Francoise Betterncourt’s L’oreal under fire from Kenya senate

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Kenya’s Senate has initiated an inquiry into the alleged sale of “harmful” beauty products by L’Oréal, a renowned cosmetics company, following a petition presented by Senator Mohamed Chute to the Senate Committee of Health.

The petition raised concerns about the sale of “harmful hair relaxers and bleaching substances” by L’Oréal, prompting Senator Chute to call for thorough investigations into the matter, Cosmetic Business first reported.

L’Oréal, a globally recognized brand in the cosmetics industry, has come under scrutiny amid allegations of distributing products that may pose risks to consumers’ health.

Senator Chute’s petition has urged the Senate Committee of Health to delve into the matter and ascertain the validity of these claims.

Notably, L’Oréal is under the ownership of billionaire heiress Francoise Bettencourt Meyers, who is the wealthiest woman globally. As the current richest woman in the world, her association with L’Oréal adds significance to the ongoing inquiry into the alleged sale of potentially harmful beauty products.

Specifically, Chute, representing Marsabit County in the northern region of Kenya, urged the committee to scrutinize the ingredients used by L’Oréal in manufacturing and preserving these products. Of particular concern were substances potentially containing carcinogens, such as formaldehyde.

Moreover, Chute emphasized the importance of consumer protection and risk assessment, “The committee should clarify whether the company exercises consumer protection and risk assessment by labelling the chemicals used in the products and if they perform risk assessment to minimise the risk of human contact allergic reactions.”

Additionally, the senator urged the committee to compile data on consumer complaints regarding adverse effects experienced after using L’Oréal beauty products and to provide information on any compensation offered to affected individuals.

Furthermore, Chute called for an investigation into the legality of these products in the market and whether they disproportionately target the black African population.

The Senate Committee of Health, chaired by Senator Jackson Mandago, has been tasked with conducting a thorough investigation into these allegations within a period of 60 days.

Following the inquiry, the committee must present its findings to the Senate for further deliberation.

This inquiry in Kenya comes amidst similar legal challenges faced by beauty companies, including L’Oréal, in the United States. In the U.S., L’Oréal, alongside other major beauty companies like Revlon and Godrej, has encountered legal action over allegations that their hair relaxer products contain “harmful, toxic, and carcinogenic ingredients.”

Legal representatives of these companies have refuted the claims, dismissing them as vague and unsupported conclusions.

The Senate’s investigation underscores the significance of ensuring consumer safety and regulatory compliance within the cosmetics industry, particularly concerning products intended for use on hair and skin.

What to know

About a month ago, L’Oréal Paris, a prominent brand renowned for its innovation in the cosmetics and personal care industry, had recently expanded its product range in the local Kenyan market with the introduction of the Glycolic Bright range.

This new offering aimed to address the skincare concerns of Kenyan women, particularly those struggling with dark spots on their skin.

Yassine Bakkari, the Country Managing Director of L’Oréal East Africa, expressed the company’s unwavering commitment to catering to the diverse needs of different skin types. He conveyed confidence that the Glycolic Bright Range will redefine the pursuit of radiant and luminous skin for Kenyan consumers.

With a portfolio comprising 36 brands, including iconic names such as Maybelline, Garnier, NYX Professional Makeup, Redken, and CeraVe, L’Oréal holds a prominent position in the global beauty industry.

Established in 1909 and headquartered in Clichy, Hauts-de-Seine, France, L’Oréal has established itself as a leader in manufacturing and marketing consumer and luxury products.


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