New research released this week has shown that 95.5% of Black British women don't trust brands that sell lye-based hair relaxers. The research, conducted by Treasure Tress and Level Up, is the first of its kind in the UK and is based on a survey of 1,024 Black British women aged between 25 and 44.
The results glaringly show the mistrust between us and big beauty brands. Black women have been speaking out about the harm caused to us by hair and beauty products for decades, particularly about the dangers of relaxers, but the corporations with the power to change this don’t seem to be listening.
The survey found that almost two in three Black British women (63%) have experienced negative side effects when using relaxers. The most common side effects were scalp burns (44%) and hair loss (38%), but these may be the least of our worries. In 2021, Oxford University’s Carcinogenesis Journal published a study that showed that long-term use of hair relaxers containing lye, the same toxic chemical used to unblock drains, was connected to a 30% increased risk of breast cancer.