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#87: What's In Your Moisturizer, Anyways?

Published on
June 14, 2022
Show notes

In Episode 87, Quinn & Brian ask: What, exactly, are we putting on our bodies (and why aren’t more people asking questions about it)? Our guest is: Gregg Renfrew. Gregg is a serial entrepreneur who most recently founded Beautycounter to increase transparency and safety in the personal care industry. She also actively lobbies for regulation in the cosmetics industry to limit the number of harmful chemicals included in products sold in America because, you know, less poison in and on our bodies is a good thing — a good thing that many other companies in the beauty industry fight vehemently against. There are complicated ingredients in our cosmetics, moisturizers… well, pretty much everything we’re sold to put on our body to make it look or feel better. And these ingredients are increasingly obscured by labeling trickery, like the deceptive word “fragrance” that can hide dozens of potentially dangerous chemicals — and, holy hell, after what we learned in this episode, we are so on board with getting to the bottom of all of it. Have feedback or questions? Tweet us, or send a message to Trump’s Book Club: “Start with Why” by Simon Sinek Links: Instagram: Facebook: The Never List: Want to take action now? Text #betterbeauty to 52886 Connect with us: Subscribe to our newsletter at! Follow us on Twitter: Follow Quinn: Follow Brian: Like and share us on Facebook: Intro/outro by Tim Blane: Important, Not Important is produced by Crate Media


Quinn: Welcome to Important, Not Important. My name is Quinn Emmett.

Brian:  And my name is Brian Colbert-

Quinn: Brian Colbert Kennedy.

Brian:  Okay.

Quinn: This is the podcast where we bend the motherfucking arc of history towards a more livable planet for you, and for me, and for everybody else until coronavirus gets us.

Brian:  We're diving into a specific question affecting everyone on the planet that's still alive right now.

Quinn: Mm-hmm (affirmative), if it can kill us or make the future a hell of a lot cooler for everybody, we are in.

Brian:  In. Our guests have been scientists, doctors, CEOs, engineers, politicians, astronauts, a reverend once, and we work together toward action steps that our listeners can take with their voice, and their vote, and their dollar.

Quinn: This is your friendly reminder that you can send questions, thoughts, and feedback to us on Twitter @importantnotimp, or you can email us at

Brian:  You can also. I'm going to do this one like you. You can also join tens of thousands of other smart people and subscribe to our free weekly newsletter at

Quinn: So helpful, thank you. Of course, if you do enjoy this content, and why would you, and if you'd like to support all of the hard work that goes into it, all of the money and the time that goes into it, and the thought and care, we do actually care.

Brian:  Of course.

Quinn: You can become a premium member for just five bucks a month at You will get ad free episodes, you'll get our fun talk conversations, an exclusive audio version of our weekly newsletter you can listen to on your commute, even if your commute is only six minutes long, you'll get caught up on everything, and you'll get a discount on merchandise at our store. That's, for those who give a shit, and that'll be in your show notes as well.

Brian:  This week's episode asks, do we really know what's in that face moisturizer, and where the hell did it come from?

Quinn: You know who has the answers?

Brian:  Gregg.

Quinn: Our guest.

Brian:  Yeah.

Quinn: Yeah. Gregg Renfrew, and she is using her company, Beautycounter, to expose the complicated ingredients and even more complicated supply chain of the beauty world, and help lead the way towards a more free and clear future for our faces and our bodies, and holy hell, after what we learned, I am game.

Brian:  She is wonderful, company seems awesome.

Quinn: You've already bought a bunch of Beautycounter stuff.

Brian:  I really did.

Quinn: Let's go talk to Gregg.

Brian:  All right.

Quinn: Our guest today is Gregg Renfrew, and together we're going to ask, what exactly are we putting on our bodies? What are we putting on our face and why is no one asking questions about it? One woman is, and we're excited to talk to her about it today. Gregg, welcome.

Gregg Renfrew: Thanks for having me.

Brian:  For sure. Thank you for being here. Can we get going by you just telling everybody who you are and what you do?

Gregg Renfrew: Do you have an hour? Okay, fine.

Brian:  Yes.

Gregg Renfrew: I am Gregg Renfrew, I'm the founder and CEO of Beautycounter, and we are a brand that is focused on beauty products, but we are really a movement to change the beauty industry and to get safer products into people's hands across North America.

Brian:  Sounds incredible.

Quinn: That didn't take an hour, that was easy.

Gregg Renfrew: No. I mean, I didn't know if you really wanted to hear all my life story or just a few [crosstalk 00:03:29].

Brian:  We're going to get into it.

Quinn: Yeah, don't worry

Brian:  We'll get into stuff. It's going to be great.

Quinn: Don't worry, don't worry.

Brian:  That was a very nice succinct.

Quinn: I know, I got to work on that [crosstalk 00:03:35].

Brian:  Oh god, you talk so much.

Quinn: Just, can we get?

Brian:  Anyway, Gregg. So as a reminder to, I think we just told you, but to everyone else also, we're going to go over some context for our topic today and then get into some specifically action oriented questions that get to the heart of why we should give a shit about you and what you do, and what we can all do to support you. Sound good?

Gregg Renfrew: Sounds great.

Quinn: Rock and roll. So Gregg, on the topic of your life story, we don't usually delve too much into that, but we do like to ask one question that sort of sets the tone for the day. So Gregg, if you could, could you just explain to us why you feel like you're vital to the survival of the species?

Gregg Renfrew: Oh my god, I love it. Okay. Why am I vital to the survival of the species?

Quinn: Be bold.

Gregg Renfrew: Well, I think that the work that I'm doing today is really focused on eradicating toxic chemical exposure in skin care and personal care products, but it's also really about living a clean life and to try to get toxic chemicals out of our environment at large. I think when you look at what's happening and what is currently being done that is both detrimental to the Earth and human health, I think that it would, I think it's safe to say that if someone is not doing something about these issues, that we're going to be in a very, in an even more difficult spot than we find ourselves in today. So I think I am relevant for those reasons.

Brian:  I think she's hired, I think that's it.

Quinn: Yeah.

Brian:  Great.

Quinn: Welcome to our show.

Gregg Renfrew: Good, I'm glad I passed the test.

Brian:  I'm relevant because I decided to step up, I love it.

Quinn: It's great, it's great.

Brian:  Love it.

Quinn: All right, so listen, I'm going to do just a quick little context. Sometimes these things are longer, sometimes these are shorter. Sometimes it's why are we having this conversation from our perspective, which is kind of what I guess to frame this one is, which is the beauty industry. Maybe not exactly what people expect when they come to this show, but that is the entire reason for us doing it today, which is two mid 30s cis white guys talking about these things. I'm only half kidding because our listeners know we are very happy and eager to humble ourselves before shit we have exactly zero knowledge on, so we do our best to bone up ahead of time, but trying to be bold to go where not a whole lot of dudes have gone before, which seems to be exactly what the problem is here. I mean, personally I feel like, and I don't know about you, Brian, I started using for example face moisturizer for the first time about five years ago.

Brian:  Even less for me, yeah.

Quinn: Yeah for sure. Are you about to run downstairs and buy your first?

Brian:  No, I have some, I have some eye cream.

