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Judge Isn’t Letting L’Oréal & Revlon Just Dismiss Lawsuit Over Cancer-Linked Hair Products

Close up of dark curly hair being washed over sink.

Major haircare brands L’Oréal and Revlon are facing a lawsuit over cancer-causing hair products, and their attempt to get the suit dismissed has been denied by a judge.

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Many women have felt the pressure to have pin-straight hair not just for racist beauty standards, but because some professional settings prefer women to have straight hair. Women of color with naturally wavy or curly hair are often faced with the pressure of straightening their hair. Because of these social expectations, many WOC choose to use hair relaxers in order to effectively “tame” their hair.

If the pressure to straighten hair weren’t enough, reports have accused hair relaxants of being related to endometrial cancer, uterine cancer, and ovarian cancer. Big names such as L’Oréal and Revlon have been linked to this issue, and a class-action lawsuit was filed against the U.S. companies involved.

Black women in particular are hit the hardest by several cancers because of their frequent use of hair relaxers. In a study by the NIH, women who use hair relaxers frequently are likelier to get uterine cancer, with a risk that increases up to 4.05%. This is a staggering result, in contrast to the 1.64% probability of acquiring uterine cancer for women who opt out of hair relaxers. It’s no surprise that the companies who have been designing the hair relaxers have seen a push for consequences, and luckily, the law is tipping to the side of the truth regarding this case. L’Oréal and Revlon filed a motion to dismiss the case, but were ultimately denied.

Judge Mary Rowland denied the motion to dismiss on November 14, 2023, for several reasons, including but not limited to negligence and warranty breaches. The plaintiffs in the case still need to submit more proof that the companies were negligent in warning consumers of the risks involved when using hair relaxers. Attorneys are currently reviewing the hair relaxers, as well as hair perming chemicals and hair straightening products.

(featured image: yacobchuk)

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Vanessa Esguerra
Vanessa Esguerra (She/They) is a Contributing Writer for The Mary Sue. She graduated with a degree in Bachelor of Arts in Political Economy and is currently pursuing her Master's Degree in Japanese Studies. She speaks three languages, but still manages to get lost in the subways of Tokyo with her clunky Japanese. As a mixed race bisexual woman, she frequently writes about race, gender and sexuality both academically and professionally. Fueled by iced coffee brewed from local cafés in Metro Manila, she also regularly covers anime and video games while queuing for her next match in League of Legends.

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