Samantha Shumaker embraces “clean beauty” with Beautycounter

Samantha Shumaker embraces “clean beauty” with Beautycounter

Just as you are what you eat, you are what you apply. When she became a first-time mother in 2014, Samantha Shumaker paid added attention to these adages, and what she discovered through reading and research is that the new adage, related to the products we apply to our skin, is equally important to what we consume through food and drink. This newfound interest in skin health gave birth to her new career as an independent consultant with Beautycounter, a California-based company that is a pioneer in “clean beauty,” meaning that their products do not contain harmful ingredients.

“Every day of the year, the typical American woman applies around 12 to 20 chemicals on their skin through their routine that involves items like shampoo, soap, lotion and cosmetics,” said Shumaker, who lives in Centerville with her husband Pete, and daughters Emma and Everly “What I did not realize until joining Beautycounter is that your skin is your largest organ, and it absorbs up to 60 percent of what you put on it, and 80 percent of the ingredients that are used in daily personal care products have not been tested for safety.”

Founded by Gregg Renfrew, a serial entrepreneur who sold the bridal registry company Wedding List to Martha Stewart Living in 2001, Beautycounter launched in 2013 with an expansive list of banned chemicals, establishing it as a leader in the safe cosmetics market. The clean beauty company has formed several strategic partnerships with companies like J. Crew, Target and Beautycounter also has its own e-commerce shop and a network of about 28,000 independent consultants. Its products range from $18 bars of soap to $160 facial treatment sets.

What appeals to Shumaker is the transparency of Beautycounter’s ingredients. The company banned a list of 1,500 chemicals from its products and partners with environmental activist organizations.

“As a mom, you already have a lot to think about. It provides peace of mind to know that the products you are using are healthy for your child, so that is one less worry you have,” said Shumaker, who graduated from Fairmont High School in 2005 and then earned a bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership from Wright State University in 2009. “I am passionate about Beautycounter because the products are safe and high performing, and it is a company committed to making positive changes by leading a safe skin care movement.”

The beauty industry in the United States is virtually unregulated. The European Union has banned around 1,400 substances from cosmetics and personal care products. That number is 30 in the United States. Beautycounter has banned 1,500 substances from their personal care products. More than 85,000 chemicals are registered for use in commerce, and about 10,500 are used in the cosmetics industry. The Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act has not been updated since 1938 and “allows you to put anything you want in a formulation,” according to Renfrew, who points out that cosmetic products are not labeled like food items.

Decades of studies show that serious health issues that are on the rise (including cancer and asthma) are due in some part to our ongoing exposure to toxic chemicals – inside and outside of the home. Women use an average of 12 personal care products containing 168 ingredients every day. Men apply around six personal care products containing 85 unique ingredients daily. Teenage girls use an average of 17 personal care products a day.

Shumaker likes to tout that Beautycounter’s lines for adults, children and babies feature products that list every ingredient on the label, which is not required by law. She pulls out her business card, which includes “The Never List” on the back. This is a menu of ingredients that Beautycounter avoids at all costs. The list includes 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 among other products. Many of the chemicals cannot be spelled or pronounced properly, even by a skilled linguist, so it makes sense that they are not healthy for the skin, Shumaker says with a smile.

“From the moment you get out of bed and begin your daily routine, you use some form of personal care products, whether you are a man, woman or child,” Shumaker said. “You brush your teeth with toothpaste; clean your skin with soap or shower gel; wash your face with face wash; clean your scalp with shampoo and conditioner; use shaving cream and aftershave; apply lotion, deodorant, perfume or cologne, sunscreen; and, if you are a woman, you can add makeup.”

Beautycounter says its objective is to get safer products into the hands of everyone and educate people about the ingredients that are in the personal care products they use every day. The brand is working to reform the current laws in hopes that other skin care companies will follow their strict safety guidelines. In November 2017, Beautycounter endorsed the Personal Care Products Safety Act, a bill that would provide the FDA authority to protect all Americans from harmful chemicals. The company’s staff members and consultants have made numerous visits to lawmakers in Washington, D.C. as part of their advocacy, and Beautycounter also launched a breast cancer prevention initiative with Breast Cancer Prevention Partners and Keep-A-Breast Foundation along with a summer skin cancer prevention campaign with Stand Up to Cancer.

Shumaker is building a team of consultants in Centerville and south Dayton, and she is getting more involved in the community to talk and educate about Beautycounter and the importance of healthy personal care products.

“When you think about how many personal care or cosmetic products you use in a day, it provokes thought about the importance of what ingredients are in those products,” Shumaker added. “With Beautycounter, I know that myself and my family are using clean products, and I naturally want to spread the word to everyone I know, which is why I made this my career focus.”

For more information, call Shumaker at 937-520-2202 and visit

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