Anyone who used chemical hair relaxers or hair straighteners and developed uterine cancer or ovarian cancer, as well as loved ones acting on their behalf.
What’s Going On?
Scientific studies have found that chemical hair straighteners and relaxers have been linked to certain types of cancer, and it’s possible that the makers of these products knew about and failed to warn consumers of these health risks. Attorneys working with ClassAction.org are now investigating whether lawsuits can be filed on behalf of those who were diagnosed with uterine or ovarian cancer.
Which Products Are Under Investigation?
A list of products can be found below; however, this list is not exhaustive as attorneys want to speak to anyone who used a hair relaxer and was diagnosed with uterine or ovarian cancer.
How Could a Lawsuit Help?
A lawsuit could help consumers recover money for medical bills, pain and suffering, and other damages.
What You Can Do
Fill out the form on this page to find out more about what’s involved with filing a lawsuit and what you could be owed.
How Much Does This Cost?
It doesn’t cost anything to speak with an attorney we work with, and you’re not obligated to take legal action just because you talked to someone about your rights.
Attorneys working with ClassAction.org are pursuing legal action on behalf of consumers who were diagnosed with uterine or ovarian cancer after using a hair relaxer or hair-straightening product.
Several studies have linked the use of hair straighteners and relaxers to an increased risk of cancer, and now lawsuits are being filed that allege the manufacturers knew about these health risks but failed to warn consumers.
If you or a loved one developed uterine or ovarian cancer and used a chemical hair relaxer, you may be able to take legal action to recover money for medical bills, pain and suffering and other damages.
To find out more, fill out the form on this page. An attorney may reach out to you directly to answer your questions and help determine whether you can file a lawsuit to recover money for medical expenses and more.
Studies Show Hair Relaxers, Straighteners Linked to Cancer, Health Problems
On October 17, 2022, the National Cancer Institute published a study that found that the use of hair straightening products is linked with a higher risk of developing uterine cancer.
According to the study, certain endocrine-disrupting chemicals that are often found in straighteners and other hair products may have contributed to this cancer risk. Endocrine disruptors, such as formaldehyde and phthalates, interfere with how the body’s hormones function and could potentially lead to reproductive problems, altered development, disrupted sexual development, low birth weight, a weakened immune system, and cancer.
The study noted that exposure to these potentially dangerous chemicals through hair products is especially concerning because chemicals are more easily absorbed through the scalp than other parts of the skin.
Additionally, the use of hair straighteners and relaxers can cause scalp lesions and burns, which make it even easier for harmful chemicals to pass into the body. The study also pointed out that applying heat through flat ironing or blow drying during straightening treatments can release or decompose the damaging chemicals, leading to higher exposure.
In the wake of the National Cancer Institute study, the manufacturers of certain hair straighteners and relaxers have been hit with lawsuits alleging they should have known about these health risks and properly warned consumers.
Which Hair Relaxer Brands Are Under Investigation?
Attorneys are looking to file perm lawsuits on behalf of consumers who were diagnosed with certain types of cancer and used a hair relaxer. Some popular hair relaxer products and brands include (but are not limited to) the following:
Care Free Curl
Dark and Lovely
Just For Me
Look of Radiance Permanent Crème Relaxer
ORS Olive Oil Relaxer
Pink Oil Moisturizer Relaxer
Pro-Line Comb Thru Texturizer Kit
Soft & Beautiful
Strength of Nature
Texture My Way
Vitale Life and Body
Vitale Olive Oil
Who Can File a Hair Relaxer Lawsuit in 2024?
Generally, consumers who have used chemical hair relaxers or straighteners and were subsequently diagnosed with endometrial, ovarian or uterine cancer (and possibly other health problems) may be able to file a hair relaxer lawsuit. People who lost a family member whose cancer stemmed from regular hair relaxer use may also be able to take legal action.
Consumers who might qualify for a lawsuit over hair relaxer injuries are not limited by whether they used chemical hair relaxers at a salon or at home.
