It happens every October -- the tsunami of pink washes across the western world. Everyday items debut in limited edition models blushing shades of Pepto Bismol, pink trinkets multiply like tribbles, the world’s landmarks become awash in rose lights, and pink ribbons dominate the logo landscape like an invasive species.
Welcome to National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
While dedicating an entire month to breast cancer awareness is clearly an act to be applauded -- and we do, whole-heartedly -- it hasn’t all been a bed of healthy roses.
The most notable entity behind Pink October is the non-profit foundation, Susan G. Komen for the Cure (Komen). Komen raises a load of money (to the tune of $35 million a year) from its many dozens of cause marketing partnerships, which allows corporations to use the pink ribbon and Komen branding to promote their wares in return for compensation to the foundation.
Which would be great if there hadn’t been so many deeply questionable partnerships made and products promoted in the name of pink.
Like, the nifty Smith and Wesson M&P9 JG pistol engraved with the Awareness Ribbon and packaged with pink grip inserts -- packing for the cure? Or the Promise Me perfume, replete with potentially carcinogenic ingredients. Or the pink-ribboned Vodka for Her. (We'll just assume they didn't get the memo listing the studies that link alcohol consumption and breast cancer.) And then there was the KFC Buckets for the Cure campaign. Yes, tortured chickens and obesity-inducing junk food for the cure!
But pink Grinches we are not, so as the month is drawing to a close we thought we’d take a look at some of the products from the all-things-pink category of goods that are actually pretty great for their non-toxic clean bills of health. Here are eight we found that get our green stamp of pink approval.
1. Acure Organics Argan Oil
This family owned and operated company was founded on deeply sustainable principles and makes super-duper fair-trade, natural and certified organic personal care products -- everything from hair care to skin, from lips to body. All products are free from animal testing, parabens, sulfates, phthalates, synthetic fragrances, harmful preservatives and artificial colors. And true to the company's name, they work towards a cure: For each Argan Oil and Oil Control Day Cream they sell, they donate $1 to Bright Pink, as well as donating 5 percent to provide free mammograms to at-risk women. (Acure Organics Argan Oil, $14.99)
2. Healing Cooler
All-organic, fresh-pressed juice delivery company extraordinaire Healing Cooler will donate 25 percent of their October proceeds to the Young Survival Coalition. Send a cooler of healthy juices instead of flowers or an insipid fruit basket, and heal for the cure! (Healing Cooler, $60)
3. Suki Skincare
The powers that be at Suki Skincare aren't churning out loads of special edition products for the month, rather they are donating 100 percent of the proceeds from all sukiskincare.com purchases made during October to Breast Cancer Action. So, you have your choice of any product from their site; and all of those products use ingredients that are fair trade, staunchly cruelty-free, organic, biodynamic and local whenever possible, always considering fuel emissions and travel distances. Best eco practices ensue throughout the company. (Many lovely products, prices vary.)
4. Save Hooters Organic T-Shirt
This one is kind of a workaround since its purchase doesn't support any charity specifically. But say maybe you made a direct donation to a charity without benefit of the swag, and you still want to show your support? This "Save Hooters" T-shirt made from organic cotton fills the bill with two messages in one -- find a cure, and save the owls. Hoot, hoot! (Hooters Organic T, $27.00)
5. Method Designed for Good Gel Hand Soap
The company that has made non-toxic cleaning products mainstream is offering a special edition non-toxic and biodegradable hand soap in two scents to show their support for breast cancer awareness. They will also be donating $10,000 to four community-based charities nominated and voted on by their online community in their October Facebook challenge. Designed for Good Soap, $3.99)
6. The North Face Quarter Zip Fleece Pullover
The North Face has teamed up with Boarding For Breast Cancer, a non-profit, education awareness foundation for to create this cozy fleece pullover, as evidenced by the pink ribbon embroidered at the left sleeve. The bundle of cuddliness contains at least 90 percent environmentally responsible bluesign® approved fabric. (Women's Pink Ribbon Glacier Zip, $55)
7. EOS Breast Cancer Awareness Lip Balm & Body Lotion Set
Unlike so many of the petroleum-based lip and skin soothers, Eos products are 95 percent organic, 100 percent natural, and paraben and petrolatum free. Plus they are packed with antioxidant-rich vitamin E, shea butter and jojoba oil. (Eos Lip Balm & Body Lotion Set, $6.99)
8. Tami's Ring
If you're unsure about how much of your purchase is really going to end up fighting breast cancer, here is an alternative, and touching, way to help. Etsy shop JoLovesJewelry is making these lovely handmade silver an rose quartz rings, for which all proceeds will go to help Tami, the the daughter of a friend who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. Kind of the antidote to the media blitz of "Pinktober" ... just a woman hoping to make a difference by creating something to help a friend. (Tami's Ring, $34)