"My sister was in town for the funeral of our aunt and since she does hair professionally, she put the Dark & Lovely perm in for me," says Crystal. "My hair doesn't take long at all to relax so it wasn't in for even five minutes and I started feeling a strange little tingling at the top of my head, so we said let's rinse it out quick. When we started washing it out, my hair started falling out in the sink in big chunks.
"As an African-American, if our hair grows long and it's our own hair, we really take care of it. I tell you, I was so upset. My sister didn't know why in the world my hair was falling out. We'd only used the regular strength product. We thought maybe it was too strong and it could've been outdated but the expiry date was still a long way away.
"Every time I washed it, more came out. I couldn't lay down it hurt so bad, my scalp was so badly burned I had scabs all over it. It took eight months for all of it to fall out."
Although she had long thrown out the product packaging, Crystal was able to obtain the company's toll-free number from the original beauty shop where she had bought the product.
"They sent me some Dark & Lovely products to stop the breaking," says Crystal, "and offered to pay for four deep treatments. So I went to this beautician nearby for the intensive care conditioning but it didn't stop the hair falling out although less fell out when she washed it because of her treatment.
"The beautician wrote a letter on my behalf saying the permanent was too strong and that I'd done nothing wrong.
"I'm real mad at Dark & Lovely; they didn't even apologize. They gave me the runaround. At first they tried to tell me something was wrong with my thyroid but my doctor checked me out and nothing was wrong with me."
Crystal discovered that her personal injury from Dark & Lovely products was not uncommon. "Some people at my daughter's school asked me about my hair, and one of the bus drivers there said, 'I could've told you that--don't use that product.
"Well, I wish someone had told me! If only I'd known before but then again I had no reason to ask. There's no real warning on the packaging.
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"Right now I'm wearing my hair in its natural state and haven't used a relaxer since and I certainly haven't used Dark & Lovely. I spent a lot of money and time going to the beautician for my hair to grow back. It's down to my shoulders now.
"I don't think they should just get away with doing nothing. I hired a lawyer when this happened two years ago but no more than a month back he sent me a note saying he was too busy. He said he'd tried to contact Dark & Lovely and got no response which I didn't find hard to believe. That's what they did to me."