Full Disclosure: I am a Brand Ambassador for Cheekbone Beauty, and receive a small commission from the 10% off discount code, ANDRM100. Using the code ANDRM100 on cheekbonebeauty.ca will get you 10% off your purchase. This is my first affiliate code, and this is because I only promote and collaborate with brands that I can stand behind. This means that I respect what the company is doing, believe in their ethics and mission statement, and believe that they are doing good work. If a company or organization’s mission or ethics change and become something that I do not support and do not believe in, I cut ties. Read on for why this brand is kickass, and its origin story that is rooted in social justice and activism. As a white woman with a fair amount of socioeconomic privilege, I think it is really important to support and lift up not only other female and non-binary entrepreneurs, artists, and professionals, but especially women and non-binary folks of colour.
Cheekbone Beauty is a Canadian, Indigenous-owned beauty company created by Jenn Harper, an Ojibwe woman from the Thunder Bay and Niagara regions. Jenn grew up in a primarily white community and felt that she stood out. Growing up she had a complicated relationship with her heritage (she talks about this in the Breaking Beauty Podcast, episode 41–Jenn’s story is really quite incredible and interesting, and I recommend giving this episode a listen if podcasts are your thing!), having grown up without an Indigenous community and not becoming immersed in cultural traditions until later in her 30’s. Overcoming cultural barriers and her own addiction to alcohol, she launched Cheekbone Beauty and began to reconcile with her culture, her community, and Indigenous history. Cheekbone Beauty utilizes beautiful lipstick to birth conversations about issues that Indigenous folks endure, particularly the educational funding gap between white students and Indigenous students here in Canada. The name of the company came about because Indigenous folks are known for their lovely cheekbones, and research has shown that people with higher cheekbones are deemed as more trustworthy.
Social Justice and Activism
First Nations children receive anywhere from 30-50% less education funding than the rest of Canadian children, and this is a problem that Cheekbone Beauty aims to help fix by donating 10% of their profits from the sales of their cosmetics to the Shannen’s Dream campaign through the First Nations Caring Society. As well, the brand calls attention to stellar Indigenous women who have broken glass ceilings and created incredible careers by naming each of their lip shades after different inspiring Indigenous women.
- Cruelty-free products
- A number of the products are vegan. In fact, the brand actually discontinued their tube lipstick line because they could not guarantee that animals were unharmed during the extraction process of their lanolin oil ingredient.
- Paraben-free products
- Free shipping over $99
- Diverse models used in marketing and social media
- Canadian, female-owned, Indigenous-owned company based out of Ontario
- Products presently available include brow gel, lip gloss, liquid lipstick, a contour palette, and a highlighter palette
An assortment of my personal thoughts on the brand
- I like that the brand has a small collection of products. I feel that when companies, especially smaller beauty companies, jump in and start cranking out enormous amounts of different products, that there hasn’t been much time or effort put into the formulation. I think that if you’re going to do something, do a few things really well and start from there, rather than jumping in too quickly and doing a lot of things mediocrely.
- I love that it is a Canadian brand whose ethics and mission I can get behind.
- I appreciate that the brand has a very diverse social media presence. It gets tiring seeing the same blonde white ladies promoting everything out there. It’s nice to see all sorts of real women being shown on their Instagram page.
What other small, POC-owned makeup brands do you enjoy? Any recommendations?