Jessica Alba’s The Honest Co. is set to pay more than $7 million to a group of consumers accusing the company of falsely labeling its products as “all natural.”
The company and a class of New York consumers on Friday offered a settlement deal that, if approved, will put an end to a federal court case.
The deal will set up a settlement fund of $7.35 million, allowing for each proposed class member to receive $2.50 in cash or a credit for each Honest Co. product they purchased, up to 10 without proof of purchase, labeled with things like “all natural,” “plant-based” and as having “no harsh chemicals, ever!” despite the company’s use of ingredients with non-plant-derived chemicals.
Products allegedly misleadingly labeled include a combination shampoo and body wash, baby shampoo and wash, hair conditioner, hair detangler, bubble bath, face and body lotion and skin wipes and sunscreen, according to court records.
Counsel for the consumers said the recovery “may be substantial” depending on the number of products a plaintiff purchased.
While Honest Co. (cofounded in 2011 by Alba in an effort to create products that were nontoxic) denies that it “violated the applicable consumer-protection statutes or any other provision of law and asserts that it has no liability” to the consumer group, it nonetheless has agreed to the settlement.
Honest Co. has also agreed to stop labeling certain products as “all” or “100%” natural if they contain more than incidental amounts of Methylisothiazolinone, a synthetic preservative, or Cocamidopropylamine oxide, which is derived from coconut oil but includes hydrogen peroxide and is often used as a hair conditioning agent.
The deal comes only a few weeks after Honest Co. agreed to settle a similar class action in California for about $1.6 million over its alleged misleading ingredient labeling.
That case revolved around Honest Co. products such as laundry detergent, dish soap and multisurface cleaner advertised as being made without sodium lauryl sulfate, a chemical additive that causes liquids to foam.
While Honest Co. denied claims by the class that its products contained SLS, it admitted that they contain the “gentler alternative,” sodium coco-sulfate. Plaintiffs, however, argued during litigation and settlement talks that SLS is a “component of” SCS, and therefore advertising the products as SLS-free is misleading.