Retail Regulation In The Cosmetic Industry

real hair truth
The $71 billion personal care product industry in the United States is largely unregulated, and retailers are stepping up to fill the void.

When retailers adopt policies on the safety of the products they sell, it’s called retail regulation.

There is a rich history of retailers using their purchasing power to effect positive market change.
In 2008, when Walmart—the world’s largest retailer—agreed to stop selling baby bottles, sippy cups and sports water bottles made with BPA, it forced manufacturers to reformulate in order to keep selling to this retail giant.
More and more retailers are adopting store wide policies governing the safety of their beauty products, with Whole Foods leading the way by implementing a basic chemical safety screening for all its personal care products and adopting a restricted-substances list made up of more than 400 chemicals prohibited from products bearing its premium standards labels.
In 2008 CVS stepped up to the plate by adopting a store-wide policy prohibiting the use of certain
toxic chemicals in their store-brand baby products. Walgreen’s and Target followed suit in 2013 by
announcing they would develop and adopt comprehensive cosmetic safety policies to govern the
safety of the private-label and national brands they carry.
The following goals should guide retailers’ policies and practices to improve the safety of personal
care products sold in their stores:
Expand the sale of safer cosmetics and personal care products (products free of chemicals
linked to cancer, birth defects, developmental harm and other health concerns).
Adopt a list of chemicals that are banned from use in private-label and national brands sold
in their stores, and ensure that toxic chemicals are replaced with safer alternatives.
Reformulate private-label products to eliminate chemicals of concern.
Practice the highest level of transparency by sharing the company’s safe-cosmetics policy,
practices and progress on websites and in corporate responsibility reports.
Strive for continuous improvements in policies and practices by monitoring scientific
research regarding emerging chemicals of concern.
Federal Regulations
Major loopholes in federal law allow the cosmetics industry to put virtually any chemical into a
cosmetic or personal care product with no pre-market FDA safety testing or review, no monitoring
of health effects, and inadequate labeling requirements. Most of us assume the FDA regulates
these products just as it does food and drugs to assure safety. In fact, cosmetics are one of the least
regulated consumer products available to the public. To make matters worse, contaminants in a
finished cosmetic product that occur as by-products of the manufacturing process, by law, don’t
have to be listed on the product label. That means chemicals like PFOA can hide in a cosmetic or
personal care product without consumers knowing.
The Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act (FFDCA) includes 112 pages of standards for food and
drugs, but just a single page for cosmetics. The cosmetics title of the FFDCA, which has not been
amended significantly since it was enacted more than 77 years ago, provides virtually no power to
perform even the most rudimentary functions to ensure product safety in an estimated $71 billion
cosmetic industry.
Fortunately, for the first time in 77 years, Congress could close the gaping holes in our outdated
federal law and give the FDA the statutory authority and resources it needs to effectively regulate
the safety of cosmetics and personal care products. Currently, Congress is considering two bills to
regulate cosmetics ingredients.
The Senate
On April 20, 2015, Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced the
Personal Care Products Safety Act of 2015, an important bill with the potential to give the cosmetics
industry a desperately needed makeover. Many strong provisions in the bill would advance the
FDA’s ability to protect consumers from unsafe chemicals in cosmetics and personal care products:
Requiring companies to register their facilities, products and ingredients with the FDA;
Closing labeling loopholes by requiring full ingredient disclosure for professional salon
products and web-based sales of cosmetic products; and
Directing the FDA to assess the safety of a minimum of five cosmetics chemicals a year.
However, the bill falls short of what is needed. Ideally, federal regulation would put in place a robust
safety standard and elevate the rigor of ingredient safety reviews by the FDA and manufacturers to
ensure that cosmetics and personal care products are as safe as possible

Suave Keratin Infusion Treatment Has Some Consumers Pulling Their Hair Out!

Dear Joseph Kellner

I bought the treatment on 3/23/12 from wal-mart and I used it a week later.  I have previously used Sallys brand about 8 months prior so I knew what I was doing and I read the directions correctly.  Not even a week after I used the Suave brand, my hair got considerably lighter, which has never happened and my hair started to fall out.  Even now, every time I was my hair, more of it breaks and I am losing it by the handfuls.  I only use the treatments because after I had my daughter, my hair got wavy and thicker only in the back and I wanted an easier way to maintain my hair.  The treatment I used before worked wonders and seeing as Suave’s was a whole lot cheaper, I took a chance.  I know it is not supposed to make it straight, but it is supposed to make it easier to straighten, and this did not do as it was supposed to.  I saw the recall at my local CVS and wanted to know what I am supposed to do from here?  Thanks for your time.
Ashley Mier

In the hair styling business, people are willing to pay big bucks for long-lasting, silky smooth locks. Keratin hair treatments now seem to be the preferred method of attaining a head-turning hairdo.

Once available only from pricy professional stylists, keratin hair treatments are now available over-the-counter in affordable do-it-yourself kits, as if do it yourself  hair color is not enough. As it turns out, these at-home treatments have left some customers with more than just extra money on their hands. Suave Keratin Infusion Treatment will give you 30 days of soft, smooth, shiny hair, though it claims. This situation brings back memory’s of the Brazilian Blowout, remember they lied about the not FORMALDHYDE. See where it got them, and it seems Suave is in a boat they created by themselves just like Brazilian Blowout.

