MONAT Lawsuits in 2018 (The Full Story)

MONAT Lawsuits in 2018 (The Full Story)

. 38 min read

Have you been hearing about the MONAT lawsuits? I keep seeing the same comments on social media. It’s always the same refrain: “MONAT causes hair loss. There have been a lot of MONAT lawsuits.”

We’ve only heard part of the story, and there are still a lot of rumors being spread online.

It’s time to lay out the facts.

Note: I am updating this post due to information I have still receiving. Please search on the page for the word UPDATE for any corrections.

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Yes, there were a lot of MONAT lawsuits last year in 2018. And yes, there has been a lot of press about these lawsuits. But does the press ever talk about the verdicts? Four of the lawsuits have been settled so far, in MONAT’s favor.

And just because there are lawsuits does not mean the claims made are true. Is there actually any evidence that MONAT causes hair loss? The way our court system works here in the USA, you are innocent until proven guilty.

In this post, I’ll tell you the whole story of what happened last year… How four hairdressers started a dumpster fire on Facebook which led to 15 MONAT lawsuits, and what the status is of all these lawsuits.

If you’re not familiar with MONAT, it is a direct sales company that sells naturally based salon-quality hair care. You can read my MONAT review here.

Disclosure: I’ve been an Independent MONAT “Market Partner” (meaning I promote MONAT and earn a commission — similar to affiliate marketing) since September, 2017. I am extremely careful not to promote anything that is unhealthy, and as a result, I researched these lawsuits extensively to see if there was any merit to any of the claims being made. If there were any truth to these claims, I would stop promoting MONAT.

MONAT Lawsuits the Full Story

MONAT Lawsuits in 2018 (The Full Story)

Because this is a long post, I have broken it up into multiple pages so it loads faster.  I am including a table of contents so you can jump down to the various sections.  You can also scroll to the bottom of each page to click through to the next page.

  1. MONAT Lawsuits: The Full List of Cases
  2. MONAT Lawsuits: People Involved
  3. Definitions of Class Action Lawsuit and Defamation Lawsuit
  4. MONAT Lawsuits: Summary
  5. MONAT Lawsuits: Timeline of Events
  6. The MONAT Haters: Class Action Lawsuit Plaintiffs & Hate Group Members
  7. Status of the MONAT Class Action Lawsuit
  8. The Online Attacks Continue
  9. Are There Ingredients in MONAT That Could Cause Hair Loss or Breakage?
  10. But Aren’t Some People Having Bad Reactions to MONAT?
  11. Conclusion: Are MONAT Products Harmful or Dangerous?

1. MONAT Lawsuits: The Full List of Cases

There are a total of 15 MONAT lawsuits online that were initiated between 2017 and 2018.

  • Eleven of the lawsuits are class action lawsuits initiated by consumers against MONAT.
  • Four of the lawsuits are defamation lawsuits initiated by MONAT against 4 women (3 hairdressers selling competitor products, and 1 former MONAT Market Partner).
Monat Lawsuits 2017-2018

In the chart above, you can see that the 11 class action lawsuits are in the process of being consolidated into one “Multidistrict Litigation” class action lawsuit. This is what it means when it says “Transferred to MDL”.

UPDATE: Only 2 of the cases have been settled. The cases against Mags Kavanaugh and Vickie Harrington were settled. The lawsuits against Kayla Baker and Toni Miller are still pending. I will update this post as I receive more information.

2. MONAT Lawsuits: People Involved

The 11 class action MONAT lawsuits have multiple defendants. I will cover them in a separate section below.

The defamation lawsuits were initiated by MONAT against 4 women:

  • Mags Kavanaugh, Kayla Baker, and Toni Miller are hairdressers who sell competitor products.
  • Vickie Harrington is a former MONAT Market Partner.

UPDATE: I corrected a mistake above. It said that Vickie Harrington was a hairdresser and Kayla Baker was a Market Partner. That was a typo which has been fixed.

I cover the full story of the people involved in the MONAT lawsuits in the next section…

3. Definitions of Class Action Lawsuit and Defamation Lawsuit

But before we get into the timeline and details of the MONAT lawsuits, we need to go over some definitions.

This section is a little dry… but please bear with me.

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It is important that people understand why these MONAT lawsuits happened and why people are suing.

I have seen a lot of  people online saying MONAT is being “heavy handed” with lawsuits. I think after you read this section, you will understand why the had no choice but to sue.

Let’s first cover the definitions of a class action lawsuit and a defamation lawsuit.

What is a Class Action Lawsuit?

A “class action” lawsuit is one in which a group of people with the same or similar injuries believe the injuries are caused by the same product or action and they sue the defendant as a group (as opposed to one individual suing another).

Other names for lawsuits brought by a number of people who are claiming to have suffered similar harm or losses are “mass tort litigation” and “multi-district litigation” (“MDL”). (Source)

Class action lawsuits are a way for consumers or other groups of people to protect themselves from dangerous products, unethical business practices, etc.

What is a Defamation Lawsuit?

“Defamation of character” is a term for any statement that damages someone’s reputation.

When you make a defamatory claim in writing, it is called libel. Spoken defamation is slander. Defamation is not a criminal offense; it is a “tort” (a civil wrong, vs. a criminal wrong). (Source)

Defamation lawsuits are a way for individuals and organizations to protect themselves from having their reputations damaged by malicious gossip and lies.

MONAT lawsuits

What Does a Victim Need to Prove to Establish Defamation?

According to the Nolo legal website:

“The law of defamation varies from state to state, but there are some generally accepted rules. If you believe you are have been “defamed,” to prove it you usually have to show there’s been a statement that is all of the following:

  • published
  • false
  • injurious
  • unprivileged”

Let’s go over these 4 elements of what defines a defamatory statement:

1. Published

This means that a third party heard or saw the claim. In other words, someone other than the person who made the statement or the person the statement was about.

“Published” doesn’t mean that the statement was printed in a book or newspaper. It just means it was made public through social media, television, radio, or gossip. The claim can be made verbally, in written form, pictured, or even gestured.

