December 20, 2016
Relaxer Recall? L'Oreal SoftSheen-Carson Optimum Amla Legend No-Mix No-Lye Relaxer Burned Scalp, Caused Balding, Claim Lawyers

The latest buzz about chemical relaxers potentially causing baldness is one of the reasons the natural hair movement has swung into a full swing. As reported by TMZ, the L'Oreal product called the Softsheen Carson Optimum Amla Legend Relaxer Kit by Optimum is responsible for two women suffering scalp burns so bad that the relaxer caused hair loss, according to lawyers Ben Meiselas and Mark Geragos.

As seen on the product page on Amazon, the relaxer is called "an easy no-mix, no-lye cream relaxer kit that ensures an easier relaxing process for unified results and superior respect for hair fiber integrity." However, the attorneys claim that their clients experienced anything but an easy relaxing process when they used the L'Oréal product. They don't just want $5 million in damages for the celebrity-touted relaxer, as reported by TMZ, but they also want the product pulled from the market so that no other women will have to experience the negative effects they've experienced. The publication posted one before-and-after photo of a woman with healthy-looking hair on the left, and hair that appears fried and damaged on the right.

With L'Oréal using famous faces of African-American celebrities to promote their hair relaxer, the L'Oréal SoftSheen-Carson Optimum Amla Legend No-Mix, No-Lye Relaxer is coming under fire. Instead of using sodium hydroxide or lye, the relaxer claims to use the "Amla" Indian fruit oil. However, the lawsuit claims that no matter the ingredients of the relaxer, the women suing L'Oréal experienced hair loss, breakage, scalp irritation, blisters, and burns -- not moisturized hair that was improved by fruit oil. The fact that L'Oréal used celebrities like Tracee Ellis Ross of Blackish TV fame, along with Real Housewives of Atlanta star Cynthia Bailey to promote the relaxer may have made some women feel more confident in using it to relax their own hair. Michelle Obama's hairstylist promoted it as well, claims the publication.

The lawsuit is replete with the kinds of bad reviews being left on the product's Amazon page -- coupled with good reviews -- that claim the large amount of damage the relaxer has done to those suing the company.

"I am completely bald on the front portion of my head."

"My 26-year-old daughter is upstairs crying her eyes out because her hair is gone."

L'Oréal previously had not commented on the more than $5 million lawsuit but in court documents the firm said that their SoftSheen-Carson Optimum Amla Legend No-Mix, No-Lye Relaxer warns consumers about the danger of the product on their packaging.
Pointing to the promises on the packaging, however, the AMLA relaxer promises it "refills to reveal visibly fuller, silkier hair." It claims to be intensely nourishing and conditioning, and the type of relaxer that protects the scalp and skin. Other promises on the packaging include a fast relaxing processing time that works within 13 to 15 minutes. The women who say they are victims of the relaxer want it pulled from store shelves.

On Amazon, a mix of good and bad reviews like the following can be found for the product.

"My hair has shed by the handfuls after using AMLA perm. Anyone know how I can restore my hair? I'm using organic coconut oil now."
"Answer: Try taking some Nature Bounty Vitamin for Hair Nails skin. The vitamin Biotin is helpful to regrowth of hair. Also try Dark and Lovely Serum for hair. It really helps to soften hair. Good luck. I was devastated for 3 months. I suggest when you are ready for a new perm, try Dark and Lovely. I used the one for color treated hair. My hair felt like hay after the Amla perm."
[Featured Image by Karel Noppe/Shutterstock]