7 Beauty Brand Founders on Taking Care of Their Mental Health During Quarantine


This is about a few personal, anecdotal experiences and should not substitute medical advice. If you're having health concerns of any kind, we urge you to speak to a healthcare professional.

The current pandemic has affected every single industry, and beauty isn't immune. One inspiring thing to come out of all of this is seeing how so many beauty brands have chosen to come together and give back during this time—whether it's through donating proceeds from product sales or creating products like hand sanitizers for hospital workers and frontline responders. Byrdie recently announced its partnership with BeautyUnited, a collective of some of our favorite beauty brands who have pledged to donate products and funds to the Frontlines Responders Fund. We caught up with seven of BeautyUnited's brand founders and asked them what it's really like to be leading the helm of a beauty brand during a time when so many things are shifting and so little can be pre-planned. What we found were some pretty inspiring answers, from ways these founders are going out of their way to focus on giving back to the daily practices they employ to take care of their own mental health. Ahead, find out how Miranda Kerr, Francisco Corta, and more are navigating their brands—and themselves—in the midst of this pandemic.

Francisco Costa, Founder of Costa Brazil

Weston Wells 

How has your business been affected by COVID-19 and how are you reacting to these changes?

"It has been a huge learning curve for us, but it has also brought us closer as a team. We have had a chance to further connect with our customers whom have been incredibly engaged on social media, so there have been some silver linings in this otherwise traumatic time. "

How are you taking care of your mental health during this time? Or, what are some habits/rituals you've developed during this time that help you feel soothed/de-stressed? 

"Cooking has always been a hobby but now it has become an essential part of my day to truly decompress. Deep breathing and being in nature is the best anxiety cure of all."

What are some ways you and your company are giving back during this time? 

"We of course are proud members of BeautyUnited, where we donated 100% of proceeds from the sales of our Jungle Candle on BeautyUnited day towards the Frontline Responders Fund. We have also donated self-care products to the frontline responders, which are being distributed to hospitals in need. We are also galvanizing support for affected areas in Brazil where the lack of PPE and medical support is devastating."

Miranda Kerr, Founder of Kora Organics

miranda kerr
Courtesy of Kora Organics 

How has your business been affected by COVID-19 and how are you reacting to these changes?

"As a business, the health and safety of our customers, team members and the community is paramount. Like most companies, in light of COVID 19, we have had to adjust our 2020 growth forecast. However, we feel optimistic about being able to continue on our growth trajectory. Among other actions, we have shifted our investments to the digital space to ensure we are meeting our customer’s needs and will continue reassessing as needed. Fortunately, our online sales are currently double what they were this time last year, which shows our strategy is working so far."

 How are you taking care of your mental health during this time? 

"I try to meditate daily and practice Kundalini yoga at least one to two times a week. Meditation helps keep me feel balanced and focused. Before the kids wake up, I try to meditate for about 15 to 20 minutes. I like to start the day with a positive and clear mindset, which has been especially important right now. I also love Kundalini yoga because it’s a deeper form of meditation, rather than just a physical yoga workout. It involves movement, breathing techniques, meditation and the chanting of mantras, such as Sat Nam, meaning “truth is my identity.” It helps build physical vitality, strengthens the nervous system, and expands lung capacity. I feel so energized, recharged and reset after a Kundalini yoga session. I also look forward to my morning and evening skincare rituals each day as those are my little daily moments of self-care (and alone time!) that help me feel pampered and relaxed."

What are some ways you and your company are giving back during this time? 

"We are proud to be a part of the BeautyUnited initiative and recently participated in Shop BeautyUnited Day on May 14 in which we donated all proceeds from sales of our Sleeping Mask on koraorganics.com to the Frontline Responders Fund. KORA Organics has also donated sets of our best-selling products to the first responders at hospitals in L.A., NYC and Sydney

My husband and I, both personally and along with Snap Inc. and the Snap Foundation, made a large donation to the Angeleno fund and the Mayor’s fund for Los Angeles, including 29 organizations that are helping individuals and groups most affected by the impact of coronavirus. These organizations are focusing on key priority areas including health, food security, housing, financial hardships and more."

