People living in poverty need toiletries and beauty products like the rest of us – and a brilliant new scheme is here to help.

Sali Hughes and Jo Jones have spent a combined forty years working in and around the beauty industry, a luxurious world that they adore.

Last summer, though, they were both appalled by a report published by In Kind Direct, a charity founded in 1996 by The Prince of Wales, which distributes consumer goods to groups with people in poverty. The report identified a hidden crisis in the UK, which it called “hygiene poverty”.

Many of the people living below the poverty line, it said, struggle to keep clean. More than half of the families who rely on food banks cannot afford to buy toiletries. Girls sometimes miss school when they have their period, because they have no access to sanitary protection. Workers on low incomes visit homeless shelters for hot showers and soap.

To address this dire situation, which shows no signs of abating, Hughes and Jones launched Beauty Banks earlier this year. The mission of the non-profit organisation is to rally the beauty industry – and people beyond, like you and me – into donating toiletries and cosmetic products to those in need.

Sali Hughes says: “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 and death – is crucial for our dignity, self-respect, personal pride and mental health.”

Everything from sanitary products, disposable razors, shampoo, shaving foam, shower gel, combs, hair bands, hand gel, sunscreen, baby lotion, face wash and spot cream to deodorant, moisturiser, plasters, conditioner, lacquer, lotion and lipstick is welcome. Items must be free of restricted solvents and unopened.

You can send donations to Beauty Banks, C/O Jo Jones, The Communications Store, 2 Kensington Square, London, W8 5EP. Beauty Banks’s volunteers will then pack up the wares and distribute them to their charity partners, who will see that it gets to those who need it most.

“Nobody would choose washing over eating if they could only afford one, but nobody should be forced to make that choice,” says Hughes. Spot on.

Follow this inspired initiative on Instagram at @thebeautybanks. Email them at

July 2018