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Saturday, December 5, 2009

Review: Hair One Cleanser (Wen Haircare knock-off)

There's been a lot of buzz about lather-free, sulfate-free hair cleansers lately, so when I saw the Hair One Hair Cleanser and Conditioner at Sally Beauty recently, and noticed they had trial-size packets, I knew I had to buy one and give this product a whirl. Hair One is VERY similar in concept to the Wen by Chaz Dean haircare products, but for far less money.

After watching many, many demos of Wen products on QVC, I knew I had to try this affordable version (for the record, I have never tried any products by Wen, and I am in no way comparing Hair One products to Wen products in this review).

Hair One is a line of sulfate-free haircare products with the main concept being a combination cleanser and conditioner that does not lather. Hair One products are made with olive oil and other good-for-your-hair ingredients, and no sulfates or parabens:

So, armed with my trial packet of Hair One Cleanser and Conditioner for Dry Hair ($1.50 at Sally Beauty), I decided to give this experiment a try.

The first thing I noticed was the extensive directions. If you add up the minutes required for each step in the cleansing process, you need to be in the shower for a total of 11 minutes, and that's just for washing and rinsing your hair. And that doesn't include combing the product through with a wide-tooth comb, which is also required and adds several additional minutes to the process. I don't know about you, but that's a LOT of time in the shower devoted just to hair cleansing, don't you think?

Nevertheless, I was determined to use this product exactly as directed, so I started with fully saturating my hair with water and went from there, following every direction above to a "T".

What I noticed about applying this product to the hair was that it took A LOT of effort. Considering that my hair is very long (it goes to just below my bra strap), any product I apply takes effort. But since Hair One doesn't lather, and it doesn't have a lot of slip, it was difficult to get it down into the roots and scalp area and then along the back of my head. The product itself smells quite pleasant (sort of clean and sweet) and the texture isn't too oily (I was afraid it would be very greasy given the olive oil). But again, it was difficult to apply half the package as directed.

The next step is to apply the second half of the package to the mid-section and ends. After that's done, you need to comb through with a wide-tooth comb. Well...that was a REAL challenge because this product does not provide any type of de-tangling effect. At least for me it didn't. So combing it through meant detangling for several minutes. Ugh.

Finally it was time to rinse, and the directions make it very clear that you must rinse for 1-2 minutes by massaging your scalp and running your fingers through your hair from roots to ends. Again, this product takes A LOT of effort, folks!

So...what did my hair feel like when I got out of the shower? It sort of reminded me of the feeling and texture that I would get from using a basic shampoo with a basic conditioner (not a conditioner for very dry hair, but a regular conditioner). It was soft and relatively easy to comb (thanks in part to me having to painstakingly work out all of my tangles while in the shower).

How did my hair look after I styled it? Well, I used my blow-dryer and a round brush, and when all was said and done, I was pleased with the shine of my hair (shiner than usual) and the texture of my hair felt light and bouncy. Very light, actually. More light than it usually feels. I have a feeling that I would have probably really liked how my hair would have looked had I let it dry naturally and allowed my natural waves to take form.

So how do I like my hair, almost 24 hours later? This is the weird part. The hair near my scalp is still shiny and feels clean, but my ends feel...greasy, and they are not shiny at all. Did I do something wrong here? I mean, I have oily hair by nature and it's very oily at the roots. My ends are extremely dry due to years of color-treatment and abuse. So why would this product, that's made for dry hair, leave my roots clean, soft and shiny but my ends, the driest part of my hair, feeling greasy, coated, dull and icky? I totally don't get it. Did I not rinse this out long enough? That can't be possible because I rinsed and rinsed and massaged like crazy, just as directed!

Another thing I'd like to point out is that my hair is one tangled MESS right now. Even though I thoroughly brushed it twice today, I can't seem to go more than a few hours before I've got a small rat's nest building up behind my neck. What gives?

I don't know...maybe I did something wrong here. Have any of you used Hair One products before? I'm hoping they work wonders for some of you, but as of now, they just aren't cutting it for me. As always, I'd love to hear your thoughts!


  1. Hahahaha a rat's nest? Poor R! I've never tried one of these before so I can't really give you any feedback. But this was a good read though. :)

  2. I've never used this, but it sounds like a lot of trouble!
    If you have problems with tangles, you should try brushing your hair immediately before you get in the shower. It maximizes cleaning by distributing the oils in your hair, plus makes it very easy to comb conditioner through your hair, as long as you're easy on your hair when you lather your shampoo :).