What’s Involved with Filing a Hair Relaxer Lawsuit?
First, your attorney will ask you some questions and gather information to support your claim that hair relaxers caused your cancer. You may be asked about which specific products you used and how often, and you may need to provide documentation such as receipts. Your attorney may also gather your relevant medical records.
Your attorney will then file a “complaint” with the court that will specify which company/companies you are suing and describe your injuries. Your complaint will be filed as part of the multidistrict litigation (MDL) against hair relaxer manufacturers, meaning you will join thousands of others who have already filed lawsuits seeking to hold the companies accountable for their injuries.
Lawyers heading up the MDL will then work with the attorneys representing the defendants to gather information, a process called “discovery,” and attempt to resolve the litigation.
If a resolution is not reached, a handful of cases may proceed as “bellwether trials”—essentially “test runs” to see how juries may rule. For instance, if the juries side with the plaintiffs in most of the bellwether trials, the defendants may decide to reach a global settlement to avoid the risk and expense of litigating the rest of the lawsuits. If the defendants win most of the bellwether trials, they may not pursue a settlement, and you and your attorney will need to decide whether you want to withdraw your lawsuit or proceed to trial.
What Chemicals Are Found in Hair Relaxers and Hair Straighteners?
According to an October 2023 Associated Press report, the FDA has gotten the ball rolling on a possible ban of formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing chemicals as ingredients in hair-straightening and -smoothing products.
The agency stated that these chemicals, when used in certain cosmetic products, have been linked to allergic reactions, breathing problems, fibroids, fertility issues and an increased risk of certain cancers, particularly among Black women, to whom hair straightening products are often marketed.
Per the AP, the FDA intends to publish an advance notice of proposed rulemaking, which would apply to salon-grade and at-home products, by April 2024, though potential rules may stay on the agency’s agenda for years, the publication noted.
In a video post on the official FDA Instagram account, the agency, in an attempt to combat misinformation about the proposal, emphasized that no action has been taken yet and that it plans to work with the cosmetics industry to develop formaldehyde-free straightening products.
A Boston University study published in October 2023 in the journal Environmental Research found that, among thousands of postmenopausal Black women followed for the study, those who used hair relaxers more than twice a year for over five years had a greater than 50 percent increased risk of uterine cancer compared to those who “never or seldom used them.”
If the FDA eventually issues a final rule banning formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing chemicals from hair-straightening and -smoothing products, it would be published in the Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulations.
Hair Relaxer Lawsuits: Are They Class Action Cases?
Although several proposed class action lawsuits have been filed, those cases are looking to repay consumers for the cash they spent on the hair relaxers and straighteners – and not for any monetary damages associated with developing cancer or other health problems.
The attorneys working with ClassAction.org are looking to file individual hair relaxer lawsuits on behalf of people who used products from the brands mentioned on this page and developed uterine cancer or ovarian cancer.
Since these cases are being handled on an individual basis, that means you’ll need to file your own lawsuit and be represented by your own attorney, who will attempt to resolve the matter on your behalf.
What Can I Get from a Perm Lawsuit?
A successful lawsuit could provide payments for the following:
Pain and suffering
Loss of enjoyment of life
Funeral expenses, in the event of death
While there are no guarantees as to how much women could receive for their injuries – or even if the litigation will be successful - some law firms estimate settlement payouts could be between $100,000 and $400,000 on the low end.
How Much Does Filing a Hair Relaxer Lawsuit Cost?
The attorneys are handling these lawsuits on a contingency-fee basis, meaning you will only pay if they win your case. In these situations, your attorney will typically collect a portion of the money you receive.
How Much Can I Get From a Hair Relaxer Lawsuit Settlement?
It’s impossible to guarantee the amount of financial compensation a consumer could receive from any potential hair relaxer cancer settlement. This is because a number of individual factors will determine how much money, if anything, a person may be entitled to.
