L’Oreal is facing a proposed class action claiming it falsely advertises one of its products. The product? L’Oreal Paris’ Advanced Haircare Total Repair 5 Damage Erasing Balm. I know, it’s a mouthful, so I’ll be referring to it as “the product” or “the balm” from here on out.
How Does L’Oreal Advertise the Product – and What’s the Issue?
According to the complaint, L’Oreal makes a couple claims that don’t really add up. These include that the balm “repairs up to one year of damage in one use” and “instantly repairs the five signs of damage – split ends, weakness, roughness, dullness and dehydration.”
Lead plaintiff Vivian Lee asserts that the product’s advertisements are full of claims like these and that they, well, simply aren’t true. She says that the balm doesn’t have any ingredients that could feasibly accomplish the feats that were advertised and that L’Oreal’s hair repair claims are false, misleading and likely to deceive the average customer. Here’s the science:
Hair is primarily made of a protein called keratin. So once hair is damaged – through brushing, heat treatments or added chemicals like the ones found in dyes – the only effective treatment would be one that could restore the health of those proteins.
According to the lawsuit, the ingredients found in L’Oreal’s balm may temporarily make the user think their hair is healthier, but can’t actually improve hair quality because nothing is done to directly repair the keratin.
The bottom line? L’Oreal uses the same ingredients as its competitors – but these competitors don’t make the same outlandish claims.
What Could the Suit Accomplish?
Lee is looking to represent herself as well as a nationwide class of people who bought the product for their personal use – along with a New York subclass. If successful, the lawsuit would provide compensation to those who bought the balm, disgorge the profits L’Oreal made because of the alleged misconduct and require L’Oreal to cover the plaintiff’s attorneys’ fees. So, the usual.
Maybe someday companies will figure out a way to sell their products without blatantly lying (allegedly, of course) to their customers.