Quinn: Okay, the point is, I almost immediately got yelled at though because of the time we're in and because of people like Gregg, by a friend because I was using some delightfully packaged stuff from a well-known brand, but it had about 500 probably toxic ingredients on the label, and I was told I was not allowed to do that anymore. So that was one product on one guy, but the beauty industry is currently raking in, and please correct me if I'm wrong here, it's about $90 billion in the US alone. Is that right?

Gregg Renfrew: Yeah, I think it's more like 80, but in that range, for sure.

Quinn: It's large.

Brian:  Damn.

Quinn: So I can't imagine. I mean, I watch my wife try to deal with it, and both deal with her own issues, try to do the right thing for her body, use stuff that actually also works for her, and at the same thing try to do the right thing for the world. This labyrinth of choosing beauty and personal care products for people who use more of them, because they choose to or because they need them, or for people who've been, like people of color been mostly ignored by the big companies for so many years, but there's been this big revolution this past decade of we're paying so much more attention to for example what we're putting into our bodies, right? Food, everybody's got an opinion on GMO right now. This is all good stuff, but so much less to what we're putting on our bodies. But our guest thankfully has been stirring shit up since she lost her company almost a decade ago, and you started with banning I believe about 1,800 ingredients and stalking Capitol Hill to push for even more institutional change. So I want to use all that to get to our topic today.

Quinn: Gregg, if I could, I wanted to save one last bit of context for you. Could you tell us the last time the US beauty industry was regulated in any way? What year was that?

Gregg Renfrew: So the last time we passed a major law regulating the cosmetic and personal care industry was in 1938 under the Federal Food, Drugs, and Cosmetic Act that FDR put forth in 1939.

Quinn: Great, Gregg.

Brian:  1938.

Quinn: So 1938.

Brian:  Interesting.

Quinn: I'm trying to think of all of the things that have happened since then and it's-

Brian:  All of the things.

Quinn: It's a bit. So what did that specific regulation actually establish, and then what isn't regulated today?

Gregg Renfrew: So I think at the end of the day, if you look at the one and a half pages of legislation that now govern our 80 plus billion dollar personal care industry, what's in it is insufficient, and we can go into the details but probably not worth it. It's probably more important to talk about what is not currently included in the legislation that stands today, and I think there are a couple of very important factors, and I think that the American consumer is misled or assumes that these things are actually happening that they're not.

Gregg Renfrew: So the first is that the FDA is not screening chemicals for safety before they are put in the products that are put on the shelves and sold to all of us in the US, which is not the same thing as in the food industry. So there's no regulation on materials, there is no regulation over the claims that are being made by companies. So I could in theory say that we're all natural, or pure, or botanically based, or made of aloe, or whatever you want, when they maybe none of the above may be true, and there's no regulation that's actually looking at the claims being made.

Gregg Renfrew: Then the third and probably arguably most important detail that is missing in the current legislation is the FDA does not have the ability to recall product. So while you are, for example if you are in the food industry and there is an outbreak of salmonella or something, they would immediately pull all those products from the shelf. On the personal care side, they can suggest a recall, but they can not enforce a recall, even if there are pretty significant health, adverse health consequences from the ingredients or the products, and we've seen many cases where they've been up to 20,000 reported cases of permanent hair loss in a hair care line as an example, and they can't do anything about it. So it is absolutely time for cosmetic reform.

Brian:  May I please ask how the hell that is possible? How, how, how?

Quinn: I mean, I feel like this-

Brian:  Holy shit.

Quinn: Before we get into what I feel like, the how is because of probably who is in charge. I mean, just again, to paint pictures for people, like you said ... What was it? What kind of lettuce was it a couple months ago, over Christmas that got?

Gregg Renfrew: Romaine.

Quinn: Romaine, right? So we get a couple salmonella, I believe they were salmonella cases, a couple salmonella, and they're immediately like, "Get it the fuck off the shelves as quick as you can." And telling everybody, public service announcements, "Don't buy it if you do see it." Everywhere. But with beauty it seems like, and again, correct me if I'm wrong, not only do we not know that those things are happening, then there's also no mechanism to pull them back. Is that correct?

Gregg Renfrew: That is correct.

Quinn: Great. Fucking perfect.

Gregg Renfrew: Yeah.

Quinn: So getting to the fact of the matter, and this is really just a theme of our show. Again, we're a couple white guys who shouldn't be in charge of anything, but we try, our guests are 78% women or people of color, but that is not representative of the people in charge. So does this lack of any sort ... 1938, 80 something. Does this lack of any sort of accountability over eight decades, it seems to me would have something to do with the people who've been in power this entire time, which is white men who are like, "Yes, please. Go put on your powder and sell your Tupperware." Do you feel like that is the fundamental issue or what, are we barking up the wrong tree?

Gregg Renfrew: Okay, I think that that's part of it. I mean, I think at the end of the day there are a couple things. I think that for many decades companies were utilizing ingredients in formulations that they at the time had no idea might be harmful to health. So I don't think that it necessarily started with any mal-intent. I think that we've introduced over 80,000 chemicals into commerce since World War II, and less than 10% of them have been tested for safety, for human and environmental health, period. [crosstalk 00:12:53] Not just in our industry, just in general. So I think that people have found ingredients and chemicals that have driven performance in products, and they didn't. Think about it, if you go back in time and you think about tobacco, you think about smoking, right? There was a point in time where people didn't yet realize that there was actually anything wrong, and then obviously very quickly people started getting sick.

Gregg Renfrew: So one problem with personal care products is that unless you're actually allergic to an ingredient and fragrance, unless you have an immediate allergic reaction, you may be putting something on your skin or under your arms for many, many decades and you might not realize that it's doing anything harmful to health, so I don't think that people necessarily thought in the beginning that these ingredients were harmful to health. I think what's happened now is you have, yes, you've got some of the wrong people running the companies, for sure, and you've got some, you've got a self-regulated council in the Personal Care Products Council, so they've created a trade association that lobbies in Washington to advocate that all the products and ingredients are safe and they're going against what the consumer needs. So there is that part of it, but I also think that it's an incredibly complicated business, I knew nothing about it. I didn't come from the beauty industry, I'm not a big beauty person, and it's complex. So I think it's also difficult for, with many of these companies being large, publicly traded companies, and demands by shareholders in the capital markets, to change a formulation and to take out three or four ingredients completely changes the entire product. So it's complicated.

Gregg Renfrew: It's not just that these guys are all assholes, I have to admit that that is part of it.

Quinn: Sure, sure.

Gregg Renfrew: But I think it's also just a really, really complicated complex issue.

Quinn: Yeah. I mean, it almost ... We're dealing with this issue out here, we're writers, the agencies, we're in this battle with them because the agencies have done this packaging thing, where they've been basically stealing our money for 30, 40 years, and we just finally caught up with it. The problem is now as we're choosing to fight them on it, is that it's almost too far gone, for them not to do this practice anymore would, in a lot of ways, really disrupt their whole businesses because they've been building them not for five or 10 years, but for 40 years. Like you said, at the beginning it seems like beauty, not just the people in charge, no one really knew what these things were made of or what the ingredients would do. I mean, shit, this was '38, it's about like seven, eight years after we just discovered penicillin, right? I mean, we were in a very new era then.