Any settlement stemming from a hair relaxer cancer lawsuit will likely take into account the severity of the consumer’s injuries, the total approximate costs of medical bills (including the cost of a hysterectomy, chemotherapy or other related medical care), how much time the individual needed away from work, whether the cancer was fatal, and many other factors.
One law firm estimates the average amount for a hair relaxer lawsuit settlement to be between $100,000 and $1.5 million. Another speculates that settlements could be worth anywhere from $400,000 to $1.75 million.
Ultimately, there is no way to tell how much a hair relaxer settlement might be – or even if the litigation will be successful – until the legal process has run its course.
When Will Hair Relaxer Lawsuits Be Settled?
It is unknown at this time if or when hair relaxer cancer lawsuits will be settled. The litigation over chemical hair relaxers is still relatively new, and new cases are being filed on a regular basis.
Remember, it can take years from the time a lawsuit is filed before a deal is reached, if at all, especially with complicated mass torts that involve many thousands of injury claims.
Often, the picture going forward becomes clearer when a bellwether trial—essentially a test trial—is scheduled. This kind of trial can give both parties in a lawsuit a sense of how their arguments will play out. If the plaintiffs are successful over the course of several bellwether trials, it’s possible the defendants may consider negotiating a settlement.
Is There a Deadline for Filing Hair Relaxer Cancer Lawsuits?
Every state has its own statute of limitations limiting the amount of time a consumer has to file a personal injury claim. Generally, for each state, an injury lawsuit must be filed within one to six years from the time the injury occurred, though there are some exceptions.
For hair relaxer cancer lawsuits, it is critical to talk to an attorney as they will know about your state’s particular statute of limitations. To learn more about your eligibility for a hair relaxer lawsuit, fill out the form on this page.
For a hair relaxer lawsuit, the clock typically begins to run on the statute of limitations when a person has discovered (or reasonably should have discovered) that they developed cancer after regular use of chemical straightener products.
For instance, if a woman used chemical hair relaxers for most of her life and was diagnosed with cancer nine years ago, in most states it would not be too late for the woman to file a lawsuit. Even though the woman’s diagnosis was nine years ago, the clock did not begin to run on her claims until she realized, or should have realized, that her cancer may have been caused by her use of hair relaxers.
Generally, the public knowledge that chemical hair relaxer products could cause cancer dates back to October 2022, when the findings of what’s known as the Sister Study were published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
It is important to remember, however, that there are some states in which the foregoing might not apply, as a state may have a maximum time limit on bringing an injury lawsuit, regardless of when an individual may have discovered that their cancer or other adverse health condition is linked to chemical hair relaxers.
What You Can Do
If you or a family member used a chemical hair straightener or relaxer product and was diagnosed with uterine cancer or ovarian cancer, fill out the form on this page to find out more about your rights.
After you get in touch, an attorney may reach out to you directly to answer your questions and explain what’s involved with filing a lawsuit. It costs nothing to get in touch, and you’re not obligated to take legal action if you later change your mind.
Hair Relaxer Cancer Lawsuit Update 2024: The Latest
Below is a comprehensive timeline of major developments in the history of hair relaxer cancer litigation. ClassAction.org will regularly update this timeline with the latest updates.
L’Oréal, SoftSheen-Carson Hit with Three New Hair Relaxer Lawsuits Over Cancer Diagnoses
Three women have each filed new lawsuits in which they allege their long-time use of certain hair relaxer products caused them to develop endometrial or uterine cancer.
In particular, two plaintiffs claim to have developed endometrial cancer after using Dark and Lovely, Soft & Beautiful, UltraSheen and Mizani hair relaxers, while the third plaintiff did not specify in her lawsuit which product or products allegedly contributed to her uterine cancer diagnosis.
On November 13, United States District Judge Mary M. Rowland for the most part declined bids from L’Oréal, Revlon and other companies facing hair relaxer cancer claims to dismiss the master long-form complaint, meaning the manufacturers must face the bulk of the allegations in the multidistrict litigation (MDL).