“The Suave Professionals Keratin Infusion30-Day Smoothing Kit transforms Frizz like a salon keratin treatment-  at home! In just three easy steps, hair is sleeker, smoother and easier to style.”

A sizeable number of Suave Professionals Keratin Infusion users have taken to the internet with claims that the product has made their hair fall out. Other consumers claim to have been left with badly damaged hair requiring drastic intervention in the form of aggressive hairstyle modification (read: getting their hair chopped off). Suave has discontinued the product and provided resources to customers who have questions about the product’s safety and effectiveness. I have called Suave repeatedly to ask them information on there  recall and not to my suprise I get no answers!

This dustup “highlights” (please forgive the pun) a truly important issue in consumer product safety. That’s a key concept that consumers should remember in order to keep themselves safe: Follow the directions! Too many people are injured when they fail to heed (or even read) the manufacturer’s guidance. In some cases, of course, the product in question cannot be rendered safe or the manufacturer should anticipate consumer misuse or confusion. In those cases, the manufacturer has a greater burden to ensure the safety of their customers. Keratin treatments should not be sold to the consumer. Keratin treatments should be banned. Manufacturers should not be selling (kits) to the consumer that is a service in the salon. The salon community or beauty professional has no clue to the amount of keratin treatments that are sold on the internet. If they did and hopefully they will open there eye’s up to the problem they may join together to get something done in there industry. But I have a better chance of turning into a afro-america than to see the professional make a stand for there industry. Here are some reviews about the product made by Suave.

Posted by Brenda Nasalroad
June 20, 2012 12:44 PM
I used the Suave Keratin 30 day treatment, my hair is ruined. It has been 60 days since I used the product purchased at walgreens. Myhair is straight lifeless and loooks awful. I had thick natural curly hair, now I’m embarrassed at the way I look when I have to go anywhere. Suave has no answers except cut it off or let it grow out. This is ridiculous. Can anything be done?
Posted by Carole anne
June 23, 2012 6:52 PM
I’m having to chop my hair off as well- they were totally deceptive in their marketing of their product- no where did it say it was a straightner and 3 months later my hair is totally ruined. My naturally curly hair is destroyed. How can a company do this to someone? Do not use this product!!!
Posted by Deborah
June 26, 2012 9:26 AM
I used the Suave Keratin Infusion kit on my hair and it is ruined…f-r-i-e-d. I did this about 2 weeks ago and everyday my hair is a little shorter in certain area’s. All the way around my face my hair is breaking off. I didn’t have bangs but now I do and they are getting shorter by the day. I’ve tried heavy conditioners to help but nothing seems to help. It took me about 5 years to grow my hair out this long and now it is gone. Oh how I wish I could go back in time and rethink my decision.
If you have had any health issues from the usage of this product Suave Keratin Infusion Treatment Please email me at And let us know how we can help you with your problems from using this treatment.

Marcia Teixeira -Copomon Enterprises – Pro Skin Solutions Inc – OSHA News Release

A Wonderful Bunch of Bastards in My Industry!

US Department of Labor’s OSHA cites Florida manufacturers and
distributors of hair products containing formaldehyde for health violations
Companies failed to protect workers, warn product users of hazards

ATLANTA – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited two Florida manufacturers and two Florida-based distributors of hair products containing formaldehyde for 16 health violations involving alleged failures to protect their employees from possible formaldehyde exposure and to communicate with the products’ users, such as salons and stylists, about the hazards of formaldehyde exposure. Proposed penalties for the companies total $49,200.

“Employers are responsible for identifying the risks associated with producing and using these hair products, as well as for taking appropriate measures to ensure that they protect their own employees and other workers who may be using their products, such as stylists, from any potential hazards,” said Cindy Coe, OSHA’s regional administrator in Atlanta.

OSHA’s inspections were initiated based on a referral by Oregon’s Occupational Safety and Health Division, which tested more than 100 product samples at 50 salons using hair smoothing or straightening products. Some products causing formaldehyde exposure were traced back to the Florida manufacturers and distributors. Formaldehyde can irritate the eyes and nose, and cause coughing and wheezing. It is a sensitizer, which means that it can cause allergic reactions of the lungs, skin and eyes, such as asthma, rashes and itching. It also has been linked to cancer.

Both M&M International Inc. in Delray Beach, a distributor of the straightening hair product “Marcia Teixeira,” and Copomon Enterprises in Boca Raton, a distributor of the keratin-based hair product “Keratin Complex Smoothing Therapy,” have been cited for three serious violations and fined $12,600 each for failing to ensure that material safety data sheets reflected the content of formaldehyde in the products or the hazards associated with formaldehyde exposure, as well as for failing to develop a written hazard communication program for their own employees. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

Pro Skin Solutions Inc. in Orlando, a manufacturer of keratin-based products used for hair straightening, has been cited for five serious violations with penalties of $15,000. Violations include failing to establish a written respiratory protection plan, provide an emergency eyewash station, develop appropriate procedures to protect employees in the event of an emergency and develop or implement a written hazard communication program. The company also failed to address formaldehyde exposure and inhalation hazards, including possible cancer-causing effects, on material safety data sheets for the formaldehyde-containing products.

