Class Action Lawsuit Claims OGX Shampoos, Conditioners May Cause Scalp Irritation, Hair Loss (2024)

A proposed class action filed this week claims certain OGX shampoos and conditioners contain an ingredient linked to hair loss and scalp irritation.

According to the 48-page lawsuit, defendant Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. has positioned its OGX shampoos and conditioners as being able to make hair “fuller, smoother, straighter, curlier, or bouncier and smell irresistible” while failing to warn consumers that the products contain DMDM hydantoin, a preservative known to slowly leach formaldehyde when it comes into contact with water. Formaldehyde, the suit adds, is a well-known human carcinogen that can also cause harmful skin reactions.

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Perhaps even more concerning is the allegation that Johnson & Johnson has known “for approximately a decade” that DMDM hydantoin and other formaldehyde donors can cause hair loss and scalp irritation and even went so far as to announce plans to remove formaldehyde from its consumer products by 2015. While the defendant did remove formaldehyde from its existing products at the time, the company failed to do so when it acquired Vogue International and its OGX product line in 2016, the case alleges. Despite removing DMDM hydantoin from many of its other OGX products, its other brands of shampoo and conditioner, and identical OGX shampoos and conditioners sold in other countries, Johnson & Johnson has “inexplicably” continued to include the harmful ingredient in its OGX line of shampoos and conditioners sold in the U.S., according to the lawsuit.

The case argues that Johnson & Johnson has profited off the sale of its OGX shampoos and conditioners while consumers have been misled and harmed by the company’s failure to warn them about the potential dangers of using its products.

“Nowhere on the package labeling or on Johnson & Johnson’s websites or other marketing materials did Johnson & Johnson warn Plaintiff and members of the Class that they were at risk of significant hair loss and/or scalp irritation upon proper application of the products,” the complaint scathes. “Accordingly, Johnson & Johnson misled and deceived the public, and placed its customers in harm’s way, all for the sake of increased profits.”

Which OGX Products Are Mentioned in the Lawsuit?

The lawsuit claims the following OGX shampoo and conditioner products contain DMDM hydantoin:

  • OGX Biotin + Collagen Shampoo
  • OGX Biotin + Collagen Conditioner
  • OGX Renewing Argan Oil of Morocco Shampoo
  • OGX Renewing Argan Oil of Morocco Conditioner
  • OGX Anti-Breakage and Keratin Oil Shampoo
  • OGX Anti-Breakage and Keratin Oil Conditioner
  • OGX Detox + Pomegranate & Ginger Shampoo
  • OGX Detox + Pomegranate & Ginger Conditioner
  • OGX Marula Oil Conditioner
  • OGX Nicole Guerriero Midnight Kisses Shampoo
  • OGX Nicole Guerriero Midnight Kisses Conditioner
  • OGX Nicole Guerriero Mistletoe Wishes Shampoo
  • OGX Nicole Guerriero Mistletoe Wishes Conditioner
  • OGX Nicole Guerriero Ice Berry Queen Shampoo
  • OGX Nicole Guerriero Ice Berry Queen Conditioner
  • OGX Extra Strength Hydrate & Repair and Argan Oil of Morocco Shampoo
  • OGX Extra Strength Hydrate & Repair and Argan Oil of Morocco Conditioner
  • OGX Ever Straightening and Brazilian Keratin Therapy Shampoo
  • OGX Ever Straightening and Brazilian Keratin Therapy Conditioner
  • OGX Kandee Johnson Candy Gumdrop Shampoo
  • OGX Kandee Johnson Candy Gumdrop Conditioner
  • OGX Kandee Johnson Frosted Sugar Cookie Shampoo
  • OGX Kandee Johnson Frosted Sugar Cookie Conditioner
  • OGX Kandee Johnson Sparkling Cider Shampoo
  • OGX Kandee Johnson Sparkling Cider Conditioner
  • OGX Quenching + Coconut Curls Shampoo
  • OGX Quenching + Coconut Curls Conditioner
  • OGX Hydrate + Defrizz and Kukui Oil Conditioner
  • OGX Youth Enhancing + Sake Essence Conditioner
  • Formaldehyde Donors Cause Skin Irritation, Hair Loss, Case Says

    According to the lawsuit, Johnson & Johnson has continued to use formaldehyde donors such as DMDM hydantoin and sodium hydroxyl in its products despite having “intimate knowledge of the risks” associated with using the preservatives.

