September 22, 2023

It Cosmetics wants to support women’s confidence at work.

On June 1, It Cosmetics announced a new ongoing corporate social responsibility partnership with The American Confidence Institute to produce video series and blog posts on the topic of confidence. In step, it revealed plans for a microloan program through microfinance company Kiva.

It Cosmetics, founded in 2008 and acquired by L’Oréal Group in 2016, began with the purpose of offering products that allow women to feel confident in their skin, said Kristen Comings, svp of consumer engagement at It Cosmetics. From there, the team wanted to expand its confidence premise and saw an opportunity to support women in the workforce.

“As a brand, [we] built ourselves on wanting our consumers to feel confident in their skin. We use real women in our [photo and video] assets and show their real skin, skin concerns and all. For us now, it’s about [focusing on] how we can take this further and tackle confidence from the inside,” said Comings.

Each month, It Cosmetics will publish two blog posts on its DTC e-commerce website on topics like “How to Be Confident in an Interview,” “The Difference Between Competence and Confidence,” and “What Comes First — Success or Confidence?” They’ll be written by Alyssa Dver, founder of The American Confidence Institute. In addition, videos on similar topics that feature Dver will be released once a month.

It Cosmetics has over 40,000 YouTube subscribers. The microloan program will lend $3 million by 2030 to female business owners, up to $100,000 each. Aside from the $3 million figure, Comings declined to share the brand’s other costs of investments into the CSR program.

“Confidence is not just a buzzword or empowered by someone else’s experience. It’s a skill anyone can learn, at any age, in any career. When someone is confident, they have real influence,” said Dver.

Next month, It Cosmetics will launch a custom Confidence at Work Self-Assessment, powered by research and insights from The American Confidence Institute. The assessment will ask questions about real at-work scenarios and provide a personalized report with confidence coaching commentary and confidence-building tips. The self-assessment will provide a custom analysis, versus a score, and is encouraged to be retaken after implementing practical tips and techniques to monitor confidence levels over time.

Criticisms have recently been made of the so-called confidence culture and whether it is injurious to women by placing the onus of a lack of confidence on individuals rather than larger societal forces at play. Critics argue that rather than loosening the pressure on women, the confidence-inducing and empowering messages increase. That’s because the requirements to look good and young are still present, but with the added pressure to feel confident. It’s a version of feminism that produces a mental discipline of positivity while also minimizing emotions like anger and critique that have propelled activism for women’s advancement. And according to the National Women’s Law Center’s analysis of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ February jobs report, men have recouped all their labor force losses since February 2020, while over 1 million fewer women were in the labor force in January 2022 as compared to February 2020.

Though It Cosmetics seeks to support women in the workforce through its current program, it is not always active in other areas relating to women’s interests or equality. For example, the brand did not post on social media on the topic of abortion access following the leaked majority opinion from the Supreme Court in April, nor did it join the relaunched “Don’t Ban Equality” coalition. Sixty-two other beauty and wellness brands did. Brands like Glow Recipe, Ole Henriksen, The Body Shop and Fenty Beauty joined the coalition or posted on social media following the news. No L’Oréal Group brand joined the coalition.

“There’s [systemic issues], and we acknowledge that. What we are trying to do is really to empower her with tools to help overcome that, so that we aren’t just waiting for society to make the change,” said Comings. “How can she empower herself day-to-day and impact her confidence? Confidence is fought day-to-day with our inner critic.”

Thus far, It Cosmetics has posted the announcements and snippets of advice to its main social channels and will continue to announce new video posts when they are published. It will also integrate confidence advice and announcements in its email marketing, said Comings. To measure the program’s impact, the team will look at how many people took and retook the confidence assessment tool, viewed and shared videos, and read and shared blog posts. After the first year, the program will expand to all international markets for It Cosmetics.