Written statements last longer than spoken statements. For that reason, most courts, juries, and insurance companies consider libel to be more harmful than slander.

2. False

A defamatory statement must be false. If the statement is true, it’s not considered defamatory.

You can say mean or disparaging things, as long as they are true, based on facts and evidence.

For this reason, most opinions are not considered defamation because they can’t be proven to be objectively false. For example, if a critic writes a review online and says, “That was the movie I’ve ever seen,” he’s not defaming the filmmaker. This is because the statement can’t be proven to be false.

However, if you say “this product damaged my health,” you would need to prove, with evidence, that the product did in fact damage your health.

3. Injurious

The statement must be “injurious” or damaging. Someone suing for defamation must be able to show how his or her reputation has been hurt by the false statement in order for the claim to be considered defamatory.

For example, a company lost sales; someone lost work or was harassed by the press. Someone who already has a bad reputation will not likely collect much in a defamation suit. They must be able to show that their good reputation was damaged.

4. Unprivileged

The offending statement must be “unprivileged.” Privileged speech can include a person is offering testimony as a witness in court, lawyers and judges while in court, and government officials’ statements made while in session.

Under these circumstances of “privileged speech,” if someone who gives damaging testimony about someone else, those statements will be protected from civil liability for defamation. Lawmakers have come to the conclusion that in these and other situations, which are considered “privileged,” free speech is so important that the speakers should not be constrained by worries that they will be sued for defamation.

Okay, with that groundwork laid, let’s take a look at how all these MONAT lawsuits played out…

4. MONAT Lawsuits: Summary

I will use this section to give you a summary of what happened.

In this section, I cover MONAT’s background and their exemplary 4-year history in business.

I will also discuss the competitors who were likely threatened by MONAT’s stratospheric growth, and how an online dumpster fire escalated into an online witch hunt and whole lot of lawsuits.

MONAT

MONAT was founded in October 2014 by the Urdaneta family, American citizens with roots in Venezuela. It is actually a subsidiary of the parent company, the Alcora Corporation, founded by Senor Luis Udaneta.

MONAT lawsuits

Alcora also owns L’EUDINE Global, which was originally established almost 2 decades ago, in 2001, as a direct sales company specializing in beauty and wellness with offices in Maracaibo, Venezuela and Miami, Florida.

MONAT’s Growth

MONAT, their ground-breaking naturally-based salon-quality hair care line quickly became the Uber of hair care brands.

In 2017, in their third year of business, MONAT grew 700%. That year they did $300 million in sales in US and Canada, and were projecting one billion in sales revenue in 2018.

To give you an idea of how huge that is, and why I compare them to Uber, MONAT’s annual revenue is 3 times that of the biggest US hair care company (OGX, owned by Johnson & Johnson).

MONAT lawsuits 2018
Sales listed in millions of dollars (Source: Statistica)

To give you an idea of what the industry looks like, and how literally all the brands are controlled by a handful of companies, take a look at this graphic below (this isn’t just hair care — this is makeup, skincare and perfume as well):

MONAT lawsuits 2018
Business Insider: These 7 companies control almost every single beauty product you buy

OGX, the best selling US hair care brand after MONAT, is not listed on that graphic but they were bought by Johnson & Johnson in 2016.

For MONAT to take a massive bite out of this market, with huge billion dollar companies controlling everything, well, they must be doing something right.

MONAT’s Commitment to Science

MONAT is no slouch when it comes to science. The quality of their products as well as their remarkable growth has attracted respected leaders in the beauty industry, as well as highly esteemed scientists.

Last year MONAT hired Alan J. Meyers as its Chief Science Officer. With 30 years of experience in the beauty industry, at companies including L’Oreal, Revlon, Elizabeth Arden, and Avon, Mr. Meyers holds 23 patents and is the recipient of the Human Biology Association Lifetime Achievement Award.

MONAT lawsuits 2018
Alan J. Meyers, MONAT Chief Science Officer

Also, last year, Dr. Antonella Tosti, MD, Professor of Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery at the University of Miami, and the author of over 700 scientific publications, joined the MONAT Scientific Advisory Board.

MONAT lawsuits 2018
Dr. Antonella Tosti, MD

Dr. Tosti is a Founding Member and past President of the European Hair Research Society and Secretary and Treasurer of the North American Research Society. She is the Founding Member and Secretary of the International Society of Trichoscopy. (Trichoscopy is a method of hair and scalp evaluation and is used for diagnosing hair and scalp diseases.)

With Fast Growth Comes Competition

For MONAT, their explosive growth got them a lot of attention… which in turn, bred competition.

What competition, you ask? Hairdressers selling competitive products. Why would hairdressers be threatened by MONAT, you ask? I think it was because it was threatening their income and the way they’ve always done business.

Hairdressers make money in a few different ways:

  • Servicing clients with hair cuts and color treatments
  • Teaching classes
  • Sell hair care products

Because MONAT is a direct sales company, their products are not sold in stores or salons.

MONAT sells their products via “network marketing” which means anyone can sign up to be a distributor and they make commissions recommending it to their friends. (You are probably familiar with this distribution model because you likely have friends or family members who sell Amway, Herbalife, Young Living or the like.)

When MONAT’s sales started blowing up back in 2017, a few hairdressers who were selling competing products started trashing it.

Why? I don’t know. But here’s my guess: because it was threatening their income from the products they sold in their salons.

This was very similar to the way existing cab drivers were threatened by Uber when it took off.

Let’s get into what happened…

Go to the next page to continue reading…

5. MONAT Lawsuits: Timeline of Events

In this section, I will cover the timeline of events and how all the lawsuits started.

I’ll also show how the media was hacked by the hairdressers to manipulate public opinion, and how class-action lawyers jumped on a chance to make a lot of money.

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Four Hairdressers Start a Dumpster Fire on Facebook

In 2017, Mags Kavanaugh, hair stylist and salon owner in Clearwater, Florida began making defamatory statements about MONAT online.

