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Brands With Purpose

Intention-driven companies like Dove are committed to doing good – not just helping you look good with their beauty and grooming products…

By Adriana Ermter

Back in 1957, who would have guessed that skincare brand Dove – with its then newly launched white beauty bar with the upturned edges, centre-etched bird, patented blend of mild cleansers and one quarter moisturizing cream – would become synonymous with self-empowerment? Or, better yet, that 67 years later, it would align with powerhouse athletic brand Nike to create a new online global program, Body Confident Sport, to reinforce body positivity and encourage the 47 per cent of girls in Canada who drop out of sports because of body image concerns?

Yet it makes sense. Merging suds with sports ­– hockey, artistic swimming, basketball, gymnastics or soccer, for example – is an ideal way to wash away negative stereotypes and build confident athletes. Particularly when, as noted in a 2023 Cision news release, 174 million people around the world use Dove products every single day, making the brand’s commitment to reach one million youth each year through their new program a very real possibility. After all, this is the beauty company that revolutionized shower time with a now iconic beauty bar that can simultaneously eliminate grime and that uncomfortable tight and dry skin feeling other soaps often leave in their wake. They’ve got the do-good/feel-good juxtaposition down.

Three-time Olympic women’s tennis doubles champion Venus Williams agrees. An advocate for Dove and Nike’s interactive online coaching initiative – created collaboratively by girls, coaches, and experts in body image and sports – Williams believes that when young people of all gender identities are seen and valued for who they are, their confidence and self-esteem grow. “I know how important it is to have a coach that focuses on ability over appearance [tennis ball emoji],” Williams posted on Instagram on October 25, 2023. “That’s why I’ve partnered with @dove to help build girls’ body confidence and keep them playing the sports they love [bursting star emoji].” 

Reminiscent of Dove’s 2004 Self-Esteem Project –  complete with its Real Beauty advertising campaign that featured women of all ages, race and body types posing boldly and happily in their undies – the Body Confident Sport program’s underlying message is that when you love the skin you’re in, you can achieve anything, especially when supported by a caring coach. Free and accessible online, replete with downloadable videos, workbooks and materials, the program offers coaches and athletes proactive ways to discuss topics such as gender stereotypes, appearance and athletic ideals, self-acceptance, confidence, performance and enjoyment in sport. Each training module provides a session topic, key activities for the session, what to say and best responses to questions and scenarios, and supplementary notes to optimize effectiveness – all backed with scientifically proven insights and information, and relevant research. 

The program is inclusive, but based on research findings, it focuses on youth aged 11-17 years who identify as female, as the annual dropout rate from sports in this group is twice that of boys. These facts, derived from Dove and Nike’s 2023 research, also reveal that 44 per cent of girls dropping out were told they don’t have the right body for sport. Additionally, only four in 10 girls say they feel confident about how their body looks. 

“When girls stop loving their bodies, they stop loving the game,” says Melissa Grevstad, head of Dove brand purpose in North America. During adolescence, when girls experience changes to their bodies, “they feel exposed and vulnerable to judgment” about what their bodies can and can’t do, and how they look while playing sports, Grevstad adds. 

The program, which is a partnership with the Centre for Appearance Research (CAR) and the Tucker Centre for Research on Girls & Women in Sport, addresses these findings. Equipped with the tools to shift their athletes’ focus away from thoughts about what their bodies look like to what their bodies are able to do and to experience, coaches utilizing the program will be able to introduce proactive change. 

“Since 2004, Dove has been working to arm the next generation with tools to build body confidence and self-esteem so that no young person is held back,” says Alessandro Manfredi, chief marketing officer for Dove. “As the world’s leading provider of self-esteem and body confidence education for girls, we have a responsibility to support girls wherever their self-esteem is at stake. Sport has the potential to make girls feel confident and strong, yet for so many, the judgment and criticism they face within the sports environment is damaging their confidence and limiting their self-belief. We are proud to team up with a likeminded brand like Nike to take action towards a more equitable future for girls – on and off the field.” 

10 More Change-Leading Brands

Let’s take a closer look at a few of our favourite brands that are using creativity, innovation and commitment to help make our world a little better.

Who they are: A Nova Scotia-based, clean, 100 per cent vegan, gender-free fragrance brand whose mantra is “Make perfume not war.”
Purpose driver: Founded by human rights activist Barb Stegemann, to break the cycle of poverty and war. The brand’s perfume oils are organic, fair trade and sourced from countries experiencing turmoil.
IN Magazine’s recommended product: Vanilla Woods EDP is mix-mastered with organic, sustainably sourced vanilla from Madagascar. $199 for 50 mL, available at Sephora.

