Correction: Hair Products Recalled, Grande Cosmetics Settles and Sephora/Target 'Clean' Beauty Suits Continue

The #mydentity Guy Tang Reflect line of liquid demi permanent hair dyes is being recalled for potential contamination with nitrosamines.
The #mydentity Guy Tang Reflect line of liquid demi permanent hair dyes is being recalled for potential contamination with nitrosamines.

Correction: In our Jan. 12, 2024, coverage of legal updates, Cosmetics & Toiletries reported erroneously that isopropyl cloprostenate (IC) is a drug "used to treat glaucoma." Per the defense counsel, Locke Lord LLP, IC "has never been approved by the FDA to treat glaucoma, nor has it ever been used as a drug. IC is a cosmetic ingredient, listed in INCI as a hair conditioner." C&T regrets the error.

This roundup gives a quick overview of: the latest cosmetics and personal care products recalled over potential contamination; Grande Cosmetics' settlement over lash, brow and hair products; and a look at the latest clean beauty lawsuits brought against Sephora and Target.

See related: Recall Alert: L'Oreal's Mizani, J&J's Clean & Clear, Marcelle's 40+ Cream and Others

#mydentity Guy Tang Recall: Nitrosamine

The #mydentity Guy Tang Reflect line of liquid demi permanent hair dyes is being recalled by Henkle Corp. for potential contamination with nitrosamines, per a report by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Packaged in 2 oz./60 mL white HDPE bottles, 190,952 units of the product were distributed to the following U.S. states: TX, CA, FL, NV, LA, NY, NJ, KY, MO, NC, MA, NE, SC, VT, ND, MI, NM, AZ, VA, OR, CO, OH. The product was available for purchase on the firm's website to customers nationwide, with no foreign distribution.

The lot codes being recalled include: H525Y2; H52992; H51113; H52023; H51133; H509Y; H503X2; H50713; H50633; H50143; H512X2; H52692; H50223; H50733; H50443; H511X2; H52492; H50323; H51033; H505X2; H52892; H51823 and H50833.

Tec Italy Tonico Shampoo Recall: Bacteria

Nattura Laboratorios S.A De C.V. is recalling its Tec Italy Tonico Shampoo for potential contamination with E. coli and Pluralibacter gergoviae. A total of 3,936 units of the product, packaged in 10.14 fl. oz./300 mL plastic bottles (UPC: 7501438377762), with 12 bottles per case, were distributed in the U.S. states of: NY, TX, CA and FL.

Grande Cosmetics $6.25 M Settlement: Undisclosed Ingredient

According to a report by Top Class Actions, on Jan. 11, 2024, Grande Cosmetics agreed to pay $6.25 million to resolve claims that its lash/brow and hair products "contain undisclosed drugs that pose serious side effect risks." The settlement will benefit individuals who purchased the GrandeLASH-MD, GrandeBROW or GrandeHAIR products between Jan. 1, 2018, and Dec. 14, 2023.

According to the class action lawsuit, Grande failed to warn consumers that the named products contain the ingredient isopropyl cloprostenate, which is alleged to present undisclosed risks of adverse reactions such as eye inflammation and other serious side effects.

The company released the following statement on its website: "GrandeLASH-MD, GrandeBROW and GrandeHAIR Enhancing Serums are safe, clinically tested cosmetic products. The lawsuit alleged Grande’s marketing of these products was false or misleading. In resolving the dispute, Grande Cosmetics did not admit any wrongdoing relating to its marketing of any of its products. Grande Cosmetics, however, has agreed to enhance the labeling of the products – including updated usage instructions and wording within the ingredient list – for clarity. The case did not relate to personal injuries suffered by users of the products."

See related: Unilever Eco Claims Under Scrutiny in Greenwashing Investigation

Clean Beauty vs. Sephora and Target

A recent report by Bloomberg Law highlighted two lawsuits brought against Sephora and, more recently, Target, for misleading "clean beauty" product claims. Per the source, the consumer lawsuit against Sephora, initiated in 2022, alleges the ingredients in its clean products do not match consumer expectations. Lexology furthered that according to the plaintiff, to be considered clean in the context of beauty, products should be “made without synthetic chemicals and ingredients that could harm the body, skin or environment.” However, per the plaintiff, “a significant percentage of products with the ‘Clean at Sephora’ [seal] contain ingredients inconsistent with how consumers understand the term," misleading consumers who purchase the products at a premium price, believing them to be “natural" and “not synthetic.”

Per Bloomberg Law, the suit against Target, filed in August 2023, alleges that some of its clean products contain potentially toxic chemicals, such as propylparaben, that should ban the products from Target's clean line. The retailer touts “clean beauty” products as being free from ingredients such as parabens, propylparabens or phthalates. Both Sephora and Target reportedly display green icons promoting their clean lines on store shelves; interestingly, also per Bloomberg Law, some of the products Target promotes as "clean" do not actually claim to be such on their own packaging. Both lawsuits are still in the courts.

Lexology noted that without clear regulatory guidance about what it means for beauty products to be clean, natural, nontoxic or safe, "promoting products as clean can carry significant regulatory risks, and leaves the industry ripe for class action litigation." The source added that although the recent Modernization of Cosmetics Regulation Act (MoCRA) expands the FDA’s authority over cosmetics, "it provides comparatively little guidance on the kinds of marketing or promotional claims brands can make about the safety or purity of their products."

As such, the industry will no doubt continue to experience lawsuits filed against this product claim. A Dec. 8, 2023, headline from Vogue Business seems to say it all: "Why we need to move on from clean beauty."

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