When news broke about the appalling aftermath of migrant children being separated from their families due to President Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigrant policy, makeup brand Lipslut decided that enough was enough.
“Rather than lip service, we’re putting our money where our mouth is,” the brand proudly proclaims on its website. True to its word, the company released a mid-tone nude-pink matte liquid lipstick boldly named “F*ck Trump” and donated 100 percent of its proceeds to organizations that help families affected by the policy.
The organizations include RAICES, KIND, Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center, Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights and Al Otro Lado.
In just two weeks, Lipslut extraordinarily raised over $100,000 for the families in need. According to Bustle, the lipstick has been backordered all month — that’s how successful the fundraising effort has been.
The brand’s Instagram and Facebook accounts are brimming with pictures of beauty gurus using F*ck Trump to complete their looks. Celebrity model Amber Rose even included a tube of the lipstick in the May 2018 box of her monthly subscription service, SlutBox.
Typically, customers of the cosmetic brand have the opportunity to vote on the specific civil rights charity in which 50 percent of all earnings from their purchases will be donated. However, when tragedy strikes, Lipslut kicks things into high gear.
In the wake of the Charlottesville riots in August 2017, the company vowed to donate 100 percent of the F*ck Trump profits to individual victims’ medical bills, Albemarle-Charlottesville NAACP and Charlottesville’s Black Lives Matter organization. The endeavor resulted in the brand’s first fundraising record of $40,000 until it was shattered almost one year later by its “Fight Zero Tolerance” campaign.
Katie Sones, the founder of Lipslut, told Refinery29, “It has always bothered me, especially in a time when our political system is so dysfunctional, that companies rarely speak out [against] social issues, despite holding large influence in our society. I don’t believe the fear of losing customers makes for an apt excuse to ignore human rights.”
While a good portion of Americans were dejectedly pondering their future on the day of Trump’s inauguration, Sones took to action.
“I knew a lot of people my age weren’t donating because they didn’t feel like they could give their money away,” she said in another interview with Refinery29. “But then, at the same time, they thought they could afford to buy makeup. So I decided to bridge that gap by creating a product that could give back.”
In the following weeks, Sones secured a quality lipstick formula, met with suppliers, designed the packaging and launched a website, all while still attending classes at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. In January 2017, the same month Trump took office, Lipslut rose like a phoenix from the ashes of American democracy.
Now that she has graduated, Sones is working on her brand full-time. “New colors and causes are definitely in the works,” she told Bustle.
Although the Fight Zero Tolerance campaign closed on July 19, you can still buy the F*ck Trump lipstick, only now you can help choose the charity to which the proceeds will be donated.
The choices are the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU); The Center for Reproductive Rights; Human Rights Campaign; National Coalition Against Domestic Violence; National Organization for Women (NOW); Planned Parenthood; Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN); She Should Run; and Women on Wings.
You can also check out Lipslut’s other humanitarian product: In January, the brand unveiled a striking red matte liquid lipstick, titled “F*ck Hollywood,” in support of the #MeToo movement, with 50 percent of the proceeds going toward anti-sexual assault organizations.
All of the cosmetic company’s products are vegan and cruelty-free and sell for $19.95.
Sones hopes that other cosmetic brands will likewise be inspired to use their influence to support political and social activism. One such example is The Lipstick Lobby, which was founded shortly after Lipslut. The lipstick vendor donates 100 percent of net profits to human rights causes, such as preventing gun violence and Planned Parenthood.
Even E.L.F. Cosmetics is taking a crack at activism by teaming up with five beauty bloggers and donating 10 percent of profits from each influencer’s chosen product to their selected animal charities. The campaign is in effect until July 31.
“Since Lipslut was founded, we have been steadily growing a community of people who take action — those who will not stand for such injustice in the world,” Sones said. “While I certainly wasn’t expecting such a large outpour of support, I think it’s something the world should expect to see more of.”
If socially conscious cosmetics do indeed become the new trend, then it is possible for society to be both attractive and altruistic.