Class-Action Lawsuit Against L’Oreal Seeks $5M in Damages, Alleges Burning Scalp and Hair Loss

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Dorothy Riles before and after experiencing hair loss (screen shot)
Dorothy Riles before and after experiencing hair loss (screen shot)

A class-action lawsuit filed Wednesday against L’Oreal alleged its relaxer caused women’s hair to fall out. The cosmetics company denied their claims, but the plaintiffs’ suit stated they suffered severe burns. They also developed bald spots.

According to legal filings, Sharon Manier, Dorothy Riles and Lakeytra Nero are representing themselves and many other women who said they suffered the same hair issues. The women used L’Oreal’s SoftSheen-Carson Optimum Amla Legend relaxer. The chemical hair straightener contains amla oil, which according to LiveStrong helps stimulate hair growth and strengthens it.

L’Oreal-owned SoftSheen promotes its products online as “the safest and most effective” for its consumers.

But according to the suit filed by attorney Mark Geragos, the relaxer “contains hardly any Amla oil at all. The true ingredients in the Amla Relaxer are a dangerous mix of irritants and potentially toxic chemicals.”

Riles claimed after using the product she had scabs on her scalp and several bald patches. She resorted to wearing wigs to cover the hair loss and continues to cope with damaged, thinning hair as a result of the relaxer.

Once Manier used the product, she “immediately experienced scalp irritation.” Now suffering from hair loss, she is wearing hair pieces and relying on expensive hair vitamins to help generate growth.

The suit does not specify Nero’s purported injuries, but the more than 100 class members in the suit seek greater than $5 million in damages.

In addition to the women’s accusations, the suit lists several reviews complaining about poor results.

“I was in pain even after drying my hair. Now I have scabs all over my scalp,” one complaint read. “I’ve had to add olive oil to my scalp every day to soften the scabs and so that my [h]air does not continue to fall out.”

L’Oreal spokesperson Matthew DiGirolamo told BuzzFeed News there is no truth to the plaintiffs’ claims.

“We do not believe the allegations in this lawsuit have merit,” DiGirolamo said. “For more than 100 years, L’Oréal has been committed to the safety of its consumers.”

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