  3. Shela: yeah, it is pretty funny, huh? Glad you enjoyed it! xo

    MermaidBird: Thank you so much for the helpful tip! I will totally try this the next time I take a shower. I am usually always running late and never even THINK about brushing it beforehand, but that totally makes sense. I am a bit scared that it will tangle again when I'm lathering my shampoo (I'm so darn hard on my hair!) but I will try to be as gentle as possible and see how that works. Thanks again! xo

  4. My friend and I bought this after she showed me the Wen commercials. I still haven't tried it and I have to check in with her to see if she has.
    My hair is horribly hard to detangle with just conditioner in it so I don't think this will be fun at all. And 11+ minutes in the shower! That's so much water wasted! Not sure if it's worth trying. If my friend has tried it, I'll let you know what she thinks of it.

  5. awww sad times! i actually have a full size bottle of this exact stuff and i looooove it! i don't really use it as directed tho, i just use it however i feel like. sometimes i use a sulfate-free shampoo before i use it and sometimes i use an additional conditioner too but sometimes i just use this stuff and i really like the results. my hair is super curly and thick and dry so maybe it depends on the texture...idk. i'm no expert believe me! i just LOOOOVE the way it smells haha!

  6. contests and such: OMG, you are so right! I never even thought about how much water that wastes (shame on me)! What a great point. So yeah...don't think I'll be buying the full-size bottle! lol.

    kellie: I love the way it smells too, but I just couldn't get it to work on my type of hair. But I do have one more trial-sized packet--maybe I should do what you do and use it like a normal shampoo and follow with conditioner? Or maybe it's just really awesome for super thick and curly hair, and not so much for fine, oily, wavy hair. At any rate, I am SO glad it works for you!! :) xo

  7. I bought the Hair One cleanser for normal hair and it completely dried my hair out at the ends and I would up looking super greasy. By the end of the day I needed to shampoo 2x just to get my hair back to normal. Maybe the one for color treated hair would be better as it might be more gentle? Who knows.

  8. I've used wen hair conditioner and it is actually the only hair cleanser my son can use. He has struggled with dry scalp.He is caucasian but has extremely coarse wiry hair. He won't use any other product now and it is ridiculously expensive especially when you pay for shipping. You do have to let it sit and it takes several washings to get great effects. I think I will try this One product that you mentioned and I will relay a comparison. Thanks for the tip.

  9. Hi Fish: Thanks so much for the comment, and I would LOVE to hear what you and your son think of Hair One vs. Wen. :)

  10. I've seen the wen hair infomercials and I've always always always wanted to try it, but it's so freaking expensive. I went to sally beauty supply the other week and picked up a little sample packet of hair one and I instantly loved I bought an entire container for like 11 dollars and I love it. I really do. It makes my hair look good right after I blow dry it. I don't even have to straighten it.

    but I also have pretty short hair..about chin length, and I'm pretty sure you need use A LOT of product to get the full effect.

    point...I will never ever ever use regular shampoo and conditioner everrrr

  11. I have never used a Wen product, but when I went to Sally's and the lady there said Hair One is supposed to be comparable I gave it a try. I should start out by saying I have very fine hair that tangles in an instant! I have not color treated my hair in years so my hair is very natural, and it is barely past my shoulders in length.

    I bought to of the large bottles (as opposed to packets). I started with the dry scalp formula. I too found that it was very difficult to comb through so the next morning I brushed my hair before jumping in the shower. I have one of the large ouchless brushes that makes detangling very easy, so it normally takes me only seconds before I can jump in the shower.

    Like one of the posts above, I did not thoroughly follow directions. I just went by feel. I used as many pumps as I needed until my hair felt saturated, then combed through, then applied a little more because the comb I was using would pull some of the product out of my hair.

    I recently finished the bottle of Tea Tree Hair One for Dry Hair and switched to Hair one for Normal Hair. I like the normal version much more. I felt like my hair was almost sticky with the tea tree version but it just feels soft and healthy with the normal hair version (cucumber). I'm going to try all four versions (even though I don't have color treated hair), just to see what I like the best.

    I do have to say though, for anyone thinking about trying Wen, though I have not used the products myself, I can't imagine it being any better than this. You really can't beat the price. With a 15% discount on $11 plus no shipping and handling. I plan on using this product for a long time!

  12. I think given the length of your hair the trial size pack wasn't enough of the Hair One Product to give you a true cleansing of the Hair One. I'm new to hair one as well but i like it a lot and my hair is relaxed short bob cut.

    The trial pack is a small amount it did the job for me but I like to research my products as well before i give them a try and when you by the big bottles out of hair one it tells you 8 pumps for the crown of your hair 8 pumps for your nape and then like 10-12 for the midsection.

    The bottle also says depending on your hair length you should use more product so i think thats the problem for you I say give it another shot maybe by 2 trial size packs instead of a bottle just in case you still don't like it then you've only invested 4 bucks.

  13. I love this product! I have cut my hair very short and it is thick, coarse and very curly since I am of a mixed caucasian/ African American heritage.

