Black Women for Wellness Adinkra symbol

Environmental Justice

Black Women for Wellness' Sisters in Control environmental justice programs and the Healthy Hair Initiative surveys stylists and salon workers in Inglewood and South Los Angeles.

Black Women for Wellness Adinkra symbol

Environmental Justice

Black Women for Wellness' Sisters in Control environmental justice programs and the Healthy Hair Initiative surveys stylists and salon workers in Inglewood and South Los Angeles.

Hair stylists are at higher risks of developing specific health complications, such as:

      • Cancer
      • Immune disorders
      • Uterine fibroids
      • Miscarriages

  • Greener/chemical free/organic products are not easily accessible in South Los Angeles.

  • Active shopping is necessary and time consuming and it is difficult to find alternative/safer products.

  • Hair care professionals are both curious and concerned about the chemicals in the products they utilize regularly. Hair care professionals want to know more about the health impacts for both themselves and customers.

  • “After 20 years in the beauty industry, my friends have no fingerprints, they literally cannot go to the DMV, put their hands down and have a scan.” Quote from a focus group participant on the long-term effects of being in the beauty industry.

  • Occupational workplace exposures include chemical, ergonomic and reproductive hazards plus respiratory irritants.

  • Salon workers’ reproductive health challenges include uterine fibroids and miscarriages.

  • Stylists indicated interest in learning more about healthier workplaces and meeting with other workers or owners to talk about safer salons.

Other Environmental Justice Highlights Include:

Black Women for Wellness Curls & Conversations

Curls & Conversations

Curls & Conversation is a space that allows consumers, hair care professionals and advocates to talk openly about the Black beauty industry. 

We discuss topics such as:


  • What is important to you in the products you look for?

  • What difficulties have you faced when searching for products?

  • Which products do you trust and why?

Conversation is inspired by beauty and curls. We look forward to keeping the conversation about Black beauty, hair, and safe salon practices going!

Natural Revolution: One Hair Story

The Black hair and beauty industry is more than simply big business; it’s multilayered, complex and touches every aspect in the lives of Black women & girls. It defines our cultural identity, contributes to our self-esteem (or lack thereof), allows for self-expression, tracks family history, provides an economic base, connects us to Black women across the globe and it has deep, deep historical roots. However, little is known about the connection between the beauty products we use and the health status of Black women, neither as consumers nor as beauty industry professionals. Natural Evolutions: One Hair Story is a compilation of our work in an effort to provide insights into the culture, conversations and research surrounding Black women’s hair, the beauty industry, and the subsequent effect on Black women’s health.

For more information on our research
pick up a copy of our report Natural Evolutions: One Hair Story.

Black Women for Wellness Natural Evolutions Hair Story 2016

Inglewood Healthy Hair Initiative Survey

As part of our Healthy Hair Initiative—Stylin' Safely we are working towards the creation of a Healthy Salon Recognition program. Our first step was to see if consumers would be interested in going to and spending money at a salon recognized by the program. Black women were the majority of survey participants. We have collected over 300 surveys and the results have been overwhelmingly positive.

  • 91.1% of respondents said ‘yes’ they had gotten a service performed at a hair salon before,
  • 68% of respondents said they would much more likely obtain their services from salons that made the switch to become a “Healthy Hair Salon” by using more healthy and safe products and practices and was formally recognized by a city or county agency,
  • 34.8% of respondents said they would pay $10-15 more for hair services if the products used were less toxic to workers and customers. 27.5%would pay $15 or more,
  • 85% of respondents would support a city or county program that worked with salons to become a “Healthy Hair Salon” and use more healthy and safe practices.

The results are great indicators of consumer approval of such a recognition program. The next steps in the creating the program is working with workers, advocates, and elected officials to develop a pilot program.

Environmental Justice
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