Since starting law school last spring, I haven’t been as diligent about trying new beauty products. There’s just so much on the market, every week some new must-have. After the holidays, I decided to use some gift cards to try a few new things. Some were winners. Some were back in the mail the next day. Here are my reviews.
Wen Cucumber Aloe Cleansing Conditioner ($32)
The air out West is much drier than my hair is used to after a decade in D.C.. After seeing dozens of late night infomercials for Wen cleansing conditioner, I decided to give it a try. For the sake of my locks and my pricey dye job, maybe it was time to give up shampoo…
What a mistake.
The first day, things looked promising. The second, my hair felt a little bit greasy, but had good volume. By the fourth, the skin on my neck, my ears, my jawline, and my forehead was covered in acne. I also noticed that I seemed to be losing more hair to the drain with every wash, sometimes clumps of hair. Between thinning hair and painful scabs and acne all along my hair line, I’ve never used a product that caused so many problems.
I returned the bottle immediately. I’m not taking any chances. A nice, sulfate-free shampoo works just fine for me.
Boscia Detox Cleanser ($28) // Makeup Cleansing Oil ($28) // Tsubaki Cleansing Oil-Gel ($28)
I decided to switch my face wash a few weeks ago, so I wanted to try a few different formulas. I loved the Detox cleanser. It works very well, and it’s not drying. I’m not sure it’s helping with my acne, but it does seem to be helping the redness.
The Makeup Breakup cleanser is my first foray into oil cleansing. I like it. Unlike what I believed initially, it does not make my skin oily. Quite the opposite, it seems to balance it. It’s gentle and doesn’t stress my skin.
While I liked the Detox and Breakup cleansers, I hated the Tsubaki cleanser. So drying, with this odd scent, and I never felt my skin was really clean.
Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara ($23)
A few bloggers who I trust raved about the Too Faced mascara, so even though I was happy with my Kevyn Aucoin Volume mascara, I had to try it.
The mascara provides excellent length and volume. Even without eyeliner, it looks really good. I have two small complaints though. The applicator holds too much product, so you have to scrape quite a bit back into the tube to avoid clumping. Also, it will rub off on your lower lids, which can be annoying. (The Aucoin is the only formula I’ve tried that doesn’t.)
All in all, I really like the mascara. I use it when I want more oomph, but it’s not a perfect fit. But for lashes that long and voluminous, I’m willing to tolerate the negatives.
Clinique Beyond Perfecting Foundation + Concealer ($27)
Need a foundation that will give you near flawless skin? This one is worth a try. The formula absorbs excess oil, and breathes really well, so it never feels heavy. I apply it with the BareSkin Perfecting Face Brush to get an even, almost airbrushed look. If it’s the weekend, and I don’t want a full face of makeup, I mix it with a little primer for a lighter application.
You can also use the applicator tip to conceal blemishes or imperfections. I don’t because I really like my current concealer and feel no need to change. But it’s a good all-in-one choice if you want to buy a single product.
As I neared the end of my giant bottles of Bumble & Bumble shampoo and conditioner I was looking for a replacement that was natural, and costed a sane amount. I waffled on the Wen product, especially considering the cost and the split reviews on Sephora. Glad to hear I chose wisely. I have very sensitive skin too, and hairline breakouts are the worst, they seem to take forever to clear up!
I ended up just making my own shampoo with pure aloe vera gel and castille soap, two things I already had and use for other things. It’s worked pretty well so far, and I feel like I have less breakouts than before. Sounds kind of crunchy I know, but my hair and scalp lean heavily towards Dry so the oilies wasn’t a concern for me.
Going low ‘poo (who came up with these names?) and the oil cleansing method have made a big improvement in my skin. Considering I used to be a product junkie (this next one will make everything perfect, I’d think to myself) I’m more than happy to keep my money in my pocket, and to let them keep all the yucky ingredients that never seemed to really solve anything anyways.
Which Bumble and bumble shampoo and conditioner were you using? According to Paula’s Choice research staffers (Bryan and Nathan) on YouTube, Yes To Coconut Ultra Moisture shampoo and conditioner (available at Target) are excellent dupes for Bb’s creme de coco shampoo and conditioner.
