Cancer Survivorship: Why Clean Beauty Matters

I am not a cancer survivor. I am the mother of one. I understand the terror and trauma of a cancer diagnosis. Twenty-one years ago, my precious child Alyssa (age 8) was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. Although it was more than 2 decades ago, I remember it like it was yesterday.

On August 18, 1999, my very personal journey with cancer began. A journey that would require my daughter to undergo many stages of treatment including surgeries, radiation, chemotherapy, months of rehabilitation, extended hospital stays and years of MRI’s, and physical, occupational and speech therapies. Thankfully and against the odds, Alyssa survived.

As we started to move forward in life and adjust to our ever-changing new normal, I began to take a much closer look at the foods, cleaning products, and materials in our home that could impact my family’s health. I made changes to safer, healthier alternatives where I could but at that time, the options were limited. Today it has become much easier to find safer and greener products made available by multiple companies.

One of the areas that I initially overlooked were personal care products like shampoos, soaps, skincare and cosmetics. Products that have a profound daily impact on most people’s lives including my family’s. I naively believed (as does 80% of the US population) that if these essentials were harmful for you or contained questionable or toxic ingredients than these products would not be allowed to be produced and distributed.

Since then I have learned so much. Our skin is the largest organ in our body and the products that you use on it are quickly absorbed into our bloodstream. Studies of toxic chemicals in personal care products have been linked to serious health issues like cancer, infertility, asthma, and hormone disruption.

Today there are over 80,00 chemicals on the market and many do not have safety data. This is particularly true of products produced by the skin care and beauty industries. In comparison, the European Union has banned or restricted more than 1,400 harmful ingredients from personal care products. The US has banned or restricted only 30.

Sadly, the US has not passed a major federal law governing the cosmetics industry since 1938. Once you learn certain facts like these, it is impossible to un-know them. My research and quest to find safer personal care products led me to learn about “clean beauty” which in turn led me to Beautycounter. First as a customer and now as a consultant.

This year my daughter Alyssa and I became Beautycounter Consultants. We are a mother and daughter team! Here’s what inspires us:

  • Beautycounter is the leader in the clean beauty industry. They are committed to producing high-performing skincare and cosmetics, without toxins and harmful chemicals. The ingredients of every product are displayed on their websites with an easy-to-understand description of their purpose.
  • Beautycounter has identified and banned over 1,800 products that will never appear in their formulations. It is aptly called, “The Never List.(TM)” Formulate, advocate and educate- that is their motto for creating products that truly perform while holding themselves to unparalleled standards of safety.

We joke that my passion for clean beauty has become a family affair that includes both my husband and two daughters. We are all more aware and interested in using products that are formulated without toxins and harmful ingredients. Beautycounter is now the go-to line for all of us. It is part of our journey and I am proud that we are embracing it, because along with happiness, health and wellness is a goal that we strive for to the best of our ability. It is an ongoing process but I feel like we are well on our way.


To find out Maxine’s and Alyssa’s top product recommendations for survivors or to shop Beautycounter’s full skincare and make-up lines, visit Maxine’s and Alyssa’s Beautycounter website.

If you are Interested in learning more about the cosmetic industry and Beautycounter’s commitment to clean beauty, read this informative article by Janet Nudelman, the Director of Breast Cancer Prevention Partners entitled, “Cosmetic Safety :82 Years Later Have Things Changed?”