Wen hair care products have replaced Retin A as the #1 beauty issue I get at No-Nonsense Beauty Blog. Online and off, the news has been filled with reports of injuries from these popular hair care products.
What is Wen?
Wen cleansing conditioner is distinctly different from a traditional shampoo. Usually we wet our hair and rub in a soapy shampoo that foams up to clean both the hair and the scalp. By contrast, Wen is described as a cleansing conditioner that is applied to the hair, but does not foam up. Directions recommend using a generous handful that is massaged into wet hair and scalp, leaving it on thru the rest of a shower. Then it should be combed thru the hair as it is throughly rinsed out. Wen founder Chaz Dean, claims that it is not only better for the hair, it is less damaging to the environment.
I don’t have any data about environmental impact, but late in 2015 more than 200 women joined a class action lawsuit against Wen claiming it made their hair sticky, brittle and caused severe and possibly permanent hair loss. In the past few years there have been repeated complaints against Wen and there are YouTube videos demonstrating bald spots or a sink full of hair. Wen denies any responsibility for the hair probems and the products remain available as a class action suit winds its way thru the legal system.
What Can Be Causing Problems with Wen?
More than 200 complaints of serious hair loss can’t be ignored, but there are no big red flags that point to a problem in the ingredients. In addition, it turns out that Wen formulas differ for the same product. The product line is available from three different sources– online from Guthy-Renker, from TV on QVC and in stores from Sephora. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has flagged several ingredients for possible problems. One fragrance component has been shown to cause allergic reaction. Another has been banned in Europe. Other experts suggest that the silicones in Wen products could be adding increasingly heavy layers of silicone on each hair strand until they break off. Some dermatologists have suggested that Wen is not cleaning out hair follicles which forces them to shut down.
Only time will tell if the hair loss is reversible or what might be in Wen could be causing problems. At this point I would use a traditional shampoo and conditioner in your hair care routinue. You will save money and maybe your hair.