Major Hair Loss with TRESemme

Hair loss with TRESemme

Corporate stupidity, often, is why we can’t have nice things. A lot of people, including me, have experienced hair loss with TRESemme and other shampoos and conditioners in the Unilever family of brands.

Retracing My Steps

Last year, faced with (at last) the end of my Tigi Moisture Maniac stockpile (that I had gleefully found at Costco), I faced the music that the discontinuation was finally final. and decided to return to drugstore options. I’d had decent results with Tresemme in the past, so while the variety I had previously tried wasn’t available, I went for their Moisture Rich shampoo and conditioner.

Hair Loss with TRESemme

We all shed hair, it’s part of the process. But I was shedding a lot. Granted, 2020 was a hell of a year, and we know stress is a contributor to hair loss.

But I’m no stranger to stress, and I was losing hair in fistfuls. I’m not a particularly emotional person, but it brought me to tears. I’d wash and condition my hair in the shower, capturing and coiling the fallen strands on the wall to see the casualties of the day and cry. I’m not even thirty yet. Was I sick? What the hell.

So, given that, it isn’t surprising it took me months to connect the dots that the acceleration of my shedding coincided uncomfortably with the product change.

Unforutnately, I’m Not Alone

When the suspicion occurred to me, I put on my investigative hat and found, to my horror, that Unilever is currently facing a class action suit over hair loss with TRESemme. The litigation is over another product line for containing an ingredient that is known to accelerate hair loss.

Specifically, the suit cites their Keratin Smooth product line, but ultimately the culprit ingredient is DMDM hydantoin. When it is in contact with water, it can leach formaldehyde. This can lead to scalp irritation, breakage, and heightened hair loss. The Moisture Rich shampoo and conditioner products both contain this ingredient. I stopped using it immediately.

This Isn’t The First Time for Unilever

Unilever has been embroiled in legal action over use of this preservative and its negative impacts before. According to KGG Law,

Unilever has known of dangers associated with DMDM hydantoin for more than a decade, given that they’ve been the defendant in prior litigation. Complaints of hair loss and scalp irritation associated with their “formaldehyde-free” Suave Keratin Infusion shampoo led to a 2012 recall and a $10.2 million settlement that was ultimately upheld in an appeals court in 2016.

Isn’t that nice? Unilever is well-aware that DMDM hydantoin is a problematic ingredient, but gives zero bothers that consumers will experience hair loss with TRESemme and other products. I’m hardly a champion for all natural everything – because chemicals are not all bad – but for fucks sake, Unilever. Way to continue to compromise your integrity further and destroy brand trust. Here’s how corporate legal counsel works: they advise you on risk, and you make your business decision to accept or avoid the risk.

The decision to continue using problematic ingredients that have resulted in multi-million dollar settlements in the past shows a refusal to learn from mistakes. Even though this was a civil matter, the fact that there was a precedent set by that should have led to formula changes.

The Bottom Line

I’m really not interested in weathering significant hair loss right now. Or ever, but in the vein of, “Can a girl catch a break?” I caught it before I had any weird significant patches, but more of my scalp is visible than it was.

I was only about a quarter of the way through each bottle, too; I hate that this is leading to product and packaging waste as I endeavor to get better about both of these things, but in the interests of both vanity and more importantly, health, good riddance. As upset as I am to have experienced hair loss with TRESemme, and that mega corp Unilever is doing typical villainous mega corp shit, I learned from it and will now scrutinize the labels of my hair products to ensure that isn’t among them.

I’m still trying to figure out what will replace it, but I’ve recently picked up a Costco offering that (so far) seems promising. I’ll be coupling that with giving The Ordinary’s Multi-Peptide Serum in hopes of reversing the harm.

3 thoughts on “Major Hair Loss with TRESemme”

  1. Hi there! THANK YOU for this very helpful and validating article. I just stopped using Tresemme (reformulated Botanique line, it doesn’t list the ingredient but it would be a huge coincidence) because of the insane hair loss. Same as you, it took me a while to connect the dots and when I started googling, I immediately came across the lawsuits.
    I do have a question for you, how long did it take for your hair to recover?
    I’m still loosing more than usual but it seems to have changed from loosing full strands to “just” breakage. Which I am willing to take as the follicles recovering but some hairs just bein structurally damaged..

    • Hi! I’m so sorry you’re going through the same thing. It is definitely a jarring experience. Highlighting my hair didn’t even cause this level of hair disarray for me.

      I guess that depends on what you the scope of recovery includes.
      On Shedding: Within about two weeks of switching off the TRESemme shampoo and condition I was using, the level of full-shaft shedding slowed, and more of what I was seeing was midshaft breakage than full-length loss. Within 6-8 it had retreated to what I’d consider normal levels. I’m about 3 months out, now.
      On Fullness: Definitely nowhere near recovered on that front. Obviously, major shedding events mean your hair is going to be thinner throughout for a while. I’ve been using a polypeptide serum on my scalp since February to try to encourage some growth – I’m seeing results and plan to elaborate on that here, soon.

  2. I too have been using TRESemme for some time. The two bottles I have are 28fl ounces. The Shampoo and condtioner, have in large letters read 7X on them. I liked them because they are thick and creamy and leave my hair silky.

    First I noticed a lot of breakage, but then long hairs started falling out, hardly noticed it when I saw it, then the shedding got worse. When I finally took a a mirror and looked at the top of my head, I noticed I was seeing patches on the top with very little hair. So I parted it and could see other patches. It scared the hell out of me. I’m not wearing a ball cap when I go out.

    I went to my doctor, who did blood work and last week to a dermatologist. (waiting on bloodwork, but my blood work was fine less than 6 months ago. I’m now on drug, via the dermatologist, called Fluocinonide, for two weeks.

    I did not think to mention what I was using for hair products to either the doctor or the dermatologist. Instead I’m gone crazy researching my medications to fine out if any could be the cause. Now I’m on hair products… So yes, I do believe its the TRESemme’. The thing is before these two bottles, I was on the same thing, but it didn’t have the 7X on it, so it might now have been so strong??

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