Where Luxury Skincare Meets Clean Ingredients—A Beautycounter Review
This review is not sponsored and contains the author’s personal experience. The Good Trade was gifted this product. The Good Trade editors endorse products we’ve personally researched, tested, and genuinely love. Learn more about our methodology and business model here.
Beautycounter is a B Corp-certified clean beauty brand based in Santa Monica, California, making non-toxic makeup, skincare, and bath/body products.
They have rigorous standards when it comes to every aspect of their product; they formulate with safe ingredients, source ethically, and use packaging that’s fairly sustainable.
The brand, founded in 2013, focuses on five main pillars: safety, packaging, responsible sourcing, climate, and advocacy.
While the company has an MLM offering, they also offer direct-to-consumer sales. This is a review of the DTC collection.
Between the highly effective formulas, sustainable sourcing, and quality packaging, Beautycounter’s products are an investment, ranging from around $30 to around $90.
Since starting my skincare journey years ago to deal with acne that lasted well into adulthood, I’ve learned a lot about effective skincare ingredients—vitamin C, retinol, niacinamide, chemical exfoliants, ceramides, you name it! My skin type is combination type—oily T-zone, hormonal jawline acne, and dry patches, especially in the winter. And while I’m into skincare, I’m not a huge makeup person.
That’s why I’ve been super interested in the buzzy brand Beautycounter, one of the top brands requested by The Good Trade readers for review. The high-end, non-toxic skincare/makeup company was founded by entrepreneur and businesswoman Gregg Renfrew in 2013 and, while the company is historically an MLM, they’ve now transitioned to also offer direct-to-consumer products. By 2014, the brand won an Allure Best of Beauty Award, and by 2020, they had been added to CNBC’s 2020 Disruptor 50 list.
Beautycounter has disrupted the beauty industry with its effective and high-end formulations while adhering to some of the strictest standards in terms of ingredient sourcing. They have 12 safety standards that formula and manufacturing partners must adhere to, like “responsibly sourced raw materials,” “100% ingredient transparency,” and “going beyond regulatory standards.” The brand also works with in-house scientists and third-party researchers at the Science Advisory Council and Tufts University School of Medicine.
Beautycounter sustainably sources complicated ingredients, too—like mica, vanilla, and palm oil (read more about Beautycounter’s sourcing here). By 2025, they aim for all packaging to be 100% recycled, recyclable, refillable, reused, or compostable. They’ve transitioned many of their packages to glass since it’s more recyclable than plastic and nixed many of the cardboard and plastic extras that products often come with.
In terms of actual products, Beautycounter has a range of makeup products with more natural, subtle finishes like skin tints, sheer lip products, and liquid eye shadows, and skincare varying concerns and needs. I recently tried out five more popular products, including the vitamin C serum, the overnight resurfacing peel, the tetrapeptide supreme cream, the conditioning lipstick, and the essentials eye shadow palette. Here are my thoughts!
All Bright Vitamin C Serum, $90
One of the brand’s bestsellers, this is a potent 10% vitamin C serum. As far as vitamin C serums go, this product is pretty top-notch—it has two different forms of ultra-stable vitamin C (tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, which helps with brightening and fading dark spots, and bis-glyceryl ascorbate, which reduces the appearance of fine lines), along with turmeric and camu camu extracts, both powerful antioxidants.
The serum comes out bright yellow from the turmeric and has a super strong turmeric scent—citrusy and gingery—which I love, but folks who are sensitive to scents might not. I was a little worried about the potent 10% vitamin C formulation, but I didn’t experience any irritation, even the morning after using chemical exfoliants or retinol.
Notably, the products with strong actives like this one come in pump bottles, which is a must for me for stable vitamin C serums.
