Careful with the Conditioner!


Even if you are a sworn Suave customer or only buy Herbal Essences for your hair care needs, you have probably seen or heard about WEN. WEN is a hair care line that is only available through television offers, like QVC or online through the official company website. Often, when sitting down to breakfast and morning coffee while flipping through channels, a promotional segment for WEN by Celebrity Stylist Chaz Dean will be running.

This hair care line that prides themselves on using ingredients that are not harmful to the environment and are sulfate and petrochemical free, has recently caused harm to the consumer. So much so, that WEN is being sued for the harmful effects of their hair care system. In addition, the FDA has stepped in to provide some clarity on this matter.

What exactly is the cause for this law suit? According to a recent expose in People magazine, currently, “the company’s cleansing conditioner led to hair loss, scalp irritation and balding.” The product has been described as a “lotion” with “no cleanser.” The idea behind WEN, is not a shampoo, rather, it is combining the five products that you use daily into one sulfate free, eco-friendly bottle. However, though WEN says in commercials that they are sulfate free, consumers need only look at the ingredients to see that there is nothing eco-friendly about this hair care system.
Before digging into the ingredients, let me explain what a sulfate is. A sulfate is an aggressive detergent. It was first introduced into hair care in the 1930’s. Prolonged sulfate use can lift the hair follicle from the consumer’s head; which is why salon stylists recommend washing your hair three times a week; as shampoos can have harmful effects on your hair and your natural oils. Using a sulfate system ultimately impacts your scalp and your hair. Hence why so many WEN customers have suffered the unfortunate side effect of baldness. According to the WEN product label, this is what we know WEN contains; “Behentrimonium Methosulfate (sulfate), Butylene Glycol, (petrochemical),Behentrimonium. ) and PEG 60 (petrochemical).”

That’s not all. In addition to these petrochemicals and sulfates, WEN contains materials that the International Fragrance Association Codes and Standards specifically advise against. Continuing reading the product label you’ll see WEN contains, “Limonene (recommended restriction), Hexyl Cinnamal (recommended restriction) Benzyl Benzoate (a recommended restriction) and Hydroxycitronellal (BANNED in the EU because it’s a known human immune system toxicant, as well as a recommended restriction in the US).

As the consumer, you may be thinking, how could this product make it to the shelves? What is happening to the people who were effected? As for those who bought this system, according to CBS News, “some six million people may be eligible for an award of up to $20,000”. Though the company released a statement that the system was “safe to use” the FDA is investigating. The FDA will be investigating the product as well as the facilities to find the source of the problem. The FDA stated that WEN has “the largest number of [safety] reports ever associated with any cosmetic hair cleansing product.” As a consumer, you must wonder, how did it get to this point? How was this allowed? According to the official FDA website, “The law does not require cosmetic products and ingredients, other than color additives, to have FDA approval before they go on the market, but there are laws and regulations that apply to cosmetics on the market in interstate commerce.” So basically, there is regulation for cosmetics and hair care products but it isn’t as stringent where it needs to be approved by the FDA. Well, clearly that isn’t working.

Do we really need $26.25 million settlements, company investigations and millions of victims before changes are made in our product regulation?

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