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HomeScienceExplainer: Why are popular brands of dry shampoo being recalled?

Explainer: Why are popular brands of dry shampoo being recalled?


Unilever Plc issued a voluntary product recall to the customer level of select lot codes of dry shampoo produced prior to October 2021. The dry shampoo aerosol products being recalled were from Dove, Nexxus, Suave, TIGI (Rockaholic and Bed Head), and TRESemmé. As per the company’s statement, the reason for the recall is potential elevated levels of benzene. The company did not release the amount of benzene found in the products, though said it was recalling them out of an abundance of caution.

What is a dry shampoo?

As per Collins Dictionary, Dry Shampoo is a product in powder or spray form that you can use to clean hair without wetting it. As per Cleveland Clinic, these alcohol or starch based sprays removes the grease and oils from the hair and adds volume. Some dry shampoo have aerosol spray while some have tinted powder to match hair color.

Health Hazard of Dry Shampoo

Stating the health risk, Unilever said, “Benzene is classified as a human carcinogen. Exposure to benzene can occur by inhalation, orally, and through the skin and it can result in cancers including leukemia and blood cancer of the bone marrow and blood disorders which can be life threatening. Benzene is ubiquitous in the environment. Humans around the world have daily exposures to it indoors and outdoors from multiple sources.”

The FDA said “daily exposure to benzene in the recalled products at the levels detected in testing would not be expected to cause adverse health consequences.” Yet the agency also said exposure to benzene can result in leukemia and other blood cancers.

Cleveland Clinic has stated that dry shampoo should not be used every few days. Over or excess use of dry shampoo can irritate your scalp, cause breakage and impact hair growth.

Here is the complete list of the Unilever affected products produced prior to October 2021: Dove Dry Shampoo Volume and Fullness, Dove Dry Shampoo Fresh Coconut, Dove Dry Shampoo Fresh and Floral, Dove Dry Shampoo Ultra Clean, Dove Dry Shampoo Invisible, Dove Dry Shampoo Detox and Purify, Dove Dry Shampoo Clarifying Charcoal, Dove Dry Shampoo Go Active, Nexxus Dry Shampoo Refreshing Mist, Nexxus Inergy Foam Shampoo, Suave Dry Shampoo Hair Refresher, Suave Professionals Dry Shampoo Refresh and Revive, Tresemme Dry Shampoo Volumizing, Tresemme Dry Shampoo Fresh and Clean, Tresemme Pro Pure Dry Shampoo, Bed Head Oh Bee Hive Dry Shampoo, Bed Head Oh Bee Hive Volumizing Dry Shampoo, Bed Head Dirty Secret Dry Shampoo, Bed Head Rockaholic Dirty Secret Dry Shampoo.

Other aerosol content products recalled earlier

This isn’t the first time spray-on dry shampoo has been identified as a problem. In December 2021, P&G had tested its whole portfolio of aerosol products following Valisure’s findings after which it recalled its Pantene and Herbal Essences dry shampoos citing benzene contamination.

“Given what we’ve seen, it unfortunately makes sense that other consumer-product categories, like aerosol dry shampoos, could be heavily affected by benzene contamination and we are actively investigating this area,” said Valisure Chief Executive Officer David Light.

As reported by Bloomberg, in the past year and a half, a number of aerosol sunscreens have been pulled from shelves, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Neutrogena, Edgewell Personal Care Co.’s Banana Boat and Beiersdorf AG’s Coppertone along with spray-on antiperspirants like Procter & Gamble Co.’s Secret and Old Spice and Unilever’s Suave. The recalls were set off by findings of benzene in such products by an analytical lab called Valisure, based in New Haven, Connecticut, starting in May 2021.

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