Angela June Stobart's long tresses, which earned her countless compliments, helped define her as a woman.
She has been nurturing her hair for about 20 years – that is until she started using WEN, a popular hair care line by Los Angeles stylist Chaz Dean who has a celebrity clientele list that reads like a who’s who in Hollywood.
"I used approximately two thirds of the first bottle and as a result, have lost massive amounts of hair," she wrote in a post on WEN's Facebook page.
"Nearly a year later, I am still losing hair at an alarming rate.
I am appalled by the fact that the WEN corporation knew there was a problem and left it on the market anyway. I certainly wouldn't have bought the product, had I known there was even a slight possibility that I would lose my hair or go bald.
I am livid ... to say the very least."
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Stobart is one of many aggrieved women who have lambasted WEN products, used by celebrity spokeswomen like Brooke Shields and Alyssa Milano.
The products are advertised on the company’s website as being “natural” and free of “harsh chemicals”, but over 200 women across the US have brought a class-action lawsuit against the company and its infomercial owner Guthy-Renker.
These women claim WEN causes hair to fall out, thin or break, and they allege the company and its infomercial owner knowingly sold these products.
The suit also accuses Guthy-Renker of removing negative online reviews about the products and blocking or erasing comments about hair loss from the WEN Facebook page.
Wen products comes in three formulas; Lavender, Pomegranate, Sweet Almond Mint and in South Africa it is sold on the All4Women website.
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American television news network CBS reported that Amy Davis, the Dallas-based attorney and lead counsel for the plaintiffs, said that her firm hired chemists to test WEN.
“What we understand about the product and how it causes hair loss is it contains virtually no cleanser,” she said. “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.”
According to The Daily Beast, Guthy-Renker explained that there is no scientific evidence to support allegations that the hair care line results in hair loss.
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"There are many reasons why individuals may lose their hair, all unrelated to WEN hair products. We intend to vigorously contest the allegations made against our products,” he said in a widely publicised statement.
The parties are attempting to settle their differences outside of court.
Wen posted this message on its Facebook page:
However, complaints are still streaming in.
Melissa Malebranche wrote: "I have to say that I used WEN and loved it. The next bottle I received was different. I can't say exactly how, but it smelled different, not bad just different. That was when I noticed my scalp felt irritated and there was much more hair loss. Something changed about the product."
Jessa Fetters indicated that she used WEN for 6 months. "Then all of a sudden [I] started losing LOTS of hair." She said that she is allergic to sulphates, and that is why she tried Wen. "But I've had to go back to Pantene – within a day of switching back, no hair loss."
"How can anyone leave a positive review when their scalp in burned or hair is falling out in clumps?" asked Katherine Meacham. "I have to scalp burns on my head from your product. Everyone that I talked to either bitched about your product or how no refunds were ever given."
Alisha Stewart noted that she has very thick hair that is prone to frizz. "At first, I though WEN was helping with the texture of my hair as it seemed to lie flatter and was less frizzy. Then I noticed my scalp was itchy and drying out.
Image: Alisha Stewart (Facebook)
"After a few weeks of use, I believe that the reason my hair initially seemed different is actually because it was thinning my hair. I don't take any medication and have no health issues."
47-year-old Tracie Turner Shipman said she went to dermatologist to get 47 shots in her head due to WEN. "I cried like a baby. It hurt so bad and [I] don't even know if its going to help and two of my poodles have a bald spot because I used it on my poodles."
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Wen Lawsuit Grows To 200, Including Parents On Behalf Of Children: http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2015/11/11/wen-lawsuit-grows-to-200-including-parents-on-behalf-of-children/
200 Women Sue WEN Hair Care: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/12/11/200-woman-sue-wen-hair-care.html
Wen by Chaz Dean: http://www.wen.com/
All4Women: Chaz Dean Wen cleansing conditioner: http://shopping.all4women.co.za/Chaz-Dean-Wen-Cleansing-Conditioner-Sweet-Almond-Mint-16-Ounce-ap-B00JC0ZPE0.html