Are Black Women more likely to be exposed to hazardous chemicals?



Like most people up until a few years ago I never read the labels on my cosmetics. I am a bit more label savvy now and am quite careful about the products I use. Here in the EU our labels are  required by law (specifically the EU Cosmetic Directive) to have all the INCI names of the ingredients listed on the packaging. But do you know what those ingredients mean or what they are?

The International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients, abbreviated INCI are standardised across Europe so that you will see the same ingredients anywhere you travel to, due to free movement of goods in the EU single market. As such ingredients like 'cocos nucifera' which may sound like a scary chemical name are used on the label instead of 'coconut oil', and some manufacturers will choose to use the INCI name as well as the common name to help consumers decipher the label more easily.

A new study published in Environmental Research this week has shown that there is a possibility that black women are more likely to be exposed to hazardous chemicals in their beauty products.

The study focused mainly on products sold in the United States and measured the concentration of endocrine disrupting and asthma associated chemicals in black hair products. Scientists at the Silent Spring Institute measured the concentration of several endocrine disrupting chemicals in 18 hair products in 6 categories used by Black women: hot oil treatment, anti-frizz/polish, leave-in conditioner, root stimulator, hair lotion, and relaxer. Forty-five endocrine disrupting chemicals were detected in the products tested with each product containing 6 - 30 chemicals.

Unlike in the US where cosmetics are tested and regulated very little, EU cosmetic regulations require products to be registered on the cosmetics notification portal and there are very strict rules on how EU cosmetic products are labelled (all product sold in the UK and EU are required to have all the ingredients including any allergens listed).

Unfortunately as the availability and variety of black hair products in the UK is sorely lacking, to get our hands on hair products that many influencers online claim to be the product that will transform your life, we sometimes buy products from the directly from the US, either online or from trips to New York or Florida.  Having a larger market in the US, there are more products for us to pick and choose our favourites from. However ingredient labelling is not as strict in the US.

I have seen recently that a few of US products which are now legally sold in the EU on the high street appeared to have completely changed their formulation but it is probably more likely that in order to be sold in Boots or SuperDrug they have had to change their labelling and include ingredients that they were not previously required to.
"This study is a first step toward uncovering what harmful substances are in products frequently used by Black women, so we can better understand what's driving some of the health issues they're facing." - lead author Jessica Helm, PhD, a scientist at Silent Spring 
For instance, Black women go through puberty at younger ages, and have higher rates of hormone-mediated problems such as pre-term birth, uterine fibroids and infertility than other groups of women. Incidence rates of breast cancer and endometrial cancer among Black women are also increasing.
  Source.
The most concerning thing about this study was the level of  harmful chemicals found in products for use on children.
"Hair relaxers for children contained regulated or restricted chemicals."
The other thing that occurred to me is that when products are notified on the portal, there are some ingredients that have a minimum amount that is allowed in the product as it is deemed to be safe below certain level as used in 'normal' circumstances. Unfortunately we use our products in very different way to our caucasian counterparts. I know that I use four times as much conditioner as my friends who use several time as much shampoo as I do. So what constitutes 'normal' use?
"The prevalence of parabens and DEP is consistent with higher levels of these compounds in biomonitoring samples from Black women compared with White women."
The researchers also noted that these ingredients are found in other personal products but were found at a higher level in black hair care products. Black women also had higher levels of pthalates and parabens in their bodies compared to caucasian women. "Seventy-two percent of products contained parabens and diethyl phthalate".

The study also asks the question, about the way that ingredients are added to products needs to look at who the products are marketed at and how these products will be used in reality. There is hope that is study will lead to safer black hair products and reduction in the use of these ingredients.

Last December the EU won support for a plan to regulate chemicals which can potentially disrupt the body's hormones - endocrine disruptors. However this could take up to a year to enact -- Source

Find the study here - Science Direct
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0013935118301518

Hopefully this study will lead to a more in depth look at these issues and make us more aware of what we use in our hair and on our bodies.


