Fact Check

WEN Hair Loss Lawsuit

Rumor: Multiple lawsuits claim the WEN brand of hair care products causes hair loss.

Published Feb 13, 2015

Claim:   The WEN hair care brand of cleansing conditioner causes hair loss.


TRUE: Lawsuits have been initiated claiming that WEN hair care products cause hair loss.
UNPROVEN: WEN hair care products cause hair loss.

Example:   [Collected via internet, January 2015]

Is it true that WEN Cleansing Conditioner by Chas Dean causes
hair to fall out? It is sold on TV for $29.95 and also on QVC. There are
also rumors of a class action lawsuit against them in California.


Origins:   In early February 2015, a long-circulating rumor about hairstylist Chaz Dean's WEN brand of hair care products (primarily WEN Cleansing Conditioner)

returned with force on Twitter and Facebook. According to some consumers, the WEN line of hair care products caused them to lose their hair at what they described as unusual and alarming rates. Many claimed the reported hair loss persisted even after they discontinued using WEN products.

Most of the February 2015 tweets and posts were circulated by hair salons or other hairstyling pages, and most linked back to the August 2014 announcement of a class action lawsuit filed in July 2014. That announcement was presented in a stylistic format that led many to believe the content was being reported as news, but in actuality the circulating link was to a blog that covered class action lawsuits and was not a news article determining the merits of the claims:

A class action lawsuit was filed against hair product maker Guthy-Renker LLC in a California federal court on July 31, alleging that its
WEN Cleansing Conditioner hair products cause hair loss that continues even after a customer stops using the product.

Plaintiff Amy Friedman of Florida purchased the WEN Cleansing Conditioner Sweet Almond Mint basic kit on Jan. 29, 2014 for $29.95 after seeing advertisements for the product.

"Within two weeks of beginning use of her WEN Cleansing Conditioner, Plaintiff began losing substantial and abnormal amounts of hair," the class action lawsuit explains.

Friedman stopped using the product, "but the hair loss continued for approximately three more weeks."

The Florida woman claims that she "lost one quarter to one third of the hair on her head."

Davis said her legal team has hired a chemist to evaluate the ingredients of the product because they are still uncertain what causes some customers to lose their hair

In March 2015, a Dallas attorney announced that she was representing six women who were also suing Chaz Dean over hair loss purportedly caused by WEN hair care products:

A [Dallas] attorney is suing Hollywood hairstylist Chaz Dean in federal court, alleging that one of his popular WEN products causes some women to lose clumps of their hair.

"As I was shampooing my hair with it, I was noticing handfuls of hair," said Cindy Peterson, a former customer. "Because my hair was so thick, I didn't notice it right away."

She said she first used the WEN Cleansing Conditioner in October 2014, and said some of her hair still hasn't grown back.

"I did lose about a third of my hair, which is dramatic," she explained. "I still am a long way from where my hair should be. I don't know if it's coming back."

Five other women are also part of Peterson's lawsuit. Some of them claim bald spots appeared after using Dean's Cleansing Conditioner.

Dallas attorney Amy Davis is representing the plaintiffs.

"They feel like people are looking at them, wondering what's caused their hair loss," she said. "So women who used to enjoy time with family and friends out and about in social settings ... they've become house-bound."

As with any popular consumer product, similar complaints about WEN hair care products are rife on the Internet. What the circulating rumors lack, however, is a cited culprit in the form of an ingredient or other factor differentiating WEN brand hair care products from others that could cause users of that line of hair care products (and only that line of hair care products) to lose significant amounts of their hair.

The rumors also lacked details about whether the claimant(s) believed WEN hair care products caused hair to fall out at the root or were rather somehow damaging and breaking hair, leading to a thinner follicular appearance — without a consistent set of incidents, it would be difficult to even define the manner in which WEN's products could be responsible for hair loss. In women, hair thinning and loss can occur for a variety of reasons, not uncommonly due to excessive use of heat styling tools or hormonal fluctuations (such as those that occur in the post-partum period).

It's true lawsuits have been over hair loss supposedly caused by WEN brand hair care products, but no substantive evidence has yet been produced demonstrating that the WEN line of hair products is any more damaging than other similar products. Moreover, the manner in which WEN hair care products purportedly caused the damage in question has not been explained.

UPDATE: In November 2015, a group of 200 women across the US joined a class-action lawsuit against WEN, claiming it caused severe, perhaps irreversible damage to their hair.

Last updated:   14 December 2015

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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