How to Pick a Beautycounter skincare line?

When I started partnering with Beautycounter for their mission to put safer products into the hands of everyone, I literally had no idea if my own skin was even oily or dry – let alone why or what it needed. Now that I’ve done extensive science-based research and worked with clients for over 5 years, I have a good grasp of not just skin types, but what helps each. The question I get most often is what are the differences between Beautycounter’s skincare lines? While I’m happy to give details about the Countertime, Countermatch, and Countercontrol skincare lines- I want to also call out that a regimen of the same line isn’t the best fit for everyone.

Some people, like myself, have both aging skin that is also blemish-prone. That means a combination of products from different lines works best for me. And everyone has different issues and goals with their skin – from dark spots to fine lines and wrinkles – treatments are something I suggest everyone customize to their own needs. Which leads me to the most important element of a skincare routine: a proper skincare regimen includes 4 steps – wash, prep (tone), treat (serum), and protect (moisturize).

What the 4 Step Regimen Does

Our skin NEEDS a 4 step process:

  1. Wash – cleanses and exfoliates
  2. Prep – restores and prepares skin and balances pH
  3. Treat – addresses any skincare concerns like aging or blemishes
  4. Protect – creates a moisture barrier with lipids and SPF

Most people aren’t prepping the skin, not realizing what an effect it has. In my (professional) opinion, you’re wasting money on your serums if your skin isn’t prepped. Let me give you a visuals:

  • If you put lotion on a dry sponge, it will sit on top of the surface. If you hydrate the sponge (prep it), then add lotion, it will melt in. That’s exactly how your skin works!

Another example is for those who assume their large pores and blemishes need to be dried out and avoid these steps and only wash.

Consider this:

  • Think of extremely dry earth – it cracks and pulls apart. Then, even if you “flood” it with water, it just runs off the surface. The skin equivalent is large pores, which then dry skin flakes, dirt and grime enter and create blemishes. Washing removes the skin’s natural lipids, drying out the skin more – creating dryer and dryer skin – larger and larger pores. But, if the earth receives regular water and care, the cracks close-up and create a protective top layer. The more you properly do each step, the better your skin will be over time!

Most of us are not doing all 4 steps on face and body, you’re not alone! But, if your skin is experiencing issues it is almost always because the layers of your skin are disrupted – so focus on helping your epidermis shed with exfoliation, then rebalancing the pH of the acid mantle, and protecting with lipids is the routine we all need. This applies to dryness on the body too. For example, I have a 4 step routine for under my arms because my skin is sensitive to the pH disruption of natural deodorants. What products you use is dependent on your skin’s specific needs. I’m happy to help curate a routine that’s right for you or a loved one.

More on this can be found on my Science of Skincare post here.

How do you pick what’s right for you?

Well, first and foremost – you don’t need to. That’s one of my favorite parts of my job! I love working with individuals to customize a routine that meets your needs: skin goals and budget – time and money.

That said, if you want to navigate on your own – I totally get that, I’m the same way. Generally here’s what you will find:

Countertime Skincare Line – The age defense line that helps hydrate drying skin while reversing signs of aging with EWG-verified safe RetiNatural Complex, which brightening skin.

Countermatch Skincare Line – A plant-powered line that uses innovative packaging to avoid any preservatives, it adapts to your skin’s specific needs and is great for sensitive skin.

Countercontrol Skincare Line – This anti-inflammatory line works to reduce the cause of oily skin instead of drying it out, ideal for those with very oil and blemish prone skin.

The Ideal Combo (for most)

I find that the ideal combo for most of my clients, to address nearly all skincare concerns, includes elements of each line. When exfoliation combines with nourishing skin superfoods and antioxidants, nearly all skin types benefit from this routine:

  • Countercontrol Clear Pore Cleanser
  • Countertime Mineral Boost Hydrating Essence
  • Countermatch Intense Moisture Serum
  • Counter+ Overnight Resurfacing Peel
  • Dew Skin (or Countersun Sheer Defense)
  • Counter+ No. 1 Brightening Facial Oil
  • Countertime Antioxidant Soft Cream

This does not work for people with extremely dry or extremely oily skin.