Monat Lawsuits 2018: Mags Kavanaugh Sued for Defamation
Mags Kavanaugh (Photo credit: Facebook)

Kavanaugh, who sells products that compete with MONAT, was posting a lot of stuff on Facebook that was not only damaging but also factually incorrect.

In late 2017, 3 other hairdressers, all selling competing products, began also posting defamatory content about MONAT.

These hairdressers include:

  • Vicki Nittinger of Jacksonville, Florida
  • Adele (Toni) Miller of Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Kayla Baker of Highland Township, Michigan
MONAT lawsuits 2018
Adele (Toni) Miller (Photo credit: Facebook)
Kayla Baker (Photo credit: YouTube)

In addition to the four hairdressers, a woman named Vickie Harrington, was also involved in online defamation of MONAT.

Harrington, a resident of North Carolina, joined MONAT as a Market Partner (meaning she was a distributor and could buy the products wholesale and was able to earn a commission selling them). Harrington used or sold the initial product shipments she received, representing approximately $900 in value.

Monat Lawsuits 2018: Vickie Harrington Sued for Defamation
Vickie Harrington (Photo credit: Facebook)

Within approximately three months of becoming a Market Partner, Vickie Harrington demanded a full refund of all products she had purchased from MONAT (approximately $900 in value). MONAT rejected Harrington’s demand for a refund because it was beyond MONAT’s 30-day money-back guarantee window.

In the next section, we will learn how the Facebook hate group was started.

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The MONAT Facebook Hate Group

Around November or December of 2017, the 4 hairdressers and former Market Partner Vickie Harrington started a Facebook “hate group” called “MONAT – My Modern Nightmare”

MONAT lawsuits 2018
Post in the MONAT hate group (Source: Facebook)

The original group no longer exists (see below — MONAT required them to take it down after they settled) but at the height before it was shut down in February 2018, there were somewhere around 15-20,000 members in the group.

The admins were adding people to the hate group to the tune of hundreds of people per day.

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If you know how Facebook groups work, anyone can be added to a group without their permission or knowledge.

MONAT lawsuits 2018
How people get added to Facebook groups
MONAT lawsuits 2018

It’s disingenuous of them to claim that they had 20,000 people in their hate group, since many (most?) people were added by someone else without their knowledge.

I took the screenshots above of the second Facebook hate group, which was started after the first one was shut down. But I remember looking at the original group and it was the exact same thing — admins adding people to the group.

Libelous Posts in the Hate Group

Women in the hate group were blaming MONAT shampoo for everything from heavier periods and mood swings to miscarriages to tumors.

Yes, they were claiming that this natural shampoo was giving people cancer.

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Here are a few examples of the kind of outrageous posts that were in the MONAT hate group, being spurred on by the 4 hairdressers and Vickie Harrington:

MONAT lawsuits 2018
Post from MONAT hate group on Facebook
MONAT lawsuits 2018
Post from MONAT hate group on Facebook
MONAT lawsuits 2018
Post from MONAT hate group on Facebook

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MONAT Filed Suit for Defamation

In an effort to protect their reputation and stop the libel, MONAT filed 4 defamation lawsuits against the 3 hairdressers and the former Market Partner.

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Mags Kavanaugh was the first one sued for defamation, all the way back in July, 2017.

Monat Lawsuits 2018: Mags Kavanaugh Sued for Defamation

Not to mention hateful and vitriolic:

Monat Lawsuits 2018: Mags Kavanaugh Sued for Defamation

Subsequent lawsuits were filed against Vickie Harrington in January, 2018 and against Kayla Baker and Adele (Toni) Miller in February, 2018.

Vicki Nittinger was not sued.

You can read the MONAT defamation lawsuits yourself — they are online:

Some of the Women Settled in MONAT’s Favor

Some of the four women sued by MONAT — Mags Kavanaugh, Vickie Harrington, Kayla Baker and Toni Miller — settled.

UPDATE: I say “some” because I don’t know how many actually settled. I was told by my source that they had all settled but now I’m being told it was only one or two who settled so far.

Also, it seems at least one or two of the women MONAT sued for defamation has countersued. I heard this from Adele (Toni) Miller who text messaged me on Facebook Messenger today. I asked her for more information regarding the suit so I could update this post, but she blocked me (not sure why — I have the screen shots and I didn’t say anything offensive)… so I couldn’t find anything else out from her.

A woman who goes by “Dixie Dust” on Facebook, who has been writing blog posts today in response to this one, says that two of the lawsuits were settled: Mags Kavanaugh and Vickie Harrington. Kayla Baker’s and Toni Miller’s lawsuits are still pending.

Incidentally, “Dixie Dust” was asking about my husband on Facebook, which was super creepy so I blocked her. I asked her several times to reveal her identity but she refused. I make it a rule not to interact with anonymous strangers online, but when anyone I don’t know seems unhinged and they start talking about my family members, that’s an immediate block.

No idea who this person is but she is obviously involved with these lawsuits, since she’s been blogging about it for several months.


I will be updating this post with information as I receive it.

What that means is the women who were sued had to pay MONAT.

Additionally, they had to shut down their hate group and remove all their libelous posts on social media. (UPDATE: Yes, looking back it was Vickie Harrington who shut the hate group down. I remember that from a video someone sent me of Kayla Baker talking about it.)

You know what that means?

Scroll back up and read the definition of defamation. For a victim to prove that they were defamed, the statement has to be false. If the statement is true, it’s not defamation.

In other words, if what these women were alleging about MONAT — that it causes miscarriages and hormone problems and hair loss — then why did they settle?

If the things they were saying were true, they should have been able to prove it.

Unless it was all a bunch of lies.

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Haters Take Over Consumer Complaint Websites

The snowball of lies was rolling downhill and the faster it went, the bigger it got.

In addition to the libelous posts being spread in their hate group and on Facebook pages, the hate group members next turned to consumer complaint websites.

In a classic online mob fashion known as an internet “pile on”, they descended en masse upon 3 different websites — the Better Business Bureau, the FDA website, and Trust Pilot — in an effort to deluge them with complaints.

