Having a shower with your favourite shampoo and conditioner, wearing deodorant to an interview, brushing your teeth with toothpaste before a date, leaving the house comfortably when you’re on your period – these are all things we take for granted every single day. But if you were forced to choose between food and hygiene, what would you choose? This is the question 13 million people in the UK, living below the poverty line, have to ask themselves every day.
In response to a report by the charity In Kind Direct, that found that 37% of the nation have had to either go without, or cut down on, hygiene or grooming essentials due to lack of funds, beauty PR Jo Jones and journalist Sali Hughes agreed that action needed to be taken. The pair consequently decided to set up a non-profit organisation to help fight this hygiene poverty, and so Beauty Banks was formed.
Hughes has worked in the beauty industry for 40 years and the idea of Beauty Banks emerged from her own experience with homelessness, and the fact that both women knew teachers who brought in sanitary products for school pupils who couldn’t afford them. Therefore, it seemed only logical to the pair to do something to combat this problem. The Bank aims to encourage the beauty community, and the general public, to donate toiletries and cosmetic products to people living in serious poverty. Once enough donations have been collected, they will be distributed to homeless shelters and food banks across the nation.
On The Pool website, Hughes wrote:
“It isn’t right, fair or good enough. Clean hair, skin and teeth are a right, not a privilege. Personal hygiene – while not a matter of life or death – is crucial for our dignity, self-respect, personal pride and mental health”
How can you help? Any donation, no matter how big or small, is welcome, as long as it follows the guidelines. If you are stuck for what to donate – think sanitary products, disposable razors, conditioner, hair bands, moisturiser, sunscreen, toothpaste, and even lipstick.
Be aware of the rules, however: all items must be unopened, and any solvents, such as nail polish, nail polish remover, and perfume, will not be accepted.
Even if all you can offer are those free small toiletries you get in hotel rooms, or that unwanted bath set your great aunt got you for Christmas, once you’ve collected your goods, pack them into a box, with ‘Beauty Bank’ written on every side, and send it to the address:
Beauty Banks, c/o Jo Jones, The Communications Store, 2 Kensington Square, London, W8 5EP
Or, if you’d rather cut out the middleman, you can buy anything on the Beauty Banks wish list from boots.com, superdrug.com, and/or amazon.co.uk (the Amazon wish list is here), and it’ll get sent directly to Beauty Banks.
Follow Beauty Banks on Instagram here.