It Was Never About the Lipstick. 

I worked my ass off so I could spend this past weekend in Washington D.C. advocating for stronger regulation of our personal care industry. Does that sound like greek to you? It means I was talking to the people who represent us in our nation’s capital and encouraging them to get on board in creating or passing legislation that would make the products we are putting on our skin every single day safer. It’s been almost 80 years since a major federal law was passed. More than 80,000 chemicals have been introduced since WWII and less than 10% of them have been tested for health and human safety. Our country bans a whopping 30 ingredients… the EU bans 1400. We can’t afford to wait.
We were 100 women from 50 states representing our families, our clients, our friends and countless people we will never meet.

 

It was never about the lipstick.

 

I care because I am a mom. I care because I lost a grandma to breast cancer before I had a chance to meet her. I care because far too many people around me are getting sick due to unknown causes. I care because I want to leave this planet better for future generations. I care because unlike so many things, this is a change that is easy to make and within our control. I care because I know not everyone can or will buy the products I sell. I care because I have knowledge that, when shared, can change lives. I care because I love life and I want to live mine the best way I know how.

But, for me, it was never about the lipstick.

We were assigned teams for the day and we shared our stories, our “why.” I heard from one woman whose dad battled breast cancer yet who had no known genetic predisposition to acquire it.  Another who due to a genetic mutation lacks the ability process toxins and goes through weeks when she is paralyzed on one side of her body. Her husband can’t breath in most synthetic fragrance without a severe reaction that causes scaring of his lungs. There were two health coaches on my team who work to help others lead healthier lives, but who had not considered their skincare as part of the equation for far too long. There was a scientist from Europe who pioneers safe and innovative solutions in skincare to bring the safest most high performing products to market in the US. Each of these stories was different, each important.

But nobody talked about the lipstick.

We spent our day running in and out of meetings on Capitol Hill. We met with Congressional leaders and State Representatives. We shared our passion, our stories, our mission and our hopes. We talked about being pro-business and pro-regulation and how innovation can spark growth for our economy. We talked about U.S. standards being miserably behind other countries and how exporting isn’t a possibility today given the quality of our products. When we met with a staffer who was 10 days from her due date we couldn’t help but shift the conversation to our most precious and vulnerable population, our babies – the ones who don’t have choices. We talked about how small amounts of products being applied each and every day add up. We talked about the average woman who puts 515 chemicals on her body every single day.

Still no mention of the lipstick.

We also spoke about men who can’t be left out of this equation. Far too many struggle with issues like infertility and 1 in 2 will be touched by cancer in his lifetime. We talked about the confusion in the marketplace, the lack of accountability and the inability for the FDA to recall products that cause harm. We talked about how Beautycounter is using commerce as an engine for change and how our products provide a solution to the problem we are fighting to solve. We talked about our desire to pull the industry along with us so that we can all do better together. We talked about the millions of people that we reach with our message who, regardless of political affiliation, race, age, or gender, all believe that we deserve better. We talked about the people who came before us who banned smoking on airplanes and who made seatbelts mandatory in cars. Common sense solutions. We talked about what we could do to help them and what they could do to help us. We walked away empowered, excited, full of hope and promise and pride.

And nobody, not even once, ever talked about the lipstick.

Some girls grow up yearning to wear a bold red lip, to spot the next beauty trend or to make products that allow people to look and feel more beautiful than they already are.
That wasn’t me.
I grew up hoping to make the world a better place… and now I am doing that one conversation and yes, sometimes even one lipstick, at a time.

If you didn’t already know – now you know:

It was NEVER and will NEVER be just about the lipstick.

Except today. Just for today… I am going to let it be about this lipstick.

Bold, vibrant and backed by an army of women who are as fiery as the color. Why? Because #ThisTimeItsPersonal

Join me in this mission to get safe products into the hands of everyone. Share with those you love. Text BETTERBEAUTY to #52886. Become a consultant. Heck, if you really, really want to you can even buy the lipstick.

 

Kisses,

Angela

Attention Parents of Teenagers…

I remember one of the first times a boy drove me home from a night out together. As we pulled up my driveway and came to a halt, I may have taken more than 5 seconds to exit his vehicle when suddenly the front lights of my house started flashing on and off extremely fast. There was nothing wrong with the power that night. It was my mom. That was her signal for me to get the F inside my house and for said boy to get the F out of my driveway. Subtle mom…really subtle.

