This Is Proof That The Beauty Industry Really Can Make A Huge Difference

MAC Viva Glam is 25 years old – and has raised over $500 million to help in the fight against HIV/AIDS

winnie harlow viva glam

by Hannah Banks-Walker |

25 years ago, RuPaul became the first spokesperson for M·A·C's then-brand new charity campaign, VIVA GLAM. In 1994, at the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic that tragically claimed so many lives, M·A·C decided to do something to help, calling on the talents of Mama Ru to launch the inaugural campaign – dressed in red PVC, naturally.

rupaul viva glam
RuPaul's original VIVA GLAM campaign in 1994

Since then, the likes of Mary J. Blige, Lil' Kim, Elton John, Christina Aguilera, Boy George and Lady Gaga have all featured in VIVA GLAM campaigns – and clearly to great success. Over $500 million has been raised to help the HIV/AIDS community, thanks to M·A·C's 100 per cent giving model. That total sum translates to 9,713 grants given to over 1,800 organisations around the globe. In the UK and Ireland, 540 grants have been given to over 100 charities including Positive East, HIV Ireland, National AIDS Trust, Terrence Higgins Trust and George House Trust.

To mark the 25th anniversary, M·A·C recruited model Winnie Harlow to recreate RuPaul's first campaign, thigh-high boots and all. ""I was inspired to recreate the original VIVA GLAM campaign after my hairdresser, Jay Brumant, showed me the beautiful images," said Harlow. "Working in fashion, I’m surrounded by many types of beauty, and I strongly feel that the contributions of the LGBTQ+ community are both prominent & embraced in the fashion world."

A limited edition lipstick, VIVA GLAM 25 – in the original dark red shade – will also be available from 1st May, with 100 per cent of the cost (minus VAT) going to support HIV/AIDS, Women and Girls and LGBTQ+ charities.

The brand said in a statement: "As the HIV field continues to make incredible advances, M·A·C Cosmetics will continue to look to support the most vulnerable, underserved women and girls and LGBTQ+ communities that resonate with its consumers and the M·A·C Family through the VIVA GLAM campaign."

25 years ago, it would have seemed unlikely that a lipstick could make such a profound difference to something as terrifying and overwhelming as the outbreak of HIV/AIDS. It just goes to show that a little really can go a long way.


The Best New Beauty Products You Should Buy Now 2020

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Not a fan of oils? We can guarantee this lightweight, potent blend will convert you. Powered by hydrating squalene and brightening vitamin C, skin looks positively radiant after use.

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For spa-worthy skin that bestows a post-facial glow, give this potent peel a whirl. Packed with acids and enzymes, massage into skin and leave on for 20-minutes before rinsing off to reveal your new found radiance. (NB: not suitable for very sensitive skin)

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Formulated with a patented collagen booster, expect skin to look plumper, firmer and a lot perkier after using this daily.

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Saturate a cotton pad and swipe this solution of AHAs onto clean skin daily to sweep away dulling dead skin cells and restore some radiance.

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Clinically proven to strengthen the skin's barrier, this serum wards off environmental aggressors (including pollution) while plumping fine lines with the powerful long life herb from Japan.

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Tackling maskne? Try this blemish banishing solution from Decleor. Blended with a mix of essential oils, it will calm down redness and help to balance oil regulation.

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Hailed for its calming and soothing skincare properties, this hemp facial oil is a godsend for stressed out, sensitive skin.

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Spritz this lightweight, leave-in mist on to damp hair before blow drying for smooth, shiny and bouncy results.

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Covet long, luscious lengths? Turn your head to this leave-in treatment from Redken, pronto. Powered by biotin, the cream seals split-ends and moisturises the hair from the inside out. Double win!

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Yes, it's expensive. But this clever formula tackles itchy, irritated scalps with exfoliating salicylic acid. It also helps to strengthen strands with pea shoot while lemon and orange extracts maintain healthy, hydrated hair.

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For a real scalp treat, double up and invest in the luxury conditioner too. Formulated with hydrating shea butter and strengthening quinoa - say hello to shiny, happy hair.

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Mist this spray through damp roots to add volume and bounce in an instance. The clever formula also provides heat protection as well as protection from environmental aggressors with vitamin E and sunflower seed.

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Take a trip down memory lane with this joyful, pretty-in-pink make-up collaboration between Ciaté London and Miss Piggy. The standout? This creamy blusher palette housing four rosy shades with matte, sheen and glow formulas.

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Blended with black clay and salicylic acid, this luxurious mask works to minimise the appearance of breakouts and blemishes - ideal for 'maskne'.

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Obsessed with CeraVe? Us too, which is why you need to try this cream-to-foam cleanser asap. Lightweight and gentle, it does a stellar job at removing make-up, grime and pollution.

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Dry, thirsty skin? Keep this spray within arms-reach and mist your face whenever you need a pick-me-up. Plus it comes with a refill for when you run out.

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The brainchild behind our favourite Transforming Body Lotion, Ameliorate has just dropped a collection of products to target the skin on our face. The hero? This hydrating, nourishing serum that gently exfoliates skin with Lactic Acid.

