"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Eliminating the roots and health risks of hair relaxers

In this reflective and private episode of Professor Cheryl Thompson of Toronto Metropolitan University and writer Uncovers the history of hair relaxers for black women — and the health risks related to them now.

For many years, black women have been using hair relaxers to assist them “fit” into global mainstream workplaces and European standards of beauty. Continue to dominate them. Recently, research has Linked these comforters to cancer. And reproductive health issues — and a break Cases across the United Statesand no less than One in Canadablack women have brought against these comfort makers.

Vintage magazine commercial for 'Raven Hair Relaxer System', circa 1990.

Professor Thompson and I delved into: her own connection to using comforters as a black woman, the litigation and the history of the connection between those comforters and black women. We also — for obvious reasons — dive into what's now a horror satire series about mind-controlling hair products.

Read more within the conversation


A vintage magazine commercial for Ultra Shine, a hair product manufactured by black-owned Johnson Products to satisfy the needs of black consumers, circa 1963.

Use of straighteners and other hair products and incidence of uterine cancer ()

“She was diagnosed with cancer at age 28. Her lawsuit blames hair relaxers” ()

By Cheryl Thompson

“Black Brazilians are losing hair straighteners and the white standard of beauty” ()

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