In recent years, we’ve seen a huge trend toward buying natural products - everything from deodorant to nail polish can be found with labels showing the toxic ingredients brands exclude from formulas. While we are seeing more of these types of items on the market, multiple studies show that beauty products geared toward Black women in particular are still more toxic.
According to a study of over 1k products conducted by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), 1 in 12 products geared toward Black women are considered highly hazardous. This included makeup like foundation and concealer along with hair products like relaxers and bleaching products - all of which included ingredients like parabens, retinyl palmitate, formaldehyde-releasing preservatives, methylisothiazolinone, and fragrances made from unknown chemical mixes. These chemicals are responsible for serious health issues in Black women, including hormone disruption, premature births, and even cancer. The study also found that 40% of products marketed to other women are “low hazards” but only 25% of products targeting Black women are also in that category.⠀
While these products have significant impacts on the health of consumers, the FDA doesn’t require pre-market approval before they’re sold. Cosmetic companies can also choose not to disclose safety information to the org. The FDA only has the authority to investigate any issues after violations are reported, by which time the damage has already been done.⠀
In the last few years, new BIPOC-owned businesses have begun to enter the clean beauty space. Check out our list of clean makeup and hair brands you can try, and comment your favorites below!