STYLE
05/01/2013 02:22 pm ET | Updated May 01, 2013

Beautycounter Reveals Truth About Your Cosmetics...And It May Scare You (VIDEO)

"The average American woman puts between 12 and 20 chemicals on their skin 365 days a year." Sounds shocking, right? But stop for a moment to think about what your skincare routine involves each and every day: shampoo, soap, lotion, cosmetics -- the list goes on. Your skin is your largest organ, absorbing up to 60 percent of what you put on it. But even more shocking -- and upsetting -- is the fact that 80 percent of the ingredients that are used in daily personal care products have never been tested for safety. The laws governing the cosmetics industry date back to 1938 ... and haven't shifted since.

Gregg Renfrew, founder of Beautycounter, has set out to change that. In the video above, Renfrew describes what moved her to start her cosmetics company. It all started when Renfrew, a mother of three, watched "An Inconvenient Truth," which she describes as a "wakeup call." The first changes she made had to do with what she was using in her home, from plastic lunch boxes and cooking pans to cleaning products. "Think about it," Renfrew told The Huffington Post, "You use a toxic cleaning product in your bathtub, which seeps into the skin of your baby, and then into the pipes and finally, into the earth."

As Renfrew overhauled the items in her home and on her kids, she realized that when it came to beauty products, what was available either lacked in efficacy or was "crunchy." The more she realized, the more she felt that, as a consumer, she was being duped by the cosmetics industry.

Renfrew set out to speak to a chemist to understand what labels like "natural" and "safe" really mean. According to Renfrew, those labels mean nothing. Consider this: The European Union has banned 1,300 chemicals that are used as ingredients in beauty products. The US has only banned 11.

So what is the biggest offender? Lotion. "People are so concerned with avoiding pesticides in their food by eating organic, yet they slather chemical-ridden lotions all over their bodies," Renfrew said.

Beautycounter has created a "NEVER" list of ingredients that they avoid at all costs, including animal fats (found in soaps, shaving products and lubricants); benzophenone, a possible human carcinogen found in sunscreen and nail polish; and formaldehyde, a human carcinogen found in shampoo and body wash and more.

Beautycounter is all about transparency. The products are chic and effective (all are vetted by natural beauty expert Christy Coleman) and they list every ingredient on the label, which is not required by law (and many companies don't disclose all ingredients). Moreover, Renfrew is dedicated to the idea of empowering women through commerce. Beautycounter products are sold person-to-person, much like eBay. Renfrew told The Huffington Post, "We believe our story is best told person to person. We want to build a company that's financially successful, but we are a social mission. We took the best of that independent sales force model and married it with social media."

Are you aware/concerned about the ingredients in your beauty products? Are you ready to make a change?

The danger isn't only in your makeup bag, either. Check out more toxic household products below:

PHOTOS: Poisonous Products! Toxic Chemicals In Beauty and Household Products

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