I’ve told this story before, but since this is my newsletter, and the first of my newsletters, at that, I get to do what I want (and what I want is to tell this story again). It’s about my mom, of course, because everything starts and ends with her.
My mom was beautiful. And not in a “she looks like she just rolled out of bed” kind of way (at least not when she was younger). She came from a generation where they put their faces on. To go to the grocery store, to sunbathe (along with some aluminum foil around the face to better catch the sun), to go anywhere really. “Natural beauty” was not fashionable. So my mom put her face on, she wore her fake nails for a time, she spent alot of time in the sun. Most of this has gone the way of the cigarette (please tell me the cigarette has gone that way for you too?) - ie: we know better. But my mom also taught us that it was ok to “put a few highlights in,” to put some blush on, to look our best, really. She taught us that being a strong woman and being a beautiful woman needn’t be mutually exclusive.
I started looking closer at the ingredients in my skincare and makeup when we lived in Brooklyn. You’re never far from the newest trend living there and clean beauty was no exception. I started getting my eyebrows waxed at a store in the neighborhood called Shen, where I met Carrie (go check her out at carrielindseybeauty.com or in person in Fort Greene if you can) and realized there were options beyond what was on the shelves of my local CVS or department store. Shen did (and does) carry a well-curated list of natural / organic skincare and makeup brands (in fact on their website, they refer to themselves as a “curator of cool,” whatever that means). So I dipped my toes into the clean beauty thing, and then I got pregnant (twice) and learned some more, and at some point along the way, I started using some Beautycounter products (and the rest is history, well, sort of).
After living amongst “curators of cool” for so long in Brooklyn, Beautycounter felt a little…I don’t know, mainstream (??) to me at first. Why do I want to use the same products that anyone (and their mother, literally) can buy from their next door neighbor on Facebook. I know what an ass I sound(ed) like. But then I started using (and loving) more and more of the Beautycounter makeup and some of the skincare, and after thinking about it, and worrying what people would say (oh for F’s sake, you’re trying to sell me something too?) I took the plunge with Beautycounter and here we are.
And it’s funny, what I originally saw as a negative (BC’s mainstream appeal), I now see as a plus. The thing is, everyone deserves access to good, safe products. It’s awesome that Target, for instance, is increasingly selling clean/natural brands. The problem though, is that there’s little regulation around anything in the personal care industry, including packaging, so even when you know what to look for, it’s still really hard to figure out what’s what (we’ll save the topic of “greenwashing” for another newsletter….)
Enter Beautycounter, with its Never List of over 1,500 ingredients, its commitment to advocacy / strengthening regulations around the personal care industry, its accessibility.
30 years ago, organic produce was not a “thing.” 50 years ago, recycling was not a “thing.” But the more we know, the more our habits change. It’s about progress, not perfection.
Anyway! This newsletter here. First and foremost, I realized that I had been emailing some of you against your will for the last few months. Well, maybe not against your will, but without your explicit permission. So, this one you have to sign up for! But please sign up - it will be fun, I promise. Expect some clean beauty info in general, some Beautycounter info in particular, and lots of “other stuff.”
(PS - This is my mom and my nephew, who is now 9. I told you she was beautiful.)