All three websites got hundreds of complaints in a matter of days.

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Monat Lawsuits 2018: The Full Story
Monat Lawsuits 2018: The Full Story
Monat Lawsuits: The Full Story

As you can see in the screenshot below, Vicki (I believe this is Vicki Nittinger) is saying she’s hoping they get more complaints on the FDA website:

Monat Lawsuits: The Full Story

It’s small and hard to read so I’ll quote what she says here:

“I’m not supposed to say so so keep it here but the only reason I posted that today is because the reporter was saying she needed more people to complain to the FDA because she had already called them asking for a statement and to find out how many people had complained and she’s also called monat several times with no response but she messaged me because she saw the pictures that I posted of the scalp and wanted permission to use them so I posted the plea without including her hoping it would bump up the number of complaints to the FDA and she’s doing the interviews tomorrow”

Wait… what? Hello! Does that not raise a major red flag for anyone else?

“The reporter was saying she needed more people to complain to the FDA”???

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So Who Was This Reporter, Exactly?

I’m not sure who that reporter was, but I do know the hairdressers were conspiring with a few different TV stations to produce a story about their claims against MONAT.

MONAT lawsuits 2018

The first story ran in March, 2018 on the Las Vegas Fox channel.

It was picked up by multiple FOX and ABC stations and in the coming weeks, the story ran in cities including Denver, Indianapolis, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Tulsa, Detroit, Milwaukee, Kansas City, New York City, Tampa, San Diego, and others.

The video segments were also posted to YouTube and shared all over Facebook.

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All in the Family

And it turns out that Adele (Toni) Miller’s daughter, one of the women sued for defamation, is a news producer the local Fox affiliate in Las Vegas that originally ran the story.

UPDATE: I was contacted by Adele (Toni) Miller on Facebook Messenger today (2/18/19). She did not dispute the fact that her daughter worked for the news station but she wanted me to make a correction. Her daughter works for ABC News in Las Vegas, not Fox News. As far as I can tell, this is the same station that ran the first story about the MONAT hate group.

Monat Lawsuits: The Full Story
MONAT lawsuits 2018
Jessica Miller, Toni Miller’s daughter (Photo credit: Instagram)

I confronted Michelle Linn, reporter at FOX 23 in Tulsa after her story aired and asked her about Toni Miller and her daughter, Jessica. She didn’t seem to know anything about it.

But we have evidence that Toni Miller was working with her daughter, Jessica to get the story produced.

The photo below is a screengrab of a Facebook comment (sorry it’s so small).

Monat Lawsuits: The Full Story

The comment is from Adele (Toni) Miller and it says:

“Truth. If you can get any of your clients to speak with my daughter for her News story that would be fantastic.”

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Fake News!

Needless to say, it is clearly a breech of journalistic integrity that the news channel Jessica Miller worked for did not disclose the fact that their news producer was related to one of the women being sued for defamation, and therefore had a personal bias. Journalists do have bias, but we need to disclose it.

It’s also sloppy journalism to produce stories with such little investigation.

But I guess they got what they wanted. A story that would go viral. Because viral stories equal more viewers, which is what news stations need.

Go to the next page to continue reading…

6. The MONAT Haters: Class Action Lawsuit Plaintiffs & Hate Group Members

So who are the women who were interviewed in these viral news stories, the ones who claimed their hair fell out?

Some of them are plaintiffs in the class action lawsuit, and some are hate group members. I researched many of them on Facebook and I share my findings here…

1. Amber Alabaster

Amber Alabaster, of Oklahoma City,  is a plaintiff in the class action lawsuit (Alabaster v. MONAT Global, March 2018). She claims in her lawsuit that MONAT made her lose her hair and made her hair break off .

Monat Lawsuits: The Full Story
Amber Alabaster (Photo credit: Facebook)

PCOS, a Hormonal Disorder

Amber Alabaster has posted publicly on Facebook that she has PCOS and chronic migraines due to hormone imbalances. She has also stated publicly that she takes medication for PCOS.

Monat Lawsuits: The Full Story
Alabaster admits she takes medication for PCOS

PCOS, or polycystic ovary syndrome, is a hormonal disorder that causes cysts to grow on the ovaries.

MONAT lawsuits 2018
Source: Google

Migraines can also be caused by a hormone imbalance. (Source)

Can a Hormone Imbalance Cause Hair Loss?

It is a well-known fact that hormone imbalances like PCOS can cause hair thinning, hair loss and alopecia.

MONAT lawsuits 2018
Source

Steroids and Hair Loss

Alabaster also posted publicly that she has taken steriods for her hormone disorder.

Monat Lawsuits: The Full Story

Prednisone is a steroid commonly given to patients with PCOS. And it can cause hair loss as a side effect.

MONAT lawsuits 2018
Source: Drugs.com

We don’t know what other drugs Alabaster has taken or is taking. I certainly sympathize with her but I don’t think it’s fair to blame a shampoo for hair loss when she clearly has so many medical issues.

Amber Alabaster is blaming MONAT hair products for her hair loss, but clearly she has medical issues and has had them for years.

2. Erin Ostby

Former MONAT Market Partner, a military spouse, lived in Oklahoma when she joined MONAT, according to my source (a fellow MONAT Market Partner). Ostby is another one of the plaintiffs in the MONAT class action lawsuit.

I was also told by this source that Ostby was long-time friends with Amber Alabaster.

Monat Lawsuits: The Full Story
Erin Ostby (Photo credit: Facebook)

Ostby later moved to Las Vegas where she was interviewed by the local news station. Erin Ostby told the Eyewitness News affiliate in Las Vegas (the story produced by Toni Miller’s daughter):

“I took a picture of my hair, compared it to a picture of before I stared Monat, and my eyes just filled up with tears. It was so thin and it was stringy and I was just sick.”

You can see in the post from Erin Ostby’s Facebook page below she knows Toni Miller, who also lives in Vegas.

Monat Lawsuits: The Full Story

Radiation Treatments?

