Hundreds of women have joined a class action lawsuit alleging that WEN hair care products by Chaz Dean made their hair fall out in clumps and caused scalp irritation, rashes and other severe hair damage.
Update: $26M WEN Settlement Moves Forward
November 7, 2016 – A federal judge in Los Angeles has granted preliminary approval to a $26 million settlement in a class action lawsuit alleging negative side effects from WEN Cleansing Conditioner. As a result of the decision, Chaz Dean and Guthy-Renker will have to defend their products before a U.S. District Court Judge. The outcome could mean settlements of up to $20,000 for some six million people.
What is WEN?
Created by famed Hollywood hair stylist Chaz Dean, WEN Hair Care Products are advertised for sale in popular infomercials as having “all-natural ingredients” that are “sulfate and petrochemical free.” The products are designed to “replace shampoo, conditioner, deep conditioner, detangler and leave-in conditioner,” according to the company’s website. WEN was a big hit among consumers of high end hair care products largely due to Dean’s name being associated with their development and creation, but also from the wide range of celebrity endorsements including Brooke Shields, Alyssa Milano and Angie Harmon.
Class Action Alleges Hair Damage from Chaz Dean Hair Products
Over 200 women have joined a class action lawsuit (PDF) against WEN by Chaz Dean and its marketing company Guthy-Renker, alleging the hair care products cause hair loss, breakage, scalp irritation and rash. The class action was filed July 31, 2014, by Amy Friedman, whose hair allegedly began falling out within 2 weeks of first using WEN Cleansing Conditioner in January 2014. Friedman says she stopped using the product, but her hair continued to fall out for 3 more weeks. The complaint alleges that WEN advertisements are misleading, and that Guthy-Renker “reinforces its false statements” that have led women to buy the products thinking it would produce positive results.
WEN Hair Loss Complaints
Complaints over WEN have been building for years. According to one customer who wrote on WEN’s Facebook page:
“I can’t leave my house I’m depressed wen hair products is responsible for my hair loss I have been shampooing and conditioning my hair with their non-shampooing conditioner which blocked my pores and caused my hair to be basically washed with lotion.”
Another customer said “Started using [WEN] in August…Hair looks great but have lost 60% of my hair.”
WEN’s care team has replied to a few of these complaints. It recommends that customers experiencing these side effects contact its team.
“We take our customers’ experiences with our products very seriously and our Corporate Escalation Team would like to learn more,” the company said.
How to Know if Your Beauty Products Could Cause Hair Loss
Even if you’ve never used WEN, there’s still a risk that you could experience hair loss from certain beauty products.
“Some of the ingredients — particularly fragrance components — used in shampoos and personal care products are potent sensitizers, meaning they can cause allergies in otherwise healthy people,” says Johanna Congleton, MSPH, PhD, a senior scientist with the Environmental Working Group (EWG). “These reactions can be severe.”
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) does not require manufacturers of personal care products to disclose what chemicals are in their fragrance mix, so if you see the words “fragrance” on the back of a bottle, proceed with caution.
Also, you should avoid dark, permanent hair dyes and chemical hair straighteners, as both products contain dangerous chemicals (some of which have even been linked to cancer), according to Congleton.
$26 Million Settlement Offered in WEN Class Action Lawsuit
August 16, 2016 – Guthy-Renker has agreed to settle a class action lawsuit alleging that its WEN by Chaz Dean Cleansing Conditioner causes hair loss, hair breakage, rash and balding for $26.25 million. If the settlement is approved by a federal judge, it would repay $25 to anyone who’s purchased a bottle of WEN cleansing conditioner and up to $20,000 to people who suffered an adverse reaction after using the product, according to the New York Times.
FDA Investigating Adverse Events Linked to WEN by Chaz Dean
July 19, 2016 – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says it is investigating reports of hair loss, hair breakage, balding, itching and rash associated with WEN by Chaz Dean Cleansing Conditioner products. In a press release issued today, the agency said it has received at least 127 adverse event reports directly from consumers about the Wen products — the largest number of reports ever associated with any cosmetic hair-cleansing product, including cleansing conditioners.
WEN Hair Loss Lawsuit Filed in Florida
May 2, 2016 – A Florida woman who allegedly suffered baldness, dryness, thinning and an itchy scalp after using WEN Cleansing Conditioner has filed a products liability lawsuit against the product’s manufacturer. Plaintiff Waverly Robinson’s claims are similar to hundreds of other plaintiffs in an ongoing class action lawsuit filed against WEN by Chaz Dean; However, her complaint is different from the class action in that it also names QVC — the infomercial channel that sells WEN products — as a defendant.