Zoe is a makeup artist from Toronto, Canada. Her true love for makeup started at 17 years old, after that she realized she loved consulting with others and helping them achieve a perfect makeup look for any occasion. When she realized the conventional makeup she was using had negative implications on herself she switched to clean beauty and strives to teach/introduce her clients to the clean beauty world. Zoe strives to change the conventional beauty trends and market and proves there’s no compromise, clean beauty is real beauty.
Imagine reading the ingredient list on the back of your hair products and knowing the side effects of each. It doesn’t seem like a lot to ask, although many companies in the haircare industry would not be as successful as they are today if they had to explain themselves for their reasoning behind choosing certain ingredients.
As a young black girl (at the age of one and my hair was long enough to be styled) my mother would sit me down and braid my natural hair weekly. To manage my natural thick hair that formed tight curls my mother would use hair products found at beauty supply stores that were specifically catering to black women.
At the age of one, my parents had to take me to Sick Kids Hospital due me being overdue in losing my developed breasts.
Normally, hormones from the mother are passed down through the placenta and affect newborns. High levels of estrogen in pregnant women will cause breast enlargement in the mother, resulting in some newborns having breast swelling. However, breast swelling in newborns is supposed to go down, much before they reach their one year mark.
The doctor let my parents know that hair products, specifically ones that are catered towards black women and children can have a negative effect on hormones due to the chemicals that are in them. So already, at the age of one, I was experiencing the terrible side effects that are caused by endocrine disruptors found in hair products.
So what are Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals? The Environmental Working Group states that EDC’S can “play on our bodies: increasing production of certain hormones; decreasing production of others; imitating hormones; turning one hormone into another; interfering with hormone signalling; telling cells to die prematurely; competing with essential nutrients; binding to essential hormones; accumulating in organs that produce hormones.”
The Hormone Health Clinic also examines how EDC’S can cause early puberty.
After this, my parents took more caution with the products they used on me; however, when I was 11 years old, I decided I didn’t love my natural hair and wanted to get it relaxed. I had already seen a couple of other girls I knew do the same and I really wanted hair that seemed more “normal.” Normal to me was the straight hair I saw on countless magazines and ads. To achieve my desired hair I started relaxing my relaxing my hair until I was 15 years old. Relaxers, hot oil treatments, anti-frizz products, leave-in conditioners and root stimulators were studied and found to contain multiple chemicals associated with endocrine disruption. Furthermore, the study states, “The prevalence of parabens and DEP is consistent with higher levels of these compounds in biomonitoring samples from Black women compared with White women.” There needs to be more conversation around toxic hair products that are being sold to black women. We need to be informed about the effects that these products have because they are essentially destroying our health.
Looking back I wish I had never relaxed my hair. I also wish that it was more known to consumers about how toxic and dangerous relaxers are and other hair products that are used DAILY by black women. I am loving and rocking my natural hair now and thankful that I have found quality products that my hair has long been craving for.
Now that you know about my toxic hair journey it’s important that I let you know about clean non-toxic products I have found that are safe, for black women, children and honestly, ALL women.
We do not yet have the luxury of full transparency in our hair care products. The description of a shampoo may market itself as being “a must have for thirsty hair” while the ingredient list is packed with carcinogens and endocrine disrupters. Nothing is more empowering than being in control of your well being and that includes our beauty products. Let’s ask questions, demand transparency and vote with our dollars by choosing routines that are beneficial for your long term beauty goals and your heath.