Should You Stop Using Wen?

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Updated 12/20/2015

I'm sure you already know all about Wen. Maybe you've tried it. Maybe you've seen it on the Q or maybe you've been sucked into an infomercial and were mesmerized by the incredibly long, perfect, shiny hair. Any way you slice it, this hair giant has changed the way we wash our hair. And the profits prove the paradigm shift in hair care. Sulfate-free shampoos are everything right now (for great reason!) and I don't recall that being a thing before Wen cleansed it's way into the hearts of millions of users.

Recently, there have been a few lawsuits involving women with hair loss and Wen. But is there anything to these lawsuits? Why are the women involved in these cases targeting Guthy-Renker the infomercial giant instead of Chaz Dean, the creator of Wen? Could really Wen make your hair fall out? How can you make your hair grow back?

While Wen has thousands of 4- or 5-star reviews on QVC, one of its main distribution channels, it's true that some women claim hair loss after using the product. It's not hard to find reviews of the shocked who've experienced some form of hair loss after switching to Wen. While I have my own theories on why that could happen, it certainly appears that women are losing hair for one reason or another, and those women all seem to have Wen in common.

Why is Wen potentially making hair fall out?

Before we talk about why Wen might be making some lose hair, we need to ask other questions first.
What else is going on with these women that could be causing their hair to fall out? What is their diet like? Are they under stress? Are they reaching an age where their hair may start to thin? Do they have health problems? Do they have health problems of which they are unaware? There are so many reasons for hair loss that it's very hard to determine an exact cause. It's hard to get a doctor to determine why we lose hair and that's why it's so hard to get it to grow back. It's even harder to tie blame to one product. This reason alone will make any law suit very difficult to prove. So far, there is no accepted scientific research that shows a correlation between using Wen and hair loss.  

Is it just another silly lawsuit in today's sue-happy world?

You may have noticed that Guthy-Renker is named in the lawsuits and not other retailers, like Sephora or QVC or even Chaz Dean's own website. Guthy-Renker allegedly made over $100 million dollars in its second year of Wen sales.  They certainly have the deepest pockets and the class action lawyers seem to be somewhat successful in getting women to join their suit. However, I stumbled upon another reason why these 200+ women are going after Guthy-Renker. The formulation is actually different from what is sold via other sales channels. According to a comment made by Jillian, a Guthy-Renker employee, via their website:

“Because of regulations on products sold internationally, the ingredients through Guthy-Renker have had to be changed slightly. Chaz worked very hard to make sure that the quality and philosophy behind WEN is still upheld, and that product performance would be identical." Jillian went on to say, " The Re-moist Intensive Hair treatment from Guthy-Renker is a completely different formula from the Re-Moist Hydrating Hair Mask through QVC or the Chaz Dean Studio." 

Is it possible a change of ingredients could cause an issue? 
Potentially. However, while it's a known fact that the Guthy-Renker formulas are different from the original Wen formulation, all Wen formulas are different, based on scent and purpose. 

It appears that the first four ingredients on the Guthy-Renker Wen are as follows: Water, Glycerin, Cetyl Alcohol, and Cetearyl Alcohol

The first four ingredients in the QVC/ Chaz Dean product line often change, depending on which product is purchased, however many formulas seem to contain these first four ingredients: Water, Aloe Vera Gel, Glycerin, Cetyl Alcohol

It's important to know that cetyl and cetearyl alcohols are actually fatty alcohols that condition the hair, not dry it out. Cetearyl alcohols can also be used to increase the foaming ability of a surfactant. Neither of these are drying alcohols. 

Why do the women who have filed suit believe that Wen is the problem? Because you are encouraged to use quite a bit of product that impacts the follicles without cleansing, buildup of product may cause breakage and leaving you with hair follicles that don't perform correctly. Because you aren't using sulfates, you aren't cleaning your hair (According to the lawsuit). Rinsing is a key factor with using Wen, and without rinsing enough, you won't see the results you are looking for. However, that is true for anything you put in your hair, be it shampoo, conditioner, hairspray or other styling products. This is not a proven fact, however, just a hypothesis. 

