How safe are the beauty products that you use in your hair? Rather than nurturing and protecting your crown, could the hair care products that you use be damaging your hair instead? Afro hair activist and author, Tola Okogwu has joined forces with Abi Begho and Sheila Marshall to launch a crowdfunding campaign to produce a documentary to help us find out the answers to these questions.
Last April (2018), Tola Okogwu was featured in a BBC interview about the potential dangers of hair care products marketed at Black women. The interview went viral and was shared by thousands of women all over the world. In spite of the seriousness of the subject, it barely caused a blip in mainstream media.
Keen to raise awareness of the dangers of some of these products, Tola, along with Abi Begho, founder of Lake Health and Wellbeing, an organisation that addresses health inequalities within the black community, and Sheila Marshall, a TV producer, have embarked on a campaign to create a documentary, My Hair Care Nightmare, that will uncover the truth behind the safety of hair products for Black women.
When you discover some of the dangers, it’s clear that Black women need to be educated about the products they put in their hair. Studies last year by American researchers, Silent Spring Institute and Battelle Memorial Institute found that 80% of black hair products contain endocrine disrupting and asthma causing chemicals. Endocrine disrupting chemicals are of particular concern as some studies have linked these chemicals to hormone-related health conditions including, breast cancer and fibroids. But what does this research actually mean for Black women using these products daily? How worried should we be? The need for understanding the scale of the problem and clear information about the ingredients in the products is the aim of the documentary. The My Haircare Nightmare documentary will provide answers, stimulate discussion and question a culture that has created a market that perpetuates the myth that natural afro hair needs to be ‘tamed’ with product after product.
Tola said: “The documentary will creatively explain the science behind the research and delve deeper into the societal and cultural pressures that lead black women to use these products. We will speak to real women and hear their hair stories. The documentary will also provide expert advice and practical approaches to help Black women reduce their level of exposure to EDCs and asthma causing chemicals.”
If you would like to support the ladies to make this documentary happen, head on over to their crowdfunding page, click here, to help them raise the £80,000 to fund the documentary.