Most people have heard of WEN cleansing conditioner but what is WEN? What makes this hair product so different from traditional shampoo? I’ve had a few people ask me these questions and I decided to write an article about it. The claim is that you can use this cleansing conditioner (as both shampoo and conditioner) to clean your hair without the harsh, drying chemicals.
In this article, I am going to break down what WEN Cleansing Conditioner is, the benefits of using it and my humble opinion on the product…
What is WEN?
WEN cleansing conditioner is a 5-in-1 product that acts as a shampoo, conditioner, deep conditioner, leave-in, and detangler. I think the purpose of this product is to simulate co-washing, in which people use conditioner instead of shampoo to wash their hair. Conditioners usually have cleansing agents in them, which could effectively clean your hair without the harsh sulfates of shampoo.
WEN contains no lathering agents, which can be unusual at first but is better for the overall health of your scalp. The downfall is that you will probably need to use more product. In the FAQ section of the website, it states that “WEN® isn’t like an ordinary shampoo so you want to use more of it, not less. You can never use too much! The more you use, the better the results.”
This product is specifically designed to not dry out your scalp and strip your natural oils. The result is more moisture, sheen, manageability and color retention.
What Do People Think?
While most people claim that WEN Cleansing Conditioner does not really “wow” them at first, they fall in love with it after a week or so. It takes a little bit of time for your scalp to adjust to this new formula. Your scalp is used to being completely stripped of all oils every time you use shampoo. Since WEN does not use sulfates, your hair may be dull and lifeless until your scalp stops over-producing oil. When doing the “no poo” method, this process typically takes about a month. So I would recommend using WEN for at least a month before you base your opinion.
There are a lot of bad reviews online, but my guess would be that these people didn’t use it long enough to really judge it. I can’t stress enough that your scalp needs time to adjust to a new cleaning habit. Try it for a month.
The Downside of WEN
What I don’t like about WEN is the way their website is set up. They draw you in with promises of free shipping and two free gifts with the membership. You pay $29.95 for the first shipment with free shipping, but it sets your credit card up to automatically bill you $29.95 + $8.99 S&H every three months.
The problem with this business model is that, let’s say you hate the product and you don’t want to buy another package. You are tied up with life, like everyone else, and forget to call and cancel (not to mention, the wasted time on the phone that everyone dreads). Now, you have to pay the 40$ for a product you don’t like, and you will go to hell and back to get back your money back.
It’s not a surprise to me, because I found that the shopping cart redirects to a Gunthy Renker website, which is the same company that makes Proactive. Whatever the case, I just hate dealing with companies like that. When I buy products like this, I never go directly through the website. Also, don’t be deceived by alternatives. QVC also offers WEN, but for a way higher price, and beware that it also adds you to an “auto-replenish” program.
Different Types of WEN
There are different formulas of WEN Cleansing Conditioner, each made for different types of hair. The WEN website requires you to put your billing info in before you can even look at the different types so I will kindly lay them out for you…
- Sweet Almond Mint is pretty generic and will work on most hair types, but it is geared toward fine and medium hair.
- Tea Tree is formulated for people with dry, flaky scalps. Tea tree has antiseptic properties that can combat dandruff and other scalp conditions. It is suitable for all hair textures.
- Cucumber Aloe is light and is aimed at people with thin and fine hair. It combines the astringent properties of cucumbers and the moisturizing properties of Aloe. It won’t weigh down your hair, and should be used on oily hair.
- Fig is meant for overly damaged hair. It strengthens and rehydrates hair that has been over-processed with chemicals and heat.
- Lavender rehydrates hair while adding volume. Lavender has antiseptic properties and a calming fragrance.
- Pomegranate is a similar formula to lavender, in the sense that it rehydrates and adds volume. The main difference is the scent.
- Spring Gardenia Green Tea is used for all hair types. It has a refreshing spring smell.
- Summer Mango Coconut is used for all hair types. It has a fun summer smell.
- Fall Ginger Pumpkin is also used for all hair types. It has a spicy fall smell.
- Winter Vanilla Mint is another seasonal product, for all hair types.
- Six Thirteen is a richer formula than the others, formulated with 11 amino acids. Wheat and nuts are also absent in the formula, so it is more suitable for sensitive skin.
The Ingredients of WEN:
So they listed the key ingredients of the formula, but let me explain what a few of the others are:
- Cetyl Alcohol is an opacifyer.
- Cetearyl Alcohol is also an opacifyer, along with a surfactant and foam booster.
- Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice Extract is a conditioning agent.
- Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein is a conditioning agent. It can aggravate allergies, especially in people with Celiac disease.
- Panthenol is another conditioning agent.
- Butylene Glycol– Fragrance and skin conditioning agent.
- Behentrimonium Methosulfate– Antistatic agent, conditioning agent and surfactant.
- Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine– Antistatic agent and conditioning agent.
- Polysorbate-60– Fragrance and emulsifying agent. Its usage is restricted in cosmetics as it is unsafe to use on damaged skin.
- PEG 60 Almond Glycerides– Emolient and skin-conditioning agent. It is also unsafe for damaged skin.
- Amodimethicone– Conditioning agent.
- Citric Acid– pH adjuster.
- Menthol– Fragrance.
- Methylchloroisothiazolinone– Preservative.
- Methyliosthiazolinone– Biocide.
- Fragrance / Parfum – Fragrance compound.
Out of the ingredients listed, only the last 3 aren’t great, but they aren’t really horrible either. The Polysorbate 60, and PEG 60 Almond Glycerides aren’t great either, in the event you have open sores on your scalp. However, there are no parabens, sulfates or formaldehyde in WEN, so that is a good thing. The majority of the ingredients are just conditioning agents and extracts, and so there is not a tremendous amount of potential harm in this product.
The last thing I want to briefly discuss is Chaz Dean, the creator of WEN. Dean is all about being “green” and it reflects in his salon, Chaz Dean Studio in Bel-Air, where it is common for celebrity clients to walk in.
His hobbies include yoga, meditating, cooking and hiking. He formulated WEN, after realizing what the harsh products of typical shampoo does to hair. His goal was not to just create a hair product, but rather reinvent the norm of hair products. He began creating WEN in 1993 and tested it for 5 years before releasing it to the public. It has exploded in the last few years, and I have a feeling it won’t be the last we see of it.
I have been using it for about 9 months and I absolutely LOVE it. It really makes my hair feel so soft and amazing. I will advise that you make sure you rinse your hair thoroughly and splash it with cool water before you get out of the shower, otherwise it could weigh your hair down.
12/18/15 UPDATE: Read about WEN’s class action lawsuit.
Have you tried WEN Cleansing Conditioner? What is your opinion? I’d love to read about it in the comments section below!