I don’t spend much time on my hair. (No surprise there.) Yesterday I learned that the pixie cut had made a comeback…again. It seems that Kristin Stewart and Katy Perry recently got new dos, so now we have permission to rush to the salon and take it all off. One stylist even commented, “The pixie looks good on every face.” I doubt it.

Still, I was kinda stoked to discover that I was actually on-trend! And to think, I nearly bought into the belief that women of a certain age couldn’t be trendy. But for the moment, my hair is on-point…that is until it grows out OR until the next celebrity hair trend craze. Bear in mind, I came by my pixie the hard way: I lost my hair three times. Thanks chemo. 

I’ve survived breast cancer, Waldenstrom’s Macroglobulinemia , non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma – twice, AND I’ve had a stem cell transplant.

The only hair style that is truly wash ‘n go is a bald head. Even a pixie cut requires hair products. So when a news story about the limited options of less-toxic personal care products marketed to black women appeared on my television, I took notice. More than 75% of products marketed to me scored high in potentially hazardous ingredients. This doesn’t mean that “our” products are the only ones with potentially dangerous chemicals. What it means is that products marketed specifically to black women offer fewer choices when it comes to selecting and purchasing less hazardous products.

Fewer less hazardous choices? Do you have any idea how much money we spend on our hair? I don’t know either, BUT I know it’s a lot. If you’re a black women, I’d be willing to bet that you have more hair-care products than most of our non-black sisters. In fact, I had no idea how many products I owned until I started counting: 20+. And I barely have hair!

Which made me question: Were my hair products making me sick?

While I am unable to answer that question definitively, I did take a look at an EWG’s (Environmental Working Group) analysis of more than 1,100 products marketed toward black women. I was especially interested in hair care products. Then down the rabbit hole I went, diving into the recesses of my under-the-sink bathroom cabinets for products I had not used since last July and beyond. They were still hanging out in tubes, jars, bottles and packets. I gathered them up and carried them downstairs to my laptop  where I opened EWG’s website. So without further delay (i.e., or boring you with my analysis), here is MY bottom line.

I am tossing about 50% of the products I researched, not because I don’t like the way they feel or that they don’t work. I am throwing them away because I don’t trust the potentially harmful effects these ingredients could have on my health. And not all of these products were marketed exclusively to African American consumers.

Cancer is complicated; a hair style is NOT. I don’t think that I “got cancer” because of my hair care regime. But I am wise enough to know that if I can avoid certain ingredients that may pose a cancer risk, I will. My pixie cut may not look as groomed, but that’s a risk I am willing to take.

*(EWG is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to protecting human health and the environment.) 

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