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Women discovered the WEN brand through multiple platforms: Seeing the infomercials late at night on television or reading about the brand through online communities. Perhaps the best-known company from the “no-poo” hair care movement, in which stylists and consumers reject anything made with sodium lauryl sulfate, WEN was marketed to give women smooth, shiny locks with natural ingredients.
Celebrity stylist Chaz Dean and his well-known clients supported the product. A sizeable portion of consumers, on the other hand, allege they started rapidly losing their hair after using WEN and have since filed a class action lawsuit against Dean and infomercial conglomerate Guthy-Renker.
WEN grew its brand through its lengthy infomercials and word of mouth. However, after using the shampoos and conditioners for two weeks or more, many consumers say they experienced:
- Skin irritation
- Hair breakage
- Extreme hair loss
- Large and visible bald spots
WEN and Dean claim that a natural formulation, designed to improve the hair’s appearance, goes into all products. They say that unlike other shampoos, WEN products don’t foam and cleanse the hair to make it healthier. While the infomercials tout the line’s benefits, a disclaimer states that the advertised results aren’t typical.
Individuals speaking out against the product say that after using WEN, they lost anywhere from a quarter to a third of the hair on their head and experienced scalp damage. Complaints made directly to WEN or posted online date back at least five years, with consumers saying the product line changed their hair’s texture or that they noticed large clumps of hair in the drain after using it.
Smaller lawsuits against Dean and Guthy-Renker started cropping up in 2014. As of 2015, multiple claims were consolidated into a single class action lawsuit in California Federal Court involving more than 200 women from 40 states.
While WEN says scientific evidence doesn’t back up their statements, the plaintiffs claim Dean and Guthy-Renker failed to adequately warn about its risks even after multiple complaints surfaced and that they automatically deleted all negative reviews from social media.
Plaintiffs also state that Guthy-Renker knew of a material defect associated with the product line, but did not alert consumers about noticeable and significant hair loss. In addition, the plaintiffs claim Guthy-Renker intentionally misled them by blocking all negative reviews from WEN’s social media pages. As a result, the lawsuit states the company and Dean violated the California False Advertising Law and Florida Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act, while the plaintiffs have accused both parties of negligence and failure to warn.