[Updated as of April 2nd]
It’s a tough time for the world. And during tough times, we all look for acts of positivity and kindness – this is what is going to keep us going.
On a personal level, I am deeply touched and forever indebted to the individuals who have reached out to help my parents, who stay alone in India, which is currently facing an absolute lockdown for 21 days.
It’s a necessary act but one that keeps me up with debilitating anxiety through the night, considering that my parents are not exactly young, my mother is in the high risk category due to a recent bout of illnesses and I cannot get to them because of sealed borders. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all those who have made this a bit easier with their love and support.
On a more global level, even as brands are forced to shut operations, many of them are going beyond simply looking after their own employees to aid the wider COVID-19 relief efforts. From supporting food banks to turning perfume factories into production lines for hand sanitizers and putting their R&D teams onto vaccine research projects, these beauty companies are making the world that much safer for all of us, one step at a time.
Whether it’s a huge conglomerate like LVMH or a young startup like HIKI (which literally launched the day coronavirus hit the globe!), these companies are putting public welfare ahead of profits during these trying times. And I think they deserve to be celebrated.
So, here is a running list of beauty brands (I will update it on a daily basis) who are working to make a difference during the pandemic.
Want to support their efforts? Below each brand, there is a list of top products that you may want to stock up on to help the cause. This is not a paid advertorial. Simply an attempt to applaud and support those who are doing such a phenomenal job.
And if you know of any such brands, please comment below and I will add them to the list.
Farmacy Beauty is donating 10,000 meals a day for 30 days to Feeding America. Besides this, the clean beauty brand had also set up a Feeding America donation page on its website and matched all contributions made by customers.
Candle company Otherland (which is the exact candle burning on my desk as I write this – Mountain Lace to be specific) is donating 10% of all sales made on its website to Foodbank for NYC till March 31st. You need to enter the code SUNSHINE to activate the donation and this will also give you a 10% discount.
The indie beauty brand is gifting “qualifying” healthcare workers and frontline healthcare professionals a free full size Jet Lag Mask to counter chapped, peeling hands and crazy, itchy facial skin under the medical masks. How to qualify? You need to mail in your name, title and a photo of your hospital or clinic ID to [email protected] The brand has also made a donation (I don’t know the amount but every bit counts) to the American Red Cross. They have also announced a new offer, where with every sale of a mask on their site, they will donate a full size Overtime Mask to a frontline healthcare worker.
Shaving brand Billie is donating $100,000 to local food banks in the US.
Pacific Shaving Company
The Body Shop is donating 30,000 units of its cleansing products to shelters and senior communities throughout the US and Canada.
The politically active makeup brand Lipslut donated 100% of its proceeds from March 17th to 20th to nonprofits (including No Kid Hungry and the CDC Foundation) that are helping those affected by COVID-19.
Lady Gaga’s beauty brand donated 20% of a week’s profits to local food banks in New York and Los Angeles.
Hudson Valley Skincare
Hudson Valley Skincare suspended all normal production on March 16th to make hand sanitizers for local communities.
HIKI by Arfa
Even though personal hygiene brand startup HIKI (spearheaded by former Glossier President Henry Davis, it creates vegan sweat products) is barely days old, it is literally giving away all its products for free in its website “in exchange for a social message of honesty and compassion that can help others in this trying time.” All you have to do is share a post about “how you’re feeling today, and a message of kindness towards someone else (anybody else: a friend, family member, colleague or stranger)” and then tag #todayimfeeling and @arfabrands. No self promotion here. And if you work in a hospital or health care facility, you don’t even need to post. Similarly, regular consumers have to pay $5 for shipping (which is perfectly fair, I must say), while hospital and health workers only have to pay $2.50.
The Crème Shop
Skincare brand The Crème Shop is donating N95 masks to hospitals in the US. It is also giving away a free N95 mask with all online orders made with the code STAYSAFE.
Plant-based brand Volto Urbano is donating 50% of all sales to No Kid Hungry, Meals on Wheels and God’s Love We Deliver – each of which delivers nutritional meals to the vulnerable and underprivileged. You get to pick which charity you want to support while placing the order and the moneys will be sent from the company’s bank account directly. You can also see a running tally of donation amounts on the brand’s website.
The K-beauty brand Glow Recipe is offering healthcare workers a free full-size Blueberry Bounce Gentle Cleanser and a one-month supply of their Banana Soufflé Moisture Cream in single use sachets upon filling a short questionnaire.
