Published On: Tue, Feb 14th, 2023

Olaplex hair care lawsuit: Shampoo-brand causes bald spots, lawsuit claims

The haircare brand Olaplex is being sued over claims its products caused baldness and even burns and blisters on customers’ scalps, causing them to experience bald spots.

Around 30 customers have made the lawsuit, filed in California, and are seeking $75,000 in damages. The legal action comes amid a number of negative reviews of the brand’s products online.

Claimants say the product left their hair looking “as if it were cut with a weedwhacker”. breaking the hair and resulting in an unkempt look. The product has been lauded for restoring softness and shine to locks, especially those damaged by dyeing and styling. The company bills the products as “bond maintenance” and “smoothing” products.

The company has a celebrity following. Kim Kardashian has sworn by the product for keeping her hair in good health when dying it. She told Allure: “I love being blonde. When it’s blonde, I put in a lot of Olaplex.”

However, the claimants in this suit say the product has done the very opposite of what it is supposed to do. The company is accused of false and deceptive marketing by lawyer Amy Davis.

The lawsuit reads: “Far from repairing and protecting hair from damage, the products have instead left plaintiffs’ hair dry, brittle, frizzy, and dull. The hair has split and broken, causing it to look unkept and as if it were cut with a weedwhacker.”

It added claimants were left with “inflamed, blistered, flaking or scaling skin.” The company has denied any wrongdoing.Its communications team has said the products “do not cause hair loss or hair breakage… We have full confidence and believe in the safety and efficacy of our products, which are thoroughly tested in-house and by independent third-party laboratories.”

The suit highlights a number of ingredients it claims are responsible for the results the claimants allege to have come from the product. This includes sodium benzoate.Also mentioned in the suit is lilial, which gives products a pleasant smell. According to the FDA sodium benzoate in concentrations of up to 0.1 percent by weight is safe in haircare products.

Olaplex stopped using lilial in its formula last year after it was found to be “reprotoxic” by The EU. Olaplex removed the ingredient from products in January 2022. At the time it told The Independent: “In September 2020, the EU regulatory authority announced their intent to Butylphenyl methylpropional commonly referred to as ‘lillial’ phased out by March of 2022.

“At Olaplex, lilial was previously used in small amounts as a fragrance in No. 3 Hair Perfector. It is not an active or functional ingredient.

“While this phase out is limited to the EU, out of an abundance of caution, Olaplex proactively removed lillial from our No.3 Hair Perfector globally. Since January 2022, Olaplex no longer sold products using lillial in the UK or EU.”

Alongside this suit, there are negative reviews for the product online. Hundreds of customers have left one-star reviews on online retailer Sephora, although these make up a small number of the overall reviews. Overall the product has been rated 4.3 stars out of five on the website, with 84 percent of customers recommending it.

One claims the product “destroyed” their hair, while others claim to have a bald spot thanks to the product.

One wrote: “After two months of using it, my hair was extremely damaged and had SEVERE breakage. It has taken almost two years to get my hair back to how it was before I started using it.”

Another wrote: “I noticed that my hair was falling out more than usually! And if anything I believe it caused more breakage at the top of my hair. Do not recommend!”

“I am losing so much hair from this product,” one distressed reviewer wrote. “Chunks of hair are falling out every day with no end in sight and it has been over two weeks since I used the product. I only used it over all of my hair once and I have a bald spot forming on the top of my head already. I am praying this is not permanent hair loss.”

Another said: “I used it for about two months. I now have a bald spot. I’m hoping the hair will grow back.”

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