Hannah McCall is a Black woman on a mission to educate Black women about beauty products and the harmful ingredients in them and many personal care products. She took some time out of her busy schedule to stop by and talk about how her business, Clean Beauty for Black Girls is educating Black women:
How did you get started in the clean beauty product business?
I actually had a mentor who became an influencer for a clean skincare & makeup company. It was through the information she was sharing about the ingredients in many of our products that I started to notice the discrepancy that existed when it came to the products made and marketed to Black women.
Was this to do with personal experience?
As someone who tried to choose ‘safer’ products for my son to use, I was disappointed and angry to realized how serious the lack of federal regulation was in this space.
Why is clean beauty so important for Black women?
We can keep it simple and say it is important for Black women because 75% of personal care products marketed directly to Black women contain ingredients that are potentially harmful to our health. It’s equally important we add in health care discrimination, environment justice, and breast cancer rates in our community.
What’s your experience with beauty products for Black woman?
As a mixed-race woman, beauty products have generally excluded me. So to know that the ones that were made with me in mind intentionally included chemical ingredients that created and/or exacerbated health issues to my community was very on brand for how America treats the Black woman.
How do you feel that companies have provided for Black women’s beauty needs to date?
Largely what major companies have provided is exploitation without inclusion. They do just enough to fly under the radar and pretend they are making improvements. But without any real regulation and follow-up, we are left to trust the companies to regulate themselves. Too often that results in simply renaming ingredients or making bold (but unproven) claims on the front of products for marketing purposes only.
75% of personal care products marketed directly to Black women contain ingredients that are potentially harmful to our health.Hannah McCall – Clean Beauty for Black Girls
What are the trends you’re seeing in beauty products for black women right now?
We are (hopefully) leaning into the spending power we have. I see more companies being influenced to remove certain ingredients prior to too much noise being made – think parabens, sulfates, etc. But again, the brands I’m speaking of are often the ones started and formed by Black women already. Our community is putting in a strong effort to protect and elevate ourselves.
Who are your beauty icons?
Gabrielle Union. Tracee Ellis Ross. Susan Kelechi. The women in my life.
Can you share your tips for the do’s and don’ts for us when choosing clean beauty products ?
Don’ts are parabens, triclosan, formaldehyde, sulfates, fragrance and phthalates. Dos are don’t demand perfection from yourself – start with the product you use the most or the next one you run out of. Scan the barcode of any product using one of the apps we recommend (EWG Healthy Living App or the Redify App) so you can make an informed decision.
What’s your future plans for Clean Beauty brand? Any announcements or events we should look out for?
The future of Clean Beauty for Black Girls includes more educational sister circles at colleges, a Black women’s wellness conference, and a campaign to empower consumers in our pursuit of pressuring brands to do better.