The Carcinogenic Ingredients Hiding in your Bathroom Cabinet

The Carcinogenic Ingredients Hiding in your Bathroom Cabinet


October is both Black History Month & Breast Cancer Awareness Month. As a brand that makes hair and skin products that include all-natural, non-carcinogenic ingredients, we wanted to take the opportunity to reflect on the fragile resilience of our bodies and how selecting the right products can support a longer, healthier life. 

Studies have shown that on average, Black women use more hair care products than any other demographic. Additionally, products marketed towards Black women contain more toxins than those marketed to other groups. Since Black hair has been misplaced at the center of cross-cultural debates, styles that seek to contain the curl and control the kinks have been popularized over natural and protective hairstyles for well over a century. In the last few years it has become a trend for some with natural hair to use a chemical relaxer to permanently straighten the hair

The products developed to detangle, smoothe, straighten, strip down, and contain Black hair are full of harmful ingredients. Over the decades many women and young girls have been diagnosed with hormonal imbalances and breast cancer as a result of using harmful products.

Chemical relaxers are just one example of products we so readily put on our crowns. A worrying majority of haircare and beauty products marketed directly to Black women contain carcinogenic ingredients, from shampoos and cleansures to moisturisers, conditioners, and gels. As a result, the Cancer Research UK and Public Health England reported that, in England, Black women are almost twice as likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer than White women - and not because we are genetically predisposed.

With the right information, you can minimize your exposure carcinogenic ingredients and protect yourself by choosing the right products. 

Here are the top 5 carcinogenic ingredients you should avoid:


Parabens are on the top of our list of things to avoid. They are most commonly present in beauty products such as moisturisers, hair care products, and shaving creams. They are used to preserve the quality of the product and prevent bacteria from arising. This ingredient is continuously used in popular products despite the fact that parabens have been linked to breast and skin cancer.

Found on labels as:
Ethyl paraben, Butylparaben, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Isopropylparaben, others-paraben-terminated compounds


Triclosans are also used to minimise bacterial contamination. Look out for this toxin in body washes, toothpastes, and soaps. High levels of trioclosans can affect your hormones and have been linked to skin cancer.

Found in labels as: Isopropylparapen, Isobutylparaben, Propyl parapen, Butylparaben, Phthalate, BHA, BHT, E321, E320



Silicons are used in shampoos, balms, and creams as well as in hair relaxers. In haircare products it is added to make your hair shinier and easier to detangle. Silicon forms a thick layer around hair and skin, preventing you from breathing and naturally clearing out residue or build up, ultimately blocking your endocrine system from functioning properly.

Found on labels as: 

Cone-Compound Compounds: Dimethicone, Methicone, Trimethicone, Cyclomethicone, Amodimethicone, Trimethylsilylamodimethicone Siloxane – 

Compound Compounds: Cyclopentasiloxane, Polydimethylsiloxane Conol – Compound Compounds: Dimethiconol preservatives.

DEA and TEA 

These compounds are used as detergents or emulsifyers in shampoos and cleansers. When used together or in combination with parabens, these compounds create Nitrosamines which have been proven to be carcinogenic and are able to penetrate the skin.

Found on labels as: 

 Diethanolamine (DEA) and triethanolamine (TEA) 


Mineral Oils

Mineral oil is synthesised from crude oil, making it essentially the same as car fuel or oil. Despite the name, it is not “oil”, rather it is a plastic! As this plastic cannot be absorbed, you are left with a smooth, glossy look on both skin and hair. However, mineral oil creates a barrier that prevents natural ventilation. Mineral oils are also often contaminated with carcinogenic compounds. Mineral oils and Petroleum jelly are ingredients found in hair relaxers.

Found on labels as:

Petrolatum, Petroleum Jelly, Paraffin Oil, Mineral Oil, White Petrolatum, Petrolem. Oil, Paraffinium

Now that you have the information, you can use this guide to look through your beauty products and see if you can find any of the above ingredients. You put so much effort into leading a healthy life; there is no need to have carcinogens in your bathroom cabinet or on the rim of your tub! We have an entire line of skin and haircare products that value the beauty of Black hair and melanated skin. We prioritise health without cutting any corners, only using the best ingredients nature has to offer and supporting all-natural beauty.

You can also check out our Ingredient Dictionary which can help you better understand ingredients that may appear unfamiliar to you. You can always contact us if you have any questions. 

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