In a 25-page memo and order, Judge Rowland allowed the majority of the plaintiffs’ negligence, design defect, failure to warn, wrongful death and other claims to proceed while dismissing four of the consumers’ fraud-based allegations. The claims that were dismissed from the 15-count master complaint failed to meet the heightened pleading standard of stating “with particularity the circumstances constituting fraud,” the judge explained.
The JPML is the body tasked with determining whether civil actions pending in more than one federal district should be combined and transferred into a single district for the purpose of conserving resources and ensuring similar outcomes in cases involving large numbers of people.
According to one law firm’s tally, more than 3,700 cases were added to the MDL between mid-September and mid-October of this year. Earlier in the year, the hair relaxer MDL contained only a few hundred lawsuits.
As of October 2023, the hair relaxer MDL was the ninth largest in the country.
FDA Says It Will Consider Banning Formaldehyde Hair Relaxer Chemicals
The Associated Press reported on October 19 that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration was considering banning formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing chemicals as ingredients in hair-straightening and -relaxing products.
These chemicals, and endocrine disruptors in general, when found in certain cosmetics, have been linked to fibroids, fertility problems and an increased risk of certain cancers, particularly among Black women given that they historically use hair relaxers more frequently.
The FDA intends to publish an advance notice of proposed rulemaking by April 2024, though proposed rules can stay on the agency’s docket for years.
Black Women’s Health Study Links Use of Hair Relaxers to Certain Cancers
For the study, 44,798 Black women were followed from 1997 until 2019, a time during which 347 incidents of uterine cancer were diagnosed among the women. Specifically, the study found that, compared to women who never or rarely used hair relaxers, postmenopausal Black women who used hair relaxers more than twice a year, or for more than five years, have a greater than 50 percent increased risk of developing uterine cancer.
MDL Judge Requires Hair Relaxer Makers to Produce Documents
During an October 2 hearing, United States District Judge Mary M. Rowland ordered the defendants in the MDL—L’Oréal, Revlon, SoftSheen Carson, Strength of Nature, Godrej, House of Cheatham, Dabur USA and Namaste Laboratories, among others—to produce certain documents relevant to the litigation, even if they are not in possession of those documents and the records are instead in the hands of an affiliate.
Per court documents, Judge Rowland ordered each defendant to identify, for the purposes of evidence production, the affiliates they have control over and the affiliates that are “not being searched, along with an explanation for why those entities do not have documents” within that company’s possession, custody or control.
MDL Judge OKs Short Form Complaint, Further Streamlining Filing Process
On August 3, Judge Rowland approved a short form complaint for future plaintiffs in the MDL to use when filing a claim. The short form complaint is essentially a pre-approved, shorter version of a much broader master complaint (explained below).
Ultimately, the approval of the short form complaint simplifies the filing process for plaintiffs pursuing hair relaxer cancer lawsuits.
“Master” Complaint Filed in Ballooning Hair Relaxer MDL
On May 15, the dozens of plaintiffs in the hair relaxer MDL filed an 82-page master complaint with the court in which the consumers outlined the common allegations raised across their individual lawsuits.
Overall, the master complaint alleges the defendants made, sold and advertised toxic hair relaxer products that caused the plaintiffs to develop cancer and other injuries. The consumers asked the court for “compensatory and punitive damages, monetary restitution, medical monitoring and equitable relief,” among other remedies for injuries they claim are linked to chemical hair relaxers and straighteners.
The general purpose of a master complaint is to streamline the legal process by combining all common allegations into a single document. This not only reduces potential duplication issues but promotes efficiency on the court’s end and helps ensure consistent rulings across similar lawsuits.
UK Advocacy Group Presses L’Oréal to Pull Hair Straightening Products from Market
The Guardian reported on April 23 that U.K. feminist group Level Up was campaigning for L’Oréal to withdraw its chemical hair straighteners from the market in light of research that linked the products to an increased risk of cancer.
