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Top-selling dry shampoos such as Not Your Mother’s and Church & Dwight Co.’s Batiste contain high levels of benzene, the cancer-causing chemical that led Unilever to yank its product from shelves in October, according to a new independent study.
Valisure, a New Haven, Conn., analytical laboratory, tested 148 batches from 34 brands of spray-on dry shampoo and found that 70% contained benzene. The chemical can cause certain blood cancers, such as leukemia. The company filed a petition Monday with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration seeking to have the products that contain the substance recalled.
The results add to concerns that products sold over the counter in pharmacies and grocery stores across the United States could present previously undetected health risks.
Over the last year, Valisure has found benzene in popular spray sunscreens, antiperspirants and hand sanitizers. Stores have pulled the products from shelves, while regulators and manufacturers are looking more closely at whether impurities are slipping by unnoticed in a complex supply chain.
The highest benzene levels among the dry shampoos were found in a popular brand called Not Your Mother’s, which touts its “clean, quality ingredients.” Other brands found to have elevated benzene levels included Batiste, Sun Bum and John Paul Mitchell Systems.
Dove, other Unilever dry shampoos recalled over cancer risk
Dove, Suave and Bed Head are among the aerosol dry shampoos recalled after they were found to contain benzene, which can cause cancer.
Valisure’s petition didn’t include dry shampoos already recalled for elevated benzene, such as Dove, Suave and Bed Head, all from Unilever, as well as Procter & Gamble Co.’s Pantene and Herbal Essences.
The benzene levels Valisure found in some of the dry shampoos — used to freshen up hair between washes — are significantly higher than in any personal-care products the lab has tested before, the study showed.
When asked whether Batiste had been tested for benzene, a spokesperson for Church & Dwight said the company had previously confirmed with its ingredient suppliers that their products didn’t contain the chemical and said it would evaluate Valisure’s petition. Not Your Mother’s, Sun Bum and John Paul Mitchell Systems didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
Batiste, Not Your Mother’s and Dove are the top-selling dry shampoo brands in the U.S., with Batiste making up 44% of the $309 million in sales in the year that ended July 10 among the top 10 brands, according to IRI, a Chicago market research firm. Dry shampoo sales were up 22% from a year earlier, IRI said.
Church & Dwight Chief Executive Matt Farrell told investors on an earnings call Oct. 28 that Batiste use was up 37% in the third quarter from a year earlier, giving the company a 46% market share. Chief Financial Officer Rick Dierker added: “Batiste is growing like crazy. It’s doing fantastic. We can’t meet all the demand. Consumption is up dramatically.”
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A spray from one can of Not Your Mother’s Beach Babe dry shampoo contained 158 parts per million of benzene, according to Valisure’s findings. In previous studies, the lab found sunscreens with up to 6 parts per million, hand sanitizers with 16 parts per million and antiperspirants with 18. A can of Batiste Bare Dry Shampoo contained 15 parts per million of benzene in one spray.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has said inhaling benzene at levels of 0.4 parts per billion (0.0004 parts per million) chronically over a lifetime could result in one additional cancer per 100,000 people, a measure of risk the FDA also uses.
“Dry shampoo is not a product you use one time and are done with it,” said David Light, CEO of Valisure. “A lot of people use it once a day or a few times a week.”
The high numbers call into question statements such as the one Unilever made when it recalled Dove, Tresemme, Suave, Bed Head and Rockaholic dry shampoos Oct. 18, stating that: “Based on an independent health hazard evaluation, daily exposure to benzene in the recalled products at the levels detected in testing would not be expected to cause adverse health consequences.” Unilever didn’t respond to questions about the levels of benzene found in its products.
“We had seen significant amounts of benzene in Unilever products before they went on recall,” Light said, declining to specify amounts.
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P&G was the first to recall dry shampoo in December, pulling Pantene and Herbal Essences versions from shelves. The move came after P&G tested its entire aerosol portfolio after the revelations from Valisure’s previous work. No other major consumer-goods manufacturer has publicly disclosed similar internal testing.
Valisure has found high benzene levels in spray sunscreens, including versions of Johnson & Johnson’s Neutrogena products; aerosol antiperspirants such as Procter & Gamble’s Secret and Old Spice brands; and some hand sanitizers that were introduced to the market at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
The supply chains that bring consumers their grooming products are complex, globe-spanning endeavors, making it difficult to determine precisely where the toxic substances are introduced.