Fast forward to 2017. I am now a proud mom to 3 rapidly growing girls. Try as I might to hit the slow down button – they are aging at lightning speed. I know that strobe lights are in my future and I will worry just as my mom did when they are out past 8:15 pm. Even though I would like to think that as moms we hold the power… looking back on those younger years I realize there is only so much we can control. Curfew, dating advice and social media limits will be unchartered territory for me… but there is one thing I DO know about making the teenage years BETTER. It’s a dirty little secret that most parents don’t know about… and this time our girls aren’t trying to screw us…they don’t know about it either.

The little secret is hiding in your teenager’s bathroom.

Let me explain.

The average teenage girl puts 17 products on her body EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

You read that right. 17.

That means that on any given day your girl is exposed to about 200 chemicals through her personal care products like mascara, lip gloss and deodorant.

And why should we give a shit?

All of these chemicals are absorbed into her skin and bloodstream.

And?

And in case her emotional shifts aren’t enough of an indication – a girls body is going through enormous developmental changes during the teen years. From bone and brain function to hormonal system changes to metabolism… shit is getting real.

During this window of time, teeny tiny levels of hormones are what shape a girls development. So when little miss makeup kit comes in with her seemingly innocent dose of who knows what – it is easy for the body to interpret those chemicals as natural and change function accordingly. In the science world we call these shit disturbers “endocrine disruptors.” Suffice it to say they have just enough power to mess things up (think neurobehavioral problems, cancer cell growth and obesity).

Many teen girls are entering puberty earlier than they were a generation ago—in part due to childhood and in-utero exposures to endocrine disruptors. Early puberty puts girls at a higher risk for later-life breast cancer, and the shortened childhood has other implications including an increased risk of depression.

As a mom to three girls I give a lot of fucks about a lot of things… but I give an especially big one to making sure I do whatever I can to keep my kids safe and healthy. Given that teens also have a mind of their own, I am working to teach my kids why all this stuff matters. I’m hoping that when it comes time for them to buy their own products they will ask some of the same questions I am asking now.

Last summer there was a study conducted where 100 teenage girls were asked to discontinue use of products that contained certain hormone disrupting chemicals. The findings were crazy. After just three days there was a significant drop in levels of hormone-disrupting chemicals in their bloodstream. This study proved what many of us already knew to be true – the products we choose do make a difference.

So what’s an oblivious mom to do?

First of all, encourage your daughter to limit the number of products used. Less is more. If the things I mentioned above aren’t enough to make her care, you can tell her that the use of cosmetics can also cause skin damage and acne. 

Secondly, there is a free app from the Environmental Working Group that anyone can download. It is called “Healthy Living.” We can use this app to look up the products that we already have and get safety information on them. We can also search and scan labels for BETTER alternatives. Encourage your daughter to download this herself. It will take her 30 seconds to figure it out (trust me, I have tested this with many teen girls). Instead of you lecturing her on what is good and bad you will be giving her the tools to figure that out herself. More and more teens are seeking out companies that don’t test on animals. Remind your kid that companies shouldn’t test on humans either.

But your kid really does need some skincare and she wants to wear makeup too… What now?

Learning to take care of our skin is a normal part of growing up. Unfortunately, having acne is a very normal part of growing up too.

Here is my quick and easy guide to keeping skin clean and healthy.

First of all we should all be sure to:

  • drink enough water
  • eat plenty of whole foods

and

  • wear sunscreen every day

Kids aren’t really thinking about aging and wrinkles but good habits start early and sun damage is cumulative – which means it adds over a lifetime and shows up later in the form of  wrinkles, skin issues and cancers. A safe, mineral based sunscreen like this one is key. (For more on sunscreen safety click here).

Once teenagers start to experience oily skin or breakouts it is time to start cleansing every day. It’s easy to start with evening cleansing. This may be something to do in the shower. Face cleansers are better than soap because they are more gentle and less irritating. Things to keep in mind with cleansing:

  • make sure hands are clean
  • wash well around the jawbone and hairline
  • pat gently after washing to leave some moisture on the skin

Athletes may need to cleanse more often and might want to toss a face wash in their gym bag.

You’ve heard it before and you will hear it again. Tempting as popping can be… pimples should be left alone. Popping them can lead to marks, scars and irritation.

If your teen notices his/her skin feels dry, a moisturizer can be helpful. Skin needs hydration and nutrition and a good, clean product should give it just that.

