The Best Holy Grails Are The Ones You Share


In the corner of my living room resides an unassuming tote from an old Glossier pop-up. I use it as an interim home for my gently used beauty products before sending them off to a better one, and anyone who visits is allowed to rummage through and take whatever. For example: when a friend came over months ago to help carry a credenza up three flights of stairs, she left with a vitamin C serum, a nude lipstick that was too pink for me, and some incense papers. More than a fair trade, I’d say. Which isn’t to say I’m stingy with the stuff—bartering product for company is fine by me. A bonus reward is that I get to witness a new side of my friends. They describe the products they love, despise, have a fond memory attached to, would have never thought to try...and I learn more about who they really are.

I love the way beauty allows us to tell a story about who we are–but it also helps us become who we want to be. During Pride Month, going out with my makeup and hair pumped all the way up (Glitter! Bright eyeliner! Big hair!) is a fun way to celebrate who I am with my community. But for others along the LGBTQIA+ spectrum, beauty products can be the difference that ensures they are not misgendered, face less prejudice and harassment, and gain better employment opportunities. With the current state of affairs, this year’s Pride Month will be much different from the last. But I’d argue it’s a change-up for the better, leaving us much closer to Pride’s status-quo-squashing, socially-reformative origins. Why not use the momentum to uplift marginalized queer communities who need the most support?

Here’s what you can do:

Step 1: Think about the beauty products you must have at all times in order to feel polished and look your best. (While you’re at it, ask the people in your life of other genders and backgrounds as well).
Step 2: Buy them online!
Step 3: Ship or mail them to an LGBTQIA+ center close to you. Make sure to call or email to confirm that they’re receiving unopened beauty products as donations before sending it their way.

Need a go-to spot to donate? You can send to:

New Alternatives
410 West 40th Street, New York, NY 10018

The Ali Forney Center
224 W. 35 St 15th Floor, New York, NY 10001

Hetrick Martin Institute
2 Astor Pl, New York, NY 10003

Destination Tomorrow
452 E. 149th St, 3rd Floor Bronx, NY 10455

Gay Center
ATTN: Center Youth
208 W 13th St, New York, NY 10011

Step 4: Smile! Don’t you feel great? :-) Happy Pride.

—Utibe Mbagwu

Photo via ITG