Just for Men lawsuits claim that the popular hair dye’s manufacturer failed to warn consumers that the product can cause serious and permanent injuries.
The suits often blame skin and allergic reactions on one of the ingredients in Just for Men — p-Phenylenediamine, or PPD. PPD is a common ingredient in many different hair dyes but is also a known allergen.
From Jan. 2014 to March 2019, reports of Just for Men-related injuries to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration were more than double the number of reports from the previous 10 years.
Current Status of Just for Men Lawsuits
Lawyers are currently investigating claims that Just for Men hair dyes have caused serious and permanent injuries. These include scarring, swelling of the face and permanent discoloration of the skin.
Some lawsuits claim the injuries were so serious they needed emergency room or hospital treatment.
There have been no large settlements of Just for Men lawsuits publicly reported.
Lawsuit Claimed African American Men More Susceptible to Just for Men Injuries
In January 2019, David Collier of Orange County, Florida, filed a Just for Men lawsuit claiming the hair dye caused “severe physical injuries.”
Collier is African-American. His lawsuit claimed that a 2001 study by the Cleveland Clinic found that more than 20 percent of African American men were prone to some type of reaction to PPD – almost 5 times the percentage of Caucasian men. His complaint alleged that Combe “aggressively targeted the African American community in their marketing and advertising” despite the risks.
He claimed in the lawsuit that he suffered permanent scaring after using Just for Men dye on his beard, despite performing a patch test to his skin to check for possible reactions.
Collier’s case was filed in a Florida federal court, but it never went to trial. All sides agreed to voluntarily dismiss the case in June 2019. His lawsuit had sought damages from Just for Men maker Combe, Incorporated and Walmart, which sold him the hair dye.
Just for Men Class Action Lawsuits
In 2016, a class action lawsuit in Illinois federal court listed 249 men who claimed they were injured after using Just for Men hair dye. The action eventually included more than 500 claims, according to the Madison-St. Clair Record.
By January 2019, two attempts to settle the class action had failed to reach any agreement and the judge overseeing the case retired from the bench.
As of November 2019, there was no new movement on the case.
Beard Injuries Launch 2019 Just for Men Class Action Lawsuit
On July 2, 2019, three men filed a class action lawsuit in a New York federal court claiming Just for Men hair dye caused them injuries after they used it.
The class action asked to include all U.S. residents “who purchased a Just for Men hair dye product for personal use and experienced an allergic or irritant reaction within 96 hours of use.”
People Who Sued
Ray Du Boc Ali
Ray Du Boc Ali of Bossier City, Louisiana, claimed he used Just for Men to dye his beard. He tested for a reaction, and when nothing happened after about ten minutes, he went ahead and applied the dye to his beard. Du Boc Ali said he experienced stinging, burning and swelling of his face.
He said in the following days, his facial skin hardened and scabbed over. He was left with permanent skin discoloration.
Izell McCloud of Palatka, Florida, claimed he had used Just for Men on previous occasions without problems. But in 2015, he did a patch test, applying a small amount of the dye to his skin and waiting 48 hours to see if there was a reaction. When there was none, he applied it to his beard and goatee.
He immediately washed the dye off after his skin began to itch, burn, crack and peel, according to his complaint. McCloud claimed his chin and lower lip are permanently discolored as a result of using the dye.
Clemon Williams of Wake Forest, North Carolina, claimed he required hospitalization after using Just for Men in 2016. He also performed a 48-hour patch test with no problems before applying the dye to his beard.
In the six days after he applied the dye, Williams’ face became irritated and itchy, it began to swell and ooze. He eventually had to go to an emergency room.
His complaint said he had to be treated with antibiotics, pain killers and antihistamines and had to stay in the hospital for four days. Williams said he suffered permanent injuries including skin discoloration and “significant scarring.”
The class action lawsuit was dismissed in October 2019 after the court ruled their lawsuit didn’t provide a claim on which relief could be granted. But the three men objected to the dismissal and filed a new motion in November 2019 to reinstate the case.
Serious Side Effects Caused by Dangerous p-Phenylenediamine
Combe has never recalled Just for Men, and most reactions to it are minor. But some serious just for Men injuries have been reported to the FDA over the years. Most serious side effects have been blamed on p-Phenylenediamine, or PPD.
The most serious include asthma and anaphylaxis, kidney failure, tremors or convulsions and coma according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Reactions typically happen through contact with the skin, but it may take days for a reaction to occur according to the EPA’s hazard summary of PPD.
More common side effects include stinging, swelling, itching, contact dermatitis, permanent skin discoloration and disfiguration.
