Beautycounter & Clean for the Masses

Beautycounter on Pura Vida Sometimes

Monday was the launch of a 9-week limited engagement between Beautycounter and Target stores. I think I was aptly targeted, so to speak, for an ad about the rollout. Like any good introvert and working mother, I usually shop online and ship for free with my Target REDcard, but I wanted to check out what Beautycounter had going on so I went on my lunch hour.

As a marketer and someone experiencing the brand for the first time, I’ve been thoroughly impressed, and in the store, Beautycounter had a glorious endcap. There in the aisle, I started chatting up a single mother of two teen girls with a basket full of Beautycounter – a long-time fan who advised me on what to put in my basket. She had converted her teens, and now one of her daughters was considering becoming a consultant to help her friends make better decisions. How cool.

Beautycounter and Clean for the Masses on Pura Vida. Sometimes.The European Union has banned more than 1300 ingredients from personal care products, while the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has banned less than a dozen. Stateside, it’s really a case of buyer beware. Sourcing clean personal care is a grassroots movement, and for this, Beautycounter’s boots on the ground consultant model is inspiring.

In another vein, many boutique shops like Citrine Natural Beauty Bar and Detox Market have found devoted audiences online and off- because of their attention to detail and clean beauty product curation, but what happens when we start voting with our dollars at the mass-market box stores like Target?

I have to applaud Target for expanding its offering of natural beauty brands (Vapour Organic Beauty and W3LL People are among my faves). When I have a cart full of diapers, protein bars, sheets, bleach wipes, notecards, and whatever else, it’s easy to throw (literally or digitally) a few luxury green beauty items in for good measure. With the card, I don’t have to leave the house, I don’t have to think about it, and it ships free. Done and done.

I know everyone is worried about my convenience, but the shift in the market is encouraging.  The availability of green beauty for mass consumption represents a quickly growing interest in non-toxic personal care and an awareness of the impact of environmental exposure. When more people are investing in products that are not only not bad, but that are actually active and efficacious, consumption increases and (wishing on a star) U.S. regulating bodies will have to brush up on their international safety standards. But how does spending our money in big stores affect the specialized little ones?

Citrine / Beautycounter and Clean for the Masses on Pura Vida. Sometimes.

Back to me. After a 20 minute drive from my home to Citrine, I find zen. Those of you that are able to visit beauty stores like Detox Market, Credo, or CAP are similarly blessed. Citrine is beautiful like 5th Avenue Tiffany’s with artful displays and thoughtfully curated goodies – a wonderland for my inner 15-year-old and a safe haven of self-love for a tired mom. I can decide if I like the scents, feel, and palette of the products before I buy, and take home a few samples. I get personalized brand and product recommendations from the knowledgeable staff, and have my makeup done by professionals far more talented that I in this regard. There are dazzling social events, and opportunities to learn. For those not in the immediate vicinity, there’s worldwide shipping.

I shop at Target because they have everything of everything, and I’m busy and cheap. But I go to Citrine or shop online at Detox Market because it’s educational, enjoyable, and makes me happy, and because I like to support the entrepreneurs and vote with my greenbacks for natural beauty. Specialty stores play a crucial role in transforming the industry and I don’t think that will change. Rather than a line item on my endless to-do list, shopping with them is fun. But seeing Beautycounter and other great brands at Target is an encouraging sign of demand for non-toxic personal care, which will only help the grow the market for specialty stores and their great service.

Dear reader: you’ve made it this far – please tell me, have you purchased green beauty products in a box store? Do you feel guilty about it like I kind of do, like you’re cheating on your beloved natural luxury shops, or does it give you hope? What’s more important to you: accessibility and convenience, or personalization and experience? Has a box store been your gateway to the larger ecosystem of natural brands? Where do you fall on the spectrum?

Disclosure: A few of the hyperlinked products here that I use and recommend (and link to for your convenience) contain affiliate links, meaning that if you make a purchase after clicking on them, I will receive a small commission (for my convenience…there I go again). Feel free to buy from the suggested vendors or from anywhere else you frequent or find value.

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  1. While bicycling on the thruway driving out of Pai in Northern Thailand, I continued seeing some exceptionally alluring signage on the roadside for a place called Pura Vida. The name 'Pura Vida' evoked some brilliant recollections I had of Costa Rica, where Pura Vida (truly deciphered as Pure Life) is both a prevalent welcome and a disposition which is a characteristic piece of Costa Rican culture. Not for the masses

  2. Thank you, William.Wouldn't we all be better off if pura vida was boundless? Personally, I aspire to the costarricense concept of the good life, even when it seems distant or out of reach. Sounds like a great experience. I'd love to see photos of the signage, if you have them.

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