L’Oreal Dark & Lovely Hair Relaxer Lawsuits

February 1, 2023 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman

Dark & Lovely, one of the leading brands of hair relaxers, has been targeted in hair relaxer lawsuits for containing dangerous endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) that can cause cancer. The EDCs in Dark & Lovely products can disrupt the natural hormone production in the female reproductive system, leading to adverse health conditions such as uterine cancer, uterine fibroids, and ovarian cancer.

L’Oreal acquired Carson Products, the initial manufacturer of Dark & Lovely, in 1998 and profited from selling one of the most popular hair care products on the market. However, their failure to warn consumers of the cancer risk associated with Dark & Lovely has led to plaintiffs naming them in hair relaxer lawsuits meant to pursue compensation for damages caused by hormone-sensitive health conditions such as uterine cancer.

The History of Dark & Lovely Hair Relaxer

One of the brands of hair relaxers mentioned in hair relaxer lawsuits filed recently is Dark & Lovely. This brand of hair relaxer was launched as a part of Carson Products in 1972. It became notable as one of the only hair relaxers on the market to not use lye, a toxic chemical connected to breast cancer risk. It was also renowned for how it catered to the hair care needs of black women, with marketing specifically targeting black women at a time when that was uncommon.

In 1998, L’Oreal acquired Carson Products and Soft Sheen Inc. and merged the two companies to create a subsidiary known as SoftSheen-Carson. This subsidiary would continue to sell Dark & Lovely, one of the most popular hair relaxers on the market.

The Department of Justice filed an antitrust complaint against L’Oreal because the merger would secure it too much control over the hair relaxer market. They would control over half of hair relaxer retail sales and three of the five best-selling hair relaxer brands. The complaint did not work, and the merger made L’Oreal the world’s most prominent cosmetic company.

Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals Found in Dark & Lovely Products

Problems began to arise for L’Oreal when it was discovered the six products contained in Dark & Lovely hair relaxer kits contained endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs). These dangerous chemicals can interfere with the endocrine system, leading to hormone imbalance. EDC exposure can cause hormone-sensitive health conditions by blocking hormone functionality and changing the body’s sensitivity to hormones.

The following are some of the EDCs discovered in Dark & Lovely hair relaxers: 

  • Phthalates
  • Parabens 
  • Bisphenol A
  • Formaldehyde
  • Metals
  • Cyclosiloxanes
  • Diethanolamine
  • Triclosan
  • Sodium hydroxide
  • Succinic acid
  • Guanidine carbonate

Scientific Research Discovered Hair Relaxers Can Increase Uterine Cancer Risk

In October 2022, a study from the National Institute of Health (NIH) found that the consistent use of hair relaxers like Dark & Lovely can increase the risk of uterine cancer. The study used data from the Sister Study, a study conducted by an NIH subsidiary, which collected data about the hair product use and health conditions of women ages 35-74 over an eleven-year period. 

The NIH study assessed the data of 33,497 women involved in the Sister Study and found that using hair relaxers at least four times a year can double the risk of uterine cancer. There were 378 cases of uterine cancer among the women whose data they used for the NIH study, with the EDCs in hair relaxers like Dark & Lovely possibly being the cause.

What is Uterine Cancer?

Uterine cancer is hormone-sensitive cancer that occurs when the cells of the uterus mutate due to imbalanced hormone levels. This type of cancer can occur in different parts of the uterus, with the location of cell mutation changing the type of uterine cancer someone has. Uterine cancer that develops in the inner lining of the uterus (endometrium) is called endometrial cancer, whereas uterine sarcoma is a type of uterine cancer that develops in the muscle wall of the uterus (myometrium). 

No matter what type of uterine cancer a woman suffers from due to the consistent use of hair relaxers, they can suffer painful symptoms, including abnormal bleeding, pelvic and abdominal pain, and thin white or clear vaginal discharge. Women diagnosed with uterine cancer from Dark & Lovely hair relaxer usage may require a hysterectomy, which is a surgery to remove part or all of the uterus. This surgery can have a significant impact on a woman’s life, as it can cause urinary tract infections, heavy bleeding, and women to be unable to become pregnant.

What Other Adverse Health Conditions Can Result from Dark & Lovely Use?

The consistent use of hair relaxers like Dark & Lovely can also increase the risk of other hormone-sensitive cancer and health complications. Uterine fibroids are muscular tumors that can appear in the uterus and grow to eight inches in width. Large uterine fibroids can cause symptoms such as heavy bleeding, constipation, bloating, and lower back pain.

A study in 2012 for the American Journal of Epidemiology indicated that hair relaxer use could cause uterine fibroids through EDC exposure. Getting a hysterectomy is a common treatment for uterine fibroids, as removing the uterus can prevent them from reoccurring.

Ovarian cancer can occur if EDC exposure causes cell mutation in one of the ovaries located on the sides of the uterus. These ovaries create and store eggs, so suffering from ovarian cancer can dramatically affect reproduction. It does not have obvious symptoms, making it hard for women to realize they have it before it’s too late. A severe case of ovarian cancer could require the removal of the cancerous ovary or ovaries, as well as chemotherapy.