Additionally, Pro Skin Solutions has been cited for two other-than-serious violations with no monetary penalties for failing to maintain air sampling records and provide written procedures for evaluating chemical hazards. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.

Keratronics Inc. in Coral Springs, a manufacturer of keratin-based products used for hair straightening, has been cited for three serious violations with penalties of $9,000 for failing to provide an eyewash station for employees using corrosive products, evaluate the hazards of keratin-based products for development of the material safety data sheets, and develop or maintain a written hazard communication program on handling chemicals such as timonacic acid, formalin, acetic acid and hydrolyzed keratin.

All manufacturers, importers and distributers are required by OSHA standards to identify formaldehyde on any product that contains more than 0.1 percent formaldehyde, either as a gas or in a solution that can release formaldehyde at concentrations greater than 0.1 part per million. The material safety data sheet that comes with the product also must include this information, as well as explain why the chemical is hazardous, what harm it can cause, what protective measures should be taken and what to do in an emergency. The sheets are used by employers to determine products’ potential health hazards and methods to prevent worker exposure.

Federal OSHA issued a hazard alert earlier this year to hair salon owners and employees about potential formaldehyde exposure resulting from working with some hair smoothing and straightening products. It can be viewed at

In addition, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently issued a warning letter to GIB LLC in North Hollywood, Calif., doing business as Brazilian Blowout, concerning misbranding relating to formaldehyde. That letter is available at

Keratronics, M&M International and Copomon Enterprises were inspected by OSHA’s Fort Lauderdale Area Office, 1000 S. Pine Island Road, Suite 100, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. 33324; telephone 954-424-0242. Pro Skin Solutions was inspected by OSHA’s Tampa Area Office, located at 5807 Breckenridge Parkway, Suite A, Tampa, Fla. 33610; telephone 813-626-1177. To report workplace incidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call the agency’s toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742).

The companies have 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance.


Brazilian Blowout Gets Blowback From the FDA, Do You Think The So Called Beauty Industry Cares?

Five months ago, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a hazard alert about Brazilian Blowout and similar hair smoothing and straightening products, warning that hair salon workers and clients could potentially be exposed to formaldehyde by using them.

Now the FDA has sent a warning letter to the makers of Brazilian Blowout confirming that the product is “adulterated” with the liquid form of formaldehyde, “which, under the conditions of use prescribed in the labeling,” releases dangerous levels of the chemical — a known carcinogen — into the air to be inhaled.

The FDA letter also said that Brazilian Blowout is “misbranded” because the product’s label falsely declares it to contain “No Formaldehyde” or that it is “Formaldehyde Free.

The company has until mid-Sept. to address the violations cited by the FDA or risk having its product seized. “It is your responsibility as a manufacturer to ensure that the products your firm markets are safe,” wrote Michael W. Roosevelt, acting director of the Office of Compliance at the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, in the warning letter to Brazilian Blowout CEO Mike Brady.

Salon workers and customers using the hair-straightening solutions have suffered side effects like eye and throat irritation, headache, dizziness, burning sensations, breathing problems, nosebleeds, chest pain, vomiting and rash, according to the FDA. Formaldehyde is released when hair treated with Brazilian Blowout is heated with a blow dryer and then with a hot flat iron, as the product’s labeling recommends.

The FDA’s analysis found that Brazilian Blowout contains 8.7% to 10.4% formaldehyde, which puts it in the range of embalming fluid used by funeral homes — and is far higher than the 0.2% that the Cosmetics Ingredient Review Expert Panel considers safe. (Why is formaldehyde in hair products, you ask? Because it helps bind keratin to hair, straightening it.)

For its part, the makers of Brazilian Blowout say the product is safe. “We have been tested countless times by OSHA,” Brady told NPR’s Shots blog. “And we have never exceeded a safety standard ever.”

“In our continued effort to clear up misinformation about the Brazilian Blowout, we are delighted to be working with the FDA in demonstrating that the Brazilian Blowout complies with both state and federal guidelines,” a brief statement on the product website says, encouraging hair salons to “continue to confidently offer the Brazilian Blowout treatment to your customers.”

Many salons across the U.S. may be currently using Brazilian Blowout or similar frizz-taming products. In April, Healthland contributor Bryan Walsh spoke with Jane Houlihan, vice president for research at the Environmental Working Group. She said: “We surveyed 41 top salons and found that almost all of them are using hair-straightening treatments. We look across the industry, and the fact is if you’re using a Brazilian-style keratin treatment, it’s almost certainly releasing formaldehyde.”

Given the FDA’s warning, Brazilian Blowout may not be around much longer, at least not in its current formulation. It’s already been banned in Canada. But the fact that a hair product containing potentially dangerous levels of formaldehyde was able to end up in salons in the first place shows just how lacking regulation of the cosmetics industry is.