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The Schmooze

Gloria Steinem Hates Lipstick But Made A Lip Balm To Benefit Incarcerated Women

“I never wear lipstick,” Gloria Steinem told Vogue. “But I can support a lip balm.”

Steinem is a human rights icon, a celebrated writer, and a living hero of history. She also happens to be a paragon of gorgeous style. What’s a girl to do?

In Steinem’s case, the answer is a genius workaround — she partnered with Lipstick Lobby to create a sheer, chicly-packaged balm for which 100% of profits will go to a non-profit organization that helps incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women. “In the Clear,” the vitamin E-based nourishing lip treatment Steinem developed with social-justice beauty company Lipstick Lobby, will retail for $19. All of the net profits from “In The Clear” will go to the UnPrison Project — a non-profit created by Deborah Jiang-Stein which works to provide incarcerated women — particularly mothers — with the skills and empowerment they will need for life after prison and to avoid re-incarceration. The program, which teaches skills like literacy and career-preparedness, has reached over 20,000 women in US prisons. That’s 10% of all women in American prisons.

“Corporations are making money from prisons that charge as much per prisoner as it would take to send a student to Harvard, even though these offenses are minor,” Steinem told Vogue, calling the US prison system a “scandal and shame.”

But there’s no shame in marrying retail therapy and justice work — unlike when other companies offer a tiny fraction of sale profits to a cause, Lipstick Lobby really will give all net profits directly to the UnPrison Project. Like Gloria says: that’s a lip balm we can support.

Jenny Singer is the deputy lifestyle editor for the Forward. You can reach her at [email protected] or on Twitter @jeanvaljenny

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