Student-led event introduces healthier alternative beauty products


Photo by: Audrey Battis

Over 20 young women filled the International Lounge of the J.C. Williams Center on Wednesday, Oct. 17 to learn about Beautycounter, an alternative to harmful beauty products that contain hazardous ingredients.

Sophomores Lauren Carmona and Julia Slonkosky led the event, providing chips and buffalo chicken dip to the attendees while sharing illuminating information about risky beauty products.

The hosts shared this information both through a video advertising Beautycounter and through a website designed to help people find non-harmful beauty products. The information was followed up by a raffle for gift cards and Beautycounter products, as well as an opportunity to sample some of the products Carmona and Slonkosky brought from their own repertoire.

According to the informational video the ladies viewed, Beautycounter is a company that makes purely organic and safe beauty products, ranging from makeup to face masks to shampoos. The company was founded by Gregg Renfrew, who began Beautycounter when she saw that other companies used hazardous ingredients in their products that could often cause cancer and other skin and bodily ailments and which were not restricted by the FDA.

As the video explained, Beautycounter has a “Never List,” which is a list of potentially harmful ingredients typically found in other beauty products that Beautycounter promises to never use, such as oxybenzone, formaldehyde, parabens, coal tar and 1,500 other harmful ingredients.

After the video, the night continued with a revealing activity in which the ladies present discovered the potential hazards found in common name brands such as Neutrogena, L’Oréal and Maybelline.

Carmona pulled up a website called “EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Database” (EWG). This website, which has no association with Beautycounter, is a national database that catalogues thousands of brand names and labels their products on a scale of 1 to 10 based on how hazardous they are. “When you think about the products you use every day and there’s a tag on it that says ‘use restrictions’ that’s kind of unsettling,” said Carmona.

In reference to the online tool, Slonkosky said, “This is just to help you learn … what products do I want to pull away from.”

When looking up common beauty products on EWG, many of the women were surprised to see that some of their daily products indeed used moderately risky ingredients. “It was surprising how many big name brand companies use harmful chemicals in their beauty products,” said freshman attendee Alexa Willoughby.

When the group looked up Beautycounter products on EWG, however, they found a green sticker in the results rather than a number, which meant that the product contained no dangerous ingredients.

To find out more about Beautycounter and its products, visit To learn more about other products’ potential hazards, visit

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