unless you’ve been sleeping under a rock, you’ve been well aware of the keratin products flooding the market. after the ftc got involved and exposed formaldehyde-based ingredients, many other brands from high to low end popped up with their own formaldehyde-free keratin “smoothing” products. one of those brands was suave who pimped the hell out of their Suave Professionals Keratin Infusion 30-Day Smoothing Kit.
when it hit the market, many women were relieved to find out that for customers that were interested, there indeed was a formaldehyde-free version of product that could be used to temporarily straighten your hair (you know, unlike those other brands that straight up lied and said they had no formaldehyde when it was discovered that they actually did). the problem is that suave lied too. their kit never was formaldehyde-free. (in addition to being used to preserved dead bodies, formaldehyde is a carcinogen, which means it can cause cancer). in may of last year while we weren’t paying attention, they ripped this product from some shelves after customers started complaining about scalp burns and “melting” hair (i’m gonna have nightmares just typing that). the problem was that their formulation permanently relaxed hair for many women – so, in essence, they were selling a pseudo-relaxer all the time covered up as a temporary straightening solution. last week, a judge rejected unilever’s request to dismiss the lawsuit, and now the suave keratin infusion lawsuit has gone class action.
according to the lawsuit, unilever, the company that makes suave, marketed their kit as “formaldehyde free” though it was not. “Unilever may have failed to inform consumers that the Product contains a chemical known as ‘Tetrasodium EDTA,’ which is mainly synthesized from formaldehyde. Unilever also may have failed to inform consumers that the Product contains a chemical preservative known as ‘DMDM Hydantoin,’ which is an antimicrobial formaldehyde releaser with the trade name Glydant.”
some women have gone to lengths to document their hair story on facebook. on the Suave Keratin Infusion Kit Destroyed My Hair, there are photos of hair breakage and first persona accounts from users of this product. to make matters worse, you can still find this product online. a simple search took us to Walmart (with a note to delete), Total Beauty and YouTube where the brand still has their “how-to” video up. many women with kinky to wavy hair left comments on the video asking how to use it, with sauve often copying and pasting this reply:
“The 30-Day Smoothing Kit is a 3-step chemical treatment that works by temporarily altering the bonds in your hair to form a smoother/straighter style. While this kit is not intended to completely straighten curly/wavy hair, some straightening will occur depending on your hair. The kit is not for all hair types, so you should take the “Is the kit right for me?” quiz on our website before using and check out the other products in the line that work for a broader variety of hair types.”
obviously unilever hired oliva pope because though a few news stories hit around this time last year about the original lawsuit, it never made national news. attorney Amy Davis, an attorney with dallas-based law firm christiansen davis bullock llc who represents 60 plaintiffs, said that that the recall was “lukewarm,” as 25 to 50 percent of her clients bought and used the product after it was recalled.
according to other details in the suit, unilever also tried to get women who reported problems with the kit to sign a release preventing them from suing and in exchange “for as little as $50.00 for a haircut.”
the lawsuits span nationwide from new jersey to california where Jana Eisinger, PPLC, as well as Morgan and Morgan P.C. represent clients for the class action suit.