True Botanicals has donated 10% of its profits to a food bank in San Francisco.
Haircare company CHI have created FDA-approved hand sanitizers with 77% natural denatured alcohol and organically grown aloe vera. It will be donating $1 million worth of these hand sanitizers to the cities of Houston & Tomball, Texas.
Beauty subscription box company Birchbox is donating boxes to healthcare workers. Email [email protected] if you (and the staff you work with!) or someone you know could use a pick-me-up.
Top picks: The Monthly Box
Top picks: Bespoke program
Noble prize winning research backed brand RéVive has pledged $20,000 worth of its healing hand creams to hospitals.
Along with all its other initiatives, this social-led company donated 100% of all profits made via its website on March 27th to Meals on Wheels America, Baby2Baby and Feeding America. Along with this, founder n addition, founder and CEO, Karissa Bodnar, has donated $10,000 on a personal level.
Personalised skincare brand Atolla has pledged 10% of all profits to Citymeals through 31st March.
Top picks: Custom Serum
Vegan nail polish brand Orly has reconfigured its Los Angeles-based nail polish factory operations to produce 75% alcohol-based hand sanitizer. The first batch of 10,000 units will be donated to the City of Los Angeles with a special emphasis on serving the city’s at-risk homeless population.
Recently relaunched as a clean haircare brand, Fekkai has contributed 260 hand creams and 4,000 units of The One Dry Shampoo to hospitals. It’s also donating $1 of every product sold on its website to Citymeals on Wheels through April 23rd.
Clean and sustainable beauty brand Codex is donating travel-size Bia Skin Superfood to frontline healthcare workers. DM them the contact information of hospitals in need/accepting donations through their Instagram page.
Dermatologist-backed skincare brand Doctor Rogers is giving away 10,000 tubes of its Restore Healing Balm to healthcare workers. Email [email protected] with a photo of your hospital badge/ID and the best shipping address to get a box of 50 balms for your co-workers and yourself.
Luxury botanicals and aromatics beauty brand Highbrand NYC has pledged 10% of all sales made on its website to New York City’s food banks.
Lab to Beauty
The artisanal, small batch beauty brand is sending its Marvelous CBD Massage & Body Oil rollerballs to medical teams at NYC hospitals.
Clean beauty retailer Follain is donating bottles of its Everywhere Lotion, along with other products from its namesake range, to doctors and nurses at hospitals across the Boston metro area. Contact them at [email protected] if your team could use some!
Small batch beauty outfit Retrouvé has pledged 10% of all online sales this month to the Frontline Responders Fund. Which is impressive, since Retrouvé products average out at about $200 and it’s estimated that $20 donation could buy 160 masks for first responders.
The cult NYC-based beauty brand (and a personal favorite!) is donating 10,000 personal cleansing care products to COVID-19 isolation centers and hospitals in the city.
Riki Loves Riki
Beauty lighting specialist Riki Loves Riki has donated 10,000 surgical masks and 1,000 N95 masks to NYC hospitals.
Beauty subscription box company IPSY has gifted 50,000 self-care packages to healthcare workers across the US, while also teaming up with the American Nurses Foundation to match every donation that’s made to their Coronavirus Response Fund. The aim is to raise $100,000, out of which $50,000 will be matched by IPSY.
Sustainable hair brand Davines turned around its production line to immediately provide 100,000 units of hand sanitising gel that were donated to Italian charities helping local communities.
Skincare brand Peace Out is donating 10% of all online sales to hospitals in Milan, Italy, which is the home of founder Enrico Frezza. Additionally, you can use the promo code LOVE20 for 10% of sales to go for the benefit of families affected by COVID-19.
Soap & Glory
British beauty brand Soap & Glory is donating one full size Clean On Me Creamy Clarifying Shower Gel for every 50 purchases (of any product) made online or in Boots stores until 5th May to The Hygiene Bank.
Clean beauty brand Pai Skincare is donating one tube of its new Acton Spirit Hand Sanitizer to a school, nursery or charity for every purchase made on its website. NHS staff and school can also email [email protected] for donations of the same.
Sister & Co
Sustainable British skincare company BYBI is gifting self-care packages to NHS workers. All they have to do is mail on [email protected] from their work email.
Self tanning brand Tan-Luxe (a personal favorite!) has developed Hand-Luxe, a hydrating hand sanitizer with hyaluronic acid. However, it’s not for all sale – all 10,000 units shall be donated to those on the frontline.