How to use:

AM

  • Wash: Clear Pore Cleanser is an exfoliating wash that uses jojoba beads to gently exfoliate while also hydrating with the lipid most like your skin’s own natural sebum.
  • Prep: Pat this mineral-rich sea water on like aftershave until your skin feels plump and juicy, it’s a HUGE bottle because you want to use a lot until skin feels tacky to the touch – this is how you know it’s prepped to properly absorb the treatment.
  • Treat: Countermatch Intense Moisture Serum is the best all-around serum I’ve found. While Countertime Radiance Serum and All Bright C Serum are fantastic, I find they’re too powerful for everyday. This serum is healing and nourishing, allowing all the other items to work better.
  • Protect: Use an SPF (either Dew Skin Tinted Moisturizer or Countersun Sheer Defense) combined with a few drops of the No. 1 Brightening Facial Oil for the added benefits and protection.

PM

  • Wash: same
  • Prep: same
  • Treat: every other day use the Overnight Resurfacing Peel to further exfoliate, nourish, and soothe your skin – reducing signs of aging. Apply, let sit 5-10 min them move on to last step.
  • Protect: Countertime Antioxidant Soft Cream + No. 1  Brightening Facial Oil is the perfect combo for anyone I’ve had try this! You can adjust the amount of oil to include based on your skin’s hydration needs.

Let’s dive into each line in more detail to see how each works:

COUNTERTIME SKINCARE LINE

Countertime – this age defense line helps hydrate drying skin while reversing signs of aging with EWG-verified safe RetiNatural Complex, which brightening skin

This award-winning anti-aging skincare line use a safer alternative to Retinol, plant-derived Retinatural Complex. Key ingredients: Bakuchiol, Swiss Alpine Rose, Mineral-enriched deep sea water, Tri and Tetra-peptides, Persian Silk Tree Extract.

With third party testing for safety and performance, Bakuchiol has been scientifically proven to visibly reduce the signs of aging. The Results speak for themselves, as a skincare routine:

  • 91% of participants said skin felt renewed and looked revitalized
  • 97% said skin texture felt smoother
  • 88% said skin looked more youthful
  • 88% said Countertime reduced the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles

Individually, the Countertime items included are:

  • Countertime Lipid Defence Cleansing Oil (wash): this Asian-inspired oil removes makeup and other impurities without stripping essential lipids from skin.
  • Mineral Boost Hydrating Essence (toner): lightweight but deeply nourishing, this milky skin food delivers vital nutrients to the moisture barrier, instantly boosting hydration and radiance (most noticeable for me with pore reduction and skin tone evening).
  • Tripeptide Radiance Serum (treatment): visibly increases skin firmness and elasticity while reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Antioxidant Soft Cream (day cream): velvety yet lightweight revitalizing cream improves skin barrier function.
  • Tetrapeptide Supreme Cream (night cream): for very dry skin, this rich cream will supercharge your beauty sleep to support elasticity and visibly firm and smoothing skin’s texture.
  • Ultra Renewal Eye Cream: revitalizes eye area and reduces appearance of under-eye shadows and crow’s feet for a smooth, firmed look (I love this on my 11 lines between the brows).

What does NOT work for who?

This line has intense active ingredients (which drive the powerful anti-aging properties). It is also deeply hydrating, therefore:

  • If you have sensitive skin you may find it irritating, especially the Radiance Serum. Start with a patch test – the Soft Cream and Essence work well for most people.
  • If you have oily or blemish-prone skin, avoid the Supreme Cream – it may be occlusive for non-dry skin.

COUNTERMATCH SKINCARE LINE:

Countermatch – this plant-powered line uses innovative packaging to avoid any preservatives, it adapts to skin’s specific needs and is great for sensitive skin

If you’re looking for the best all-around skincare line, this is it; hydration and vitamins offer anti-aging properties as well as adapt to individual skin needs, making it great for those people who skin changes in environments or who have combination or sensitive skin. Key ingredients: Shea Butter (Vitamin E), oils from plums and olives to moisturize, and Salicylic acid to even skin tone

What does NOT work for who?

