Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Weird Product Wednesday: Wen Hair Care


If you spend any time in front of your television, and if the channel miraculously finds its way to QVC, perhaps you've seen the glamorous and persuasive informercial for the line of hair care products called Wen.

Now, normally on Weird Product Wednesdays, I like to feature a product I have used. But I'm making an exception this week, because it's the marketing and ingredient list of this product line that is weird to me. I have no first-hand experience with it -- and soon you will know why.

So, one morning as I ate my yogurt and muesli before work, I was channel surfing and saw the ad for this new line. Some celebrity was shilling it; Melissa Gilbert, I believe. Because it was a hair product, it immediately grabbed my attention. And then when they started condemning shampoo and talking about unnecessary it was, I settled in to hear more.

As with any marketing schtik worth its salt, you don't just buy one product -- you buy a whole line of them. Cleansing Conditioner, Styling Creme, Re Moist Intensive, Texture Balm, and oooooh, they throw in a comb. At no point, though, do they tell you what's in the products beyond the pretty stuff like almond oil and herbs. But they spend lots of time telling you how bad sulfates and detergents are, so if you're CG, you keep watching.

I waited until the end of the program, and then went to the company's Web site, in search of an ingredient list. I also went to the discussion boards at naturallycurly.com to see if anybody there had used this product line. Not many had (this was last summer). And then I found the ingredient lists.

Holy "Cone"heads, Batman!

The Cleansing Conditioner is not too terrible for CGers, but it does contain amodimethicone, which hardcore types like me would want to avoid:

Water (Aqua), Glycerin, Cetyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Prunus Serotina (Wild Cherry) Bark Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Hydrolyzed Wheat, Protein, Panthenol, Butylene Glycol, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Polysorbate 60, PEG-60 Almond Glycerides, Amodimethicone, Citric Acid, Menthol, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Fragrance (Parfum, Limonene.

But let's face it... There's nothing in that list that's especially wonderful or that you couldn't find in other conditioners. (Plus, it has too much glycerin for my finicky hair.) Next, the Styling Creme:

Water (Aqua), Propylene Glycol, Cyclopentasiloxane, Cyclotetrasiloxane, Phenyl Trimethicone, Polyacrylamide, Dimethiconol, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Laureth-7, Panthenol, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Butylene Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Benzoic Acid, Dehydroacetic Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance (Parfum), Citral, Citronellol, Hydroxycitronellal, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Linalool.

Hear that siren in the background? It's the silicone police! And these are not the lightweight kinds of silicone -- they are the heavy hitters, people. Only the very cleansers that Chaz Dean and company steer clear of are the substances that will remove what's in this product. Is that crazy or what?

The Hair Repair Mask seems okay except for a little amodimethicone:

Water (Aqua), Cetyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Alcohol,Glyceri, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Prunus Serotina (Wild Cherry) Bark Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Hydrogenated Coconut Oil, Gardenia Tahitensis Flower, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Panthenol, Butylene Glycol, Amodimethicone, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Polysorbate 60, PEG-60 Almond Glycerides, Citric Acid, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Menthol, Fragrance (Parfum), Limonene, Hexyl Cinnamal, Annatto (CI 75120).

But you'll probably want to step away from the Texture Balm:

Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Cyclopentasiloxane, Beeswax, Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Paraffin, Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax, Sorbitan Oleate, Propylparaben, Canola Oil Glyceride, Zea Mays (Corn) Oil, Citric Acid, TBHQ, Propylene Glycol, Fragrance (Parfum), Citronellol, Coumarin, Eugenol, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Geraniol, Limonene, Linalool.

The Texture Balm also contains castor oil, a viscous oil that some folks find very difficult to remove, even with shampoo. The hydrogenation process may make it less onerous but it's still an issue for many curlies.

It's weird that a product line based on the notion that traditional shampoo is damaging would offer up potions that need shampoo to remove it from the hair.

Have you used this stuff? What did you think of it?

38 comments:

Laura Lee said...

Never used it, never will because 1) the cone police would get me, and 2) it's crazy expensive!! A little 6 oz bottle is $14 on curlmart and the directions say to use 20-30 pumps, then rinse, then another 10-15 pumps! At that rate, you'd be stocking up every couple of weeks! Yikes

Girl with Curl said...

I'm glad you posted this. I saw this 30 month supply where you get the conditioner, styling creme and balm for $29.95 but, hadn't gotten around to researching the ingredients yet.

Shantyana said...

I am also glad you posted this.