Who they are: An Ontario-based, clean, vegan, low-waste, sustainable and high-quality colour cosmetics brand with Anishinaabe roots.
Purpose driver: Founded by Jenn Harper to help Indigenous people see their value. The company has donated more than $200,000 to North American non-profit organizations, including the First Nations Child & Family Caring Society and the Navajo Water Project.
IN Magazine’s recommended productSustain lipstick’s line of eight shades – each named after the earth or land in one of the 4,000 Indigenous languages – was created to honour Indigenous traditions. $34 each, available online at

Who they are: An Ontario-based and gay-owned LGBTQ+ clean and vegan skincare brand with roots in Toronto and a heart filled with pride. 
Purpose driver: Founded by TikTok star Ryan Dubs, the company features LGBTQ+ people in their marketing, partnerships and retail. They are also financial supporters of Trans Lifeline, a North American trans-led non-profit connecting trans people to community and resources.
IN Magazine’s recommended product: The Theory Retinol Creme Blend is an all-day age-defying moisturizer. $58 for 50 mL, available online at

Who they are: An American-based cosmetics company dedicated to creating affordable, fun and high-quality lipstick, eyeshadow, mascara, nail polish and more.
Purpose driver: Founders and married partners Christina Oster-Daum and Javier González believe “beauty is being who you are, who you want to be and having fun while doing it.” The brand donates product to non-profits including Operation PROM and Dress for Success.
IN Magazine’s recommended product: Lash Like a Boss Instant Volume Length Mascara is cruelty-, paraben-, phthalate- and formaldehydes-free, and boasts a curved fibre brush. $7, available at Shoppers Drug Mart.

Who they are: A British Columbia-based, impact-led clean makeup brand.
Purpose driver: While living in a women’s shelter in Vancouver, founder Brandi Leifso built Evio in support of domestic abuse survivors. Evio has donated $510,000+ worth of products and funding to shelters across North America that help survivors to thrive. 
IN Magazine’s recommended product: The Lip Serum in “Did I Make Myself Clear” supports the, which builds wealth and financial security for survivors of intimate partner violence. $22, available at Shoppers Drug Mart.

Who they are: A British Columbia-based, all-natural, locally made, family-run, home and bath company specializing in handmade and/or locally bottled essential oils, bath milks, teas and salts.
Purpose driver: Founded by Katie Derrick to build awareness about the benefits of natural products and aromatherapy. With every purchase, Fern & Petal donates $1 to plant a tree.
IN Magazine’s recommended product: The Routine Essential Oils Kit has four vegan diffuser oils that awaken and/or unwind the senses. $54 for four 5-mL oils, available online at

Who they are: An Ontario-based, cruelty-free, vegan, non-GMO (genetically modified organisms) and all-natural, organic men’s grooming brand.
Purpose driver: Black-founded and Black, Indigenous, People of Colour (BIPOC)-owned, Maneuver creates space for BIPOC men to be their authentic selves and to grow as leaders by amplifying their voices through social and cultural community development.
IN Magazine’s recommended product: Beard Growth Kit is all-natural, organic and fair trade, and includes Beard Growth Oil, Beard Roller and Beard Roller Cleaner. $122 for kit, available online at

Who they are: A UK-based haircare company with a lineup of cruelty-free, vegan and 97 per cent natural products.
Purpose driver: Co-founded by beauty industry experts Rachel Parsonage and Lorna Mitchell, Noughty enlists Jennifer Hirsch, a botanist and plant expert, to ensure efficacy. They purchase ingredients from farmers in developing communities to create sustainable change.
IN Magazine’s recommended product: To The Rescue Intense Moisture Treatment quenches dry, damaged and over-processed hair. $18, available at Shoppers Drug Mart.

Who they are: An Alberta-based skin and body care company that uses 100 per cent natural, organic and locally sourced ingredients.
Purpose driver: Owners and married partners Karina Birch and Cam Baty offer products that are toxin-free and have recyclable, compostable packaging. The company hosts an annual safe and inclusive event for women, The Women’s Soap Run, to inspire a healthy and environmentally responsible lifestyle. 
IN Magazine’s recommended product: The Better Bubble Bath in “Just Breathe” contains aromatic essential oils. $16 for 240 mL, available online at

Who they are: A US-based, clean, 100 per cent vegan, bioavailable holistic haircare brand that clinically tests its plant-based ingredients to ensure healthy hair growth.
Purpose driver: The company, which was founded by Dan Hodgdon, creates direct, fair trade partnerships to ethically harvest high-quality, natural ingredients.
IN Magazine’s recommended product: GRO Hair Serum is powered with plant-based active ingredients to reduce shedding and support hair growth. $64 for 30 mL, available online at

ADRIANA ERMTER is a Toronto-based lifestyle-magazine pro who has travelled the globe writing about must-spritz fragrances, child poverty, beauty and grooming.

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