I’ve been steering clear of the beauty industry’s annual breast cancer bandwagon because somewhere along the way it has become a marketing ploy for brands rather than a genuine commitment to the ‘Think Pink’ cause. For instance, when a fragrance that sells for $90 does a ‘Breast Cancer Awareness’ special edition and then goes on to donate just $3 from the sale of every bottle to the movement, it is pink washing (slapping on a pink ribbon on their products as a marketing ploy without actually benefitting the cause) of the lamest kind. Instead, I would much rather opt for a company like Jo Malone, which does not do a single ‘pink’ product but commits to giving the Breast Cancer Research Foundation a sum of $20,000, regardless of any October sales.
Then there are the products that donate part of their sales to breast cancer associations but are full of ingredients that have been proven to give you cancer. Think: parabens, phthalates, 1,4-dioxane, PEGs and glycols, lauryl/laureth sulfates, triethanolamine, triclosan, petrochemicals, synthetic fragrances and dyes. Many of these are known carcinogens that can be absorbed into the body through our skin. So, to me it makes no sense that we would spend our moneys to increase breast cancer awareness by buying the exact products that have a high chance of causing breast cancer in the first place.
However, a lot of you have been writing in to ask about beauty brands that actually buck the pink washing ploy, so after extensive research, here are those that made the cut. A truly significant portion of each of these product’s sales price goes to a credible Breast Cancer Awareness association and none of them contain a known carcinogen. That, in my book, is sincerely applause-worthy!
The 100% Breast Cancer Awareness Beauty Club
These are the brands that donate every single penny of their designated ‘pink ribbon’ product’s sales price to a Breast Cancer Awareness Association. And note: they donate 100% of the sales price and not of the profit. Which means that the brand is absorbing the entire cost of manufacturing, selling and distributing the product. These ones deserve a standing ovation!
Incidentally, do you notice a splash of blue running through the Estée Lauder Pink Ribbon Evelyn Lauder Dream Collection Perfume Compact? It represent the 1% of all breast cancer cases that are diagnosed in men.
Pink ribbon products (clockwise from top): Jane Iredale Bright Future Eye Shadow Compact, $30; Smashbox O-Gloss, $23; eos Smooth Sphere Lip Balm Breast Cancer Awareness 2-Pack, $6.49; Estée Lauder Pink Ribbon Evelyn Lauder Dream Collection Perfume Compact, $50
The ones that go 25-50%
The ribbon revolution actually began in the 19th century, when one would see whole villages of women tying yellow ribbons in their hair to signify their devotion to a sweetheart away at war. This set the stage for the breast cancer ribbon, which today unites the world in a battle against this deadly disease that is the second leading cause of cancer death in women, exceeded only by lung cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, every woman has a 1 in 8 chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer some time during her life.
Given the statistics, it’s heartening to know that some beauty companies are taking the responsibility seriously and donating a significant portion of their sales to spreading awareness.
Pink ribbon products (clockwise from top): Crane & Canopy Hot Pink Eye Pillow, $12; Boscia Tsubaki Beauty Oil – Breast Cancer Awareness Edition, $46; Darphin BCA Silky Moisturising Lotion, $40; GlamGlow Cure Sexy Tingling & Exfoliating Mud Mask, $69; La Mer Breast Cancer Awareness Hand Treatment, $40; Marie Todd Heal Candle, $54; Clinique Great Skin, Great Cause Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion, $38
Let’s do 15-20%
To me, there’s no point if you can’t even shell out 15% of your product price for breast cancer awareness. There’s a fashion brand that’s donating something like $30 from every handbag sold. The bag is worth $3,000. Seriously?
Pink ribbon products (clockwise from top): Tatcha Ageless Enriching Renewal Cream Pink Ribbon Edition, $185; Bobbi Brown French Pink Set, $45; Aveda Hand Relief Breast Cancer Research Foundation Moisturizer Limited Edition, $23; Origins Drink Up Hydrating Lip Balm Breast Cancer Awareness in Pink Guava, $16; Ahava Hope Blossoms Mineral Bath Salts, $22; Shiseido Lacquer Rouge in Diva, $25; Sonia Kashuk’s Proudly Pink 5-piece Purse Brush Set, $16; Sephora Collection Together In Pink Hair Ties, $6
Any genuinely commendable breast cancer awareness friendly beauty products that I have left out? Do share in the comments section.