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WOMEN OF COLOR

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( Updated Feb 2021)

Until recently, I thought that the cosmetics and hair color that women used ,were pretty much the same. I had a friend of color who used to use a coconut oil ,cream product that she said helped her skin keep its moisture, as she used to suffer with really dry skin.

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Of course the shades of foundation are in keeping with skin tone.

But I have to say some of the articles that I have read recently concerning the awful and dangerous effect that these products can have on women of color has disgusted me.

This article on EWG is a few years old, but just shows the demand for Black skin products is growing, but there are more products with  potentially harmful ingredients. It is quite a damming article on brands in the market place.( from Link “Because Black women appear to buy and use more personal care products, the limited options could mean they are being exposed to more potentially hazardous chemicals“)

The promotion of skin whiteners with dangerous mixtures of mercury in them just leave me speechless! How in this day and age are they still allowed to use this?

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I decided to write about these today. It isn’t something that I have ever used or to be honest thought about.

Today I saw that some companies have decided to withdraw these products, which they were basically selling in countries such as India and Asia. One of these companies is the huge Johnson & Johnson (Today On Line). With all the world wide calls now for Black Lives Matter , ( they would be removing brands that have been criticized for using racist imagery to sell products.) this statement was on the link for NY TIMES .

This got me wondering ,what on earth can they put into a cream to bleach skin. It actually sounds quite worrying too.

They call these creams a number of names such as Whitener, Brighteners, fading creams. They can have such ingredients as Mercury or hydroquinone . I think it is disgusting that they are not allowed to sell products like these in USA & UK, but can get away with it in other countries! Of course you can suffer with mercury poisoning using some of these products.

On the website for Today On Line, in Singapore they highlighted 5 different skin whiteners that contained Mercury . Here is a quote by them ( you can click on the link for the website to read more)

“Deeja Cosmetic Wrinkle cream” was singled out by the HSA for its mercury content, which exceeded permissible limits by more than 40,000 times.

I can understand wanting to even out some skin tone or brown patches of skin, especially if these are effecting your confidence. But everyone’s skin has its own unique and beautiful colour. That is what makes our world so interesting and diverse.

Bellatory have a list of 8 natural solutions to this, giving reasons why these work and the effect they can have on your skin. These range from Citric to Liquorice extract. A whole lot healthier!

WebMd  give advice on skin whitening. Also giving evidence of the toxic effects that this can have on your body.

They could increase the risk of skin cancer and aging of the skin. Hydroquinone can cause unwanted skin discoloration. Allergic reactions can be a problem too. Some products contain steroids’ which can have their own effects with prolonged use. ( FROM LINK-” Mercury is sometimes listed under other names, such as calomel, mercuric, mercurous, or mercurio.”)

They write also about some natural lighteners such as kojic acid (Wikipedia)- a compound from fungus and arbutin (Kryzuy.com)from some plants.

BYRDIE have a list 9 of natural oils that can help magically fade dark spots on the skin. The oils are ones that we have heard of such as Lavender, Tea tree, Chamomile, Turmeric oil being diluted in the correct carrier oils. They sound wonderfully relaxing, as well as much safer.

There is a really good explication on why each of these oils work, this was written by their expert Shrankhla Holecek the founder of Uma Oils.

I started looking for some products that have good reviews and are as natural as possible.

I came across a product called Hyper Clear Brightening Clearing Vitamin C Serum This link to the product is great for listing all ingredients. They have many great reviews too on how this has helped many people. ( at the moment they only seem to ship in the USA)

Kiss Red E Anti Aging Skin Radiance Dark Spot Remover Age Spot Remover Cream. Age Rewind Radiance Cream- COMPOSITION: 98% Natural 72% Organic – No Parabens, No Alcohol & No Water

( Info- from link) This seems to have some good reviews , there is an image of the ingredients listed too.

There is a black owned company called Matrescence Skin.com that produce natural skin care for mothers. They have a product for pregnancy skincare and dark spots– “treating hyperpigmentation ,mask of pregnancy, redness PLUS its benefits as an anti inflammatory ingredient. ,”Rose Glow Brilliance Protection Soufflé

Papaya Bright Face Mask by Golde – All natural ingredients, it was best in beauty by Allure in 2020.

MOISTURIZERS

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As I mentioned before, most of my friends of color, seem to use large amounts of moisturizing creams and products. I wanted to find a solution which has been made to address these problems.

