Grateful for “Normal”


By Keech Combe Shetty
Board Chair, Personal Care Products Council, and
Executive Chair, Combe, Inc.

It’s hard to believe we are in our second year of a pandemic. Millions of people have been directly affected by COVID-19 with too many lives tragically lost. Many of us have been unable to spend time in person with our family and friends, denying us valuable connections we all crave. Some of us have struggled through working from home while supporting our kids as they navigated online learning. Others have jobs that required them to continue to show up in person, creating a new set of challenges.  

As Thanksgiving approaches, it feels like the right time to embrace and be grateful for our new “normal,” for a brighter future. Many of us will finally be together again with our loved ones, instead of through a screen. While COVID is still with us, and we have a long way to go before we can move past this pandemic, we’ve come a long way and it feels good!

As an industry, we have much to be thankful for. We’re extremely grateful to the front-line workers, medical professionals, nonprofit and relief organizations that have continued to help those who have struggled over the past year. We’re grateful to all cosmetics and personal care product employees for their loyalty, dedication and hard work that has kept our companies running. And we are incredibly thankful to our valuable consumers for continuing to trust our products to safely enhance their wellbeing.

Author William Arthur Ward said, “Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” We can all look for ways to be grateful in our daily lives. To find joy in ordinary routines.

On behalf of PCPC and our member companies, I thank you and wish you a Happy Thanksgiving. I hope you can take some time to celebrate the common days in your life, thank those around you who made a difference over the past year and a half, and make plans for a happy and healthy holiday season ahead. I believe many good opportunities are in our future.

The Time to Vote is Every Year


Lezlee Westine
President & CEO, Personal Care Products Council

Voting is the foundation of our democracy, and every person’s vote is vital to making our democracy work. New York Times bestselling author Sharon Salzberg said, “Voting is the expression of our commitment to ourselves, one another, this country and this world.” I couldn’t agree more.

Voting, however, is not always easy. No one should have to choose between earning a paycheck and casting a ballot. Last year, leaders in the beauty and personal care products industry came together and pledged to provide employees scheduling flexibility and/or meaningful time off to vote in the November 2020 general election. Employees could also use the time to volunteer at the polls or other appropriate activities that strengthen a culture of civic engagement.

Together, we recognize the necessity of providing support for our employees so they may fulfill their civic duty. Our country thrives when everyone participates and so, by taking action, we know we can make a tangible difference.

While there are no national elections on the ballot this year, good habits are the product of repetition and consistency. State, county, city and local elections are just as important as national ones. Indeed, local leaders make many decisions that affect our daily lives.

Beauty and personal care companies thrive when employees are engaged citizens who actively participate in their communities. So many of our consumers care passionately about a variety of issues. Every time a consumer selects a particular product, they are casting a kind of vote. They want to support companies and brands that reflect their values and needs, whether economic or health priorities, social and cultural beliefs, or environmental principles.

As we approach another election season this fall, I urge all of us to find ways to flex our voting muscle, be actively engaged in our communities and support efforts to ensure broad civic engagement. We are all better off when we use our voices, cast our votes and ensure they are counted.

Defy Cancer by Redefining Yourself


In 2017, Look Good Feel Better honored actress Krysta Rodriguez at its annual BeautyCares DreamBall, the beauty industry’s philanthropic event that honors industry leaders, legends, heroes, advocates and survivors in support of LGFB. Krysta’s public battle with breast cancer played out before our very eyes. She not only inspired us with her cancer-meets-high-fashion blog, she also played a television character undergoing cancer treatment onscreen while simultaneously undergoing similar treatment in her real life. Krysta’s unvarnished honesty is rivaled only by her infectious energy and passion for life. She has been a staunch advocate for the Look Good Feel Better program and the people it serves. Today, we are honored as she shares and reflects on her story and cancer journey and are grateful for her continued support:

Defy Cancer by Redefining Yourself

By Krysta Rodriguez
Actress and 2017 Look Good Feel Better “DreamGirl”

It’s hard to imagine that it has been almost seven years since my breast cancer diagnosis. It feels like a lifetime ago. And it feels like just yesterday.

Emotions came in waves. Fear. Anxiety. A deep sadness that I was somehow hurting others in my life because I had cancer. Like: I was making my parents suffer so much worrying about me!  Yes, cancer really does affect more than just your internal organs. It is a whole mind and body disease, and it affects those closest to you.

