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Dove dry shampoo recall: A reality check for Indian customers


This week, consumers using dry shampoo got a major blow as Unilever United States recalled certain Dove, Nexxus, Suave, TIGI, and TRESemmé aerosol dry shampoos because of the potential presence of benzene- a chemical that can cause cancer.

It must be noted the recalled products are still available on prominent Indian e-commerce websites such as Flipkart, Myntra, and Amazon.

However, the company has only recalled “dry shampoos” and not regular shampoos.

Besides, customers using dry shampoos in India, especially of brands such as Dove or TRESemmé, should not panic as HUL has mentioned, “The affected products were distributed nationwide in the US and Canada at retail stores and online”.

The affected products were produced prior to October 2021, the US Food and Drug Administration said.

What is dry shampoo?

Dry shampoos come in spray form and can be used without wetting your hair. The alcohol or starch-based spray removes the grease and oils from the hair and adds volume.

Are dry shampoos good for hair?

According to WebMD, they can be used once in a while, but should not be a full-time substitute for liquid shampoos.

Dry shampoos also leaves residue on the scalp. Without regular washing of hair, the dry shampoo can leave its residue which may cause rashes and inflammation.

What is the HUL controversy of dry shampoo?

HUL has recalled certain 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.

Benzene is a human carcinogen. Exposure to it can occur by inhalation, orally, or through the skin. It can cancers including leukemia and blood cancer.

While the FDA hasn’t set benzene limits for cosmetics like dry shampoo, it does say the products shouldn’t contain “any poisonous or deleterious substance”.

Other aerosol-related products recalled:

Last year, Procter & Gamble (PG) recalled more than 30 aerosol spray haircare products, including many dry shampoos and dry conditioners, warning that the products could contain benzene.

Cosmetics company L’Oréal has been sued over claims that its chemical hair straightening products put women at an increased risk of uterine cancer.

List of recalled aerosol products:

HUL products

  • Dove
  • Nexxus
  • Suave
  • TIGI (Rockaholic and Bed Head)
  • TRESemmé

Earlier on 30 March 2022, the FDA recalled Suave’s deodorant due to elevated levels of benzene.

In February this year, Sure and Brut’s deodorants were recalled because of the same reason.

P&G products

  • Pantene
  • Aussie
  • Herbal Essences
  • Waterless
  • Old Spice
  • Hair Food

The Procter & Gamble Company issued a voluntary product recall to the consumer level of aerosol dry conditioner spray products and aerosol dry shampoo spray products from Pantene, Aussie, Herbal Essences, and Waterless produced in the United States, and discontinued aerosol dry shampoo products from Old Spice and Hair Food, due to the presence of benzene detected in some products on 17 December 2021.

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