Make your own WEN style cleansing conditioner or buy the Drugstore Dupe


WEN Dupe Pictures

I think by now we have all seen the infomercial for WEN cleansing conditioner. For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about basically WEN is a concept or technique for washing your hair that uses a sulfate free product that acts as both your shampoo and conditioner. It does not lather like shampoo and is supposed to hydrate and cleanse your hair without the use of harsh detergents and chemicals. It’s all cruelty free which is lovely. I first started using WEN in September of 2011 and after the first three uses I was hooked.  I wash my hair usually on every 4th day (don’t judge me) so one bottle will last me 6 – 8 weeks and my hair is about 4 inches past my collar bone right now.  My hair has less frizz, and its way more manageable after just blow drying. The most amazing part for me is that when I move my hair around with my hands I don’t really hear anything. Sounds weird right? But my hair was so damaged and dry before that my hair had a distinct sound, rough hay on your head damaged sound. The texture of my hair has drastically changed.

I have to credit the change partially to wen but I belive of the biggest reasons for the improvement in my hair is switching to sulfate free shampoo / conditioner combined with less washing and less heat styling. With age comes wisdom and I’ve learned that I do not need to wash my hair everyday or even heat style it. Messy is cool, and it helps that beachy Victoria’s Secret type messy hair is in right now… day two curls are sassy waves.

I should explain what I mean by “Make your own”. I don’t actually suggest or have a recipe for manufacturing the product in your kitchen but I do have a “recipe” for how you can use your existing shampoo and conditioner or preferably a sulfate free shampoo and conditioner, mix them up in the bathroom and wash your hair following the same no lather technique. If you do this, even with the normal products in your shower you will notice your hair is drastically softer and more manageable after one use.

Option 1:

If you can’t commit to ditching the lather right but still want to obtain some of the benefits try picking up a sulfate free system (shampoo + conditioner). The market is actually flooded with options right now so just read the labels and maybe your current brand is now offering a sulfate free option. I have a bunch of links before. If you use something that isn’t on the list, let me know.

Option 2:

If you want to “Make your Own” or try no lather washing before you buy, try this method at home. Buy a sulfate free shampoo & conditioner. Take three parts conditioner to one part shampoo. I’ve included a picture below to show you what I mean when doing it by hand. You can mix this in your hand in the shower or you can premix it but I would not suggest making a big batch. Just mix as you go.


Ratio: ¼ cup sulfate free shampoo to ¾ cup of conditioner. You also need a shower comb or you can try this insanely incredible wet brush, which I’m obsessed with.

The shampoo dollop is a little smaller than a quarter. Obviously, adjust this based on your hair length.

Shampoo & Conditioner

How to “Make your Own”:

  1. Brush your dry hair before wetting to eliminate any tangles.
  2. Rinse hair thoroughly under water, rubbing your scalp to help break up oil, rinse your scalp for about a minute before washing.
  3. Put one-quarter size amount of shampoo in your hand and three-quarters of conditioner.
  4. Work product into the hair starting at the crown / scalp and keep the focus on the scalp. I section my hair off and divide it as I go to cover my entire scalp area. Now that my scalp is covered I vigorously massage it into my scalp for about 2 or 3 minutes really working it into my hair. If you have a heavy lather during this process, you used too much shampoo. What you are trying to accomplish here is enough shampoo to cut grease but not enough to break down the healthy oil.
  5. You can rub the excess through your hair but the majority of the product should be on your scalp / roots. Comb through your hair starting at your scalp. Leave it on for the rest of your shower (min 3 minutes).
  6. When you rinse it out, start at your scalp again vigorously massage for a few minutes to help rinse your hair. The rest of your hair gets covered with conditioner when you rinse it.
  7. Apply hair products & style like normal. Check out my top 10 hair products for healthy hair styling.


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If you don’t’ want to bother with making your own mixture check out the list I have below which might offer you an alternative to WEN if your interested in trying new products or looking for an affordable dupe.

