The Homewood Fire Department helped Ronda test some hair products. Source: WBRC video
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -
While blowing out candles on a cake, human hair dangles over an open flame. Add certain hair products and a birthday party celebration can quickly turn into a disaster.
A horrible accident could happen that fast.
As FOX6 Investigative Reporter Ronda Robinson discovered, how fast could depend on what you put on your hair.
One popular product, Garnier Fructis Sleek and Shine Anti Frizz Serum, is now under fire. Customers claim that its parent company L'Oreal failed to warn customers that the main ingredients, cyclopentasiloxane and dimethiconol, are flammable.
A class action lawsuit filed in Los Angeles said the product can ignite at temperatures above 171 degrees and cause substantial risk of burns to face, head and neck.
An Arkansas teenager, Jasmine Davis, said in another suit that she applied the serum to her hair and then used a straightening comb she heated over a gas stove. She said her complaint that she was permanently disfigured when she suffered third degree burns to her head, neck and arms.
To find out how this could happen, Ronda Robinson went to Simply V Salon and apply the product to a wig made of human hair. When she used the flat iron, it quickly began to burn and crumble.
"The heat goes up to 450 degrees," Stylist Javashia Williams said
She says we should all consider this experiment when shopping for a hair care product.
"We are looking for percentage or the amount of alcohol in the product. That can determine how flammable it becomes based on the amount you use," she said.
Our investigative team put this thought process to the test over at the Homewood Fire Department. We set up another demonstration using a wig with 100 percent human hair.
We applied a generous amount of the L'Oreal product and the wig burned in a matter of seconds.
"The ignition of the whole head of hair was rapid and its very concerning," Lt. Jason Hallman said.
What may be even more concerning is the fact that we took our undercover cameras to several stores and even with the pending litigation, we found the product on store shelves without a warning on the bottle.
Ronda Robinson asked the parent company L'Oreal about all of this. Spokesperson Rebecca Caruso says, "I can tell you that we do not believe that the class action lawsuit has any merit. The Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine Serum has an excellent safety record, and we will defend this matter in court. Regarding Jasmine Davis, we were very sorry to learn of her injury, and although we do not discuss details of pending litigation, we are confident that this isolated incident was not caused by our product."