Come October, the pink flood begins; shelves run awash in products angled at raising funds for breast cancer research. Some genuinely aid substantially, while others support minimally—and while we believe that any donation is rad, we want to highlight the brands and products that do a whole lot of good year-round, without all the fanfare and for a variety of charities.
So the next time you treat yourself or a loved one to a beauty buy, consider these products that go beyond the bottom line to make this world a better place for us all.
MORE: Helping Others Makes You Happier and Healthier
1The Body Shop
Dame Anita Roddick opened The Body Shop in 1976 with the mission statement “to dedicate our business to the pursuit of social and environmental change.” The beauty giant has since funded dozens of human rights campaigns through product sales and helped establish the concept of community fair trade long before it became a trend. New ultra-hydrating Honeymania products are sustainably sourced from Ethiopian hives, even raising the status of women in the community who have become beekeepers. Dragon Fruit Lip Butter benefits anti-bullying charity WeStopHate, as well as other organizations that consumers can vote for when purchasing the luscious lip treat.
Created as an all-benefit company, PeaceKeeper Cause-Metics amazingly donates all distributable profits (after taxes and financing costs) to women’s rights and health issues. “We focus on women who live at the base of the pyramid on a dollar or two a day, or who are living in exploitation and servitude,” says founder Jody R. Weiss. A must-have is Yum Balm, which features food-grade organic fruit, like strawberry and raspberry, that slick lips with delicious moisture in a cute squeeze tube.
3Vapour Organic Beauty
An organic and environmentally sustainable brand, Vapour donates 100 percent of the proceeds from its Elixir Plumping Gloss in Honor to Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute, where funding goes to alternative breast cancer treatment that includes work on what may be the first vaccine. “Most funding goes to traditional research on chemo, radiation and surgery—virtually no money goes to alternative or prevention options,” says co-founder Krysia Boinis, who survived the disease in her 30s. Meanwhile, 30 percent of proceeds from Siren Lipstick in Courage is donated to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund that benefits wounded veterans.
Founded by yoga pro Elena Brower, GIVESCENT supports women’s empowerment groups with a portion of the sale proceeds from its entire line of natural sweet almond oil-based rollerball fragrances. Donations benefit Women for Women International, an organization that supports women survivors of war as they rebuild their lives (you can support and educate a woman with business skills for $30 a month), and Every Mother Counts, a charity that helps end preventable deaths caused by pregnancy and childbirth globally.
Part of the Kiehl’s mission for decades has been to give back to local communities through charities that fund HIV/AIDS education and research, the wellbeing and nurturing of children and environmental stewardship. The healthy skin-focused brand—which enjoys a large following by men as well as women—is currently offering its beloved Ultimate Strength Hand Salve in a jumbo size that donates 100 percent of net proceeds to leading global AIDS/HIV research foundation amfAR.
Since its inception in 1996, Philosophy has interwoven charity into its products. The Shower For A Cause program runs year-round, and donates 100 percent of net proceeds of the brand’s best-selling shower gel to cancer charity Look Good Feel Better with Graceful Journey, the Rainforest Foundation with Green and Why Hunger with To Believe. Shower for the Cure with hydrating milk proteins and fruit essences benefits the Women’s Cancer Research Fund.
The best-selling and super refreshing Yes to Cucumbers Facial Towelettes will soon gain a charitable product version, with 100 percent of proceeds going to The Yes to Seed Fund. The group plants gardens with school children globally to teach nutrition, which has provided food for school lunch programs in Kenya. Look for the specially labeled “Yes to Seed Fund” packages to debut on Target, Walgreens and Walmart shelves in November.
Cancer survivor and brand founder Ramy teaches cancer patients how to look and feel their best at New York’s CancerCare and also teaches makeup and self-esteem classes for girls at the city’s Center for Women with Disabilities. All October sales of Bella Ariella Lipstick and Lucky in Love Lip Gloss will benefit the Young Survival Coalition for young women facing breast cancer, while Luck Be A Ladybug Lip Gloss benefits children with life-threatening conditions year-round with a 20 percent donation per tube to Project Ladybug.
8M.A.C. AIDS Fund
M.A.C. may be known for its edgy color cosmetics and fearless ads, but social consciousness is woven into the brand, too. The M.A.C. AIDS Fund has raised over $250 million to help people living with HIV/AIDS globally with its Viva Glam lip product franchise that donates the full purchase price to the initiative. (M.A.C. even underwrites the costs of creating the line, including matching would-be retail partner profits.) Currently, the original campaign from the 90s featuring RuPaul is back with the first burgundy lip shade that kicked it all off, as well as with a new lipglass in the matching diva hue.
For the seventh year in a row, Target beauty giant and breast cancer survivor Sonia Kashuk will again create an exclusive and very affordable brush set, called the Proudly Pink Five-Piece Brush Set, that will be available year-round. Fifteen percent of the purchase price benefits The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
With products made right outside of Paris, French brand Votre Vu donates $1 from every color cosmetic purchased from its French Accents line year-round to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, which funds childhood cancer research. For every 5,000 products sold, five children are enrolled in clinical cancer trials and their mothers receive “Pick Me Up Packs” of beauty products that help lift the spirits of the caregiver.
The Avon Foundation for Women was founded in 1955 and is the largest corporate philanthropy for women’s causes globally with over $910 million donated in over 50 countries. It currently works year-round to fundraise and support breast cancer patients and domestic violence victims. Our favorite pick from the brand’s current BCA month products is the rose zippered case, of which all net profits are donated to the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade.
Aveda was founded in 1978 as an eco-conscious brand inspired by the ancient Indian healing tradition of Ayurveda. With manufacturing 100 percent powered by wind power and packaging made entirely with post-consumer recycled materials, the brand has also raised more than $26 million to support environmental projects around the world since 1999, with an emphasis on global clean water initiatives. Aveda also helps support organic farming around the world, and in some cases helps farms convert to organic (a long, expensive process). We love Stress-Fix Body Lotion; the essences of lavender and clary sage come from organic farms and are proven to relieve feelings of stress.
12Jo Malone London
The purveyor of luxe bath, body and home products recently partnered with Bette Midler’s New York Restoration Project to transform a Brooklyn space into an urban oasis. It’s the first of several initiatives in which the brand will bring the British tradition of gardens to underserved local communities. “Their fantastic fragrances are from nature and the garden—it’s a perfect fit,” says Midler, who adds that White Jasmine & Mint is a nostalgic favorite that reminds her of her native state of Hawaii. Or, if you’re more of a fan of peonies (which waft through the restored Brooklyn garden), try the Peony & Blush Suede Home Candle.