NEW YORK CITY -- The maker of a line of hair care products created in New York City and popular with people who have curly hair is retesting its own products amid mounting complaints from customers.
Stylist and author Stephanie Mero, who goes by the handle 'thecurlninja' on social media, had been a longtime proponent of DevaCurl's products, using them to maximize her customers' natural curls in her salon and encouraging her thousands of followers online to use them to help bring out their own curls.
But Mero says she and her clients began suffering severe hair damage last spring, just after she restocked her DevaCurl products.
"The hair is fried. I have not seen damage like this from color, bleach, I haven't seen damage like this from heat. This is different. The cuticle of the hair, it's like it exploded," Mero said.
Mero took her complaints to social media.
She created a Facebook group where she found thousands of other men and women sharing similar stories of hair loss, scalp issues and hair damage they also blamed on DevaCurl's products. They've since taken their complaints public.
The first DevaCurl product was developed in New York City in 2002, but the brand was sold at the end of 2019 to Henkel Professional North America.
In response to the online backlash, the company released a statement:
"Over two decades ago, DevaCurl was born from conversations with our consumers and from our salons and stylists about what they wanted and needed to embrace their curls. As a result, our community has grown to include millions of Devas around the world who use our products every day. All of our formulas are subject to rigorous and thorough testing to ensure our products meet strict internal quality assurance standards and regulatory requirements before they reach the market. We don't speculate on why some people are attributing the challenges with their curls to our products, but they represent only a fraction of one percent of the millions of people who regularly enjoy DevaCurl products. As part of our ongoing commitment to product safety and the satisfaction of our Deva Community, we are conducting additional testing with an independent party. We are committed to providing our customers with all the information they need to continue to use DevaCurl with confidence. We'll be posting updates on our website, and we encourage our consumers to share their experiences with us at email@example.com. We will go above and beyond to help anyone on their curl journey."
While the company completes its investigation, Mero says she will continue to post about DevaCurl, no longer to promote it, but out of a moral obligation.
"As a stylist and as a human being I feel extreme responsibility to take care of the people who trust me," Mero said.