I don’t have any documented (written or recorded) evidence to support this, but I did hear through my source that Ostby was having full-body radiation scans during the time she was using MONAT.

My source got this information from a woman who was “upline” in Ostby’s MONAT team.

The woman told my source that Ostby was either experiencing infertility and/or possibly miscarriages (perhaps both — I can’t remember and I didn’t write it down). I don’t know why she was doing radiation scans.

Can Radiation Cause Hair Loss?

According to Health.com, these types of scans can indeed cause hair loss:

Source: Health.com
According to the American College of Radiology, no single diagnostic x-ray has a radiation dose significant enough to cause adverse affects in a developing embryo or fetus. In general, CAT scans are not recommended during pregnancy unless the benefits of the CAT scan clearly outweigh the potential risk. (Source)

Again, I don’t know if it is true if Ostby was having miscarriages or even if she was undergoing full-body scans. This information came through a friend of a friend… so I’m hesitant to report it.

However, my source did tell me that she was in contact with MONAT’s legal team.

According to her, when Ostby was asked her to provide her medical records during discovery, she dropped the case against them.

Like I said, I don’t have any written or recorded documentation of this. If I have incorrect information about Ostby, I’m happy to correct this article.

That said, if Erin Ostby was having radiation scans during the time she was using MONAT, it’s obviously unfair for her to blame the shampoo.

UPDATE (2/21/19): I was forwarded a screenshot from a reader. The screenshot was from Erin Ostby’s Facebook page and she says she was undergoing MRI scans. From what I have read, there MRI scans do not cause hair loss (they are different from CT scans — MRIs are magnetic, not X-rays). However, we don’t know what other medical treatments she was undergoing. If she was doing MRIs, it’s likely she had other medical/health issues.

3. Heather Fox

Heather Fox is a former MONAT customer (and possibly a Market Partner — correction: she was never a Market Partner) who is now part of the class action MONAT lawsuit (correction: she is not a part of any of the lawsuits). I researched her on Facebook.

She said she used MONAT for a number of months and claimed that her hair began thinning and breaking while using the products.

Monat Lawsuits: The Full Story
According to one of the local news articles, “Fox said she had a full panel of blood work done and there was nothing that point to a reason — besides using the Monat products.” (Source)

Cyclical Vomiting Syndrome?

But looking at her Facebook page, it appears she may have or had a medical condition: cyclical vomiting syndrome.

MONAT lawsuits 2018
Source: Facebook
MONAT lawsuits 2018
Source: Facebook

Vomiting hundreds of times a day?  Do you think this would have an impact on someone’s hair health?

If Fox does in fact have this condition, it would certainly explain why she might have experienced hair loss or breakage. Excessive vomiting could cause malnutrition, which would obviously negatively impact hair growth as well as the strength of the hair.

Update: Fox contacted me to say she hasn’t had any symptoms of CVS in 5 years and to say that the Thrive patch is helping her. (See full update below at the end of this section.)

However, I did find a comment from Fox that seems to contradict that. (See below.) The comment was from 2018 and she says, “Thank God I can work from my phone or I’d be toast.”

If she hadn’t had symptoms in 5 years, why was she posting that in 2018?

MONAT lawsuits 2018
Heather Fox

Side Effects of the Thrive Patch?

Interestingly, Heather Fox is a distributor of Thrive patches, and she is seen on Facebook wearing them a lot.

MONAT lawsuits 2018
Source: Healthline on the Thrive Patch

According to Healthline, nausea is one of the side effects of the Thrive patch.

MONAT lawsuits 2018

WebMD says nausea and vomiting are side effects of green coffee:

MONAT lawsuits 2018

So Heather Fox appears to have a health condition that could cause hair loss and breakage.  Whether her condition is caused or exacerbated by the patches she’s wearing, I don’t know — I’m not a doctor.

Breakage Caused By Processing & Styling

In addition to that, she has been doing a lot of chemical processing to her hair. Excessive chemical processing is  a known cause of breakage.

MONAT lawsuits 2018
Heather Fox

You can see in the photo below, her hair looks extremely processed with a lot of bleaching and the ends are quite damaged. This photo was taken about a year before she used MONAT.

MONAT lawsuits 2018
Heather Fox

The photo below was taken a few months before that photo. Tight braids can also cause further damage to hair.

MONAT lawsuits 2018
Heather Fox

Heather Fox appears to have a medical condition which could cause hair loss. On top of that, she has done a lot of damage to her hair. It takes years for hair to grow out… so it doesn’t surprise me that her hair was breaking after all that bleaching, coloring and braiding. That, coupled with the fact that she may have malnutrition due to the vomiting syndrome… it makes sense that she is having issues with her hair.

UPDATE: Heather Fox messaged me on Facebook asking me to retract this post and accused me of posting false information:

“Your timeline and facts about me are 100% wrong so I’d like to correct you!

I am

A) I am not apart of any lawsuits
B)I was a customer/victim of Monat never a market partner
C) I share cyclic vomiting awareness because I suffered for years but I haven’t in almost 5 years
D) The nutrition in Thrive helped me so I do not experience these symptoms anymore
E) The photos that you pose as my hair is breaking off and looking damaged are exactly the damage caused by the shampoo and the one of what you call me over processing my hair are actually me at the salon the day I had to have all my hair cut off from bad Monat products

Please retract your story as it is false information!”

I will respond to each point below:

A) I am not apart of any lawsuits

I have corrected this.

B)I was a customer/victim of Monat never a market partner

Corrected.

C) I share cyclic vomiting awareness because I suffered for years but I haven’t in almost 5 years

D) The nutrition in Thrive helped me so I do not experience these symptoms anymore

I corrected this to reflect Fox’s statement, but added a screenshot from November, 2018 where she seems to indicate that she was still experiencing CVS symptoms in 2018 (See above).

E) The photos that you pose as my hair is breaking off and looking damaged are exactly the damage caused by the shampoo and the one of what you call me over processing my hair are actually me at the salon the day I had to have all my hair cut off from bad Monat products

There are older publicly accessible photos of Fox (on her Facebook profile) dating back to 2013. She started bleaching her hair platinum blonde around 2016.