For someone like me, harboring childhood dreams of a life in the spotlight and blessed with the good fortune to see those dreams come true, a breast cancer diagnosis was not in the script. At just 30 years old, I was focused on doing the work that I love: singing, directing, acting – putting on makeup and costumes to take on different personas and personalities.

Cancer forced me to confront who Krysta really was.

Was I going to be the tough fighter who always gets back up off the mat? The fearless adventurer who’s not afraid of what lurks behind the next dark corner? The rebellious youth who swims furiously against the tide, defying all conventions and expectations?

Turns out, I was a little bit of all of them. 

Unlike most people, I lived my cancer journey in front of cameras, having been cast as a cancer patient going through chemotherapy for a TV series, while I was going through chemotherapy in real life. I’d be on set one day, connected to fake machines and wearing makeup to give me that chemo-pallor under the lights, only to be in my real chemo room the following day: no stage makeup required.

At the suggestion of my mom, I started a blog – ChemoCouture – smashing together my love of fashion and makeup with my reality. I wanted to inspire other young women like me, facing an unexpected and life-altering diagnosis, to be courageous, fearless and fabulous. I didn’t mask the hard stuff. Rather, I embraced the rebellious fighter within and shared my story with those who cared to listen.

Those followers became part of my inner circle. I soon learned the hidden truth about cancer: it is a solitary disease that makes you part of global a community. Every feeling, every experience, every emotion is at once your very own and shared by thousands of others just like you.  Knowing that you are not alone, that others have been through this and not only survived but emerged as stronger, more confident, more resilient individuals is inspiring.

That’s what’s so important about a program like Look Good Feel Better. Yes, the workshops and makeup tutorials are important. Learning how to rock a wig or a turban can instill instant confidence. But the community aspect of the program – the sharing of stories and experiences that only people who are on the cancer journey can understand – is more powerful still. 

People emerge from a Look Good Feel Better program with a glow. Not just because of the products they learned how to use, but because they have been embraced and welcomed into a powerful community.

Cancer tests you. It tests your will, your resolve, your stamina. It shifts your perspective. As a survivor, I can look back now and see past the negatives – the treatments, the surgeries, the side-effects – and embrace the positives. I have been redefined from the inside out.

Yes, I still harbor those same childhood dreams of acting and singing and directing. I relish every opportunity to share my art with others – despite the pandemic. Still, I am more than just the fighter, the adventurer or the rebel. I am Krysta, the survivor, the nurturer, the proud member of the cancer community.

If you know someone going through cancer, understand they are transforming as well. They are on a journey of self-discovery – defining who they will be once they are no longer a “cancer patient.” Be there for them. Support them. Love them. And if you think they might benefit from a Look Good Feel Better workshop, introduce them to this amazing program and the community it fosters.

Let’s Dream Big Together


by Keech Combe Shetty
Executive Chair, Combe, Inc., and
Board Chair, Personal Care Products Council

As the third-generation leader of the business started by my grandparents, I feel a certain sense of duty and obligation to embrace and perpetuate their dream that inspired Combe more than 70 years ago. Because they approached our business as a family, I have never known a reality where the company, and the personal care products industry, was not deeply intertwined with my nuclear family.

As such, I hold the same hopes, dreams and aspirations for my company and our collective industry as I do for my own family: that we reach for our highest ambitions; that we treat one another with kindness, dignity and respect while achieving those aspirations; that we live and work for a purpose greater than ourselves.

That’s why Look Good Feel Better is so important to me. I know how challenging a cancer diagnosis can be for families, because I’ve lived through the experience alongside my lifelong best friend, Reshma. When she was diagnosed with breast cancer, our intertwined families felt the impact. Her struggles became our struggles and fears. Her strength and determination to reclaim her health fostered our hope.

Standing with Reshma through her journey invigorates my passion about Look Good Feel Better and the incredible support that we as an industry provide to women in cancer treatment. Over the past 18 months – in the midst of an unprecedented pandemic – Look Good Feel Better has not wavered from its mission. When the pandemic rendered hosting in-person workshops impossible, Look Good Feel Better was there, ready to expand its LIVE! virtual workshop platform and provide a vital means of connection and support to women already feeling isolated and vulnerable because of their diagnosis. 

