Are WEN Products Really Worth It? Beauty Economics 101
Why I chose WEN
After years of short hair, I decided to grow it long again. It is now below shoulder length, and has been that long or a few inches longer, for several years. Although my hair naturally is the fashionable absolutely straight, I want some body and curl. To get body and curl, I resorted to strong gel products, heat styling, and lots of hairspray. Although my scalp is oily, the shaft of my hair got pretty dry. I started to lose a lot of hair mid-shaft, and split ends abounded. It seemed like I also was losing hair at the hairline. Expensive drug store products made no difference. The breakage and split ends continued. I did not want to continue losing hair to product and styling techniques, so I "bit" at the WEN promise.
Is it necessary to follow all of the directions to get results?
If you have any interest in hair care or the health of your hair and scalp, you have seen the WEN haircare infomercials on TV and wondered if the product works, or if it is just hype (yet again). I have been using the WEN haircare product, "cleansing conditioner," for more than two years. I have not used it as directed, but have adjusted it to my needs. Despite warnings that failure to use as directed would not produce results, I have obtained them. Here is a description of my experience.
WEN Did Work for Me - Under Modified Circumstances
So, I ordered WEN. The first time I tried it, I was not happy with it for two reasons:
- My hair did not stay clean-feeling for more than a day; and
- It was too expensive.
I sent it back, and tried other products that claimed that they would produce similar results to those asserted by WEN. They did not. I decided to give WEN another try. This time, over several months, I worked out the following system of use that produced the benefits claimed by WEN:
- Because my scalp is oily, and I was using a lot of product to get some body and curl, I still use a regular shampoo first. I use just enough to get some lather, quickly work it through my hair and rinse thoroughly.
- I dilute WEN by 3/4s. That is, I use one part WEN to three parts water, liberally, and work in through my hair and massage my scalp. I put some extra on the ends, and clip the ends up while I finish my shower.
- Thorough rinsing is a must.
- After rinsing, I put a little more on my ends and work through as a "leave-in" conditioner.
For me, this system has produced thicker hair, with no breakage and no split ends (I'm not exaggerating). My stylist is a fan, and cannot believe how healthy my hair is compared to her other customers.
WEN products are not cheap, however. Are the results worth the expense?
A 30-day 16-ounce supply of cleansing conditioner is about $30.00. That is, obviously, $30 a month, or $1.87 per ounce: not financially attractive (by a long shot) to induce purchase.
The 32-ounce size is about $50.00. If 16 ounces is a 30-day supply, 32 ounces should last about 60 days. That is about $25 per month, or $1.56 per ounce. Although I did not believe I was spending $25 per month on hair care, my hair was really suffering. If WEN replaced all other products, as it was supposed to, I figured that 32 ounces would be marginally cost effective, assuming that it produced the projected results. I have medium fine, below shoulder length hair. It is slightly oily. The first time that I used WEN, washing every other day, strictly following the directions, I used slightly less than 16 ounces in two weeks. This means that I would use the whole 32 ounces in one month, not two. Not only did the product increase the the rate at which my hair seems to get oily, it was outrageously expensive, and would not last for the projected time period. I sent it back for refund.
As noted above, I tried other products to no avail, and then decided to try WEN again. The second time I used WEN, I purchased a gallon. One gallon (128 ounces) is about $180. That is an 8-month supply, at $16 per month, or $1.40 per ounce: financially more like it. Using the above-described experimentation to achieve my goals (the best hair possible without an undue oil factor), the gallon has lasted more than two years. That is about $7.50 per month. Was I spending that much before WEN?
When I purchase hair care products, I
Was I spending $7.50 per month on my hair before I committed to a long-term WEN trial?
Before WEN, I was using a salon shampoo at about $15 per 32 ounces, with a mousse or other styling product at about $6-10, in a three-month period. That's $25 over three months, or about $8.00 a month. This expense does not consider how many styling products I purchased before using up the one I had because the product did not work, or produced more split ends or breakage than if I had used nothing. The answer, then, is yes, I was spending more than $7.50 per month on my hair before WEN, although I would have choked on the thought before I thought through the economics: more reason to stay with my current protocol.
Have I tried other WEN products? Yes: add the styling cream!
The styling cream was touted to produce real, lasting body and curl in straight hair. I purchased it with skepticism, but since nothing else except very heavy gel seemed to work, and I had good results with the cleansing cream, what did I have to lose?
I used this product as directed, one pump distributed from mid-shaft to ends. Now THIS is a miracle product. I have NEVER used anything that produced the lasting curl that the WEN styling cream does. (I have not given up hairspray, however.)
or the Mousse!
I very recently tried the Nourishing Mousse. At first, I thought I would like it even better than the Styling Cream because I could use it closer to my scalp without producing a feeling of weight or oiliness. It is $28.00 for 7.5 ounces. Given the economics, I knew that I would have to choose between the Styling Cream and the Mousse after a more experimentation. I have found that the Styling Cream produces more curl that holds better, and have chosen to continue with it instead of the Mousse.
About hair color:
I do not now nor have I color-treated my hair; since regular shampoos apparently strip color, my modification may not be for you. My natural color, however, appears to have returned to an earlier, richer shade. My hair is graying in streaks (a genetic trait) that I LOVE, and the streaks remain a bright color, with no hint of yellow.
... but does adding another WEN product change the economics?
Regarding the economics, the styling cream is $24 for 6 ounces. I estimate use at about six pumps per ounce, or approximately 36 uses. At about 10 uses per month, the 6-ounce styling cream should last about four months, for about $6 per month. That produces a WEN cost of about $13.50 per month for both cleansing conditioner and styling cream. This is the point at which results trump economics for me. If previously wasted $ trying ineffective products is concerned, the WEN cost probably roughly approximates the amount spent for hair care before WEN.
I have at long last found products that work for my hair, and actually produce promised results! I would not have come to that conclusion, however, had I not been willing to experiment. Directions are important, but not always conclusive.
US Market Hair Care Research
- US hair care market to be worth $10.5 billion by 2016
Over the five year period between 2006 and 2011 the US hair care market experienced a negative compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3% with poor economic conditions. Should the economy recover as expected, that trend is expected to reverse.
International Hair Care Research
- Hair care, shampoo, and conditioner market research, market share
Market research report on the Hair Care industry, with Hair Care, Shampoo, and Conditioner market share, market size, and industry statistics.
Additional reviews of WEN:
- Anyone Try WEN hair products?
Anyone Try WEN hair products? Discussions in the HubPages Fashion and Beauty Forum
- WEN Hair Care Product Review - WEN Cleansing Conditioner
Have you watched in awe at the WEN Haircare Cleansing Conditioner commercials and wondered if it really can transform your dry, dull, frizzy, and unmanageable hair into soft, shiny hair that's full of body? I put WEN to the test and was surprised wit