Founded in 1993, Wen is best known for its bestselling Cleansing Conditioners. Founder Chaz Dean started the brand in his kitchen, mixing a concoction of natural products to create a shampoo/conditioner that cleansed but didn’t strip the scalp or hair of its own oils. The brand has since grown to include a full collection of hair and body care products in a variety of scents, including Lavender, Tea Tree, Sweet Almond Mint, Fig, and more.
The company’s signature non-lathering formulas are based on emulsifying agents, which are materials that have amphiphilic character. In other words, they can be water-loving (hydrophilic) or oil-loving (lipophilic). The emulsifiers used in Wen formulas are cetyl alcohol, stearyl alcohol, glyceryl stearate, sorbitan, and polysorbate 60. In addition to emulsifying the ingredients in the Wen product, these fatty acids also serve to thicken and stabilize the emulsion. This is not a new concept—Curl Girl and Jessicurl, among others, have been marketting no-shampoo methods for years—but Dean’s approach has gained mass appeal, thanks to his endorsement by QVC and the massive marketing campaign he’s been able to execute.