Comments below!

Embrace Your Inner AfroDeity
Leilu


References
* Measurement of endocrine disrupting and asthma-associated chemicals in hair products used by Black women: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0013935118301518

* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Nomenclature_of_Cosmetic_Ingredients

* https://medicalxpress.com/news/2018-04-hair-products-black-women-hazardous.html

* https://silentspring.org/research-update/hair-products-black-women-contain-mix-hazardous-ingredients

* https://medicalxpress.com/news/2017-12-eu-endocrine-disruptors.html

How To Stay In Shape On Your Summer Vacation (And Still Have Fun)


How To Stay In Shape On Your Summer Vacation (And Still Have Fun)

We don’t know about you, but the summer holidays is when many people cut back a little on their exercise and diet plans. Rest and relaxation time take priority, whether it’s a beach holiday under the sun or a theme park excursion with the family. A couple of weeks away from a fitness regime can make all the difference to your body weight, so what should you do? Here are some tips you will find useful.

1. Choose the right hotel

If your summer holiday plans lean more towards rest than any type of exercise, make use of the hotel you are staying in. A little research is needed as some hotel’s focus on bars and dining, which won’t do much for your diet plans. On the other hand, we came across the Renaissance Santiago Hotel online, which is an example of the hotel you should be looking for. With a swimming pool AND a fitness centre, you have no excuse NOT to do any exercise when away. So wherever you are jetting off too this summer, find a hotel that offers similar facilities to maintain your keep fit routine.

2. Choose the right kind of holiday

If you are serious about staying in shape, you may forsake the idea of a beach holiday in the first place (unless you want to go all Baywatch and run across the sands). Instead, consider a walking holiday or take two wheels instead of four when you are exploring the locale at your chosen destination. From the mountains of the Himalayas to the hills of the UK’s Lake District, you can keep fit while traversing some of the most beautiful places our world has to offer.


3. Choose to eat healthily


We encourage you to try new foods while you’re away on holiday - it’s all part of the experience, after all. Still, you can be careful with what you do eat, as you don’t have to pig out on anything that is going to expand your waistline the following morning. Take the traditional hotel breakfast for starters. Avoid the fried options, and go for fruit and cereal. When you’re dining out, choose something from the menu that is low on carbs. If you’re in a foreign locale, download a language app on your phone so you know exactly what it is you’re ordering and what it possibly contains. Of course, common sense has to come into play as well - avoid ice cream on the beach and the freshly baked cakes from the local bakery if you are intent on staying in shape.

4. Choose to stay fit

Regardless of the holiday you are on; you can still find ways to stay fit. We have already hinted at a few, but consider the following:

- Use the hotel stairs each day rather than the elevator.
- Use your feet when you’re sightseeing, rather than your car.
- Play sports and games on the beach - volleyball, frisbee, etc. - instead of bathing all day.
- Carry healthy snacks around with you so you aren’t tempted to go for the unhealthy options.

A few practical decisions on holiday can make all the difference.

Finally
Provided you adhere to some of the principles above, you will still be able to have fun while staying in shape. Of course, rest is still important too. Recovery time is necessary when you maintain an active exercise routine the rest of the year, but don’t sabotage your hard work by falling into too many bad habits when you’re away from home.

Embrace Your Inner AfroDeity
Leilu

Product Review: Twist & Spritz Atomizer



Following on from my review of the Misguided Babe Power perfume, I was able to try out a great complementary product. The Twist & Spritz perfume atomiser which would make any travel  ready girl a great companion. 

This is not just another atomiser, once you open the packaging, the true extent of thought put into this product is just amazing. I love the way the spray pump is protected and you have to twist it up to reveal it, as such it packs away neatly and doesn't look like it will leak easily. I also love the array of colours and for me it could be none other than rose gold.





