Beauty Store Business

AUG 2018

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74 August 2018 | beautystorebusiness.com However, when it comes to ingredient safety, getting to the truth can be a tricky task. Here, we check in with voices from various segments of the industry–an environmental watchdog group and two manufacturers making safer alternatives for the African-American market. These insiders offer their takes on the improve- ments that have been made, how retailers and consumers alike can become better educated and why there still may be a long way to go when it comes to safe formula- tions for this fast-growing category. WATCHDOG WARNINGS In December 2016, the database Skin Deep, from the Washington, D.C.-based Environmental Working Group (EWG), added more than 1,100 products marketed to black women. Skin Deep is promoted by EWG as a "free online database and app where Americans can learn what's in the products they use on their bodies every day." (Check out its findings at ewg.org/skindeep.) A recent report from the firm noted that "in an analysis of ingredients in 1,177 beauty and personal care products marketed to black women, about one in 12 was ranked highly hazardous on the scoring system of EWG's Skin Deep Cosmetics Database." Some other findings from the analysis: • Less than 25 percent of the products marketed to black women scored low in potentially hazardous ingredients, compared to about 40 percent of the items marketed to the general public. • Potential hazards linked to product ingredients include cancer, hormone disruption, developmental and reproductive damage and allergies. • The worst-scoring products were hair relaxers, hair color and bleaching products. • None of the products analyzed from a range of categories–hair relaxers, hair color and bleaching products, lipsticks, concealers, foundations and sun-protective makeup–were scored as "low hazard." "When we analyzed the personal care products marketed specifically to black women in our Skin Deep Cosmetics Data- base between 2015 and 2016, we found that black women have fewer options in the number of less hazardous products marketed to them," explains Paul Pestano, a senior database analyst for EWG who manages the Skin Deep database and is the co-author of Big Market for Black Cosmetics, but Less-Hazardous Choices Limited. "It's not so much that these products have more hazardous ingredi- ents; it's that the proportion of all of the products we reviewed skewed toward the less desirable products. In addition to that, market research suggests that black women are buying and wearing more beauty products, which may lead to more exposure to these potentially harmful ingredients if they used only products marketed to their demographic." EWG found several potentially hazard- ous chemicals and chemical classes in its analysis. Pestano notes that some of the more common ones for retailers and shoppers to avoid are parabens (a class of preservatives that have been linked to hormone disruption), formal- dehyde releasers like DMDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea and imidazolidinyl urea (preservatives that release small amounts of formaldehyde and may cause allergies) and methylisothiazolinone (another preser- vative that can trigger allergies). "We don't mean to imply that products should not be preserved, but as with products that score well in our Skin Deep database, there are better options for product preservation on the market," Pestano says. "Additionally, these ingredients are not the only ones that people should avoid. There are several other hazardous chemicals that frequently appear in products, so we urge retailers and consumers to visit the Skin Deep database to learn more about potentially hazardous ingredients in products." Furthermore, Pestano explained in an EWG report that many of the hair relaxers and dyes used by multicultural consumers are multistep products, which increase the chance of being exposed to hazardous chemicals. "Some of the hair lotions and styling gels contain ingredients of concern like parabens, formaldehyde-releasing preservatives and 'fragrance,'" Pestano notes. "In fact, half the products we reviewed contained 'fragrance,' which factored into the scores in Skin Deep. 'Fragrance' is a vague, catchall term for about 3,000 ingredients found in many personal care products–and, unless the specific ingredients in a fragrance mixture are listed on product packaging, consumers can't know if any of the chemicals are linked to endocrine disruption, allergens or other health issues." The good news? Pestano stresses that better alternatives do exist, and EWG's database offers a wealth of up-to-date information on products and their ingre- dients. Because consumers are craving healthier alternatives, it's a smart idea for retailers to do their own research and offer those products to meet demand. "We urge women to use every resource available to them to find safer products and learn about the hazardous ingredients present in the cosmetics market," Pestano concludes. "We understand that the beauty products someone uses are a personal choice, and that certain products or ingre- dients are unavoidable. In those cases, we recommend that they consider looking at the rest of their products to see where they can lighten their overall chemical burden." MANUFACTURERS MAKING PROGRESS While groups like EWG urge consumers and retailers to become educated about the products they use and sell, some manufacturers are taking steps in the right direction to fulfill customers' cravings for safer formulations. "I think many products marketed toward black women have now moved away from problematic ingredients such as petroleum, placenta hair grease and hormone growth creams," notes Shelley Davis, founder and owner of Kinky-Curly Hair Care in Los Angeles. "Consumers have become more aware of natural and healthier options that actually nourish the hair and scalp. I believe this is a direct result of consumers who desire to live a healthier lifestyle. The next natural step is to incorporate healthy hair- and skincare choices." Indeed, there is confusion surrounding the term "natural" itself when it comes to ingredients and formulas. For Etheredge, "natural" simply refers to the way African- American women are wearing their hair–a movement that's no phase or fad, but a revolution that will henceforth influence everything manufacturers make. "Before, there weren't products available to style hair natural; but now, in 2018, multicultural is the fastest-growing category and is continuing to grow," Etheredge explains. "There are so many different products to choose from, and ingredients are important because of the damage caused by relaxers in the past. Yes, some women need to relax their hair, but with damage and breakage, they were looking for alternatives. And so many women today are shying away from harsh chemicals in general." Though her own Mixed Chicks products are often showcased in the "natural" African-American haircare sales in mass retail chains are thriving with growth driven by products designed to address texture management. Meanwhile, segments like relaxers and hair color have declined. Data provided by research firm IRI, for the previous year ending October, 2017. THE MULTICULTURAL BOOM REPRESENTS 47% OF AFRICAN-AMERICAN HAIR CARE $ 8.35 AVERAGE PER UNIT COST COMPARED TO $ 3.75 FOR OTHER CATEGORIES TOTAL AFRICAN-AMERICAN HAIR CARE UP 12.2% AFRICAN-AMERICAN NATURAL HAIR CARE UP 35.1%

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