Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Review - Wen by Chas Dean Cleansing Conditioner set

Disclosure - this kit was sent to us free for review by Guthy-Renker's PR

I must admit to never having heard of Guthy-Renker before these items came into our hands. GR operate on a subscription basis, sending out 3-monthly dispatches of product in return for regular payments. They work a lot through informercials in the USA. There have been some reports of the US factions not being very good about processing cancellations to the subscription arrangements. We don't have any experience of this - it's just information that's available online.

Wen by Chaz Dean is one of their key lines, and is the brainchild of LA hairdresser Chaz Dean. The name "Wen" is meant to evoke the words "Zen" and "new" (it's "new" spelled backwards). We were especially interested to try it, as it is one of the first commercial co-washing programmes available on the UK market. Gemma has been co-washing for some time, and I've been toying with the idea of trying it myself. This system seemed like a good place to start.

It's not suitable for Gemma's silicone-free haircare regime, due to the inclusion of Amodimethicone. However, it also contains a wealth of botanical ingredients; plant and flower oils and extracts designed to make hair lustrous, bouncy and generally happy-looking, so I was glad to take it off her hands.

The introductory kit, which retails at £24.95 (+£5.95 postage) consists of a Cleansing Conditioner (350ml), Styling Creme (60ml) and Intensive Hair Treatment (56g). You also get a wide toothed comb and a free (!) 10g Texture Balm with your first order. It comes in two flavours - Sweet Almond Mint, or Cucumber Aloe. We were sent the former (just as well, as I hate cucumber).

The advice on the back of the Cleaning Conditioner bottle suggests using 16-24 pumps of it each time you wash. This sounded like quite a lot of product to us. I think because it doesn't lather, this is how much you need in order to distribute it evenly through the hair. But I found myself wondering whether the number of pumps recommended was in fact just a shallow ploy to make people use up their bottles quicker and buy more.

When using the product, I did find I needed a lot, at least 12 pumps, and I think those with longer and thicker hair will need even more. It has a fairly typical conditioner consistency, medium weight and slippery/creamy. The mint is much more prevalent than the almond (although the complementing styling creme has more of an almond thing happening). You massage and comb it through the hair, pin back, leave for around 5 minutes and then massage once more and rinse. That's it. You can add an extra dose of conditioning power by going a second round with the Intensive Hair Treatment mixed in with the Cleansing Conditioner.

I used Wen exclusively on my hair for 2 weeks. It has not changed my life. In fact I actually found that the mint irritated my scalp a bit, and I ended up being quite glad to go back to my regular shampoo as a result. It definitely does clean the hair thoroughly, which I must admit surprised me even though I've seen how well co-washing works for Gemma. I wasn't expecting it to be able to de-grease as well as it did. But the zingy bouncy shiny free-of-shampoo-and-loving-it effect? Really not happening for me. My hair was pretty much just as it had been before, except with an itchier scalp.

I really hoped to see a dramatic improvement in the condition and health of my hair after foraying into a shampoo-free regime, but I think in this case it was just not meant to be. Maybe I need to explore some different conditioners.

To order Wen, visit


  1. I'm quite disappointed that I didn't get to try this one - and am sad you're not a convert to co-washing!

  2. SO glad I found this blog so..

    You have won an award on my page,
    really enjoying your stuff,



  3. I don't like the Sweet Almond nearly as much as the Tea Tree or the Fig variants. I find the Sweet Almond a little runnier, and it doesn't seem to clean my hair as well as the other flavours.

    Typical we can't get the Fig and Tea Tree here :S


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