Over the last few weeks DevaCurl customers have been coming out and addressing their concerns with DevaCurl’s product. Claims of hair loss, damage to the curl type/texture, scalp damage and even triggering of psoriasis have been made. DevaCurl started in New York City in 1994 as a salon specializing in curly hair. The salon became so popular that they launched a product line that claims to be free of harsh ingredients and specifically designed for curly hair. Curly girls all over the world have sworn by their products, but unfortunately many of these curly girls woke up in a what many of them claim to be a “nightmare.”
Ayesha Malik is a curly hair influencer who has been longtime DevaCurl user and even partnered with the brand on multiple occasions. Her YouTube and Instagram were filled with DevaCurl tips, tricks and how to’s. Women of all ethnicities with curly hair flocked to Malik for her expertise on keeping up with curly hair. That quickly changed for Malik and about two weeks ago Malik took to her YouTube channel to share why she stopped using Deva Curl. That video went viral over night garnering 1.7 million views.
When I reached out to Malik for an exclusive statement on how she explained how she discovered the products and how she began a relationship with DevaCurl. “One day in 2017, I posted a selfie and it went viral. Thousands of women were accusing me of wearing a wig or that I used a curling iron. I hated having my integrity questioned like that so I made a YouTube video to prove my innocence. I show my hair from wet to dry, styling it with DevaCurl products,” said Malik. “Their PR team fell in love with me. They added me to their list of influencers – even though I didn’t have any followers at the time. A few months later, they flew me out to NYC for an influencer event. I was a fish out of water. I never felt so out of place in my life.”
Malik had always promoted the products, but only got paid to do it twice along with one meet and greet. “But even if they didn’t pay me or had any association at me, I still would have been talking about the products because it was all I used from my college days. I assumed I was going to use them for the rest of my life,” shared Malik. In July 2018 Malik saw the fist signs of damage and by January 2019 she didn’t even recognize her hair whens he photos of herself from behind. Thinking that the problem was not attributed to DevaCurl- she added more DevaCurl to her routine. Malik officially stopped using the products in August 2019.
Most influencers who have worked with a brand and no longer care to use their products or services stay quite and move on. However, Malik took to her platforms to share her story regardless of what the consequences may be. She explains why she did so, “The majority of my audience is international. I saw that DevaCurl was expanding into the European markets. That terrified me. At the time, our Facebook group had 4K+ members. That number was going to exponentially grow if I didn’t say anything. I couldn’t let that happen.”
Malik only heard from Deva Curl after the video went viral. “I’ve only had negative feedback from DevaCurl employees and DevaStylists. Which is a very small number compared to the love and support that I have received nationwide,” said Malik. “Deva Curl asked if I wanted to get on a phone call with them. The damage has been done. There is nothing they can do to fix this. Unless they have some magic potion that will magically heal my scalp, instantly regrow ten years worth of length, stopped my headaches, get the ringing out of my ears, and give me back my original hair color – then I’m not talking to them.” Malik advises other influencers to be transparent with their following on why they stopped using DevaCurl and to immediately
That video sparked thousands of other women to come forward with their “DevaDamage” story. There are now several Facebook support groups that have been formed to support those women who are trying to recover their curls back after using DevaCurl. One of the groups titled “Hair Damage & Hair Loss from DevaCurl-You’re Not Crazy or Alone” has over 45,000 members. Then there’s the class-action lawsuit filed against DevaCurl. The lawsuit was filed by a former DevaCurl user and now many former users are joining the lawsuit in hopes to recoup the damage they have endured.
But what is DevaCurl doing about all of this? On February 11th they released a blog post on their website stating the following:
“Nothing is more important to us than you. As a curl community, we know the curl journey is a unique and personal one as your curls are an expression of who you are. We always want your curls to be a source of pride, never anxiety. This is at the center of what our brand stands for and what our professional stylist community has helped to encourage over the last 20 years.
When some of you first raised concerns about our products, we were laser-focused on our testing as the best way to confirm their safety and quality. You can feel confident using DevaCurl because all our products have gone through rigorous testing that has confirmed they are safe and adhere to both quality assurance and regulatory standards.
We’ve heard you and recognize that any changes to your hair – for whatever reason – demand a special type of attention that safety tests alone can’t address. That’s why we’re partnering with medical professionals, dermatologists, industry experts, professional stylists, and members of our curl community to better address your needs and concerns.
We are committed to: Creating a Professional Curl Care Council of trusted medical professionals, dermatologists, independent industry experts, professional stylists and members of our curl community to help us all better understand healthy curls and scalp. We will develop Curl Care Resources for you and our stylist professionals, including information about curl and scalp health and using DevaCurl products. Sharing answers to some of the top questions we have received from you around safety and ingredients, as well as links to independent professional organizations.
Because many factors determine curl and scalp health, the situation is complex, and we ask for your patience as we work together to provide more answers and address your concerns. We will continue to share updates.”
When I reached out to Deva Curl directly for a statement they offered to jump on a call with me to discuss the situation. Their communications manager firstly apologized for any inconvenience I had endured as I, too, suffered from hair and scalp damage and went on to seem shocked at the allegations. On their site, it states that they test products on actual people, not mannequins or hair swatches at their thinktank and product playground Devachan Salon. At the salon each new product is perfected and only introduced to the market after receiving your stamp of approval and undergoing their strict safety testing protocols.
When I asked how long they had performed testing and were aware of any harmful ingredients to curly hair DevaCurl responded with, “We cannot answer this question at this time.” They did, however, provide this statement when asked about potential reformulation. “At DevaCurl, we have been laser-focused on our testing as the best way to confirm the safety and quality of our products. All of our products have gone through rigorous testing that has confirmed they are safe and adhere to both quality assurance and regulatory standards. We also recognize that any changes to curly hair – for whatever reason – demand a special type of attention that safety tests alone can’t address. That’s why DevaCurl is committed to creating a Professional Curl Care Council of trusted medical professionals, dermatologists, independent industry experts, professional stylists, and members of our curl community to help us all better understand healthy curls and scalp. We will continue to share updates on our website www.devacurlcare.com.”
Many of the upset customers I had talked to, including Malik, expressed how difficult it was to return their products if they purchased it directly from the DevaCurl site. When I informed DevaCurl about this they stated that they are happy to accept returns and give full refunds if any of their customers have had adverse reactions or are unhappy with the product. They claimed to be unaware with customer service having any issues doing so.
As far as the lawsuit goes, DevaCurl informed that they are aware that a lawsuit has been filed, but they do not discuss active litigation as they stand behind the quality and safe use of their DevaCurl products.