Study Finds Almost All Beauty Products Sold to Black Women Contain Hazardous Ingredients

A smaller share of hair and beauty products marketed to Black women scored low in potentially harmful ingredients than products aimed at the general public, US-based Environmental Working Group study of more than 1,000 products found.

“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 report said.

In an analysis of ingredients in 1,177 beauty and personal care products marketed to Black women, about one in 12 was ranked highly hazardous on the scoring system of EWG’s Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database, a free online resource for finding less-hazardous alternatives to personal care products. Skin Deep® compares product ingredients to more than 60 toxicity and regulatory databases and scientific studies, and rates the products from 1 (lowest hazard) to 10 (highest hazard). With the addition of the products analyzed for this report, Skin Deep® now rates more than 64,000 products.

The analysis also found:

– 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 in Skin Deep® marketed to the general public. The percentage of products scored as “high hazard” was about the same for both market segments, but the disparity in products scored as “low hazard” suggests that there may be a narrower range of choices for safer-scoring products specifically marketed to Black women.

– Potential hazards linked to product ingredients include cancer, hormone disruption, developmental and reproductive damage, allergies and other adverse health effects.

The worst-scoring products marketed to Black women were hair relaxers, and hair colors and bleaching products. Each of these categories had an average product score indicating high potential hazard.

– In the categories of hair relaxers, hair colors and bleaching products, lipsticks, and concealers, foundations and sun-protective makeup, none of the products analyzed were scored as “low hazard.”

 

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