be Wary of Wen!

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.

wen isn't everything it's cracked up to be - why you should be wary of wen!

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?
wen response

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 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.

hippie heart black sig 3

119 thoughts on “be Wary of Wen!

  1. Apparently they changed their ingredients recently. My mom has been using wen for a while and it has worked pretty well for her until a few weeks ago when she used up some of the older bottles and opened a new one. When she started did this, her hair started thinning and falling out, not an extreme amount, but way more than usual. We couldn’t figure out what had caused this because she really hadn’t changed anything she was doing. Eventually we figured out it was the wen. The new old bottles were made up of many natural extracts while the new ones were made up of the chemicals listed in this article. Tomorrow we are going to throw away the ones she opened and return the ones she recently bought

  2. It’s so terrifying that companies get away with this. WEN is truly the worst. After reading all of the horror stories about them I started doing serious research on the companies labeling themselves as lo-pow. The best one I’ve found is which lists all of their ingredients as well as the ingredients the don’t/won’t use. Their shampoo is great and so is customer service. Don’t settle on Wen!!!

  3. Thank you! I also could not find the ingredients list and before I purchased I needed to know if the product has Methylchloroisothiazolinone in it. My daughter developed a bad case of contact dermatitis and after going to the dermatologist, found she was allergic to this commonly used product in shampoos, conditioners, sunblock, and baby wipes!

  4. My kids have really frizzy, course, dry hair. They both look like they have beached blonde hair. Okay, so my problem is the top of their hair is pretty with some shine but it is the underneath that looks dead. My youngest has two types of hair. Here in my city we have a cosmetic store called Sally’s beauty shop. I have tried several products and nothing works. Not to mention my youngest has tree nut allergies so i am limited. Any suggestions? I was goona purchase Wen but i googled their ingredients and seen they use sweet almond oil. Not sure if they take the protein out or not. I then stumbled across this website. Any advice is welcome. Thank you Sabrina

    1. Just try putting a small amount of oil in the palms of your hands (coconut, grapeseed, avocado, any oil your children aren’t allergic or sensitive to) & work it into each of their heads & don’t wash their hair every day (every other day is fine unless they have physical dirt on them). After a short time, you should see a difference. You can also invest in handmade natural soaps & hair products. I make/sell my own.

  5. Whenever I see the commercials for Wen, I chuckle. The reason why is because I have hypersensitive skin/body & I know that there are very few products out there that are truly natural. The author of this blog is right about having chemicals in it.

  6. Dihydrogen monoxide IS regulated – especially when sold by itself in transparent containers of approximately 350 to 500 ml. It has an MSDS sheet, AND many people are even addicted to it so much that if they stop using it, they will die. See for more info. =8o)

  7. ignore any of the FDA concerns. While it share those issues, they are making no FDA claims, so irrlevant.
    However, as a 35+ year expert in this field, there is no cleaning agent in this product. NONE! So, the only way it works is if you use it as least every day. If you’re hair NEVER gets dirty, water is enough.
    This is a fraud

  8. Who do we contact to influence a change in exposure of ingredients in skin and care products? Seems like such a no-brainer. What committee, or body, or existing movement is out there to share a voice in?

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