Is wen conditioner a wonder?

Aspenstar wonders…What do you think of the Wen cleansing conditioners by Chaz Dean? supposedly they are not actually a shampoo, but a treatment product? Is it more hype than fact?

Right Brain says Wen:

The Left Brain previously wrote about Wen Cleansing Conditioners. Essentially concluding that WEN Cleansing Conditioner is a decent product that will clean your hair that isn’t too dirty. Left also concluded that using a store brand may be a better option. In this post, we’ll tell you the main things to look for in a cleansing conditioner.

Why clean hair with conditioner?

The first thing you might wonder is why would anyone want to clean their hair with conditioner. There are basically three reasons.

  1. Shampoo can damage hair
  2. Shampoo can strip color
  3. Shampoo has ingredients that can be irritating.

Chaz Dean also says that his products stimulate the scalp but that doesn’t mean much.

Shampoo damages hair

It is true that shampooing can damage hair. It is not really the ingredients that cause damage, but the “sudsing-up” process. Moving your hair around twists and turns hair fibers making them susceptible to breakage. An added problem is that the hair is wet and more vulnerable to breakage. Skipping shampoo reduces hair damage.

Shampoo can strip color

While this is true, water is the real culprit for color loss. Shampoos speed the process a bit, but just getting hair wet is enough to pull out your color. If you use only a conditioner, your hair gets exposed to less water and loses less color.

Ingredients that irritate

Shampoo ingredients can be harsh and irritating. Sulfates are particularly bad, but almost ANY detergent in a shampoo will cause irritation if left on the head too long. Ingredients in conditioners can be just as irritating (or even worse) however, other ingredients are included that mitigate this problem.

Ingredients in conditioner that clean hair

You might be wondering what ingredients in conditioners clean hair. The primary cleaning ingredients are also the primary conditioning ingredients. Cationic surfactants are the cleaning/conditioning ingredients in conditioners. Look for these ingredients in your conditioner for cleansing.

  • Behentrimonium Methosulfate *
  • Dicetyldimonium Chloride *
  • Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine *
  • Cetrimonium Chloride
  • Stearyalkonium Chloride

*In the WEN Cleansing Conditioner product

Best cleaning conditioner options

That brings us back to the original question. Are WEN Cleansing Conditioners more hype than fact?

No and Yes.

Wen Works

WEN Cleansing Conditioners will more gently clean your hair than shampoo. There is enough cleaning compounds in this conditioner to get most of the basic dirt out of your hair. (If your hair is really dirty, you’ll need to shampoo).

Wen is not a wonder

Wen cleansing conditioners do have a couple of drawbacks. First, they are way too expensive for what you get. Based on the list of ingredients, they are not much different than Pantene Conditioner. You could save yourself a lot of money by using Pantene the same way you would use Wen.

A Better Option

Unfortunately, neither Wen nor Pantene are your best choices for this type of product. Better (and less expensive) are Suave Conditioner or VO5 Conditioner. These are superior because the can clean your hair much better than Wen or Pantene. They use either Cetrimonium Chloride or Stearalkonium Chloride which are better cleansers. They also aren’t loaded with silicones which can make hair feel dirty if not proceeded by a shampoo step.

Beauty Brains bottom line

Eliminating shampooing and cleaning hair with conditioner only is a dramatic change from what you are used to. For many people, you won’t like how it feels. But for some (particularly those with long, curly or colored hair) you may love the way your hair feels. It will take a week or two to get used to but you might find it’s worth it.

Have you used conditioner to clean your hair? What did you think? Leave a comment below and let the rest of the Beauty Brains community know.