Responding to this challenge has become Look Good Feel Better’s greatest opportunity. We all know the transformative power of digital media to fundamentally change the way we do businesses. This year, Look Good Feel Better expanded its virtual presence beyond its core beauty workshops to include new content geared for every woman who wants to feel better. This exciting new content strategy, paired with its core beauty content, is enabling Look Good Feel Better to reach more women than ever before.

And reaching more women means helping more women. 

As leaders of the personal care products industry, we can do our part by supporting Look Good Feel Better’s annual BeautyCares DreamBall, which will be held virtually on Sept. 23, 2021. This year’s DreamBall will honor legends, advocates, heroes and survivors, including Leonard A. Lauder, chairman emeritus of the Estee Lauder Companies and honorary chair of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, with the inaugural Legacy Award; Esi Eggleston Bracey, COO and EVP of Beauty and Personal Care at Unilever, NA, with the Passionate Leadership Award; and television personality and author (and two-time breast cancer survivor) Bershan Shaw with the Survivor Advocate Award

When we rally the collective will and resources of our industry to help Look Good Feel Better, we are helping our families, our friends and our colleagues in the process. There truly is no limit to what we can accomplish. 

Please join me at this year’s DreamBall (from the comfort of home, in your best cocktail attire!). Donate generously to support Look Good Feel Better’s mission to help women rediscover their self-esteem, confidence and hope in the midst of a life-threatening illness. Your participation and generosity will enable us to serve many more women who need our help. 

Thank you for your continued support of Look Good Feel Better and its ambitious mission to serve women anywhere and everywhere. I look forward to seeing all of you online on September 23!

Three Global Perspectives on Legislation from SPC Engage


PCPC aims to support the beauty and personal care industry’s sustainability practice and reputation through programmatic elements and initiatives, by sharing best practice, stakeholder education and engagement, and strategic communications.

As consumers increasingly demand sustainability from brands and businesses face mounting investor and regulatory pressures, public policymakers around the world are looking for solutions to reduce packaging waste and progress towards a circular economy, including Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) programs, stewardship programs, and material bans or taxes. EPR policies recognize that a manufacturer’s responsibility for its product and packaging extends to its post-consumer use, attempting to shift some financial and management responsibility for a product’s impacts upstream to the manufacturer and away from the public sector. In doing so, these policies incentivize manufacturers to integrate environmental considerations into the design of their products and packaging.

The recent Engage 2021 virtual conference, hosted by the Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC), focused on circular economy and EPR initiatives, highlighting legislatives activities around the globe.

By Lucy Pierce, Project Coordinator, Sustainable Packaging Coalition

Design for a Circular Economy, one of the themes of this year’s SPC Engage, highlighted programs, research, and legislation around the world helping move the idea of a functional circular economy from vision to reality. Highlights include: 

EPR Transition in Canada 

Usman Valiante from Corporate Policy Group highlighted the Canadian perspective when he said “Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) programs in Canada are in transition.” Currently, the EPR programs are transitioning from producers only paying for municipal recycling services to gaining operational control of the recycling systems for residents. Valiante is optimistic that this transition is creating opportunities for harmonization between residents and provinces in Canada and leading to large-scale investments in advanced sorting technology across the country. While this transition for Canada has challenges ahead, Valiante is confident the technical and political expertise of the country will support changes for the better. 

Ending Single-Use in Chile

The panel discussion “Chile’s Journey to a Circular Economy” proved that Europeans are not the only ones engaging in ongoing political action to combat the take-make-waste, linear economic model. According to the panel, Chile passed EPR legislation for packaging in 2013. This year in 2021, Chile unanimously passed a law related to banning single use-plastics and promoting reusables that were not addressed in the previous EPR law. Mark Minneboo from Plastic Oceans Chile described the new legislation as specifically designed for restaurants, delivery, and takeaway to cover more of the single use outlets in Chile. This new legislation is not meant to be an outright ban, but rather an effort towards regulation. Guillermo Gonzalez Caballero of Chile’s Ministry of the Environment added the thought that, if all single use plastics are banned, the immediate result would just be a different single use material. This law is rethinking single use by promoting reusables and preventing single use items inside food establishments. 