As I said before the thought that went into this product is evident as seen in the super easy way that you can fill the atomiser. (See above)





So here is what The Fragrance Shop says about this item:

The new design of Twist & Spritz is here with a brand new line up of 16 colours for 2016! The new filling system makes it incredibly easy to fill from a much wider range of bottles than the previous design. Take your pick and take your favourite fragrance with you wherever you go!

Shop the Twist & Spritz Rose Gold Atomiser 8ml Refillable Spray online today at The Fragrance Shop




I give this product 5 out of 5 and hope the other jet set ladies among you would give this lovely little product a look. For me its straight into my gold travel bag!

Embrace Your Inner AfroDeity
Leilu

Product Review: Shea Moisture Smooth and Tame



I rarely blow dry my hair or blow dry it straight but every so often one does need a change. For me this often happens in the winter months when I want to cane-row and protect my hair from the cold and as of late I've been doing this in three rows after seeing black panther. But my go to style is often two plaits or twists on either side of my head with straight hair plaited in it to give two straight long plaits.



It helps if my hair is straightened every so slightly to blend into it more easily. Again I don't do this often but for a special occasion I do consider doing this. Heat protection is therefore a priority and Shea Moistures Argan and Almond Milk Smooth and Tame range says that it give control and manageability for straightened hair as well as protecting hair against heat damage.



Smooth and Tame Shampoo 5/5
Blurb: Gently cleanse and control frizz with this Sulfate-free shampoo. Community Commerce sourced Argan Oil, organic Shea Butter and Almond Milk combine in this high performance formula that smoothes and improves manageability for gorgeous, healthy looking hair.

My 2p: Great shampoo that doesn't dry out my hair which is really what I look for in a shampoo. Doesn't strip my hair of all the natural oils but makes it feel clean and refreshed.


Smooth and Tame Conditioner 4/5
Blurb: Replenish, moisture and tame dry, frizzy hair with this revitalising conditioner. Community Commerce sourced Argan Oil, organic Shea Butter and Almond Milk combine in this high-performance formula that effectively detangles, smoothes, and revives hair.

My 2p: Another great product, I wouldn't say this was particularly special condition but my hair was moisturised but has felt better with some of the other Shea Moisture products. This is the only reason I give it 4 out of 5. 




Smooth and Tame Blow Out Creme 5/5
Blurb: Tame unruly frizz and fly-aways with this conditioning styling creme. Community Commerce sourced Argan Oil, organic Shea Butter, and Almond Milk combines in this high-performance formula that improves control and manageability while protecting hair against heat damage.

My 2p: I really liked that this could protect the hair from heat damage. I would still encourage use of a heat protectant especially of blowdrying and straightening hair but this has some heat protectant properties made it my favourite bit about the product.


All in all the products did what they said they would and I currently use the blow out creme anytime I am in a bind and need to blow-dry particularly in this currently cold weather when you don't want to go outside with wet hair. Another great set of products from Shea Moisture. An overall 4 out of 5.


Embrace Your Inner AfroDeity
Leilu

Curly hair washing techniques



Curly Hair Washing Techniques

Having defined and shiny curls is not about spending too much time or using too many products. It is all about applying the right techniques and using the appropriate products that will not dry your hair and will help you get great curls. 

Naturally curly hair tends to be dry by nature. Washing your hair and cleaning it is essential if you want to clean your scalp and keep your curls fresh. Product build up can weight your curls down and will make your curly hair look flat and lifeless. 

Wash your hair using the right products:

You should try to stay away from sulfate at all cost. Sulfate can dry your curly hair and will make it look frizzy. This means that it will be more difficult to style. Instead, wash your hair using a cleansing conditioner that will help remove the oil and product build up but would still be gentle on the hair. 

Some people prefer to go au natural. You can cleanse your hair using baking soda after mixing it with water. This mixture will help clean your scalp without using any chemical packed products. After that, you will have to prepare an apple cider vinegar rinse that is made using equal parts of vinegar and water. This mixture will help neutralize the effect of the baking soda and is great to add shine to your hair. 