Here are a few Organic products I found on Amazon

BLKGRN.COMAn-All Natural Marketplace By All Black Artisans. Consisting of 73 different companies ( last time I counted) a huge search list of all sorts of products. They have some great podcasts too. ( from Link ) “Our marketplace connects Black people with natural lifestyles to high-quality, toxic-free brands that share in our mission of health, wellness and community cultivation.”

They offer baby products as well.

BASE BUTTER – Make a RADIATE FACE JELLY -made with

(Organic Aloe Leaf Juice (Aloe Barbadensis), Shea Butter, Evening Primrose Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Glycerin, Witch Hazel Water (Hamamelis Virginiana), Carbomer, Triethanolamine, Phenoxyethanol, Tetrasodium Glutamate Diacetate, Lavender Essential Oil, Tea Tree Essential Oil). The Phenoxyethanol 1.0% is used as a preserver.

Their mission is to help make skincare easy for oily, combination, and acneic skin types. They also sell reusable face cleansing cloths too.

SKIN BUTTR made from a Shea butter base. They make butters and scrub products ( they do have a clothing line too)

PHOLK Natural skincare their ingredients look amazing on this link .Using  African Diaspora’s healing and herbalist traditions.

SUNSCREEN

It doesn’t matter what color your skin, we all need to be protected from the sun. Finding sun cream that works without harmful chemicals is important for everyone.

One company that is making Sunscreen for black skin by people who understand just what their skin needs , is a company called Black Girl Sunscreen. they make a SPF30 . They also make one for children too, this is SPF50 ( though the rating on EWG is a 6) .

They say there is no white residue after applying. It contains Jojoba, cacao, Avocado and no Parabens and Silicone. Oxybenzon & Octinoxate free (reef-safe) I couldn’t click into the ingredients bar on their website, maybe they are having a few loading issues, I will check back again.

EWG- rate this a healthy 2

This lady
Dr Alexis Stephens has really looked into just what can work on black skin. A really interesting and in-depth video.

BLACK HAIR

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HAIR DYE AND USE OF CHEMICAL STRAIGHTENERS, COULD INCREASE THE RISK OF BREAST CANCER, ESPECIALLY FOR WOMEN OF COLOR

The International Journal Of Cancer suggest that products normally used by women of colour have more hormonal‐active compounds . After a survey of women ages from 35-74 between 2003-2009 Permanent dye use was associated with 45% higher breast cancer risk in black women, and 7% higher risk than in white women.

With the amount of women this effects, I don’t understand why more hasn’t been done to address these very major health issues. It is bad enough the health risks associated with using these chemicals as a white woman, but the increase in risk is totally unacceptable.

Also an increase in breast cancer was associated with a higher frequency of using chemical hair straighteners. Especially among black women. It is definitely food for thought on just what we are applying to our hair, could we find an alternative?

 HARVARD Only this month ( Sept 20) has come out with an article that “Permanent Hair Dye and Chemical Straighteners may have a slight increase risk of certain cancers such as breast cancerAgain the shocking difference for women of colour is that the risk is so much greater at 45% compared to 7% for white women”. This was from using these products at least once a year. Once a year is nothing for the damage that these chemicals can do.

With the very real dangers to your health of Using Permanent Hair Dyes, looking into using a Henna Hair Dye maybe more interesting – there is more information here .

This link gives more options on using other hair dyes with less chemicals ( like PPD’s ETC )

There was an article on a black woman who is making a chemical free hair color. Her name is Electra S. Davis and the company name is MYSTEEK NATURALS ( USA)- They produce 12 Temporary Hair Colors, they also do some sample pots to try.

Also here on Amazon and a review by Cosmetics Science Review

IS THERE A NATURAL STRAIGHTENER or RELAXERS?

Baka Beautiful Natural-Laxer Mix I came across this natural product , it has mixed reviews, some good and others not so good, thought it has no harmful ingredients from what I can see. It will not permanently relax your hair.

BYRDIE- ask the question- “Is There An All Natural relaxer for Black Hair ?” Their short answer is No! they all contain some kind of chemical to straighten the hair.

From some of the articles I have been coming across, a lot have a LYE product in them, which contains  sodium hydroxide, which breaks down the curl .