The tight braids were done in the fall of 2017, which is around the same time she started using MONAT shampoo (she said she used it for 5 months — from around August or September 2017 until January/February 2018.

According to lead TRESemmé stylist and spokesperson Jeanie Syfu, tight braids “can cause serious breakage”. We know bleach can also breakage, and the combination could compound any damage.

Go to the next page to continue reading…

4. Jessica Deetz

I’m not sure if she is part of the MONAT lawsuit, but Jessica Deetz as in many of the TV stories and articles online. She posted some of the most damaging photos in the hate group, which were spread around on Facebook.

MONAT lawsuits 2018
Jessica Deetz (Photo Credit: Facebook)

It’s one thing for an adult to suffer from hair loss, but when it happens to a child from a baby shampoo, that’s terrible, right?

And it looked really bad:

MONAT lawsuits 2018
Deetz’s daughter (Photo credit: Facebook)

I would freak out if my daughter lost all her hair like that. Any mother would. It’s understandable.

However, I did some digging on Deetz’s Facebook page and found some interesting things.

Date Discrepancies

Deetz claimed on Facebook that her daughter’s hair fell out after 4 months of using the MONAT Junior Line.

MONAT lawsuits 2018

She claimed this happened around late January/early February of 2018. So that would mean she had been using MONAT hair products on her daughter since September or October of 2017.

Now look at the photo below. Take a look at what the little girl is wearing in the top left and middle photos.

MONAT lawsuits 2018

You can see she has on pajamas in the top left photo, and she’s holding something that’s hot pink. Also notice the orange shirt in the middle photo. Also the top right — looks like reindeers on her shirt which would probably be worn at Christmas time.

Now take a look at the next photo posted on her Facebook, and look at the date it was posted.  December 11, 2017. I thought this was supposed to be a “before MONAT” photo?

MONAT lawsuits 2018

Here’s another one posted on December 9, 2017:

MONAT lawsuits 2018

How are these “before MONAT” pictures if she had been using MONAT since September or October?

I guess it could be an honest mistake, but I thought it was odd. If I were posting a “before” photo, I would use a photo of her BEFORE she starting using the product.

I continued to dig and found something even more suspicious…

Tonsilitis & Psoriasis?

Deetz posted this update on Facebook on February 6th, 2018:

MONAT lawsuits 2018

Notice she says her daughter had her tonsils taken out. She is referring to this photo below, at the children’s hospital.

MONAT lawsuits 2018

So her daughter had her tonsils out — a tonsillectomy — around December 11th, 2018.

According to the Healthline website, tonsillectomies are a recommended treatment for tonsillitis:

MONAT lawsuits 2018

So Jessica Deetz’s little girl had tonsillitis.

What Is Tonsillitis?

Google says tonsillitis is an inflammation of the tonsils, two oval-shaped pads at the back of the throat. It is a medical condition caused by a viral infection.

MONAT lawsuits 2018
Source: Google

Is There a Connection to Psoriasis?

According to researchers, there seems to be a connection between tonsillitis and psoriasis.

Source: Psoriasis and Tonsillitis – What’s the Connection?

According to the National Psoriasis Foundation:

“The psoriasis-tonsillitis connection starts with immune cells, known as T cells, which can move from the tonsils into the skin.

‘The prevailing theory is that repeated bouts of streptococcal throat infection can lead to activation of T cells within the tonsils,’ said Dr. Andrew Johnston, a researcher at the University of Michigan who studies the link between psoriasis and streptococcal infection. ‘These T cells can enter the circulation and home to the skin, where they can initiate skin lesions.'”

The reason I looked into this is because I saw a video Deetz posted online of her daughter’s hair loss.

MONAT lawsuits 2018

I showed the video to a friend of mine, a former hair stylist, whose son had also had psoriasis guttate.

My friend said the way the little girl’s scalp looked was very similar to the way her son’s scalp looked when he had the condition.

Hmm….

Does Psoriasis Cause Hair Loss?

According to Healthline, psoriasis on the scalp can cause hair loss:

MONAT lawsuits 2018

I’m not a doctor and I can’t diagnose diseases so I can’t know what happened here.

However, it’s clear that Jessica Deetz’s little girl had a medical condition (tonsillitis) that very likely could have been connected to psoriasis, which is known to cause hair loss.

5. Ashley McNight (Miller)

Ashley McNight (now Miller on Facebook) was featured in a BuzzFeed story about MONAT.

She claimed that MONAT gave her “an extremely itchy scalp” as well as “dandruff” and “leakage and sores” all over her head.

Monat Lawsuits: The Full Story
Ashley Miller on Facebook

The photos below were posted in an article on Buzzfeed.

Monat Lawsuits: The Full Story
Photos of Ashely McKnight (Miller) on Buzzfeed

Sure looks scary! And if I were reading that Buzzfeed article, I probably wouldn’t want to buy MONAT shampoo, for fear the same thing could happen to me.

What was especially interesting to me about the Buzzfeed article was the comments section. Check out these comments by Buzzfeed reader, [NAME REDACTED BY REQUEST].

As someone who struggles with seborrheic dermatitis, [NAME REDACTED BY REQUEST] speculates that Ashley Miller was possibly experiencing the same symptoms and suggests that she see a dermatologist and get treated with medication.

As you can see in the final screenshot above, Amber Kovach, another Buzzfeed reader who also suffers from seborrheic dermatitis agrees with [NAME REDACTED BY REQUEST]’s comments.

Kovach says she has mixed results with different shampoo brands — some make her seborrheic dermatitis better for a while and some make it worse. She also says she loses “handfuls of hair” every time she showers as a result of her condition.

[NAME REDACTED BY REQUEST]’s comment in the second to last screenshot is right on the money.

She says:

“I also think that these women will have trouble alleging damage to them by the company without going to a dermatologist to show that they don’t have a condition that looks exactly like the symptoms that they have. Monat’s first move will probably be to secure a dermatologist as an expert witness who will try to discredit them by suggesting that they have seborrheic dermatitis.”

