A Los Angeles judge has given preliminary approval to a $26 million settlement in a class action lawsuit filed by more than 200 people who claim that WEN hair care products caused hair loss, bald spots, rash, infections and scalp irritation.

What’s the problem?

November 7, 2016 – Plaintiffs in the class action allege that, despite the name, WEN Cleansing Conditioner actually contains almost no cleanser, and becomes impacted on hair follicles when customers try to wash it off. This causes hair loss, breakage, balding and itching, according to the lawsuit.

The class action was originally filed by Amy Friedman, a nurse practitioner who purchased the WEN Sweet Almond Mint basic kit in Jan. 2014, and within two weeks “began losing substantial and abnormal amounts of hair.” The shedding continued for about three weeks after she stopped using the product, and eventually resulted in her losing “one quarter to one third” of the hair on her head. In an attempt to regrow her hair, Friedman claims she had to spend a substantial amount of money on vitamins and extensions to hide the hair loss.

In addition to the 200+ women named in the WEN class action lawsuit, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) is investigating more than 17,000 other customer complaints filed against Guthy-Renker. Under current regulations, no personal care product is required to undergo testing before entering the U.S. market, and manufacturers are not required to alert the FDA about customer complaints.

Before the class action settlement is finalized, the case must be reviewed by a U.S. District Judge who will make a final ruling. If approved in its current state, the suit would pay $25 to anyone who bought a bottle of the cleansing conditioner (total capped at $5 million) and up to $20,000 to people who experienced adverse reactions; that figure includes reimbursement for treatment as well as injury awards.

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