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Jessica Alba's (Not So) Honest Company Settles Class Action for $1.5M

By George Khoury, Esq. on June 09, 2017 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Staking its reputation on being honest, The Honest Company was founded over 5 years ago by actress Jessica Alba, and 4 others, to profit by selling non-toxic household goods to ethical consumers. However, despite not admitting liability, The Honest Company just settled a rather large class action lawsuit that alleged the company wasn't being honest about its products' ingredients.

The purveyor of household products is alleged to have mislabeled several of their products as being SLS-free. The problems started early last year when a Wall Street Journal story explained that The Honest Company wasn't being so honest when it came to SLS-free goods. In response, the company asserted that SLS had been replaced by SCS, and that SCS actually contains SLS. The problem is that many consumers suffer from allergic reactions to SLS and purchased the products specifically for this reason.

In an odd twist, Alba started this company after a baby product she used on her own child caused welts and skin irritations.

Details of the Settlement

The settlement, which still has not received court approval, will allow consumers to submit claims for refunds without a proof of purchase for claims under $50. Claims of purchases over $50 will require a proof of purchase. In addition to the refunds, The Honest Company has offered consumers 1.5 times the cash value of the refund if the consumer would prefer taking credit to purchase goods direct from The Honest Company. If the there are undistributed proceeds from the settlement, either class members will receive additional funds, or a donation will be made to charity.

On top of the financial terms of the settlement, they have agreed to either properly identify goods that contain SLS, or reformulate all products that contain SCS or SLS to not contain those ingredient.

What's SLS?

SLS, which is short for sodium lauryl sulfate, is what is known as a surfactant, or a chemical that makes liquids more liquidy. Surfactants are commonly found in cleaners, detergents, and other compounds. The problem is that SLS can cause skin irritations and rashes for those with sensitivities or allergies. The ingredient listed on The Honest Company's products at issue here, SCS, sodium coco sulfate, is also surfactant, but still contains SLS and can still lead to skin irritations.

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