Women have been working for their place at the table since, well, forever, while also fighting for equal rights and equal pay. Sure, this may make the idea of shopping for lipstick and skin creams sound trivial, but get this: Not only are women paid less, they’re charged more, too. From T-shirts to toiletries, it’s common practice to hike up the prices on female items versus the male equivalent, to the tune of 13 percent more on personal care products and 8 percent more for adult clothing. Not to mention the “Pink Tax” on feminine care items, such as tampons and pads, another clear-cut example of gender-based price discrimination.
Spending on average up to $1,351 more than men, according to a recent study, we have the perfect opportunity to start protesting with our purses. With an array of awesome girl-powered companies, the entrepreneurial spirit has never been stronger among women. Not only are female-founded beauty brands created in part to empower others, but many make it their mission to also fill white space in the industry while giving back to causes focused on women’s issues.
We’ve picked eight wonderful women-owned beauty brands who are doing just this. There’s never been a better time than now to shop more consciously, support these brands, and make a stand with your spending.
Having suffered with easily-irritated, sensitive skin and struggling to find effective products she could trust, Sarah Brown founded the natural skin care line Pai, which uses organic ingredients, no-nonsense marketing, and product transparency. From cleansers to body creams, plus a number of pregnancy-focused and baby items, every product is created to be as gentle and kind as possible to the skin. What’s more, the company works extensively to make the product packaging recyclable and supports a number of female-focused charities and initiatives, including mentor programs and advice for cancer patients during treatment and beyond. Pai is a beauty line with heart.
Helmed by beauty industry professionals who bring years of expertise to this chic makeup line, Beautiful Rights is a brand which aims to empower and take action on key issues surrounding women’s rights. With an edit of lipsticks and eyeliners, 20 percent of sales go towards supporting women’s issues and gender injustice initiatives of the consumer’s choice. Choose from Planned Parenthood, March For Our Lives, ACLU, Emily’s List, and more. As for the 20 percent? It’s symbolic of the fact that, in the US, women continue to be paid 20 percent less than men for the same work.
Founded by Melissa Butler with a focus on universal beauty, The Lip Bar uses diverse imagery and features an impressive lineup of lipsticks, liquid mattes, and lip glosses to suit all skin tones. It's affordable, absent of harsh chemicals, vegan, cruelty-free, and now that’s it is stocked at Target, as well as on their online store, what’s not to love about this cool company?
For exquisitely handcrafted botanical facial oils and a select edit of eco-friendly beauty tools, including rose quartz and jade rollers, konjac sponges, and reusable cotton pads, Town & Anchor is a great source. The micro-batch beauty brand, founded by Parisa Morris, is forging the way in compassionate and conscious beauty with ethically-harvested ingredients, fair-trade practices, cruelty-free products, and recyclable/refillable packaging. Keeping costs low for consumers, this is natural beauty at its finest.
Using statement lip colors like red and orange to empower women, The Lipstick Lobby is a social justice movement for change and equality. With an array of cool shades and merch, 100 percent of net profits go to different initiatives, including the UnPrison Project, The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, the ACLU, and Planned Parenthood.
The subscription-based feminine care company uses 100 percent cotton in their tampons, pads, and body cloths, as well as organic applicators. As for the that annoying “Tampon Tax,” Cora pays the sales tax on all products sold via their website. As if that’s not enough to make you want to subscribe, the brand also provides pads and health education to girls and women in developing nations. In the US, 93 percent of the women they help to employ have experienced domestic or sexual violence, and they regularly partner with non-profits to provide period products to girls and women across the country.
In a market traditionally catered toward men, with taxes levied on women’s razors, Billie is a shaving company born from the mindset that women shouldn’t be an afterthought. Offering a chic array of hard-working razors and body products as part of a subscription service, Billie removes the “Pink Tax,” ensuring all of their razors are priced in line with men’s, and offers free shipping. The best part? With their Pink Tax Rebate program, you get money back on your next purchase when you refer friends.
A mother-daughter brand inspired by the bathing rituals of the Far and Middle East, Senteurs d’Orient was founded by Hana and SaraDebs Akkari. Their mission is to create luxurious, handcrafted soaps and fragrances for women, while keeping female empowerment at the heart of the brand. They employee only women and have partnered with the UN Development Program to educate and help women in developing countries gain career opportunities.
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