Beauty Banks are fighting hygiene poverty

Beauty Banks was launched by journalist Sali Hughes and global director of beauty for PR firm The Communications Store, Jo Jones, last year. A charity running on a foodbank model, donations of essential care and cosmetic products are collected, repackaged and redistributed to charities who can ensure they end up in the hands of people who will benefit most.

Frustrated by seeing increasing waste and excessive luxury within the industry, Hughes and Jones set up the organisation, fighting hygiene poverty while many hit by austerity and Universal Credit have to choose between cleanliness and food.

"People really need these things and not being clean and being dirty is the difference between having a bad or good day, of feeling employable and feeling good about themselves," said Ms Hughes.

"These are things we take for granted. We often don't think twice about buying shower gel, but [for some] that can make the difference between being clean and not being able to eat."

According to recent government figures, there were 4,751 people counted or estimated to be bedding down outside in autumn 2017 - a 15% rise on the year before and more than double the figure recorded five years ago.

In July, the In Kind Direct charity also warned of a rise in "hygiene poverty" - in which families across the UK were reporting a crisis in being unable to afford essential toiletries.

Though starting small, Ms Hughes hopes to roll the Beauty Banks project out to further locations and is encouraging people to get involved.

"We don't want people to donate money. But we would love members of the public to send their spare toiletries that they have lying around.

"We're looking for really essential toiletries like deodorant, we want shaving gel, razors, tampons, sanitary towels. We need shampoo, soap, baby wipes, flannels and toothbrushes.

"We would like people to throw a box of tampons in their basket and then throw in another to donate, or to donate the soap their aunts gave them two Christmases ago.

"Provided they're unused - they will find a good home."