Funny how they are against sulfate but sell cone laden products, they must not know how about build up... or just don't care.

the23rdelf said...

I tried Sally Beauty's (much cheaper) version of the cleanser when I was doing non CG products. Nothing to write home about, except it seemed to make me lose more than my usual amount of hairs each time I washed. Good moisturizing, but overall not worth it for me.

Suburbanbushbabe said...

The Paraffin in the Texture Balm is actually the worst ingredient. Castor oil is a healthy oil for many heads.

Starr said...

I use Wen Hair products and love it!!! This product does better for my hair than any product that you could buy in a retail store. Yes, it is costly but my hair and I are worth it. As they say you get what you pay for, and it is so true in this case. I have very thick hair and tends to dry in the winter but no more and it is a lot more manageable. I recommend this to anyone, it cannot be any worst than what you buy in other products.

Tiffany said...

Starr sounds like a spokesperson for the company...never addressed anything said in your article! Being in Marketing, myself, seems super obvious this person is a plant. I'm very grateful for your informative article! It's saved me money, that's for certain. I was curious about it but then figured I should check the ingredients first, in case it's nothing special - and sure enough! You rock! Thanks for helping us all!

Oasis Arts said...

Wish I had seen this before I fell under the infomercial spell. I bought the introductory package off the infomercial website and tried the products for a week. After the first use of the sweet almond mint cleansing conditioner, (carefully followed directions and used ALOT of product) my hair looked like I had washed it with soap. Dull, dry, frizzy, and very tangled ends. "OK, my hair is going through an adjustment period", I think to myself. Next time I try the ReMoist intensive hair treatment. Seems to be a thicker version of the cleansing conditioner. Hair still looks dull and has frizz, and now I see a lot of breakage, especially at the ends that have been getting increasingly dry and tangled. I have long(about 6" below armpit)wavy hair. using the recommended amounts of this product, I would go through a full 12oz bottle within days. So besides the ridiculous out of control expense, the product seemed to actually damage my hair and leave it in worse shape than ever. NO thanks. No more WEN for me!

TLC said...

PEGs, parabens, THBQ... no thanks :)

nutbuddyy said...

I've never used Wen, but I'm never going to. I'll stick to my shampoo. I use baby shampoo half the time, and I love it. It's soap free, and it doesn't strip my hair.

Robin said...

Thanks will stick with Burt's Bee's. Love it. I also use castile soap. Usualy the tea tree kind. Had to repair my scalp after coloring caused burning scalp syndrome.

Monique said...

I've never used it for 2 reasons. He said on the ad that shampoos strip hair of their own natural "essential oils". Ummm, plants have essential oils. Not hair. There were also a couple of other things he said that proved to me he is an idiot and has no idea what he's talking about. But here's the main reason. Have you ever looked up Wen in the dictionary? Ever wondered what it means? Well here you go...

wen   [wen]
noun
1.
Pathology . a benign encysted tumor of the skin, especially on the scalp, containing sebaceous matter; a sebaceous cyst.

eeeeewwwww! lol

Wai said...

First week of using this it was brilliant! I have very healthy glassy hair so after first few uses noticed I had to tone it right back, and use in frequently. The reason I googled the ingredients is I wanted to learn how much protein was in the product' as I just got extensions and was told to avoid protein based hair care products. It makes sense after reading this why my natural hair had more weight.
I truly believed this product was suited to another hair type other than mine, but if what you say is true, I guess I take it on board. My hair dresser always recommends great products, unfortunately no hair type is the same, and from someone who has spent a fortune on products it just shows you just try everything.

Unknown said...

This stuff makes your hair look greasy- wish I hadn't bouhgt it- all hype

rm said...

I have been using Wen shampoo for off and on for over a year now. I have long straight silver hair and this product actually keeps the yellow away and keeps my hair soft. If I overdo it on products, this shampoo does not wash it out, so I use a regular sulfate-free shampoo first and then Wen and my hair feels clean and soft and managable. The price keeps me walking away, but the results keep me coming back.
I do not work for Wen!

Gina Hilton said...

This product is nasty. It makes your hair greasy..even on tv the models hair looks stuck together and greasy. It made my hair fall out..the second indgrident is alchol and how many people put castor oil on their hair. That is another indigredient. Don't make this dude rich..he is conning you. This product is just nasty!!

Rachel said...

I tried the cleansing conditioner and really liked it, even though I knew it was just coating my hair.

I didn't bother with any of the other products. The 'shampoo' isn't really that expensive for me as I've got a chin-length bob so I use WAY less than some folks with long hair.

