Parabens are a common ingredient used in many hair care products. They help to preserve the product to maintain its longevity. They also work to keep mold and harmful bacteria from growing. Parabens even act as a natural preservative in many fruits and vegetables. But according to research, parabens may be harmful and even life-threatening to consumers, particularly Black women.

Parabens In Black Hair Care Products

Parabens are in a number of products, including hair care, skincare, makeup, and even drugs. The most common parabens used in hair care and beauty products are methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, and ethylparaben. 

Many companies add them to hair care products for Black women, such as relaxers, hair creams, and root stimulators. According a to a report from the David Suzuki Foundation, you can find parabens in up to 90 percent of beauty products on the market today.

The Controversy Surrounding Parabens

In a 2004 research study, scientist Philippa Darbre found parabens in the tissue samples of patients with breast cancer. This discovery led to multiple conversations surrounding whether parabens can be linked to breast cancer.

In an interview with Byrdie, Iris Rubin, MD, a board-certified dermatologist states, “A small study showed trace parabens in breast tumors, though no causal relationship between parabens and breast cancer has been established.”

Government Regulation Of Parabens In Hair Care

Unfortunately, parabens are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. Other than color additives, ingredients for cosmetic products don’t require FDA approval before hitting the shelves. This means that companies are free to add parabens to beauty and hair care products, many of which are marketed to Black women.

The controversy surrounding parabens is longstanding. Because of this, many hair care companies are erring on the side of caution by keeping parabens out of their formulas. This is good news for the hair care industry and the Black women especially affected by it. Here is a list of Black-owned hair care companies that only sell paraben-free products:

1.

Briogeo

 

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Briogeo is a hair care company specializing in hair products for women of all races. Growing up, the founder and CEO Nancy Twine would make custom beauty treatments with her mother, who was a doctor and chemist. After her mother passed away, Twine became inspired to start a hair care company of her own using the knowledge she received from her mother. Today, the company provides hair care products that help empower women worldwide.

 

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Instead of parabens, Briogeo uses preservatives certified and approved by EcoCert, an international organic inspection and certification administration. In addition, the company heavily promotes inclusivity, featuring products targeting common hair problems by hair type.

 

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Our pick: Briogeo Superfoods’ Avocado + Kiwi Mega Moisture 3-in-1 Leave-In Spray

2.

Sienna Naturals

Sienna Naturals is a natural hair care company started by actress, writer, producer and comedian Issa Rae. The company uses a number of natural ingredients to create products for healthy, nourished hair. For example, they use blue tansy, which is helpful for its anti-inflammatory properties. And baobab oil acts as a natural scalp fertilizer. They combine these with ancestral beauty rituals and their innovative Rooted Technology to produce an expert quality hair care line.

Sienna Naturals is all-inclusive, catering to women of all hair types and textures. Even better, all of their products are vegan and cruelty-free, lending to the praise they received from major publications such as Forbes, Cosmopolitan and Allure.

Our pick: Sienna Naturals’ Curl Elixir Primer and Conditioning Spray

3.

Ju Poppin

 

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Ju Poppin is a Black hair care company that creates natural products that promote healthy hair and growth. From vitamin-enriched hair oils to foaming lotions, the company is committed to providing nourishing hair products for women of varying backgrounds.

 

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The owner Gillian Garcia started the company at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. And as a professional stylist and educator, she used her knowledge to create products that educate women on their hair. As demand grew, so did the company. Now, Ju Poppin carries an extensive line of products, including a hair care line for men and children.

 

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Our pick: Ju Poppin’s Best Selling Hair Growth Oil

4.

Salwa Petersen

Salwa Petersen is an all-natural and organic hair care company focusing on Black hair of all types and textures. The company taps into traditional African beauty rituals to produce nourishing products. For example, Chébé is a Chadian beauty practice that involves grinding the seeds of the croton gratissimus tree into a powder. It’s then applied to the hair to promote hair growth and health. Salwa Petersen incorporates this ritual, along with others, to create its moisturizing, nutrient-rich hair products.

The company also believes in giving back to the community. They donate 2% of the proceeds from every purchase to conservation projects in Chad with African Parks Network.

Our pick: Salwa Petersen’s Chebe du Tchad Hair Cream

5.

Canvas Beauty

Canvas Beauty is a Black beauty company with a wide selection of products spanning hair care, skincare, and body care. They even have a line of products specially formulated for men. What the company is most known for, however, is its hair care products. Using organic and all-natural ingredients, Canvas Beauty products are great for keeping your hair looking and feeling good.

One of their most popular hair products is the Canvas Hair Blossom Serum. Made with a blend of natural, nutrient-dense ingredients like castor oil and rosemary, the oil can help with hair growth and overall hair and scalp health.

Our pick: Canvas Beauty’s Moisture Moolah Drench Oil

6.

Uhai Hair

 

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Uhai Hair is a natural, Black hair care company with products that target dry hair and scalp. The founder and CEO of the company, Susan Edwards, started Uhai Hair after struggling for years with dry scalp and flaking. When the hair products that her dermatologist recommended didn’t work, she took matters into her own hands. Thus, Uhai Hair was born.

 

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Now, the company provides an extensive line of products that add moisture and nutrients to your hair and scalp. Initially launched in Liberia, the company’s products pay homage to its African roots. For example, their Baobob collection features baobab, a superfood from Africa with the highest antioxidant content of any fruit.

 

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Our pick: Uhai’s Intensive Deep Conditioner

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