Onshore Development in Australia

Like the United States, Australia has a three-tiered government system in place. Federal, state, and local entities work together to manage waste and recycling for the country. The varying levels of government can make it difficult to standardize recycling collection and processing, which combined with the 2018 global impacts of China’s National Sword program, prompted Australia to implement new legislation. Brooke Donnelly of the Australian Packaging Covenant stated that the Recycling and Waste Reduction Act of 2020 is centered around ensuring Australia’s appropriate participation in the global recycling market. The legislation tightens up global market standards and aims at building domestic capacity, to rely less on the exportation of materials. As an island country and continent, this is no small task. 

Overall, these Circular Economy-centric sessions at SPC Engage 2021 shed light on the packaging and recycling legislation happening across the globe. Policy was identified as a buzzword for the development of the circular economy and paying attention to global insight is especially important to disrupt the current linear model of consumption. These sessions gave new meaning to the phrase “Think globally, act locally.” 

Pull Out a Chair and Be Part of the Change


By Keech Combe Shetty, PCPC Board Chair, and Lezlee Westine, PCPC President & CEO

Madam C.J. Walker was an extraordinary woman – a pioneer who started her business at the turn of the century, during a time when women of color had few rights and little opportunity. Today, she serves as a role model for many of us in the cosmetics and personal care industry.

Madam Walker was born to parents who had been enslaved. A talented entrepreneur with a knack for self-promotion, she built a business empire and employed Black women as “beauty culturalists,” providing them a unique opportunity for economic freedom. Her successful line of hair care products for Black women made her the first self-made American woman millionaire. Harnessing her fortune for good, she funded scholarships for women at the Tuskegee Institute and donated large parts of her wealth to charities, including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and YMCA.

Madam C.J. Walker was ahead of her time. She inspired many women to follow in her footsteps, deepening her legacy and impact and driving our industry – and our nation – forward.

One such woman is Latriece Watkins, executive vice president, Consumables, Walmart U.S. The Personal Care Products Council (PCPC) recently presented Latriece with the first Madam C.J. Walker Award for Excellence in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) at the 2021 PCPC Virtual Summit. The award recognizes individuals in the beauty and personal care industry who demonstrate an outstanding commitment to DEI through strong leadership and sustained efforts focusing on workplace culture, programs and policies, or through external engagement with consumers and communities. This award will be an annual recognition.

Latriece is broadly recognized and admired as someone who leads with respect and lifts others. She champions DEI programs that create sustained, consistent and significant impact within her company and community. Like Madam Walker, Latriece is a true role model.

In accepting the award, Latriece spoke about the past year and how it changed us: “Corporate transformations, the pandemic, racial equity, hate. It was a lot. Our teams, our companies and our country – they need us to do more. They need us to be multidimensional.”

 

Madam C.J. Walker spoke of a duty to humanity and an obligation to care, not just about ourselves, but about others. “This duty calls me to do more,” Latriece said. “Delivering business results is not enough. Diversity and equity have to be a space where we seek, where we tell and where we believe in the truth. It cannot be a space that’s just about metrics. It has to be the conscience of the organization. And that means it takes each one of us.”

Beauty and personal care products companies are committed to helping shape a more diverse, equitable and inclusive world. We know there is more work to be done, and we don’t have all the answers. It all must begin with an honest assessment of our shortcomings, a strategy to address them and a willingness to keep working toward meaningful change. We know small steps can achieve extraordinary results when taken by many who are committed to the same goal.

Latriece shared a wonderful story: “An individual came to present at a Board meeting – someone who was not a regular face at this meeting and who likely epitomizes many of the people who are not represented in many Board rooms. As the presenter came into the room, a Board member pulled out a seat for this person. That simple gesture says so much: You are welcome here, you belong here, you have an equal seat at the table.”

Latriece urged each of us to pull out a seat at the table for someone – anywhere you work or live. We need to recognize more opportunities to lift others, broaden the conversation, deepen our awareness and ultimately change our outlook and actions.

Pull out a chair. Make the table bigger. Welcome others to the conversation. Do whatever it takes to be part of meaningful change, part of building a more equitable world. We applaud Latriece Watkins for her tireless work to infuse our companies, communities and country with more humanity. She follows in the footsteps of the extraordinary Madam C.J. Walker and, in doing so, inspires all of us to do more.

Sun Safety and Wellness After COVID


By Carl D’Ruiz
Senior Manager, NA Personal Care Regulatory Affairs
DSM Nutritional Products LLC

Summer unofficially kicks off Memorial Day weekend, and many people will soon be spending more time outdoors, in the water and traveling to sunny destinations. As more people receive COVID-19 vaccinations and restrictions are lifted, it feels more exciting than ever to be outside enjoying the sun and summer season. But, it’s also critically important to protect your skin from over-exposure to the sun. And health experts worldwide agree that sun protection helps prevent sunburns, premature skin aging and skin cancer.