I use a gentle shampoo (made by a company called Lush) once a week.

Rachel said...

I used the cleansing conditioner and liked it a lot, but I didn't bother with any of the other products.

I've got a chin-length bob, so I really don't need the heavy stuff and I use much less product.

I use a gentle shampoo (from a company called Lush) once a week so my hair doesn't get too coated.

Eliza Thorne said...

Hey peoples :) I too saw this amazing looking add last night and couldn't believe it myself, my big alert is the sulfates and silicone, however for all you guys looking for a good treatment I highly reccomend deep conditoning your hair with a mayo/egg/ olive oil mixture it really does work, I've been battling damaged hair being I dye and straightened my hair daily for a very long time. I know it sounds nasty, and smelly but the protiens are amazing for your hair and what the hay theirs no harm in trying a all natural solution right ;) goodluck!

Sxxxx Wxxxx said...

I'm a HUGE FAN of EWG.org, and use it liberally, so I was wondering why your BOLD ingredients picked up on some non-issues and missed soooo many others? Try it, very anti-cancer, anti-allergy, anti-toxic ingredients, and they're very upfront when it comes to limited or no data molecules. Enjoy and use wisely. Also, for those that are interested - ACURE, now out in WF markets seems to be the most biologically- & environmentally-friendly, with others like Allafia, Aubrey, etc... And not so expensive, especially considering what good you're doing your body.

Jessica Adam said...

If wen is supposed to be so good, you shouldn't be able to pick out a list of damaging ingredients, Sxxxx Wxxxx. One bad apple can spoil the barrel!

Here's something I started two months ago which has cleared up my dandruff and keeps my hair clean and managable for days on end. Best of all, it costs less than 75 cents and is available in every grocery store!

Baking Soda :)

Mix some in a cup with water, pour it on your head and rub it around, rinse it out. It's wonderful.
I finish up in the shower with vinegar, and then chi silk infusion on my ends after it's all dry. But you should finish up however you're the most comfortable with.
What have you got to lose? If you don't like the baking soda, just stick it in the fridge for its "normal" purpose.

Karen Siddle said...

Haha I just seen the ad, you know what , I remember this lady who ad a little hirl who could not use any shampoos nor conditioners, the only thing they used was.... just washing her hair with a bit of sorbelene (I think I spelt it wrong) then rinse well,then use just a bit of citric acid mixed in water as conditioner! And there you will have the most beautiful day shiny hair!!!

December said...

forget that I started using argan oil available on the web I shampoo and then skip the conditioner and use a few drops spread out on my hands and distribute evenly throughout my hair. My hair is so healthy and tangle free. It has a shine like never before. Be careful not to put too much or it will be oily. It costs 28.00 but you get 16 oz. enough to last a lifetime. It is also great on legs after shaving, feet, hands and anywhere else you have dry skin and is all natural!!!!

BOSSLADYP said...

Excellent post! I'm glad I didn't fall for the infomercial either. I almost did. Personally, I get tired of people who try to convince me about what's good for my hair - especially, those that have a mixed texture like I do. (Not quite straight/not quite curly).

char.o said...

I am a salon owner and I just did a perm last night on a client who has used wen for 5 months. Talk about Worst Horror Story of my Career (30+ years)!!! I had to cut more than6" around the front of her face. It was completely hydrololyzed ( would not dry felt like wet rubbery mess) I saved the hair I cut off so I can have it analyzed. It is the Worst damage I have ever seen. She was experiencing split frizzy ends which I cut a month ago.. She is going to end up with with short hair. It is currently to her shoulder blades. :(

Sarah Jelsema said...

I use Wen even after researching the ingredients list. I was trying to get rid of my commerical stuff and couldn't find anything that came close to managing my thick, curly, sometimes frizzy hair. This product has really helped my hair although I won't use it on my children. For them I use dr bronners baby mild castile soap and an organic conditioner. I would use that to but it just dries out my hair too much... :( so, I'm still trying to figure out what I camn use in place of wen, but for now.....

Catafran said...

