Hormone Containing Hair Products : What?!

This post comes courtesy of questions from Exhale1913 and Kadiane. The post is in reference to the video embedded below which discusses an article originally appearing in the New Scientist (highly reputable). Here is the brief.

1. There are hair products currently on the market which are known to contain hormones. 

According to the FDA oestrogen is a drug and is not sold over the counter. However, the New Scientist identified that products produced before 1994 fall into a grey area and the FDA did not clarify whether or not this was tue or not.  

What to look out for 

1. A product that would have been available in 1994 or earlier 
2. Label names active ingredients as placenta, hormones or "estrogen" (noting that not all will name these ingredients)

One product named in the study is B&B Super Gro which was tested and found to contain a less potent version of oestrogen known as oestriol.

2. What is the danger of hormone containing hair products?

Let me first emphasize that most of the evidence is anecdotal (meaning the evidence is usually from someone reporting an event without necessarily proving it beyond reproach - for example with before and after photographs or with scientific measurements).

However the main concerns highlighted were
1. Possible cause of early puberty in African American girls (compared to White counterparts and African girls). The specific group of African American girls was linked to the use of hormone containing hair products (shampoos and deep conditioners) (Mil Med, 160(12):628-30, 1995.)
2. Possibility of breast cancer in African American women (Med Hypotheses, 68(4):756-66, 2007)

I would like to emphasize again that even the papers I listed said 'may cause' not 'definitely cause'. There is no confirmed definitive link but a strong theory that there is a possible link.

I do think that the fact that some companies actually include hormones in hair products without disclosure is really terrible. I think that full disclosure should be expected. I am certain some people would buy these products with full knowledge just as many of us would prefer to avoid them if we knew. No to stealth marketing!


  1. Wait a minute...this isn't such a bad thing! Now, if I use this shampoo, will my boobies grow!??! :)

    Just kiddin' thanks for the info.

  2. wowie...always learning new ways these companies are trying to make an extra buck while witholding such important information. What gets me angry is that if there's even the slightest chance any of these ingredients could be harmful to any person regardless of color/race, it should not be included in the formulation. Common sense is not bred in most corporations, but still...dang it.

  3. lol Dani

    This is very true Chai. I think it is a terrible decision by the FDA not to crack down on this.

  4. I know that I've seen placenta in hair products advertised as a good thing. Can't say I was tempted to use it but still, how many other ingredients are not listed that would be even less appealing? Thanks for the heads-up. This will end my practice of asking friends to bring products with them when they come to visit me from the U.S..

  5. When it comes to business, the bottom line is the almighty dollar. Ethics are supposed to be at the core of any company, but as recent history has shown us - safety somehow always takes a back seat.

  6. Kimmy's comment nailed it. When it comes to business, it's not about doing what's best for the consumers, it's about big profits. Queen Helene and B&B are two of the five anonymous manufacturers. A quick Google search led me to these products (courtesy of NaturallyCurly)

    Placenta Shampoo
    Queen Helene Placenta cream hair conditioner
    Placenta revitalizing shampoo
    Perm Repair with placenta
    Proline Perm Repair with placenta
    Hormone hair food Jojoba oil
    Triple action super grow
    Supreme Vita-Gro
    Luster's Sur Glo Hormone
    B & B Super Gro
    Lekair natural Super Glo
    Lekair Hormone hair treatment with Vitamin E
    Isoplus Hormone hair treatment wit Quinine
    Fermodyl with Placenta hair conditioner
    Supreme Vita-Gro with allantoin and estrogen plus TEA-COCO
    Hask Placenta Hair conditioner
    Nu Skin body smoother and
    Nu Skin Enhancer

    Thank goodness for the Sisters and Brothers who are selling their all-natural products online.

  7. Thanks for the list Lady Swag :)

  8. Very interesting, since I have been natural, I do not buy products catered to Afro market, only thing I get is castor oil.

  9. I remember when Dr Miriam Stoppard wrote about this maybe 8 years ago? I always remembered and when my neice was born and my sister started doing her hair i would always try and make sure she uses natural products/ those without these.
    I think its terrible, i still see loads of placenta products on sale .

  10. I have to admit I almost bought the placenta hair mask, but I looked it up and it seemed questionable so I put it back on the shelf. However, can a regular consumer contact the US FDA regarding products that seem to have misleading ingredient labels? I think the only way those companies will stop producing such products is if there is an organized effort to stop it.

  11. Oh my! I'm soo late lol. Thank you JC for investigating this and for binging it out. Much appr├ęciated. Thanks!

  12. I remember when that B & B Super Gro and the Lite one ACTUALLY said "synthetic estrogens" and "estrogenates" on the ingredients when I was a about 8, that's why my mother told me to stop using it! Around the late 90s, they put on the label the ingredients you can see today.


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