own “Neverlist” – an inventory of 1,500 questionable ingredients that they vow never to use.


Their standards exceed government safety regulations in the US and Canada. Last year, Beautycounter introduced 42 of their staple products into the Canadian beauty market, available online or via their network of consultants.

Beautycounter also has pop-up stores and limited partnerships in the US with retailers such as J.Crew.

What makes them different from other cosmetic lines is a focus on product safety rather than product origin. Their packaging is minimalistic and although they strive to use non-toxic ingredients, they do not claim to be organic. These ideals sound promising but anyone with serious skin conditions should consult their dermatologist before use.

Beautycounter Plumping series

And there’s the added question of how well they perform, given the luxury price. I was offered one of their three new spa sets which is a collection of three products: a facial mist, mask and oil. For my skin type, I chose the No. 2 Plumping Set.


Peony Root and Rye Seed Plumping Facial Mist

This alcohol-free multi-purpose mist can be used to prep the skin for moisturizer, set makeup or provide a refreshing pick-up throughout the day. I enjoyed the light scent and invigorating feel upon first application but did not see any plumping effect.

I’m not sure how well the mist sets makeup but you do need to hold the bottle far enough so that no moisture globules land on your facial canvas. The 30ml mini-size is perfect for purse-popping and fantastic as a midday moisture perk-up.

As a toner-devotee I was not used to substituting a spray mist to prep my skin. After a week of use, I still prefer toner because I enjoy a squeaky clean complexion before applying moisturizer. CDN $55


Peony and Konjac Root Plumping Facial Mask

The active ingredient in peony root is called paeoniflorin; in konjac root it is glucomannan. Both these chemicals claim to plump skin and reduce fine lines but there is not enough conclusive research. What I have concluded is that I’m a fan of this product! This mask did as advertised.

I’m usually skeptical of slathering gunk on my face, walking around scaring people while waiting for said gunk to dry and then be disappointed when there are no results. The kaolin clay Plumping Mask has a lighter consistency than other mud masks I’ve used so I had to apply a bit more. The scent was pleasant and as it dried – as strange as it sounds – the mask forced me to slow down!

I felt the nutrient-rich clay penetrating into my pores but it did not feel dry or tight. The slight tingling sensation was relaxing and enjoyable. The mask was easily removed with warm water and a washcloth. My skin was soft, refreshed and glowing after the first application and I continue to relish using it. CDN $43 


Plumping Facial Oil with Jasmine

Before I started using facial oil, I always thought oil belonged either in my gas tank or in the frying pan. Not so! Face oil is suitable for almost everyone, even those with oily skin or who tend to break out. Our skin needs oil and help to continue to produce it on its own. It’s usually a gland imbalance that causes dry, oily or breakout conditions so choosing the right oil type for you is crucial.

The No. 2 Plumping Oil blends fragrant jasmine with seven other essential oils, including regenerative rose hip, super-hydrating marula and omega-rich argan. You may want to consult whether jasmine is right for you since it can irritate sensitive skin. The Beautycounter bottle comes with a dropper that helps keep the product sanitary and controls how much oil is dispensed.

Two to four drops is all that you’ll need. The oil absorbs easily and doesn’t feel greasy or heavy. I use it alone before bed and am happy to wake up to supple skin that feels resilient and hydrated. While the results were favourable, I didn’t like this particular jasmine fragrance.

I’ve used other jasmine products (and love jasmine tea) but the Beautycounter scent was quite distinct and almost cloying. I would be interested in trying the other facials oils in their product line to compare. CDN $79


Beautycounter Spa Sets are available in No. 1 Brightening with vitamin C, No. 2 Plumping (as reviewed) or No. 3 Balancing with charcoal. The collection is priced at CDN $160 for the full-sized bottles and CDN $110 for the mini-sized version.

The products performed really well and the safer ingredients encouraged me to use them often. While the price point puts this line at the higher end of discretionary-fund spending, this set deserves worthwhile consideration as a personal indulgent treat.

You could spend the same on big names such as Shiseido, Lancôme and Dior but they will not provide the same safety promise that Beautycounter does. Top and fourth image courtesy of Beautycounter. The rest are by Cora Li.

About Our Contributor Cora Li

Cora Li

Cora dabbles in arts, technology, food, and travel. She loves that Vancouver offers a vast playground for exploring all of her passions. Cora’s most memorable job to date was working with VANOC during the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.

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