I have seen this week that the singer Rihanna is launching her own Hair products for Black Hair called FENTY – including shampoo, Hair Straightening, Hair Waving, Bleaching, Coloring and some Hair Glitter. As yet I cant find any information on the ingredients that these will contain. I will be keeping an eye out, I hope these will contain safe ingredients.

This article by STYLIST The Truth about Chemical Hair Relaxers and Straightening. It is the writers experience of having her hair straightened for the first time and experiencing the burning sensation of the chemicals on her hair. She also explains the difference in doing a treatment herself at home ( From the Link “On the other hand, No-Lye Relaxers are often made with slightly milder chemicals, such as potassium hydroxide and lithium hydroxide, and are affordably sold in Afro hair shops for at-home use.”)

Looking on EWG there are only a couple of relaxers one is called

Dark & Lovely Healthy Gloss 5 Shea Moisture No Lye Relaxer – this is rated at a worrying 10 the highest rating . Information on the link.

Looking on Amazon to their highest rated product -Optimum Care by SoftSheen Carson Care Defy Breakage No-lye Relaxer.

It took me a moment to see the list of ingredients. on Link – it is full of chemicals. This is a at home product with mixed view, some complaining of hair loss.

Then I came across a small black hair owned cored business, run by women that understand and care about the issues with afro and tightly curled hair. It is called Afrocenchix can they have a commitment to blend natural and organic ingredients. ( from Link)’They were voted BBFA BEST NATURAL HAIR BRAND 2018‘ They offer different sets of hair care- Under the Wig, Braid Care, Moisture surge, Scalp Oils and travel sets. Some of these sets come with beautiful African bags. They offer treatments that can be used after using Lye products to relax your hair.

They offer a large number of products for your hair. Based in London.

Another interesting brand I came across on Amazon , offering 100% natural ingredients for Hair care called Sheabeutimia which again offer a number of hair products. They have a number of reviews on their website too, found on the link. This is a link to their ingredients- wonderful They offer products for each hair type. Packs of products for Growth, Hair Treatment and Textures.

Another Brand that ranks with quite varying results on EWG is SHEAMOISTURE There is some difference with their products, ranging from a very healthy 1 or 2 then some which carry fragrance are rating much higher. It would be best to put in the product that you are looking ,at into the search to see if there any concerns that would affect you using it.

They have a large range here on Amazon too the company has high ethics and Fairtrade policy – the list of ingredients is on this link to their company website. Though as mentioned above, check out each products ingredient list.

They carry a large range of products and oils.

While researching some other hair products I came across this really great looking company called NATURALL CLUB A black owned company . Offering products on growing longer hair. Also products for curls.

FOUNDATIONS & CONCEALERS FOR DARKER SKIN TONES

Where to find Natural and organic foundations or concealers that work great with darker skins . There are more appearing in the main stream of cosmetic brands.

Eco-Age Have Best Natural Foundations & Concealers for Dark Skin, the article is written by Holistic beauty writer Sjaniel Turrell, who says that a lot of the foundations don’t have the yellow undertones and can have an ash color look. Some of the recommendations are below.

INIKA Organic Liquid Foundation– offering 100% natural and organic ingredients, one great thing is that everything is listed on their site( Link) They do a range of colors with some yellow undertones. Some found here on Amazon.

ZAO Compact Foundation– 100 % Natural , Organic and Vegan . They have a good range of colors. They also offer refillable containers. Made here in France, just watching the video below, shows just how well she can blend the foundation. found here too

RMS ‘un-cover’ up– some can be found here on Feel Unique They carry the whole list of ingredients on the link too.

There are a number of other recommendations on her article as well. Beautiful ranges of colors.

BLAC MINERALS a range of makeup , foundation, concealers, formulated for darker skin tones. Their rating on EWG is great

( from Link -“BLAC Minerals is a clean, green beauty brand that performs at a high level” . “The mission behind BLAC has always been to showcase the diversity of women of color”

AU NATURALE – Organic ingredients where possible, Hand crafted products. found here too. They make a good range of cosmetics and colors.

( from Link- “Our colorants are naturally derived, ethically sourced and purely processed for maximum color, performance and safety “)

GABRIEL COSMETICS– Organic Non- Toxic Natural Beauty products. Homeopathic skincare and cosmetics. “This philosophy is translated through their organic skincare and vegan and gluten-free cosmetics”. They have a huge range of products .

They have a Clean Kids range too of skincare. All found here too