Brian:  Early days.

Quinn: Like pre new era, but at some point people know what they're doing, and then the problem is after they know what they're doing, like you said, it becomes very complicated. These things become such a big part of the business that if you're one of these huge conglomerates, taking four ingredients out is a massive process. Which you have to empathize with a little bit, even though we still need to do it, right? So that's, yeah, that's interesting.

Gregg Renfrew: I don't think it's like ... I always say this and I shouldn't say this publicly, but I do. It's sort of like Coke all of a sudden trying to make healthy Coke.

Brian:  Right.

Quinn: Sure.

Gregg Renfrew: The consumer has an expectation of that sort of sparkly feeling in their mouth, and the taste, and the texture, and the color, and all that, and so they've made, maybe at one point in time Coke thought it was super safe. Now they have that expectation, now they try to create healthy Coke, it's very difficult, and I think that's the same for many of these beauty brands and personal care companies. We all as consumers have become accustomed to the performance or the scent, or the texture, and now they got to figure out how to do it with a totally different set of ingredients. It's not that easy.

Brian:  Yeah.

Quinn: Yeah, and to be fair, not everybody feels this way about what they're putting on their body or what they're putting in their body. Not everybody really gives a shit that the Impossible Burger is going to stop people cutting down the Amazon, they just want their fucking Whopper.

Brian:  Lots of people just want their Coke.

Quinn: And they just want their Coke, and they just want to put on that lip gloss that looks amazing, or that shampoo that feels amazing, even if they can't pronounce three quarters of the words. They don't really give a shit, and that's a lot more people than I think we realize, but they are going to leave that brand if they make something that doesn't work as well or doesn't taste as good.

Gregg Renfrew: For sure, and I think, look. I think one of the biggest things that we've done at Beautycounter from day one is focus on education, because I think at the end of the day, armed with information, people do make better choices, but in our industry no one was talking about this until we launched the company. Most Americans still have no idea that there are chemicals of concern in the products that they use. They may know that someone is chopping a tree down in the rainforest, and they may or may not care about that issue, but I think if they really thought that it was going to harm their baby or that they were going to be ultimately get some sort of, I don't know, cancer from this, or not have to struggle with fertility, and there was a choice out there that delivered the same performance, and was just as sexy, and you could still look great on Friday night, and you still didn't smell after the sports event you're in or whatever.

Gregg Renfrew: I think people would make good choices, but right now they don't even know that they need to make a choice because no one is telling them the truth, and I think that was the first thing we set out to do, is how do we arm you with information, not make you feel badly about the things you've done up till now, because you didn't know. Now you know, now you can do better. I do think more times than not people will do better if there is a solution that works, but prior to the launch of Beautycounter, there weren't a whole lot of things out there that were working for consumers, and no one was talking about it.

Brian:  Right.

Quinn: Ugh, wild. I want to talk about ingredient sourcing. Sort of like the cobalt that's been historically mined by child labor in the DRC, and it's a primary and essential ingredient in every phone battery, and electric car, and everything else. One of the beauty industry's essential ingredients is a labor nightmare. Can you tell us about that?

Gregg Renfrew: Are you talking about mica?

Quinn: Mica.

Brian:  Mica.

Gregg Renfrew: Yeah, so I think, as a leader brand, I think, our mission is our true North Star, and I think there are a lot of brands out there claiming clean, and for sure restricting ingredients of concern is one way to achieve clean status, but for us we really wanted to take things way farther than that and look up and down our supply chain and drive for a radical transparency in supply chain, which is really, really complicated because there are so many ingredients and derivatives of ingredients in every single product that people use. So we decided to tackle one where we knew that there was some sort of fishy information out there. So about two years ago we set forth to try to understand exactly where all of our mica was coming from. For people who don't know much about mica, mica is a mineral that is widely used in cosmetics. It gives all that sparkle or luster in eyeshadows, or sometimes when someone has like a lip gloss, or even a cream that has just a little bit of like a shimmer to it of any way. Those products use mica.

Gregg Renfrew: It's also more widely used in electronics and in the auto industry. I mean, we only use about 17% in beauty. We only use about 17% of the mica supply and the rest of it is being used in paint, auto parts, et cetera, et cetera. But back to our story with mica, we felt that we were being given information by all of our suppliers, but we just felt like these pieces of paper that said that it was in legal mines or whatever, we just didn't really believe it because it wasn't all adding up. So we decided to set forth to better understand what was going on. So we started with phone auditing of our manufacturers, and then actually physically going to the actual mines. I think we were the first beauty brand in 40 years to show up in Jharkhand in India.

Quinn: Damn.

Gregg Renfrew: In these places to actually look, and what we saw wasn't pretty, and I think what we decided as a company was to help bring the consumer along this journey with us to say, "Look, we know that children are being used, that there's wage theft, that there are people being coerced into mines, there are children being used to mine this mica." And instead of walking away from it or just saying, "We're going to use synthetic mica." Which some of the beauty brands are doing, we said, "Look, we need to get to the root cause." These people still need to eat, there are no other economic opportunities, but how do we ensure that kids are in school and not worrying about death, and how do we create a new way of doing business there that actually represents the kind of brand that we want to be, and that I think our clients would be proud of? No one wants to think about a child in a mine, so how do we help work with those communities to get to the root cause and create real change, and that's what we're doing right now.

Quinn: First of all, I mean, that's awesome.

Brian:  Yes.

Quinn: I obviously applaud you guys for being so proactive about it when no one else had even started to consider that. Did you make a documentary about this whole thing? Is that, wait, am I-

Gregg Renfrew: Yes, we did. We just recently launched a film called Transparency, which is a short documentary on the industry and some of the work that we're doing on the ground ourselves and a group called Sourcemap that is actually helping large companies trace, they've worked in coffee, and they've worked in cocoa. They're now, this is their first foray into beauty to really help us figure out exactly where all of our raw materials are coming from, where our mica is coming from, and we just launched that, and it's been incredible. Because I think at the end of the day, our entire industry has been built on secrets and we're the brand that's saying, "No, we're going to tell you exactly what's going on." And as a consumer you can choose to support our brand or not, but you need to know exactly what's going into the products and what you're putting in your body, and what's happening up and down the supply chain as it relates to everything from the people, to our carbon footprint, et cetera.

Quinn: Sure, and again, where that parallels food is there are so many people now thankfully, the tide is certainly growing of people who really care where their food come from, and how it grows, and what goes into it, whether it's antibiotics or not. Again, there's always going to be this large chunk of people who just don't give a shit that their burger was raised in a pen with a 1,000 other burgers, and how many drugs are pumped into it because they don't want to pay more for it and they just want this. So I imagine that has not been easy. What were I guess some of your successes and obstacles in confronting the mica, mica, sorry?

Gregg Renfrew: Mica, mica.

Quinn: Mica. What were your big roadblocks you really ran into in trying to do this, and then how did you guys start to solve this for yourself? Because it seems like, and again, not any knowledge besides what you've told us, it seems like this ingredient is used in quite a lot of stuff.

