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Lawsuits & Litigation

Unilever Hit with Lawsuit Over Certain Tresemmé Products

— January 22, 2021

Unilever recently found itself at the center of a lawsuit alleging certain Tresemmé products may be dangerous.

What kind of shampoo do you use? If it’s Tresemmé, you may want to consider choosing a new favorite. Unilever recently came under fire in a nationwide class-action lawsuit over allegations that “some of its Tresemmé products are allegedly causing hair loss.” The suit states:

“Plaintiff purchased the Products because of Unilever’s uniform false representation that the Products would smooth her hair and coat it with Keratin, a protein found naturally in hair…The Products contain an ingredient or combination of ingredients that causes significant hair loss and/or scalp irritation upon proper application.”

Image of a caution sign
Caution Sign; image courtesy of paulracko via Pixabay,

For example, one ingredient, a formaldehyde-releasing preservative DMDM hydantoin, was found in Tresemmé Keratin Hair Smoothing Shampoo and TRESemme Keratin Smooth Color Shampoo, the suit notes. DMDM hydantoin, according to, “is a preservative found in cosmetics and personal care products, that works by slowing and preventing spoilage in products such as shampoos and hair conditioners, and in skincare products like moisturizers and makeup foundations.” The website also notes the product is safe and states:

“DMDM hydantoin is safe as a cosmetic ingredient at current normal levels of use in products, according to scientific experts at the Cosmetics Directive of the European Union as well as an independent Cosmetic Ingredient Review panel…To put formaldehyde exposures from DMDM hydantoin in personal care products into perspective, the tiny amount of formaldehyde released from a formaldehyde donor when shampooing your hair is about equivalent to the amount of formaldehyde naturally occurring in one medium-sized apple or pear.”

However, the suit argues that “formaldehyde has harmful reactions when absorbed into the skin.” It further states:

“Formaldehyde is a well-known human carcinogen that can cause cancer and other harmful reactions when absorbed into the skin. DMDM hydantoin has been used as a preservative in Unilever products for more than a decade; however, the use of DMDM hydantoin as a preservative is an entirely unnecessary risk because various safer natural alternatives exist. As such, the Products are rendered dangerous and unsafe for sale as over-the-counter hair-smoothing shampoo products.”

The suit further argues the defendants failed to warn consumers of the dangers and risks of using the products on the hair, “even well after Defendants knew or should have known of the Products’ hazards.”

In response to the allegations, Tresemmé issued the following statement

“Consumer safety is always our top priority and all TRESemme products are rigorously assessed to meet stringent safety standards. While we do not comment on pending litigation, DMDM hydantoin is widely used in the beauty industry and has been confirmed by health authorities to be a safe and effective preservative.”


Class-action lawsuit filed against shampoo brand Tresemmé claims keratin products cause hair loss

TRESemmé Class Action Lawsuit Claims Shampoo Causes Hair Loss, Scalp Burns

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