The beauty industry is forever evolving, but women who are constantly using products and heat on their hair need to be aware of some of the underlying dangers. A new study was revealed that Black women using hair relaxers are at high risk for uterine cancer, revealing a link between the chemicals used to straighten hair and uterine cancer.

This disproportionately affects Black women, who have historically used straightening or relaxer products more frequently than other races and ethnicities. In fact, they’re the biggest consumers of beauty products, spending billions of dollars per year.

Insert Dior Sovoa and Nakia Rachon, two hairstylists with extensive experience in the field. The former is focused on educating his clients on healthy hair options, during a time where women are embracing their natural hair more than ever. The latter has styled some of entertainment’s biggest celebrities, from Mariah Carey to Patti LaBelle to Whoopi Goldberg.

Sheen spoke with both stylist about how women can further educate themselves on protecting their hair

A new study finds Black women using hair relaxers at a high risk for uterine cancer. Why is this dangerous?

The relaxers contain harmful products that are detrimental to a woman’s body. To know that Black women who use hair straightening products at least four times a year were more than twice as likely to develop uterine cancer is alarming.

What can we do to prevent this?

Dior: When using a relaxer, proper application is very important. A lot of people don’t know how to properly apply a relaxer and gauge when it’s time to do a (touch-up). It also causes breakage.

Nakia: Before a chemical relaxer is applied, stylists need to examine the strength of the hair. After they determine the hair is healthy enough for the treatment, they take an “oil like” gel and apply it to the scalp to protect the person’s scalp from chemical burns or irritation. Then the relaxer is applied to the roots of the hair, not the scalp. It’s then smoothed through to begin straightening the hair. The product should not sit on the person’s hair for longer than 15 minutes.

You all have extensive experience in the industry, do you have a best memory with a celebrity client?

Dior: My best memory is zip lining with Mariah Carey. It’s a moment I could never forget, and the great thing about it is I kept her hair in a sleek ponytail, so we could just enjoy ourselves.

Nakia: My best memories have been regrowing my clients’ hair after a big event or life change! I love healing through hair!

How can women further educate themselves when it comes to hair & beauty?

Dior: The great thing about education now is we have access to the Internet. Women can always Google what they are looking for when it comes to hair care tips. Professionals like Nakia and I are knowledgeable about hair care, we encourage them to reach out to us for advice on social media as well.

Nakia: I urge women to, at a minimum, check their products on apps like Yuka or Think Dirty, which shows whether the products they are using are toxic. It’s important to do this before committing to long-term use. It’s so important to stop using toxic products that damage our hair and ultimately our bodies.  

How can stylists and salons help the matter?

Dior: Up-and-coming stylists should continue to take classes and always be knowledgeable about changes in hair and hair care. Every year, I take professional development classes to stay abreast of new techniques or products.

Nakia: Salon pros can help the matter by offering clean solutions to their clients. As a part of the solution, I’ve joined a vegan beauty company to assist with healing my clients hair and scalp. 

Anything else we should know/be aware of?

Dior: When it comes to relaxers, I always first ask my clients if it is something they need or want because it is convenient. Sometimes convenience is not always the best, especially for our hair. Our hair is unique. It defies gravity. We are the only race whose hair can grow straight to the sky to reach the heavens!

Nakia: I think knowing what products work for and with our texture without compromising health or who we are is so important in this industry! Please reach out to me for a consultation on how to take charge of your hair health!


DIOR SOVOA: (IG: @diorsovoa)

For two decades, Dior Sovoa has been uncovering beauty for the world to see. Dior has his hands in the tresses of some of music and television’s biggest celebrities, such as Mariah Carey, Patti LaBelle, Whoopi Goldberg, and many more.

Dior is pure east-coast sophistication – born and raised in Washington, DC to a long line of women devoted to the style and beautification of others – he knew from a young age that he was destined to be an artist. 

In addition to styling musical icon Mariah Carey, Dior’s work has been featured in national and international ad campaigns on the pages of esteemed publications Vogue, Essence, Seventeen, Fashion 360, and more. 

NAKIA RACHON: (IG: @nakiarachon)

Nakia Rachon is a professional celebrity hairstylist currently based in Los Angeles, CA. She services clientele all over the world, including without limitation, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter, Tia Mowry, Kelly Rowland, Michelle Williams, Solange, Mrs. Tina Knowles-Lawson, and many more. 

With over 13 years of experience as a stylist and nearly a decade and counting in the entertainment industry, Nakia continues to make a name for her work that has been featured across several brand partnerships, editorial publications, television programs, tours, and films. 

Nakia’s Images by Cecilè Boko and Photo Credits for Dior Sovoa by