Toxic Beauty Products and Women of Color

Toxic Beauty products and Women of Color

As a wife and a mama of two, I have always wanted to keep my family safe and healthy and when I learned about the effects of chemicals in the products used everyday, I was shocked. One of the reasons, I decided to partner with Beautycounter is because I was learning so much about switching to safer products and how making small changes over time would positively impact my health.

What I didn’t expect to learn was that chemical exposure has an even greater impact on my community. Since being a part of this company, I have been made aware that women of color have a higher toxic load than our white peers. When I found this out, I was like “Wait! Hold up. Why do we always get the short end of the stick?”

Obviously there are many factors that contribute to this, genes, diet, exposure to chemicals through the environment, and more. Factors can add up and contribute to women of color’s disproportionate exposure to potentially harmful chemicals. 

The research tells us that in the United States, women of color suffer from a higher incidence of chronic diseases which have been linked to exposure to toxic chemicals.

What is even more disturbing is that women of color are exposed to more toxic chemicals in personal care products. Products marketed specifically to our community have levels of parabens and according to this recent study Black women use more personal care products than any other demographic. In fact, fewer than 25% of products on the market are considered safe by the rating standards of the environmental working group.

Read: Big market for Black cosmetics, but less hazardous choices limited

Why aren’t we demanding safer products?

Women of Color and Toxic Beauty Products

How does this effect us and what are the chronic diseases that women of color suffer from?


The incidence and severity of uterine fibroids is 2 to 3 times greater in African-American women compared to their Caucasian peers.  Evidence suggests that endocrine-disrupting chemicals can contribute to the growth and severity of fibroids.


Uterine fibroids and African American Women


Early onset of puberty is significantly higher among African-American females compared to all other ethnic groups in the U.S.   and there is growing evidence that endocrine-disrupting chemicals may play an important role in regulating the timing of puberty.

The good news is that a recent study has shown that the use of safer personal care products (free of suspected hormone-disrupting chemicals such as phthalates, parabens and triclosan) significantly reduced the concentration of these chemicals in the urine of teenage girl volunteers in just 3 days. This shows that changes in beauty
routines can reduce the potentially harmful chemicals in our bodies.

Potentially Toxic Chemicals Plummet in Teens After Switching to Safer Cosmetics


Asian American, Hispanic, Native American and African American women are diagnosed with Lupus at two to three times the rate of Caucasian women.

Gender, Ethnicity and Lupus, a look at the Lumina study


Women of color are within the 1 in 8 diagnosed with breast cancer, however the survival rate is 42% lower than that of white women due to the lack of access to mammograms and late detection of the disease.


What really blew my mind was learning about a study that showed that our babies are being born pre-polluted. Obviously, whatever the mother ingests into her body during pregnancy is passed on to her baby in the womb. It never occurred to me that that I could be exposing my babies to chemicals. Now we are affecting our future generations and their babies.

Mapping the pollution in people: The cord blood of the “In utero/newborn” group contained 242-319 of 430 industrial compounds, pollutants and other chemicals tested, including chemicals linked to brain and nervous system toxicity, immune system toxicity, and reproductive toxicity and fertility problems.


Now that you have learned this information, what small changes can you begin to make in your lifestyle to protect the health of your family? There is no perfect solution, but small changes add up over time. Start with these tips:

  1. Read product ingredient labels. Use Beautycounter’s Never List as a
    resource. Start by avoiding products that have fragrance on the ingredient
  2. Avoid PVC plastic also know as vinyl or plastic #3 (commonly found in shower
    curtains, yoga mats, and children’s toys). It often containsThe manufacture of
    PVC creates dioxin, a carcinogen, and PVC is made up of phthalates, which
    are linked to reproductive toxins and hormone disruption.
  3. Eat as many fresh foods as possible and opt for frozen if fresh is not an
    option. Avoid canned foods; cans are often lined with bisphenol A (or BPA), a
    hormone disruptor.
  4. Download the “Healthy Living” app and start to check your products rating. Anything over 5 should be switched to something safer. Use this vast database to learn about the products you are using.


What have you learned from this post and what has impacted you the most? How can you share this information and begin to educate our community about safer products and why it is important to make small lifestyle changes to protect our health and wellness? We all deserve safer high performing products. We should not have to sacrifice our health for beauty.

Let’s continue the conversation and help each other live healthy and beautiful. Join my “Live Beautifully” list for the news, wellness tips and special offers from Beautycounter.

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Thank you so much for sharing this! I love the Know Better, Do Better section. If we educate each other, than we can demand the best!

  2. I had no idea. This article is very informative and it will cause me to look at ingredients in the things I use more often.

  3. How can I tell which toys have PVC?

    1. According the site void soft plastic toys & metal jewelry. Many plastic softeners are toxic. Choose items labeled PVC- and phthalate-free. Avoid metal trinkets and play jewelry, which can contain heavy metals. Skip face paint unless you know it’s free of lead and other contaminants. Natural, unpainted wood toys are a good choice.

  4. I loved it. Thank you so much for the information.

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