Feminism is Not an Ugly Word; How Beauty Brands are Speaking to the Modern Woman on International Women’s Day and Beyond

22march8-superJumboPHOTOGRAPHY: Ruth Fremson/The New York Times

If there ever was a year of the woman, 2018 is looking like a good contender. In this day and age where words like “me too,” and “time’s up,” evoke change and action, the once feminist norm is now part of mainstream culture. Beauty and health brands are also raising their collective voices, allowing women to be unapologetically who they want to be and bringing selfcare to the forefront of common rhetoric.

Millions of girls and women around the world see their periods as a “week of shame.” Managing their monthly menstruation comes with improvising unhygienic and ineffective items like old clothing or toilet paper to get by. In fact, one in ten African schoolgirls skip or drop out of school entirely due to poor access to menstrual products. The Honey Pot Co, a plant-based feminine care line, is aiming to change that. Founder, Beatrice Feliu-Espada, has teamed up with the AFRIpads, a foundation that advocates for women’s health in Uganda, providing a portion of their proceeds to assist school-age girls in manufacturing menstrual care kits in their own villages. The Honey Pot Co’s collection of natural washes, wipes, pads and soon-to-launch tampons, are available nationally at Target.

Men can be feminists, too, as evidenced by father founder of RealHer Makeup, Bill Xiang. After the birth of his daughter, Xiang was inspired to start the collection to empower women. He noticed the societal pressures facing females and did not want his daughter to fall victim to the perceived status quos. Xiang always felt that makeup was a vehicle for female empowerment and in turn, created RealHer. With powerful messages of self-acceptance like, “I Am Tough,” and “I Love Myself,” RealHer also practices what they preach, donating 20% of their profits to the American Associate of University Women, which provides educational funding for women across the country.

“Feminism and femininity are not mutually exclusive,” says Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, author of We Should All Be Feminists. “It is misogynistic to suggest that they are. Sadly, women have learned to be ashamed and apologetic about pursuits that are seen as traditionally female, such as fashion and makeup. But our society does not expect men to feel ashamed of pursuits considered generally male – sports cars, certain professional sports. In the same way, men’s grooming is never suspect in the way women’s grooming is – a well-dressed man does not worry that, because he is dressed well, certain assumptions might be made about his intelligence, his ability, or his seriousness. A woman, on the other hand, is always aware of how a bright lipstick or a carefully-put-together outfit might very well make others assume her to be frivolous.”

We still have a long way to go. While The Honey Pot Co and RealHer are shedding light on equality, self-acceptance and empowerment, there are countless others that are not using their platforms for the greater good. But, even a small suffice to say, these feminist brands will continue to have a place on my vanity and hopefully yours, too.

– Mallory Liebhaber

Celebrate International Women’s Day With These Female-Founded Beauty Companies

When we think of International Women’s Day, we think of all the remarkable ways women have carved out space for themselves in the world — including, the beauty industry. Thanks to many female-founded beauty brands who celebrate women in a new (read: more relatable) light, the beauty industry will never be the same.

In celebration of International Women’s Day, we’re highlighting a few of the best female-founded beauty brands, ahead.

Farmaesthetics

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Founded by Brenda Brock, Farmaesthetics got its start in 1999 at an organic farmstand in rural Rhode Island. What began in Brock’s kitchen is now a full-fledged luxury skin care company found in the best spas and boutiques around the world. Though Farmaesthetics products are no longer formulated in her kitchen they’re still the same, 100% natural skin care products so many have worshipped for nearly a decade. Infused with organic herbs, oils, and flowers, the farm-to-skin beauty company has paved the way for natural and sustainable beauty.

Try: Farmaesthetics Calendula Remedy Oil

Enriched with only three ingredients — calendula, sweet almond oil, and vitamin E — the Calendula Remedy Oil is one of our Farmaesthetics favorites. Known as a skin mending herb, calendula can help treat and heal external skin conditions, such as wounds, scars, and burns. But, that’s not all. In addition to calendula’s healing powers, sweet almond oil and vitamin E work together to nourish and soften the skin and protect from environmental aggressors like pollution and the sun’s UV rays. It’s no wonder its been regarded as a facial in a bottle.

Manic Panic

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Founded in 1977 by punk rock legends, Tish and Snooky Bellomo, Manic Panic is one of the coolest (and most colorful) beauty brands of all time. Named after the sisters’ iconic punk-style boutique in NYC, the cult-favorite beauty brand — best known for its wildly fun collection of colorful hair dye — not only represents the punk-era, but the badass woman inside all of us.

Try: Manic Panic High Voltage Classic Cream Formula Hair Color

Manic Panic’s original High Voltage Classic Cream Formula Hair Color is not only known for being one of the best color hair dyes on the market, it’s one of the friendliest, too. The cult-favorite product has been vegan and cruelty-free since day one (that’s impressive for a company that started over 40 years ago!) and is free of ammonia, parabens, resorcinol, phthalate, and other harmful ingredients. And, with 44 shades to choose from, there’s something for everyone.  

The Honey Pot Company

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Founded by Beatrice Feliu-Espada, The Honey Pot Company is the result of one woman’s search for a natural way to care for down there. After searching for natural ways to cure vaginal infections — and stay away from antibiotics that worked only temporarily — Beatrice discovered a formula that would solve her (and countless of other women’s) problem and keep her lady parts healthy and happy. Now, The Honey Pot Company is on its way to becoming a leader in the world of feminine hygiene and is making safer products more accessible to women everywhere.

Try: The Honey Pot Company Normal Wipes

Caring for down there is as easy — not to mention: safe — as The Honey Pot Company’s Normal Wipes. Formulated with all natural ingredients, such as soothing aloe vera, cucumber fruit extract, oat extract, coconut water, and more, the all-natural feminine wipes are the ultimate way to keep your goods fresh and clean. And, that’s not all. Because the products are made with all-natural ingredients and gentle enough to use down there, you can use them as a multi-purpose wipe, too. When you’re in a pinch, use them to clean your complexion, wipe under your arms after a sweaty workout, and more.

3LAB

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Founded by Erica Chung, 3LAB is a leader in the world of high-tech skin care. With a focus on anti-aging, the high-end skincare brand utilizes “smart” technology to reverse signs of aging through improving collagen production, smoothing out fine lines and wrinkles, protecting against environmental aggressors, and more.

Try: 3LAB Super “H” Serum

Looking for an anti-aging product that does it all? Look no further than 3LAB Super “H” Serum. The award-winning anti-aging elixir is a true representation of the company’s astounding products, as it utilizes science to renew the skin and combat all signs of aging. The results? Skin that appears fresher and more youthful than before.

– Jessie Quinn