My Mustache: Why I Switched to Safer Products


It all started out with a mustache.

A melasma mustache.

It was the fall of 2013 and I noticed a dark patch of skin in that area between my nose and upper lip. Freaked out and hoping it was merely my imagination, I ran into my co-worker’s office and asked her if she noticed it, too.

She did.

“Maybe you’re just forgetting to put sunscreen in that area when you apply it every morning?”

That’s it! That’s definitely it!

That wasn’t it.

Turns out I had melasma, a chronic skin disorder that results in symmetrical, brownish facial pigmentation. It typically occurs due to hormonal changes during pregnancy and sun exposure, and women are more likely to develop it than men. It’s been nicknamed the “pregnancy mask.”

What did I do?

I hopped on the internet, did some Googling, and quickly learned that a popular chemical called hydroquinone is effective for getting rid of those pesky brown patches because it inhibits the production of melanin. In short, this is a topical bleach that fades the dark spot over time after many uses.


The chemical is easy to purchase and can be found in a host of bleaching products available anywhere from high-end brands sold at dermatologist’s office (like Obagi), and over the counter at your local pharmacy and grocery store.

I slathered the bleach all over my mustache. For weeks. Months. Didn’t matter that it smelled bad and made my eyes burn because I was going to get rid of it once and for all, dangit!

The mustache still isn’t gone. If you look really hard, it’s still there.

When it wasn’t working, I started researching the chemical and was stupefied and horrified at what I found.

Hydroquinone is directly linked to cancer, organ toxicity, and skin irritation.

Wait, what?

It’s sold here in the United States. It’s sold everywhere. So it has to be safe.

Wrong. So, so wrong.

Most of the cosmetics on our shelves aren’t regulated. Congress hasn’t passed a major federal law regulating the safety of personal care products since 1938. There are 1,300 products on our shelves that have been totally banned in Europe. Banned.

Since 1938, more than 80,000 new ingredients have been introduced to our personal care products, including soaps, toothpaste, mouthwash, shampoos, perfumes, lotions, skincare, and sunscreens.

More alarming, the Food and Drug Administration allows companies that use chemicals that are known to be extremely harmful, such as formaldehyde, phthalates, and lead, in the products we put into our bodies and our kids’ bodies every single day.

Bottom line. Companies are allowed to use toxins that are known to cause cancer, reproductive issues, and hormone disruptors, without getting into trouble.

It’s all about the Benjamins.

Marketing has become a joke. For instance, companies can advertise their products are “natural” but it’s a gimmick. Read the ingredient labels and research the chemicals.

They ain’t natural.

In the United States, one person under the age of 40 is diagnosed with cancer every eight minutes. One in two men and one in three women will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetimes. Two decades ago, one in twenty women were diagnosed with breast cancer. Now, one in seven women will develop breast cancer. More shocking? 90% of these women have no pre-existing genetic link to the disease.

One in three children are born with severe allergies, autism, ADHD or asthma.

Think about it.

How many young people do you know who are in their thirties, were otherwise healthy, and have been diagnosed with cancer? How many young people do you know who have struggled with infertility? How many kids do you know with peanut allergies or are somewhere on the autism spectrum?

I know tons of each of these types of people and it’s alarming.

Bells and whistles are going off.

Something’s gotta give.

Most of you are annoyed reading this. You’re rolling your eyes. Another blogger using scare tactics about something. Microwaves. Cell phone radiation. Antiperspirants. Alcohol. Talcum powder. Asbestos in old buildings that you can’t avoid because you work there.

I might as well never leave my house.

I get it. I do.

Look, I’m no hippie. I’ve tossed down a margarita or ten at the pool and have been known to indulge in fries and burgers from McDonalds. But at least I know alcohol and McDonalds are bad. Obviously, I also have a cell phone and use it each day. But I am aware of the risks and my phones specific absorption rate. I also use a microwave to reheat food from time to time etc.

But when I do and use these things, I know better, but I do it anyway.

When I’m using products, I want to know what’s in them, and then know about the risks I’m taking before I choose whether to make them. It’s why I do the research, go to find out more here and learn what I should be doing and looking for.

When I was having lunch with a good friend a while back, she introduced me to Beautycounter. The company sells an array of gorgeous, safer skin care products and she loaned me a “pouch” that included the skincare regimen to use for a couple days, commitment free.

I loved it.

I threw away my Neutrogena face wash and never looked back.

Shampoos. Lotions. Makeup. Sunscreen. Kids’ products. Anti-aging and regular skincare regimes.

I love it all and use it guilt-free.

Here are some of my favorite products:


This is the Face Collection that includes cleanser, exfoliator, day and night cream, eye cream, and rose spray.


I spray this Rosewater Mist on my face throughout the day for a quick pick-me-up instead of drinking coffee.

beauty counter cleanser, exfoliator, eye cream

The cleanser, exfoliator, and eye cream from the basic collection.

Beautycounter Lustro OilMy favorite of all the Beautycounter products, Face Oil. I was nervous about putting something called “oil” on my face, but it’s comprised of calendula oil and serves as a moisturizer. My skin has seen a huge difference. If you’re big into your moisturizing rituals, you might want to check out something like the best korean night cream to help complete your bedtime routine.

Other Beautycounter products that I’m obsessed with and use daily are the shampoo, conditioner, lip balm, purifying charcoal mask, sunscreen, and kids products.

