Product Liability

L’Oreal under attack after Garnier hair product exposes consumers to fire hazards due to flammability

hair product fire WBRC news image 435x321 LOreal under attack after Garnier hair product exposes consumers to fire hazards due to flammabilityGarnier Fructis Sleek and Shine Anti Frizz Serum is now under attack after several incidents were reported concerning the flammability of the product, posing substantial burn risks to the consumer’s face, head and neck.

L’Oreal, the hair product’s parent company, has certain customers complaining they were not properly warned that the main ingredients of the product, cyclopentasiloxane and dimethiconol, contain an ignition point of only 171 degrees Fahrenheit – a considerably lower degree point than hair flat irons on the market today.

A class action lawsuit against L’Oreal was filed in Los Angeles in June of 2011, saying:

“L’Oreal placed a misleadingly limited, and inaccurate, warning [on the product packaging] that implied its product was safe to use with styling appliances, stating, ‘AVOID FIRE, FLAME, SMOKING AND HEAT [EXCEPT FOR STYLING APPLIANCES] DURING APPLICATION AND UNTIL HAIR IS COMPLETELY DRY’ (emphasis added). On other Serum product packaging, L’Oreal provided no warning of any kind.”

One suit filed against L’Oreal detailed the events of an Arkansas teenager who applied the serum to her hair before using a straightening comb she heated over a gas stove. Since the fire, she claims that the event has left her permanently disfigured, suffering third degree burns to her neck and arms.

Ronda Robinson, an investigative reporter for WBRC Fox6 news in Birmingham, Ala., discovered how these instances were occurring when she went to Simply V Salon and applied the product to a wig made of human hair. After using a flat iron, the hair immediately began to burn and crumble.

“The heat goes up to 450 degrees,” Stylist Javashia Williams said.

Ronda has found that this experiment should be considered by all of those shopping for hair care products.

“We are looking for percentage or the amount of alcohol in the product. That can determine how flammable it becomes based on the amount you use,” she said.

Upon discovering the flammability of the product in her demonstration, Ronda Robinson asked L’Oreal for answers. L’Oreal spokesperson Rebecca Caruso responded, “I can tell you that we do not believe that the class action lawsuit has any merit. The Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine Serum has an excellent safety record, and we will defend this matter in court. Regarding Jasmine Davis, we were very sorry to learn of her injury, and although we do not discuss details of pending litigation, we are confident that this isolated incident was not caused by our product.”

WBRC’s investigative team also explored this occurrence by setting up a demonstration with the Homewood Fire Department using a wig made with 100 percent human hair. After applying a generous amount of the L’Oreal product, the wig burned in seconds.

“The ignition of the whole head of hair was rapid and it’s very concerning,” Lt. Jason Hallman of the Homewood FD said.

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