L’Oreal Hair Straightener & Relaxer

On October 26, 2022, the American Cancer Society (ACS) warned about new research showing that women who regularly use chemical hair straighteners and relaxers may have an increased risk of uterine cancer. ACS’s warning was based on an article in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute analyzing data from more than 34,000 women in a National Institutes of Health sponsored study. Previous research has also linked straightener use to a higher risk of breast and ovarian cancer.

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What are L’oreal hair straightener and relaxer lawsuits?

In recent years, a growing wave of litigation has swept across the cosmetic industry, with a particular focus on hair relaxer companies such as L’Oreal. These lawsuits allege that the chemicals found in hair relaxers are linked to a range of serious health issues, from scalp burns and hair loss to more severe conditions such as cancer and reproductive problems. This development has sparked a significant debate about consumer safety, corporate responsibility, and the need for more stringent regulatory oversight in the cosmetic industry.

The core of these lawsuits lies in the argument that companies have failed to adequately warn consumers about the potential risks associated with their products. Plaintiffs have brought forward claims suggesting that the long-term use of chemical relaxers has led to the development of conditions such as uterine cancer, endometriosis, and other serious health concerns. These allegations have not only cast a shadow over the safety practices of these companies but have also raised questions about the adequacy of current product testing and disclosure requirements.

If you are ready to file a claim against the manufacturer of L’Oreal hair relaxer, Shunnarah can help you with the following:

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Chemicals used in hair-straightening products

Some plaintiffs who have used L’Oreal Hair Relaxer for years and were then diagnosed with cancer have filed lawsuits against hair product manufacturers, claiming they failed to warn about the serious risks associated with those products.

The product liability lawyers at Alexander Shunnarah Trial Attorneys are currently investigating cases in which individuals used hair relaxers and straighteners and then developed cancer.

The chemicals used in hair relaxers & straighteners are often categorized into two groups:

Lye Hair Relaxers

These include sodium hydroxide and are used to straighten tightly curled hair. Also called caustic soda and lye, sodium hydroxide is very corrosive. It is considered to have the highest potential to damage hair.

It works quickly, however, to break down the proteins in the hair and should be rinsed out as soon as possible.

No-lye Hair Relaxers

These contain other powerful chemicals, like calcium hydroxide and guanidine carbonate, to break the chemical bonds of the hair shaft in place of lye. They can be easier on the scalp than lye, but they may also cause calcium buildup and dry hair. All of these chemicals work well to straighten or relax the hair, but they can also cause other problems, such as Hair thinning, breakage and brittleness, dryness, and loss. They may also cause scalp irritation, itching, and burning, and in some cases, may result in chemical burns.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration requires hair relaxers and straightener manufacturers to list the active ingredients on the product label but not the rest. Preservatives and fragrances, for instance, are usually not listed. Other chemicals found in hair relaxers may include:

Hormone-disrupting chemicals

Studies have found that chemicals in relaxers can contain hormonally active ingredients—also called endocrine disruptors—that can contribute to reproductive and metabolic health issues.


These are plasticizing chemicals that have been linked to negative impacts on the reproductive system and growth and development. They are also endocrine disruptors. Hair relaxers contain a specific phthalate called di-2-ethyl hexyl phthalate (DEHP) which is considered to be a probable human carcinogen.


Parabens are preservatives commonly found in hair relaxers. According to Breast Cancer Prevention Partners (BCPP), several studies have found that parabens can affect breast cells and possibly influence their abnormal growth.


The FDA notes that most hair smoothing and straightening products release formaldehyde gas, a known human carcinogen, into the air during the process.

Hair Relaxer Lawsuits against manufacturers

Some women have already come forward to file hair relaxer lawsuits against the manufacturers.

In October 2022, for instance, CNN reported that L’Oreal, along with multiple other parties, is being sued “over claims that its chemical hair straightening products put women at an increased risk of uterine cancer.” The case was filed in the U.S. District Court in Chicago (Mitchell v. L’Oreal, et al. – 1:22-cv-5815).

In that case, a 32-year-old woman claimed that her uterine cancer was directly caused by her prolonged exposure to toxic chemicals in L’Oreal’s hair relaxer products. She stated in a news conference that she had been getting hair relaxing treatment since she was about 8 years old. She was diagnosed with uterine cancer in 2018.

Two other similar cases followed, one filed in California and one in New York against cosmetic companies including L’Oreal. Legal experts believe more women will come forward, particularly now that awareness is increasing concerning the studies mentioned above.

The plaintiffs allege that the manufacturers failed to warn about the serious health risks associated with using their products, and despite the publication of studies showing these risks, still have not adjusted their product warnings and/or instructions.

Instead, these companies continue to market, advertise, and represent to the public that these products are safe for women to use however often they like.

The impact of chemical hair straightener lawsuits

Another significant aspect of relaxer lawsuits is the socio-cultural dimension they highlight. Hair relaxers have been predominantly marketed to and used by African American women, raising concerns about racial and gender disparities in product safety and health outcomes. Advocates argue that this points to a broader issue of environmental racism and the need for companies to take greater care in how they market and formulate products intended for minority communities.

As these legal battles unfold, they not only represent a critical juncture for affected individuals seeking justice but also serve as a catalyst for broader change in the cosmetic industry. The outcome of these lawsuits could potentially lead to more rigorous regulatory frameworks, better consumer education, and safer products on the market. It is a watershed moment that underscores the importance of corporate accountability and the role of legal systems in protecting public health and safety.

If you need go file a claim against L’Oreal for injury due to hair relaxers, Alexander Shunnarah Trial Attorneys are here to help.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Explore our FAQ to get the answers to some of our most frequently asked questions about L’Oreal Hair Relaxers.

How do I know if my health problems are related to using L’Oreal hair relaxers?

If you have experienced adverse health effects such as scalp irritation, hair loss, or have been diagnosed with a hormone-related cancer after prolonged use of L’Oreal hair relaxers, there may be a connection. It is essential to consult with healthcare professionals to document your conditions and gather medical evidence. Discussing your history of hair relaxer use with your doctor can help establish a potential link between your symptoms and the product.

What should I do if I believe my injuries are caused by L’Oreal hair relaxer chemicals?

After seeking medical attention, it is crucial to preserve any evidence related to your use of L’Oreal hair relaxer products, including keeping the product containers, purchase receipts, and medical records. Then, consult a personal injury lawyer with experience in product liability cases. A knowledgeable attorney can provide a comprehensive evaluation of your case, guide you through the complexities of product liability law, and help determine the best course of action for seeking compensation.

What type of compensation might I be entitled to in a lawsuit against L’Oreal for hair relaxer injuries?

Victims of injuries caused by L’Oreal hair relaxer chemicals may be eligible to claim compensation for a variety of damages. This includes medical expenses for treating your injuries, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and potentially loss of earnings if your injuries have impacted your ability to work. In cases involving serious illnesses like cancer, further damages for ongoing treatment costs and reduced life expectancy may also be pursued. The specific compensation will depend on the severity of your injuries and the individual facts of your case.

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