An amended class action complaint alleges the label claims put forth by Neutrogena that certain makeup removers are rigorously tested and ideal for use on even the most sensitive skin are misleading.
In truth, at least seven varieties of Neutrogena makeup-removing wipes and towelettes may cause itching, burning, dryness, peeling, redness and inflammation, among other harmful reactions, and are decidedly not safe and effective for all skin types, the 41-page lawsuit claims.
Compounding matters, the suit says, is that Neutrogena fails to caution users to test each product on a small patch of skin before applying it to the face and around the eyes.
“Because the package repeatedly assures consumers that the Class Products are gentle and safe, and contains no warning to the contrary, a reasonable consumer would infer that there is no possibility of adverse consequences associated with using the Cleansing Towelettes,” the complaint reads, alleging Neutrogena knew or should have known its products could be harmful.
At the center of the lawsuit are the below-listed products, which are advertised by Johnson & Johnson-owned Neutrogena as gentle cleansers that do not irritate the skin and can quickly and effortlessly remove makeup from the face and eyes.
Ultra-Soft Makeup Remover Wipes for Waterproof Makeup; Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes – Fragrance Free; Neutrogena Naturals Purifying Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes; Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes-Night Calming; Deep Clean Oil-Free Makeup Remover Cleansing Wipes; Deep Clean Purifying Micellar Cleansing Towelettes; and Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes-Hydrating.
According to the suit, these products are labeled with claims that they’re “ophthalmologist tested,” “dermatologist tested,” “allergy tested” and “[g]entle enough to use around sensitive eye area, even for contact lens wearers.” Such statements, the suit says, have led the reasonable consumer to believe the makeup removers are approved by professionals and are free of allergens.
The lawsuit alleges, however, that many of those who have used Neutrogena’s makeup-removing wipes and towelettes have experienced “adverse reactions,” such as irritation and discomfort, peeling, burning and temporary facial scarring. Although Neutrogena has received a “significant number” of complaints regarding the negative effects of its makeup removers, the complaint alleges the company has failed to warn users of these harmful reactions while continuing to attest that the products are safe for “even the most sensitive skin.”
Per the suit, the above-listed Neutrogena products pose “a significant risk of harm” that’s amplified by the defendant’s alleged failure to disclose the material fact that the wipes and towelettes could cause an array of negative reactions and to instruct users to test a small amount of the products prior to full-on use.
“Defendants were aware, knew, and were noticed that the Cleansing Towelettes created a substantial risk of skin irritation, rashes, burns, scarring, allergic reactions, disfigurement, and other injuries,” the lawsuit alleges. “Despite Defendants’ awareness of the risk of injury to consumers who use the product as directed, there is no warning that some users may experience adverse reactions after using the Class Products.”
By omitting and/or concealing material product safety information, Neutrogena “intended to induce consumers to rely on incomplete information” when deciding whether to buy its makeup-removing wipes and towelettes, the suit claims. As a result, the lawsuit says, consumers were unable to reasonably avoid the harm stemming from Neutrogena’s “omissions and misrepresentations.”
The case alleges Neutrogena was not only aware of reports that its makeup removers were causing harmful skin reactions but sought information directly from users who said they’d had bad experiences with the products. Neutrogena’s website notes “a litany of consumer complaints” over rashes, chemical burns, peeling, disfigurement and other injuries, the lawsuit says, adding that the reports evidence the company’s clear awareness of issues dating back at least three years.
Notwithstanding the knowledge it possesses that its makeup removers can harm a users’ skin, neither Neutrogena’s product labels nor its website have been modified to include warnings of potentially adverse consequences.
“Since debuting the Class Products, Defendants have made no effort to conform the labeling to the known qualities and risks associated with use of the Class Products,” the suit says, arguing Neutrogena is required by law to update the product labels with a warning statement.
Although the company’s website proclaims a commitment to ensuring consumers have the information they need to make informed decisions, Neutrogena “[c]uriously . . . omits essential facts” about its makeup removers from product packaging, the suit says.
Who’s covered by this lawsuit?
The case looks to represent all consumers nationwide who bought any of the Neutrogena makeup remover products listed earlier on this page for personal use within the “applicable statute of limitations.” The suit further looks to cover subclasses of Neutrogena makeup remover buyers in California, New Jersey, New York and Florida.
How do I sign up?
There’s generally nothing you need to do to sign up for or “join” a class action lawsuit. It almost always takes time for a class action case to work its way through the legal system, usually toward either a settlement or dismissal. When and if a case settles, this is the time when consumers have the opportunity to act and claim their piece of the settlement fund.
For now, it’s best to sit tight and check back with ClassAction.org for updates. We’ll update this page with any new developments.
The complaint can be found below. Initially filed on April 22 in Los Angeles County Superior Court, the amended suit found below was filed June 19 before being removed to federal court on July 16.
The suit alleges violations of the California Consumer Legal Remedies Act, California’s False Advertising and Unfair Competition Laws, the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, New York’s General Business Law and Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.
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