Product Review: Chaz Dean's Wen

I first saw the infomercials for this product because I'm an early riser during the week and watch television while getting ready for work. The ads feature Chaz Dean, touted as a longtime celebrity hairstylist, talking about the product with actress Melissa Gilbert (or, in more recent ads, actress Alyssa Milano).

Wen is featured as the non-shampoo: It doesn't lather, but it reportedly cleans your hair as well as a traditional shampoo. Dean explains in the infomercials that lathering agents actually strip and damage hair. He likens the effect on hair to the fading you see after washing your clothes several times.

He claims to have formulated the product with "astringent and antibacterial properties" for cleansing, thereby replacing what he says is the main damaging ingredient, sodium laurel sulfate. The product has a number of natural agents, which are said to condition the hair.

I tend to judge a product based on the first five ingredients listed, which are usually the ones with the highest composition: 1.) water 2.) Glycerin 3.) Cetyl Alcohol 4.) Cetearyl Alcohol 5.) Chamomilla Recrutita. Since I'm not a scientist, I won't try to dissect the product composition. On initial review, Cetyl Alcohol is classified as a surfactant, which is contrary to Dean's advertising claims that his product is free of this.

At the time I first ordered this product (close to a year ago), I was highlighting my hair. The idea of a gentler product intrigued me. It was such a new idea that I also bought the product out of sheer curiosity.

By ordering Wen through Guthy-Renker, users get a one-month supply of the product (eventually shipped in 3-month installments) at a price of $29.99. This includes the Re Mask Intensive Hair Treatment (a deep conditioning mask) and the Styling Creme.

Expensive? Yes, considering most drugstore shampoos and conditioners on the market cost around $4. Would I say that the product works and your hair resembles the non-model spokeswomen in the ads? Yes. Is it worth the $25 price increase/month for your hair? Some women may see a difference that they consider worth it: These women would likely be people who color-treat or style their hair frequently. I imagine this product is very polarizing: people either become totally devoted to it or think it's a waste.

The directions are to saturate hair in the shower in cool water, then squeeze out excess. Going section by section, apply 4-5 pumps to each area of your hair. Massage the product into your hair, then leave it on for the remainder of the shower before rinsing it out. For women with shoulder length hair, this would mean approximately 12 pumps per shower.

The immediate downside to the product is that this is a lot of product use per shower. I've used the product according to the directions and gone through it much quicker than the monthly installment (cutting my hair helped cut down how quickly I go through it). A woman with very long hair could easily use half the bottle in three to four showers.

Wen has made my hair softer and shinier, but I've come to regard it more for its conditioning benefits than cleansing benefits. If I've gone a few days without washing my hair, it doesn't cut it for cleansing, and I'll revert to a lathering shampoo. If I'm washing daily or every other day, it seems to do the trick.

The product comes with a 60-day money back guarantee for first-time users, so it's worth a try for anyone curious about it.


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