CircleBumpCheckedFilledMedicalBookmarkBookmarkTickBookmarkAddCheckBoxCheckBoxFilled

Gregg Renfrew

Beautycounter founder and CEO
save article
profile picture of Jaime Buerger
Updated June 2, 2017
Hero Image
Image: LVQ Designs

One movie changed everything for Gregg Renfrew, including her career. After watching the 2006 documentary An Inconvenient Truth, the entrepreneur and mother of three became obsessed with the environmental health movement. “I started making sweeping changes in my family’s lives,” Renfrew says. “I switched out plastic containers for glass, exchanged all our mattresses for organic ones and bought [eco-friendly] cleaning products.” Still, there was a glaring omission to her conscientious product swaps. “When it came to finding beauty products that performed to my high standards while using ingredients that were significantly safer for my health, I couldn’t find them,” she says.

Enter Beautycounter, a mission-driven cosmetics and skin-care company. Founded by Renfrew in 2013, the Santa Monica, California, company is building a business and a movement. “The US has not passed a major federal law governing the cosmetics industry since 1938,” Renfrew says. So last year, Renfrew, along with 100 Beautycounter consultants, traveled to the nation’s capital to lobby on Capitol Hill for more transparency and regulation to ban the use of harmful chemicals in moisturizers, makeup, sunscreens and shampoos for adults and children.
Beautycounter sells its products online and through the occasional pop-up shop and partnerships with retailers such as Target and J.Crew. But it’s the company’s network of more than 16,000 independent consultants that drives both a major chunk of its sales and its education-through-advocacy marketing strategy. “Since we know our story is best told person to person, who better to do that than women and moms?” Renfrew says.

“Reforming our outdated laws will take time and thousands of voices,” Renfrew says. But she’s nothing if not patient. “Knowledge is power, and one idea can lead to a very large movement.”

Shock, Not Awe

“When I learned what chemicals are legally allowed in household products, I was surprised, outraged, disappointed, shocked and fearful. Claims like ‘natural,’ ‘botanical’ and even ‘organic do not have legal definitions in the cosmetics industry; companies can say that a product is organic when in fact there are no certified organic ingredients in it, or there are only a couple. A lot of products in the beauty aisle also make claims about health: ‘hypoallergenic’ and ‘doctor-approved come to mind. Unfortunately, a lot of those terms are meaningless.”

Making an Impact

“We believe that in order to fully deliver on our mission to get safer products into the hands of everyone, we must use our business voice to advocate for more health-protective laws. Since we began our advocacy efforts, we have held over 500 meetings, made more than 3,500 calls and sent about 80,000 emails urging members of Congress and the Canadian Parliament to pass laws to better regulate the industry.”

By Women, for Women

“I have always been interested in women-led and for-women businesses. What I didn’t expect when starting Beautycounter is just how much we would influence women’s lives and help empower them, with knowledge about their beauty products to share with friends and family and also by providing a financial opportunity.”

save article
ADVERTISEMENT

Next on Your Reading List

Victoria Monét and two-year-old daughter Hazel Monét Gaines celebrate their Grammy nominations by indulging in Jimmy John’s Red Velvet Cookies while preparing for the awards show on February 04, 2024 in Los Angeles, California
Victoria Monét and Daughter—The Grammy’s Youngest Nominee—Make History
By Wyndi Kappes
allison holker and family
Allison Holker Boss on Dancing, Resilience and Finding Her New Normal
By Nehal Aggarwal
mom sitting at table at home thinking and pondering
I Was an Accidental SAHM—and I’m Done Feeling Guilty About It
By Kristen Bringe
ADVERTISEMENT
Kristin Davis at the New York Pemiere of "And Just Like That..." A New Chapter of Sex and The City held at MoMA on December 8, 2021 in New York City
Why Moms Are Loving Charlotte's ‘and Just Like That’ Monologue
By Wyndi Kappes
78 Percent of Moms Are Overwhelmed by Pumping at Work
78 Percent of Moms Are Overwhelmed by Pumping at Work
By Wyndi Kappes
mother holding sleeping baby at home
Caregiving Reduces Mom's Lifetime Earnings by 15 Percent, Report Says
By Wyndi Kappes
mother working on laptop while holding baby
These Are the Best States for Working Moms in 2023
By Wyndi Kappes
ADVERTISEMENT
working mother sitting at home with baby and breast pump
What the PUMP Act Means for Working Parents
By Wyndi Kappes
Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland hugs his daughter Poppy on the ninth hole during the Par 3 Contest prior to the 2023 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 5, 2023, in Augusta, Georgia
Kids Take the Masters by Storm Dressed as Adorable Caddies
By Wyndi Kappes
mother wearing baby in wrap while working on laptop at home
Study: Parents Work Longer Hours Than Non-Parents Amid Recession Fears
By Wyndi Kappes
ADVERTISEMENT
P!nk attends the 2022 American Music Awards at Microsoft Theater on November 20, 2022 in Los Angeles, California
Balancing Acts: Pink Shares Her Journey as a Rockstar Mom
By Wyndi Kappes
Sanya Richards Ross and family
Olympian Sanya Richards-Ross on Motherhood and Finding Balance
By Nehal Aggarwal
Reps. Dan Goldman, D-N.Y., Jimmy Gomez, D-Calif., Andy Kim, D-N.J., left, and Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., conduct a news conference to announce the Congressional Dads Caucus outside the U.S. Capitol on Thursday, January 26, 2023
Congress’ New Dads Caucus Advocates for Working Parents
By Wyndi Kappes
ADVERTISEMENT
Shonda Rhimes attends the 2020 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Radhika Jones at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on February 09, 2020 in Beverly Hills, California.
Shonda Rhimes Shares the Secret Behind How She Does It All
By Wyndi Kappes
MommiNation founders talking at fundraiser event
How MommiNation Is Helping to Empower a Community of Black Moms
By Jen Hayes Lee
Rihanna is seen outside the Dior show, during Paris Fashion Week - Womenswear F/W 2022-2023, on March 01, 2022 in Paris, France
Rihanna Says Being a Mom Pushed Her to Perform at the Super Bowl
By Wyndi Kappes
mother working from home with baby on lap
New Report Explores if Remote Work Is Really Working for Parents
By Wyndi Kappes
ADVERTISEMENT
wood desk at the texas state capitol
Moms Are Largely Missing From the Law-Making Arena, New Report Reveals
By Wyndi Kappes
pregnant woman working from home at desk in bedroom
Remote Work May Have Led to a Mini Baby Boom, Study Says
By Wyndi Kappes
gabrielle union and dwyane wade smiling with their daughter
Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade Champion Community at Home and Work
By Ashlee Neuman
ADVERTISEMENT
Article removed.
Article removed.
Name added. View Your List