The problems potentially go “all the way back to a raw material being contaminated and making it through the entire global supply chain, through all the various hands it has to touch, and all the various quality checkpoints that are supposed to be there,” Light said. After all that, “it’s still ending up on the shelf in a customer’s hands, in their homes, with such alarmingly high levels of contamination. That’s very concerning.”
Some companies have pointed to propellants as the problem. Spray personal-care products, including dry shampoos, often contain propellants such as propane and butane that are petroleum distillates made by refining crude oil. Benzene is a known contaminant of petroleum products. The propane and butane used in personal-care products are supposed to be purified so that no benzene is present. The FDA has confirmed propellants are a potential source of benzene contamination.
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On July 29, Edgewell Personal Care Co. recalled its because of benzene contamination. The company said the “unexpected levels of benzene came from the propellant that sprays the product out of the can.”
The FDA has asked companies that make drug products at high risk of being contaminated with benzene, including sunscreen, to test for the substance.
Dry shampoo is a cosmetic, which the FDA regulates, but not nearly as stringently as it does drugs.
Although the FDA hasn’t set benzene limits for cosmetics, it does say the products shouldn’t contain “any poisonous or deleterious substance.” In drug applications, the FDA allows levels of 2 parts per million of benzene if “use is unavoidable in order to produce a drug product with a significant therapeutic advance.”
Valisure has asked the FDA to clarify that there isn’t an acceptable level of benzene in cosmetic products and to develop guidelines for benzene testing in cosmetics.
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Valisure’s analysis found extreme variation in sprays, even from the same can, “suggesting inconsistent product composition and/or aerosolization in some products,” the lab said in the petition. For instance, the first spray of Not Your Mother’s Clean Freak dry shampoo contained 143 parts per million of benzene, but the fourth spray contained 93 parts per million.
Valisure’s findings, including a list of contaminated dry shampoos, can be found in the petition it filed with the FDA.
The contamination could be even higher than those findings, an expanded study showed.
Valisure has been testing for benzene in personal-care products for some time, but with its dry-shampoo research, the researchers took a deeper approach. The lab partnered with Syft Technologies, a company that designs and sells trace gas analysis equipment, to conduct direct air-measurement tests, which can more precisely capture benzene levels. Syft is headquartered in New Zealand, with an office in Pittsburgh.
When Valisure tests a product, it uses a standard procedure that requires putting a sample into a vial. This means some chemicals may escape before they’re measured. Syft uses a method that detects chemical levels in the air, including whatever is sprayed from an aerosol can. Using Syft’s data, Valisure determined it’s possible the actual benzene levels in spray-on dry shampoo could be 10 times to 50 times higher than what standard testing reveals.
For example, Syft found benzene levels of 1,600 parts per billion — 4,000 times higher than the EPA’s guidance — in the initial cloud of a 10-second spray of Not Your Mother’s dry shampoo. Longer-term exposure showed about 36 parts per billion, with Syft taking measurements in a 550 cubic foot space over 15 minutes. Using that data, Valisure calculated the benzene concentration in the Not Your Mother’s can totaled 340 parts per million, or 170 times the FDA’s limit for drugs.
Data based on Syft’s findings likely more closely mimic real-world conditions.
What is even more dry shampoos found to have cancer-causing agent? ›
Group Finds 70% of Dry Shampoos Tested Had Cancer-Causing Chemical. An independent laboratory showed high levels of benzene, a known carcinogen, in 70% of dry shampoo samples tested. The amount of benzene in each shampoo varied across brands and different batches of products in the same brand.Is dry shampoo safe cancer? ›
Valisure just finished a study on popular dry shampoo brands and found 70% of dry shampoo samples tested had benzene in them. Frequently inhaling benzene at levels of 0.4 parts per billion over time could cause cancer per 100,000 people, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.What brand of dry shampoo is being recalled? ›
Dove Dry Shampoo Clarifying Charcoal. Dove Dry Shampoo Go Active. Nexxus Dry Shampoo Refreshing Mist. Nexxus Inergy Foam Shampoo.Is my dry shampoo safe? ›
Some dry shampoo products may contain the chemical benzene, most likely as a contaminant. Although benzene exposure is associated with dangerous health effects, there is no evidence that occasional dry shampoo use is harmful to humans.What shampoo does not have cancer causing ingredients? ›
- Ursa Major.
- 100% Pure.
- Hello Bello.
- Clean Clean.
