Hair Straightener Lawsuit:
Women Veterans Affected by Uterine Cancer

The Risks of Chemical Hair Straighteners for Women Veterans

For decades, veteran women of color have used different chemicals to straighten their hair semi-permanently. Over-the-counter hair relaxers, also known as perms, are chemicals that straighten and loosen curly hair. Oftentimes, People of Color are taught that their hair isn’t ‘professional’ and is instead considered ‘unkempt.’ Between personal preference as well as responses to external and societal pressures, like in the military, women have been straightening their hair by using hair relaxers for centuries. In fact, according to a study conducted by the National Institutes of Health, about 60% of the study’s participants who used chemical straighteners in the previous year identified as Black women. New evidence supports that chemical hair relaxers have been linked to uterine cancer and other conditions such as uterine fibroids, endometriosis, and hysterectomies. If you are a veteran and have experienced negative effects from chemical hair straighteners or relaxers, let’s talk about your legal options. We can help you understand your rights the best next steps for you.


History of Hair Relaxers in the Military

Over the years, Black soldiers have been marginalized and faced penalties for ‘improper’ grooming methods. In the past, the military has required Black women to use hair relaxers to comply with grooming regulations.

Policies for Women
  • Hair may be worn in a ponytail or braid (must not interfere with the ability to wear authorized headgear)
  • Long hair worn neatly pinned above the lower edge of the collar
  • Hair extensions that have the same general appearance as natural hair
  • Hair highlights with natural colors that blend together in a subtle and natural way
  • Hair dyes, tints, or bleaches that match a natural hair color
  • Wigs that look natural (may not be used to cover unauthorized hairstyles)
Not Permitted for Women
  • Hair that interferes with the ability to wear headgear or protective equipment
  • Dyes, tints, or bleaches that do not match a natural hair color
  • Steel hair picks
  • Trendy and exaggerated hairstyles, including shaved portions of the scalp or designs cut into your hair
  • Loose hair (while in uniform)
  • Extreme or dramatic updo styles (while in uniform)
Policies for Men
  • Completely shaved or closely-trimmed hair
  • Sideburns that don’t extend below the bottom opening of the ear
  • Hair highlights with natural colors that blend together in a subtle and natural way
  • Hair dyes, tints, or bleaches that match a natural hair color
  • Wigs or hairpieces used to cover natural baldness or disfiguration
Not Permitted for Men
  • Braids, cornrows, twists, or locs
  • Shaved designs cut into hair or scalp
  • Styled sideburns that taper, flare, or come to a point

These guidelines often require hair to be ‘neat, tidy, and well-maintained.’ For example, dreadlocks or “locs,” a popular protective hairstyle, have only been allowed in the military since 2017. Additionally, braids and twists were previously prohibited. These recent changes were intended to provide more options to people of color as well as promote diversity and inclusivity within the military. However, these boxes can be difficult for Black women to check off as natural hair tends to be coiled tightly and is prone to frizzing under certain conditions. Therefore, the military urged Black women to utilize hair relaxers to comply with their regulations.

Many feel these rules are unfair as Black women and People of Color are forced to alter their natural hair to conform to Eurocentric beauty standards. There is ongoing debate regarding haircare regulations, with some believing that they are discriminatory and others arguing that they are necessary for maintaining order and safety. However, it is important to consider the potential impact on individuals and communities before implementing such rules. Ultimately, finding a balance between the need for regulation and the protection of individual rights and freedoms is essential.

Focused black woman using laptop at table. Concept of modern woman. Female soldier wear camouflage uniform. After war rehabilitation. Blurred background of little boy. Interior of modern apartment

Is the Hair Straightener Lawsuit Real?

In recent years, there has been a surge in legal action being taken against hair relaxer manufacturers due to the harmful effects their products have had on People of Color and women veterans. In late 2022, a significant number of women filed the first set of class-action and individual lawsuits against these companies, and many more have followed suit since then, leading to an astounding 100 lawsuits being filed. Lawyers have stepped up to provide support and assistance for those affected by these harmful products. It is crucial that companies prioritize the safety and well-being of their customers and take necessary measures to ensure that their products do not pose a risk to their consumers.

We are working alongside plaintiffs affected by hair relaxers to start a class-action suit. If you or a loved one has experienced the devastating effects of cancer caused by hair straightener use, there may be legal options available to help you seek compensation. Please contact our dedicated support team for guidance during this difficult time.

What are the Long-Term Effects of Hair Relaxers? 

