Numerous complaints of hair loss, bald spots, rashes, and itching after using Wen hair cleansing conditioner prompted the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to issue a safety alert.
As of July 7, 2016, the agency has received 127 direct complaints from consumers, the most ever concerning a cosmetic hair product. Also, the FDA stated that there were 21,000 reported complaints in the lawsuit against Guthy-Renker, the company that makes and markets Wen hair products.
A class action lawsuit was filed in 2014 against the Wen cleansing conditioner line by celebrity stylist Chaz Dean, but the overwhelming number of complaints led the FDA to issue a safety alert on July 19th. For example, a woman alleged that, as she was shampooing with the product, handfuls of hair fell out.
The products remain available for sale to the general public despite plaintiffs’ accusations that they cause serious injuries. The allegations include false representation that the product would clean and condition their hair, leaving smoother, shinier, stronger, fuller, more manageable hair with no frizz. The company also claimed their conditioner would repair hair damaged by coloring, bleaching, or other hair treatments.
Guthy-Renker neglected to disclose that the products contain an ingredient or combination of ingredients that may cause injury. One or more of the conditioner’s active ingredients act as a depilatory and caustic agent, by causing a chemical reaction that damages the hair strand or follicle, according to the plaintiffs.
Among Wen conditioners named were Coconut Mango, Cranberry, Fig, Lavender, Pomegranate, Sweet Mint Almond, and Tea Tree.
While the FDA investigation continues, the agency website recommends that any consumers who experience a reaction after using Wen conditioner products, should stop using the product immediately and consult with their dermatologist or other health care provider.