A class action lawsuit has been filed against the makers of WEN Hair Care products by more than 200 women in 40 different states who claim they suffered severe and possibly permanent damage to their hair, “including significant hair loss to the point of visible bald spots, hair breakage, scalp irritation, and rash.”
Update: $26 Million WEN Lawsuit Settlement Moves Forward
November 7, 2016 – A Los Angeles judge has given preliminary approval to a $26 million settlement in a class action lawsuit alleging hair loss, breakage and balding from WEN hair care products. As a result of the ruling, Celebrity stylist Chaz Dean and marketer Guthy-Renker will have to defend their WEN Cleansing Conditioner before a U.S. District Court Judge. The outcome of the lawsuit could mean settlements of up to $20,000 for some six million people.
Class Action Includes 200 People Alleging Hair Damage from WEN
According to the class action (PDF), WEN Hair Care products are designed, manufactured and sold by renowned celebrity hair stylist Chaz Dean and Guthy-Renker, a California based direct-response marketing company. Using round-the-clock infomercials and Internet advertising featuring celebrity testimonials, Dean and Guthy-Renker urge consumers to use large amount of WEN products, claiming they are “gentle enough to use every day,” and that “You can never use too much! The more you use, the better the results.”
However, plaintiffs allege that WEN can cause:
- Severe, possibly permanent hair damage
- Thinning hair
- Hair loss
- Hair discoloration
- Visible bald spots
- Severe hair breakage
- Scalp irritation
The class action was filed by Amy Friedman, a nurse practitioner who purchased the WEN Sweet Almond Mint basic kit in January 2014 for $29.95, and within 2 weeks “began losing substantial and abnormal amounts of hair.” The shedding continued, according to the lawsuit, for about 3 weeks after she stopped using WEN, and eventually resulted in her losing “one quarter to one third” of the hair on her head. In an attempt to regrow her hair, Friedman claims that she was forced to spend a substantial amount of money on vitamins and extensions to hide the loss.
The suit goes on to allege that Friedman’s complaint is only the tip of the iceberg, and that the number of potential plaintiffs in the class action could ultimately number “in the thousands or tens of thousands.”
WEN by Chaz Dean Sued for Hair Loss and Adverse Effects: Video
Additional Complaints Filed Against Guthy-Renker
In addition to the 200+ women who have joined the class action against WEN hair care products, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) is investigating approximately 17,000 other complaints filed against Guthy-Renker. Under current regulations, the company is not required to alert the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) about these complaints (and didn’t). In fact, laws that regulate hair care products are woefully antiquated and have remained largely unchanged since 1938. No personal care product is required to undergo testing before they enter the U.S. market.
Among the allegations raised in the class action are claims that:
- WEN products contain “active ingredients (that) act as a depilatory and caustic agent, either by causing a chemical reaction that damages the hair strand and/or follicle.”
- Dean and Guthy-Renker denied receiving complaints when WEN users called for help.
- Defendants removed negative online reviews about the hair care products, which may have helped warn unsuspecting consumers and helped them avoid their injuries.
- WEN advertisements are misleading, and Guthy-Renker “reinforces its false statements” that have led women to buy the products thinking it would produce positive results.
Millions Could be Paid in WEN Hair Loss Class Action Lawsuit
August 16, 2016 – The New York Times reports that Guthy-Renker has agreed to pay $26.25 million to settle claims that its WEN Cleansing Conditioner caused hair loss, hair breakage and baldness. If the settlement is approved by a federal judge, it would repay $25 to anyone who’s purchased a bottle of WEN conditioner and up to $20,000 to people who suffered an adverse reaction after using the product.
FDA Investigating WEN Hair Loss Claims
July 19, 2016 – The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) announced today that it is investigating WEN by Chaz Dean Cleansing Conditioners after the products were linked to at least 127 adverse event reports, “the largest number of reports ever associated with any cosmetic hair cleansing product, including cleansing conditioners.” The agency is also looking into more than 21,000 other complaints reported directly to Chaz Dean, Inc. and Guthy Renker, LLC, that it became aware of during inspections of the companies’ facilities.
WEN Manufacturer Kept Secret Safety Studies
January 7, 2016 – A new class action lawsuit filed in a Los Angeles federal court has revealed that Guthy-Renker was conducting secret safety studies on WEN products even as complaints were pouring in. Under federal law, personal care products are not required to disclose customer complaints or safety studies to the FDA. However, senators Dianne Feinstein and Susan Collins have proposed a Personal Care Products Safety Act to fix this law. Click here to learn more.
Chaz Dean Seeks Mediation in Hair Loss Lawsuits
December 18, 2015 – Celebrity hair stylist and Bravo reality star Chaz Dean is seeking to quickly mediate a class action lawsuit alleging his products caused severe hair damage, according to Radar Online. The legal proceedings were recently temporarily suspended by a federal judge, as lawyers for both sides agreed to attempt to reach a settlement through mediation.