ACCC accepts undertaking for formaldehyde misrepresentations in hair product

7 December 2011

The Australian distributor of Organix Ever Straight Brazilian Keratin Therapy products, Lenan Corporation, has provided the Australian Competition and
Consumer Commission with a court enforceable undertaking for falsely representing that its hair care products did not contain formaldehyde, sulphates or sodium.

"Consumers want to make informed purchasing choices and the law requires businesses to be upfront and honest about the ingredients in their products," ACCC
commissioner Sarah Court said.

"If businesses do not tell the truth, consumers may unwittingly expose themselves to ingredients which may cause unwanted effects or adverse reactions. It is the
responsibility of every business to ensure that all ingredient and composition claims are accurate."

The ACCC commenced an investigation after independent testing detected varying levels of formaldehyde, sulphates and sodium in the hair straightening and
maintenance products.

Representations that the products were 'formaldehyde free', 'certified formaldehyde free', 'sulfate [sic] free' and 'sodium free' appeared on product packaging, print
advertising, in-store promotional materials and on the Lenan Corporation and Organix websites.

Lenan Corporation has admitted that the representations were untrue and contravened provisions of the Australian Consumer Law.

The ACCC required Lenan Corporation to take immediate action which included removing online misrepresentations and applying corrective labelling to existent stock
of the products.

Lenan Corporation began distributing Organix Ever Straight Brazilian Keratin Therapy products throughout Australia from March 2011 to retailers including Coles,
Woolworths and approximately 300 independent pharmacies.

Independent testing revealed that the products contained varying levels of formaldehyde, sulphate and sodium. As the detected levels of formaldehyde fell
below the national allowable level contained in the Standard for the Uniform Scheduling of Medicines and Poisons

Lenan Corporation has provided a court enforceable undertaking to the ACCC that it will:

  • not make false or misleading representations about the contents or ingredients of products that it sells or supplies
  • ensure all product labelling, brochures and other marketing materials comply with the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 and the Australian Consumer Law
  • publish corrective notices on the Lenan Corporation and Organix websites
  • establish a refund and product exchange program for affected consumers, and
  • implement a trade practices compliance program.

Related register records

Release number: 
NR 229/11
Media enquiries: 
Mr Duncan Harrod - (02) 6243 1108 or 0408 995 408