Hundreds of consumers have made hair-raising claims about Monat, a shampoo and beauty product line sold all over social media.
The Florida-based hair and skincare product line that claims to be made without toxic ingredients like sulfates and parabens has been hit with federal lawsuits, with customers complaining its products have caused balding, hair loss, itching, and other adverse reactions.
Now, Monat Global Corp. was ordered to sign an agreement with Florida’s attorney general office promising it would not conduct misleading sales and marketing practices, with complaints to the Better Business Bureau and U.S. Food and Drug Administration, some dating back as far as 2015, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported. The agreement also states that Monat will have to refund customers — at least $82,782 reviewed in the investigation — alleging adverse effects from its products, according to the report.
Customers who complained of hair breakage and thinning also alleged that Monat told them their hair was experiencing a reaction from a “detox period," and that they should continue to use the product. Others have accused the company of allegedly tricking them into paying for products by offering them discounts upfront without stating that they would automatically be enrolled into a VIP membership and charged for future products.
“We have been working closely with the Florida Attorney General’s office to address a number of matters related to customer relations and our rapid growth since 2017,” Monat told FOX Business in a statement Monday. "After a two-year process, we are pleased this matter has come to a close with no findings of wrongdoing."
Monat, in the agreement with the attorney general, promised to no longer misrepresent a product that “causes hair loss because your scalp is detoxifying and the hair follicles are enlarging," or claim a product is "clinically proven to increase hair growth and significantly decrease hair loss." They also agreed not to falsely use before-and-after photos in ads, among other practices.
A Reddit thread created a year ago, asking “Is Monat hair loss permanent?” has since garnered nearly 200 comments with consumers detailing their alleged issues with the products.
“Each time I shampooed I would experience a lot of hair loss (tons of hair at the drain and while brushing out). I thought it was a coincidence. But it was very alarming. That type of ‘detoxing’ is NOT normal.” one user posted on Reddit, explaining that they stopped using its products immediately after reading other negative user experiences and said they “stopped seeing such a dramatic hair loss when washing.”
Other individuals agreed they noticed their hair grew in thicker after they stopped using Monat products.
Another customer complained last week on Twitter that the company continued to charge their credit card for items they did not purchase.
“If you want your card charged at random times for hair stuff you never ordered at 4 a.m. once every few months then I highly suggest going w Monat,” another user wrote on Twitter on Sept. 23 claiming that they ordered Monat once two years ago and they were allegedly still being charged.
Monat, founded in 2014, is sold person-to-person through a multi-level marketing partner program in which sales reps, many of whom are female social media influencers, help promote and sell the products to followers and other customers. In return, they get a cut of the profits and a portion of sales from any sales reps they recruit.
Since 2016, the company has increased its revenue by nearly 758%, from $42.58 million to $365.7 million, and was named South Florida’s second-fastest-growing company over $25 million by the South Florida Business Journal in August 2019.
“We grew incredibly fast in 2017 and 2018 – faster than we expected. We also grew faster than we were prepared for and as a result, we had some issues to address. We are confident, however, those issues around customer service, product returns, and clarity on our marketing messages have been resolved," Monat said in a statement.
Sales reps for the company typically sell the beauty products shipped direct-to-consumers in packs that include shampoo, conditioner, and other leave-in treatment products such as Moxie Magnifying Mousse or Reshape Root Lifter. Products are said to help color-treated hair and promote hydration and volume, among other things.