Lawsuit Investigation: Formaldehyde, Sulfates in Shampoo, Keratin Hair Products
Last Updated on October 21, 2022
Attorneys working with ClassAction.org are no longer investigating this matter. The information here is for reference only. A list of open investigations and lawsuits can be viewed here.
- October 21, 2022 – Investigation Closed, Lawsuits Filed
- Attorneys working with ClassAction.org have decided to close their investigation into this matter, meaning they no longer need to speak with individuals who bought the products listed on this page.
Several lawsuits have been filed over the alleged presence of DMDM hydantoin in various shampoos and hair products, with varying results. You can find information on the cases we’ve covered on our blog and newswire here.
The information below was posted when this investigation began and remains for reference only. If you have questions about your rights, we encourage you to reach out to an attorney in your area. You can find our list of open investigations here.
At A Glance
- This Alert Affects:
- Anyone who purchased a hair product listed on this page and experienced hair loss or scalp irritation after use.
- What’s Going On?
- Attorneys working with ClassAction.org are investigating whether class action lawsuits can be filed against the makers of shampoo and hair products containing DMDM hydantoin or sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS).
- What’s the Problem with These Ingredients?
- DMDM hydantoin works by releasing small amounts of formaldehyde and may cause harmful side effects, such as hair loss and scalp irritation, in some users. Sodium lauryl sulfate, an ingredient used in shampoos to trap dirt, has also been linked to skin irritation.
- Which Haircare Products Are Under Investigation?
- The list of products currently under investigation is as follows: OGX Ever Straightening Plus Brazilian Keratin Therapy Shampoo; Keratin Complex Smoothing Therapy Keratin Color Care Shampoo; It’s A 10 Miracle Shampoo Plus Keratin; Paul Mitchell’s Tea Tree Hair and Body Moisturizer; TIGI Bed Head Dumb Blonde Shampoo; Finesse 2-in-1 Moisturizing Shampoo and Conditioner; Got2b Phenomenal 2-in-1 Thickening Shampoo; Maui Moisture Color Protection + Sea Minerals Conditioner; and a number of Nexxus, Aussie, Mane 'n Tail, and Dove haircare products.
- How a Class Action Can Help
- A class action could help people get back some of the money they spent on the hair products. It could also force the manufacturers to be more upfront about the possible side effects of sodium lauryl sulfate, DMDM hydantoin and formaldehyde.
Attorneys working with ClassAction.org would like to speak to anyone who purchased certain haircare products and experienced hair loss and/or scalp irritation.
They’re investigating whether class action lawsuits can be filed in light of claims that the products contain either DMDM hydantoin, a preservative that can release formaldehyde upon contact with water, or sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS).
Which Products Are Under Investigation?
Attorneys working with ClassAction.org are looking into the following products for their use of DMDM hydantoin or sodium lauryl sulfate.
If you experienced hair loss, scalp irritation or other side effects after using one of the products listed below, help this investigation by filling out the form on this page and sharing your story. You may be able to help get a class action lawsuit started.
DMDM Hydantoin List
- OGX Ever Straightening Plus Brazilian Keratin Therapy Shampoo
- Keratin Complex Smoothing Therapy Keratin Color Care Shampoo
- It’s A 10 Miracle Shampoo Plus Keratin
- Paul Mitchell’s Tea Tree Hair and Body Moisturizer
- Aussie Miracle Curls Crème Pudding
- Aussie Instant Freeze Gel
- Aussie Headstrong Volume Mousse
- Aussie Headstrong Volume Gel
- Aussie Miracle Coils Shaping Jelly
- Aussie Instant Freeze Mousse
- Aussie Miracle Curls Mousse
- Aussie Miracle Coils Leave-in Stretching Cream
- Dove Anti-Dandruff Shampoo - Dryness & Itch Relief
- Dove Anti-Dandruff Shampoo - Soothing Moisture
- Dove Anti-Dandruff Shampoo - Coconut & Hydration
- Dove Men+Care Anti-Dandruff Fortifying Shampoo & Conditioner - Dandruff Defense
- Dove Men+Care Anti-Dandruff Fortifying Shampoo & Conditioner - Dryness & Itch Relief
- TIGI Bed Head Dumb Blonde Shampoo
- Finesse 2-in-1 Moisturizing Shampoo and Conditioner
- Got2b Phenomenal 2-in-1 Thickening Shampoo
- Maui Moisture Color Protection + Sea Minerals Conditioner
- Nexxus Clean & Pure Nourishing Detox Shampoo
- Nexxus Color Assure Shampoo
- Nexxus Therappe Ultimate Moisture Shampoo
- Nexxus Diametress Weightless Volume Shampoo
- Nexxus Hydra-Light Weightless Moisture Shampoo
Attorneys working with ClassAction.org are also looking into a number of Mane 'n Tail haircare products.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate List
- Aussie Miracle Detox Shampoo
- Aussie Miracle Clean Shampoo
- Aussie Miracle Moist Shampoo
- Aussie Miracle Clean 2N1 Shampoo
- Aussie Miracle Smooth Shampoo
- Aussie Miracle Moist 2N1 Shampoo
- Aussie Total Miracle 7N1 Shampoo
- Aussie Beat the Brass Purple Shampoo
- Aussie Miracle Curls Shampoo
- Aussie Miracle Volume Shampoo
- Aussie Miracle Mend Shampoo
- Aussie Miracle Waves Anti-Frizz Hemp Shampoo
- TIGI Bed Head Dumb Blonde Shampoo
DMDM Hydantoin in Haircare Products: Is It Safe?
While DMDM hydantoin is generally considered safe at normal levels, concerns have surfaced regarding the formaldehyde-releasing action of the preservative. DMDM hydantoin works to prevent harmful mold and bacteria growth and extend the shelf life of certain haircare products by slowly releasing small amounts of formaldehyde, a probable human carcinogen, over time.
According to a lawsuit filed over certain TRESemmé keratin products, the nature of the ingredient may be causing and contributing to hair loss and scalp irritation in users.
According to the FDA, DMDM hydantoin is one of the most common allergens in cosmetic products and can trigger an immune system response that results in allergy symptoms such as itching and rashes. One study has indicated that irritation of the scalp can also lead to hair loss and hair brittleness.
Attorneys believe that consumers have not been properly warned about the side effects that may develop from use of products containing DMDM hydantoin and suspect that use of the preservative is unnecessary, as safer non-toxic alternatives exist.
Skin Irritation and Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
Sodium lauryl sulfate is what’s known as a “surfactant” and, in shampoo products, works by trapping oil-based dirt and allowing it to be rinsed away by water.
Although neither the International Agency for Research on Cancer nor the Environmental Protection Agency list SLS as a carcinogen, the chemical has been found to have the ability to penetrate the skin and cause irritation.
For instance, one study performed by researchers in Germany found that 42% of 1,600 individuals who received an SLS patch test developed an “irritant reaction.” It has also been reported that SLS is so likely to cause a skin reaction that it’s actually used as a positive control in dermatological tests.
Consumers Complain of Hair Loss, Other Side Effects
A number of complaints of hair loss and other side effects have been posted online by people who used the haircare products listed above. A sample of these complaints can be found below [sic throughout, emphasis ours].
I can't be positive it's the shampoo, but ever since I started using it's a 10 my scalp has become very itchy. I'm also shedding way more than usual. My hair dries some what clumpy, and is greasy right away. So I thought maybe I wasn't rinsing thoroughly enough? So I did extra rinsing and it didn't make a difference. My hair looks healthy, but it's not worth the other side effects. I've decided to stop using it. It smells good, but my scalp kind of burns afterwords too. I never leave bad reviews, but in case someone else is having this problem with the shampoo, you're not crazy!”
— disappointed, It’s a 10 Miracle Shampoo with Keratin user, Ulta.com
This shampoo makes my hair fall out in handfuls both in the shower and throughout the day. My hair gets a mushy, waxy feeling while using this, then is extremely tangled after it's rinsed out. Using conditioner afterward makes zero difference. It does make my hair look smoother once it dries.”
— Reo, It’s a 10 Miracle Shampoo with Keratin user, Ulta.com
I've only used it twice and cannot get past the smell...And on top of that I have welts and scabs on my head because I must be allergic…”
— hairjunkie, Keratin Complex Color Care Shampoo user, Ulta.com
I feel like this is causing me to lose some hair. I never used to have issues with hair loss, and when I started using this I noticed that when I styled my hair with my hands, my sink would become covered in strands of hair. Not sure if it’s a coincidence, but I feel like it isn’t.”
— Jason B., Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Hair and Body Moisturizer user, Amazon.com
I have been using the OGX brand for years, so I'm quite disappointed…After and while using this shampoo, I've been losing a lot of hair, and my hair doesn't seem to be getting better. Will be switching to a different brand in hopes of repairing my damaged hair.”
— Leahhhhhh, OGX Ever Straightening Plus Brazilian Keratin Therapy Shampoo user, Walmart.com
The shampoo seems to dry out my hair and really makes my scalp itch. I do not normally have sensitive skin, so I can only conclude that there's something in the formula that causes this reaction. I have stopped using the shampoo and am very disappointed.”
— EnglishRose, OGX Ever Straightening Plus Brazilian Keratin Therapy Shampoo user, Walmart.com
I noticed my scalp was irritated after a few days. I just washed it out and my hair came out significantly more than it has ever had. Just my hands through my hair clumps were coming out from the scalp. I literally felt them pull.”
— Ca, Aussie Miracle Moist Shampoo user, Target.com
I got it cause it smelled great. I had to stop using it my hair was falling out a lot!”
— lizo1991, Dove Soothing Moisture Anti-Dandruff shampoo user, Dove.com
As a professional hair stylist, I cannot recommend this product to anyone. After rinsing, my hair was stringy, dry, and tangled. Not how I want my hair to feel after conditioning. I blow dried and was flake free but my hair was so stripped it was squeaking while I was combing. I believe I am allergic to an ingredient in this product as I am breaking out with redness and itchy skin everywhere this product came in contact with my skin.”
— Anonymous, Dove Dryness & Itch Relief Anti-Dandruff shampoo user, Dove.com
DO NOT BUY!! This product weakens hair, tangles hair, and causes the user to lose hair. Absolute terrible product!!!”
— ThtDGood, Got2b Phenomenal 2-in-1 Thickening Shampoo user, Amazon.com
All I'm going to say is you need to research all of the ingredients on this label before you purchase. Specifically the last several ingredients. Very harmful. The brand is also owned by Johnson and Johnson. This conditioner caused sever irritation to my scalp and I've seen a lot of people say they have also had a bad experience with this brand.”
— Moonflower, Maui Moisture Color Protection + Sea Minerals Conditioner user, Amazon.com
While this product smells great and makes my hair feel soft, I’ve experienced severe hair loss since using it.”
— LMA123, Nexxus Therappe Ultimate Moisture Shampoo user, Nexxus.com
How Could a Class Action Lawsuit Help?
A class action lawsuit, if successful, could help consumers get back some of the money they spent on the shampoos and hair products listed above. It could also force the companies who make the products to be more upfront about the possible side effects of using shampoo and hair products that contain DMDM hydantoin and sodium lauryl sulfate.
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