Skin Cancer Facts

Over-exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light – invisible sun rays that can damage skin cells – causes most skin cancers. In the Unites States alone, nearly 5 million people are treated for skin cancer each year. Although those with lighter skin are at higher risk, anyone can get skin cancer. People with darker skin may often be diagnosed with skin cancer at a later stage, making it more difficult to treat.

While skin cancer is one of the most common cancers, it is also one of the most preventable. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), four out of five cases can be prevented by following safe-sun practices including limiting your time in the sun, seeking shade, wearing protective clothing and using sunscreens regularly.

Sunscreens are a key factor in preventing and reducing the risk of skin cancer and UV-induced skin damage. Nonprofit health organizations, including the American Cancer Society, American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), Mayo Clinic and Skin Cancer Foundation, recommend using sweat- and water-resistant broad-spectrum (protects against UVA and UVB rays) sunscreens with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher as part of a safe-sun regimen. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes the importance of daily sunscreen use, including on cloudy and overcast days, to help prevent most skin cancers.

Sunscreen History and Regulation

What many people don’t know is that sunscreens are regulated as over-the-counter (OTC) drugs under a monograph system by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A monograph gives instructions for how to manufacture a product and establishes various requirements for it to be sold and used in the U.S. You can think of it like a recipe in that it provides the types of ingredients, dosage forms, testing methods, labeling requirements and so forth for a given product category, such as sunscreens or antiperspirants. FDA, the regulatory body in the U.S. that comes up with the recipe for all OTC products, requires all sunscreens meet strict product safety, efficacy and labeling standards before they can be marketed or sold in the U.S.

 

The sunscreen monograph has undergone many different regulatory updates throughout the decades.  For example, in early 2019, FDA published a proposed rule for updated sunscreen regulations, called the Sunscreen Tentative Final Monograph (TFM). In March 2020, Congress passed the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act, a relief legislation in response to the COVID crisis, which also contained some provisions related to sunscreens and the OTC drug system, generally OTC Reform. These provisions referred to earlier FDA sunscreen regulations and took precedence over the proposed 2019 TFM. As part of additional language in the CARES Act, FDA is expected to propose new sunscreen regulations by this fall.

Practically speaking, this is all a bit confusing, and we are waiting to get more information on the implementation of OTC Reform. Here’s what you need to remember in the meantime:

FDA emphasizes that Americans should continue to use sunscreens with other sun-protective measures. The dangers of sun exposure are clear and universally recognized by public health professionals and dermatologists worldwide.

As an industry, we remain deeply committed to product safety and providing consumers with safe and effective products that meet their diverse needs. The more products consumers can choose from, the more likely they are to use the ones they choose. Cosmetics and personal care products companies are proud of the innovative sunscreen products they develop to help protect consumers from the harmful effects of the sun’s UV rays.

This Memorial Day weekend, remember to apply your sunscreen – 30 minutes before going outside and then every two hours, or immediately after swimming or sweating – and enjoy being outside after 14 months of COVID.  

Carl D’Ruiz serves as chair of PCPC’s Sunscreen Consortium, which leads and aligns the U.S. industry’s strategy and approaches for substantiating the safety and efficacy of sunscreen UV filters, and advocates the public health benefits associated with sunscreens.

Looking Towards a More Beautiful, Sustainable Future


By Lisa Powers
EVP, Public Affairs & Communications
Personal Care Products Council

Climate change is among the most pressing issues of our time. While we have made progress – as an industry and as a country – we still have a long way to go. The Biden administration recently put climate change back at the center of U.S. domestic and international policy by rejoining the Paris Agreement, which aims to combat climate change and to accelerate and intensify the actions and investments needed for a sustainable low-carbon future. This renewed focus on sustainability will impact our economy and the way we conduct business.

The Paris Agreement works to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and to assist developing countries in their efforts to combat climate change.[1] More than 70% of the global economy has set targets to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. “Net-zero” has become a global rallying cry and is a necessary step to beat back climate change and its devastation successfully.