Gregg Renfrew: Yeah, I mean, as I said, it's used in a lot of our products, but it's used all over industries, and I think that we're also going to be calling on the auto manufacturers and electronics companies to team up with us to really focus on eradicating child labor and to try to create better conditions for the communities that support the mica industry. I think in terms of some of the roadblocks, I mean, first of all, you're just getting the raw material suppliers with whom we worked who admit that there are partially legal mines being used, and to knowledge that we need to do audits, and to physically allow us access to the mines. We still haven't completed that because we've been blocked by certain people who don't, they don't want us to gain access because they know that that will force them to change. So I mean, there are legal issues within India, there's a lot of that sort of undercurrent of, I don't want to say crime because that's probably not the right word, but there's a lot of shady dealings going on out there, and a lot of people not telling us the truth.

Gregg Renfrew: So it's dangerous work. It's literally dangerous work physically, but it's also dangerous in that you can put yourself in some pretty sketchy situations. So we're trying to make sure that we do this, that we navigate this really murky waters but don't put our entire, our team at risk of their lives while we're trying to navigate this, and trying to hold people accountable for telling us the truth when it's very easy for them to find the loopholes. They can claim for example that they are, I'm going to make it up, that they're going to deliver you a 100 pounds of mica, I'm completely making up this scenario, but then they can actually, still part of that with something that they didn't really claim, it's not really in the paperwork, and it's really hard to trace because it's in really remote areas in Brazil, and in India, and Japan. So it's not like it's, it's not right front and center for you to be able to find it. So it's complicated.

Quinn: Yeah. Have you had to build out sort of a SWAT team of people that can actually assess those claims and as you're trying to be as transparent as possible? What does that mean for Beautycounter's operations?

Gregg Renfrew: One of the things that we have, we have a team dedicated not just to this, but to our social and environmental mission, sustainability and all of this. So we do have a team on the ground here that is fully dedicated to this. We did partner with Sourcemap because we really knew that with their technology they could help us trace this. They said it's the most complicated supply chain they've ever tried to tackle. We're also on the ground with a foundation founded, the Kailash Foundation.

Quinn: Satyarthi.

Gregg Renfrew: Satyarthi, I always forget his name. Kailash Satyarthi who won the Nobel Peace Prize for really freeing children and being an advocate for children to live free lives in India and globally. There are 73 million children that are being forced into labor. We really needed an on the ground partner who knew the communities, who understood what was actually going on there. So all of us have teamed up to work on this together.

Quinn: That's awesome. I mean, it seems like that's necessary, right? You can't just roll out a few people from Beautycounter and expect to tackle something of this breadth and complexity.

Gregg Renfrew: No, and it's going to take a really long time, and we, as Lindsay Dahl who runs fashion and environmental responsibility said to us, you could either wait till it's all perfectly ticked and tied and delivered to everyone in a bow in 10 years time or you can acknowledge where we are today and bring in the consumer along the journey with us. We felt as a company focused on authenticity and transparency and mission, it was better to tell the truth of where we are today and show the progress over time, and ask others to join us in helping to fix this problem.

Quinn: I love it. I mean, I just, bring people along for the journey as much as you can. I think that's, transparency doesn't mean you're doing it perfectly.

Brian:  Right.

Quinn: Transparency means we're working as hard as we can, and it's fucking complicated, and this is where we are and this is where we'd love your help and your support.

Gregg Renfrew: Right.

Quinn: I always admire Patagonia who's been doing this for so long, but they're so in your face about it in the best ways. They're like, "Don't buy our shit, and if you buy it and it breaks down, bring it in and we'll fix it." And of course they're not perfect either, but man. Again, not everybody thinks this way, but it certainly inspires me to go, "Well, that's where I'm going to buy my shit."

Gregg Renfrew: For sure.

Brian:  Why is it so rare?

Gregg Renfrew: I'm a huge advocate for Patagonia. We have a real affinity for that company and a good relationship with them, and I certainly looked at some of the things that they have tackled and the way in which they've done it as a good benchmark for success and being transparent with their clients and the consumer.

Quinn: But you also have to, again, empathize with some of these really, really, really big companies, which Patagonia is a big company. They've been around for forever, but they're not as massive as some of these conglomerates, and you have to ask yeah, but is that model of hyper transparency, and sourcing, and care, is that scalable to the size of some of these things? And I don't know, you know. They started their whole Patagonia Provisions thing, which is all this food stuff they're doing on the side, and it's so hyper sourced. It's amazing, but again, if that was owned by General Mills, how much of that goes out the window?

Gregg Renfrew: No comment.

Quinn: Yeah, fair. So let's turn back to the actual toxicity of what we're putting on our bodies. You guys, did you start off banning these, and correct me if I'm wrong, 1,800 ingredients? Is that a list that was evolved over time? How did this take off, because you said you didn't come from a beauty background?

Gregg Renfrew: No, I did not.

Quinn: So give us a little education on that.

Gregg Renfrew: So when we started the company we focused, yes, we've always had, I think we were the first to publicly post The Never List, which is a list of restricted ingredients, which started out at about 14 or 1,500 in the beginning, and now we've taken it up a notch and it's now 1,800. There are other companies that will claim that they've taken even more ingredients out, but we genuinely believe that we're looking at the ingredients that are actually being used in personal care products. I could say we took out 20,000 ingredients, but at the end of the day probably you're not putting some of these ingredients into personal care products in the first place. Over time, we've screened, I don't know, well over a 1,000 ingredients for safety, chemicals for safety. We look at 23 different end points. We're looking at everything from environmental impact, human health, allergens, you name it. We're looking at all different aspects of why an ingredient is or is not safe for human health and for the environment, and we've used that list and we iterated on it every single day to make sure that those chemicals are not chosen in the formulations for our products.

Gregg Renfrew: It's very complicated and it's a very arduous process for us and also for the partners who make our actual goop. They used to call us Brutalcounter because we had so many restrictions. We were asking for the same performance, we were like, "Look, we need you to drive innovation and performance as well as the leader traditional brands, the incumbents, but we also need you to do this without all of these ingredients."

Quinn: Right, and people still need to get in the shower and say, "Man, this shampoo is fucking [crosstalk 00:30:45]."

Gregg Renfrew: Exactly.

Quinn: Yeah, that's got to be a tough one.

Brian:  Brutalcounter.

Quinn: So along the way, Beautycounter 2013, is that right?

Gregg Renfrew: That's when we launched. Yeah, we started working on it in 2011 and we launched in March of 2013. So we're coming up on our seven year edge next month.

Quinn: Oh boy. I believe in you guys.

Brian:  Lucky number seven.

Quinn: You can hold it together. Has, like you said, I mean, your nickname, Brutalcounter. Has the company had setbacks? Has the company suffered at times because of this dedication to transparency and the inability to include some of these ingredients? I mean, did you have a hard time at times, or are you still having hard times at times to replacing some of these bad boys?

Gregg Renfrew: No, it's been so easy all the way through.

Quinn: Perfect, listen, this has been great.

Brian:  See you later.

Gregg Renfrew: [inaudible 00:31:35] Yeah, we have bad days every day, we just had to, yeah, I mean. This week has been a bad week. I mean, every day it seems like it's a bad day. So I would say, I'd give one example. We created an entire line of color cosmetics, and we're about to go to market and announce it to everyone that we were launching, this is now years back. We ran a test and it tested incredibly high for heavy metals, which is something that is actually, those are naturally occurring, but they are actually some of the worst things for your body. So we ended up having to batch the entire line of color cosmetics and start from scratch, and delay that launch for another 18 months.

