Imagine not being able to afford tampons when you get your period, a razor when you want to shave your legs, or even just shower gel or soap when you want to have a shower. Unfortunately, for many of the 13 million people in the UK living under the poverty line, they don't have to imagine: It's a stark reality.
What makes things worse is that even if you're not a beauty editor who stockpiles beauty products like Armageddon is coming, we all have plenty of these things lying around the house. And that's exactly why we need Beauty Banks now more than ever.
Aiming to tackle the issue of #HygienePoverty in the UK, Beauty Banks is a new nonprofit organisation founded by two of the beauty industry's most influential heavyweights: journalist Sali Hughes and beauty PR Jo Jones. Angered by the fact that so many people across the UK are being denied access to basic hygiene, they're aiming to rehouse the UK's unused hoards of beauty products (as well as freshly bought donations if you haven't got anything to spare) to a growing network of food banks across the UK—all of which are in dire need of these supplies.
Alarmingly, more than half of families reliant of food banks say they can't afford to buy toiletries, and we already know that girls up and down the country are skipping school because they can't afford sanitary products.
But these people aren't just being denied basic hygiene—they're being denied the boost of self-esteem that can come from something as seemingly simple as washing your hair, cleaning your body or looking after your skin. We've all experienced the effect a good beauty product can have on our confidence, but if you're trying to escape poverty, prove yourself at that job interview or you've been sleeping on the streets, that emotion is all the more important.
They've already had a flurry of donations—as you'll see from the mountain of Amazon orders above—but Beauty Banks still needs more. They're looking for donations that cover all corners of our bathroom cabinets. Yes, they need essentials like tampons and soap, but as Hughes explains, they also believe "items like moisturiser, spot cream and a sharp razor can help support those in crisis who are looking for work, returning to education, suffering from poverty-associated mental-health difficulties or who are simply in need of the same sense of cleanliness and dignity that are taken for granted by the rest of us." We're totally with them on that.
Here at Byrdie UK, we're clearing out our beauty cupboard to help, and we know you'll be desperate to get involved too. Here's how.
How to get involved
1. Gather up your unused, unopened beauty products from around the house—there will no doubt be a few bottles of shower gel and a box of soaps hiding somewhere.
2. Buy an extra box of tampons, packet of razors, deodorant or face cream next time you're shopping.
Then send them over to the Beauty Banks HQ—
c/o Jo Jones
The Communications Store
2 Kensington Square
London W8 5EP
And the staff will make sure they get to someone who really needs them.