    Formaldehyde donors, the case explains, are preservatives that are added to water-containing products to prevent the growth of micro-organisms by slowly leaching formaldehyde, a known human carcinogen.

    DMDM hydantoin, for its part, is on the FDA’s list of allergens “that cause the most allergic reactions from the use of cosmetic products,” the suit relays. Exposure to DMDM hydantoin can “trigger the immune system to release chemical substances such as antibodies” and cause itchiness, red rashes “or more extreme reactions,” according to the lawsuit. The suit adds that as a person becomes more exposed to DMDM hydantoin over time, they may experience irritant contact dermatitis, a more severe type of allergic reaction. Per the case, irritation of the scalp, including dermatitis, has been linked to hair brittleness and hair loss.

    In recent months, DMDM hydantoin has been the subject of putative class action litigation filed against the makers of TRESemmé Keratin Smooth, Selsun Blue and Mane ‘n Tail shampoos and conditioners that were alleged to cause scalp irritation and hair loss.

    The lawsuit argues that Johnson & Johnson chose to use DMDM hydantoin in its OGX products despite being fully aware of its potential adverse health effects and the availability of alternative non-synthetic preservatives that “do not release known human carcinogens.” These include glyoxylic acid, potassium sorbate, sorbic acid, citric acid, rosemary oil extract, neem oil extract, lavender oil, grapefruit seed extract and vinegar. The use of DMDM hydantoin as a preservative was therefore an “entirely unnecessary risk” given safer alternatives exist, the case alleges.

    Lawsuit Claims Johnson & Johnson Misled Consumers

    The case claims consumers were misled by Johnson & Johnson’s representations that its OGX shampoos and conditioners could “deeply nourish,” “gently cleanse” and “repair hair.” While the products’ labels stated the shampoos and conditioners were formulated with certain oils, fruits and botanicals represented as being able to nourish and revive hair, consumers were not warned about their potential to cause scalp irritation or hair loss and would never have expected such a hazard upon proper application, the suit argues.

    “Plaintiff and the Class reasonably expected a warning regarding any potential hazard to consumers, especially because the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act regulations provide that cosmetics that may be hazardous to consumers must bear appropriate warnings,” the complaint states.

    The lawsuit goes on to claim that Johnson & Johnson has even gone so far as to “conceal and downplay” the perhaps thousands of complaints from consumers who have reported experiencing scalp irritation or hair loss after using the OGX products.

    According to the suit, the defendant’s representations that the OGX shampoos and conditioners are safe for use are “false, misleading, and deceptive.”

    Who Does the Lawsuit Look to Cover?

    The case looks to represent anyone in the U.S. who purchased the OGX shampoo and conditioner products listed above.

    Also proposed in the lawsuit is a multi-state class looking to cover anyone in California, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, and Washington who purchased the products, as well as a “sub-class” of Illinois residents.

    It’s important to note that the “classes,” i.e., those covered by the lawsuit, have not yet been certified by a judge and could change as the lawsuit progresses.

    How Do I Join the Lawsuit?

    At this time, there’s nothing you need to do to join the lawsuit. It’s not unusual for months or years to pass before a lawsuit reaches the point where consumers need to take action by filing a claim, which occurs only if and when a settlement is reached. If the case moves forward and settles, those affected should receive notice of the settlement with instructions on what to do next.

    For now, the best thing to do is to stay informed. You can sign up for’s free weekly newsletter here.

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    Class Action Lawsuit Claims OGX Shampoos, Conditioners May Cause Scalp Irritation, Hair Loss (2024)


    Class Action Lawsuit Claims OGX Shampoos, Conditioners May Cause Scalp Irritation, Hair Loss? ›

    The lawsuits accuse J&J of marketing OGX hair products as safe and capable of repairing, nourishing, and reviving hair. According to the plaintiffs, however, these products contain chemicals such as formaldehyde and DMDM, which are harmful and cause hair loss. This page is about lawsuits involving OGX shampoo.