Brian:  Jesus.

Gregg Renfrew: Yes, we've had these problems, we've missed product launches over and over again. We've had stability issues at times in the past, where we tried new preservative systems and they didn't work as well as we had hoped. That's what you have to do as a leader, is you've got to take these risks. I think what we've always, I think in some ways people, they honor us with their business because of the fact that we're doing the hard work that no one else is doing and they know that that comes with disappointments sometimes, and sometimes it just takes a lot longer. We've been trying to launch deodorant for five and a half years, and if we can't drive performance and safety simultaneously, we just won't launch it. So it's not easy, but it's worth it, and I think that that's part of the reason the company has grown so quickly and so successfully, is because people believe that they know. I always say this, we have so many flaws as a company, but the one thing that people do know is that we are really walking the walk and we are authentic in our desire to make this world better and to make the safest products we can.

Quinn: Two questions, follow-up questions. One, could you explain to us what color cosmetics are? Oh, I'm sorry, Brian, are you laughing? How about Brian, how about you explain?

Brian:  It's just a funny sounding question.

Gregg Renfrew: Okay. Color cosmetics are like your lipstick, and your powders. So it's things like blush, and eyeshadow, and the things that, you know, the girls that you have sex with on Friday night were probably wearing, that kind of thing.

Brian:  Got it.

Quinn: That was a long time ago.

Brian:  Now I get it.

Gregg Renfrew: Back in the day, obviously it was a long time ago that you had sex on Friday nights. Well, anyway, when you're doing out on a date and some girl has some sparkly cheeks, that's what I'm talking about.

Quinn: Got it. Thank you for putting it on my level. That's very helpful. Look, I mean, we can make assumptions over here all day, but the chances are, like most things we talk to people, is that we're going to be wrong. So I appreciate you taking it down to our level.

Gregg Renfrew: [crosstalk 00:34:00] Eyeshadow, those types of things.

Quinn: So, I mean, my brothers did, they sold a health food company recently, and I've always sort of worked more in the digital side. I think about, like you said, how you've had to scrap entire lines, you've pushed back product launches, like deodorant's been a fucking nightmare but you're not going to do it unless you are able to do it to your level. When you're making physical products versus an app, you're dealing with cash flow, because you have to pay to make these products in order to put them out in the world, as opposed to the wonderful reverse law of diminishing returns of digital, which is you sell one and that's your cost of good sold. You sell a billion of them and all you're doing is profiting. Has cash flow been a huge issue for you guys as you're dealing with that sort of thing?

Gregg Renfrew: No. I mean. I think at the end of the day, we had to raise a lot of capital to really build this business out, so we've invested a huge amount of money, so we've never had a "cash flow" issue. I'd probably say I have an equity issue and that I don't own as much of my company as I would've, could've, should have, had I not had to go raise capital to support our efforts. So yes and no. I mean, no in that we raised sufficient funding when we were a younger company and needed that because we weren't profitable. Now I feel like it's just an investment that we had to make, and it is what it is.

Quinn: Right, and I guess that's the trade-off, right?

Gregg Renfrew: It is a trade-off, but it's the whole reason we exist. At the end of the day, the world did not need another beauty brand, they didn't need one more line of deodorant or lipstick, or sunscreen. What they needed was someone to create a movement for change and to create better, safer products for everyone. So that's the price of the business that we entered into, and it's the only reason we entered into the business in the first place. So we're not going to shy away from these efforts in an effort to be more profitable or worry about cash flow. We're trying to change the world. You just can't do that by sort of going through things status quo.

Brian:  Yeah.

Quinn: I love it.

Brian:  That's really wonderful. You've spent some time in DC trying to get shit started. How did that all start basically?

Gregg Renfrew: From the very beginning I set out to change the laws. So I think again, as I said a moment ago, it wasn't enough to start a beauty brand. No one needed one more lipstick on the shelf. We've always built our business on three incredibly important pillars, and we've done that from day one. Education, as I mentioned first. Armed with information you have the opportunity to make a better choice.

Gregg Renfrew: Number two was to use products and commerce as an engine for change, and to deliver the performance that people have always expected of brands but with much safer ingredients. Then the first piece of it was advocacy, because no matter how successful we are at Beautycounter, no matter how much of a movement I can create, or I shouldn't say I, it's not about me, it's the team at large, it then doesn't afford every single citizen of this country, or beyond our borders, the opportunity to have access to safer products, and in the absence of cosmetic reform, which is the updating of legislation, there will be so many Americans that are still unnecessarily subjected to toxic chemicals in the products that they use on themselves, on their babies, on their bodies every day, and that's just not acceptable. So we have been tirelessly advocating for members of Congress to take action on this issue, to update the laws, and to protect the American consumer, and it's a big part of who we are and what we stand for, and I think it's probably one of the greatest key differentiators, is that we're actually spending as much time in Washington and on our advocacy efforts as we are in trying to formulate great products.

Brian:  You guys started in like 2011ish. What has progress looked like since then?

Gregg Renfrew: I think that we have sent and/or emailed in over like a 140,000 texts and email messages. We have held I think close to a 1,000 meetings on the Hill. We've also held hundreds of meetings at the state level, working with state legislators, and I think when I think about all of this, we've also now, and we're about to do it again in May, taken a 100 of our representatives with us to Washington, representing every single state in the United States to meet with members of Congress, to tell their personal stories and why it's time to change the laws. What I think has been encouraging is first of all that we are starting to see movement on the Hill. There have been a couple of bills that have been introduced to the floor. You've got a couple of the senators on the House side and on the Senate side really advocating to take action on this issue. Probably the greatest honor that we've received as a company and myself as an individual is that last November, or I guess early December, we were asked to testify in front of Congress. It was the first hearing, or only the second hearing that they've held on cosmetics in 40 years, and we were able to meet with the House of Representatives to testify in front of Congress to say, "It's time for change."

Gregg Renfrew: I think that there is bipartisan support for the reforming the laws and for updating things to the benefit of the American consumer, but they haven't completely moved forward, largely due to the fact that there are conversations still happening around who has the final say, the state or the federal government, where the state preemption lie in this conversation. They're sort of into the small tactics, but I do, I am encouraged that the conversation is happening.

Quinn: It's something, right?

Brian:  Oh yeah.

Quinn: No regulation in 80 years, first hearing in 40 years. I mean, that's ...

Brian:  Wild. Who are some of your allies there?

Gregg Renfrew: In terms of in DC?

Brian:  Yeah.

Quinn: Yeah.

Gregg Renfrew: I mean, I think that most of the offices that we've met with on both sides of the aisle, I would say almost of all of them agree that we need to make changes, but we don't have any ally in ... I mean, obviously Pallone's office on the House side introduced this bill, and Senator Collins from Maine and Feinstein from California have introduced The Personal Care Products Safety Act. So there are organizations, Senator Murray, that have been more active in this issue than others, Schakowsky, some others, but I think that it's not that we have any specific allies. I think that they've all been open to hearing our story and why we think this is important. I think the challenge of getting the bills passed really lies in how do we deal with the state side of it, and that's something that they're working through that they need to figure out their own.