  1. NOTHING BUT CLEANSING CONDITIONER: Great for curly, thick or course hair. Made with honest simple ingredients. Cleans without suds, won’t strip your hair, gentle enough for everyday use. Great for natural curl or natural looks. Made without petolatum, mineral oil, sulfates, parabans, colorants and phthalates. $8.99 for 16.0 oz
  2. PANTENE TRULY NATURAL CO-WASH Cleansing Conditioner: Cleans, detangles, and conditions without stripping hair’s natural moisture. Can be used on color treated hair. Manufacture suggests using between shampoos for added shine. Good for straight, natural and curly hair. $4.99 22.8 oz
  3. Number 3 was Philip B Co-Wash but I can’t find it anymore… on his website he is selling shampoo and conditioner individually. I removed the link but you can google Philip B Hair Products to check his stuff out (which did not have very good reviews on HSN).
  4. Alikay Naturals CoWash Me Cleansing Conditioner: Formulated to be gentle enough for daily use on curly, wavy or straight hair but hard to find. $22.00 for 16 oz.
  5. Renpure Solutions Ren Cleansing Conditioner: Coconut oil gently removes surface impurities while restoring natural oils.  Hydrating Keratin loaded with amino acids & protein repair damage and restore strength.  Shea butter conditions damaged areas replacing protective lipids, resulting in beautiful, soft, silky hair alive with shine & luster. No sulfates, parabens, dyes, gluten, phthalates, propylene glycol. $9.79 16.0 oz.
  6. L’Oreal EverCreme Sulfate Free Cleaning Conditioner: Low-Poo, or Low-Lather, cleansing that reduces friction of the hair fiber to help minimize breakage. Formulated with Omega-3 and 6. Sulfate free, no harsh salts, paraben free and 100% vegan. Best for all DRY hair types, might make fine and thin hair seem oily at the scalp. $6.99 8.3 oz.
  7. WEN Cleaning Conditioner by Chaz Dean: A 5-in-1 formula, this one product takes the place of your shampoo, conditioner, deep conditioner, detangler and leave-in conditioner. It cleanses hair thoroughly without lathering or harsh ingredients. It’s designed not to strip your hair and scalp of natural oils,leaving your hair with more strength, moisture, manageability and better color retention.
  8. Carol’s Daughter Hair Milk Co-Wash Cleansing Conditioner: Sulfate-free co-wash to get your curls extra clean without frizz-causing suds, and keeps them incredibly moisturized and detangled. No Sulfates, No Parabens, No Petroleum, No Mineral Oil, No Artificial Colors. 2013 Editors Choice Naturally Curly & multiple Allure mentions. $18.00 8.5 oz.
  9. Hair One Olive Oil Cleaning Conditioner for Dry Hair: Hair One Olive Oil Hair Cleanser Conditioner is a salon quality sulfate-free product that leaves hair cleansed, conditioned and in optimum shape. Sulfate free, natural, no hard chemicals and formulated with natural herbs and oils. $12.49 12 oz.
  10. Darcy’s Botanicals Daily Cleaning Conditioner Cream: This super concentrated cream is great for moisturizing, softening, conditioning, and gently cleansing coils without stripping. Sulfate Free, Low Lathering, Great for Conditioner Washes and Nourishing Oils and Extracts for Healthy Conditioning. $12.00 8 oz.
  11. Salon Grafix Healthy Hair Cleansing Conditioner: Cleanse and condition your hair in one simple step without stripping your hair of the natural oils that it needs to stay healthy and vibrant. Uses soy and wheat proteins to add shine and body to all hair types with a refreshing Citrus Crème scent. $7.99 12 oz.
  12. L’Oreal EverCurl Sulfate Free Cleansing Conditioner: EverCurl is Sulfate-Free so curls are left hydrated, defined and full of bounce. Our formulas, with Hibiscus Extract and Grape Seed Oil, nourish and care for curls while also imparting fruity and floral fragrance notes. 48-hour frizz control and curl definition. Grape seed & hibiscus oils infuse each strand with moisture. $6.99 8.3 oz.
  13. Daily Fix Cleansing Hair Conditioner: A concentrated, creamy cleansing conditioner offers a gentle, yet efficient option for cleaning your hair and scalp while providing lightweight conditioning. Daily Fix(tm) Cleansing Hair Conditioner allows you to clean your hair without harsh Sulfates or drying detergents and is able to remove all but the heaviest silicones and oils/waxes as well as removing most mineral deposits (if you have “hard” water). Daily Fix(tm) lightly preps hair for your conditioners or stylers without the stripping your hair of its natural oils like most traditional shampoos. 97% natural/naturally derived ingredients. $19.00 12 oz
  14. Carol’s Daughter Rosemary Mint Clarifying Sulfate-Free Shampoo: While this is not the typical no-poo / co-wash. I really love this for every 10 weeks to help wash away buildup without stripping away the natural moisture. Formulated without Parabens, synthetic fragrances, dyes, petrochemicals, phthlates. Also formulated without petrolatum, mineral oil, or artificial colors. Use in conjunction with the conditioner. $16.00 8 oz.
  15. Quidad Curl Co-Wash: Curl Co-Wash is a rich, low-lathering, sulfate-free cleansing conditioner that leaves hair moisturized, soft & frizz-free while gently clearing hair of buildup. Unlike most cleansing conditioners, our thick, foamy texture is a concentrated blend of conditioners & oils plus a dose of a gentle, naturally-derived coconut cleanser for a truly unique experience that never dries or strips hair. Sulfate free, paraban free and silicone free. $8.00 2.5 oz / $30.00 16 oz.

