PSA: If you have this shampoo, you should probably chuck it
If you’ve watched late-night TV, you’ve probably seen an advertisement for celebrity stylist Chaz Dean’s WEN hair care products. Dean, who has styled the hair of stars like Alanis Morisette, developed WEN as an alternative to your average shampoo, which Dean views as “harmful to hair” due to “harsh chemicals.” Well, despite his claims, Dean’s hair product is allegedly causing more harm than preventing it.
“WEN [is] an industry-changing product line that excludes ordinary shampoo,” reads the company’s website. “What sets WEN apart is its cleansing conditioner, a single-step process that cleanses and conditions the hair simultaneously. The cleansers include a perfect blend of special ingredients, including natural botanicals and herbs, and do not contain sodium laurel sulfate or harsh chemicals.”
The shampoo alternative, which costs $30 a bottle, has seen a surge in popularity in recent years since its debut in 2009; the hair product’s Facebook page has almost 600,000 likes, and in just its second year of sales alone, the company raked in $100 million in 2010, according to Forbes.
WEN promises to strengthen and revitalize your hair with no additives or harmful chemicals. The company has even had famous representatives like Brooke Shields on its side. However, it now looks like Chaz Dean may be in some hot water indeed, because more and more women are now speaking out about a truly awful side effect of WEN that has been leaving them in tears: their hair is falling out in massive clumps.
“I can’t leave my house,” wrote one woman in the caption of a picture she posted to the company’s Facebook page. “I’m depressed [and] WEN hair products is responsible for my hair loss. . . I’m overwhelmed and frustrated [and] I cry when I look in the mirror.”
“It’s really great that there are women out there having a good experience with this product,” another woman wrote on WEN’s Facebook page. “However, it is not the case for many of us. I only used it a month and lost hair by the handfuls. . . You sell a product that makes hair fall out like a horror movie for many women.”
Other women are claiming that they’ve experienced scalp burn, “uncontrollable” itchiness, and rashes — as well as hair thinning and outright hair loss. “My hair isn’t going to magically grow back,” wrote one customer on their page, along with a picture of all the hair they had lost in one wash. “You will be held accountable.”
But that’s not where it ends. According to BuzzFeed News, WEN has been covering up and shutting down any complaints instead of addressing them. One woman in particular was told to keep on using it as instructed and that the hair loss was her own fault:
Now, over 200 people in 40 states are involved in a class-action lawsuit against WEN after using the product and suffering severe injuries and hair loss. The group is mostly of women, some of whom are representing their underage children. The lawsuit is not only about the negative effects of the product, but about Wen’s lack of response — especially considering the fact that dozens of women have been taking to the company’s Facebook page to express their grievances.
Various women have also been experiencing stress from the hair loss, spending money on doctor visits and blood tests after seeing their hair fall out in clumps. “I went to all kinds of doctors, did so many tests to make sure it wasn’t my health and I was as healthy as a horse. Took all kinds of vitamins and still did not help restore my hair back to what it was,” wrote one woman on Consumer Affairs. “I went through the most depressing part of my life watching my hair fall out in clumps because of this shampoo.”
What’s the cause exactly? It’s unclear at this point, but attorney Amy Davis has an idea. Davis, who is representing clients affected by the product, told CBS News, “What we understand about the product and how it causes hair loss is it contains virtually no cleanser. 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.”
Even amidst all of these claims, WEN is not backing down or apologizing. WEN spokesperson Joe Hixson told BuzzFeed News in a statement:
No matter what the company says, one thing is for sure: There are far too many women experiencing the same horrifying issue after using WEN hair products to just be coincidence.
(Images via Shutterstock, Facebook, Instagram.)