Everything You Need to Know About That OGX Lawsuit

07/14/2021

You’re probably familiar with the haircare brand OGX and their cult-favorite line of affordable shampoo, conditioners, and hair essentials. In fact, you more than likely have a few of their hair products sitting in your shower at this very moment. What you might not realize is that the OGX brand has recently come under fire in the news.

According to Fox 17, Johnson & Johnson (OGX’s parent company) is facing a class-action lawsuit over their OGX shampoos and conditioners which are said to contain a toxic ingredient that allegedly causes significant hair loss and scalp irritation.

Now, you likely have a ton of questions about what’s going on with OGX. Here’s everything we know so far.

Who filed the lawsuit in the first place?

Larissa Whipple, an Illinois woman, filed the lawsuit after purchasing OGX hair products and later discovering that they contained DMDM hydantoin. After using the products as instructed on the written label, she alleges that they caused baldness and scalp damage.

“Plaintiff (Larissa Whipple) purchased the Products because of Johnson & Johnson’s uniform false representation that the Products would smooth, nourish, soften, repair, and/or revive her hair,” the lawsuit states.

In the lawsuit, Whipple claims that by using words like “nourish”, “revive”, and “soften” on their OGX bottles, Johnson & Johnson targeted consumers wanting healthy hair and by doing so, it’s possible that they may have violated consumer protection laws.

She says that Johnson & Johnson failed to disclose that their OGX products contained DMDM hydantoin— “a formaldehyde donor known to slowly leach formaldehyde when coming into contact with water” — despite knowing its risks.

It’s important to note that it’s cited in the lawsuit that Johnson & Johnson has been using DMDM hydantoin as a preservative in their products for well over a decade. But, back in August 2012, the company announced their plans to remove the toxic ingredients from its products by 2015.

“Johnson & Johnson did in fact remove DMDM hydantoin from existing consumer products at that time, “the lawsuit explains. “However, when Johnson & Johnson acquired Vogue International, including their line of OGX products, Johnson & Johnson failed to change the ingredient profile of their products that did not maintain the same standards for consumer safety. Since 2016, Johnson & Johnson has continued to market, sell, and profit off of the products that contain ingredients they knew could harm consumers.”

The lawsuit additionally argues, “Accordingly, Johnson & Johnson misled and deceived the public, and placed its customers in harm’s way, all for the sake of increased profits.”

How harmful is DMDM hydantoin?

For those who aren’t aware, DMDM hydantoin is an extremely toxic chemical. The ingredient, which is considered a formaldehyde donor, is often used to preserve product formulations. As stated in the lawsuit, when DMDM hydantoin comes into contact with water, it slowly leaks formaldehyde — a well-known human carcinogen that can cause cancer and other harmful reactions when absorbed into your skin. In fact, DMDM hydantoin is currently listed by the FDA as a preservative found to cause the most allergic reactions from its use in cosmetic products.

Which OGX products contain DMDM hydantoin and allegedly cause hair loss?

If you’re concerned whether your OGX products could be linked to hair loss, the lawsuit did name specific shampoo and conditioners that contain DMDM hydantoin including:

  • OGX Biotin + Collagen shampoo and conditioner
  • OGX Renewing Argan Oil of Morocco shampoo and conditioner
  • OGX Anti-Breakage and Keratin Oil shampoo and conditioner
  • OGX Detox + Pomegranate & Ginger shampoo and conditioner
  • OGX Marula Oil shampoo and conditioner
  • OGX Extra Strength Hydrate & Repair shampoo and conditioner
  • OGX Argan Oil of Morocco shampoo and conditioner
  • OGX Nicole Guerriero Midnight Kisses shampoo and conditioner
  • OGX Nicole Guerriero Mistletoe Wishes shampoo and conditioner
  • OGX Nicole Guerriero Ice Berry Queen shampoo and conditioner
  • OGX Extra Strength Hydrate & Repair and Argan Oil of Morocco shampoo and conditioner
  • OGX Ever Straightening and Brazilian Keratin Therapy shampoo and conditioner
  • OGX Kandee Johnson Candy Gumdrop shampoo and conditioner
  • OGX Kandee Johnson Frosted Sugar Cookie shampoo and conditioner
  • OGX Kandee Johnson Sparkling Cider shampoo and conditioner
  • OGX Quenching + Coconut Curls shampoo and conditioner
  • OGX Hydrate + Defrizz and Kukui Oil conditioner
  • OGX Youth Enhancing + Sake Essence conditioner

All of these OGX products can be purchased at most drugstore and cosmetic retailers including Target, Ulta, CVS, Walmart, and Walgreens.

What does Johnson & Johnson or OGX have to say?

At the time of writing, neither Johnson & Johnson or OGX have addressed the ongoing lawsuit. However, beauty vlogger Kandee Johnson, who is a frequent collaborator with OGX, has spoken out to address the lawsuit and express her shock about the allegations.

What has been your experience with OGX hair products? Let us know in the comments below!

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Camille Nzengung

Camille Nzengung is a Features Editor at The Tease, where she covers all things hair. You can find her writing about the best hair products, the coolest hair trends, and all the exciting new hair launches.

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