High end hair and skin care products often include exotic natural ingredients to make consumers feel like they’re purchasing unique effects and exclusivity. Some of the more questionable active ingredients involve animal products, like bird poop and fish egg facials, although things like seaweed and mud contain minerals and antioxidants which might be absorbed by the skin in small amounts depending on how they’re applied. Natural ingredients can work just as well as synthetic ones to help soften and clarify skin and hair, and they carry none of the health risks that are sometimes associated with man made chemicals.
One new ingredient used in Kate Hudson’s new high end haircare line, Wild Aid, that she launched with her hairdresser, David Babai, is volcanic ash and the “environmental life” that thrives near the ash, named the “Vanuatu Complex.” A company called 220 Laboratories is suing Hudson and Babai for using the ash in their line saying that one of their scientists came up with the idea after a trip to the islands and that he pitched it to them for their product line. They supposedly entered into an oral contract with 220 Laboratories, which provided various product samples containing the ash, then changed their minds and decided to work with a cheaper manufacturer, taking the formulations, and the “Vanuatu” stuff, with them:
According to a complaint filed Friday in Los Angeles Superior Court, the Los Angeles-based 220 Laboratories lobbed no fewer than 17 causes of action against Hudson and her hair guru Babaii, including fraud, misappropriation of trade secrets, breach of contract, breach of confidence and a host of other not-so-nice allegations, claiming the famous duo welshed on an oral contract establishing the lab as the sole providers of the range’s raw materials.
Under the terms of an August 2006 oral contract, 220 Laboratories says it agreed to develop and manufacture the line around the so-called “Vanuatu Complex,” basically samples of environmental life and volcanic ash found on the Vanuatu Islands that, apparently, works wonders on flyaways.
However, the lab claims that, after months of dealings and a change in the Wildaid management, Hudson & Co. opted to take the secret ingredient list and hightail it over to a competing manufacturer, who agreed to work on the line at a lower cost than 220 Laboratories.
Much to the lab’s dismay, the suit asserts, the competitors’ products and packaging were a little too similar to their original idea, as was the product’s inclusion of the so-called Vanuatu Complex.
Hyping the special ingredient continued with a high-profile appearance by Babaii on the Home Shopping Network in July, to which Hudson called in to promote the products, as well as in promotional videos for the line, which officially launched a month earlier.
220 Laboratories claims it neither consented to the use of its ingredient nor the name and, even if there was consent, the lab has yet to receive any form of payment.
[E! Online via News.yahoo.com]
Kate Hudson’s rep says she’s never met with the 220 Lab people and hasn’t been served the lawsuit yet. It’s possible her involvement was limited and that she wasn’t involved in the planning stages of the hair line.
MAC currently offers a “volcanic ash exfoliator” that’s made from live volcanoes on Vanuatu. I would guess that it’s manufactured by 220 Laboratories, but I wasn’t able to determine that.
Other natural ingredients in the WildAid hair line, which retails from $11.95 to $15.95, include wild orchid, blue algae extract and cupuacu butter from the South American Amazon. Ten percent of the profits go to benefit the group WildAid, which aims to save endangered species. It’s not that expensive compared to other salon haircare products, and they probably cut costs for the consumer by switching to that cheaper manufacturer. It might end up costing them some settlement money.