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Popular hair product under fire for causing fire

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MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) - A Mid-South teenager says she was engulfed in flames after applying heat to a well-known hair product.

Now, one the biggest names in hair care is under fire for using flammable ingredients without providing a warning.

Human hair over an open flame can be disastrous. But add certain hair products to the equation and the risks are even greater.

Garnier Fructis Sleek and Shine Anti Frizz Serum is the target of two lawsuits alleging the parent company, L'Oreal, failed to adequately warn customers that the two main ingredients are flammable.

"There's no flammability warning, no adequate flammability warning on this product," said Grace Parasmo, Kamber Law, LLC.

Attorneys with the class action lawsuit, which was filed in Los Angeles, say the product can ignite at temperatures above 171 degrees and cause a substantial risk of burns to the face, head, and neck.

That is exactly what Jasmine Davis of West Helena, Arkansas says happened to her.

In a separate lawsuit, Davis claims she was permanently disfigured at just 13 years old when she suffered third degree burns on her head, neck, and arms after applying the serum to her hair and then using a straightening comb she heated over a gas stove.

The lawsuit alleges that when heat hit the serum, Davis went up in flames.

"It really shocks me that any product would not be able to withstand 171 degrees," said hair stylist Cyndi Jo Hartley.

Hartley says most of her styling tools start at around 200 degrees and heat up to 450 degrees.

After seeing human hair burn with a flat iron, Action News 5's Anna Marie Hartman went outside with Hartley to perform an open flame test.

In the open flame test, 100 percent human hair was used with no product in it to demonstrate how quickly hair can go up in flames, without even using any hair products.

Once the hair was coated in Garnier's shine serum and exposed to the flame, the fire was raging in just seconds.

"Yea it's really scary that something that you're selling that's not even a professional product, you're just selling it on grocery store shelves could burn," said Hartley.

When Action News 5 asked a L'Oreal spokesperson about the product, we were told, "Regarding both cases, it is L'Oréal's policy not to comment on ongoing litigation."

But in a statement to the Huffington Post the company said, "L'Oreal denies the allegations and will continue to vigorously defend Garnier Fructis Sleek and Shine Anti Frizz Serum as safe for consumers."

Attorneys for Jasmine Davis disagree and the people behind the class action suit say consumers should be warned of the risks.

Jasmine Davis' family is suing for medical expenses and punitive damages.

She has undergone multiple surgeries and still has more to go.

Copyright 2012 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.


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See what happens when extreme heat is applied to a popular styling product