The United Nations notes that a key element is powering economies with clean energy, replacing polluting coal, gas and oil-fired power stations with renewable energy sources, such as wind or solar farms. Climate action and investment in green industries create jobs and drive economic growth. Companies across all sectors are taking ambitious action to halt the devastating impacts of climate change.

The beauty industry has long been committed to ethical and transparent practices, as well as the responsible management of its environmental impacts and economic and social value. Many cosmetics and personal care products companies are taking action by committing to improving the efficiency of their energy use in transportation and operations, shifting toward renewable energy sources, and reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

More than two-thirds of PCPC members are actively managing energy use and carbon emissions in their operations. Companies have also set targets to reduce water consumption and improve water efficiency. Many have committed to zero waste to landfills for their manufacturing sites and have set ambitious goals to make all plastic packaging recyclable, reusable, compostable or refillable.

While we are proud of the efforts individual companies are making in the sustainable management of their businesses, we recognize companies large and small still have more to do. Our goal is to work in coalition, together with other like-minded organizations, to help create a more beautiful and sustainable world for us all.

As Earth Day approaches, we can all do our part in helping to address climate change. EARTHDAY.ORG offers these simple ideas:

  • Get informed. Learn more about the science behind climate change, the responsibility that all sectors hold and their actions to address the crisis. Find out about emerging, evidence-based data that directly relates to changes in our climate.
  • Hold yourself accountable. Take a personal inventory of your impact on the planet by calculating your carbon footprint. Consider offsetting carbon emissions by investing in clean and renewable energy projects worldwide that support local communities, drive sustainable development and protect our planet.
  • Unplug. Unplug items when they are not in use, buy goods with high energy-efficient standards and consider switching to renewable energy.
  • Travel smarter. Transportation is the largest source of carbon emissions in the United States. No matter where you live, travel by car or airplane contributes heavily to our shared carbon footprint. Take public transit, bike or walk when possible – it’s good for your health, your wallet and the planet.
  • Consider your food. Your food’s carbon footprint is the GHG emissions produced by growing, harvesting, processing, transporting, cooking and disposing of the food we eat. Research revealed the tremendous impact that the mass production of meat, dairy and eggs has on our planet.
  • Shop smarter. Support companies driven by sustainability and committed to transparency throughout the supply chain. Your power as a consumer can have an enormous impact. Shop smarter with thoughtful purchasing to minimize waste, and consider reused items to take part in the circular economy and keep goods out from filling our already overflowing landfills.

We can combat climate change, but it takes all of us — industry, consumers and the government. This Earth Day, what will you do to lead us to a more beautiful, sustainable future?

 

[1] https://unfccc.int/process-and-meetings/the-paris-agreement/the-paris-agreement/key-aspects-of-the-paris-agreement

Standing Stronger and Better Together


By Louanne Roark
Executive Director
Look Good Feel Better Foundation

International Women’s Day marks a moment in time to reflect and to celebrate how women continue to shape and transform our world. As an organization led by women to serve women – with the support of an industry where nearly 77% of the workforce is women – the Look Good Feel Better Foundation (LGFB) is a microcosm of what can be.

Of the 27 LGFB global affiliates, 24 are led by female executive directors – myself included. Women lead all aspects of our LGFB operation in the U.S. – from technology deployment to partnership management, program development to delivery. The vast majority of our network of more than 3,000 professional beauty volunteers are women, many of whom are enterprising entrepreneurs and business owners. 

LGFB has helped 2.1 million women around the world regain their confidence in the midst of cancer treatment. Numbers are impressive, but they don’t tell the whole story. Every level of our organization is fueled by passion and collaboration, shared values and experiences. For more than 30 years, we – and our global LGFB affiliates – have maintained an unwavering commitment to stand strong alongside other women as they endure the greatest challenge many will ever face.   

LGFB’s bedrock philosophy is to transform crisis into community. We built our program to provide a safe space for women to connect and share, and to provide the tools, knowledge and products to help them regain a sense of control and restore some normalcy at a time in their lives that is by no means normal.

When the pandemic changed the rules of how we operate as an organization, our teams responded. With in-person workshops simply not feasible in the midst of COVID-19, we rapidly expanded our capacity to reach and connect women virtually.

