These beauty initiatives are as smart as they are kind – and each has inspirational women at the helm.
We’re all aware that beauty products can have a transformational effect on our appearance and mood. But a wave of forward-thinking modern brands is proving that the industry can be a positive force for entire communities, too.
And from Sali Hughes’ revolutionary Beauty Banks to Marcia Kilgore’s genius Soaper Duper line, there are plenty of brands out there that let us combine our personal love for beauty with our desire to do good for other people.
Below, we’ve rounded up some of our favourites.
The Soap Co.
You’d be forgiven for thinking the monochrome dots on The Soap Co.’s packaging were just another chic Instagram-worthy detail. They’re actually braille – part of co-founder Camilla Marcus-Dew’s mission to support people who face barriers to work.
As someone with disabled relatives herself, the products from Marcus-Dew’s brand – based in East London and founded in 2015 – are made by people who are blind, disabled or otherwise disadvantaged.
She’s also an avid environmentalist, carefully considering everything from ingredients and packaging (the bottles are made from milk bottles and the soap wrappers are compostable) to production methods and how the products can be disposed of.
From £7, thesoapco.org
If anyone knows the secret behind a best-selling product, it’s Marcia Kilgore – formerly the brains behind brands like Bliss and Soap & Glory. Her most recent bodycare venture is Soaper Duper – a range of washes, lotions and butters, available in Tesco and BeautyMART.
The packaging is green (in every sense of the word) and made from recycled and recyclable plastic wherever possible. And Marcia’s a big believer in giving back. The brand supports WaterAid – designed to bring soap and water to communities that need it – and has pledged to contribute at least £150K by 2019.
From £5, soaperduper.com
A project masterminded by two beauty industry legends – PR guru Jo Jones and journalist Sali Hughes (left) – was always going to be a success. But no one could have quite anticipated the impact of the pair’s Beauty Banks initiative, launched earlier this year.
Having discovered many of their teacher friends were routinely buying toiletries for pupils, they set out to provide essential cosmetics supplies to those living in poverty across the UK. Within just two months of its debut, they were using three separate storage facilities and had icons like hairdresser Sam McKnight and make-up artist Mary Greenwell chipping into the effort.
Working in a similar way to a food bank, the scheme lets you donate any unused toiletries, baby products and sanitary products. If you want to go involved, send your products to Beauty Banks, c/o The The Communications Store, 2 Kensington Square, London W8 5EP or visit the address below.
“Make-up has no gender”: that’s the mantra behind Jecca Makeup, started by LGBTQ advocate and beauty entrepreneur Jessica Blackler. After offering makeover sessions to transgender women in her Cardiff hometown, trained make-up artist Blacker was surprised at how many people felt they were “overlooked” by mainstream beauty brands.
It prompted her to develop her own online store offering products catering to their needs. Correct & Conceal, £20, is her first creation – a colour-corrector that makes light work of beard shadows, birthmarks, scars and acne.
The company donates 5% of profits every year to Stonewall – the UK’s biggest charity supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights.
From £20, jecca-makeup.com
Kohl Kreatives’ vegan and cruelty-free make-up brush range doesn’t just look innovative. There’s a revolutionary cause at its heart, too. Masterminded by Trishna Daswaney, the company runs free workshops internationally for those transitioning from one gender to another, as well as those recovering or suffering from cancer.
It also offers support for people suffering from trichotillomania, alopecia, vitiligo or severe scarring. The flexible, easy-grip brushes are designed to be held in a variety of different ways for ultimate user comfort, including those with motor disabilities.
From £15.99, kohlkreatives.com
For one day only on Thursday 15 November, Katie Piper has taken over stylist.co.uk as part of The Kindfulness Project, packing the site with articles on what she’s learned about empathy and the importance of self-care.
For similarly inspiring and uplifting content, check out Katie Piper’s Extraordinary People, available on Apple Podcasts now.
Images: Getty / Courtesy of brands