FDA Investigates WEN Cleansing Conditioner Hair Loss Complaints, Eliana's Story

FDA Investigates WEN Cleansing Conditioner Hair Loss Complaints, Eliana's Story

Celebrities claim it’s the best, but is Wen Hair Care making some lose their hair? August 22nd 2016
This is my little girl. Transcript below. Rob did make a couple errors:The bill is the “Personal Care Products Safety Act”, introduced in April 2015. The patchy-hair photos were recent photos – that is the way her hair grew back in. This happened in the fall of 2014. She has still not fully recovered, and we don’t know if she ever will.

“One of the kids actually called me a bald witch.”

A Denver girl says she lost all of her hair because of a popular conditioner you may have in your home. Tonight the Fox 31 Problem Solvers take a closer look at why the FDA is now investigating WEN Hair Care.

Imagine losing your hair at the age of 10 because of a product that claims to be safe and all natural.

I’ve seen the infomercial – nearly two years later the Feds have agreed to investigate if Wen hair products are to blame for thousands of complaints nationwide but as investigative reporter Rob Low explains there may not be much the FDA can do.

It turns out even if the FDA concludes Wen hair products are responsible for this girl’s hair loss and the record number of complaints the FDA has received, the agency lacks the legal authority to even issue recall. Now one Denver girl and her mom hope their story will convince Congress to pass pending legislation to fix that.

When Eliana Lawrence played Annie in a local production of the famous musical, she didn’t need a red wig. Her natural hair was perfect for the part. But two years ago just before her 10th birthday, Eliana tried a new hair conditioner and the results were nothing to sing about.

“I was a little scared I was scared I had cancer or something”

These photos to the story. Her hair began falling out. Her mom showed us the locks of hair she still keeps in a ziploc bag.

“…the first time I combed out her hair and it was about ⅓ of her hair…”

Miriam said after just three uses of Wen hair conditioner, her daughter was nearly bald and she’s convinced the ingredients in this bottle or to blame.

“It was very clear seeing her hair fall off her head on contact with that product.”

In this youtube video celebrity hairstylist Chaz Dean brags about the products he created “Say hello to Wen hair care and your cleansing conditioners you’re going to cleanse your hair, hydrate your hair, condition your hair without stripping it.”

But what happened to Eliana was far worse than stripping. Nearly two years after using the product, her hair still hasn’t grown back fully.

Eliana’s complaint against one is one of a 127 the FDA has received so far A record numbers of the federal agency. More troubling – Wen’s parent company admitted to the FDA it’s received more than 21,000 customer complaints and now faces a number of class action lawsuits.

But Wen stands by his product telling the Fox 31 Problem Solvers “Wen by Chaz Dean cleansing conditioners are safe to apply to the hair and scalp millions of bottles have been sold over the last 16 years which we believe is testament to the quality of the product there is no evidence that Wen products cause hair loss and the ingredients and formulations meet or exceed all recommended safety and quality standards set by the industry we stand behind them we have consistently cooperated with the FDA and intend to continue to do so.

That may be because just last month the FDA announced it was opening an investigation into the safety of Wen. But even if the federal agency determines the product is not safe, it has no legal ability to recall personal care products.

“I think it’s unbelievable that it’s voluntary to recall a personal care product the FDA doesn’t have that authority under current law”

“Dear Senator, my name is Eliana and I’m 11 year’s old…”

Which is why Eliana wrote a letter to Colorado’s US senators about Wen

“…and they’re ignoring the fact that they are selling poison…”

asking them to support the Personal Care Products Safety Act

“…so please don’t let this happen to other people.”

An act that would give the FDA recall authority

“P.S. I really do miss my hair sincerely, Eliana Sarah Lawrence”

Eliana’s hair wasn’t just part of her identity on or off the stage. It’s part of the reason she was homeschooled last year after fellow students teased her.

“calling me names, pointing and whispering at me and it was very hurtful”

She lost her hair and her dignity. Two things she says no child
should ever lose.

“I think they should recall it and just not sell it.”

Miriam Lawrence went to Washington DC last March to meet with congressional staffers.In April 2015, California Senator Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat, and Susan Collins, a Republican introduced the Personal Care Product Safety Act but it has yet to be voted on.
Rob Low Fox31 Denver