Quinn: That makes sense. Feel free not to answer this if you're not interested, but I guess in the same breadth, are there specific bad actors, companies out there who are on your shit list or people you really wish could move the needle if they did the right thing?

Gregg Renfrew: Of course, I mean, I think that I've been publicly vocal about the fact that I think the Personal Care Products Council is advocating, that they get up and advocate in front of Congress that, they will testify, they say that all the ingredients are safe and have been screened, and we know that that's just not the case. So I think that they are a self-regulated industry organization that I don't think is telling the whole story. Behind them there are some of the larger brands that have, but it's not necessarily just the larger ones. I mean, I think there are some of the biggest brands that are agreeing that the cosmetic reform needs to happen, whether that's because they believe in it and want it or because they know that to stay relevant as leaders, they have to change with the times. But either way, there are some of the bigger companies doing it, so it's not just the older incumbents that are fighting it. It can be those that are focused on profit versus the health of the people that they serve. I'm probably not going to tell you who they are because it just doesn't [inaudible 00:42:02].

Quinn: No, that's fair. I think you did a pretty good job.

Brian:  Yeah.

Quinn: We'll take it. So moving I guess slowly towards our action steps, and if we could go back to our quick online conversation and Brian's sperm.

Brian:  Yes, yes.

Quinn: As indicated, my wife is very excited my sperm count doesn't exist anymore. How many of your products are for men, how do we make men really care about this besides just it's seriously much better for the world and the women in their life, and even the women who aren't in their life?

Gregg Renfrew: That's a great question, and seeing as I'm not a man.

Quinn: Where have you seen progress, have you had any.

Gregg Renfrew: [crosstalk 00:42:40] Men. Look, men have mothers, they have daughters, they have sons, they have brothers. I mean, at the end of the day, let's just go back to the fundamental thing that this entire business that we've built, and that everyone loves someone, and every single person that listens to your podcast, or every single person that's walking down the street has been touched directly or indirectly by the health issues we face as a nation. There's no way that I can walk into a room and find someone who doesn't know someone battling cancer, who doesn't know someone who has struggled with fertility, who doesn't know someone, or it could be themselves or someone else that has a child with pretty significant health issues. So I think that it's not ... So I think that as people we love life, we love our friends, we love our family, we want to be healthy.

Gregg Renfrew: So I think if you think about it in that way, that you can't tell me that you don't know anyone that hasn't been touched by these health issues, that's where I think we start to sort of connect the dots with people. To say okay, look, maybe you do ... And by the way, I'm not saying that if you use a certain aftershave or you use a certain deodorant that that's going to be the thing that makes that cell go from being healthy to unhealthy, but I always say is like look, try to just be cautious, and think about when you're spraying a certain sunscreen that's got oxybenzone on it, that you're actually killing the coral reefs, and if you don't care about your own body, maybe think about your child's body, and do you want to put chemicals into their bodies that's harmful. I always say when people put their kids in the bathtub, or if you take a long bath and you see that you get that skin, that your fingertips look like prunes. All that water is going into your body, and whatever chemical you cleaned that bathtub with, or whatever lotion, or body lotion, or bubble bath that's in there or that's about to go on or just went on, that's going into your body, and into your bloodstream, so it does make a difference.

Gregg Renfrew: I think that I can't convince men to take this seriously, but I think at the end of the day they want to be alive and they want the people they love to be around, and they want to protect their children just as much as women do.

Quinn: Hopefully, yeah. It reminds me a little bit about when pre Obamacare and the arguments over preexisting conditions. I just always felt like there was no way you could advocate or vote against supporting people with preexisting conditions if you had someone like that, that was suffering in that way in your life.

Gregg Renfrew: Of course.

Quinn: There's no way, you would be personally denying them insurance if you didn't. So I thought, "Do these people all not know someone that has a pre, that seems impossible?"

Brian:  Yeah.

Quinn: Or they're just monsters, but they have to care more, and it does seem like people have started to turn the corner on that, and guys who are traditionally idiots seem to be more involved on that front. How much of Beautycounter's business is centered towards guys? What is available for gentlemen?

Brian:  I'm looking at the Counterman line right now.

Gregg Renfrew: We have a line called Counterman that is specifically for men. So we have in our core line, which is the Beautycounter line, a lot of the personal care products we have, like the shampoo, body wash, conditioner, soaps, those are gender neutral products, but I think because the word beauty was in it, some of the men were not as excited. So they were using it in their shower if their wife bought it or the girlfriend bought it, but they weren't necessarily buying it themselves. So we decided to create a line that was specifically made for men, also because men's skin is different. You may or may not shave, but you know people, your pores are opened up differently through shaving, and you have a different skin texture and everything. So we really wanted to make sure that we created products that were specifically addressed to men as well as those that were just gender neutral products that were for everyone.

Brian:  I've just added to my shopping bag the charcoal body bar and the daily-

Gregg Renfrew: That's my favorite. I use that [inaudible 00:46:27].

Brian:  Oh, really?

Gregg Renfrew: The charcoal body bar, both the face one but also the body soap is amazing, and everyone loves that. Again, it's interesting because that's something that was made for men but actually is being used by women all the time. It's my favorite soap.

Brian:  Love it.

Quinn: Brian is smelling better. I don't care what you're putting in your stuff, we'll take it.

Brian:  What the ... Come on.

Quinn: Hey, Gregg, clearly you've got this sense of action and that's where we're going to. Going just quickly back to your life, is there ... I like this question. Is there a specific relationship you can point to that was a catalyst for making you do the things you do for setting you on your way stirring shit up?

Gregg Renfrew: Yeah. I mean, I think at the end of the day there were a couple moments of time that I remember that really struck me. Look, I grew up with a dad who had cancer my whole life. Now, he was a smoker, so it's not that I think it was because of personal care, but he died when I was 29. So I think I've always had to deal with health issues in my family since I was a little kid, but I think at the end of the day, back in 2006, I was running a children's clothing company and I had watched the film An Inconvenient Truth, and I had become impassioned with the environmental health movement. While I was working I had someone who has a caregiver for my daughter, my oldest daughter who was the only one I had at the time, and that woman who, [Cindia Lard 00:47:58], who was our nanny at the time, was 31 and was diagnosed with a non HPV related cervical cancer, and she died 11 months later. I think it was one of the most profound experiences of my life, and to watch someone that was so young and vibrant being diagnosed with a disease that wasn't related to anything that they felt was, having spoken to the Mayo Clinic and everything, that they felt was environmentally induced, was one of the big triggers for me.

Gregg Renfrew: There were a lot of different things that happened over a period of time, but that was one of those things that really stuck with me, and watching young friends of mine pass away from breast cancer and leaving behind really young children was super devastating to me. I just think as I began to realize that these things were happening around me, I just became, just both outraged and obsessed of trying to protect my family and everyone that I love, and that's how this all started. It was really about sharing information, and then ultimately knowing that I am the type of person that could do something about it.

Quinn: I love that. Well thank you for sharing that.