They also have an entire anti-aging line, the Countertime Collection, with non-toxic active ingredients.

In May, I decided to become a Beautycounter consultant. Not because having a full-time career as an attorney, raising a family, and managing my blog aren’t enough to throw me into a tailspin, but because I wanted to get the word out about the crap on the shelves and how there are much better alternatives.

I wanted to help educate people.

I wanted to be part of something important. This little grassroots movement.

If you want to learn more about the products or making extra money becoming a consultant (psss… you get 25% off the products), send me a message and check out my Beautycounter website here.

I didn’t want another friend like me, ignorantly slathering bleach all over her mustache.

Epic Classical Academy

Another thing: I don’t want you to just take my word for anything I’m saying in this post.

Do your own research.

The innate nature of being an attorney makes me skeptical. I didn’t believe my friend when she was telling me about this company, the mission, and the risks associated with the long term use of products on our shelves.

I did my own research.

Please do the same.

In the wise words of Biggie, “if you don’t know, now ya know!”

Learn more about the impact the environment is having on your health.

Beautycounter created a “Never List” containing ingredients you should never use on your skin, as well as the reasons why you shouldn’t use them. Check it out here.

South Tampa friends: if you’re interested in trying the products, I’ll personally deliver a pouch to your doorstep so you can try the skincare regimen for yourselves. Shoot me an email at Jennifer at The Champagne Supernova dot com.



    21 Comments on My Mustache: Why I Switched to Safer Products

    1. Elena Frye
      August 14, 2020 at 1:29 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you for the article. Could you tell me which product was most beneficial for you for the melasma?

      • jenniferdaku
        September 10, 2020 at 6:15 am (2 years ago)

        Hi! Beautycounter vitamin c serum.

    2. Lisa
      March 30, 2017 at 3:31 pm (5 years ago)

      Hi Jennifer – would you suggest the brightening collection for the brown spots? Thanks!

      • jenniferdaku
        March 30, 2017 at 8:42 pm (5 years ago)

        Yes, that is what i use and it lightens them!

    3. Canaan
      February 24, 2017 at 9:09 pm (5 years ago)

      So is there a Beautycounter product that “heals” or at least reduces melasma?

      • jenniferdaku
        February 26, 2017 at 5:47 am (5 years ago)

        It doesn’t heal it, but it does lessen the appearance.

    4. Rachel
      July 28, 2016 at 9:18 pm (6 years ago)

      Love that you’re into Beautycounter. Just recently discovered their products and am so glad I did!

    5. Aileen
      July 28, 2016 at 12:43 pm (6 years ago)

      I tackled all of our cleaning products, but haven’t looked into personal care items. I guess that’s next on my list!

    6. Allison Aubuchon
      July 28, 2016 at 11:06 am (6 years ago)

      Thanks for this! Eye-opening!

    7. Christina Shoemaker
      July 28, 2016 at 8:20 am (6 years ago)

      Great read! I admit I knew nothing about melasma before reading this. I also had a skin thing happening (for 3 years) before I finally addressed by switching to Beauty Counter. It made all the difference! Apparently I was allergic to an ingredient that’s very common (and toxic) in many products. It is amazing how many companies use toxic ingredients!

    8. Lauren
      July 27, 2016 at 1:28 pm (6 years ago)

      I just recently have been thinking about the products I put on my skin and use on my kids. Its so crazy what you are writing about this since I have been meaning to research this! I will def check out this brand.

    9. Brittany Comeaux
      July 27, 2016 at 1:22 pm (6 years ago)

      This was a very interesting read. A girlfriend of mine just invited me to a BeautyCounter Facebook party. I had been thinking of trying some of the products but wasn’t familiar with the brand at all. After reading this I’m definitely giving them a closer look. Thank you!

    10. Kristin
      July 26, 2016 at 10:22 am (6 years ago)

      Amen, sister. When you know better, you do better.

      • jenniferdaku
        July 26, 2016 at 7:26 pm (6 years ago)

        Word! Thanks for sharing on your FB page. xo

    11. Genevieve Graham
      July 26, 2016 at 10:10 am (6 years ago)

      Hello, from a fellow South Tampa girl. I would LOVE to try these products out and have been searching for something safe and effective (especially since I am TTC). Thanks for the heads up! Have a great day! gg

      • jenniferdaku
        July 26, 2016 at 7:27 pm (6 years ago)

        Thanks Genevieve! Great to “meet” you. Where in South Tampa do you live?

        • Genevieve Graham
          July 29, 2016 at 10:23 am (6 years ago)

          S. Manhattan area:) Which face wash/moisturizer product is your top pick??

          • jenniferdaku
            July 29, 2016 at 12:02 pm (6 years ago)

            I love love love the Calendula Oil (Lustro Oil)- it’s labeled as Number 1. I was really apprehensive to put “oil” on my face, but it serves as a moisturizer and I use two drops in the morning after I wash my face (before makeup) and two drops at night. It’s made a huge difference.

          • jenniferdaku
            July 29, 2016 at 12:10 pm (6 years ago)

            Missed the face wash question- I like the nourishing face wash from the basic collection.

            • Genevieve Graham
              July 29, 2016 at 4:48 pm (6 years ago)

              Thanks so much! Excited to look into these items!

            • Genevieve Graham
              August 3, 2016 at 4:03 pm (6 years ago)

              Cant wait for it to arrive now!! 🙂