Unilever and the FDA announced a recall of many other aerosol-based dry shampoos due to benzene and cancer risk in October 2022, including popular brands like Dove, Nexxus, Suave, TIGI (Rockaholic and Bed Head), and TRESemmé.What dry shampoos are on the FDA recall list? ›
The FDA issued the voluntary recall on "dry shampoo aerosol products produced prior to October 2021 from Dove, Nexxus, Suave, TIGI (Rockaholic and Bed Head), and TRESemmé due to potentially elevated levels of benzene."Which dry shampoos do not have benzene? ›
- Hair Co-Wash. ...
- Eva NYC Freshen Up Invisible Dry Shampoo. ...
- GRO Dry Shampoo. ...
- Floof Dry Shampoo. ...
- ACURE Dry Shampoo - All Hair Types. ...
- Plant Based Dry Shampoo. ...
- Prêt-à-Powder Dry Shampoo Powder.
Close on the heels of Unilever's recall of aerosol dry shampoo due to benzene contamination, the independent analytical lab Valisure has reported finding benzene in 103 of 148 dry shampoos in a recent consumer product screen. Affected brands include Not Your Mother's, Batiste, and L'Oréal.Is there benzene in Dove dry shampoo? ›
The report comes after certain aerosol dry shampoos, including some Dove, Nexxus, Suave, Tigi and Tresemme products, were voluntarily recalled last month due to the potential presence of benzene.
Do all dry shampoos have benzene? ›
Does Dry Shampoo Contain Benzene? Yes, a 2022 study conducted by Valisure found that 70 percent of those dry shampoos that were tested by the company contained benzene. The study analyzed 148 unique batches of dry shampoo from 34 different brands, which is a significant portion of the market.Is Batiste dry shampoo safe? ›
Top-selling dry shampoos such as Not Your Mother's and Church & Dwight Co.'s Batiste contain high levels of benzene, the cancer-causing chemical that led Unilever to yank its product from shelves in October, according to a new independent study.What are the negatives of dry shampoo? ›
- Dry shampoo doesn't clean your hair. Dry shampoo isn't shampoo at all. ...
- It can lead to hair breakage.
- Overuse can clog hair follicles. ...
- Infrequent hair-washing can cause dandruff and scaly skin. ...
- The potential link to cancer.
A new report finds "troubling" levels of cancer-causing chemical in more dry shampoo products. High levels of benzene, a cancer-causing chemical, have been detected in more brands and batches of dry shampoo products, according to a new report from Valisure, an independent laboratory.What else can I use instead of dry shampoo? ›
- Baby Powder. Baby powder's well-known powers of absorption have made it a popular option for DIY dry shampoo. ...
- Cornstarch. ...
- Makeup Setting Powder. ...
- Apple Cider Vinegar. ...
- Hand Sanitizer.
Use baby shampoo or other mild shampoo (such as Aveeno® or Vanicream™). You should also use a cream rinse or hair conditioner. Use shampoos and conditioners that have sunscreen to prevent sun damage to your scalp. Always rinse your hair well and pat it dry with a soft towel.What is the number one bad ingredient in shampoo? ›
Out of all the shampoo ingredients that are harmful, formaldehyde may be the scariest. Formaldehyde is a known human carcinogen and has been proven to be absorbed through the skin in animal testing. Manufacturers often add it directly as a preservative.Is Batiste dry shampoo cancerous? ›
Church & Dwight Co. has been hit with a proposed class action after some of its Batiste-brand dry shampoos were reportedly found to be contaminated with “dangerously high” levels of benzene, a carcinogen that has been linked to leukemia and other cancers.What is the best chemical free shampoo? ›
- True Botanicals (best of the best winner)
- Innersense Beauty.
- BeautyCounter (second best winner)
- Acure Organics.
- Josh Rosebrook.
- Dessert Essence (best budget-friendly winner)
- Evolvh (color treated or curly hair)
- Parabens (propyl-, isopropyl-, butyl-, and isobutyl-) ...
- Synthetic colors. ...
- Phthalates. ...
- Propylene glycol. ...
- Ethanolamines (diethanolamine [DEA], monoethanolamine [MEA], and triethanolamine [TEA]) ...
- Mineral oil and petroleum (also called petrolatum, petroleum jelly, and paraffin oil)
Is All Dove Dry Shampoo recalled? ›
Unilever dry shampoo recall 2022
Details: The voluntary recall is for select lot codes of dry shampoo aerosol products produced before October 2021 from Dove, Nexxus, Suave, TIGI (Rockaholic and Bed Head) and TRESemmé.
