Two Hundred Plaintiffs Bring Suit Against WEN Hair Care Products

Cassie Perez

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— Updated on June 23, 2020

Two Hundred Plaintiffs Bring Suit Against WEN Hair Care Products

Wen Hair Loss Expert WitnessThere are two class action lawsuits currently pending in Florida and Los Angeles Federal Courts against the popular hair care brand, WEN. The suit was originally filed in March 2015. Two hundred women in forty states have joined the suit as of November 2015.

The complaint alleges that the WEN product has caused extreme hair loss, visible bald spots, and burning of the skin. It may be due to one or more ingredients acting as a depilatory agent. This causes a chemical reaction in the hair strands or follicles. WEN is facing allegations of breach of warranty, false advertising, and negligently failing to warn consumers about the product’s adverse effects.

Some people experienced hair loss for up to three months after ceasing use of the product. Children as young as ten have suffered from its use as well. WEN is marketed by one of the nation’s largest marketing firms, Guthy-Renker. It has brought in one hundred million dollars in its second year. WEN claims to lack the harshness of other shampoos and emphasizes their use of natural ingredients. However, court documents show Guthy-Renker recieved more than seventeen thousand complaints of hair loss.

Under current federal cosmetic regulations (which have remained largely unchanged since 1938), Guthy-Renker was under no obligation to report adverse health events to the Food and Drug Administration. Moreover, the FDA does not require safety testing of personal hair products before they are put on the shelves. WEN states that they intend to vigorously contest the allegations made against their products. They believe there is no scientific evidence to support the complaint.

Plaintiffs face an uphill battle due to the difficulty of isolating the cause of their hair loss. Their success depends on finding the exact ingredient, or combination of ingredients, that differentiates WEN from other products. This can prove that WEN is the sole cause of injury. Several of the ingredients in WEN have been strongly linked to allergies. While one ingredient, hydroxycitronell, is banned in the European Union because it is known to be a human immune system toxin.  

Also posing a challenge to plaintiff’s are the various formulations of WEN products and knock-off brands. As well as the presence of other factors, such as heat styling, hormones, and genetics, that can be linked to hair loss. 

Amy Davis, the lead counsel for victims who filed claims in Texas, states that their team has hired a chemist to evaluate the ingredients and perform tests. They have found that the product contains virtually no cleanser. This causes the product to become impacted into the hair follicles. While this could contribute to the hair loss claimed by plaintiffs, there has still been no direct link to hair loss.

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