Rodan + Fields is facing a serious class action lawsuit alleging their popular Lash Boost Eyelash Serum contains an ingredient that causes harmful side effects to the eyes such as burning, swelling, crusting, and pain.
Plaintiffs Barbara Lewis, Akemi Buckingham, Elaina Hufnagel, and Teresa Gattuso filed the complaint Friday in California federal court claiming Rodan + Fields failed to warn customers about the potential harmful side effects of Lash Boost.
Marketed as a cosmetic “eyelash conditioning serum…clinically shown to enhance the appearance of eyelash volume and length…”, Lash Boost has quickly become the go-to eyelash growth product since it hit the market in 2016, exceeding $1 billion in sales in its first year. Women swear by the $150 tube and often post pictures on social media of the results they get from using the product. But not all customers are happy. An increasing number of Lash Boost users have taken to social media to share their unfortunate experiences using the popular Rodan + Fields product.
And the plaintiffs in this class action lawsuit are among the dissatisfied customers. Each of these women say they and other consumers experienced a host of harmful side effects, including change in iris color, eyelid drooping, itchy eyes, eyelid discoloration, loss of eyelashes, eye sensitivity, and vision impairment – all due to an ingredient Rodan + Fields allegedly refuses to warn its customers about.
The ingredient at issue here is isopropyl cloprostenate, a synthetic prostaglandin analog used to treat glaucoma and ocular hypertension. However, while effective in treating these conditions, as well as lengthening of lashes, prostaglandin analogs do have “potentially sight-threatening side effects” including inflammation, cysts, scarring of the cornea, eyelid drooping, darkening of the eyelid skin, eye pain, lid crusting.
While, the FDA has approved prostaglandin analogs as a treatment for eyelash enhancement, it does classify them as Category C, meaning “women of childbearing age are considered at risk for injury” and says prostaglandin analogs “are not safe for use expect under the supervision of a practitioner licensed by law to administer them.” In fact, all prostaglandin analogs, including isopropyl cloprostenate are banned from cosmetic products in Canada, they are not banned in the United States.
The plaintiffs also point out that another popular eye lash enhancement product, Latisse, discloses the potential harmful side effects of their product to customers, but that Rodan + Fields chooses not to, mainly for the sake of profits. Instead, Rodan + Fields reportedly deceptively markets its product as “cosmetic” so they can avoid putting Lash Boost through the FDA review process and make a thorough disclosure of its side effects.
“…instead of disclosing the harmful side effects and risks associate with the use of Lash Boost, and letting consumers decide if Lash Boost is worth the risk, Rodan + Fields omitted them and thus engaged in fraudulent, unfair, and unlawful marketing practices,” the Rodan + Fields class action lawsuit contends.
In Lewis’ case, she used Lash Boost for about two weeks in March 2018. Three days after she stopped using Lash Boost, she developed a small bump on her eyelid called a chalazion that occurs when oil glands are blocked. Three days after later, she developed a stye in her left eye. After developing the stye, Lewis experienced inflammation of her eyelids and was placed on antibiotics due to the infection.
Buckingham shares that Lash Boost caused her to experience burning and stinging in her eyes and a red, itchy, flaking patch of skin on her eyelid that will not go away. The other plaintiffs also document similar experiences in using Rodan + Fields Lash Boost.
The plaintiffs are seeking justice and monetary compensation for New York and California consumers who purchased Lash Boost. It is important to note the complaint does not allege that Lash Boost is subject to FDA regulation or should be regulated by the FDA.
The plaintiffs and proposed Classes are represented by Jeffrey Lewis, Juli Farris, Michael D, Woerner, Benjamin Gould, and Erika M. Keech of Keller Rohrback LLP.
The Rodan + Fields Class Action Lawsuit is Lewis, et al. v. Rodan & Fields LLC, Case No. 4:18-cv-02248, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, Oakland Division.