In an open letter coordinated by Level Up and signed by various political leaders and women’s rights advocates, the organization also asked L’Oréal to invest in research on the long-term use of hair relaxers. Per the Guardian, L’Oréal denied any link between its hair relaxers and cancer and expressed confidence in the safety of the products.
Boston University Study Links Use of Hair Relaxers to Pregnancy Issues
The study, published on March 31 and funded by the National Institutes of Health and published online for the American Journal of Epidemiology, found that the use of hair relaxers and/or straighteners was linked to “a slight reduction in one’s ability to conceive.” The study built upon a growing portfolio of research tying reproductive health issues to exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals, including phthalates, phenols and parabens, found in cosmetic products.
Judge Extends Deadline to File Certain Cancer Claims Against Bankrupt Revlon
In March, the judge overseeing Revlon’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings extended the deadline by which consumers with certain types of cancer could file claims against the company.
The 90-year-old company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in June 2022 as it faced mounting debts, supply chain problems and increasing crowding in the cosmetics industry. However, thousands of consumers claimed that Revlon owed them damages after they used the company’s hair relaxers and ultimately developed cancer.
United States Bankruptcy Judge David S. Jones gave Revlon customers until April 11, 2023 by which to file a cancer claim against the company. The original deadline was in October 2022, just after the National Institutes of Health published its study linking chemical hair relaxer use to uterine cancer.
Hair Relaxer Cancer Lawsuits Consolidated into Multidistrict Litigation
In early February, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation wrangled dozens of cases against hair relaxer manufacturers together into multidistrict litigation (MDL) in Illinois federal court before United States District Judge Mary M. Rowland.
Per the order, the consolidated cases, and those to be added to the MDL in the future, all “share common questions of fact” arising from the defendants’ use of endocrine-disrupting chemicals in hair relaxer products and allege that the use of such products can increase a person’s risk of developing uterine, ovarian or breast cancer, endometriosis, uterine fibroids or other reproductive system injuries.
NBC News Profiles Hysterectomy Patients Who Say Cancer Diagnoses Were from Hair Relaxer Use
Three of the women with whom NBC spoke had a hysterectomy after years of hair relaxer use, with one woman undergoing the procedure at just 28 years old. Another woman told NBC that she developed fibroids after using the hair products.
Each woman affirmed that she was unaware that the use of chemical straighteners had put her at an increased risk of cancer until the release of the National Institutes of Health study the month prior.
Consumers Allege L’Oréal Failed to Disclose Dark & Lovely Cancer Risk
On November 17, 2022, four Black women filed a hair relaxer lawsuit in which they alleged L’Oréal and SoftSheen Carson’s Dark & Lovely and Optimum Smooth products contained endocrine-disrupting chemicals known to be harmful to human health.
The proposed class action looks to represent all consumers nationwide who bought any chemical hair straighteners or hair relaxers made by L’Oréal or SoftSheen Carson in the U.S. or its territories (excluding California) at any time since November 8, 2016.
L’Oréal, Others Hit with Lawsuit After Bombshell NIH Study Linking Hair Relaxers to Uterine Cancer Is Published
Study Finds that Heavy Use of Hair Relaxers Containing Lye May Increase Breast Cancer Risk
In May 2021, Boston University researchers said they found some evidence that heavy use of lye-containing hair relaxers may be linked to an increased risk of breast cancer.
For the study, the researchers, using data from the Black Women’s Health Study, compared incidence rates of breast cancer among women who moderately or heavily used hair relaxers compared to those with light or no use. While the results showed no clear link between hair relaxer use and breast cancer for most women, there was evidence showing that those who heavily used lye-containing relaxers, i.e., at least seven times a year for at least 15 years, had a roughly 30 percent increased risk of estrogen receptor positive breast cancer.