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New brand from Paris, Typology hit the mainstream earlier this year with its curated edit of simplified skincare solutions using naturally-derived ingredients. Now, venturing into make-up - the brand has just launched this incredibly lightweight tinted serum packed with vitamin C and aloe vera to brighten and hydrate skin while providing good coverage.

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This looks like a powder, but in fact it's a creamy highlighter that delivers just the right amount of shimmer. Top tip? Gucci suggests skipping foundation and wearing Peau de Rosé on bare skin with just a brushed up brow.

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Oh this mascara is a goody. With a thick, bristled brush that coats every single lash - you get lots of volume without lashes feeling weighed down or clumpy.

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Matte but non-drying, these affordable lipsticks from make-up artist, Lisa Armstrong, are creamy and moisturising with impressive staying power.

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New in from Nars, this glow-bestowing tinted cream is blended with pearlescent pigments to create a luminous finish. Use alone, under foundation or on top as a highlighter.

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Travel bags don't come much chicer than this. And while, yes, we're not travelling as much at the moment - this recycled nylon bag is the perfect size for weekends away and staycations.

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Of course you need another new lipstick. Specifically, this cream-to-powder skinny lip pen that glides on for a soft, matte finish. Available in 16 shades, we love this poppy red for autumn.

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Love having your nails painted but hate the drying time? Turn your talons to this quick drying polish that takes just one minute to dry (we're not kidding). Available in 20 shades spanning everything from olive green to burgundy and grey - this is the perfect nail collection to match your Autumn/Winter wardrobe.

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Serving up a daily dose of hyaluronic acid and ceramides, these travel-friendly ampoules hydrate and strengthen the skin's barrier.

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Responsible for creating the best CC cream out there, It Cosmetics are back with a brand new expertly formulated foundation. Combining skincare with great coverage, this lightweight base lends skin a dewy, even glow while toning and smoothing the skin's surface over time, too.

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Unsurprisingly, sales of candles have shot up during lockdown. As we're spending more time at home we want it to be a cosy, warm and relaxing environment. To elevate your living room aura, invest in this chic ceramic candle from Jo Malone's latest collection.

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When it comes to eyeshadow palettes, Urban Decay always deliver. The latest Naked edition comes complete with 12 beautiful shades spanning from warm neutrals to cool mint and deep, rich purples. Get experimental and have fun blending.

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For that gorgeous, beachy texture, get misting this wave spray blended with Cornish sea salt to amp up texture and create hold for those wavy hair 'dos.

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Elevate your Sunday spa session with this easy-to-mix face mask. Simply pour the powder into the cup and add the liquid agent. Stir the mixture before spreading it onto cheeks. After 5 minutes, take it off and revel in your new found glow.

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These nifty nail art stickers look so good you'd be fooled into thinking they're the real deal. Simply choose an individual sticker, press onto bare or dry nails and seal in with a slick of top coat.

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News flash: the queen of full-impact lashes, Huda Kattan, has just launched her first ever mascara and it has not just one, but two wands and formulations. 'Curl & Length' is a curved brush that grips on to every single lash, pulling them upwards and outwards. 'Volume' is an hourglass-shaped wand that really plumps up the lashes for a fluttery, full finish.

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All salty air and sexy musk, this concoction of coconut water, mandarin oil and frangipani flower is White Isle summers, bottled.

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This is your partner in crime for setting off a tan. From cheekbones to temple, collarbones to shoulders, a bit of this perfectly matte bronzing powder will get you that J-Lo glow in no time.

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Vegan, cruelty-free and sustainable, Biossance is the latest beauty brand to get behind that doesn't skimp on efficacy. Apply this gentle yet powerful 10% lactic acid serum before you hit the hay and wake up to a bright, bouncy complexion.

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As comfortable as a balm and as pigment packed as a lipstick, Dior's new starry lip shine lends lips a shimmery, glossy glow.

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Ideal for oily and blemish-prone skin, Balance Me's new Facial Mist is packed with powerful PHAs to gently exfoliate skin as well as several antibacterial ingredients to tackle shine and calm irritation.

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Avène's new cream regulates sebum production whilst reducing the appearance of active blemishes. In clinical trials, 90% of users reported clearer skin in just 7 days. Impressive.

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Totally foolproof with zero fallout, glide this liquid glitter shadow across lids and press in with fingertips for a dazzling, Zoom party look.

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Leaving limbs smooth and scented of clean cotton, this shower oil gently cleanses while moisturising skin. Formulated with ingredients of 63% natural origin.

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Stressed, sensitised skin? Give Kate Somerville's DeliKate Recovery Cream, £69, a whirl. Blended with skin-soothing peptides and barrier-supportive ceramides, it will calm and restore stressed out skin back to its former glory.

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Hair, meet Larry King's savvy Liquid Hair Brush - a mane-changing, detangling conditioner that smooths and seals strands so battling with a hairbrush becomes a thing of the past.

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Inspired by a sun-baked stroll through Italian streets, this candle will scent your home of bergamot, mandarin and orange flower. Bliss.

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Bring Zoom-hungover, dehydrated skin back from the brink with this ultra-hydrating overnight face mask. Featuring a smart combination of skin-loving ingredients like niacinamide, ceramides and squalane - skin feels pillowy-soft and hydrated come morning.

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