Indigenous-owned Cheekbone Beauty has never shied from making bold moves: Founder and CEO Jenn Harper has helped countless individuals by sharing her journey with addiction and recovery, and Cheekbone’s powerful ideas about sustainability are woven directly into the packaging. The company has demonstrated how advocacy and giving back can be woven right into a business plan, inspiring others to reexamine their business models. But their latest move is their gutsiest yet.
On June 1, Cheekbone Beauty launched their #GlossedOver campaign. Created by the agency Sid Lee, the campaign features a line of unsellable lipgloss inspired by contaminated water — a crisis that remains present in over 30 Indigenous communities across Canada.
An eerie video, edited like a promo reel, shows stylized shots of three new lipglosses: Luscious Lead, E.Coli Kiss, and Mercury Shimmer. Each new gloss is introduced by a narrator’s voice, who begins the video with, “Glossed Over — the new lipgloss collection infused with water from Indigenous communities in Canada. Water contaminated with lead, E. Coli, and Mercury, ” says the narrator, with a seductive lilt. It’s both chilling and direct.
“It’s time to stop glossing over this issue,” said Harper. “Everyone should have access to clean, safe drinking water. That’s why #GlossedOver is so important: you wouldn’t put a contaminated gloss on your lips, so why should anyone put contaminated water to theirs?”
Sephora Canada is also a partner in the hard-hitting campaign. Throughout Indigenous History Month (June), all proceeds from the sale of Cheekbone Beauty products will be donated to Water First, a charitable organization supporting Indigenous communities to address the water crisis.
According to Water First, as of January 2022, approximately 94 (or about 1 in 6) First Nations communities in Canada still don’t have access to clean water. These numbers include both short-term and long-term boil water advisories as well as do not consume advisories.
Watch the brilliant campaign, stock up on your favourite Cheekbone Beauty products at Sephora, find out more about Water First, and continue to pressure government officials to do something about this crisis.