Following a considerable number of complaints from customers, the FDA issued a safety alert regarding the popular hair conditioner product line, Wen.
The low-lather conditioners, which were created by stylist Chaz Dean, have pomegranate, lavender and sweet almond mint scents. The conditioners reportedly caused 127 official reported cases of hair loss, breakage, itching, balding and rashes.
Ingredients of the conditioner include aloe vera, chamomile extract, soy protein and sweet almond oil. The ingredients are, for the most part, benign -- with some exceptions, including the preservatives methylisothiazolinone and methylchloroisothiazolinone. Both have been linked to skin, eye and lung irritation.
The number of FDA complaints, Yahoo reported, is the most reports ever associated with a hair care product. In addition to the FDA complaints, there were 21,000 complaints made directly to Chaz Dean, Inc. and the product’s manufacturer, Guthy Renker.
“As I was shampooing my hair with it, I was noticing handfuls of hair,” former customer Cindy Peterson told WFAA in 2015. “Because my hair was so thick, I didn't notice it right away."
A federal lawsuit was filed against Chaz Dean, Inc. regarding the product.
A spokesperson for Chaz Dean, Inc. released a statement following the FDA warning:
"The Wen by Chaz Dean family cares deeply about everyone’s hair health. We encourage people who inquire about any hair issues to seek qualified medical assistance because it is a complex topic. WEN by Chaz Dean is safe, and millions of bottles have been sold over the last 16 years. We have consistently cooperated with the FDA and will continue to do so.
"We love our brand and our customers. Through this experience, we have learned that there is an immediate need for more education about hair health and common hair concerns in the industry, unrelated to Wen. There is no evidence that WEN products cause hair loss and the ingredients and formulations meet or exceed safety and quality standards set by the cosmetics industry. We stand behind them.
"The cause of the reported negative effects is not yet known, the alert notes, but the FDA has called on the company to 'provide any data that might help us to better understand the reports of hair loss associated with the use of WEN by Chaz Dean Cleansing Conditioner products.'"