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The Price of Beauty: Women of Color and Toxic Beauty Products

Posted on: October 10th, 2013 by Mycah Kirkland

ethnic skin

According to the latest market statistics, women of color* spend between $5.7-7.5 billion each year on beauty products. By “beauty products” we are referring to hair products, cosmetics, and perfume. With the most recent industry statistics reporting roughly $11 billion in profits, women of color represent a staggering 80% of these purchases! As a woman of color this is no surprise. If you were to look under my bathroom sink (or any one of my girlfriends’ sinks for that matter),  you would find an entire arsenal of products ranging from the latest “‘no shampoo’ shampoo” to enough nail polish to open my own salon. It’s common; and yet, according to a report published by, it is also very dangerous.

When reading this report I was staggered at the findings. For some time now, there has been buzz about the dangers of chemical relaxers. As a result, hundreds of thousands of black women have decided to abandon the use of these chemical-straightening agents. However, relaxers were just one product of concern on a lengthy list. Other products of concern listed were hair dyes, perfume, hair conditioners, nail polish, and anything with fragrance. Amazing… because that list basically encompasses the average bathroom beauty arsenals mentioned earlier.

This is a tough one. While information is power, in this instance, having this new knowledge may have left you feeling powerless. It certainly had that effect on me. On one hand, it makes me nervous – Why is there such a widespread lack of education about the toxicity of popular products? On the other hand, it makes me angry – Why is there such a lack of availability of safe alternatives?

At it’s core, ASM Wellness is a landing page for those who are interested in just that: wellness. In all areas of life, wellness is not only achievable but a must if we are to remain healthy in a toxin-filled world. As a woman of color, I know all-too-well how difficult it is to find the right shade of foundation or a product with the right moisture factor to tame my hair; but, based on the alarming findings in the above mentioned report, I owe it to myself – and to you, the reader – to locate safe alternatives.

In keeping with that, the following are profiles of two companies who have answered the call and are daily meeting the demands to provide safe cosmetics. You may ask yourself: Do they have products that work on black hair or foundations that can blend on darker skins? The answer is yes! In fact, both of these companies were founded by black women. Whether you are a licensed skincare professional or an everyday woman looking for safe options, these companies have got you covered. For detailed information on both companies and/or to browse or shop for products, visit their websites listed at the bottom of the page.

Skin Mind Beauty Essentials – Parent Company of Lotus Moon Skincare and Plain Jane Beauty

Lotus Moon

  • Organic Ingredients

  • Complete Line of Skin and Hair Care for all types and conditions

  • Products safe for Menopausal and Post-Chemotherapy Skin

  • All cleansers free from: parabens, sodium lauryl sulfates, petrochemicals, animal-derived ingredients, artificial colors and fragrances

plain jane Creme_Minerals13403754944fe481c68b8e413447324145026fcfe83ad91349346877506d663df1171


Plain Jane Beauty

  • Complete line of Makeup with shades from light to deep ebony

  • Nourishes and protects with Vitamins C, E, & A, rosehips seed, evening primrose, and green tea extract

  • Organic Ingredients

  • Free from: Butylene Glycol, Pentylene Glycol, Propylene Glycol, Mineral oil, Petrolatum, Ethoxydiglycol or silicone-based additives

Visit the Skin Mind Body Essentials site HERE


 Dirty Beauty 

  • SkincareFresh hand-poured skincare developed by a farmer’s granddaughter
  • “From the ground” concept involves use of natural cold-pressed virgin oils, essential oils from flowers, leaves, and roots, fresh beeswax, dried herbs, plants, and leaves, mineral-rich dead sea mud, purified clay, sea salt, & cane sugar
  • All products free from: parabens, phthalates, synthetic oils, & lanolin

Visit Dirty Beauty Skincare’s Website HERE

*While the term “women of color” can refer to women of a variety of ethnic descents, in this article the term is primarily applied to black women.


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Phone: 770-454-7167