The latest recall includes dry shampoo aerosol products made before October 2021 from brands Dove, Nexxus, Suave, TIGI (Rockaholic and Bed Head), and TRESemmé, the company said in a notice published last week by the FDA. (See here for a complete list of recalled products and UPC codes.)Does Dove soap contain benzene? ›
Benzene is a known contaminant of petroleum products.
New Delhi: Unilever has recalled popular brands of aerosol dry shampoo, including Dove, after discovering they were contaminated with a chemical called benzene that can cause cancer.
- Check the ingredients list. On a bottle of Not Your Mother's Beach Babe, the brand Valisure found the highest levels of benzene in, the first two ingredients are isobutane and propane. ...
- Spot propellants. ...
- When in doubt, ditch the aerosols.
So we asked hair experts for their favorite DIY dry shampoo recipes that make hair less greasy and are safe for your strands. And it turns out that natural ingredients like arrowroot powder, baking soda and clay can help absorb oil and act as a makeshift dry shampoo.Does Pantene hairspray have benzene? ›
In 2021, several aerosol spray haircare products were recalled because they may contain benzene, which is a known cancer-causing chemical, according to CBS News. The recalled products included dry shampoos and conditioners from well-known brands like Pantene, Herbal Essences, Hair Food, Old Spice, and Aussie.Does Batiste still have benzene? ›
"When propellants had been reported to be the source of benzene in competitors' recalled products, we contacted our propellant suppliers and confirmed with those suppliers that the propellants used in our Batiste products do not contain benzene," a company spokesperson said in a statement.What company owns Batiste? ›
Batiste was acquired by Church & Dwight, Co on Sep 21, 2011 .What chemical is dry shampoo? ›
The propellant used in dry shampoo usually consists of butane, isobutane, and propane, which makes up 70–90% of the total composition. Dry shampoos often contain anionic surfactants that do not dissolve in water.Does Pantene shampoo have benzene in it? ›
"While benzene is not an ingredient in any of our products, our review showed that unexpected levels of benzene came from the propellant that sprays the product out of the can," Procter & Gamble said, adding it initiated a review after other companies issued similar recalls.
What beauty products contain benzene? ›
The affected aerosol products include some of the world's biggest brand names, including certain lots of Neutrogena, Aveeno, Banana Boat and Coppertone sunscreens; Sure, Brut, Suave, Secret and Old Spice deodorants; Dove, Nexxus, Suave, Tresemmé and Bed Head dry shampoos; and Tinactin and Odor Eaters foot sprays.What household products have benzene? ›
The benzene in indoor air comes from products that contain benzene such as glues, paints, furniture wax, and detergents.What dry shampoo has benzene list? ›
Due to the presence of benzene being found in dry shampoo made by Dove, Suave, Nexxus, TRESemme, and TIGI (Bedhead and Rockaholic), a voluntary recall has been made for the following products: Dove Dry Shampoo Volume and Fullness. Dove Dry Shampoo Fresh Coconut. Dove Dry Shampoo Fresh and Floral.Which shampoo contain benzene? ›
The highest benzene levels among the dry shampoos were found in a popular brand called Not Your Mother's. Other brands found to have elevated benzene included Batiste, Sun Bum, John Paul Mitchell Systems and Church & Dwight Co.'s Batiste.Is Batiste safe now? ›
Based on the ingredients they use and the potential health concerns associated with them, we recommend avoiding Batiste dry shampoos.Does Batiste original contain benzene? ›
Batiste dry shampoo contains dangerously high levels of benzene, a carcinogenic impurity that has been linked to leukemia and other cancers, a new class action lawsuit alleges. Plaintiffs Eden Amadril and Ariana Skurauskis filed the class action complaint against Church & Dwight Co.What was the ingredient in dry shampoo that was recalled? ›
Recently, several dry shampoo products have been voluntarily recalled. Benzene, a known cancer-causing ingredient, has been found in excess in several common household dry shampoo products. Benzene has been linked to leukemia and several other blood cancers.What happens if you use dry shampoo everyday? ›
Don't use it every day.
This weakens hair's strength, potentially leading to hair loss and skin issues like infections, dermatitis, and acne. Instead, give your scalp a chance to breathe between washes: Our pros recommend only using dry shampoo one to two times a week.
Shampoo cleanses, whereas dry shampoo freshens scalp and hair. Shampooing your hair regularly traps the excess oil but on the other hand, dry shampoo absorbs the oil. Contrary to popular belief, dry shampoo does not harm your hair the way shampooing does. The sulfates in most shampoos do the most amount of damage.When should I stop using dry shampoo? ›
Dry shampoo is a must-have beauty staple to transform oily hair between washes. It's important to apply it sparingly and give it time to take effect, but it also shouldn't be used for more than two days in a row to avoid buildup on the scalp.
