My BeautyCounter Review and 10 Favorite Products

 This is not a sponsored post. Instead, I merely want to share my love of Beautycounter with you all as well as provide you with a special promotion that has been offered to me by my Beautycounter consultant, Mara. I had the pleasure of meeting and becoming fast friends with Mara 10 years ago when I lived in Pennsylvania and over the past year, it has been a pleasure to have her back in my life not only as my Beautycounter consultant but also as a supporter throughout pregnancy and motherhood as she is the mother of twins!

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For years, I was a self-prescribed low-maintence beauty junkie. Since I worked in the beauty industry I had boxes of samples, freebies and new product launches many of which I’d try once or twice before passing them on to my friends. My beauty and skin care was very simple on a daily basis. I washed my face in the shower with whichever “normal skin cleanser” I had on hand and then I’d quickly put makeup on each morning, using only a BB cream, mascara and lipstick. Sometimes, I’d take an extra few minutes and apply blush, eye shadow and eye liner but those days were few and far between. Don’t even ask me about my evening routine. I rarely removed my makeup and moisturizer was only used during the coldest of winter months when the arid weather had sucked all the moisture out of my skin.

Even though I knew a great deal about skin care and makeup, I saved most of my knowledge for my friends when they would ask questions versus applying it to my own life.

When Bo and I started trying to get pregnant, I had many health care professionals tell me that evaluating what went in and on my body could do nothing but help our journey. In addition to focusing on eating more natural, unprocessed foods and getting more sleep I started to evaluate the products I put on my body each day. At this same time, my 32-year old skin was starting to show some signs of aging due to years of sun exposure. I started to notice crow’s feet and sun spots when I’d look in the mirror. While I didn’t do a huge overhaul of all my products, I started to purchase cleaner options when my existing products ran out.

When Bo and I announced we were pregnant, a few friends reached out, recommending Beautycounter as a safe and effective beauty line that I could use throughout pregnancy. Beautycounter is committed to a health and safety standard that goes well beyond what is legally required in the United States. Did you know the U.S. only bans 30 ingredients from being used in personal care products? Beautycounter prohibits the use of over 1,500 questionable or harmful chemicals, which they call The Never List™. Somehow, I had never heard of the company previously, even though it was founded in 2013 by Gregg Renfrew.

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Over the past few months, Beautycounter has not only helped me convert to a cleaner skin and makeup routine, but it has also helped me streamline and simplify the process. They recently launched a marketing campaign for the FLAWLESS IN FIVE which includes six products to help any woman get a fresh, polished look in just minutes. In addition, by following one of their skin care regimens, taking care of my face is easy. These days, the last thing I have time to do is research new products and spend time on ME. Having a trusted and effective skin care routine has allowed me to maintain it and diligently use each product daily; without it feeling like a hassle. Better yet, after consistent use, my skin is noticeably brighter, smoother and plumper. The fine lines are starting to go away and my pregnancy mask looks 10x better than it did. While I realize some of this naturally occurs as my hormones balance out, I know that using this regimen has made me feel more confident. The person I see on unfiltered Instagram stories or first thing in the morning doesn’t scare me or make me feel like I look far beyond my age. The simplified makeup routine helps me feel put together, even on the craziest days trying to balance life as a new mom but without that “cakey, I just put on 10 layers of makeup to hide the bags” look.

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Since placing my first order 11 months ago, I have placed 10 more orders both for myself and for friends and family. I’ve tried more 19 different products, and today, I thought it would be fun to share my 10 favorites with you.

If you are interested in trying Beautycounter or are an avid Beautycounter user and need to place an order, today Mara and I have partnered to create the Healthy, Happier Shopping event! By using this link, any person who spends $100 or more will receive a free charcoal cleansing bar*, one of their top sellers. This bar detoxifies without drying out your skin and the gentle formula can be used daily! If you have questions, leave them in the comments and Mara or I will be sure to answer them ASAP. *Note, the free Charcoal Cleansing Bar ($24 value) will ship separately and won’t appear in your cart.

Now, in no particular order, here are the 10 products I have used, loved and re-ordered as soon as they ran out.

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Makeup

· Lengthening Mascara – The first time I tried Beautycounter’s mascara I had such a negative experience, I actually returned it. The formulation left my lashes feeling dry and it was really difficult to remove. But, their new formulation which launched this Summer is AMAZING. My short lashes look instantly longer while still feeling soft to the touch.

· Concealer Pen – This is the first step in my makeup routine these days, gliding the thin brush across my eyelids and under-eye area. The long-lasting formula helps make me look more rested and is also a great base color on my eyelids, diminishing the pesky veins.  As an FYI, I wear the light shade and find that it blends easily.

· Brow Pencil – Once upon a time I had thick, gorgeous eyebrows. Then, ten years ago, I thought it was a good idea to get my eyebrows waxed at my neighborhood nail spa. They knew how to do nails but man they weren’t the experts in eye brows. Their lack of skills combined with the latest in beauty trends led me down the over-tweezed, over waxed thin eyebrow stage. Unfortunately, my brows were never the same. I’ve always had nightmares of my high school guidance counselor’s overly penciled, drawn on eye brows when I saw eye brow pencils. But then, after admiring a few of my friends eyebrows I discovered that they used eye brow pencils. I have been using the medium shade of this pencil and love the natural, groomed appearance it gives my brows when I use the pencil to fill in and then blend using the attached brush.