I was using the Gentle Shampoo and Super Rich conditioner. I might have to check out the Conditioner because I have long hair and still like something moisturizing for my ends. Thanks for the tip!
Did you mean to say that the Detox cleaner is *not* drying? Just wondering. Could be that you’re looking for something like that but it’s not a common form of praise for cleanser which made me think it might be a typo.
Probably a typo, I’ll look when I get home.
I’ve used Wen for two years and have had NONE of the issues that Belle reported. It may be the type of Wen she selected, but if you really want to try one, go with the Sweet Almond Mint which is the most standard formula.
The reason why you seem to lose more hair with Wen is because it’s not tangled anymore. With other shampoos, your hair is a dried rat’s nest and you can’t get a comb through it, let alone have any hair fall out. I can assure you, even with the hair at the bottom of the drain each time I use Wen, it’s not enough to make a difference.
My color has never faded fade since using Wen, and I used to color it red.
There’s actually a class action for women who used Wen and had significant hair loss. Not sure what the cause is, but some women are reporting huge chunks of hair falling out. Mine was not just a little more hair in the drain, it was clumps. And my hair is not now, nor has it ever been, a dried rat’s nest.
I think for some people it’s a good product, but if you have significant skin issues it probably isn’t. And I’m not taking any risks with losing my hair.
Just learned about the class action and it reminded me of your negative experience. Was going to tweet at you about it https://www.buzzfeed.com/stephaniemcneal/wen-hair-loss#.bjYOX3e2Z, but it looks like you already know. What a nightmare, very thankful for your post, as I had debated trying Wen.
For anyone who is interested, I’ve had good luck with Bumble and Bumble’s Full Potential. Also very drying, so you may need extra conditioner or some supplementary conditioner, or just to baby your hair to keep it from getting snarly, but the system seemed to work for me (fiance noticed that my hair seemed fuller, actually).
Anyway, I know this comment is way after you posted this, but just wanted to say thanks for sharing your negative experience so others could avoid it.
I have curly bleached hair that is dry, but with an oily scalp and Wen is amazing!! Totally saved my frizzy hair. Based on all the reviews I’ve seen, people either absolutely love it or really hate it (Note, I use the Fig one and you have to follow the directions exactly ) Not sure why, but if you are thinking of trying it i highly recommend you buy from Sephora so you can return if you don’t like.
I have a feeling I’m going to get hate from some other commenters on this, but I’m going to say it anyway. Belle, I appreciate your reviews of these products a lot, but it rubs me the wrong way that you still affiliate link to products that you say you hated.
My apologies. I wrote this after 1:00AM after finishing a midterm, and I just wrote the post in the usual way pulling the links from the service I use to create links. It didn’t even dawn on me to remove them because I was just trying to finish quickly and get to bed. I’ve removed them.
I actually like the links! Even if Belle doesn’t like the products, I like being able to quickly get to the product, especially when sometimes even if they don’t work for her, the commenters persuade me to give the products a try. The fact that it’s an affiliate link doesn’t bother me – it’s marked so if I don’t want to use the affiliate link, I don’t have to.
I haven’t tried the Wen line yet, but I have been having great results from cleansing conditioners in general. It definitely is a highly variable thing from person to person, I think.
And the smell of that Boscia Tsubaki cleanser is just awful, and something about the texture of it grosses me out.
I have never used Wen, but I really like DevaCurl’s NoPoo cleansing conditioner. I have fine wavy hair that’s also been lightened and my hair is less fizzy and much happier than it ever has been when I used shampoo several times a week, and its especially nice when its cold. I still use shampoo on my scalp from time to time, though.
You must try to Josie Maran cleanser! I have some acne and it does wonders for it… seems to melt away. Never had a problem with with my sensitive skin with it. I love to use it with my clarisonic.
I came back to this post because I (mistakenly) thought that you had recommended Wen. In addition to not liking the product, I am now receiving unannounced charges from Wen and shipments in the mail I never asked for. I made my original order in March 2015 and now they are shipping me more without any notice and automatically charging my credit card. Such a pain and not customer friendly — there is no way to cancel this on their website, I had to call and go a couple rounds with the woman in customer service. Even then, i still have to ship the product back to them. ugh.