Dark & Lovely Marketed Specifically to Black Women

Black women are at a higher risk of suffering hormone-sensitive cancer because hair relaxer products with dangerous EDCs like Dark & Lovely specifically target black women from an early age. L’Oreal and SoftSheen-Carson have spent millions of dollars on marketing and advertising for the products to be viewed as safe by black women. Recent investment in marketing to gen z and millennial customers has increased the awareness of Dark & Lovely to younger customers.

This is dangerous, as the consistent use of hair relaxers from a young age can increase the risk of EDC exposure and hormone-sensitive cancer. This was the case for Jenny Mitchell, the first plaintiff to file a hair relaxer lawsuit with L’Oreal as the defendant.

She used L’Oreal products for decades before suffering uterine cancer requiring a hysterectomy. The prevalence of usage of Dark & Lovely products among black women due to marketing that hides the negative effects can lead to a higher risk of hormone-sensitive cancer.

L’Oreal Failed to Warn Consumers About Dark & Lovely Cancer Risk

L’Oreal and SoftSheen-Carson failed to warn consumers of the possible cancerous side effects of the EDCs in Dark & Lovely hair relaxers, which can leave them liable for hair relaxer lawsuits. Despite knowing of the potential risk of the chemicals in the Dark & Lovely hair relaxers since 2015, L’Oreal did not make consumers aware of the potential dangers of the chemicals.

They failed to list these chemicals on the product labeling and did not offer any warnings about the potentially dangerous effects of their Dark & Lovely hair relaxer.

Filing a Dark & Lovely Hair Relaxer Lawsuit

If you used L’Oreal’s Dark & Lovely hair relaxer and have been diagnosed with hormone-sensitive medical conditions, you could file a hair relaxer lawsuit to hold L’Oreal accountable for their failure to properly warn you the consumer. It would be a type of product liability lawsuit meant to recover damages for negligence from product manufacturers. L’Oreal and SoftSheen-Carson failed to adequately inform consumers of the dangers of the EDCs in their Dark & Lovely products and can be held liable in hair relaxer lawsuits.

Filing a Dark & Lovely hair relaxer lawsuit can put you in a position to join a potential hair relaxer lawsuit multi-district litigation (MDL), which would consolidate all hair relaxer lawsuits in front of one judge and court. The Judicial Panel on Multi-District Litigation (JPML) heard oral arguments on January 26th and will make a decision about consolidation in the upcoming weeks.

Consolidation benefits plaintiffs because it allows them to pool resources and still recover compensation for their specific damages. Speak to a product liability lawyer today to learn about your options for filing a hair relaxer lawsuit for damages caused by Dark & Lovely hair relaxers.

Damages in a Dark & Lovely Hair Relaxer Lawsuit

You could pursue compensation for economic and non-economic damages in a Dark & Lovely hair relaxer lawsuit. Economic damages are those with a specific monetary value, such as medical bills, lost wages, and lost earning potential.

Non-economic damages are intangible losses that reflect how the hormone-sensitive health condition you suffered affected you psychologically and negatively altered your quality of life. A product liability lawyer can speak to medical experts and evaluate your medical records to determine the current and future cost of hair relaxer damages.

The following are some of the hair relaxer damages caused by L’Oreal Dark & Lovely hair relaxer products:

How Can Dolman Law Group Help With Your Dark & Lovely Hair Relaxer Lawsuit?

The product liability lawyers at Dolman Law Group are dedicated to helping Dark & Lovely hair relaxer users pursue compensation for damages. They can use their vast experience in representing victims of debilitating injuries and life-altering medical conditions to help you pursue compensation for hair relaxer cancer damages. 

Manufacturers of hair relaxers like L’Oreal and SoftSheen-Carson owe consumers a duty of care to ensure their hair care products are safe to be used. Failing to do so, and failing to inform consumers about the cancer risk associated with their product, breaches the duty of care they owe. Our product liability lawyers can help by calculating the full cost of your damages, collecting evidence, explaining your rights, representing you in settlement negotiations, and developing a legal strategy for a court case. 

Contact Dolman Law Group for Help With Your Dark & Lovely Hair Relaxer Lawsuit

Dolman Law Group is a personal injury firm with experienced product liability lawyers that can help you hold L’Oreal accountable for hormone-sensitive health conditions caused by Dark & Lovely hair relaxers. Our product liability lawyers have over 100 years of combined experience holding negligent product manufacturers accountable for selling dangerous products and can use that experience to help with your Dark & Lovely hair relaxer lawsuit.

Allow our experienced product liability attorneys to help you by calculating the current and future cost of your damages, collecting evidence to prove L’Oreal’s liability, and keeping you updated on the progress of the potential hair relaxer lawsuit MDL. Contact Dolman Law Group today for a free consultation for your Dark & Lovely hair relaxer lawsuit.


Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has successfully fought for more than 11,000 injured clients and acted as lead counsel in more than 1,000 lawsuits. Always on the cutting edge of personal injury law, Matt is actively engaged in complex legal matters, including Suboxone, AFFF, and Ozempic lawsuits.  Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

Learn More