Lilli Gordon, Founder of First Aid Beauty

lili gordon
 Courtesy of First Aid Beauty

How has your business been affected by COVID-19 and how are you reacting to these changes?

"Like many others, the core of our business is through our brick and mortar retail partners. With stores closed, we have shifted the focus online to our retailer e-commerce sites and firstaidbeauty.com. We have been lucky to see an incredible response to our skincare products through these channels, showing us that even during the pandemic, people understand the importance of taking good care of their skin. Just prior to the COVID-19 outbreak in the US, we launched FAB AID, our $1 Million student loan repayment initiative. Much of our FAB AID awareness program revolved around in-person events—on college campuses, in stores and in major cities—so we have had to pivot to virtual experiences and digital campaigns.

How are you taking care of your mental health during this time?

"Mental health is a big challenge to all of us right now. Since social distancing began, I have been in a quarantine bubble with my oldest son and his family. Spending time with them, and especially my two grandchildren, has been a gift to us during these times. Exercise is something else that helps my head as well as my body. I have had so much fun coming up with creative solutions for maintaining my strength without the usual gym equipment. And, of course, I always remind myself how blessed my family and I are to have remained healthy throughout this pandemic."

What are some ways you've found to give back during this time?

"Along with making financial contributions to organizations like the Frontline Responders Fund, we have also been helping numerous healthcare professionals take care of their skin. We have made large product donations through BeautyUnited, Donate Beauty (led by a group of beauty editors) and the Matthew: 25 Ministries humanitarian and disaster relief organization. In addition, we have sent out hundreds of care packages to healthcare workers across the country who have reached out to us via email and social media. We have been thrilled to hear from them that our Ultra Repair Cream is “saving” their hands and faces, and our products are allowing them a moment of self-care during such a difficult time."

Tina Craig, Founder of U Beauty

tina craig
 Courtesy of U Beauty

How has your business been affected by COVID-19 and how are you reacting to these changes?

"We are a start-up with a small and nimble team who all have worked from home since our November launch. Because of this, we are gratefully able to continue business as usual. The biggest setback was my global personal appearances (London, Munich and Hamburg, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Dubai). Instead, I’m hosting ZOOM cocktails for press, staff and VIPs, which I have to admit has been really nice."

How are you taking care of your mental health during this time?

"This sounds corny, but I have rediscovered the power of prayer and meditation. I meditate first thing in the morning and last thing before bed (sometimes I take a 10-minute timeout during the day to meditate). It really centers me and helps me focus on what’s important: my family and our health."

What are some ways you have found to give back during this time?

"I donated 6,000 PPE masks to local nursing homes in my area through my doctor and have sent out products to local nurses. We also donated 1200 bottles of the U Beauty Resurfacing Compound to BeautyUnited and Donate Beauty for frontline healthcare workers."

Tata Harper, Founder of Tata Harper Skincare

tata harper
Courtesy of Tata Harper 

How has your business been affected by COVID-19 and how are you reacting to these changes?

"Much of our business has been moved from the retail space to the online space as a result of COVID-19. We are working to make the experience as seamless and informative as possible on our own website so our customers don’t lose the personal connection or the mission behind our brand. We have implemented a concierge service on our website that helps guide our clients toward a specific regimen that works for them.

I have been hosting Green Beauty Classes around the world for years and I love the intimacy of connecting with our customers and teaching them about regimens and the importance of non-toxic and natural beauty products. Since we have canceled all of these classes for the foreseeable future, I wanted to find a new way of connecting with our customers. As an alternative, I have been hosting weekly Sunday Instagram Lives where I walk our clients through our at-home facials and spa treatments while offering some of my own tips and tricks. I love the ability to connect with so many at once during these live sessions and my hope is that anyone who tunes in, will learn something new to help them de-stress in a time of such uncertainty. If you are interested in following along and would like to participate in our weekly Sunday lives, be sure to check out @TataHarperSkincare on Instagram for more details."

How are you taking care of your mental health during this time?

"During this quarantine period, I am taking this time to relax my mind, cherish these extra moments I have with my children, and treat myself with a daily self care routine. My regimen to alleviate stress and manage anxiety consists of meditation and using a combination of our skincare products and aromatic treatments to help me reset.

