The folks at WEN sent me a good chunk of their line to review and I was super excited because I’ve heard of the stuff for about 100 years now, but it’s not widely available in stores and I’m never up late enough to order from those infomercials. Some people say WEN Hair and Body Care by Chaz Dean is just a knock-off of black women who were co-washing already,but according to Mr. Chaz Dean’s marketing material, he started the development of “cleansing conditioning” in 1996, way earlier than when the natural hair movement took hold.
In any case, WEN is not like co-washing. Well, it is and it isn’t, but I’ll get to that later. It’s different than co-washing in that it is designed to also cleanse, while regular conditioners are designed to do only one job. WEN has like, five jobs. WEN is a Jamaican.
I tried to be cheap once and bought Hair One, the WEN knock off sold at Sally’s. I was not impressed. And combined with the horrid men’s cologne fragrance it had, I was even less excited about WEN because I tried Hair One first and had decided it was either a terrible knock off or WEN must suck eggs.
I’m glad to report that WEN does not suck eggs, and everybody in our house sans The Hubster has used it and loved it. Clo Clo, who has waist length 3a curls won’t ever wash her hair with anything else, because the WEN has so much slip she no longer has any tangles. The Babster has a looser curl and finer hair, but she also loves the stuff and hardly notices when I take the shampoo brush to it. The Boy likes it because it’s one less step to do and less interruptions of Mind Craft. I really like it too, because it really hydrates and my curls pop after I use it.
Here’s a photo I took right after washing and conditioning. Had to do a wash-and-go because it was my day to carpool.
WEN SIXTHIRTEEN Daily Cleansing Treatment
WEN Fig Cleansing Conditioner
WEN (fig) Styling Creme (works great for non-greasy twist outs)
Any of the WEN Treatment Oils (they work well on both wet and dry hair)
WEN Replenishing Treatment Mist (I’m using it every night before I retwist)
WEN Re-Moist Hydrating Mask: I tried this twice and was totally underwhelmed. My hair felt more like it had just gotten a protein treatment rather than a moisture treatment. My hair was super curly, like after you’ve just infused it with a bunch of protein and my hair didn’t feel particularly more moisturized after washing with the Fig Cleansing Conditioner, so if I were you I’d just skip it.
WEN Finishing Treatment Creme: This product claims to give a “smooth, polished finish” but the stuff sucked the shine right out of my hair and did absolutely nothing for me.
Remember how I said WEN was kinda sorta like a co-wash, but not? It is similar in one way–it can build up, and the build up will cause it to work less effectively even after just a few washes. While WEN has mostly quality ingredients, it does contain Amodimethicone in the Fig cleansing conditioner and other ‘cones in other formulas. It is ESSENTIAL that you slosh those silicones away about every third wash or so or you’ll get build up on your hair and scalp and if you have fine hair like I do, you will get more breakage. You’ll know when you need to shampoo when you stand under the shower and the water seems to take a long time to absorb into the hair. I like to use Giovanni Tea Tree Triple Threat Shampoo to clarify, because it rids the build up without sulfates.
WEN is an excellent product and the Fig formula is very good for naturalistas. But don’t get excited and buy everything. You’ll get great results with the Cleansing Conditioner and a bottle of the treatment oils. I love that WEN is both shampoo, conditioner and leave-in conditioner, but the cost (about $30) and access to the product can be an impediment for some. But this stuff passes my test: if I’d be willing to buy what I’ve been sent for free, then it’s a keeper. But if you think about it, since the formula does the work of three separate items, the cost sort itself out in the…wash. ha ha