Because this line uses bio-mimic plant properties, if your skin is damaged or blemish prone, it is not ideal.

COUNTERCONTROL SKINCARE LINE

Countercontrol – this anti-inflammatory line works to reduce the cause of oily skin instead of drying it out, ideal for those with very oil and blemish prone skin

This anti-acne skincare line is intended for people with very oily skin, if you have normal or dry skin this is not for you! This is NOT an anti-acne line, as acne is often a dry skin condition. You will know if you have oily skin because it will be oily all over and not tight or flaky in any areas. If you have any dryness, tightness, or flaking then you have combination skin, which is to be treated like dry skin. The custom routine I created above will work well for you.

If you have very oily skin, then this is a good transition line until your skin is less oily, then you’ll want to move to something to support the repair of the moisture barrier of your skin with the custom routine above over time.

What does NOT work for who?

Portions of this line are great for teens and adults with oily and blemish-prone skin, but I don’t recommend the whole line for anyone because many find it drying or irritating if they use the whole line and aren’t super oily. Don’t be attracted simply because it’s the most affordable or you have blemishes – I am happy to help you find a routine that works best for your skin within your budget!

Q: OK, but what is Counter+

The PLUS collection – targeted spa-like ADDITIONS to your above routine

You can see how quickly and effective the charcoal Balancing Mask is here,
pulling out dirt and impurities from my pores!

Detoxify & Balance Skincare Line

This line is best for: all skin types; those concerned with acne and oily skin

Charcoal Facial Mask

Key Ingredients: activated charcoal (draws out impurities), witch hazel green tea extract, salicylic acid, lactic acid

Clinical study results:

    • 97% said oil deeply nourished and calmed skin.
    • 94% said the appearance of skin redness was reduced.
    • 97% said mask refined and smoothed skin.
    • 94% said mask absorbed excess oil.
    • 87% said mask detoxified pores and purified skin.

Cleansing Cleansing Bar

Key Ingredients: Binchotan charcoal powder to help detoxify and absorb impurities in skin without drying it out, resulting in a smoother, brighter complexion. Made with a palm-free soap base, the gentle formula can be used daily on the face.

Clinical study results:

    • 100% said skin felt deeply cleansed and detoxified
    • 97% agreed skin looked clearer
    • 84% said the appearance of pores was reduced
    • 97% said skin appeared more radiant and glowing

Balancing Facial Oil

Key Ingredients: Lightweight and silky smooth, our proprietary blend of oils is designed to help hydrate, smooth, and even skin tone. Softening meadowfoam seed oil helps restore balance, while ylang ylang provides a delicate scent.

Clinical study results:

    • 97% said oil deeply nourished and calmed skin
    • 90% felt skin clarity was improved
    • 97% felt skin clarity was improved
    • 94% said the appearance of facial redness was reduced

Lotus Glow Cleansing Balm

This Swiss-Army Knife of Skincare is best for those with limited time, those who love a multi-tasker, and those with dry and/or aging skin. It can be used day or night or as a wash, makeup remover, and overnight mask. Hydrates as it cleanses, leaving skin glowing and revitalized.

Key ingredient: Lotus Extract: an active stem cell and a blend of jojoba seed oil and avocado seed oil mimics the skin’s natural lipids to leave skin in balance.

Clinical study results:

    • 100% said skin looked brighter and more radiant
    • 100% agreed it removed face and eye makeup
    • And 100% said skin felt nourished, more hydrated and smoother

I love using the Cleansing Balm to remove the Charcoal Facial Mask as an exfoliating skin treatment, like microdermabrasion but safe for at-home use. See a tutorial here.

