It’s a choice that no one should ever have to make, but one that faces hundreds of people across the country every day: food, or basic toiletries.
Research conducted by In Kind Direct has shown that as many as 37 per cent of people in the UK (and 56 per cent of 18 to 24 year olds) have had to either cut down on their hygiene essentials due to lack of money, or go without them completely.
This means that they’re unable to afford products including shampoo, deodorant, soap, razors, toothpaste, or tampons and sanitary towels – items that most of the population take for granted. But Beauty Banks wants to change that fact.
Described as ‘like foodbanks but with beauty essentials and toiletries instead’, and set up by PR Jo Jones and beauty writer Sali Hughes, Beauty Banks is a programme that aims to improve access to these vital products for the 13 million people in the country who live below the poverty line.
They believe, quite rightly, that ‘clean hair, freshly washed skin, deodorant on our body and clean teeth is a right, not a privilege,’ and that ‘personal hygiene is crucial for our dignity and self-pride – a way to feel human and able to face the day, face the world.’
The team are collecting donations from both their professional contacts and members of the public, and distributing them to a network of charity food banks and homeless shelter partners – and although Beauty Banks was only launched earlier this month, the response to their campaign has already been overwhelming.
‘The response has been extraordinary – we receive something in the region of 200-300 boxes of product per day,’ says Sali. ‘Many of them personal donations of unused toiletries by members of the public, many of them made via our Amazon wish lists, and an increasing number from beauty brands and personal care companies.’
‘We’ve delivered to Liverpool, Brighton, Cardiff, Milton Keynes, Nottingham, various locations in and around London, and will increase our reach in the coming weeks and months.’
‘What we need most is deodorant, razors, shower gel, sanitary towels, shampoo, teenage skincare,’ she adds. ‘If I had to pick only one thing, it would be deodorant.’
How you can help
Post products you already own
The address for Beauty Banks is: Beauty Banks, c/o Jo Jones, The Communications Store, 2 Kensington Square, London, W8 5EP.
Before you send, please note that Beauty Banks can only accept products that have not yet been opened, and do not accept nail polish, nail polish remover or perfume.
Shop the Amazon Wishlist
Alternatively, you can purchase from the Beauty Banks Amazon wishlist.