Lawsuit Alleges L’Oréal Hair Relaxer Causes Scalp Burns and Hair Loss

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Public Health Watchdog Breaking News
Public Health Watchdog Breaking News

Two women are suing L’Oréal over a hair relaxer that allegedly caused scalp burns and hair loss.

The hair relaxer was promoted as a product that would make hair “instantly thicker and fuller, reversing damage from day one,” according to Yahoo Beauty. But the women say Softsheen Carson Optimum Amla Legend Relaxer did just the opposite, leaving the women with damaged hair.

The Softsheen Carson Optimum Amla Legend Relaxer kit says it contains “Amla oil from India,” and there is no lye in the relaxer, according to Yahoo Beauty.

“When [one woman] used the product as intended . . . it left her with bald spots, as well as burns and then scabs on her scalp,” according to the class-action suit, filed on September 14 in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. The woman said she was “forced to wear a wig for the first time in her life to cover her injuries,” and legal documents say “she continues to struggle with thin, unhealthy, and damaged hair as a result of her use of the product.”

Another plaintiff in the class action alleges she experienced scalp irritation from the relaxer, followed by hair loss. She said she now wears hairpieces and takes expensive vitamins to help foster hair regrowth, Yahoo Beauty reports.

The lawsuit alleges false advertising on L’Oréal’s part, along with fraud, negligence, and other claims of misrepresentation. The plaintiffs seek damages in an amount to be determined by the court. An attorney involved in the case says his office has received “hundreds of phone calls” from other women who have experienced similar problems with the relaxer.

L’Oréal did not respond to a request for comment from Yahoo Beauty, but a spokesperson  told BuzzFeed, “We do not believe the allegations in this lawsuit have merit. For more than 100 years, L’Oréal has been committed to the safety of its consumers.”

But this lawsuit, like the recent class action involving Wen hair care products, alleges that L’Oréal “has known for years that its product is dangerous and defective” both because the products contains many toxic ingredients and because of numerous consumer complaints, including some on L’Oréal’s own web pages. Users have reported that the relaxer caused reactions “hair loss and breakage, as well as scalp irritation, blisters, and burns,” according to Yahoo Beauty.

Some consumer reviews on Amazon said Softsheen Carson Optimum Amla Legend Relaxer worked well, but other users complained of hair loss, intense burning, and continual hair breakage.

Although the product is promoted as containing gooseberry (Amla) oil, which many beauty blogger say works well, the plaintiffs’ attorney said there is only a trace of the oil in relaxer. It is the last ingredient listed on the label, according to Yahoo Beauty. The Amla oil is mixed in with what the attorney calls “a dangerous cocktail of ingredients,” including hexylene glycol and butylene glycol, known to cause skin and lung irritation, plus lye, which is the relaxing agent. Lye is a caustic chemical used in industrial cleaners and drain-opening products. Lye is also used to dissolve dead bodies and animal carcasses.