· Mattifying Powder – By the end of the day, my face tends to by shiny and my makeup is smudged thanks to humidity and lots of very active pores. I discovered mattifying powder a few years ago thanks to a very sweet woman at Sephora who told me that this would allow my makeup to stay in place, look better and eliminate the 4pm t-zone glow. The Beautycounter mattifying powder immediately absorbs shine and blends invisibly, regardless of your skin tone. It’s the final step in my daily makeup routine and sometimes, if I’m going to happy hour or an early dinner with Bo and Katie, will use it again in the afternoon to give my makeup a fresh appearance.

· Powder Blush Duo – I love the way my cheeks look after an early-morning run or a bout of laughter – vibrant and flushed. Unfortunately, especially during the winter months, my skin doesn’t have a vibrant tone and the winter weather leaves my face looking dull. I’ve gone through three different orders of the Beautycounter Powder Blush Duo as I’m in love with the perfect, vibrant hue the color combinations give to my cheeks. I actually own two of them – tawny/whisper and bloom/tulip. The tawny hue goes on more like a bronzer while the bloom is a bright, cheery color that gives me that rosy appearance.

· Lip Gloss – My mom always tells me that a simple swipe of lip color makes me look 10x better. Unfortunately, most of the lip glosses I’ve worn historically are either sticky or they dried out my lips. However, I’m obsessed with this moisturizing lip gloss and have reordered it multiple times. I’ve been loving Dahlia, which delivers a bright pop of color and Bare Shimmer, which is a perfect everyday color.

· Tint Skin Foundation – As I mentioned previously, I used to be a bit of an extremist when it came to foundation. I either wore nothing at all, barely a little bit of BB cream or I caked on the layers with a heavy foundation. I couldn’t find a formula that helped even out my skin tone while looking natural. This lightweight foundation blends easily and hides my lines and pigmentation while giving me a dewy, glowing appearance. I’m currently wearing Sand but I also own Linen for the winter months when my skin is paler.

Skin Care

· No 1 Brightening Oil – Hands down, this is my favorite Beautycounter product. Unlike anything I’ve used previously, this lightweight facial oil moisturizes my skin while leaving it looking radiant and vibrant. Packed with Vitamin C it is one of the only breastfeeding friendly products I found that actually helped my pregnancy mask! I apply 3-4 drops to my face and neck both morning and night before applying my moisturizer. Within a week I started to notice a difference in my skin tone, texture and appearance and within two weeks friends and family started asking me what I’d changed in my routine. Fun Fact: It just won a Best of Beauty award from Allure Magazine.

· No 1 Mask – I love a good face mask. There is nothing I look forward to more than relaxing on the couch in pajamas, sipping red wine, watching Grey’s Anatomy and giving my face some TLC with a face mask. This mask is gentle enough to use 2-3 times per week and leaves my skin feeling fresh, looking brighter and refreshed. Since using it in combination with the brightening oil and pads I have seen a significant improvement in my skin tone and texture.

· Toner pads – These were a total surprise for me as they were an impulse purchase. My consultant, Mara, said that she and her friends felt that the toner pads served as a very effective prep step before applying the oils, masks, serums or moisturizers as it helps the skin better absorb them. I figured that I’d give them a try during my desperate, post-pregnancy state. Within a few days I was in love with the way they made my skin feel when I used them immediately after washing my face. They leave my skin feeling moisturized and have definitely made a difference in my sun spots, when combined with the oil and mask. I will say that they are pricey, and therefore some people may prefer to use them once per day or cut the pads in half.

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Taking 30 Minutes For Me

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Now, more than ever, I’ve found that taking 30 minutes to relax and rejuvenate each day allows me to be the best version of myself. I was told by multiple parents that it’d be hard, especially during these first few months, to find time to do much more than shower each day but, if possible, take 30 minutes to invest in myself. I took this advice to heart, and thanks to Bo’s support, have been able to enjoy at least 30 minutes each day the past few weeks to relax and disconnect. This is the one time each day when I allow myself to be free of a to-do list, any household chores and just indulge in my favorite things.  After seeing a few other people share their self-love or self-care routines, I thought it’d be fun to share mine.

By 9:30 most nights Katie is fast asleep in her bassinet and I am able to transition my mind to relaxation. I head downstairs and pour myself a glass of wine, before going back into our bedroom. I often reach for an oaky Chardonnay or a fruity Pinot Noir and am working my way through the bottles we bought during our Babymoon in California. Once I’m back upstairs, I light my favorite Diptyque candle and then change into something more comfortable. After wearing a nursing bra and clothes that are nursing-friendly but not necessarily the most feminine or flattering, I spend my nights in something a bit more feminine. When Lively offered to send me a pair of set of their matching bra and underwear, I laughed, thinking that there could be no worse time to offer lingerie to a woman. In fact, I dreaded taking them out of the bag, fearing the way my post baby body would feel in the black bra and underwear. Much to my surprise, I’ve started wearing them multiple nights a week as the silky, soft bra and underwear set is feminine but comfortable. The bralette is a perfect sleeping bra while the mesh trim makes it more fun than anything else in my drawer. Want to try Lively? You can use code AMB-healthyhappier to receive $10 off your order! 