Issues with Just for Men’s Patch Test Warning
David Collier claimed in his Florida lawsuit that the instructions for patch tests included with Just for Men are insufficient and don’t warn users of potential reactions or how serious those reactions can be.
The instructions tell users to apply a small amount of the dye to a coin-sized area on the inside bend of the elbow. Users should wait 48 hours, leaving the patch uncovered and keeping it dry – meaning no showering or washing. Users should not dye their hair if they experience a skin rash.
Collier’s lawsuit claimed the manufacturer knew or should have known that “it is highly unlikely that a consumer would be able to perform [Combe’s] version of the patch test properly and obtain reliable results.”
Seven Weaknesses to Just for Men Patch Test Named in Collier v. Combe, Incorporated
- At-home test is no substitute for one conducted by a medical professional
- A risk of the test being performed on the wrong area of the body
- A risk Just for Men will not be used properly
- The arm is not the right place to test for allergic reactions
- A high risk of false negatives or false positives
- The patch test area is never covered during the Just for Men test
- A high risk of the test area being disturbed by clothing or daily activities
The lawsuit also referred to a 2007 opinion from the European Commission Scientific Committee on Consumer Products.
The European Union panel concluded that there was a risk that false negative results of “self tests” could cause consumers who were actually allergic to the dye to go ahead and use it. It also warned that the patch tests could sensitize skin, causing people to develop an allergic reaction.
16 Cited Research Articles
- American Contact Dermatitis Society. (n.d.). Paraphenylenediamine. Retrieved from https://www.contactderm.org/files/public/Patient%20Handouts/ZZ%20PARAPHENYLENEDIAMINE.pdf
- Combe, Inc. (n.d.). Just for Men Original Formula Instructions. Retrieved from https://justformen.com/pub/media/pdf/JFM_Original_Formula_EngSpFr.pdf
- European Commission. (2007, December 18). Sensitivity to Hair Dyes – Consumer Self Testing. Scientific Committee on Consumer Products. Retrieved from https://ec.europa.eu/health/ph_risk/committees/04_sccp/docs/sccp_o_114.pdf
- Johnson, J. (2018, January 5). What You Should Know About Hair Dye Allergies. Medical News Today. Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320505.php
- Mukkanna, K.S., Stone, N.M, and Ingram, J.R. (2017, January 18). Journal of Asthma and Allergy. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5261844/
- Nelson, D. (2012, October 22). ‘Just for Men’ Hair Dye Users Report Allergic Reactions. Consumer Affairs. Retrieved from https://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2012/10/just-for-men-hair-dye-users-report-allergic-reactions.html
- Ngan, V. and Gomez, J. (August 2018). Allergy to Paraphenylenediamine. DermNet NZ. Retrieved from https://www.dermnetnz.org/topics/allergy-to-paraphenylenediamine/
- U.K. National Health Service. (2018, July 23). Hair Dye Reactions. Retrieved from https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/hair-dye-reactions/
- U.S. District Court, Middle Dist. of Florida. (2019, January 25). Collier v. Combe Incorporated, et al. Complaint. Case No.: 6:19-cv-00082. Retrieved from http://www.pacer.gov
- U.S. District Court, Middle Dist. of Florida. (2019, June 17). Collier v. Combe Incorporated, et al. Stipulation of Voluntary Dismissal Without Prejudice. Case No.: 6:19-cv-00082. Retrieved from http://www.pacer.gov
- U.S. District Court, Southern Dist. of New York. (2019, January 25). Complaint. Case No. 7:19-cv-06187. Retrieved from http://www.pacer.gov
- U.S. District Court, Southern Dist. of New York. (2019, November 13). Ray Du Boc Ali, et al. v. Combe Incorporated. Plaintiffs’ Memorandum of Law in Opposition to Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss and Motion to Strike. Case No. 7:19-cv-06187. Retrieved from http://www.pacer.gov
- U.S. District Court, Southern Dist. of New York. (2019, October 23). Stipulation of Partial Dismissal Without Prejudice. Case No. 7:19-cv-06187. Retrieved from http://www.pacer.gov
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (2000). p-Phenylenediamine. Retrieved from https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2016-09/documents/p-phenylenediamine.pdf
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2019, July 2). CFSAN Adverse Event Reporting System. (CAERS). Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/food/compliance-enforcement-food/cfsan-adverse-event-reporting-system-caers
- Williams, M. (2019, February 22). Orlando Man Used Just for Men to Dye His Beard. Lawsuit Says He’s Now Permanently Scarred. Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved from https://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/breaking-news/os-ne-just-for-men-lawsuit-20190222-story.html