 

Brightening Skincare Line

Brightening Facial Oil won Allure Magazine’s Best of Beauty 2017 award

Best for: all skin types; those will dull, uneven skin-tone or scarred/damaged skin
Key Ingredients: Vitamin C, avocado oil (Vitamins B, D, and E) and Lime extract

Clinical study results:

    • 91% said skin looked brighter
    • 94% agreed skin looked more glowing and radiant
    • 97% said skin felt immediately hydrated
    • 91% said skin looked revitalized and renewed

All Bright C Serum has won multiple awards, including:

Best for: all skin types; those will dull, uneven skin-tone or scarred/damaged skin
Key Ingredients: Tumeric Root and Camu Camu Fruit Extract

10% Vitamin C, potent, ultra-stable dose of vitamin C includes:

  • 5% Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate: This antioxidant reduces the appearance of dark spots and boosts skin brightening to reveal more youthful-looking skin.
  • 5% Bis-Glyceryl Ascorbate: A second form of vitamin C, this ingredient moisturizes skin while providing antioxidant benefits known to protect skin from damaging environmental stressors–and helps improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

    Clinical study results:

      • 100% said skin looked brighter
      • 94% said reduced the appearance of dark spots
      • 97% said skin felt more youthful
      • 94% said skin looked more even-toned

Exfoliators

Overnight Resurfacing Peel

Both exfoliating and soothing acids that aid to increase cellular turnover then nourish and revitalize skin. Boosts overall clarity and radiance. Gentle yet effective and non-irritating Leaves skin softer, smoother, and brighter.

Best for: all skin types, those will dull, uneven skin as well as acne or pore clogging prone.
Key ingredients:  Glycolic Acid: improves skin texture, resurfaces, exfoliates; Lactic Acid: stimulates cell renewal promoting a smoother, radiant-looking complexion; Citric Acid: helps refine and renew skin; Arginine & Fatty Acids: aid in conditioning and moisturizing skin

Clinical study results:

    • 100% agreed product was non-irritating
    • 87% said skin felt smoother and softer
    • clinically proven to boost skin radiance and help improve skin texture

AHA Smoothing Mask

The mask is clinically proven to improve skin texture and tone as well as increase skin radiance.
Best for: discolored, dull skin with clogged pores – blemish-prone skin, uneven skin tone, signs of aging, scars, UV damage and dark spots. Packed with a powerful blend of exfoliants that work together to achieve, softer, smoother, and more even-looking skin.

All the exfoliating ingredients are fantastic for blemish-prone skin as well as reversing the signs of aging. Great for nearly all skin types, just make sure to follow with a 4-step skincare routine and test patch first if you have sensitive skin. Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) are plant and animal-derived acids used in a variety of skincare products used for daily anti-aging as well as occasional concentrated treatments. Through exfoliation, AHAs:

  • correct discoloration from scars and age spots
  • improve appearance of surface lines and wrinkles
  • prevent acne breakouts
  • brighten your complexion
  • promote collagen and blood flow
  • increase product absorption (making other skincare products more effective)

Includes 3 types of exfoliation:

  1. Phytic Acid – focuses on resurfacing the outer layer of our skin through chemical exfoliation, think of the top layer of your skin gently flaking away. That allows the build-up from the top layer of your skin, from air pollutants to what you put on it, to be sloughed away for immediate results. You can also find Phytic Acid in some of my other favorites – such as the All Bright C SerumCountercontrol Clear Pore Cleanser, all of CountertimeCountermatch Intense Moisture SerumFoaming Cleanser and Hydra-Gel Radiance Toner
  2. Glycolic Acid – deep penetration to the lower layers of your skin to clean out pores and improve skin tone over time. This provides long-term results, the more consistently you use it, the better the skin will appear. The Overnight Resurfacing Peel also has Glycolic Acid, but in a lower concentration best for long-term results.
  3. Bamboo particles – the bouncy gel turns into beads that form on the skin as the mask dries. This allows for manual, physical exfoliation to further smooth the top surface of your skin and clear out pores. Bamboo is a perfectly circular particle, which is important to ensure particles do not get stuck in the pores (jojoba is another that does this, in Clear Pore Cleanser).

Read more on the AHA Mask here (including how to use).

 

All of these treatments are used in various ways, but are ‘add ons’ to your regular skincare routine. They are the magic fairy dust that makes the rest all come together, but cannot be effective alone if skin is not properly prepared and protected.

Need help choosing what’s right for you? E-mail me: Stacy@RealEverything.com – I love to do free consults!

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