The Honest Company isn’t exactly living up to its name.
The company co-founded by Jessica Alba agreed to pay a $1.55 million settlement in a class action lawsuit for misleading customers over chemical ingredients found in their products. The billion-dollar company boasts that its products are “non-toxic” alternatives to regular household products. The latest settlement comes on the heels of what is only the company’s most-recent lawsuit since it was founded in 2011.
The company filed to settle a lawsuit claiming several of its products including its laundry detergent, dish soap and multi-surface cleaner did not contain the chemical Sodium Lauryl Sulfate. The chemical is a common ingredient in many household cleaning products and is known to cause a rash when a high-concentration is used.
The Honest Company acknowledged that it does utilize a ‘gentler alternative’ to SLS, called Sodium Coco Sulfate or SCS. However, documents filed in court reveal SLS is in fact a component of SCS. The class action lawsuit had been pending for over a year before Honest settled on June 5. In March 2016, the Wall Street Journal published a report noting two separate independent lab tests had confirmed the presence of SLS in the company’s detergent.
On its website, The Honest Company refuted the Journal’s report, writing, “The Journal clearly had the goal of harming the reputation and good will that we are so proud to have built here,” while claiming the labs used by the paper never tested for SCS which is less processed than SLS.
Now, over a year since the report, Honest has settled with unhappy customers and made charitable provisions for unclaimed refunds.
Customers are able to file for a $50 cheque or credit for use on the company’s website. Any uncashed settlement cheques will be donated to the Dermatology Foundation, a skin care research facility.
The company must also change the way it markets its products. All of Honest’s products that contain SCS cannot be marketed as being SLS free.
This week’s settlement is only the latest lawsuit Alba’s company has faced.
The Honest Company has been hit with several lawsuits over misleading claims that its natural, organic and non-toxic products contained chemical ingredients. In 2016 Honest faced a lawsuit over misleading advertising which claimed its baby food was organic and was sued that same year for marketing their shampoo and body wash as “natural” and “non-toxic” when the products contained unnatural ingredients. Both lawsuits were dismissed.
The company also faced backlash in 2015 after photos of customers who used Honest’s sunscreen, only to end up with severe sunburns went viral.