Jessica Alba's startup, The Honest Co., has just been smacked with a lawsuit that accuses five of the products from its Honest line of being "deceptively and misleadingly labeled." The plaintiff in the class-action suit, Jonathan D. Rubin, says Honest's products are marketed as "natural" but in fact contain "unnatural ingredients."
Honest, which sells eco-friendly household products like premium diapers and toothpaste, recently raised $100 million at a $1.7 billion valuation. But in the past few weeks the company has faced criticism that its sunscreen is ineffective. Some users took to the internet to vent about their sunburns, and Honest responded with a statement that it took all customer complaints very seriously.
The new lawsuit seems to refer to this outcry, as it claims that contrary to Honest's representations, Honest Sunscreen "was ineffective in preventing unhealthy exposure to harmful UV rays." But the real meat of the suit lies in claims that Honest misrepresented its products as natural. Having one potentially defective sunscreen is one thing, but having the entire premise of your company called into question is entirely different.
The suit calls out four products in particular: Honest Hand Soap, Honest Dish Soap, Honest Diapers, and Honest Multi-Surface Cleaner. It says Honest is able to sell these products to consumers at a 10 percent to 20 percent markup based on aggressively marketing them as natural.
Rubin interprets the word natural in the company's marketing to mean they contain no artificial ingredients. He then cites multiple synthetic preservatives (Methylisothiazolinone and Phenoxyethanol) and other synthetic ingredients allegedly contained in the products.
Business Insider has reached out to Honest for comment.
Read the court document here.