The direct-sales behemoth is repurposing several of its production lines to make moisturising hand gels and a proportion of the new product is earmarked for NHS staff and domestic abuse service users and staff. It is also donating £150k to national domestic abuse charity Refuge, along with providing thousands of wellbeing packs for staff (including essential toiletries, well-being items and hand gel) at two of its HQ’s local hospitals in Northampton and Kettering.
Brit beauty brand Oskia has pivoted its production line to manufacture hand sanitisers. These will first be distributed across local care homes near their factory in Monmouth, Wales, before extending across the region. They are also donating hand creams to NHS hospitals.
British beauty brand Medik8, which focusses on Vitamin A and C formations for efficacious skincare, has reconfigured its production lines to manufacturing hand sanitizers. An initial 4,000 units have been delivered free to the elderly and homeless, while the company is targeting to make 50,000 more bottles for delivery across the UK.
The South Korean beauty conglomerate donated $287,591 to COVID-19 emergency response efforts in Wuhan for essential medical supplies. It is also supplying shampoos and conditioners to front-line workers for their personal hygiene through RYO, which is one of its sub-brands.
Natura & Co
Natura & Co has been donating personal care products to local communities and hospitals in Asia.
Global beauty brands
Johnson & Johnson
Johnson & Johnson has partnered with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority and the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center to help develop a coronavirus vaccine. It’s also screening its own library of antiviral compounds to identify any that can help with the novel virus. Besides these initiatives, the company has also donated 1 million surgical masks, 48,000 bottles of Band-Aid brand isopropyl alcohol, 1 electrosurgical generator and other medical devices to hospitals, over 1,200 packs of Acuvue contact lenses to medical workers. In China, it has donated 1 million Renminbi (approximately $143,000 dollars) for pandemic efforts.
L’Oréal has also retooled several of its factories to start making hand sanitizers and hydroalcoholic gel for French and other European health authorities. They shall also be distributed free of charge to hospitals, care homes and pharmacies. The L’Oréal Foundation has also donated €1million to various organisations working towards people affected by the pandemic and pledged $720,000 to the Chinese Red Cross Foundation. And in an industry first, the conglomerate has suspended payments from partner salons and small businesses through the course of the pandemic.
LVMH (including Guerlain and Givenchy)
Beauty and fashion conglomerate LVMH, which owns luxury fragrance labels like Louis Vuitton, Guerlain and Givenchy, has transformed its perfume factories into production lines for making hand sanitizers that will be delivered free of charge to French health authorities. Along with this, it has also pledged $2.3 million to the Chinese Red Cross Foundation.
In France, Clarins has pivoted production to supply health authorities with hand sanitiser – they have already supplied 14,500 large bottles of sanitizers till date. In the US, the brand has been working with FEED to provide free school meals through the United Nations World Food Programme since 2011 – every online order translates into five free meals.
Estée Lauder Companies has contributed $2 million to Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières. In New York City, where the company is headquartered, it has also provided a grant to support the establishment of The NYC COVID-19 Response & Impact Fund. In China, it has donated $800,000 to the Red Cross Society of China, Shanghai Charity Foundation and Give2Asia, along with another $1.4 million worth of in-kind donations to the China Women’s Development Foundation for front line medical staff. Additionally, the beauty conglomerate has reopened its Melville, New York manufacturing facility to produce hand sanitizer for high-need groups and populations, including front-line medical staff.
The L’Occitane Group has donated 70,000 litres of hand sanitizers to health authorities and healthcare workers in France. They have also provided the Assistance Publique – Hôpitaux de Paris with 25,000 soaps and hand creams. Their coronavirus relief efforts began in February itself, when they donated more than 20,000 units of moisturizing lotion and shea butter hand cream to hospital workers in Wuhan and Shanghai, China. They have also sent 20,000 units of intensive hand balm and shea butter milk soap to the Korean International Medical Association, along with presenting hand care products to staff of UK’s NHS.
Victoria Beckham Beauty
Global behemoth Coty has started producing hand sanitizers at its factories in the US and Monaco, with additional factories to start within the week. The hand sanitizers shall be distributed free of charge to medical and emergency services staff across the world.
The technological giant, which is popular for its haircare devices, has designed and built an entirely new ventilator called CoVent to specifically address the needs of coronavirus patients. The company is producing 10,000 units for the UK government and will donate an additional 5,000 worldwide.