Caring for Our Communities: The Beauty and Personal Care Industry’s Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic

Lezlee Westine
President & CEO, Personal Care Products Council

In less than a month, the coronavirus changed how everyone around the world lives and works. It has caused significant economic loss and has tragically taken too many lives. Many of us are struggling with what is happening and how to adapt to this “new normal.” Amidst this rapid-fire change and uncertainty, however, there are many moments of encouragement and comfort as we witness generosity of spirit and the kindness of others.

The beauty and personal care industry is demonstrating its extraordinary corporate citizenship in a variety of ways during this crisis. Collectively, the industry is providing support to medical professionals on the front lines; nonprofit and relief organizations working to ensure the well-being of those less fortunate; and everyday citizens looking for ways to protect themselves and their families.

PCPC member companies including Amway, Combe, Coty, Johnson & Johnson, L’Oréal, LVMH, Mary Kay, Merle Norman, P&G, Revlon, Shiseido, The Estée Lauder Companies and Unilever, have voluntarily converted manufacturing lines to produce alcohol-based hand sanitizers for free distribution to medical professionals. Beiersdorf, Colgate, Henkel, Johnson & Johnson L’Oréal, P&G, The Estée Lauder Companies and Unilever are among those who have committed multi-million-dollar cash, product and in-kind donations of soap, personal hygiene and household cleaning products, as well as surgical masks and other protective equipment.

PCPC member companies are also providing millions of dollars in cash support to a range of disaster relief organizations including the Red Cross, Doctors without Borders, The NYC COVID-19 Response & Impact Fund, Feeding America, Feed the Children, and the WHO/UN COVID-19 Fund, among others.

Recognizing the significant financial hardship many smaller businesses are experiencing, industry leaders have also implemented measures to ease the financial burdens for those that have been forced to close, including hair salons, perfumeries and other professional beauty businesses. In addition to deferring payments until they reopen for business, some member companies are also providing flexible payment terms for mid-sized businesses and accelerating payment to smaller suppliers. Working in partnership with the Professional Beauty Association (PBA), companies like L’Oréal USA Professional Products Division, have made cash donations to the PBA COVID-19 Relief Fund, which supports licensed professionals who are unable to work due to COVID-19 and provides emergency aid for short-term immediate needs.

Finally, PCPC’s Look Good Feel Better (LGFB) Foundation is ensuring support remains available for cancer patients at high risk for COVID-19 who must continue their treatment protocols. In tandem with the CDC’s social distancing guidance, LGFB transitioned all patient workshop support to the existing LGFB Live! Virtual Workshops platform, offering interactive, livestreaming programs to patients seeking support and community during a period of increased isolation and anxiety.

We are grateful for the courageous health care professionals who tirelessly work to care for those affected by this pandemic. For their well-being and for the safety of others, I encourage us all to be good neighbors and follow the advice of global health organizations to stay home; if you must go out, observe the recommended social and physical distancing guidelines. In the words of Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization: “This is a time for facts, not fear. This is the time for science, not rumors. This is a time for solidarity, not stigma. We are all in this together and we can only stop it together.”