HI EVERYBODY!! My name is Caterina and I NEED HELP!! I bought wen like a year ago I use it a couple of times but didn't get it. 2 month ago I start to use it again and I have to say that there are some things that I like but im still concern. I have no idea what are CG products but yes im looking for something natural that help me to manage my hair, not making it dry and helping it staying in my head. I have a lot of hair and is very long and I can say its mixt(and It makes me crazy)... very thin and soft in front, between wavy and curly in the meddle area and freeze down from my ears to the back and the new growing on the top. When did 3 things to my hair that no one else that I tried did before... its more soft, it don't get so puffy while still look natural and not heavy with gel and others and after 2 weeks I can detangle my hair without braking it and taking most of it away with the brush(this is the best one) but nothing is controlling the growing freeze hair that I used to control with the gel... I used to use Garnier Products( the active curl spray, curl sculpting cream gel and now the Pure Clean styling gel that claim to be 98% naturally derived)but those make my hair dry... WHAT CAN I DO? WHAT IS NATURAL OUT THERE THAT CAN CONTROL MY HAIR and make it look natural and better? :O( THANKS!!

Catafran said...

Personally I do want to go natural but I don't know what is good or bad... everything its so confusing. why did something says its natural and have bad stuff... where is the natural in that? don't we have laws and regulations for that??

Unknown said...

Wow, Chaz is quite the chemist, must of whipped this up in his bathroom sink. Amodimethicone? Why not just go to Lowe's and buy silicon caulking? When you have hairdressers defining what hair should look like it is rather like letting the inmates run the prison. I think we need to get this "monkeys" off our backs and stop drinking the Kool Aid.

PumpkinQueen said...

I absolutely love my Wen cleansing conditioner and the replenishing treatment. My hair has never looked so good. However I purchase mine from eBay and Amazon so I don't have to deal with the company and it's much cheaper.

Valeria Perrelli said...

Hi,

I am glad I found your post as I thought this shampoo might actually be good.
The fact a list of ingredients was not available kept me alert though.

I just wanted to ask you: bwhy do you say castor oil is bad? I heard it is very good for hair, eyebrows and eylashes. Isn't that true?

And regarding the oil and egg masks before the shampoo, should you put them on humid hair or on dry ones?

I started using the line YES to carrots but the volumizing shampoo which is YES to tomatoes.
The ingredient list seems perfect, does anyone have opinions about it?

I have fried hair from bad bleaching (incompetent German hairdressers) and any advise regarding natural remedies would be welcome.

Thanks!

Valeria

Pam Wentz said...

okay this the second time I have used WEN products and also the second time I have found a thumb size hair ball in my drain. I do not know if anyone else has had this problem. I know that does not sound like a lot of hair but my hair is short and very fine (like baby hair). I bought it through QVC and it was very expensive. I am going to see if I can send it back and get my money back(without the original packaging(I don't keep boxes around long.
thank you for letting me vent!
Pam

Taken Advantage of said...

I tried Wen and got ripped off. My hair started falling out, it made my scalp, face, arms and back break out, it left my hair greasy as it wouldn't rinse out and they kept sending me product I didn't order and charging my credit card with out my consent. I have had a terrible time with their customer service. Worst experience ever with something purchased online.

Jarod said...

Any of their products which have Methylchloroisothiazolinone and/or Methylisothiazolinone (usually it's both or none), should be treated as immediate rinse off only - regardless of what the instructions say. If you leave these chemicals in contact with your scalp for extended periods of time you can lose hair. These are industrial anti-fungals and are used to extend the shelf-life of their products. They are also on Health-Canada's Hot List - banned, restricted, and cautionary chemicals.

So the moral is, if these chemicals are in ANY personal hygiene product (Crest makes a mouthwash with these that they ask you not to rinse for 30 minutes), either rinse it off right away or don't use it.

Eunice Irigoyen said...

Wen is finally getting sued because it causes hair follicle damage which leads to severe hair loss.

wil4life said...

Methylchloroisothiazolinone is a chemical that people can become sensitized too. I worked for a chemical company and got severe burns from this chemical even with protective gear on. I can never use any products now with methylchloroisothiazolinone in it. People always check the ingredients before you use a product.

Unknown said...

I started using wen about five years ago. I noticed my hair loss when I first started using wen, but chalked it up to having just had a baby, stress of working, yada yada yada. Next few years I switched to the knock off Hair-One, and was used to my hair loss ( hair in the shower, the washer, the dryer, on the carpets, on all of my family's clothes). Read a post almost 3 weeks ago about wen customers losing their hair, stopped using both products. Since then I have seen new growth framing my face. I am so grateful my hair loss wasn't permanent.

Rose Alexander said...

I,too,had observed some hair loss. Recently, however, my face had broken out in red spots. I had been using Rogaine and taking Benadryl. My hair was all over the house. I had had two visits to my doctor. Did lots of research, and this eventually popped up. Calling QVC today. This is the problem. Thank you for your posts. Rose