As a result, we’re susceptible to deceptive packaging and hidden ingredients. These products can be full of chemicals and other irritants that do more harm than good.
This past summer, Larissa Whipple sued this common shampoo brand for that very reason.
Larissa Whipple v. Johnson & Johnson
Illinois woman Larissa Whipple sued Johnson & Johnson in July 2021 over its hair care line, OGX. Whipple claimed that the company’s products caused “significant hair loss.”
The lawsuit states that J&J has made several false claims on its products. These include that their products “deeply nourish,” “gently cleanse,” and “repair hair.”
“However, the products’ formula contains a combination of ingredients that have caused Plaintiff and thousands of consumers to experience hair loss and/or scalp irritation,” the lawsuit reads.
The Plaintiff alleges that the Defendant “failed to properly warn consumers of the risks and dangers” of its products’ ingredients. They allege the Defendant “continues to conceal dangers” by failing to recall the products fully.
The products in question include 30 shampoos and conditioners, hair oil, and serums, among others. You’ve likely seen OGX brand products at your local grocery or pharmacy.
You might even have some in your bathroom right now. Before reading this lawsuit, I did, too.
The Problem With OGX
If you’re like me, you were likely drawn to OGX’s luxurious packaging. The bottles list exotic ingredients like turmeric and marula oil. Out of all the products available at good ol’ Walgreens, OGX would appear to be some of the best.
However, OGX products contain a chemical called DMDM hydantoin. It is considered a “formaldehyde donor,” which releases small amounts of formaldehyde over time to preserve the product. While many consider its use in cosmetics safe in small amounts, there is still the possibility for adverse side effects.
The FDA states that DMDM hydantoin causes some of the “most allergic reactions from the use of cosmetic products.” Formaldehyde donors have also been linked to rashes from irritation, typically when the product is exposed to heat.
Additionally, Formaldehyde is listed as a probable carcinogen, which means it could cause cancer. That said, formaldehyde is a naturally occuring gas that we are exposed to quite commonly, so more studies need to be done here.
Johnson & Johnson’s Made A Promise To Rid Products Of DMDM
This isn’t J&J’s first rodeo with DMDM, either. The company announced in 2012 that it would be removing all DMDM hydantoin and similar ingredients from its products by 2015.
But when J&J absorbed Vogue International and its OGX line in 2016, the company failed to remove the potentially harmful ingredients from those products.
For this reason, Whipple’s lawsuit states that J&J’s 2012 announcement is a “broken promise.”
It’s unclear whether J&J will pay restitution to Whipple or alter the OGX ingredient list at all. But in the meantime, you can protect yourself by thoroughly researching your hair care products.
There’s a lot of genuine Moroccan argan oil out there. But there’s even more ineffective, dangerous snake oil. Make sure you can tell the difference between the two.