A federal judge in Los Angeles gave preliminary approval to a $26.25 million settlement for a class-action lawsuit against Wen by Chaz Dean and distributor Guthy-Renker. The more than 200 members of the lawsuit say that the brand’s cleansing conditioner led to hair loss, scalp irritation, and balding.
If approved by a U.S. district judge, the suit would pay $25 to anyone who bought a bottle of the cleansing conditioner (total capped at $5 million) and up to $20,000 to people who experienced adverse reactions; that figure includes reimbursement for treatment as well as injury awards.
Attorney Amy Davis told CBS Los Angeles: “From what we understand about the product and how it causes hair loss is it contains virtually no cleanser. 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.”
Wen disputes this claim and said in a statement that the product is safe. “We continue to provide our hundreds of thousands of customers with the Wen by Chaz Dean products that they know and love. 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.”
In July, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a safety alert for the cleansing conditioner after it received 127 complaints of “hair loss, hair breakage, balding, itching, and rash” associated with the product. The FDA is also investigating thousands of complaints made directly to Chaz Dean, Inc. and Guthy-Renker.