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Why Women of Color Are More Impacted by Toxic Cosmetics

 

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Sherrell Dorsey

Organic Beauty Vixen

Sherrell is Women’s Voices for the Earth’s January Inspirational Woman.

I am a proud native of Seattle, Washington, with a special affinity for building sustainable communities. My venture into the world of safe cosmetics advocacy began with the launch of my blog, Organic Beauty Vixen, four years ago. The blog serves as a compilation of product reviews, policy discussions, interviews with beauty industry change agents, and a variety of think pieces that have helped me to mobilize thousands of monthly readers to consider the health, environmental, and economic consequences of their purchasing decisions in relation to beauty products.

Throughout the years I have been committed to providing information, resources and experiences to communities largely affected by the environmental detriments of mainstream companies. From Seattle to New York City, I have hosted and moderated panel discussions featuring health, wellness, and beauty experts from Fortune 500 Companies while simultaneously leading self-image and beauty empowerment workshops for national organizations such as Girls Inc. and Inspired Girls International.

The impetus behind my work is my desire to reshape the narrative of environmental and social responsibility within the consumer products industries—especially as it relates to communities of color.

Studies show that women of color spend nearly three times as much on cosmetics than the average female shopper. Despite this massive market presence, many eco-makeup brands don’t offer options for most women of color. Due to the limited available options, we are forced to purchase highly toxic makeup and personal care products out of obligation, not necessarily by choice.

The fight and failure of the Safe Chemicals Act has been an attempt to move the needle on universal exposure to toxic products. But like many a battle that we as women and people of color fight, claiming victory doesn’t mean that the most marginalized of society will reap the benefits of banned chemicals. Black market products continue to make their way across the shelves of 99 cent stores and closeout warehouses where many families are forced to shop in order to stretch a dollar.

There is still work to be done and I look forward to the journey. Last year, I was the recipient of an award from the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics for my work in spreading awareness in communities highly targeted by toxic personal care products. My work and writing has been featured in several publications, including Black Enterprise Magazine, Organic Spa Magazine and Inhabitat.com. I have also been a featured expert on safe cosmetics on the Fox News network.

Read more about Sherrell.

See Sherrell’s top picks for healthy personal care products in our Non-Toxic Shopping Guide.

January 22, 2014

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Thank you for your work, Sherrell!

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