EWG VERIFIED™ Brand Partner Follain Diversifies Clean Beauty and Commits 15 Percent of Shelf Space to Black-Owned Brands

New EWG VERIFIED™ Follain Skincare Launches at ULTA Beauty Stores Nationwide
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For Immediate Release: 
Tuesday, January 12, 2021

WASHINGTON – Today Follain launches seven new EWG VERIFIED™ products at ULTA Beauty, the largest beauty retailer in the U.S. The collection of Follain skincare products is the result of years of consultations with thousands of people with different skin types and concerns.

In addition to its house brand, Follain curates and sells in its own stores clean products from a range of brands to meet consumer demand for healthier skincare, body care and cosmetics. Now its new EWG VERIFIED skincare line will be sold at almost 400 ULTA Beauty stores and online, offering shoppers cleaner moisturizers, toners, cleansers, eye creams and masks. The EWG VERIFIED Follain products at ULTA Beauty will be competitively priced to make them as widely accessible as possible.

“Because of ULTA’s sheer size, Follain’s EWG VERIFIED products may push other companies to embrace healthier ingredients and this increased level of transparency,” said EWG President Ken Cook. “New studies are published every week that show the harmful impact of exposure to chemical ingredients and mixtures.”

“Like EWG, Follain is committed to moving the market toward healthier products,” Cook said. “We both believe that every single person deserves access to clean personal care products, including communities of color and Black consumers. This is the next step in our longstanding partnership.”

Supporting Black-Owned Beauty Brands

In a breakthrough move in support of Black-owned beauty businesses, now that Follain has been through the rigorous EWG VERIFIED process, the company will mentor and sponsor Black-owned partner brands that want to earn the mark for their own products. EWG and Follain have partnered to improve the diversity of high quality and clean personal care products available to consumers.

Follain sells about 50 personal care brands, including its own, on its website and in its stores.

“While researching new Black-owned brands to add to our assortment, we realized that the EWG VERIFIED mark would offer other brands the same level of credibility we were seeking for our own line,” said Tara Foley, founder and CEO of Follain. “We’ll be working alongside our Black-owned partners to sponsor them – to help them meet the rigorous EWG VERIFIED criteria and earn the mark.”

Follain also becomes the first EWG VERIFIED partner to pledge to devote 15 percent of the shelf space in its own stores to displaying products made by Black-owned companies.

“We decided to commit 15 percent of our shelf space to Black-owned and Black-founded brands,” Foley said. “It is up to us to work aggressively to even the playing field, and this is one way we will do it.”

The beauty industry does not yet offer a diversity of personal care products on store shelves. Barriers to access to this marketplace include cost, resources and mentorship.

“Follain’s pledge to support Black-owned beauty businesses will help to create an equitable space in clean beauty, addressing some of these barriers,” said Nneka Leiba, vice president for Healthy Living Science at EWG. “Some of the Black-owned brands may offer safer products marketed specifically to Black women, which will also be a big win.”

Fewer Products Marketed to Black Women Made With Healthier Ingredients

Most personal care products sold today are made with chemicals introduced to the market decades ago. The vast majority of those ingredients have not been tested for safety, and many are linked to serious health impacts, like cancer, hormone disruption, reproductive and developmental damage, and allergies.

A 2017 study found that Black women and women of color used more beauty products and were disproportionately exposed to worrisome chemicals, compared to white women. Because Black women appear to buy and use more personal care products, the limited options could mean they are exposed to more potentially hazardous chemicals.

“As a Black woman, I’m excited to add more of the products I use each day to Skin Deep®,” said Leiba, referring to the cosmetics database that assesses and compares the safety of personal care products. Those products that also go through a rigorous screening process may qualify for the EWG VERIFIED mark.

“It was disheartening, but not surprising, to learn from our own research that there are fewer options for healthier, less hazardous products marketed specifically to women like me,” Leiba said. “We’re striving to bring affordable, healthy products to all consumers – but especially to underserved communities, like Black women. And it is vital that these products be affordable and available nationwide.”

“Fragrance” is by far the most widely used ingredient in most personal care products. Fragrance mixtures can trigger allergic reactions, such as asthma, wheezing, headaches and contact dermatitis. To earn the EWG VERIFIED mark, companies must disclose fragrance components used in a product.

In December 2019, a report by researchers at the National Institutes of Health linked chemicals commonly used in hair dyes and chemical hair straighteners to an increased risk of breast cancer. Permanent hair dye use among Black female participants was associated with a 45 percent higher breast cancer risk, compared to a 7 percent higher risk for white women participants.

Outdated Cosmetics Regulation

Cosmetics are woefully underregulated, and companies are not required to test their products for safety before they hit store shelves. In the absence of cosmetics reform, EWG is leading the charge to reshape the marketplace with the EWG VERIFIED mark.

For more than a decade, EWG has been at the forefront of chemical ingredient disclosure in personal care products, believing that people have the right to know what’s in the products they purchase and use every day. EWG stands in solidarity with the Black community, who have been forced to bear a very heavy burden because of a lack of access to products free from ingredients that are inferior and harm their health. EWG renews and redoubles its commitment to fight for an equitable and more inclusive marketplace.

“The future of ‘clean beauty’ is just beauty – all products should be clean,” said Leiba. “Everyone should have access to healthier, less hazardous products. We’re excited to add more Black-owned brands to our EWG VERIFIED list of products.”

As of today, 1,878 products carry the EWG VERIFIED mark.

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The Environmental Working Group is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization that empowers people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. Through research, advocacy and unique education tools, EWG drives consumer choice and civic action. https://www.ewg.org/ewgverified/

Follain is the original clean beauty retail brand. They have curated and created an assortment of top clean beauty products since 2013, in their own stores across the country and on follain.com. Recently they began selling their house label skincare line with other retailers, such as ULTA Beauty, Anthropologie and Amazon. https://follain.com/