What Causes Seborrheic Dermatitis?

Seborrheic dermatitis is a form of eczema. It is a yeast-based fungal infection similar to Athlete’s foot or jock itch.

According to the National Eczema Foundation, seborrheic dermatitis can be triggered by a variety of things, including:

  • Stress
  • Hormonal changes or illness
  • Harsh detergents, solvents, chemicals and soaps
  • Cold, dry weather
  • Medications such as psoralen, interferon and lithium

I don’t see shampoo on that list. Do you?

In fact, in that same article, the treatment recommended for seborrheic dermatitis is actually shampoo (medicated anti-fungal shampoo):

“Guidelines for treating seborrheic dermatitis include:  Alternate between using your regular shampoo and a medicated dandruff shampoo. If you are African American, wash with the medicated shampoo once weekly. Taper off as your symptoms improve.”

You can read more about the medical condition, seborrheic dermatitis, its causes and how it is treated on WebMD or the Mayo Clinic website.

Bottom line: Ashley McNight/Miller had or has some sort of medical condition, probably a fungal infection, and she should see a doctor or dermatologist and get medication.

Conclusion

Looking at those five cases, it’s pretty obvious there are a lot of things going on with these women besides just shampoo.

Clearly they have suffered and I feel sorry for them. However, it seems very unfair to sue a company, alleging that the products cause damage, when there are many other factors that could have caused the damage.

If you have a medical condition, and you start using a new personal care product, it seems like a real stretch to blame the product for your symptoms.

I am also highly suspicious of the way these women were courted and egged on by the reporters and the hairdressers who were sued for defamation. The whole thing stinks if you ask me.

via GIPHY

Go to the next page to continue reading…

7. Status of the MONAT Class Action Lawsuit

So, what is the status of the MONAT class action lawsuit?

There were 11 class action lawsuits filed last year — from February through July of 2018 (scroll up to see section 1 of this blog post for the full list of lawsuits).

These lawsuits are currently being merged into one “Multidistrict Litigation” class action lawsuit.

From what I have heard from my sources, I believe they are in “discovery” which means they are collecting information about the different plaintiffs and their cases.

Lawsuits take a long time… and from what I read online on the different legal websites, this one looks to be slated for next year (2020).

That’s part of the reason I wanted to write this blog post. Instead of waiting to hear the outcome (which is going to take another year), I wanted to lay out the evidence so that consumers can learn the real story.

Needless to say, I’m very confident MONAT will win this impending class action lawsuit based on two things:

  1. The precedents set by the four women settling in the defamation lawsuits. If there had been any validity to their claims, based on factual evidence, why did they settle?
  2. There are so many medical issues among the plaintiffs in the class action lawsuit, as I outlined in the last section. It will be very tough for these women to prove the shampoo was what caused their hair loss and damage.

8. The Online Attacks Continue

Meanwhile, the libelous attacks against MONAT are continuing online. Not a week goes by that I don’t hear about people making defamatory claims.

Just this past week I witnessed two different “dumpster fires” in comment threads on Facebook.

What is very interesting to me is many of these women who are bashing MONAT online are selling competitive products.

Not only that, but they typically do not disclose that they are being compensated by the competing companies.

via GIPHY

Let’s take a look at some of their comments… and connect the dots…

Prose Shampoo Reps Trashing MONAT

Prose is a hair care company that is competing with MONAT. And yes, they pay their reps commissions. Just like MONAT.

MONAT lawsuits 2018

Here is a woman, Jahaza Spooner Duncan, trashing MONAT, saying it makes people’s hair fall out and damaging their hormones.

MONAT lawsuits 2018

She seems to like to trash multiple companies as you can see from this next post… I use a lot of these products and I have friends who sell them, so I disagree with her.

MONAT lawsuits 2018

Spooner Duncan claims she “doesn’t want to hurt anyone selling MONAT” (yeah, right – look at all the people she just trashed in the post above…)

She goes on to say she got “huge welts” and “horrible bumps” from MONAT.

MONAT lawsuits 2018

You can see in the screenshot below, she is recommending Prose shampoo and offering free coupons.

However, she doesn’t disclose that she gets paid by Prose. This is actually an FTC violation.

MONAT lawsuits 2018

Here’s another comment posted by Angela Avery, a friend of Jahaza Spooner Duncan’s. She’s claiming she got bald spots from using MONAT.

MONAT lawsuits 2018

Avery is a hair stylist at Ulta Beauty, according to her Facebook profile.

MONAT lawsuits 2018
Photo credit: Facebook

Apparently she is also a Prose hair care rep, which she does not disclose in her comments. This I found out by digging through her Facebook posts.

MONAT lawsuits 2018

It’s really not cool when people aren’t upfront about what they promote. I also really don’t like it when people bash other companies.

Other Shampoo Reps Trashing MONAT

This week in another private group for natural moms, I saw women trashing MONAT. I hid the names on the following comments because these were posted in a private group.

MONAT lawsuits 2018

The original poster posted in the group asking if people in the group knew if MONAT was safe. She seemed like she didn’t know anything about it and had never used it and even signed her post with a friendly, “Thanks in advance (TIA)!”

But the friendliness vanished and the claws came out when one of the members of the group innocently said they liked MONAT.

The original poster revealed that she had “open sores” and “miscarriages” from using MONAT.

MONAT lawsuits 2018
MONAT lawsuits 2018

Weird, huh? Why post about MONAT like you know nothing about it and then admit that you think it caused damage?

Other posters in the group chimed in with similar comments:

MONAT lawsuits 2018

When confronted and directly asked if the ladies posting were reps for the competitive product, they hit back at the person defending MONAT:

via GIPHY

So Wrong!

Not only are these types of Facebook posts defamatory, but they are deceptive as well.  

I can’t stand it when people trash competitive products in an effort to promote their products. If your product is so good, lead with it. Why trash other people and the products they represent?