Do I still use Wen? I do, but I also test a lot of other products. Wen has always worked very well on my hair and I've never had a problem. I still firmly believe that not using sulfates in a shampoo is the difference between petting a dog and brushing one. Sulfates in shampoo give slip to the feel of the hair when you wash it. This causes less stress on the hair and loose/shedding hair stays in place. (Like when you pet a dog.) When a 'poo doesn't have sulfates or something with that kind of slip, you are more rough on your hair, because of the absence of the slippery feeling. It's more like brushing a dog--more hair comes out as you wash instead of coming out in your brush or everywhere else. It's hair that was meant to come out. It just makes it come out when washing because of the agitation and lack of slip.

Could someone have an allergy to an ingredient in Wen? Maybe. In today's world of gluten-free diets, peanut allergies and dairy intolerance, everyone has become sensitive to something. But should I stop using Wen? At this time, I would not hesitate to use Wen from Chaz Dean or QVC.  It's the only Wen I've ever used and I love my hair when I use Wen. 

If you are experiencing hair loss, what should you do? If you are experiencing hair loss, you should start by speaking with your doctor. There are so many and varied reasons for your hair to change that it's really difficult to pinpoint the actual reason. Vitamins and scalp treatments can help, but getting to the root of the problem is key. I personally really like Viviscal and Leonor Greyl Regenerescence Naturelle Stimulating Scalp Treatment, but ruling out a medical condition should be your first step. Once you know why you are losing hair, you can work to stop it and, potentially, reverse the damage. 

Want to read more about my experiences with Wen? 
Will Wen Hurt My Hair?
Wen Vs. Knock Offs
Trying Wen for the First Time
Is 613 For You?

Have you tried Wen? Tell us about your experience!

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  1. How interesting! I heard about the law suits and was kinda of "meh" thinking it was BS. I think it's odd that it's different formulas. Honestly, I've never tried it myself but I still wouldn't have a problem giving it a try. Co washing has done well for me in the past and I don't see any alarming ingredients in WEN. Thanks for more background info! :)

  2. Really great post. I saw someone complaining about this in a QVC Beauty Facebook group I am in and I had no idea. I don't personally like WEN but I can't imagine these ladies will win their cases.

    1. I can't believe they will win either. I love my Wen and have had no issue with it. I honestly think many women who think they are having hair loss are actually just removing the loose hair with agitation and not understanding what's happening.

  3. I used WEN and loved it, until by hairdresser said, "Gosh your hair is really getting thin. I did get checked out by a doctor and had NO physicial reason for the hair loss. I cancelled my auto refill, and switched to Ovation Hair Therapy. After using for almost 2 months, my hairdresser said, "Wow your hair looks great and it getting thicker again." Am I sueing WEN? Of course not. But I will never use it again.

  4. I battled dry, frizzy, breaking hair until I discovered Wen (from QVC). My hair was shiny and manageable from the first use. It grew longer than it ever had. I was thrilled. Then my hair began falling out an breaking (I had bought the 3 bottle assortment from Sephora). Then I bought another 3 bottles. My hair got thinner, frizzier, and drier. I recently tried a bottle from QVC - and it my hair was instantly better. Whatever is being sold in Sephora is the culprit. The formula is different.

  5. Tell all this to my 14 year old daughter and myself who used it at the same time and lost hair. You have no idea what the women and children in this lawsuit have gone through. Meh? BS? Keep using it. No one is telling you not to but we believe this has ruined our hair and who are you to even cast doubt on us. Sounds like you were paid to write this garbage.

    1. Hi Kellie! Thanks for reading and I'm terribly sorry to hear about what happened to you. I have no doubt that you have had any problems with the product. Which one did you use? And no, I'm not paid by Wen whatsoever. I've used Chaz's product for years (the QVC CHAZ version) and never had a single issue. When claimants came forward, I even sought out doctors to ask if any of the ingredients had known issues. I never touched the Sephora/GR version of the product. It's important to note that the formulas are very different, which is why the law suit was paid in the way that is was. I hope your hair has improved and is back on the mend. (and what a nice mom to buy her daughter such expensive shampoo!!)


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