The next order of business is trying to get my skin in order with a combination of brightening potions. A few nights a week I apply the Beauty Counter Brightening Face Mask while the other nights I apply the Brightening Facial Oil followed with a night moisturizer and eye cream. While I’d love to use one of the many stronger brightening products (specifically Rodan+Fields Reverse) you all recommended, most of them aren’t recommended for use during breast feeding due to the retinol. If you have another recomendation, please let me know as I’m tired of this pregnancy mask! I have also started using a moisturizing hand cream each night since the daily bottle scrubbing has started to wreak havoc on my hands.

Finally, I squeeze in 15 to 30 minutes of reading before going to sleep. While I initially found myself reading parenting and baby books, I have decided to switch gears and save those for daytime while my evening reading is strictly reading for pleasure. The stack of books next to my bed is embarassing and clearly points to a naive new mom who thought she’d spend all her nursing hours reading, only to realize that her baby currently requires two hands to hold and cuddle while nursing.  These are the books I’ve renewed multiple times at the library and am finally finding time to read now that Katie’s sleep is allowing me this nightly routine.

What books are you loving right now? What is part of your self-care routine?

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Natural Body & Beauty Products

These days, it seems everywhere you look there are articles discussing the number of chemicals we put on or in our bodies. While I’ve focused over the past few years on eating less processed foods, it wasn’t until I found out that I was was pregnant with Katie, that I truly started to think about making changes to my daily routine.

I read numerous articles which shared unbelievable facts regarding the number of chemicals women put on their face and body on a daily basis. There are a number of websites and apps that rank and review products, most notably EWG Skin Deep site and the Think Dirty app.  Keep in mind, my personal philosophy with natural products is to take everything that I read with a grain of salt, realizing that many articles are influenced by other factors. In addition, I am focused on making small changes not a radical change. The change did not come overnight, nor have I moved to a fully natural lifestyle. My favorite under eye cream is definitely not natural and I still believe that a certain level of chemicals are needed to cut through tough grease. I fully believe that similar to diet, the choices we make are very personal. So far, it seems that each month we slowly increase the number of more natural products that we use, ranging from hand soap to shampoo. But, after receiving multiple requests from you all following some Instagram Story posts, today I am ready to share a few products that I personally love.

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Below are a few products that I’ve discovered through recommendations, meandering through the aisles, research, and friends. None of these products were provided to me through sponsored posts or blogger samples. Since I’ve had a few people ask, I often buy online via Amazon and Thrive Market (save 15% with that link) or I look during my Whole Foods and Target shopping trips as both have a very good assortment of natural products at various price points.

  • Deodorant – Anyone who has worked out with me or followed me on social media knows that I sweat A LOT.  Since giving birth, my hormones inbalances have just made me sweat more. It’s the worst feeling to smell your armpits while attempting to nurse your daughter. At the same time, since my armpits are so close to where she breast feeds, I wanted to find a more natural deodorant option, at least while breast feeding. Luckily, within a one week period three different people recommended Schmidt’s Deodorant. The citrus scent is perfect for Summer and the formula effectively keeps me dry and fresh smelling all day. I’ve been using the deodorant non-stop for the past month and have been very pleased with the results, even in the hot, sticky weather we had last week.
  • Body Wash – Alba Botanica Very Emollient Honey Mango Shower Gel – After seeing this large body wash bottle in Whole Foods and Target’s natural beauty section, I decided to give it a try after reading rave reviews on multiple websites. A sucker for scent, I love the refreshing, fruity smell and the formulation leaves my skin soft and hydrated.
  • Shave Cream – Alba Botanica Mango Vanilla Moisturizing Shave Cream – During pregnancy, anytime I shaved I found that my legs were scaly and dry. Never a fan of using body lotion, I tried to find a more hydrating shave cream instead. This thick cream contains aloe vera and vitamin E which leaves my legs and underarms smooth without irritation. I will admit that some people may get annoyed with how thick it is, but I’m happy to rinse my razer a few times during the shaving process to get super smooth and hydrated skin.
  • Face Wash – Amara Organics Facial Cleanser – Since discovering this natural face wash through Julie’s blog back in early April, I’ve been a loyal fan. The face wash contains 15% Vitamin C as well as aloe, rosehip oil and tea tree oil. It’s strong enough to remove my makeup while gentle enough to use both morning and night without leaving my skin feeling dry. In fact, I found that it has gradually helped brighten my skin especially as I’ve dealt with pregnancy mask or skin discoloration related to pregnancy.  If you don’t believe my review, check out the more than 500 five-star reviews on Amazon!

I’d love to hear your recommendations for more natural products, especially shampoo, conditioner, counter cleaner and mascara.

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