The only thing worse than that is when people do it and don’t disclose the fact that they are doing it. Just so tacky and unprofessional.

via GIPHY

I could go on.

I have screenshots of almost the exact same types of posts from multiple threads from reps of other companies. Just on and on and on. Like I said, I see it constantly.

But I’ll stop here because I’m just sick of posting about it. I think I’ve made my point. If someone is trashing a brand online, and they are a rep for a competitor and they don’t disclose it, you obviously can’t trust them.

9. Are There Ingredients in MONAT That Could Cause Hair Loss or Breakage?

There is NOTHING in MONAT products that would cause hair loss or breakage. I actually wrote a couple articles on my blog in which I went into great detail about all the ingredients.

Here are those 2 articles:

MONAT Review: Why I Switched to MONAT Hair Products

Are MONAT Ingredients Safe? (MONAT Hair Products Review)

I even have a spreadsheet in the first one that lists all the ingredients and charts them as they are ranked on the Skin Deep website.

If you or someone you know believes MONAT damaged their hair, I challenge you to find ONE ingredient in any MONAT product that causes breakage or hair loss. As you can see in my articles above, I have been through the ingredients with a fine tooth comb. There is nothing in these products that would cause hair to break or fall out.

What Causes Hair Loss?

Lots of different things. Hair loss can be caused by medical conditions, hormonal disorders, stress, and many other things.

Read more about the causes of hair loss.

What Causes Hair Breakage?

Again, lots of things. Chemical processing (bleaching, coloring, etc.), heat tools, stress, poor diet.

Read more about what causes hair breakage.

Silicones Act Like a Band-Aid

Now, here’s something interesting you probably don’t know… Most modern shampoos and hair products contain silicones, gums and waxes that leave a build up on your hair strands and on your scalp.

Don’t believe me? Watch this video:

MONAT products are free of silicones, gums, and waxes. Why does MONAT avoid these ingredients? Because these ingredients clog pores and block hair follicles which in time can lead to hair loss.

This is why sometimes when people switch from hair products full of silicones to MONAT, and they continue to excessively damage their hair with chemical processing and/or heat tools, they can experience breakage.

But it’s not the MONAT products causing the damage. It’s the excessive chemical processing and heat tools that are set too high. And this could happen to anyone switching to a more natural hair product that is silicone-free.

This is why we MONAT reps always tell our customers to “turn down the heat tools.”

Too Much Protein Can Also Cause Breakage

Another thing that can cause breakage in hair strands is overuse of hair care products that contain protein.

These ingredients include:

  • Hydrolyzed collagen
  • Wheat protein
  • Quinoa protein
  • Soy protein
  • Rice protein
  • Silk protein
  • Keratin
  • Oat flour
  • Amino acids

There’s nothing wrong with using hair care products that contain protein. But overuse of these products can cause breakage of the hair strands.

If you use too much protein and don’t use enough moisturizing products, that is the problem.

Here’s a good article to read to learn more about how too much protein can cause breakage.

Can You Name One Ingredient in MONAT That Causes Breakage or Hair Loss?

I have researched hair care ingredients of multiple brands extensively… and I can’t find anything in MONAT products that would cause breakage or hair loss.

Yes, MONAT does have some products that contain protein, such as the Replenish Masque, but the instructions say to use it once or twice a week. We also recommend that people follow that masque with one of the conditioners (that’s why it’s sold with the leave in conditioner in the set).

Again, I challenge you to find ONE ingredient in MONAT products that cause breakage or hair loss.

If anyone wants to try to prove their case, please comment below.

10. But Aren’t Some People Having Bad Reactions to MONAT?

Yes. Some people do legitimately have bad reactions to MONAT.  But it is a very small percentage.

I have a friend who is allergic to essential oils. She tried MONAT but had a bad reaction. Probably due to the essential oils. She told me she can’t use any products with essential oils.

Does this mean MONAT is harmful? No, it does not.

Some people have bad reactions to bread because they are gluten intolerant. Does that make bread toxic? Should these people sue the bread companies?

There are other people who can’t eat peanuts — people who will literally die from eating peanuts.

Does this mean bread and peanuts are harmful to human health?

Of course not. Humans have been thriving on wheat and nuts for thousands of years. Yes, a small percentage of people cannot tolerate gluten — but it’s only about 1% of the population.

Does this mean anyone who manufactures, promotes or sells peanut butter and bread are evil and bad — and that we should ban them from continuing?

Again, absolutely not. The idea is simply ridiculous.

11. Conclusion: Are MONAT Products Harmful or Dangerous?

Are these MONAT class action lawsuits warranted? Should customers be wary of MONAT products?

Let’s look at the facts:

MONAT currently has over 1 million happy customers.

Furthermore, MONAT has a 30-day money back guarantee. Less than 1% of MONAT customers return the products (Source).

A tiny percentage of people were in a hate group on Facebook… At its peak that group had about 20,000 members. 20,000 out of 1,000,000 is 2%. That is an extremely small fraction! (And again, many of these people were added to the group by admins.)

So yes, there are some people MONAT didn’t work for. But it’s a tiny, tiny percentage. We’re talking about less than 1%.

While a very tiny fraction of people may have an allergic reaction (which is true of any personal care product or food), there is no evidence that MONAT is harmful to any meaningful amount of people.

Bottom line: The people who are suing MONAT over allegations of negative reactions will have a very tough time proving that it’s the shampoo — and not the drugs they are taking, or the or medical treatments they are undergoing, or preexisting medical conditions they have, or damage they are doing to their own hair via heat tools and chemical processing.

In other words, the things people were saying in the hate group were NOT TRUE.

So are MONAT products dangerous or harmful to human health? Are MONAT hair products causing people’s hair to fall out or break?

There’s simply no evidence of that.

Share Your Thoughts Below About the MONAT Lawsuits

Have you had a good experience or bad experience with MONAT? Do you think class action lawsuits and defamation lawsuits are a good thing or a bad thing? Would you ever sue someone? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

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MONAT Lawsuits: The Full Story