Today, 90% of LGFB global affiliates – representing 24 countries – feature enhanced virtual programming or online resources to serve patients. Women around the world can still find comfort, support and community through LGFB during a time when they feel more isolated and more vulnerable than ever before because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

I am excited about the future of LGFB and our industry. I see emerging leaders from within our ranks, like our recently appointed Personal Care Products Council (PCPC) and Look Good Feel Better Foundation Chair Keech Combe Shetty. Keech is fueled by purpose and desire. She is eager to share new perspectives, explore new approaches and solutions to the challenges we face today, and anticipate what may come.

“Our industry is made by women for women. We have the opportunity to step up and do even more to support each other.”

Keech Combe Shetty
Executive Chair, Combe Inc.
PCPC and LGFB Chair

I am inspired by our BeautyCares Next Gen committee supporting our annual DreamBall event and by the visionary young women representing the next generation of beauty industry leaders.  Inside the Look Good Feel Better organization itself, an infusion of strong, young, female talent helped us navigate a challenging 2020 and evolve into a more digital, connected and nimble organization than ever before. These young leaders have a new vision of what’s possible and necessary to create a more vibrant, equitable and inclusive industry. Let us all step up to support that talent, passion and vision.

At the same time, there is an important opportunity to instill in a new generation the understanding that, despite being fierce market competitors, our industry shares a common mission. Cancer is indiscriminate. It doesn’t choose who to affect or when to strike. It recognizes no political boundaries or philosophies. It does not care about education, skin color, culture or economic circumstance. The women we serve are our mothers, grandmothers, aunts and sisters, our friends and colleagues from every walk of life. LGFB is there for them all.

Our strength and shared mission are women helping other women in the midst of a frightening health diagnosis by lifting one another up, helping all to feel confident and more beautiful inside and out. Standing stronger and better together. 

Let’s Do Better


By Esi Eggleston Bracey
Chief Operating Officer, EVP Beauty & Personal Care for Unilever North America
Board of Directors Member, Personal Care Products Council

Over the past year, we’ve seen a societal outcry for racial justice like we have never seen in our lifetimes. And as we reflect on the importance of Black History Month, it’s a reminder that we all have a role to play in creating a more equitable society and helping to end systemic racism. Actions speak louder than words and people are demanding that brands take action. People are taking notice and voting with their dollars. Consumers are looking to buy brands that take a stand and act on issues that are important to them.

Often, I receive questions from brand leads like, “When is the right time to act?” or “Do I have my house in order?” If we waited for everyone to get their houses in order before taking action, we would be waiting a very long time. My perspective is no, brands do not need to wait to have their houses in order before taking action. You can multitask – commit to taking meaningful action and work on your internal changes at the same time.

At Unilever, we know that our portrayals of beauty, the ecosystem of developing products, creating content and sharing stories can change lives – negatively and positively. We want to make a positive impact in the world. We want to be the beauty company that makes the most impact on people, communities and planet, and we know we have a critical role to play in creating an equitable society which is intolerant of intolerance. We know that beauty and race have a long, intertwined history, which gives us the extraordinary opportunity to evolve how we reach, impact, serve and represent beauty in our brands. It has always been something at the core of what we believe in at Unilever. That’s why our work on Dove and its co-founding of the CROWN Coalition in support of the CROWN Act, Vaseline’s work to improve skin equity, and Shea Moisture’s commitment to invest in the Black community and Black female entrepreneurs is more important than ever before. 

The first step is acknowledging where your brand sits on this journey. It’s important to own your current state – wherever you are on your journey. This requires being brave and risking being vulnerable. Truly commit to doing better and use it as an opportunity to commit to what the future looks like and build a specific and transparent plan to get there.

When it comes to products, think about what you are creating or putting out into the world. It is one thing to make something that is intended to show your stance, which can be perceived as performative. It’s another thing to develop products that are intended to actually serve the Black community.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed so many areas of inequity. Brands should ask themselves how they can help and where they have the right to play. Get specific about where racism is showing up. There are so many areas that the pandemic has illuminated: images and stereotypes, health inequities, economic inequity and disparity. Break down the problems that need to be solved and assess where your brand can make a meaningful difference. Not all brands can have the same impact in all areas.

As we look to the future, we need to evaluate how we can make the biggest impact and more fully address the needs of the Black community, which has been marginalized. Also, let’s actually move a step beyond being allies for the Black community and actually become active advocates for equity and systemic change through meaningful commitments and deliberate action. Making this change will require each of us to grow and evolve together. We are stronger together. I truly believe that together we can change the world. Let’s do it.