After many high-profile allegations of personal injuries and false advertising, there is a growing movement in the U.S. to regulate the beauty industry. The Personal Care Products Safety Act, a bipartisan bill introduced in the Senate earlier this month, would greatly enhance the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) ability to monitor the beauty industry and regulate ingredients used in personal care products. It would also imbue the FDA with the authority to issue recalls of these products.
Here are five hair care products that could be subject to regulations or even recalls for not being what they claim to be.
What is it? Babyganics is a Westbury, New York-based company that claims to sell baby-safe, organic household and childcare products (shampoos, lotions, wipes, detergents, etc.). It has grown rapidly over the past 15 years, generating $30 million in revenue in 2013 and securing a sale by SC Johnson in 2016.
Why should you think twice? Many parents allege that Babyganics products are not as organic or kid-friendly as they appear. As a result, multiples lawsuits have been filed against Babyganics in recent years.
A class action suit filed by ClassAction.com alleges that Babyganics misled consumers through labeling that claimed certain bath products were “tear-free,” gentle, non-allergenic, and safe for infants—when in fact they contain substances that are eye irritants.
Another class action lawsuit filed in September 2016 alleges that products labeled as “organic” or “mineral-free” actually contain ingredients that are neither.
One mother also claimed that Babyganics baby wipes caused her five-week-old baby to break out with a bumpy rash on his face.
Most serious of all, Theresa Jones alleges that Babyganics’ tear-free shampoo burned her son Hunter’s eyes, potentially causing serious and permanent damage.
2. WEN® by Chaz Dean
What is it? Founded by celebrity hair stylist Chaz Dean, WEN® is a line of sulfate-free hair care products. The WEN Cleansing Conditioner promises to clean, nourish, moisturize, detangle, and strengthen hair, all in one product and without the use of harsh sulfates. WEN’s website says it has sold over 40 million products since 2008.
Why should you think twice? In 2015, more than 200 women joined a class action lawsuit claiming that use of the WEN Cleansing Conditioner led to extreme hair loss, hair breakage, scalp irritation, and rash.
The lawsuit also alleged that WEN misled customers with deceptive marketing, and that the company blocked or removed negative comments and reviews from its website and social media pages.
WEN settled that lawsuit for more than $26 million. The FDA is currently investigating the cleansing conditioner and warns consumers to stop using the product if they experience any adverse reactions.
3. Keratin Hair Products
What are they? Keratin is the protein from which hair is made. Many shampoos and conditioners claim to include keratin and promote the protein’s restorative qualities. The products’ labels say they can repair damage caused by over-processing.
Why should you think twice? Most hair products that advertise the benefits of keratin don’t actually contain it or even specifically target the protein. To make matters worse, there is no evidence that keratin additives benefit hair health or growth.
As a result, ClassAction.com has filed a false advertising lawsuit against Matrix and L’Oreal, claiming their products do not contain keratin and therefore are unable to provide the benefits they advertise. If you have purchased keratin hair products made by these companies, contact us today to find out if you are owed money.
4. Hair-Smoothing Products with Formaldehyde
What are they? Hair-smoothing products are meant to control frizz and curls for an extended period of time; they often contain formaldehyde. The application process is usually done in a professional salon and requires heat from a flat-iron or blow dryer.
Why should you think twice? When formaldehyde and related ingredients such as methylene glycol are heated, formaldehyde gas is released into the air, which can be hazardous to your health. The FDA and The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have issued warnings about Brazilian Blowout Acai Professional Smoothing Solution and Brasil Cacau Cadiveu, citing safety and labeling violations.
Exposure to formaldehyde can cause health problems such as headaches, dizziness, nausea, chest pain, respiratory-tract problems, eye irritation, rash, and more. The labeling violation letters allege that the product labels do not warn people of these potential harmful effects.
The FDA recommends avoiding products that contain formaldehyde, formalin, or methylene glycol, and to report any adverse reactions.
5. “Natural” Products that Contain Synthetic Ingredients
What are they? Due to increasing consumer demand, many brands are starting to create more “natural” products and trying to stay away from using synthetic and artificial ingredients.
Why should you think twice? In recent years, certain brands have come under fire for labeling products as “natural” when in fact they contain synthetic and chemical ingredients. In 2016, Unilever settled a class action suit levied against its TRESemmé Naturals product line for $3.25 million and discontinued the line.
Another class action suit was filed in February 2017 against Procter & Gamble’s Herbal Essences Wild Naturals line for misleading labels and false advertising.
If you purchased a Babyganics, keratin, or other hair product and think you fell victim to false advertising, contact us for a free legal consultation. You could be eligible for a class action lawsuit.