Beauty companies that are giving back

This holiday season, a simple beauty purchase can do a whole lot more than beautify. Here are 13 companies selling products with a charitable element

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Charitable beauty

When it comes to guilty pleasures, buying a new lipstick or a silky body lotion can rank up there with savouring a piece of dark chocolate. After all, beauty products aren't exactly helping to save the world...or are they?

In fact, a growing number of cosmetics companies are pledging a portion of their proceeds to charity, or in some way are giving back to society. While the numbers are not broken down by industry, so-called cause sponsorship spending by consumers grew by 3.4 percent in 2014 to $1.84 billion, according to Cause Marketing Forum.

Small wonder; a 2013 study by Cone Communications and Echo Global CSR found that 91 percent of global consumers said they were likely to switch to a brand associated with a good cause, given comparable price and quality. And the Neilsen 2013 Consumers Who Care study found that 38 percent of Canadians were willing to reward companies that give back, by paying more for their goods and services. With that in mind, here are products that help you do good and feel good.

 

Photo: In Benin, some 100,000 kids eat a hot meal daily thanks in part to Clarins' contributions to the United Nations World Food Programme. (WFP/Rein Skullerud)

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Burt's Bees

Bees are in trouble. Habitat loss has prompted a free fall in the population of solitary pollinator bees-the ones that live alone and pollinate many fruit and vege­tables. Enter Burt's Bees Wild for Bees Hydrating Lip Balm with Coconut & Pear ($5). All sales proceeds go to Pollinator Partnerships Canada to raise awareness and build "bee hotels" across the country. The first of these sustainable nesting places opened on the roof of The Fairmont Royal York hotel in Toronto this summer, and more are being planned to give hard-working bees a place to stay-all expenses paid.

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Cheeky Monkey Cosmetics

Cheeky Monkey donates five percent of the revenues from "5-free" (meaning free of formaldehyde, toluene, DBP, camphor and parabens) nail polish ($15) to the Toronto Humane Society. On top of that, 50 percent of the proceeds from its BFF polish (a pretty pink) go to various charities that focus on women's cancer research, and 10 percent of proceeds from its Earth Mama polish (a rich brown) go to the Halton Conservation Area.

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Clarins

With a purchase of $75 worth of Clarins products at The Bay this holiday season, you will get a Clarins Feed 10 shoulder bag. Made from jute burlap and cotton, it is lightweight and foldable, and contains samples of Clarins' HydraQuench Mask and Rich Moisture Body Lotion. Better yet, you'll be spreading holiday cheer: For each bag, 10 meals will go to hungry kids around the globe through the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).

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Marc Jacobs Daisy

For every bottle of Marc Jacobs Daisy Hot Pink Limited Edition eau de parfum ($85, 50 mL) that is purchased in November, $2 will go to Look Good, Feel Better. This charity gives free workshops to women fighting cancer to help them look their best despite the ravages of the disease.

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Éminence Organics

Buy any of Éminence Organics' skincare products ($24 to $110) and you will be helping to keep the planet clean and green. For each product purchased, the company pledges to plant a tree in a rural area of the developing world through Trees for the Future. The aim: to restore the environment, grow more food and help create a more sustainable future for people everywhere. The brand is available at spas and salons across Canada.

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Joa Bath and Body

For every bar of soap ($7) sold by Joa Bath and Body of Casselman, Ont., the company will donate a bar of soap to a women's shelter. Made from all-natural ingredients including olive oil, honey and oatmeal, the wholesome bath and body products are perfect for sensitive skin.

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Lush

Every penny of the $26 you spend on Lush's New Charity Pot hand and body lotion will benefit one of 600 grass-roots charities worldwide that do good deeds for people, animals or the environment, such as Hug It Forward. And you'll love this lotion's latest formula; it is full of essential oils like ylang ylang, geranium and rosewood for a fresh scent and dewy skin.

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M.A.C

Buy just one tube of the company's Viva Glam Lipstick ($19) or Lipglass ($18) (shown: Rihanna 2) and you are helping provide medicine to prevent the spread of AIDS from HIV-infected moms to their newborns. M.A.C underwrites the cost of producing its Viva Glam lip colours and donates every cent of their sale to a variety of initiatives that feed, house, protect and educate people in 95 countries or territories around the world who are struggling with AIDS.

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The Body Shop

Buy a gift ($10 to $55) from The Body Shop, and you'll be giving the gift of education to a child in a war-torn country such as Uganda, Afghanistan or the Republic of Congo. For each gift sold, The Body Shop will donate eight cents to War Child. The company expects to fund an estimated half-million classes this holiday season.

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Tweezerman

Pick up Tweezerman's Art of Elysium Mini Slant Tweezers ($20, exclusively at Sephora) in a limited-edition "morning glory" pattern and you will help make a sick child happy. For each of these purchased, Tweezerman will make a $1 donation to The Art of Elysium charity, which trains volunteer artists, musicians and actors to entertain and teach at children's hospitals.

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Yes To

Skincare company Yes To donates a portion of proceeds to charity via the Yes To Seed Fund; the two charities the Seed Fund is currently supporting are Mama Hope and Blessings in a Backpack. Shown here: Grapefruit Daily Facial Scrub ($12, 113 g).

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L'Occitane

All profits from the sale of L'Occitane's shea-butter laced Solidarity Soap ($3) will help finance eye-health NGOs in developing countries, where an estimated four of every five cases of blindness are preventable.

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Aveda

When you pick up an Aveda gift pack this holiday season (they range in price from $25 to $119), take note of the paper it's wrapped in. Made of Lokta bark, it comes from the Himalayan Bio-Trade paper making cooperative in Nepal. In the seven years since the co-op has been producing paper for Aveda's gift packs, it has employed some 5,500 people (90 percent of them women) to make the 1.8 million sheets used. The result: 6,100 loss got the chance to go to school and 2,475 families can buy food and clothing, repair their homes, and make plans for the future. Shown here: A Gift of a Little Relief (limited edition): Hand Relief in three aromas: Original, Shampure and Rosemary Mint ($33, 40 mL each).