Brian:  Yeah. [inaudible 00:49:06].

Quinn: Awesome. Well, why don't we get into-

Brian:  Let's get her out of here.

Quinn: What? I know, I know. She's got so much to do.

Brian:  Thank you very much for being here. Let's get into some action steps that our listeners can take to support you and your mission with their voice and their dollar. Let's start with voice. What are big actionable and specific questions that we can all be asking of our representatives in support of you?

Gregg Renfrew: I think a couple of things. First of all, anyone that's listening to this that wants to take action can immediately text 52886 and then #betterbeauty. They can also do that about mica. Those texts and those letters, and phone calls that are listened, you can call a local member of Congress or you can just send a text, 52886, #betterbeauty, is telling your member of Congress that you are asking them to take action on this issue, and that in and of itself can make a difference.

Gregg Renfrew: I think in terms of, in a for-profit way, and I would not speak specifically to Beautycounter, although I would just say that every choice you make while you shop the market makes a difference. I don't care whether you're buying a carton of milk, a jacket, or underarm deodorant or sunscreen. At the end of the day you're voting with your wallet, and I think that supporting brands and asking brands the tough questions, asking them what they're doing, what is their carbon footprint, how are they dealing with sustainability. Are the ingredients that they're using safe? Are the claims that they're making actually valid claims? You can hold the brands that you support accountable for their actions, their claims, and I think that that's something that I think that increasingly consumers are doing. I wish people did it more often, but I do think that's something that's important. Look, of course we would love the support of people shopping on, but also just if you're not comfortable shopping on or that's not for you, you can also just shop the market fragrance-free, and look for companies that are not using parabens and other chemicals of concern.

Gregg Renfrew: We do have something called our Never List on our website, and you can go to and look for The Never List. You can download that and shop the market with it, because again, it's not about getting Beautycounter products into the hands of everyone, it's about changing the entire industry at large.

Quinn: Sure. Using Beautycounter is sort of the tip of that spear.

Brian:  Right.

Quinn: Seems to make a lot of sense.

Brian:  God, that's awesome.

Quinn: That's really helpful.

Brian:  So great, that's voice. I mean, seems ... And what about their dollar?

Quinn: Yeah. I mean, yeah, I feel like we just went over that, right?

Brian:  Yeah, I think so.

Gregg Renfrew: I mean, look, of course I would love if you shop I also think there are other brands that are doing good work. I think you just need to ask the tough questions, and I think if you're shopping in a local. I always say, there are companies like Burt's Bees that are doing a great job. I mean, it doesn't have to be Beautycounter, but try to use fragrance-free products, and again, shop brands that you can ask them the tough questions and they can answer with authenticity that they're doing the right thing.

Quinn: Let me simplify this as much as possible for someone who might be for the first time looking in their medicine cabinet and going like, "Shit, I've never thought about this." If they're not going to download the list and they're not going to go to Beautycounter's website, but they're going to go into Target, what is the one thing, what is the one starter thing they should start with? Is it like fragrance-

Gregg Renfrew: Number one thing you should do is shop for fragrance-free products.

Quinn: Okay.

Gregg Renfrew: Because many of the most offensive and harmful chemicals are found in fragrance, and because of the lack of regulation and because of international IP laws, companies are not forced to disclose the ingredients that are used in fragrance. They're known to be trade secrets, and so if you shop fragrance-free brands, you at least will eliminate for example a class of chemicals called phthalates, which are those that are binding that scent to your body, and those are very harmful endocrine destructing chemicals that are also found in like vinyl shower curtains and other things, but you don't want those on your body. So if nothing else, shop fragrance-free.

Brian:  Should I stop wearing cologne?

Gregg Renfrew: Yes.

Brian:  Okay, thank you.

Quinn: Oh boy.

Brian:  My girlfriend is not going to be happy about this.

Gregg Renfrew: And if you do feel that you need to wear cologne or perfume, then I would strongly, strongly suggest that people put it on their clothing and not on their bodies at all.

Quinn: That's helpful.

Brian:  That's a nice tip.

Quinn: Yeah, when you said the ingredients that bind the fragrance to your body.

Brian:  Yeah, it sounded so terrible.

Quinn: Sent like a shiver down my spine. But I guess that's literally the point of cologne.

Gregg Renfrew: I don't think you need to wear cologne, by the way. I think you can be a total man without the cologne.

Brian:  Gregg, I am on your side a 1000%, I've never worn cologne my whole life, and my sweet angel girlfriend wants me to wear it, but now I'm going to tell her, "No, no, no. Gregg told me not to."

Gregg Renfrew: I think you should tell her that not to, and then you can tell her she can call me if she needs to.

Brian:  Excellent.

Quinn: Definitely. I do, again, we try to get really specific and actionable, and I think there's going to be so many people that do buy Beautycounter stuff or download the list, but having that one thing that they can walk in and go like, "Oh, what was the fucking thing I'm supposed to remember? Oh, right, no fragrance." That's great. I'm assuming that applies to laundry detergent and shit like that as well?

Brian:  Yeah, I was just going to say, that's just across the board?

Gregg Renfrew: I think I always say shop free and clear. So I happen to be a big fan of Seventh Generation, I shop their free and clear line, but I think again, it's those fragrances. Again, no dyes, no synthetic fragrance, that would be a good start. Let me just give you one other piece of advice for everyone that's listening. You can prioritize your spend. So what I would call what's called a leave on product, which is say sunscreen, body lotion, things that are actually absorbed into your skin, versus conditioner in your hair that you're going to rinse off. The things that you're putting all over your body, and prioritize your spend there. So body lotion, sunscreens would be more important than I don't know, a little tiny bit of mascara, for example, for a woman. I mean, I think that's where you want to spend your money, it's on those things that are actually going all over your skin and all over your body and are being absorbed into it.

Brian:  That makes sense.

Quinn: It seems to make a lot of sense.

Brian:  So this is going to be so interesting when you do your deodorant line, whenever it happens, because everybody wants their deodorant to smell good.

Gregg Renfrew: It's coming, it's coming.

Brian:  What's the alternative? How are you going to make it smell good?

Quinn: Yeah, wait, what should I buy now? Nevermind.

Brian:  Please help me.

Gregg Renfrew: I think there are some companies that are making good deodorant today.

Brian:  Yeah.

Gregg Renfrew: I mean, I would plug Native. I think they've done a good job. I mean, I think there are a couple of them out there.

Brian:  Yeah.

Quinn: All right. We'll go on the warpath, we'll see what we can find here.

Brian:  I'm very excited.

Gregg Renfrew: Okay.

Quinn: That's very helpful. Last couple questions Gregg and then we're going to get you out of here. Thank you so much. Brian says I'm legally obligated not to call this a lightning round because-

Gregg Renfrew: Right, well it makes sense. She is about to find out.

Quinn: Okay. Gregg, when was the first time in your life when you realized you had the power of change or the power to do something meaningful?

Gregg Renfrew: God. The first time in my life, in my whole life?

Quinn: Mm-hmm (affirmative), when you were like, "Fuck that."

Gregg Renfrew: Probably when I was like five years old that I was lying in my bed and my dad told me I could be anything I wanted to be in the world if I just put enough work into it.

Quinn: That'll do.