Hair relaxers use chemicals that temporarily straighten hair by breaking down the bonds of hair’s proteins. Some of the chemicals, however, are endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs). EDCs disrupt the endocrine system, which is responsible for producing, storing, and secreting hormones throughout the body. Black women and other people of color may be exposed to these endocrine-disrupting chemicals through relaxers being absorbed through cuts, burns, lesions, or sores. Potential EDCs commonly found in hair relaxers include:

  • Sodium hydroxide
  • Phthalates
  • Bisphenol A
  • Dioxins
  • Triclosan
  • Cyclosiloxanes

These chemicals, among many others, have been associated with the development of cancers such as uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, and endometrial cancer. Additionally, uterine fibroids and endometriosis have been connected to the chemicals in hair relaxers. This is because these chemicals are endocrine disrupting, meaning a higher estrogen level might be released in the body, which can increase the risk of certain hormone-related cancers. More so, hair relaxers can cause scalp burns and irritation due to the high level of chemicals, which allows the carcinogens to infiltrate the bloodstream.

Symptoms of Hair Relaxer Conditions

Short-term symptoms of hair relaxers include nausea, burning of the eyes, nose, and throat, scalp burns, and much more. Hair relaxers have also been connected to more severe side effects like uterine cancer, uterine fibroids, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and endometriosis.

Endometriosis symptoms may include:

  • Abdominal lumps or fullness
  • Abdominal pain
  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding
  • Constipation
  • Heavy, abnormal menstruation
  • Infertility
  • Nausea
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Pelvic pain

Symptoms of ovarian cancer often include:

  • Abdominal lumps or fullness
  • Bloating
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Pelvic pain
  • Weight loss

Common symptoms of uterine cancer include:

  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding
  • Heavy, abnormal menstruation
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Pelvic pain
  • Weight loss

Side effects of uterine fibroids include:

  • Abdominal distension or cramping
  • Abdominal pain
  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding
  • Heavy, abnormal menstruation
  • Pelvic pain

Breast cancer symptoms often include:

  • Breast lumps
  • Inflamed lymph nodes
  • Inverted nipple
  • Nipple discharge
  • Swollen lymph nodes

Hair Straightener Lawsuit Settlement Amounts

If you have experienced health issues like ovarian cancer or endometriosis due to your use of chemical hair straighteners, it is important to know that you may have legal grounds to file a lawsuit. If you decide to pursue legal action, the amount of compensation you receive in a hair relaxer settlement will depend on various factors, including the type and severity of your illness, your specific pain and suffering, medical expenses incurred, and any lost wages. Each case is unique, but the average payout for a hair relaxer lawsuit typically ranges from $100,000 to $1,500,000 per individual. It is important to consult with a legal professional to determine if you have a valid case and to discuss your legal options.

Resources for Female Veterans Affected by Uterine Cancer

Women veterans can protect themselves from uterine cancer by avoiding hair straightening products like relaxers. There are alternative ways to straighten textured hair without using relaxers, like silk presses, blowouts, and flat ironing. You can also wear protective hairstyles or get a keratin treatment for your curly hair.

It is important to take any abnormal symptoms seriously and seek medical attention as soon as possible. Gynecological cancers can be difficult to detect without proper screening, but if you are experiencing symptoms such as abnormal vaginal discharge or bleeding, there are tests that can be done to help diagnose or rule out uterine cancer. Your doctor may perform an endometrial biopsy or a transvaginal ultrasound to gather more information. It is always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your health, so don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider if you have any concerns.

If you have been negatively impacted by hair relaxer products, we understand how devastating it can be to receive a cancer diagnosis simply because of how you style your hair. It’s important to know that you are not alone, and support groups are growing throughout the country. This is especially true in predominantly black areas or military bases where women were urged to relax their hair. If you are interested in seeking monetary compensation for your hair relaxer cancer because of the recent news, know that you have options. Veterans Cancer can help you navigate this process and get the justice you deserve. Our legal team is here to support you every step of the way.

How Do I Join a Hair Straightener Lawsuit?

If you are a women veteran seeking legal representation for a hair straightener lawsuit, it is important to find a lawyer or firm that specializes in such cases and has experience representing victims of hair relaxers. To file a hair straightener lawsuit, you must follow a number of legal steps. First, you need to confirm that your case qualifies for legal action. Then, you need to build your case by collecting evidence, such as medical records and testimony. After that, you need to ensure that you file your hair straightener claim within any legal deadlines that apply. Once you have done all of that, you can begin to negotiate a hair straightener lawsuit settlement with the defendant(s). If negotiations are unsuccessful, you will need to pursue a verdict during a trial in court.

At, we understand how important it is to get the justice you deserve. That’s why we offer assistance to women Veterans seeking legal representation for hair straightener lawsuits. Our hair straightener lawsuit experts can provide you with the support and guidance you need to navigate the legal system and achieve a positive outcome. So if you’re ready to take action, get in touch with us today. We’re here to help.