Why does dry shampoo not help my hair? ›
Dry shampoo works to help make your hair look clean; it does not work to clean your hair. It works to disguise the grease, oil, and dirt on your scalp, not actually eliminate it. The effectiveness of dry shampoo may depend on the natural texture of your hair.Is dry shampoo not good for hair? ›
As dry shampoo builds up on the scalp it can prevent nutrients from being able to reach the hair follicle. Reavey says overusing the product can result in inflammation of the scalp and blockage of the follicles. "Over time, this can weaken the follicle, causing increased shedding and hair thinning," she says.What is a natural dry shampoo? ›
Natural dry shampoo can be made with clay, starch, powders, or colloidal oatmeal. Arrowroot starch works well to absorb oil and disappear into your roots. Some people also use baking soda, although the texture can be grainy and easy to see.How can I degrease my hair without dry shampoo? ›
If you have run out of your favourite dry shampoo, here's another product that is just as effective to help get rid of all the excess grease. Baby powder is the multipurpose beauty product that has been handling greasy scalp problems for centuries.
"You can use dry shampoo to lengthen the time in between washes, to absorb sweat after workouts or to just refresh hair for a 'fresh-styled look' without the hassle of getting hair wet and blow drying it."What is the most harmful ingredients in shampoo? ›
Out of all the shampoo ingredients that are harmful, formaldehyde may be the scariest. Formaldehyde is a known human carcinogen and has been proven to be absorbed through the skin in animal testing. Manufacturers often add it directly as a preservative.What are the worst chemicals in shampoo? ›
- Sulfates. ...
- Parabens. ...
- Polyethylene Glycols. ...
- Triclosan. ...
- Formaldehyde. ...
- Synthetic Fragrances and Colors. ...
- Dimethicone. ...
- Retinyl Palmitate.
- Hair Co-Wash. ...
- Eva NYC Freshen Up Invisible Dry Shampoo. ...
- GRO Dry Shampoo. ...
- Floof Dry Shampoo. ...
- ACURE Dry Shampoo - All Hair Types. ...
- Plant Based Dry Shampoo. ...
- Prêt-à-Powder Dry Shampoo Powder.
The highest benzene levels among the dry shampoos were found in a popular brand called Not Your Mother's, which touts its “clean, quality ingredients.” Other brands found to have elevated benzene included Batiste, Sun Bum, and John Paul Mitchell Systems.Which dry shampoo has elevated levels of benzene? ›
Yes, a 2022 study conducted by Valisure found that 70 percent of those dry shampoos that were tested by the company contained benzene. The study analyzed 148 unique batches of dry shampoo from 34 different brands, which is a significant portion of the market.
What shampoo has the least amount of chemicals? ›
- Prose. Best For | Personalized hair care. ...
- JVN Hair. Best For | Ultra-hydrating formulas. ...
- 100% PURE. Best For | Affordable organic shampoo and conditioner. ...
- True Botanicals. Best For | Antioxidant-rich formulas. ...
- NatureLab Tokyo. ...
- Sienna Naturals. ...
- Ceremonia. ...
- Act + Acre.
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate. This notorious hair product chemical is number one for a reason. ...
- Parabens (Propyl, Methyl, and Butyl) ...
- Propylene Glycol. ...
- Formaldehyde. ...
- Diethanolamine (DEA) and Triethanolamine (TEA)
Through shampoos, conditioners and other hair care products, Head & Shoulders has staved off dandruff and promoted hair health. It has achieved this using its active ingredients zinc pyrithione and selenium sulphide. These products have been connected to improved hair growth and are very unlikely to lead to hair loss.What hormone causes hair loss? ›
DHT: The hormone behind hair loss
Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is made from testosterone by an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase. It can also be made from DHEA, a hormone more common in women. DHT is found in skin, hair follicles, and the prostate.
- Onion Juice. 1/15. The idea is that the sulfur in onion juice helps hair regrowth. ...
- Iron. 2/15. This crucial nutrient helps your body make blood, and low levels of it are linked to hair loss. ...
- Biotin. 3/15. ...
- Zinc. 4/15. ...
- Saw Palmetto. 5/15. ...
- Aromatherapy. 6/15. ...
- Silicon. 7/15. ...
- Selenium. 8/15.