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Wen Sweet Almond Mint Conditioning Shampoo

Is a Solution for:
Oily Hair, Thinning Hair & Shedding, Dry or Brittle Hair
Reviewed by Kim April 21, 2011 6 Comments
Many years ago, while I was on set in Los Angeles, I was chatting up the make-up artist trying to get her insider secrets and must-haves.  At that moment, her new favorite thing was a conditioning shampoo called Wen.  She was raving about how it had improved her hair - made it soft and shiny - and all her make-up artist/hairstylist friends were also loving it. Not too far from my hotel was the small and homey salon of Chaz Dean – the stylist behind Wen. I decided to stop by and pick up a bottle. Chaz Dean himself helped me choose the right version for my dry curly hair. Low and behold, after just the first use, my hair was much softer and moisturized. My curls looked great! For a while, whenever I was in LA for work, I’d stop by the salon and pick up a bottle.

And then after some time, it eventually fell out of rotation. For no specific reason, I simply moved on to other things and basically never looked back.  Recently while flipping through the channels I came across an infomercial with Chaz and his Wen line of products. It was late night and I fell into that infomercial trance. I was on the verge of ordering but in true TIA fashion, before I did, I wanted to know what’s actually in these products that are touted as all-natural. What I found was quite interesting.

First of all, the Guthy-Renker TV Offer of Wen only comes in one version, the Sweet Almond Mint. When you buy from Chaz’s salon (even online) there are several varieties depending on your hair needs. But regardless of that, the Sweet Almond Mint version on television and the one from the salon are actually different formulations.  While it’s true that this non-foaming shampoo is free of sulfates and harsh detergents, it’s definitely not a completely innocent formulation. And the one from TV is, in fact, a little bit worse.

Let me break it down for you. At the bottom of both ingredient lists you’ll find METHYLCHLOROISOTHIAZOLINONE and METHYLISOTHIAZOLINONE, both with a cosmetics database moderate hazard rating of 6. However, if you go down a little further on the TV version you also find LIMONENE, a parfuming agent with another 6 cosmetic database rating. The television version also has some other fillers that the salon version doesn’t, like butylene glycol  (1 rating), and polysorbate 60 (4-6 rating, depending on how much is used). And while the first four ingredients of the salon version are all nourishing - water, aloe vera gel, Glycerin, chamomile extract - the first four ingredients of the TV version seem mostly like things that keep costs down - water (aqua), glycerin, cetyl alcohol, and cetearyl alcohol.  I can’t help but think that Guthy-Renker has a pretty stiff profit to cost margin, and they simply reformulated the product to make it cheaper to manufacture.

Annoyed by all of this, and in an effort to keep my shower free of chemicals, I decided not to order. A few weeks later, however, on a trip home to Florida, I discovered that my mom, in her own infomercial trance (and the encouragement of her friend who’s addicted), did order it.

I decided to use the TV version during my stay, and I must say, the reformulated TV version still did a really nice job on my hair, which had been incredibly dry and unmanageable. Once again, after the first use, my hair was noticeably more moisturized. The $29.95 TV offer is for a 12 oz bottle and comes with other products - a styling cream, treatment mask, texturizing stick, and wide tooth comb – all of which I thoroughly enjoyed during my time in extra humid Florida. And while I still wouldn’t order it, I would consider the slightly better salon version ($28.00 for 16 oz and no extra products) and sacrificing my chemical-free zone just a tad… for awesome hair, can you blame a girl?

Sweet almond mint from TV

Water (Aqua), Glycerin, Cetyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Prunus Serotina (Wild Cherry) Bark Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Hydrolyzed Wheat, Protein, Panthenol, Butylene Glycol, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Polysorbate 60 (4-6), PEG-60 Almond Glycerides (3-6), Amodimethicone, Citric Acid, Menthol, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Fragrance (Parfum, Limonene (6).

Sweet almond mint from Chaz Dean (I put the Database ratings next to all the suspect looking ingredients):

Water, Aloe Vera Gel, Glycerin, Chamomile Extract, Cherry bark Extract, Calendula Extract, Rosemary Extract, Behentrimonium Chloride (1), Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine (1), Cetyl Alcohol, Emulsifying Wax, Panthenol, Trimethylsilylamodimethicone (0), Hydrolized Whole Wheat Protein, PEG-60 Almond Glycerides (3-6), Menthol, Essential Oils, Methylchloroisothiazolinone (6), Methylisothiazolinone(6), Fragrance
  • June 23, 2012

    by Raeann

    I haven't used shampoo in over 5 years.
    Salon quality conditioner only. Luckily, I don't get oily and my hair doesn't miss shampoo at all. I love Wen. It's in my shower, in addition to my other favorite conditioners that keep my hair soft and shiny. One thing I love to do is use Wen as a detangler. One or two little pumps ran through my hair before I get out of the shower keeps my under curls pretty much tangle free all day. LOVE IT! Fig and Almond Mint are my favorites as they are the most moisturizing. I get mine through QVC.

  • April 21, 2011

    by Jan

    Chris,
    I have used both. I would say that the WEN product is slightly better, however I cannot afford the cost. Fortunately in the mean time, I have moved on to Crown & Glory shampoo and conditioners and my hair loves it much better.

  • April 21, 2011

    by Chris

    Any thoughts on Sally Beauty Supply's take-off on this? Hair One Tea Tree Cleansing Conditioner, they also have a few other options available in stores. First four ingredients are Water, Cetyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glycerin. I've used it - never used Wen products so can't compare - and it's ok, and it does get good reviews. Any thoughts?

  • April 21, 2011

    by kim

    Olivier,

    You can still get all of Chaz's products online at his website: https://www.chazdean.com/

    kim

  • April 21, 2011

    by Sunday

    I absolutely LOVE this stuff ~ it has done wonders for my Color Treated, Dry, Wavy to Curly Baby Fine Hair!!! AND it saved my hair after I stupidly got a Keratin Straightening treatment done ~ it has since grown out and I cut it all off ~ but while it was growing out my ends were soooooo dry and lifeless. The Keratin shampoo&cond. they send you home with barely helped, so when I finished that (hoping & praying it would do SOMETHING like :-(what the stylist told me it would do) I immediately stocked up on WEN and haven't been without since!

    I buy mine through QVC and usually get a combo set, my favorite is the Fig, but I like to mix it up since they've all work great on my hair. So I went to check their ingredients so see which version I was using and was glad to see the better formula is offered at QVC

    http://www.qvc.com/hb/pdf/WEN_comparison_chart.pdf

    My main reason for loving this stuff is that my facial hairline is of course the frizziest part of my curls and VERY prone to lose my blown dried style if there is any humidity. With WEN my bangs DO NOT frizz in rain, drizzle or the like ~ I simply end up with wavy
    bangs that have alot of body...NO FRIZZ! AND because the only styling I do is blow drying my bangs, this area of course is my most damaged area, with WEN Styling Creme You would never know!

    If there were only 3 beauty products I could keep (G* forbid) they would be my Clarisonic Plus, Super AOX Skin Firm Moisturizer and WEN...man I want to make that sentence read 5 things...Right now those other 2 would be YBF Antioxidants and SenZen DD Eye Cream...Ha!

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