Move over, influencers. Doctors and nurses battling the coronavirus are now the ones receiving free beauty products from brands.
As large beauty conglomerates like L’Oréal and Estée Lauder make multimillion-dollar donations to relief efforts and dedicate their factories to wartime-style hand sanitizer production, smaller brands are trying to do their part. In addition to financial donations to food banks and organizations fighting Covid-19, over 120 beauty brands have offered free products to front-line medical workers. For example, Alpyn Beauty and LVMH-owned KVD are calling on their social media followers to nominate friends or family in the health-care field to receive free products. Other companies such as Glow Recipe, Pause Well-Aging, Wander Beauty and Summer Fridays are preparing care packages for medical workers.
“Some customers actually sent us photos” of how their skin looked after wearing masks during long shifts working in the medical field, said Glow Recipe co-CEO and co-founder Christine Chang. “It was heartbreaking to see that these professionals were sacrificing so much and putting their lives on the line to help our society.”
While beauty may not be a core need right now, small beauty companies are taking on CSR with the products they have on hand. Demand for products has been high among medical workers, said Chang. Glow Recipe set up an online application to donate $50,000 worth of full-size blueberry cleansers (priced $34) and banana moisturizers ($39) to medical professionals, and the company received 6,000 responses within a matter of hours.
Fellow K-beauty brand Peach & Lily also contributed items from its Nourish moisturizer collection to medical workers via a beauty products drive organized by beauty reporter Cheryl Wischhover. In a separate initiative, the company is also giving 100% of net proceeds from the collection to food rescue non-profit City Harvest through the end of March.
“I strongly believe that if your company is not able to give when you’re small, you’re not going to start giving just because you’re bigger,” said Peach & Lily co-founder and CEO Alicia Yoon. “It’s a part of the fabric of your corporate culture, your values and belief systems that you incorporate from very early on; it becomes a part of the DNA that you really do believe and verify.”
Wischhover, a former nurse practitioner, began organizing the drive for hospitals via Twitter last week, with support from Kathleen Hou, beauty director at The Cut, Kristina Rodulfo, beauty director at Women’s Health and writer and podcast host Caroline Moss. Thus far, they have received product donations from 120 brands. Around 150 health-care workers have reached out for products so far, and 75 brands have been matched with a hospital for distribution. Brands on the list include Barbara Sturm, Strivectin and Beautycounter, among others.
“It’s been skewing small and indie,” said Wischhover, regarding which brands are contributing.
Small indie brands may not have the level of funding that large conglomerates have, but many companies still feel the impact their own CSR efforts can have.
“I think the strength of independent beauty brands like ourselves is that we have such close ties with the community,” said Chang. “We really have that ear to the ground and our customers are very comfortable having that open dialogue with us.”