How the Election Spawned a Feminist Makeup Brand


Election night was, for many of us, a hard (or impossible, rather) pill to swallow. And the hangover that followed (from both the binge drinking and existential sadness) was unlike any other. While we mourned Hillary’s loss and frantically searched the Internet for ways to protect the causes and organizations that we care most about, product developer and cosmetic consultant Kristen Leonard was busy cultivating her own way to shatter the glass ceiling. “I was sitting at my dining room table with a friend of mine and we were talking about the election and I [said] I need to do something, I need to donate to these organizations that are going to be suffering, but what can I do? Then I was like wait a minute: I’m going to make a line that donates to these organizations.” And in that moment, Beautiful Rights was born. “In one night, I created a website, called up a designer friend and said we need packaging that looks like shattered glass. I’ve never worked that fast in my life—that’s how I knew I had to do it.”

With shattered glass packaging and cheeky product names like Gloss Ceiling, Pantsuit Pink, and Politically Pout, Beautiful Rights is on a mission to fight for reproductive rights, equal pay, paid family leave, and more. With every product purchased, the beauty brand donates 20% of the sale to one of six initiatives of the customer’s choosing that are fighting for the rights of women and civil liberty: Planned Parenthood, ACLU, MomsRising, Emily’s List, Lambda Legal and Legal Momentum. “I chose [these] organizations because it gives people a nice variety of choices so that they can cover what’s most important to them,” says Leonard. The kicker? That 20% donation represents the fact that overall, women in the U.S. continue to be paid 20% less than men.

When it comes to our beauty routines, there are many ways to make a statement, political or not, but Leonard believes that the lips are the perfect place to start. “I felt like the lip category was a strong [place] to start, because it speaks to many women, even women who aren’t hardcore beauty fanatics." With more shades and possibly another lip formula in the works, Leonard is currently working to round out the lip category before expanding into the eyeshadow and brow categories later this year, with the aim of getting people talking: “I want someone to pull out Beautiful Rights and apply it when they’re on the subway and [then] maybe get into a conversation with someone about it.”

-Jessica Quinn