Cosmetics for Black Women are Way More Toxic than the Rest

Cosmetics for Black Women Shown to Be More Toxic

Clean beauty is becoming more mainstream, and convenient, by the day. But are some women particularly disadvantaged in the beauty department? It appears cosmetics marketed to Black women are coming up more toxic than the rest.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG), the nonprofit organization working to uncover toxins in cosmetics, recently added more than 1,000 products marketed to Black women to its Skin Deep database, an online resource that ranks products on a low to high hazard scale. The report included an analysis of ingredients in 1,177 personal care products and cosmetics for Black women, around one in twelve of which received a “highly hazardous” rank.

According to the report, less than one-fourth of the products analyzed scored low in potentially hazardous ingredients. Compared to the nearly 40 percent of products listed in Skin Deep marketed to the general public, this suggests a major lack of healthy products available to Black women. And since Black women appear to use more cosmetic products, this significantly ups exposure to dangerous ingredients.

The most toxic products analyzed in this study are hair relaxers, hair color, and bleaching products, all ranked as high potential hazard. Since these types of products generally require multiple steps, exposure to hazardous chemicals goes up again. In categories of concealer, foundation, lipstick, and makeup with SPF, none received a rank of “low hazard”.

EWG Skin Deep® database Cosmetics for Black Women
via EWG Skin Deep®

Main ingredients of concern showing up in these products are parabens, formaldehyde-releasing ingredients, and fragrance. Parabens are commonly used preservatives with links to hormonal disruption and fetal impairment. Formaldehyde-releasing chemicals, like those used in hair relaxers, are shown to increase the risk of developing cancer. And synthetic fragrance ingredients have been associated with cancer, asthma, headaches, dizziness, eye and skin irritation, and hormonal disruption.

With an astounding 78 percent of beauty products designed for Black women scoring a moderate to high hazard rank, there is reason to opt for healthy alternatives to many of the products listed in the EWG report.

Yarok Feed Your Moisture Shampoo

Yarok Feed Your Moisture Shampoo is super gentle and designed for curly hair. Use Feed Your Moisture Conditioner to tame curls and frizz.

St. Tropica Organic Coconut Oil Hair Mask

St. Tropica Organic Coconut Oil Hair Mask is the best solution to treating dry, damaged, or unruly locks. It infuses hair with rich moisture and gives a lustrous shine.

Gressa Minimalist Corrective Serum Foundation

Gressa Minimalist Corrective Serum Foundation offers tone balancing coverage in a wide selection of hues. Like serum and foundation in one.

One Love Organics Easy Does It Cleanser

One Love Organics Easy Does It Cleanser is suited to all skin types. Gives a clean feel without stripping skin.


Josh Rosebrook Nutrient Day Cream with SPF 30

Josh Rosebrook Nutrient Day Cream with SPF 30 is a lightweight facial moisturizer with UV protection. Perfect for daytime use.

Acure Organics Ultra-Hydrating Body Wash

Acure Organics Ultra-Hydrating Body Wash contains argan oil to moisturize while it cleans. Follow up with Nourishing Body Lotion for smooth, soft skin.

Soapwalla Original Deodorant Cream

Soapwalla Original Deodorant Cream is the best of the best in absorbing wetness and keeping you fresh all day. Completely natural and freshly scented.

RMS Beauty Lip & Skin Balm

RMS Beauty Lip & Skin Balm is a must in every girl’s beauty kit. It not only keeps your pucker healthy but can be used to treat dry, cracked skin too.

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Liz Thompson

Liz Thompson is an organic beauty expert who has been researching and writing on the subjects of natural beauty, health, and wellness for over 10 years. She specializes in sharing safe beauty products and her knowledge on healthy ingredients with her readers, and helping organic beauty brands and shop owners share their message and products with the world through her writing services.