Women of Color Exposure to Toxic Chemicals in Personal Care Products is Troubling.
An assessment conducted by the EWG* of about 1,200 products marketed specifically to Black women was performed. It was discovered that there are fewer products made without hazardous ingredients available for women of color.1
"Fewer than one-fourth of the products marketed to Black women scored low in potentially hazardous ingredients, compared to about 40 percent of the items marketed to the general public.”2
What this means is that personal care products aimed at women of color contain a unreasonable high level of toxic ingredients compared to other ethnic groups. What is even more disheartening is that women of color purchase twice as much and use more personal care products than other demographic groups.
How do we impart a change?
Women of color are a powerful consumer group. With this buying power we can impart a change to the industry by demanding and leaning toward non-toxic products that does not compromise our health.
What is clean beauty?
Many brands use the terminology of "natural" or "clean" simply because they don't include such ingredients as parabens, sulfates, and formaldehyde. The truth is "natural" can be used so loosely and is subjective to the brand. Many of the harmful ingredients used by companies are simply because they are cheaper and easier to work with. Complete disregard for the consumers, but more concern for the bottom line.
We take health and quality very seriously and only use the purest ingredients to formulate our products. It's our goal to research and include the most effective and purest ingredients available.
about oils + butters
We use cold-pressed, unrefined oils because we want to maintain the full integrity and benefits that are found within the oils.
about essential oils, absolutes, + extracts
We use quality essential oils that are produced by way of steam distillation or CO2 extraction. We have found these are the safest on the skin.
When we choose fragrances outside the realm of essential oils, we use natural fragrance oils that produced using only pure essential oils and aromatic isolates derived solely from natural, raw botanical sources. No synthetics ingredients are included.
We use preservatives in our products that contain water or have the possibility to be introduced to water during application. Preservatives are necessary to protect against waterborne bacteria and microbial contamination in these type of products. Without a question, they are a must-have in any water based product to prevent microbial growth, spoiling and potential skin infections.
There are very few preservatives that are directly derived from natural sources, instead natural preservatives tend to be ‘nature identical’, which means they contain ingredients that are made in the lab but are identical to those that occur in nature. We use Eco/ Geogard™ ECTthat meets Ecocert and COSMOS standards. This is a broad-spectrum preservative which contains four different components: benzyl alcohol, salicylic acid, glycerin and sorbic acid. These molecules are all found in nature in plants such as pine resin, rowan berries and willow bark. It is a non-paraben, non-formaldehyde, nonisothiazolone-based preservative system.
We rarely color our skin or body care products. However, when we impart color we use natural colorants with the use of plants, clays, and minerals.
about ingredient names
common names: Most of us know ingredients and raw materials by their common names or trade names. Shea butter and sweet almond oil are examples of common/trade names. However, all ingredients used in cosmetics also have a more scientific name; the INCI name. These are often derived from the botanical name of a plant.
inci names: INCI stands for International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients. These are more precise globally recognized names. They are often used on the labels of products. The INCI names are useful where there may be a number of different variations of an ingredient. For example, there are a few different species of lavender from which essential oil can be derived (eg lavender angustifolia and lavender stoechas).
You will find that our labels and descriptions utilize the inci names. Avoid the myth that if you can't pronounce an ingredient that it is harmful.
* The EWG, (Enviornmental Working Group) an organization that focuses on issues related to regulating chemicals, promoting organic food, and opposing modern agricultural practices.
1.Leiba, Nneka and Pestano, Paul. "Study: Women of Color Exposed to More Toxic Chemicals in Personal Care Products." Environmental Working Group (EWG).
2. Pestano, Paul. "Big Market for Black Cosmetics, But Less-Hazardous Choices Limited." Environmental Working Group (EWG).
Is it legal to include toxic ingredients in personal care products?
In the United States, it's legal for products to contain chemicals linked to breast cancer, hormone disruption, birth defects, and other chronic health problems.
I've been told that small doses of chemicals are okay?
It is NOT okay! Even smal doses of chemicals can be potent.
What can I do to avoid products with harmful ingredients?
Pay attention to product labels to determine what products are made up of. EWG offers a tool to assist with finding healthier alternatives and to look up ingredients, the Skin Deep.
What products may contain chemicals of concerns in skincare?
- Skin lighteners
- Fragrance and scented products