You should always make sure that your curly hair is properly moisturized. Go for a weekly deep conditioning treatment to keep your strands moist. You can always have a hot oil treatment to restore your hair’s natural flexibility. If your hair has low porosity, apply some heat using your blow-dryer or a hot towel to help raise the cuticle of your hair. This will help the treatments be more effective. 

Dry your hair but keep it moisturised:

After you have washed your hair, you need to dry it properly without stripping it off its natural moist. Rubbing your hair using a cotton towel might absorb the water but will turn your hair to a frizzy mess due to static. Instead, wrap an old t-shirt around your hair to make sure that it is dry. 

Apply your favorite leave in conditioner along the strands of your hair. Pay special attention to the dry ends. Next you can apply your favorite hair oil or you can it with your leave in conditioner. This will give your hair a sleeker look and will minimize the frizz. 

Define your curls:

You will have to use some styling product to create and define your curls. Make your own flaxseed gel or buy a gentle gel or mousse to keep your curls intact. Scrunch your hair to create curls and coil the straight ends around your fingers. Let your hair air dry or use a diffuser with your blow-dryer set to cold. 

Washing your hair the right way will help you get amazing curls without having to go through a lot of hassle. Try and experiment with products until you find the best hair routine that will give you amazing curls in no time.

Embrace Your Inner AfroDeity
Zunammie K.

How to naturally define your curls using flaxseed gel


You can easily have great curls using the right products and techniques. But some people don’t feel comfortable about using too much gel or mousse. Hair gel and mousse are made of chemicals that define your curls and keep them intact. This means that while you are trying to protect your hair and to keep it well moisturised, the chemicals in these styling products can be over drying. 

Curly hair is usually dry by nature and shouldn’t be washed too often. Washing strips the hair off its natural oils that moisturize the hair strands and the scalp. But unless you clean your hair properly, the products build up can weigh your curls down and make your hair look dull. 

Flaxseed gel is a natural styling product that you can use to add shine to your hair and keep your curls intact. It is a natural gel so it doesn’t contain any harmful chemicals that you might be skeptical to use. Flaxseed gel can be easily made at home and stored in your fridge so that you can use it every day. It is one of the best solutions that will keep frizziness at bay and will help you get defined and beautiful curls. 

How to make the flaxseed gel?

To make the flaxseed gel you will only need two ingredients; water and flaxseeds. You can get flaxseeds at any organic store and they are actually very good for your health. The steps are super easy: 
  • In a pot, add 2 cups of water and 2 tablespoons of flaxseeds. 
  • Get the water to boil. You will start to see some white gel forming. Stir it in using a wooden spoon. 
  • Lower the heat and let it simmer for a few minutes. Set it aside and let it cool off. 
  • Get a strainer and a transparent piece of cloth. Put the piece of cloth over the strainer and pour the gel into another pot. You can also use your old stockings. Squeeze the cloth to make sure that all the liquid has passed through. 
  • You can add some of your favourite oil. Stir the gel in. Put it in a glass jar and let it cool then keep it in the fridge. It is now ready for use. 

How to use the flaxseed gel? 
Wash your hair as you would normally do using a cleansing conditioner or a gentle sulphate free shampoo. 

Dry your hair using an old t-shirt instead of a cotton towel. Apply a moisturising leave in conditioner. You can also add some of your favourite hair oil to add shine and smoothness to your hair. 
Add some of the flaxseed gel and coil the unruly strands around your fingers. Scrunch your hair as much as you can. 

You can either let your hair air dry or you can use a diffuser to help create defined and long lasting curls. 

Flaxseed gel is actually good for your hair, unlike other products that are packed with chemicals. It promotes hair growth and will nourish your hair because it is rich in Omega3. It is also a cost effective option that will keep your curls looking great all day. Learn to make it the right way and you will never have to worry about styling your hair again.


Embrace Your Inner AfroDeity 
Zunammie K.