Update: Dark & Lovely Hair Relaxer Class Action Lawsuit Filed in Illinois
A group of women from Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, and Texas has filed a class action lawsuit against the manufacturers of Dark & Lovely Hair Relaxer in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. The plaintiffs allege that the defendants failed to disclose that toxic chemicals in Dark & Lovely may increase the risk of uterine cancer, fibroids, and endometriosis.
Each of the women claims that they purchased Dark & Lovely hair relaxer without the knowledge that it may contain endocrine disrupting chemicals, and maintain that they never would have bought the product if they had known the risks. None of the plaintiffs have been diagnosed with a specific injury; however, they allege that the manufacturers should pay for their medical monitoring and other damages.
“Hair products such as relaxers contain hormonally active and carcinogenic compounds, such as phthalates, known to cause endocrine disruption, are not listed separately as ingredients but, instead, are often broadly lumped into the ‘fragrance’ or ‘perfume’ categories,” the complaint states. “Relaxer habits usually begin in formative childhood years, and adolescence is likely a period of enhanced susceptibility to debilitating conditions resulting from exposure to these chemicals.”
The plaintiffs seek to establish a multi-state class action lawsuit for any consumer who purchased Dark & Lovely Hair Relaxer in the United States from May 25, 2017, to the present. In addition to medical monitoring, the lawsuit seeks a full refund for the hair relaxer, as well as an injunction that would prevent the defendants from continuing to sell the products.
Hair Relaxer Cancer Lawsuit Filed Over “Dark & Lovely” Chemicals
Just 4 days after a landmark study was published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute  which found an association between chemical hair relaxers and uterine cancer, the first of what is expected to be many lawsuits have been entered against L’Oréal and several other cosmetic manufacturers over the marketing of their products to black women without adequately warning about the potential health risks.
The lawsuit  was filed on October 21, 2022, on behalf of Plaintiff Jennifer Mitchell in the U.S. District Court for The Northern District of Illinois. The complaint, Mitchell v. L’Oreal, et al. – 1:22-cv-5815, alleged that decades of regular exposure to toxic chemicals in hair relaxers caused Mitchell to develop uterine cancer at the age of 28, which required a total hysterectomy a month following her diagnosis.
“Defendants’ products failed to contain, and continue to this day not to contain, adequate warnings and/or instructions regarding the increased risk of cancer, including, but not limited to, breast cancer, with the use of their products by women,” the lawsuit states. “Defendants continue to market, advertise, and expressly represent to the general public that it is safe for women to use their product.
Link Between Hair Relaxers and Uterine Cancer in Black Women
Chemical hair relaxers are popular among black women who want to straighten their hair by using high heat and chemicals to break down disulfide bonds, which are the permanent hair bonds responsible for an individual’s natural hair type.
However, these products often use undisclosed toxic chemicals including formaldehyde, Di-2-ethylhexylphthalate (DEHP), and phthalates -- all of which are known for their ability to either cause cancer or disrupt normal hormone function, resulting in developmental and reproductive complications, among other adverse health effects.
Related Article: Hair Relaxer Cancer Lawsuit Update
Hair Relaxer Lawsuit Filed Against Makers of Dark & Lovely
A woman from Illinois who claims she developed endometriosis and uterine cancer after using Dark & Lovely, Just for Me, and Cantu Shea Butter Relaxer for nearly 30 years has filed a products liability lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Plaintiff Timika Smith claims she used the products until 2017 when she was diagnosed with uterine cancer and endometriosis.
The complaint names as defendants L’Oreal USA, Inc., Soft Sheen-Carson LLC., Strength of Nature, LLC, Godrej Son Holdings, Inc. PDC Brands, and Parfums De Coeur, Ltd. Smith alleges that these companies failed to warn women about toxic chemicals in their hair straightener and home perm products.
Uterine Cancer Statistics
Uterine cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers among women in the United States. Overall, incidence and mortality rates have increased in the U.S. over the past 20 years, with more than 65, 950 new cases and 12,550 deaths expected in 2022, according to the study noted above.
Exposure to excess estrogen and a hormonal imbalance of estrogen and progesterone are key risk factors for the development of uterine cancer. Thus, the researchers hypothesized that synthetic estrogenic compounds such as endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) could contribute to an increased risk for uterine cancer risk because of their potential to affect hormonal actions.
Can Coloring Your Hair Cause Cancer?
A study published by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH)  in December 2019 linked the use of hair dyes and chemical hair straighteners to an increased risk for breast cancer. The results were derived from the Sister Study , which was conducted over 8 years and involved more than 46,000 women.
The researchers found that overall, women who used permanent hair dye regularly (every 5 to 6 weeks) were 9% more likely to develop breast cancer compared to women who didn’t use the products.
The biggest surprise gleaned from the study was the difference between black women and white women. While white women saw an 8% increased risk, routine coloring with permanent dye was linked to a 60% higher risk for breast cancer among black women.
How Common is Hair Relaxer Use?
Hair relaxers and hair dye use are common among women in the U.S. and Europe, with more than 50% reporting ever using the products. In the Sister Study cited above, a higher breast cancer incidence was observed among adolescent and adult use of hair products, and a higher ovarian cancer incidence was associated with adult use of straighteners.
What is a Dark & Lovely Hair Straightener?
Dark and Lovely is a no-lye hair relaxer that features a moisture-replenishing system. The product is specifically designed to straighten hair permanently. According to L'Oreal, Dark, and Lovely helps protect against heat damage, locks in moisture, strengthens hair, and stops reversion in its tracks even in high humidity.
Related Article: Hair Straightener Cancer Lawsuits
How Long Do You Leave Dark & Lovely In?
The Dark & Lovely packaging instructs users to leave the product on their hair for 5 minutes. You should then rinse thoroughly and proceed with shampooing your hair. You must shampoo and rinse thoroughly at least twice to eliminate all traces of the relaxer mixture.
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Get a Free Dark & Lovely Hair Relaxer Lawsuit Review With Our Attorneys
The Products Liability Litigation Group at Schmidt & Clark, LLP law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in Dark & Lovely Hair Relaxer Lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new cases in all 50 states.
Again, if you or a loved one was diagnosed with uterine cancer, breast cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids after using Dark & Lovely Hair Relaxer, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a Dark & Lovely Hair Relaxer Lawsuit and our product liability lawyers can help.