Can Cleansing Conditioner Really Cause Hair Loss?

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

Last year, a group of 200 women in 40 states filed a class action lawsuit alleging the cleansing conditioner from Wen by Chaz Dean caused scary side effects, from scalp irritation to hair loss.

This past Monday, a federal judge in Los Angeles gave preliminary approval to a settlement-approval/' target='_blank' rel='noopener noreferrer' >$26.3 million settlement for the suit against celebrity stylist Chaz Dean and Wen distributor Guthy-Renker. If approved by a United States district judge, customers who had adverse reactions could receive up to $20,000.

ishonest No.222 - Fine Lines & Wrinkles

No.222 - Fine Lines & Wrinkles

"From what we understand about the product and how it causes hair loss is it contains virtually no cleanser," attorney Amy Davis told CBS. "It’s like using lotion to wash your hair. So instead of removing the product when you rinse it off, it just becomes impacted in your hair follicle."

The hair-care brand is standing by its products. "Wen by Chaz Dean is safe and we continue to provide our hundreds of thousands of customers with the Wen by Chaz Dean products that they know and love," the company said in a statement. "Since the process of litigation is time consuming and costly, we made a business decision to pursue a settlement and put this behind us so that we can focus on delivering quality products."

So, should you hesitate to use a cleansing conditioner like Wen's?

"I’m now at 15 months and counting of using only cleansing conditioner, even after pool swimming and major sweaty workouts," she says. "I do make sure to massage my scalp really well, both with the product and after rinsing to make sure I’ve gotten it all out."

For now, it seems the best advice is to experiment with co-washing, but cautiously. As with any hair- or skin-care product, watch for unusual symptoms and discontinue use if you experience a negative reaction.

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