I look back fondly on my old high school days, swinging my feet from a hightop chair while a goddess-like goth chic leaned in to spoolie my eyebrows at the MAC counter. Coating my face with an assortment of sticky, long-wear products felt so good. Until it didn’t.
Any beauty lover worth their weight knows that when testing new products—or sitting down at a counter for a full “beat” (a now trendy way to say “makeover” derived from Black gay and drag culture)—there’s always a lingering chance that your skin will revolt the next day, leaving you with a rash, breakout, or full-blown hives.
Fortunately, my escapades at MAC never left me that way (some of my friends were not so lucky) but over the years other makeup products, skincare routines, and facials have.
If the “clean,” “green,” and “vegan” movements of the last decade have taught us anything, it’s that some of our favorite products, whether we’re ready to admit it or not, are toxic to our bodies—this is especially the case for products that target women of color.
Many of us were spooked when it was announced that household name brand Johnson & Johnson had to award more than $4 million to women who had used their baby powder and found that it had asbestos in it, which ultimately contributed to their ovarian cancer.
And as with most health crises, women of color have the most to lose. According to a February 2018 Neilsen study, multicultural women spend more than $2 billion dollars annually on beauty, hair, and personal care products. In hair and beauty alone, women of color make up 85.6% of the total dollars spent in the U.S.; considering they only make up less than 14% of the total population, those numbers are staggering.
The numbers (and court cases) alone suggest that many brands owe it to women of color to start thinking about how their products contribute to the overall health and well being of their primary customer.
We explored a few brands that are doing just that. If there’s one New Year’s resolution that just got a little easier, it’s your commitment to a cleaner, greener beauty routine that won’t break your bank, but will boost your health and maintain your magic.