More and more studies are revealing the dangers of hair relaxers. The chemicals in the formula have been linked to cancer with Black women at the forefront. Hair relaxers are targeted toward women with tight and kinky curls. It is a category that includes many Black women. Since this product is proven to have a connection cancer, people are taking a stand against the so-called “creamy crack” an holding companies accountable. In the latest effort, a United Kingdom based organization is sending L’Oréal a direct message.
UK feminist group Level Up, has penned an open letter to L’Oréal. The group is urging the company to withdraw it’s hair straightening products. Level Up would also like to see L’Oréal invest in research on the use of chemical relaxers.
Consumer confidence is a large factor that determines a company’s susccess, which the organization made clear in the letter.
“Black women should be able to trust that the products we use won’t hurt us,” the letter said. “But Level Up’s 2022 survey found that 95% of Black British women don’t trust beauty brands that sell lye-based relaxers. This should come as no surprise since L’Oréal’s hair relaxers continue to be sold, including those intended for children, labelled as “no-lye” whilst listing sodium hydroxide (lye) in the ingredients.”
The letter also places emphasis on the Black dollar.
“Black women already spend up to nine times more than any other group on hair care, we shouldn’t be paying with our health too,” the letter stated.
How To Get Involved In Ending Lye-Based Relaxers
In a statement to 21Ninety, co-director at Level Up, Seyi Falodun-Liburd, says that what the campaign wants is very clear.
“Make the products safe to use or take them off the shelves, make the nature of the ingredients and possible harms clear on the product labelling, AND invest in research about the long-term impact of these ingredients and products on Black women,” Falodun-Liburd said.
The co-director says the demands are reasonable and L’Oréal is capable of making them but choosing not to.
So far, a long list of politicians, campaigners and professionals have signed the letter. Some names include Mandu Reid, the leader of the Women’s Equality party, Andrea Simon, the director of the End Violence Against Women Coalition, and the leading #MeToo campaigner Professor Marai Larasi.
Falodun-Liburd says that Level Up’s mission is not to eliminate relaxers. However, she adds that these products should not have a detrimental effect on consumers’ lives.
“Black women straighten their hair for a number of reasons: to avoid hair discrimination at school or work, it might be easier to manage or they just like it that way. Whatever the reason, we should be able to trust that the products sold and marketed to us won’t make us sick. The price of beauty should never be our health.”
You can add your name to the petition now, on Level Up’s website.