California Suit Challenges Unilever On Naturalness Of TRESemme Line
This article was originally published in The Rose Sheet
“Shampoo trees” and “conditioner streams” indeed may not exist, but consumers still have expectations for cosmetic products marketed as natural. In an April 9 decision, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California largely rejects Unilever’s motion to dismiss a consumer suit alleging that its labeling and marketing for TRESemme Naturals is fraudulent and potentially misleading.
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Much has changed since Society of Cosmetic Chemists VP Perry Romanowski helped develop natural VO5 and TreSemme ranges in the mid-1990s. The term "natural" remains largely unregulated, but today's consumers have higher expectations that pose significant formulation challenges, akin to painting a masterpiece with just "three colors," he says.
The firm failed in motions to dismiss plaintiff claims and block class certification in a suit alleging that Aveeno Active Naturals products are falsely advertised because they contain synthetic ingredients. Meanwhile, class certification was granted recently in a separate case concerning Aveeno Baby "natural" claims, which could portend another settlement to come.
Unilever has established a $3.25m fund to recompense consumers for TreSemme Natural purchases under an approved class-action settlement in California’s Eastern District. Meanwhile, Washington state’s attorney general has deceptive negative-option marketing in his sights, and consumer watchdog groups are urging FTC to tackle undisclosed influencer advertising in the social media channel.