    I purchased the dry hair formula and proceeded much like I would wash my hair with shampoo except I did not rinse out the final application. My hair air dried into the most illustrious shine and waves. My curls were looser and my hair was soft. I will never go back to regular shampoo. I might add that I have no chemicals in my hair so this is a lot safer, in my opinion.

  14. I work next to a Sally's Beauty Supply and stopped in for a color applicator. While talking with the manager I asked if she could recommend a product which would cleanse my hair without pulling the color out. She told me about "one" for color treated hair. Being a guy, I am not really much for conditioning every day, as a matter of fact I have a collection of conditioners, which seem to have outlived the shampoo I bought them with. Never found a conditioner that could get that wiry texture out of the gray, until this product. This is perfect for my needs, doesn't pull color, softens the gray without making the fine hair limp, and can cleanse moulding clay out of my hair without making my scalp feel like I just used a floor stripper to wash it. This is perfect for those guys in your life, who just want a low maintainence routine with all the perks of our metrosexual counterparts who spend far more time and money than I would be willing too.. Vic-Denver

  15. So I recently tried the Hair One products because shampoo make me itch like crazy. I LOVE IT! I got the olive oil formula and my hair came out so great that my childrens daycare thought I had just been at the salon and had it professionally styled. Next time I'm getting the normal formula because it made my hair so much healthier that I don't need the dry hair formula anymore! I'm happy and itch free!

  16. I haven't tried this yet but I have used wen. The directions are almost exactly the same, so wen takes a long time in the shower too. I have had a problem with oily ends before when I didn't rinse the ends thoroughly enough. I used less shampoo the next time.

  17. I have been using Wen for a while now. My hair is color-treated, kind of fine, but I have a LOT of hair. It's also going gray in spots. It's shoulder-length.
    Wen is ok...but you have to use a LOT of it to get "the effect" and we all know how freakin' expensive it is.
    I'm going to try something else. I had to run, not walk away from Pantene, which made my hair look tragic.

  18. I haven't heard anyone say anything about how often you end up having to wash your hair when using this product. Is it still a daily routine or can you get by with 2-3 days between washing. I watched one review on youtube and she said 2 times a week but I am not sure what texture hair she has.

    1. I am on my 2nd day after washing and my hair still feels fine, the same as if i used shampoo.

  19. I tried the Hair One with Argan Oil. It smells really odd and you have to use a decent amount of it - especially if you have natural, kinky-curly hair. After rinsing, I didn't need another conditioner but added a small amount as a leave-in per the label. What I got the next day, was extremely dry and the ends were frizzy. This is my second try so I'm out. I don't know if Wen is any better, but I've used just plain old conditioner as "wash" and it works out much better for me AND without the higher price tag.

  20. I love Wen, but can't afford to keep using it. The key is to use a tiny bit more than you think you need and RINSE, RINSE, RINSE.

  21. I've been having trouble with greasy ends like you did with this stuff. I don't know what's causing it, but it might have something to do with the texture of the hair shaft. My (pardon the pun) hair-brained theory is that the hair shaft is smooth from the root until you get to the ends, where the hair suffers more wear and tear and is rougher. The smooth part absorbs oil evenly and stays shiny, while the rough doesn't absorb evenly, causing a noticeable oiliness. That's just my thought from experiencing the situation.

  22. I have tried Wen, and stumbled across this review while looking for a more affordable alternative. I love Wen. So I am hoping to try this and see if it works as well. One thing I have to say about these type of "shampoos", when you use them you have to remember they are cleaning all the by product left in your hair by years of regular shampoo and conditioner. Don't make up your mind after the first washing. It will take several weeks, and maybe even months, for your hair to get rid of all that damage.

    While using this, your body will still be producing extra oils for your hair, thinking it still needs to because that's what it's used to doing. I'm not sure if that made sense. Let me try to explain better.. Shampoos and conditioners strip your hair of vital oils needed to keep it healthy. Your body compensates by producing more of these oils than it normally would. When you switch to a "shampoo" that doesn't cause this kind of damage, it takes a while for your body to realize it no longer needs to compensate by making extra oil. So, your hair will have a transition period where it's just not going to look or feel right.

    Everyone's hair is different. Some people, their hair is normal with just a few washings, but others... like I said, it could take weeks or months. If you have the patience for it, and don't mind having a few bad hair days, or even hat days, it is well worth it.

