Just 16% of venture-funded companies worldwide have at least one female founder. That’s why it’s so important to support not only female-run companies but also businesses that champion the rights of women everywhere. Here, we’ve curated a shopping guide featuring women-owned, women-led businesses that support female causes. It’s time to make your money do more.
It’s no secret women have been shut out of board meetings and high-powered offices for decades—that we’ve been treated as second-class citizens not only in the workplace but also by companies selling us our products, dressing them up in pink in order to better appeal to those who identify as female. Frankly, we’ve had enough. And it seems the rest of the country has too. Female empowerment and advocates for women’s rights are louder and even more motivated to change things up. That’s why we’d like to shine a light on the women making a huge splash in this industry, the one we hold so close to our hearts (and faces).
We rounded up a ton of companies founded, run, and operated by women and for women. They all support organizations on the forefront of the fight for equality, whether it be for female assault survivors, Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, sustainability, or more. Below, find their stories and a few of our favorite products they make. Purchasing from these companies will better your skin, health, and body, as well as your future.
Since The Body Shop’s founder, Anita Roddick, began the company’s first Trade Not Aid partnership in 1987, they’ve been sustainably sourcing ingredients and accessories from around the world, supporting the communities that provide them. The Body Shop’s partners give back with social projects, scholarship programs and fair, equal treatment that supports the women they employ.
For example, they work with the Tungteiya Women’s Association to source their cult-favorite shea butter, using a process has been passed from mother to daughter for generations. The thick, rich texture and high fat content in the shea butter offers an intensely nourishing experience that Ghanaian women have been using for generations. Now, thanks to them, we get to enjoy the good-skin benefits as well. In addition to paying a fair price for the shea butter, The Body Shop helps fund various community projects in order to more positively impact the lives of 49,000 people across the 11 villages.
Throughout her career as a celebrity makeup artist, Munemi Imai landed jobs at magazines such as Vogue and Elle; on ad campaigns for Marc Jacobs, Altuzarra, Avon, and Shu Uemura; and backstage at the runways in New York, Paris, and Milan. It wasn’t until a brief illness motivated her to radically shift her diet that she fully realized the enormous overall impact of the ingredients we put in—and on—our bodies. Soon after, Mūn was born.
Mūn’s hero ingredient is prickly pear seed oil, which is sourced in partnership with a union of women’s co-operatives in Morocco (along with the argan and olive oils used in Imai’s products). Profits from the co-ops support a social fund that provides tutors who teach the women how to read and write, scholarships for their children to attend college, and a health fund that covers healthcare costs.
“The world doesn’t need more lip stuff. It needs the right stuff,” Sara Happ, the founder of Sara Happ, Inc., said before launching her first product, The Lip Scrub, in 2005. She spent the next three years coming up with the most indulgent, effective, healing, deeply hydrating balm: The Lip Slip. It launched in 2008 and remains the company’s best seller.
Still, Happ advocates for nonprofits including Baby2Baby, where 10% of the proceeds from her Sprinkles Red Velvet Lip Scrub are donated each year, as well as HelpUsAdopt and The Cashmere Foundation (the latter was started by Sara’s little sister after battling an eating disorder).
After spending hours each week cleaning washcloths and becoming increasingly frustrated with the texture of traditional terry cloth, bamboo, and microfiber rags, Amanda McIntosh decided to give the product an upgrade. For a year, she tested hundreds of fabrics and learned industrial pattern-making and sewing until Take My Face Off’s Mitty line of cleansing tools was born.
As she was developing the brand, McIntosh learned more about the sustainability issues in the beauty industry and was troubled by consumers’ use of disposables like wipes and cotton balls. And so her mission evolved. She wanted to provide not only softer, more effective cleansing aids but also products so useful that disposables would be left behind. Then, she began donating to The Trevor Project during pride month and regularly donating a portion of proceeds to Ocean Conservancy’s Trash Free Seas campaign.
“Urban Decay has always stood for the empowerment of women—from the products we create to the causes we support,” the brand writes. In 2015, it launched The Ultraviolet Edge, a global initiative meant to empower women. “By supporting organizations that fight for the rights of women everywhere, we encourage all women to embrace their individuality in everything they do. To us, that’s the definition of beauty with an edge.”
Because women’s rights is a complicated landscape with many worthy causes, Urban Decay decided to pool together the money it raised to support a variety of organizations with missions to help, inspire, and empower women. By 2018, the brand donated over $2 million to women’s empowerment nonprofits including Women’s Global Empowerment Fund, Her Justice, and Equality Now.
After spending seven years at Sephora in charge of product development for makeup collaborations and accessories, Tiila Abbitt shifted to head of research and development for sustainable materials while also being on the sustainability leadership council for the retailer. Abbitt…