Aside from these products (sunscreen, cleanser & moisturizer) there really isn’t much else that is needed for young skin. A clay mask is fun and a gentle exfoliator can be nice to use a few days a week… but more is not better when it comes to teens and skin care.

Here are my favorite product picks for teen skin.

1. Sunscreen: Non-nano zinc oxide based formula that I love because it is light, has a nice scent and rubs in clear.

2.Charcoal Bar: This bar contains activated charcoal, coconut oil and green tea and can be used on the body or face. It is perfect for anyone who struggles with breakouts or who tends to have oily skin.

3. Nourishing Cream Cleanser:Super every day cleanser for normal skin. Very hydrating and non-drying.

4. Nourishing Exfoliator: Can be used 2-3 days a week instead of cleanser. It is very creamy and gentle. The jojoba beads are used in place of harsh abrasive and toxic microbeads. Great for teens with drier skin.

5. Charcoal Mask: This mask contains charcoal, kaolin clay and peppermint. The charcoal draws out impurities and it exfoliates leaving the skin softer and clearer.

6. Nourishing Night Cream: This night cream is lightweight and non-greasy. It will help the skin stay hydrated and nourished.

7. When it comes to makeup, teenagers have their own ideas. But sticking with a safe line of cosmetics that is free of harmful ingredients but also contaminants like heavy metals is key. I love the way this Beautycounter makeup looks on women of all ages.

If you still think this whole clean beauty movement is a little overblown check this out. Alarming but not uncommon…and always BETTER to err on the side of caution.

For questions, skin-specific recommendations, to schedule a get together with your teen or any other information feel free to reach out! thebetterhave@gmail.com

 

People that Give a FU$K Club…

I decided that I should start a “People Who Give a Fuck” club. Here’s how it is going to go down:

I will be the President – cause I’m boss lady of course.

I don’t really know who VP should be. Maybe my husband since he has to live with me and go along with all of this stuff… but then again, if he is going to play this important role he will need to stop smuggling Gillette and Crest Toothpaste into our bathroom. Furthermore – he may not really want to be in the club… so I am accepting nominations.

Club secretary will be played by my client turned friend who we will call “Nancy” for the sake of anonymity. Nancy is a loyal follower, contributor and looker outer. She reads more than I do and probably knows more too. She will be a fine, fine secretary and one day she will probably want to take over this writing thing because, like I said, she knows more than I do.

Treasurer will be played by nobody because Lord knows ‘aint nobody making a penny writing a blog about trying to rid the world of pesticides and hand sanitizer.

Editor will be played by my epidemiologist friend who probably won’t be in my club since she has her own club that is bigger, smarter and more accurate than mine. But, she will still edit all my posts (with love) and keep me on the straight and narrow.

And finally, club committee chair will be played by “Margaret.” Margaret is another client turned friend who high fives me at every turn. She wants to share BETTER stuff with everyone in her life and she wants nothing in return but peace and love. The world needs more people like Margaret so of course she needs to be on this committee in a big way.

Finally there’s all of you… If you’ve read this far… CONGRATULATIONS! You’re in the club!

But seriously… should we start a club? 

Here’s what’s currently on my mind for club-like events and upcoming agenda items:

  1. Make snack time at school all about fruits and veggies. As the ding dongs and oreos go out the window, so too will the allergy issues that come with snack lists plus we will reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, some cancers, and help manage weight for our most important asset – our kids. If that’s not a win-win-win-win I don’t know what is. Last study I read said 93% of U.S. residents, including children, did not meet vegetable consumption recommendations. Insanity.
  2. Pesticides. Why can’t we be more like Canada where over 170 cities and towns have passed partial or full bans on pesticide use? I use safe stuff on my lawn but I am really longing for my neighbors and friends to get on board. Can’t we just pass a law??
  3. You know those places that have painting events? You go with friends for a glass of wine and some artistic outlet and leave with a painted photo of still-life that you will never actually hang. Maybe we should do one of those but we will make safer cleaning supplies instead. It would be something everyone could go home and use. Would this be fun? I tried to do this the first time I had an event for Beautycounter because I was so uncomfortable sharing products that people had to purchase. Found out people just wanted to purchase products. Nobody cared about my cleaning spray. But listen – it really is easy. I will do a demo soon to show you.
  4. Meditation for families. Can someone create an event that families can go to and learn how to meditate together? We know our kids need it… we know WE need it. Let’s do it!

And with that I’m off to get my kids from school (gasp!). The summer went too fast!

Meeting adjourned.