Yesha Callahan

Popular Infomercial Product Line Sued For Allegedly Causing Hair Loss

wen-by-chaz-dean_guthy_renkerMore than 200 women in 40 states have joined a class action lawsuit against Wen by Chaz Dean  and its infomercial owner Guthy-Renker because they allege that Wen’s cleanser is making them go bald, The Daily Beast reports. In addition to the alleged hair loss and scalp injuries, court papers claim that Guthy-Renker blocked comments about hair loss from Wen’s Facebook page and removed negative online reviews about the products.

If you haven’t heard of Wen, you must’ve somehow missed Chaz Dean’s prominent infomercials stating that his cleanser could easily replace ordinary shampoo and conditioner. The complaint alleges that “the WEN products at issue contain a caustic ingredient that causes a chemical reaction and damages hair and follicles.” Guthy-Renker denies that Wen is any way defective or responsible for hair loss.

The images are shocking, but The Daily Beast notes that it could be tough for the plaintiffs to prove that Wen is responsible for their hair loss, which could stem from a slew of many different factors including health conditions, combined use of other hair products that may contain harsh chemicals and general lack of proper hair care. The first four ingredients in many Wen cleansers are water, glycerin, cetyl alcohol, and cetearyl alcohol, which are commonly used in hair products. Wen does however, contain a chemical banned in the EU, hydroxycitronella.

Amy Davis, the Dallas-based attorney and lead counsel for the plaintiffs, said that her firm hired chemists to test Wen. “What we understand about the product and how it causes hair loss is it contains virtually no cleanser,” she told told a local CBS station.  “It’s like using lotion to wash your hair, so instead of removing the product, when you rinse it off, it just becomes impacted in your hair follicle.”

In between complaints about customer service, auto shipments and inaccurate charges, Facebook comments on Wen’s page have been posted by loyal customers and outraged users alike. There’s love and support for Wen — “i use the pomegranate cleansing conditioner. and kid u not, every time i use it and go to the salon for haircut, they tell me that my hair is so healthy,” one Facebook commenter wrote — to outright warnings to other consumers —  “Went from very thick long hair that would break a pony tail holder to extremely thin brittle hair! ‪#‎Scam‬ I Used it for 1 year with nothing else but their products! Pleeeeease Don’t buy this Product if u love your hair like I did!!!”

The Daily Beast reports that both sides are heading to mediation. “The parties are attempting to settle their differences outside of court and we have agreed to refrain from any extrajudicial statements about the case in the meantime,” Davis told The Daily Beast.

Here’s the statement given to BuzzFeed:

We take great pride in the quality of our products and believe every product meets our high standards. We want all of our customers to have positive experiences with our products, and we encourage any customer with any questions to contact us. With well over 10 million WEN products shipped since 2008, our customers’ overwhelmingly positive response to Wen is a testament to the benefits it can deliver for its users. These benefits are reflected in consistently high rankings from independent consumer product sites as well.

Importantly, there is no scientific evidence whatsoever to support any claim that our hair care products caused anyone to lose their hair. There are many reasons why individuals may lose their hair, all unrelated to WEN hair care products. We intend to vigorously contest the allegations made against our products.

Have you used Wen products before? What’s your experience been like?

  1. December 15, 2015 - Reply

    I remember the start of these ads years ago, the beginning of the brand and how many ladies went from shampoo often to very rarely or not at all. This concepts was helpful for me as I was natural and the shampoos on the markets were not made for my hair at that time.
    Fast forward to now where we have tons of options for natural hair/curly hair, but this is still disturbing. Is it the lack of cleaners that these woman are experiencing hair loss or that key ingredient hydroxycitronella that may be harmful to hair health?

    Whatever it is, I will not have to do some research, I do not want this to scare me back into using shampoo.

  2. December 15, 2015 - Reply

    I never used Wen long term, but a former hair stylist used it on me several years ago (maybe 3 or so). I was in my last stages of transitioning from relaxed to natural and I had a weave install removed. The stylist recommended that the shampoo girl try Wen in my hair since she thought I needed more moisture, b/c my hair had been in cornrows with the weave for 6-8 weeks. Although my hair turned out well, my scalp was not clean. It didn’t clean build up from my hair and scalp hardly at all. I usually remove my weave myself and follow up with a good scalp massage with a sulfate free shampoo. I wash it with the weave in too, but you can’t really get down in there good until you take it out. But this time I let the stylist do it and she “washed” it with Wen. No hair loss or anything, but my hair wasn’t clean. You just have to use caution whatever products you use in your hair. Everything isn’t meant for everybody….

    • December 15, 2015 - Reply

      @Qris_10

      yeah to me it doesn’t generate enough suds to “feel” clean, i use it from time to time, but i like carol’s daughter and other products, so i don’t exclusively use it.

      • December 16, 2015 - Reply

        @BlackGlamour

        I don’t use it at all because it has silicone in it and I don’t do silicone. I could never exclusively co-wash anyway it just doesn’t feel right. I need a shampoo every once in a while. I find once a month works just fine.

  3. December 15, 2015 - Reply

    This is an issue of women not being familiar with how a co-washing system works. You cannot just co-wash co-wash co-wash. You need to clarify your scalp, and these women weren’t. So of course your hair is gonna fall out, you’re clogging the pores in your scalp.

  4. December 15, 2015 - Reply

    I sometimes use it as a conditioner. Using it as a co-wash was making my scalp gross and flakey in a way that was just upsetting. And that was with washing with shampoo once or twice a month. As a conditioner it works for me. It does NOT work when used as intended. After reading this I might not use it at all any more.

  5. December 15, 2015 - Reply

    I heard about this 5 years ago. I received a free sample in a beauty box and was like “oh no thanks”. Glad I did!

  6. December 15, 2015 - Reply

    I’m so glad I didn’t buy this stuff!

    • December 16, 2015 - Reply

      @paintgurl40

      good for you!

  7. December 15, 2015 - Reply

    I got it as a sample and tried it once. My hair didn’t like it. It has been a hard lesson for me that I need to keep it simple and stick to the basics because my hair thrive off of it. But I know WEN is popular with a lot of people and if it is making people lose their hair then they should get sued.

  8. December 16, 2015 - Reply

    I had checked it out but its pricey and has silicone so it never got past the “well this looks amusing” stage. Oddly enough I am amused enough by the infomercials to watch them even though I have never been tempted to buy the stuff.

    That said, this story does bring up some differences in how the US handles chemicals and how the EU does. The EU makes the manufacturers prove their stuff is safe which is why so many chemicals allowed here are disallowed there. This hydroxycitronella is one of those chemicals. Now I’m not saying that this is causing anyone’s hair to fall out, I’m just saying that it illustrates the differences that government agencies tasked with looking out for the public’s well being take and I think that the US approach is lacking.

  9. December 16, 2015 - Reply

    It’s the Rio Hair Naturalizer System all over again.

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