Update: $26 Million WEN Class Action Settlement Moves Forward
November 7, 2016 – A Los Angeles judge has given preliminary approval to a $26 million settlement in a class action lawsuit alleging hair loss, breakage and balding from WEN hair care products. As a result of the ruling, Celebrity stylist Chaz Dean and marketer Guthy-Renker will have to defend their WEN Cleansing Conditioner before a U.S. District Court Judge. The outcome of the lawsuit could mean settlements of up to $20,000 for some six million people.
WEN Conditioner Causing Women’s Hair to Fall Out
The class action (PDF) was filed in California federal court on July 31, 2014, against against Guthy-Renker, WEN’s parent company, alleging that WEN Cleansing Conditioner not only causes hair loss, but that even after discontinuing use, your hair continues to fall out.
Lead plaintiff Amy Friedman claims she purchased the Sweet Almond Mint WEN Cleansing Conditioner basic kit in January 2014. Within 2 weeks, she “began losing substantial and abnormal amounts of hair [and] the hair loss continued for approximately three more weeks [and she] lost one quarter to one third of the hair on her head,” according to the lawsuit.
The class action goes on to cite numerous examples of blogs and websites where customers have complained of similar issues after using WEN Cleansing Conditioner. Friedman alleges that Guthy-Renker had knowledge of a material design defect with the product, yet failed to warn consumers that it could cause substantial hair loss, and even concealed customer comments by blocking and/or erasing negative comments from the WEN Facebook page.
Friedman is suing to recover money spent on supplements and hair weaves she used to cover up her bald spots. The complaint is charging WEN by Chaz Dean with violating the California false advertising law, violating Florida’s Unfair and Deceptive trade Practices Act, negligence and failure to warn among other things.
What’s Causing the Hair Loss?
The issue is problematic because nobody’s been able to determine what exactly in WEN is causing the hair loss. According to The Daily Beast, Friedman’s class action alleges that WEN products contain a “caustic ingredient that causes a chemical reaction and damages hair and follicles,” as well as “numerous harsh chemicals and known human allergens.” However, it has yet to be determined what the mystery ingredients, chemicals and/or allergens are.
The WEN Cleansing Conditioner Class Action Lawsuit is: Amy Friedman v. Guthy-Renker LLC, Case No. 2:14-cv-MRP-AGR, in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
Additional Complaints Filed Against Guthy-Renker
In addition to the 200 women involved in the WEN class action suit, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) is investigating about 17,000 other complaints filed against Guthy-Renker. Under current regulations, the company is not required to inform the FDA about these complaints (and didn’t). In fact, laws that regulate hair care products have remained largely unchanged since 1938. No personal care products are required to undergo testing before they enter the market.
FDA Investigating WEN Hair Loss
July 19, 2016 – WEN by Chaz Dean Cleansing Conditioner could cause balding, hair loss, itching and rash, according to an FDA Warning issued today. The agency has received a record number of adverse event reports — at least 127 — associated with the haircare line. Consumers should talk to their doctors if they experience hair loss or other hair damage while using the cleansing conditioner (and should stop using it), according to the FDA.