A ritual I have been loving is unwinding with one of our at-home facial regimens. I’m a skincare maximalist so I have a lot of at-home facial routines for whatever mood my skin is in, or that I am in. The routine that I have been loving the most to help me unwind is our anti-aging facial. Just a few extra skincare steps helps me to destress after a long day, especially when I need to relax my mind."

What are some ways you've found to give back during this time? 

"In response to the demand for alcohol-based sanitizers, our R&D team formulated a hand sanitizer in just 24 hours. We partnered with our friends Sir John and Donate Beauty to not only donate the government guidelines approved hand sanitizers, but also our Reparative and Rebuilding Moisturizers as so many in the medical community are experiencing reactions to the masks they wear all day. 

I'm also proud to announce that we are partnering with the BeautyUnited coalition created in response to the COVID-19 crises. On Shop BeautyUnited Day, customers who used the code BEAUTYUNITED  on TataHarperSkincare.com to purchase a selection of cleansers and moisturizers received a hand sanitizer and deluxe-sized Clarifying Cleanser—plus, we donated 10% of the proceeds."

Charlotte Tilbury, Founder of Charlotte Tilbury

charlotte tilbury
Courtesy of Charlotte Tilbury 

What are some rituals you've developed during this time that help you feel soothed/de-stressed?

"We are all spending so much time on conference calls and in front of screens right now, so now more than ever, I am relying on my skincare routine to unwind and relax after a long day. Skincare is self-care, darling!

 My bathroom is my sanctuary, so for my evening skincare routine I always like to light candles to create a relaxed atmosphere. I am all about scent—and lighting is really important for setting a mood! I use my Goddess Cleansing Ritual to melt away my makeup, follow with facial massage using Georgia Louise’s Rose Quartz Lift + Sculpt Butterfly Gua Sha stone, and finish by layering my hydrating, smoothing Magic Serum Crystal Elixir with my Magic Night Cream. It is like beauty sleep in a jar."

What are some ways you've found to give back during this time?

"I always say, ‘Lipstick is happiness in a tube,’ so I am thrilled to be able to give back during this time by partnering with BeautyUnited. On Thursday May 14th, I donated 20% of Hot Lips 2 lipstick sales to the charity in support of frontline workers across the globe!"

Shani Darden, Founder of Shani Darden

shani darden
Courtesy of Shani Darden

How has your business been affected by COVID-19 and how are you reacting to these changes?

"L.A. issued a shelter-in-place orders three days before my brand launched at Sephora. As a founder, it was a really scary moment. We had worked for months preparing for the launch then all of a sudden the plans had to be put on hold. Luckily, I have an amazing team who was able to adapt and shift the focus. We quickly shifted all our marketing and press online and started to create content that was relevant to customers who were trying to take care of their skin at home during this unprecedented time. I’m very proud to say that we’ve been able to generate more press last quarter than we did all of last year. We even exceeded Sephora’s sales plan, generating a waitlist of over 5,000 people for Retinol Reform! It’s been almost two months since I gave my last facial at my studio here in Beverly Hills and I really miss the human connection I have with my clients. Being able to connect with them and a wider community digitally has really helped me cope with all this change personally."

How are you taking care of your mental health during this time?

"One of the things that has been saving me is taking walks daily. I’ve also been doing Peloton rides as well. Releasing some of that nervous energy really helps in these scary and uncertain times and it allows me to be more focused and present for my family and my business."

What are some ways you've found to give back during this time?

"I was so excited when Moj, CEO & Co-Founder of Beautycon, called me and asked me to be a part of BeautyUnited! I was already trying to help raise money for Meals on Wheels LA and a local Los Angeles Nursing Home by donating 50% of the proceeds from my virtual skin care consultations, but working together with these 40+ beauty brands, we’ve been able to make a much larger impact. Together, the group sent over 2,000 lbs of essential products to the Jacob Javits Center in NYC where a temporary hospital had been setup. In support of BeautyUnited day, we donated 100% of net proceeds of Retinol Reform to the Frontline Responders Fund."


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