    Is OGX shampoo and conditioner bad for your hair? ›

    The products are marketed to nourish, smooth and revive hair but according to Plaintiff Larissa Whipple, the products “falsely represent” those claims with their combination of ingredients including DMDM hydantoin, which has previously been alleged to cause hair loss and scalp irritation upon contact with water.

    Is there a recall on OGX shampoo and conditioner? ›

    There has not been an OGX shampoo recall as of yet. However, a statement on the company's website claimed that, effective from September 2021, it would no longer produce shampoo and conditioner products containing DMDM hydantoin.

    Does OGX still contain DMDM hydantoin? ›

    We're replacing DMDM Hydantoin in our products with Sodium Benzoate, a preservative commonly used in food and that is naturally found in cinnamon.

    What shampoo does not cause hair loss? ›

    BondiBoost HG Shampoo

    It's formulated with hydrating ingredients that support healthy hair without weighing it down with excess oil. It has a light yet invigorating rosemary scent. We experienced much less hair fall after regular use of this formula.

    What is the safest shampoo to use? ›

    • Ursa Major. Best For | A shampoo for the whole family. ...
    • Ceremonia. 1% for the planet. ...
    • 100% PURE. Budget friendly. ...
    • True Botanicals. Best For | Scent. ...
    • Ethique. Best For | Shampoo bar, minimal packaging. ...
    • Vegamour. Best For | Removing buildup. ...
    • Innersense. 1% for the planet. ...
    • Attitude. Best For | Cheapest cost.
    May 3, 2024

    Does OGX shampoo go bad? ›

    Shampoo does expire, but you're probably curious about how long your shampoo can last before you bid it adieu. As a rule of thumb, an unopened bottle of shampoo can probably last for 2-4 years if properly stored. Meanwhile, an opened bottle of shampoo may go bad anywhere between six months to two years.

    Which OGX shampoo is good for damaged hair? ›

    OGX Hydrate and Repair Argan Oil Shampoo for Dry, Damaged Hair, 385 ml.

    What shampoo do dermatologists recommend for women's hair loss? ›

    Dr. Garshick and Dr. Camp suggest Briogeo Destined for Density Peptide Shampoo, Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Scalp Care Regeniplex Shampoo, and Nioxin Cleanser Shampoo for their blends of ingredients that work both for improving your hair health and also increasing circulation to the scalp for new growth.

    Is dimethicone bad for hair? ›

    Avoid Dimethicone in Hair Products if You Are Experiencing Hair Loss. For hair, dimethicone can cause residue buildup, leading to a greasy appearance and potential exacerbation of hair loss. Additionally, this residue may contribute to dryness and brittleness at the ends of the hair, potentially causing breakage.

    What shampoo and conditioner is good for hair growth? ›

    Our top picks for the best shampoos for hair growth:
    • Best overall: Nutrafol Root Purifier Scalp Shampoo - See at Nutrafol.
    • Best for hair loss: Vegamour GRO+ Advanced Replenishing Shampoo - See at Vegamour.
    • Best for thin hair: Briogeo Destined for Density Shampoo - See at Ulta.
    May 15, 2024

    Is OGX shampoo safe to use now? ›

    Yes! According to the brand "all of our OGX shampoos are gentle and safe enough for color treated hair." This has been my experience as well.

    What is in OGX that causes hair loss? ›

    Formaldehyde and DMDM

    For a long time, DMDM has been linked to hair loss, thinning hair, dermatitis, and other harmful scalp reactions, prompting many complaints and various lawsuits, even before the plaintiff suffered injuries.

    Can head and shoulders thin your hair? ›

    Head & Shoulders Clinical Strength contains an ingredient that can be harsh on the hair and has been linked to hair loss in some cases if not used properly. That's why it's important to check the label and follow directions (FDA, 2022-a; MedlinePlus, 2017).

    How often should I use OGX shampoo? ›

    Only Shampooing Once

    While shampooing your hair too often can be bad for your hair, shampooing your hair twice on wash day can actually help keep your hair fresher for longer. The first shampoo – the one you're already doing – works to break down the buildup of grease or dirt on the hair.

    Does OGX have parabens or sulfates? ›

    Here are just a few ingredients we are free from in our OGX formulations: Sulfated surfactants. Parabens. Formaldehyde Donors.

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