Dry Shampoo Recalled Over Potential Cancer-Causing Ingredient

Dry Shampoo Recalled Over Potential Cancer-Causing Ingredient
Premise Liability |November 04th, 2022

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 Led to the Recall?

According to a recent article, the recall affects several common household beauty lines. Dry shampoo has been a favorite for people looking to extend the life of their blowout or skip washing their hair. It absorbs oil, leaving hair looking cleaner and refreshed.

Despite its popularity, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a voluntary recall of dry shampoo aerosol products that contain benzene manufactured by Unilever United States. The chemical is a carcinogen that can be inhaled, ingested, or absorbed topically. It is linked to cancers like leukemia and life-threatening blood disorders connected to bone marrow. 

Benzene has been classified as carcinogenic since 1979. The US banned benzene’s use as an ingredient. However, federal rules have allowed the carcinogen to be used in the manufacturing process of many personal care products while not being listed as an ingredient.

The Guardian reported early this year that hundreds of US personal care products have shown “life-threatening” levels of benzene. Most aerosol-based products, like dry shampoo, contained significant amounts of the chemical.

How the banned carcinogen is making its way into household products is unclear. Manufacturing companies have insisted that benzene has not been added purposefully to the products.

What Are the Effects of Benzene Exposure?

Benzene exposure causes damage on a cellular level. Cells fail to perform their proper function, leading to a host of problems. Anemia can be caused when bone marrow cells may fail to produce enough red blood cells. White blood cells can be reduced, leaving the body unable to effectively fight off infection.

How Can Benzene in Dry Shampoo Hurt an Individual?

Dry shampoo is used topically, but the aerosol spray can easily be inhaled. When benzene is breathed in, a person may experience the following:

  • Headaches
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Tremors
  • Confusion
  • Sleepiness
  • Loss of Consciousness

Topically, benzene can cause skin rashes and other irritations. The biggest danger from benzene exposure in dry shampoo is the long-term effects.

What Are the Long-term Effects of Benzene Exposure?

The long-term effects of benzene exposure can cause various types of cancers. The Environmental Protection Agency has confirmed through numerous studies that there is no safe level of exposure to a known carcinogen. However, benzene has been detected in several dry shampoo products and other personal care items.

Even a small exposure may be enough to cause cellular breakdown, leading to:

  • Several types of leukemia
  • Bone marrow dysplasia
  • Nervous system damage
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Damaged immune system

As of the date of this article, how the benzene carcinogen is being found in so many household products is unknown.

Which Dry Shampoo Products Are Being Voluntarily Recalled?

Dry Shampoo Recall Law


Benzene has been found in several lines of products. The company flagged specific lots of each product for recall. The products below have all been recalled. The various companies may offer refunds on recalled products if they belong to one of the identified lots. Nearly every aerosol dry shampoo product has been voluntarily recalled, including:

  • Dove Dry Shampoo Products:
    • 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 Products:
    • Nexxus Dry Shampoo Refreshing Mist
    • Nexxus Inergy Foam Shampoo 
  • Suave Dry Shampoo Recalled Products:
    • Suave Dry Shampoo Hair Refresher
  • Tresemme Dry Shampoo Products:
    • Tresemme Dry Shampoo Volumizing
    • Tresemme Dry Shampoo Fresh and Clean
    • Tresemme Pro Pure Dry Shampoo
  • Bed Head Dry Shampoo Recalled Products:
    • Bed Head Oh Bee Hive Dry Shampoo
    • Bed Head Oh Bee Hive Volumizing Dry Shampoo
    • Bed Head Dirty Secret Dry Shampoo

Rockaholic Dry Shampoo Products: 

    • Bed Head Rockaholic Dirty Secret Dry Shampoo 2

Consumers with recalled products should immediately stop using them and contact Unilever for a full refund. 

What is the Difference Between a Voluntary Recall and a Mandatory Recall?

Product recalls may be voluntary or mandatory. The current dry shampoo recall is a voluntary recall on the part of the manufacturers.

Voluntary recalls are issued by the company. Typically, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has been in negotiations with a business or manufacturer to have hazardous products pulled from shelves. Voluntary recalls give agencies and companies time to investigate potentially dangerous products further.

Mandatory recalls are issued by government agencies. Currently, the FDA and the CPSC have the authority to issue a mandatory recall of hazardous products.

Companies are often motivated to issue a voluntary recall in order to mitigate the damage to their reputation if a product is discovered to be defective or harmful in some way. Voluntary recalls may limit the company’s liability in some instances.

How Many People Have Contracted Cancer from Benzene Exposure?

Several studies have been conducted over the decades to examine how many cancer cases can be linked back to Benzene exposure. For example, according to a recent article, benzene exposure can increase the risk of leukemia by 40%. In addition:

  • Low exposure increased the risk of developing acute myeloid leukemia (AML) by 3 times
  • The risk of developing acute non-lymphocytic leukemia was increased by 7 times

While exposure to benzene has decreased greatly since the US set benzene exposure limits, its newfound prevalence in dry shampoo and other beauty products is concerning.

Are There Alternatives to Dry Shampoo?

The majority of benzene was found in aerosol-based dry shampoo products. However, there are alternatives to the popular beauty products. For example, cornstarch and baby powder have both been used to absorb excess oil.

Some circles prefer natural products found in the home. Cornstarch mixed with cocoa powder can be an easy alternative for brunettes. Those with lighter hair may be able to use cornstarch alone. Just dust some on the scalp with a regular kabuki or face-powder makeup brush.

For those who believe their cancer is due to exposure to benzene, call 504-200-0000 or contact the esteemed attorneys of AKD Law for a consultation today.