updated 12/2015: since Wen has been under fire in the news recently for women losing their hair after using this line of hair care products, my post from 2013 has gotten a lot of traffic. i hope this post helps shed some light on why being an educated consumer and knowing how to read ingredients labels is highly important. with Wen causing people’s hair to fall out, we all have cause to be wary and learn more about what’s in all of our beauty products. xo, alexraye
the hair care line Wen seems to be all the rage recently. it’s sensationalized as this natural hair care line that is full of magic and that will leave you with supermodel hair!
a lot of crunchies and low-‘poo-ers (and let’s face it… regular shampoo-ers, too) have fallen for this spotty advertisement and green-washing.
what is Wen?
Wen is a hair care line with natural ingredients that’s advertised by the company to be sulfate and petrochemical free. anyone can take a quick glance at their “key” ingredients list and see the glaring lie.
why you should be wary of Wen –
here on AE we talk a lot about all the various chemicals to avoid in shampoos and other beauty products, with petrochemicals, sulfates, and fragrance among them. now Wen’s here & has become popular as the new more “natural” shampoo. the truth is, their entire line of hair care products are FAR from being natural! it’s green-washed marketing at best. let’s take a look at Wen’s main cleansing conditioner ingredients as an example.
full ingredients list-
oh wait… they won’t give us one! when i first visited the site, they had a list of “key ingredients” (as you can see in the picture below), but they have since taken it down! hmm…
so here’s the old one that’s been taken down –
Water, Glycerin, Cetyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine, 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, Vegetable Oil (Olus Oil), Panthenol, Butylene Glycol, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Polysorbate 60, PEG-60 Almond Glycerides, Amodimethicone, Citric Acid, Menthol, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Fragrance, Limonene, Hexyl Cinnamal, Linalool, Geraniol, Benzyl Benzoate, Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde, Hydroxycitronellal.C960
i even asked someone to help me and this is the response i got (below). i still didn’t get answers. no one seems to want to publicly share what’s in it anymore. that’s a big red flag to me. i personally won’t buy from a company that won’t divulge ingredients in products that will be going on my body. if your products are more natural, what do you have to hide?
let’s stick with what we know is in the cleansing conditioner. out of those “key” ingredients, which ones don’t you want on your hair or scalp?
- Butylene Glycol (petrochemical! and they say Wen doesn’t contain them.)
- Behentrimonium Methosulfate (it’s a sulfate. i’m sorry wen… how is this cleansing conditioner “sulfate free”? and for those claiming it’s natural because it’s derived from rapeseed oil – it’s HIGHLY industrially processed and doesn’t resemble a natural substance in the slightest. it’s a sulfate. )
- PEG 60 (another petrochemical)
- Fragrance (that dreaded cocktail of smell-good chemicals that irritate the lungs and skin)
- Limonene (recommended RESTRICTION from cosmetics from the International Fragrance Association Codes & Standards &a restriction in cosmetics from CosIng)
- Hexyl Cinnamal (again – a recommended restriction from cosmetics from the International Fragrance Association Codes & Standards &a restriction in cosmetics from CosIng)
- Benzyl Benzoate (& again – a recommended restriction from cosmetics from the International Fragrance Association Codes & Standards &a restriction in cosmetics from CosIng)
- Hydroxycitronellal (even worse – BANNED in the EU because it’s a known human immune system toxicant, as well as a recommended restriction from cosmetics from the International Fragrance Association Codes & Standards & a restriction in cosmetics from CosIng)
if you use wen, please know there are WAY better options out there that are indeed all-natural and organic! if you know someone using Wen, please point them in this direction!
if you’re looking for a spectacular, truly all-natural shampoo, i’m personally a HUGE fan of Josh Rosebrook Nourishing shampoo & conditioner. here’s his website of hair products (link is NOT an affiliate and doesn’t benefit me in any way). it’s pricey but completely worth every penny.
you can also start searching for your perfect, all-natural shampoo here.
or if you’re more into DIY things (i know i am!) you can try making your own clay shampoo (for all hair types), as seen here.
stand up against green-washing! be an educated consumer.