Get Gorgeous for a Cause

Every woman knows there’s nothing frivolous about looking her most beautiful. And that’s even truer when you choose a new hairstyle, shoes, jewelry or even a perfume in ways that help others. Here’s how to look good while doing good:

1. Donate Your Ponytail
Do you admire the short, chic ’dos of stars like Carey Mulligan, Michelle Williams and Halle Berry and wish you had the nerve to chop off your own flowing tresses? Here’s a way to get your courage up. If your ponytail is 8 inches or longer, donate it to the Beautiful Lengths program and it will be turned into a real-hair wig for a woman battling cancer. A partnership between Pantene and the American Cancer Society, the program has collected over 270,000 ponytails and turned them into 18,000 free wigs. (It takes at least six ponies to make a wig.) Got a few long-haired friends who can also use a new look? Host a Beautiful Lengths party and go get your locks cut together.

2. Clean out Your Closet
Refurbishing your wardrobe by getting together with your girlfriends for clothing swaps is a good idea. An even better idea: While you’re trading favorite togs with your BFFs, make a pile of party dresses and accessories to donate to an organization that provides prom dresses for girls who can’t otherwise afford them. (Google “donate my prom dress” and you’ll find organizations like The Princess Project, Donate My Dress and the Fairy Glam Project.) Make a second pile of suits, interview-appropriate separates, shoes, handbags and unopened cosmetics for Dress for Success, the national nonprofit organization that distributes outfits to disadvantaged women who are trying to enter the workforce.

3. Buy One, Give One
There’s no need to shop with a guilty conscience. Instead, seek out retailers that follow the “buy one, give one” concept pioneered by TOMS Shoes. With every pair of shoes you purchase, the company donates a pair to a needy child. (We have our eye on their fall corduroy wedges!) Need a new pair of specs? Buy a pair of $95 prescription glasses at the online boutique Warby Parker and they’ll provide a pair to someone in the world who doesn’t have access to good vision care. And as temperatures start to drop, you might be thinking of dressing up your bed with a new comforter. Purchase one through The Company Store and a homeless child will get one too.

4. Bejewel Yourself
You can deck yourself out in accessories and give to a good cause at the same time. The supermodel Iman has designed a chic baby-blue-and-white version of the lariat bracelets we all used to make in summer camp. All proceeds go to Save the Children’s efforts to treat malnourished children in Iman’s home country of Somalia and throughout East Africa. You can find the $35 Modelinia Beautiful Friends Forever bracelets at the Noir Jewelry online boutique. You’ll be hearing a lot about actress Rooney Mara -- star of the upcoming film The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo -- which will make the striking necklace she designed for eco-friendly jewelry line Kora even more of a conversation piece. Made from dyed recycled cow bone and wrapped with recycled brass and aluminum cuttings, the $95 necklace is crafted by local African artisans. One-hundred percent of the proceeds benefit families in Kenya’s impoverished slums. Find the necklace on the Kora Designs website.

5. Spritz on a Little Bieber
Admit it: You think Justin Bieber is kind of adorable. Now you can wear him behind your ears with Someday, his new scent for women. It’s a catchy, fresh everyday fragrance with notes of mandarin, juicy pear, jasmine, musk and vanilla. Better yet, the sweetness lingers even after the scent fades. All profits go to two of Bieber’s favorite charities: the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Pencils of Promise, which build schools in poverty-stricken areas throughout the world.