Brian:  Hell yeah.

Quinn: That's awesome. That's pretty fantastic.

Brian:  That's pretty wonderful.

Quinn: Gregg, who is someone in your life that's positively impacted your work in the past six months?

Gregg Renfrew: My executive coach, Khalid Halim.

Quinn: Awesome, straight forward.

Brian:  Hell yeah.

Quinn: Let me get Brian an executive coach.

Brian:  I recently learned about executive coaches. They seem like a good thing.

Quinn: Uh-huh (affirmative).

Brian:  Yeah. If I need fucking anything, it's a coach.

Gregg Renfrew: There are some really amazing ones and there are some that are not. I think it really depends, but for me he has really, really helped me be a stronger leader and to look at things holistically, to help me with my leadership, to navigate difficult conversations, and just to make me a better CEO. So he's awesome.

Quinn: And that stuff it's, I mean, again, it's like Headspace, or Calm, or anything like that. I have the world's greatest therapist. You're going to go to a gym, right? You're going to pay a trainer. If there's someone who can help you do better in all of these respects, why not?

Brian:  I guess you're kind of my coach then.

Quinn: That's a bad idea.

Gregg Renfrew: Yeah, that's scary. I think at the end of the day, it doesn't matter what business you're in, you're in the business of people, and if someone is not coaching you on how to deal with people, communications, tough conversations. I mean, look, if that's the business you're in, so you're right. If you're going to the gym but you're not thinking about that as a business leader, it's hard. You got to keep evolving and learning.

Quinn: She's known us for 57 minutes and 40 seconds and said that's scary.

Brian:  Yeah.

Quinn: So that didn't take very long.

Brian:  This is our effect on people. Gregg, what do you do when you feel overwhelmed? What is your, I like to call it, Gregg time?

Gregg Renfrew: I think that I breathe. I definitely do short meditations. I exercise a lot. I will take a bath in the evenings or I will blast Eminem in my ears or any other [crosstalk 00:57:46].

Brian:  Yeah.

Gregg Renfrew: Going.

Quinn: It's not swimming around Catalina.

Gregg Renfrew: I don't swim around Catalina.

Brian:  You're running from sharks.

Gregg Renfrew: I'm a dipper. I dip in the ocean to cool off and that's about as much swimming as I do. I jump in, I get in one wave, and I'm out.

Brian:  You got to punch them in the nose, I guess. That's the thing, right?

Gregg Renfrew: Yeah.

Quinn: Waves or sharks?

Brian:  Sharks.

Quinn: Oh sharks.

Brian:  Yeah, yeah.

Quinn: Sharks, yeah. Try that, let me know how that goes, Brian.

Brian:  If you could Amazon Prime one book to Donald Trump, what book would it be?

Quinn: We have gotten a spectrum.

Gregg Renfrew: Amazon Prime.

Brian:  We have an Amazon Prime book list, and anybody, any listener of ours can go to it and actually send the book that you recommend to the White House.

Quinn: Mm-hmm (affirmative), it's going great.

Gregg Renfrew: What's that book that I like that's about ... It Start With Why. I might send him that because I think it's thinking about the purpose of work we're doing as opposed to just always being right. It always starts with the why and I think sometimes we're maybe not always focused on the why.

Quinn: I love that. I think that's great. I feel like I've read that one.

Brian:  The name of the book is?

Quinn: It Starts With Why.

Brian:  Oh, wait.

Gregg Renfrew: It Starts With Why, it's a book that I love.

Quinn: All right, we will add it to the list.

Gregg Renfrew: By the way, I think all politicians should read it, I don't think it's just, it's not just the president. I think they could all take a page out of it and start doing the right thing as opposed to being right, which I think a lot of them often do.

Quinn: That sounds about good.

Brian:  Everybody is so obsessed with being right.

Quinn: Gregg, last thing and then you're out of here. Anything else you would like to say, speak truth to power before we let you go?

Gregg Renfrew: I think the only parting message that I would say is that for anyone who is in any business, and it really doesn't matter what business you're in, if you do the right thing, you will be rewarded as a business, and it's not a choice, it's not an either or, they are not mutually exclusive. Doing well and doing good can happen simultaneously, and if more companies don't think about commerce in that way, we will continue on this trajectory of doing things that are detrimental to the world and to our health and society, and I think that there is a better path for it and I think more people need to jump on that path.

Quinn: Awesome. Do the right thing.

Brian:  Love it.

Quinn: I love it. Hey, where can our listeners follow you and Beautycounter online?

Gregg Renfrew: Oh, you can certainly go to

Brian:  Bam.

Gregg Renfrew: Or you can go to Beautycounter HQ is our Instagram, you can go to Gregg Renfrew, my Instagram, and I don't know, we're around. Come visit us.

Quinn: Great, we'll find you.

Brian:  I'm going to get the eye cream.

Quinn: The eye cream?

Brian:  I have decided, yeah. I'm getting older now and I have bags under my eyes, so I'm going to get the eye cream. It's in my shopping cart.

Gregg Renfrew: The number one product bought by men across the board is eye cream.

Brian:  Bam.

Quinn: Really? Wow. I mean, Brian needs it.

Brian:  I used to have such nice eyes, now I'm [crosstalk 01:00:27] bags.

Gregg Renfrew: Not just in Beautycounter, just in general. Men buy eye cream all the time.

Brian:  Oh, really?

Gregg Renfrew: Don't kid yourselves that guys don't care about how they look just as much as women, because you know that they do.

Quinn: Oh it's not that they don't care, it's just that they're idiots.

Brian:  It's just that I don't know what to do. I care but I'm an idiot.

Gregg Renfrew: I can't comment on the intelligence of men.

Quinn: You could, you could. We'll do it all fine.

Gregg Renfrew: I can but I won't.

Quinn: Yeah.

Brian:  Yeah, it's perfect.

Quinn: Gregg, thank you so much for your time today. This has been really fantastic and enlightening. I hope you don't regret spending the last hour with us. Thank you for kicking everyone's assess out there, it seems like across the world, down the supply chain, all the way to Congress.

Brian:  Yeah.

Quinn: We need you and we need more folks like you.

Brian:  Please keep fighting.

Quinn: Thank you.

Gregg Renfrew: Thank you for having me. It was great chatting with you both.

Quinn: Thanks to our incredible guest today and thanks to all of you for tuning in. We hope this episode has made your commute, or awesome workout, or dish washing, or fucking dog walking late at night, that much more pleasant. As a reminder, please subscribe to our free email newsletter at, it is all the news, most vital to our survival as a species.

Brian:  And you can follow us all over the Internet. You can find us on Twitter @importantnotimp. So weird. Also on Facebook and Instagram at Important, Not Important, Pinterest and Tumblr the same thing. So check us out, follow us, share us, like us, you know the deal. Please subscribe to our show wherever you listen to things like this, and if you're really fucking awesome, rate us on Apple Podcast to keep the lights on, thanks.

Quinn: Please.

Brian:  And you can find the show notes from today right in your little podcast player and at our website,

Quinn: Thanks to the very awesome Tim Blane for our jamming music, to all of you for listening, and finally most importantly, to our moms for making us. Have a great day.

Brian:  Thanks guys.

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