    I'm excited to try this product, though. I just ran out of my last bottle of Wen, and I just can't bring myself to pay that much for another bottle. I had four bottles someone had given me, for four different types of hair, and I loved them all. Seems the only difference I found was the scent.. heh

    (btw, for those wondering, my mother is cosmetologist, and I have read up on going the "no poo" route for hair care... That's how I know about he oils and such)

    Also, you don't have to do it exactly as the directions say. Your hair just has to be wet all the way through, much like before you add any shampoo. Massage your scalp while you're applying the "shampoo". I apply a very liberal amount. 20 to 30 pumps all together, I'd say. You can feel if you missed a spot or not. Then what I do is just run a comb through. I have very long, thick hair, but I've never had trouble getting a comb through. I do all of this as soon as I get in the shower, then I use a hair clip after combing to pin my hair up while I finish the rest of my shower, washing, shaving, etc. (so as not to accidentally rinse it out) Last thing to do before getting out is take your hair down and rinse. It saves on water too, because you aren't just standing there wasting time. To do your hair at the end of a shower would be quite wasteful, I think. Also, after you think you've rinsed all of it out, turn your water to a cooler temperature. actually, as cold as you can stand it. That's just to close up those hair shafts, and make it shine. Not a necessity, but I always rinse in cold water.

    (sorry for such a long post. heh)

    1. I don't think there is going to be years of residue in hair that is constantly growing, being color treated, trimmed, and shampooed. Your tips are good, but the whole issue of damaged hair, residue, etc. should be evaluated carefully by each person. If you use permanent color, chemical straightening, yes -- that is permanent and we all know that those processes even fade out a bit over time. If you are talking about chlorine, hard water, conditioners and treatments having an effect on your hair, that is another issue and I don't think years of residue is the case.

  23. This is the last thing I have washed my hair with and I loved it! When I use to live on the east coast I would use just baking soda and apple cider vinegar to wash my hair and it worked great. Now I live in San Diego and our water is really hard so it doesnt work as well. As soon as I saw this product I knew I needed to try it. I used it as the directions stated. I have really thin hair and it worked great. You have to keep in mind that when using and shampoo alternative there can be a period of time for your scalp to adjust, that can make your hair extra greasy!

  24. I tried the Hair One with tea tree oil for dry scalp, it worked okay. My hair and my daughter’s hair were clean afterwards. Our hair looked, felt like we had used regular shampoo, but it wasn't as soft or shiny as I had anticipated. While I was at sally beauty I also picked up another crème cleanser for us, "As I am cowash". The cowash has more natural ingredients, one being coconut oil. This was definitely easier to comb through our hair. My daughter has large curls (semi wavy hair) and it is normal (not too thick or thin) and I have the same texture hair, just a very loose wave. When I used this a few days later, out hair felt so soft and smooth, root to tip. We have been able to go every other day washing with just the cowash crème cleanser. My daughter and I have super soft and shiny hair now. Will probably keep the hair one tea tree cleanser for once a month, and use the As I am cowash as a daily cleanser during the week if we need to wash our hair.

  25. Today was the first time I tried Hair One and while I wasn't sure what to expect, I was very pleasantly surprised with the great results. My hair is color treated, baby fine, thin and just touches my shoulders so I chose the color treated variety of Hair One. I followed the directions and the results were amazing.....shiny, more body than I have ever had before and very manageable. Usually at the end of the day my bangs are a greasy mess, not today. I will continue to use Hair One.

  26. I love this stuff. I have very damaged hair from over processing. Hair One has made my hair healthy feeling and manageable.

  27. I love this stuff. I never tried WEN, but I can't image it being better. My hair is very damaged from over processing (bleach 40 Volume Peroxide). I've been using this product for 1 week and see (and feel) noticeable difference. Hair feels healthy and has a bit more shine.

  28. I used to use wen products, loved them and use them for many years. I ran across Hair One in Sally's and decided to try the color safe products. I have used it now for a couple months and it seems to be working just as good.anytime you switch hair products you have to give it some time to work. my hair is curly and can be dry and frizzy. after using the shampoo my hair seems to be really soft and manageable. I shampoo it about twice a week unless I have a lot of product in my hair or have worked out and I sweat.If you have dry and /or curly hair, you shouldn't wash your hair everyday anyway. I think this product IS comparable to Wen but at more of a reasonable cost. worth the money and definitely worth trying. I will continue to use this shampoo.

  29. I started the transition from relaxed to natural two and a half years ago, and Hair One with Argan Oil for curly hair is the best thing I've used thus far. I have very thick and kinky hair, very prone to frizz and dryness. I agree that the product will affect everyone's hair differently. At first I was washing once a week and combing through regular conditioner daily for detangling, but my hair would be totally weighed down with product by day 3, and the residue in my bathtub from all that conditioner was certainly less than desirable. With Hair One, my hair detangles much easier, and I have happy, bouncy, shiny curls whether I air dry or use a diffuser. My only problem now is that my hair is growing so much faster than it used to, I have to make more time for salon trips!

  30. I recently bought this product. I am WEN customer orignially so im iffy to use this product I hope it works just like WEN but I will be missing the scent that I get from my WEN cleanser becaise the hair one dose not even compare to the delicious scent my WEN cleanser gives off but well see how it goes.


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