Steph’s Letter- Winter 2012-2013 Catalog
It’s been a good while since I’ve had the privilege of sitting down to write to you. After our son Caleb was born a little more than a year ago, I took time off from Beeyoutiful and enjoyed a wonderful sabbatical. The break allowed me to relish Caleb’s baby days without the distraction and stress of work. But—I missed all the people like you who make Beeyoutiful the amazing business it is. So last month, Steve and I did a little switcheroo.
Steve now works part time from home while doing full time childcare-and-household management while I work full time at the Beeyoutiful office. One of the great things we’ve experienced in working together for so long is that we’ve learned to rely on each other’s strengths. His steady leadership, financial stewardship, desire to help people, and business savvy are the perfect balance to my creative bursts of new product and marketing inspirations and my delight in the relationships we have with you. Steve and I may well swap things up again in a few months, but for now, I’m incredibly happy to be welcoming you to another edition of our Beeyoutiful Living Catazine.
Making Ready for Makeup
A monumental undertaking that has been going on behind the scenes here for the past year or so was inspired by one of our all-time favorite product formulators. This incredible lady is the genius behind some of Beeyoutiful’s best-loved products such as Miracle, Winter Breeze, and Ow! Ease. A couple of years ago, she approached us with the idea of launching a full-disclosure, all-natural, safe line of cosmetics. In my (at the time) ignorance, I flatly turned her down. We do nutritional supplements and healing-focused skin care, I thought. Why on earth would I want to enter the ridiculously competitive world of makeup? She persisted, though, and peaked my curiosity regarding the lack of safety and helpful regulation, along with the moral implications of ingredients most makeup companies use.
Even though I was still determined that makeup would never be part of the Beeyoutiful product line, I decided to spend a few days digging into the concerns my friend had raised. I was stunned to discover how naïve I had been. I’ve been a consumer of makeup since my teens, and my faith in the acceptability of most cosmetics was turned on its ear, shaken upside down, and knocked to rubble. Disturbed and humbled, but seriously motivated, I re-directed my determination and began to evaluate whether or not launching a makeup line would be feasible.
I am enormously passionate about individuals taking responsibility and becoming informed consumers. That’s why at Beeyoutiful, we believe it is the consumer’s right to know exactly what she is buying, even if a particular ingredient comprises only half a percent of the product. And now my passion for such education has officially spilled over into the world of cosmetics. Much to my dismay, I’ve discovered that full disclosure in the makeup industry is even more foreign than in the world of nutritional supplements.
You may be as disturbed as I was to know that most skincare and cosmetic companies not only do not support full-disclosure of product ingredients, they actually have policies against disclosure. But how do they get away with this? The bottom line reason is that there is no solid requirement that they “come clean” about what’s in the products they sell.
Cosmetics marketed in the United States, whether manufactured here or imported from other countries, must comply with the labeling requirements of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA), the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (FPLA), and the associated regulations published by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). While that may seem like a lot of supervision and accountability, a less comforting picture emerges upon closer examination.
Under the FPLA, if a product is sold at retail, the ingredients must appear conspicuously on the product label, and they must be listed in descending order of quantity used. But the good news ends there because an “exceptions clause” offers a wide-as-the-horizon loophole. The worst provision allows for non-disclosure of “trade secret” ingredients. If the FDA approves a company’s request for trade secret exemption, then that proprietary ingredient does not have to be declared on the label. In lieu of naming it, the company may simply note that the product contains “other ingredients”—at the end of the list, no matter what quantity is in the product.
I used to be under the mistaken impression that as long as undeclared ingredients made up less than a certain percentage of the product, it did not have to be disclosed. For example, it had to be less than 3 percent of the product. Under this trade secret exemption, however, that is not true. No longer can I comfort myself upon reading the phrase “and other ingredients” with the thought, Oh well, at least it’s only a little bit of the total product.
Furthermore, the FDA does not have authority to approve the labeling of cosmetic products before they are placed on the market. It’s up to the manufacturer and/or distributor to ensure their products are labeled appropriately. This means that, unless someone blows the whistle for mis-labeling in a big enough way to attract the FDA’s attention, many companies will go for years without their products being tested and reviewed. So the actual accountability offered by the FDA for cosmetics is loose and randomly enforced, at best.
There are no words for how disturbing it was for me to learn that some of these protected ingredients, used by almost every cosmetic company out there, are cells from placentas, the tissue from circumcisions, and, most sickening of all, cloned cells from aborted babies. These components are used in everything from makeup, creams, toners, and moisturizers to body washes and shampoos. They are prized by the industry because of their skin-healing, regenerative properties. All those things we appreciate and marvel at in a baby’s beautiful skin make these ingredients valuable to this industry. They tend to show up especially in anything advertised as “anti-aging.”
So where does that leave us? Since labels aren’t required by governing agencies to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, this is the time to pick up the phone, hop on-line and shoot off an e-mail, chat up a live support person, or whatever avenue of communication you find easiest, and ask a very simple question of the companies that provide your makeup and skincare cosmetics: “Are you a full-disclosure company?”
The answer will tell you whether or not you can trust the company’s product labels. If the answer is balking, obfuscating, excuse-making (i.e., explaining the “moral obligation” to protect their proprietary ingredients), or even a simple “no,” then you’ll likely do well to find a new cosmetics supplier. Seek out full-disclosure companies by asking before you buy. You may not like everything they disclose, but at least you can choose whether or not to put those ingredients on your skin.
Disclosing Beeyoutiful’s Disclosure
By now, you can probably guess Beeyoutiful’s practice regarding full disclosure. It is my absolute joy and pleasure to introduce makeup that is made from nothing but minerals—minerals that are tested to avoid cross contamination with heavy metals and certified to be heavy metal free. We include no fillers, not even “natural” ones. You’ll find each and every ingredient listed on each and every one of our labels, no matter how small the quantity.
Our new cosmetics are available on the main Beeyoutiful website, so you can have the convenience of shopping for them along with the supplements and other items you usually shop for there. Please check out our makeup at www.beeyoutiful.com/beeyoutifulskin. We also have a makeup-specific site at www.beeyoutifulskin.com. And if you don’t have internet access, just call and ask for a Beeyoutiful Skin catalog. We’ll be happy to mail it to you.
It’s now dark outside, and my sweet family is waiting for me. Time to pack up the laptop and head home. I’m hoping to share a cup of hot cocoa with them around a warm fire tonight and maybe read a book with some Holiday Cheer.
Thank you for being part of Beeyoutiful. We are grateful that you make it possible for us to do what we do. May you experience the blessings of love, warmth, peace, and joy this Christmas.
With love and gratitude,