Counter+ Overnight Resurfacing Peel, $72
This gentle chemical exfoliating product is an AHA/BHA blend that’s designed to be used a few times a week to slough away dead skin cells and reveal glowing skin come morning. It absolutely worked. Botanically derived lactic acid, my personal favorite ingredient, is number four on the ingredient list, while glycolic and malic acids help resurface the skin and fatty acids moisturize and reduce irritation.
The morning after using this product, followed by the tetrapeptide cream, I woke up to baby-soft skin. However, my non-sensitive acne-prone skin can definitely handle stronger products. I think this one is great for someone with dry or sensitive skin who can still benefit from gentle chemical exfoliation now and then.
I’m not sure I’d shell out $72 in the future for a product that gives me results similar to those I’ve seen with much cheaper ones, but here you’re paying for sustainably sourced ingredients and recyclable packaging. Plus, a little satisfying win: for both pump bottle products I tried, one pump was the absolute perfect amount.
Countertime Tetrapeptide Supreme Cream, $98
“Supremely rich and deeply hydrating,” says the website; this is one of the richest night creams I’ve ever seen. I am in love with it. The cream uses Beautycounter’s Retinatural Complex (including bakuchiol), shea butter, and tetrapeptide to help reduce the appearance of fine lines, shield skin from moisture loss, and increase skin elasticity.
The unscented cream comes in a heavy glass jar and has a thick, butter-like consistency. For the best application, I like to warm it up between my hands so it gets a little melty and glides easily over the skin. I noticed that the jar didn’t come with an overcap when I first opened it—just one of the many ways the brand has been reducing its packaging.
Since I live in one of the coldest cities in the country, even my oily skin needs super thick wintertime moisturizers to combat the dry air, and this one seems to do the trick. It might even do the trick a little too well—with shea butter second on the ingredient list, this might become an every-other-night product for me so it doesn’t cause any breakouts. So far, so good, however. The product seems best for drier or aging skin types.
Essentials Eye Palette, $39
This limited-edition holiday palette has five subdued yet versatile shades, perfect for hopping from the office to a holiday party. The shadow is free of talc, a commonly used makeup ingredient that improves the texture and finish of a product but which has been found in rare cases to contain asbestos. This palette has two matte shades, two shimmery shades, and one glittery shade.
I have difficulty finding eyeshadows that work for me, but each of these works well for a range of skin tones. Kona, a shimmery brown that doesn’t come out yellowy, was my favorite for its texture and color, and the glittery Rosé shade will also be a hit with me during the holidays. Notably, most of the shades had a lot of fallout on application, especially the darker ones, so I’d recommend applying these before your foundation.
Sheer Genius Conditioning Lipstick, $35
This creamy lipstick with a delicious vanilla scent goes on sheer but has buildable color. Its Smart-Wax Botanical Blend and other plant-based ingredients like jojoba esters give it a super hydrating, nourishing, weightless feel.
The product comes in ten different shades. I tried out Petal, one of the lightest—a sweet carnation pink color that was a little too light for my complexion but which will be a great summertime product. It goes on silky, like a lip tint, but has a bolder color and better-staying power than most tinted lip balms. The vanilla scent and magnetic packaging that snaps the cap into place give the lipstick a luxurious feel. Beautycounter uses ECOCERT organic vanilla that comes from ethical suppliers.
So, here comes the defining question for most cosmetics: would I repurchase any of these products? The answer, for me, is yes! I’d love to eventually restock on the vitamin C serum, the tetrapeptide cream, and the lipstick. It’s no secret that Beautycounter’s products are on the pricier side, but given the quality of the products and the brand’s uncompromising ethical standards, you absolutely pay for what you get.
To check out more Beautycounter products, like their best-selling Lotus Glow Cleansing Balm, their Dew Skin Tinted Moisturizer, and their refillable natural deodorant, visit beautycounter.com.
Natalie Gale is a Boston-based freelance journalist. When she’s not writing about art, food, or sustainability, you can find her biking to the farmers’ market, baking, sewing, or planning her next Halloween costume. Say hi on Instagram!