Summer is finally here and I don’t know about yall but I’m beyond excited to spend some time in the sun, traveling and enjoying time with friends. For those of you who know me well, you know that one of my biggest goals in life has always been to engage and inspire those around me. Whether we became friends during our time at Darlington School, Syracuse University or post Grad where we worked together at Target or met after I finally took the risk and moved to New York City, you know that I’ve never shied away from a challenge or something that was going to improve upon my quality of life.

A few months back, a dear friend of mine, Anna Glennon, who I met prior to becoming a coach at BRICK, introduced me to this brand called BeautyCounter. I’d briefly heard about the brand back in the Fall of 2016 when they collaborated with Target and brought a few of their core products to stores, but quite honestly I didn’t think much about it at the time. Fast forward to attending Anna’s very first BeautyCounter party and I started to understand why Target associated itself with the brand. BeautyCounter’s mission is to “to get safer products into the hands of everyone,” which sounded like a pretty good mission, right? I started using the products and saw a noticeable difference in my skins’ tone, texture and overall appearance, but to be perfectly honest, I’ve never had noticeable skin irregularities and therefore the price points on some of the BeautyCounter products that I’d fallen in love with, didn’t really warrant the price tag for me. That was until Anna mentioned to me their makeup line which stopped me dead in my tracks.

Before I continue though, I want to share with you something that I’ve never really shared with anyone. Did yall know that until about a year ago, one of my biggest insecurities I struggled with was the question of, "do my black peers think that I am "black" enough? Yeah...that's right. I've always felt more out of place when I was amongst peers that looked like me than I did when I was around peers that didn't. In elementary, junior high and high school, I was made fun of countlessly for being "white washed." I was told to stop "talking white" and to stop listening to "white music." I was asked on multiple occasions "do you think you're better than us?" and was made to feel as though I wasn’t worthy of certain opportunities that I had worked extremely hard for.. For a while, I allowed these negative experiences to stop me from engaging in MY community. However, slowly but surely I started to find comfort in who I was as a young Black female and how my experiences brought a unique perspective into diverse communities. I started to get more involved during my time in Corporate America and also outside of work through other organizations. Having left the corporate world behind though I’ve really had to ask myself, how are you continuing to make an impact and bring forward important topics to your community? That’s where my work with BeautyCounter comes in.

As I said, what was really the selling point for me on BeautyCounter was hearing that they had started to grow their makeup line and more importantly they were putting in the work to create a line that was inclusive and allowed women of color the opportunity to buy into their profound mission. Did y’all know that women of color carry a higher toxic chemical load than their white peers, while at the same time, some of the most toxic products are marketed to women of color in the personal care/beauty industry? That fact right there is what led me straight to Anna. I knew from the moment I read articles out there on how my skin absorbs chemicals differs from those of my white peers that I needed to share this with my community. If I have access to a piece of information that can save the lives of those I care for most, that was an investment I was willing to make.

Wanting to understand their “why” a bit more, I needed to do  additional research as well. What I already knew was that BeautyCounter offers skincare, makeup, body-care, and bath products (they even have children & baby bath products) that have been created to the most stringent safety standards possible. However, what I didn’t know was that the cosmetics and personal care industry has not seen a new law passed since the 1930s?  The US only partially bans 30 chemicals in many of the beauty products we use today, while the EU bans over 1,400. In contrast, Beautycounter has created a “Never List,” which bans 1,500 chemicals from their products. I have yet to find the same level of commitment from any other company.

As a Black woman, I  understand the loyalty we feel to certain products that we’ve been using for years. It’s probably because our mom’s use them and their mom’s before them have used them. However, I also know that in my family in particular the women have been diagnosed with illnesses that oftentimes have been unexplained and though I don’t have a note from a doctor saying “it was your favorite MAC Cosmetics foundation that caused that skin mole that then needed to be removed,” I also can’t say that our favorite MAC Cosmetics foundation wasn’t the cause.

So there you have it! Moving forward, expect to see me sharing Beautycounter news along with other related topics. Additionally, though this isn’t an official launch announcement, keep your eyes peeled for my very own Podcast entitled, “Skin Toned,” that I’ll be launching on iTunes at the end of the month that will focus on sharing topics and speaking with notable experts in the Health, Beauty and Wellness world as it pertains to communities of color.

Wondering how you can help support me in my mission to introduce diverse communities to safer products? The most obvious way is utilizing this link whenever you feel so inclined to make a BeautyCounter purchase. Another way is by simply being curious, I want to be here as your resource if you find yourself curious about BeautyCounter’s products, mission and how you yourself can get involved.

I hope that I can continue to be an impactful resource within my community of friends, family and peers. We all only have one life to live and I believe that it should be the healthiest despite the color of your skin.