Hair wax contains illegal chemical

21. sep 2015

A new test from The Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals reveals that the hair wax “Kérastase K Short Mania” from L’Oréal contains a chemical that is prohibited in cosmetics. The substance is a suspected carcinogen. L’Oréal has decided to withdraw the product from the market.


Hair wax test
Photo: Anne Beck Christensen

Hair wax from LÓréal fails test

“Kérastase K Short Mania” from L’Oréal fails and receives the lowest mark in a new test of hair wax from The Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals.

The hair wax contains the substance polyaminopropyl biguanide, which is prohibited in cosmetics. The substance is a suspected carcinogen and therefore banned for use in cosmetics in the EU.

In the test The Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals closely examined the ingredient lists of 48 brands of hair wax. The result shows that almost half – 23 – of the tested products score the lowest mark. That is due to the facts that they contain allergenic preservatives or substances which are suspected to be carcinogenic or endocrine disrupting.

Project manager in The Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals, Stine Müller, recommends consumers to choose hair wax that has received a good mark in the test.

“Hair wax is not a product that you apply to your skin. However, it gets in close contact with the scalp and the hands, and it is a product, that many people use every single day for many hours. I will recommend parents to take a look at the teenagers’ hair wax and decide whether it should be switched to one without unwanted chemicals,” she says.

L’Oréal recalls the hair wax

At L’Oréal director of communication Sonja Christensen informs that “Kérastase K Short Mania” is no longer in production. She refers to an ongoing discussion in the EU about whether the substance is illegal or not.

“Regardless of the result we are convinced that polyaminopropyl biguanide can be used in the given concentration, and The Danish Environmental Protection Agency confirms that the product does not constitute a health risk. Because the product is no longer in production and because we do not want to create mistrust regarding our products, we have chosen to recall the few products that remain on the market,” she says.

IdHAIR also contains unwanted chemical substance

IdHAIR waxes are a very popular brand in Denmark. Unfortunately, hair waxes from IdHAIR are also among the products that fail the test. IdHAIR contains the substance chloroacetamide which is allergenic and suspected to affect the ability to reproduce.

The Danish Environmental Protection Agency states, that the substance is not prohibited. But a possible ban is being discussed in the EU.

“There is no need to panic if you have used one of the failed hair waxes. It is not the exposure from one hair wax that constitutes the whole problem. But a hair wax with problematic chemicals contributes to the amassed exposure of unwanted substances, which we are exposed to from cosmetics, dust, electronics and many other things. The total exposure can create problems regarding for example endocrine disrupting effects,” says Stine Müller.

IdHAIR informs that the company is in a process of finding alternatives to the substance.

A total of 11 hair waxes receive the best possible mark in the test. If you want to avoid problematic chemicals, these are good choices.

For more information:

Mrs Stine Müller,, +45 41 94 79 06                                                              

Project Officer, Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals