Thursday, 4 October 2012

Breasts, October, all things Pink and a slightly uneasy feeling.

Let me say this from the off: I wholeheartedly support anything to do with funding research into cancer, helping cancer sufferers, helping cancer survivors.
Regular readers of this blog will know that I have been touched all too closely by cancer in recent years.

Cancer is a bastard. Make no mistake. I did the half marathon Moonwalk in May with my best friend Tracy who is a breast cancer survivor. Nothing else would make me walk 13 miles with my boobs out. Except maybe the odd long-haired-tattooed guitarist - but I digress.
The joy of doing that kind of event with someone you have a bond of 30+ years with is the dark humour that not only makes you laugh, but gets you through it. At one point in the middle of the night I turned to her and said 'It's just as well that cancer didn't kill you because this bastard walk is going to finish us both off.' 
(Next year I'm sending a cheque.)

So October rolls around and the world of beauty turns pink. Monuments are pink for the month and we are inundated by brands selling a vast array of 'Pink' products claiming to give a percentage of the profits to breast cancer research funding.

Well I'm not going for the blanket approach anymore. It's too much. I hate to be sceptical but if you can't name the value of your donation then I'm not promoting it. Or buying into it. The work I did in recent years with All for Eve and The Eve Appeal  (let us not forget the vajays) has proven to me that it is always possible to say how much your brand is ring-fencing as a donation per product. You simply work it into your cost price or budget for it from the moment you sell it in to retailers. Done.

What Estee Lauder have done to support breast cancer awareness and fund research for the last twenty years was and continues to be pioneering. Every year for the last 20 years Lauder has released products and named the value of the donation. Clear as day. Crystal.

So: Monday sees the lighting of the British Museum by Elizabeth Hurley on behalf of Estee Lauder. It has a special significance this year since the passing last year of Evelyn Lauder, the pioneer of the entire movement in the beauty industry. I'll be there supporting them because they put their money where their mouth is. 
By October 2011 Estee Lauder had donated $8.5 million to the Breast Cancer Research Fund. The fund itself has raised $380 million.

If you want to - you can meet Elizabeth Hurley at Selfridges in London on Monday between 1-2pm and in Manchester next Thursday 8th at the same time. She is also lighting up Selfridges Exchange in the Trafford Centre at 7.40pm that evening.

If you are a brand jumping on what you think is a pink bandwagon and simply saying 'profits from' or 'a donation from every sale' are going to breast cancer I'm sure you mean well, but I have seen too many the last few weeks for my liking. Name your price people. Our mammaries deserve better.

Alternatively, if pink is not your thing - you can send your money directly to the following:

And if you have taken leave of your senses and have no need for the full use of your feet, you can sign up for next year's Moonwalk. May the force be with you.

Most importantly, feel your boobs. Know your boobs. Don't, ever, ignore them. 

The short blonde sitting on my knee circa 1982 (?)  is still with us thanks to  breast cancer research and her penchant for feeling her boobs.


  1. AGREED. Co-signed,
    the works

    I went batshit mental at a company today pushing their pink coloured products that backed down quick smart when I enquired what percentage of profit went to Breast cancer charities. None you say? Sit the fuck down and stop #ProfitingFromPink

  2. I have *real* issues with pinkwashing of products. It's to the point that I flat out do not promote any BCA products. I put up a post each October 1st now that explains my position, which includes links to donate directly, if they so choose.
    I commend the companies that do provide monetary support, I just abhor the companies that go pink for no reason *ahem*mushroom companies*ahem*??

  3. Hi Caroline,

    My name is Emily, I am 28 years old and my mother has been diagnosed with breast cancer. She was diagnosed and had a mastectomy very swiftly, for which I am beyond grateful, and as such has an amazing prognosis. The specific reason I am commenting, beyond my whole hearted support for and agreement with your statement, is skin care! My mummy has always taken pride in her appearance and has been an absolute inspiration to me. However, I have noticed that, since starting chemotherapy her energy levels have, of course, dipped rather dramatically and the things she used to deem as highly anticipated treats and indulgences, such as skin care and pampering, have fallen off the agenda. I wanted to go and buy my mother some treats to help her feel as beautiful as she seems to me, and I was wondering if you had any recommendations regarding skin care for slightly older women (she is 54) who are currently undergoing treatment for breast cancer? I have done some research on line, and have visited counters in department stores, but actual, clear and concise information for what is appropriate seems minimal (unless of course I looking in utterly the wrong place).

    I am sorry if this is not the sort of question I should be asking you, but really appreciate any guidance you might be able to bestow upon me (I should take this opportunity to tell you that almost my entire skin care regime has been formulated from the wisdom I have gleaned from your blog, both Emma Hardie and Hydraluron are incredible, so thank you)!

    Thank you so much,

    P.S. Just in case it is relevant, my mummy has a combination to oily skin type.

  4. I worry about heart disease and lung cancer which affects more women than breast cancer, but doesn't get nearly as high a profile.

  5. I lost my best friend to Cancer of the oesophagus in Oct 2007 it is a horrible illness, I myself am suffering from a terminal illness and think it's amazing the amount of people like yourself who give their time to fundraise. My skin was at it's worst earlier this year and after finding your blog and contacting you it is now at it's best, and even though I don't get out much, I feel better now my skin looks nice and I have had lots of compliments on my skin and it's all down to you, thank you so much, Zoe xxxx

  6. agreed re the 'donations' 'contributions' 'a percentage of' comments from brands. Something I found recently was Timothy Dunn London have created a pink glass candle, where £18 from each candle goes towards Breast Cancer Awareness. They are a relatively young brand (I think), which makes me appreciate them doing it even more, as won't have the sort of profits a big conglomerate does. Nicely said Caroline. x

  7. Totally agree, and I was onboard with Kellie (Big Fashionista) when she had a rant, as totally agree with it and the crafty ways some brands make us think they are contributing to it. What I did find though was Timothy Dunn London candles are donating £18 from every pink candle they sell to Breast Cancer Awareness, which for what I consider a relatively young company, I think is great they are doing it when the larger companies aren't!

  8. Totally agree with your post and maybe Glossybox should take note!!