Let me know how if you use any of these below and what you think. Am I missing anything? For my WEN girls, if you are looking for a change or a cheaper alternative let me know how they compare. HONESTLY, just try the DIY option and see how you like it… it’s pretty amazing and you can use whatever hair products you already have. Talk about cheap! XO

August 11, 2014 UPDATE: Guess what? I’m currently doing a BIG DAY WEDDING GIVEAWAY which is currently running through August 29, 2014 and in the bag will be a new full size bottle of WEN and a few of my favorite hair and beauty products, perfect for any special occasion. Check out the GIVEAWAY HERE!!! 

Katie Blush and Lace Signature


    • Katie says:

      Hey “fucku” the prices vary depending on where you buy it, and if you click on the link it takes you to Amazon which offers a lower price. Have a nice day “fucku”.

    • Andrea says:

      If you google wen it isn’t hard to find out the price. But it does vary a lot. Sephora has it for 64 USD a bottle. I pay for the subscription and it’s around 100 every 4 months. You can change the frequency depending on your hair as well as what is included. In mine I get 4 cleaning conditioners, a deep moisture mask, a bottle of their six thirteen or whatever it’s called (use this like a protein filler), and a bottle of their spray leave in conditioner. I’ll admit I rarely use the spray in conditioner. This will last me 4-5 months. I use half their recommended amount on my hair but apply it to my SOAKING wet hair. The chemicals they use are very water needing and the wen formula is also highly concentrated so it comes out like toothpaste. If you have extremely oily hair I wouldn’t recommend wen. And I mean hair not roots. I have very dry hair but oily roots and can’t use anything that uses a sodium lauryyl sulfate or sulfite compound. But I have very thick, mid back length colored and highlighted hair. It’s the absolute healthiest it’s ever been. I’ve used hair one and only liked their almond formula. But it left a residue on my hair because they do use a non-water soluble silicon in it. Wen on the other hand is completely water soluble. Water soluble simply means it rinses completely away with water without the need for additional chemicals (like what we find in our traditional shampoo). The Loreal cleaning conditioner lines are absolute junk. Don’t use them. Ever.

      But as far as the recommendation to use your shampoo plus a conditioner that won’t work. Chemically, the detergents will bind to the conditioner instead of the oil and dirt you’re trying to get rid of. You will be left with more oil in your hair than when you started your shower because of the conditioner. I’ve also tried the no poo method of washing and conditioning for a couple months (baking soda and apple cider vinegar rinse). I don’t recommend their either. My hair was so brittle and gross I ended up switching back to wen.

  1. Lori says:

    I have used Ren Rosemary and Mint for about 6 months LOVE it! I don’t need to wash my hair as often and it has grown so much longer.

  2. Lori says:

    I am 49 with curly hair to the middle of my back & this winter has been drying, lots of dandruff. After looking online (and in my almost bare cupboard) I used a handful of baking soda on my scalp,worked it into my scalp (yeah it’s awkward) rinsed well, then rinsed with red wine or cider vinegar- DON’T RINSE OUT VINEGAR! Yes, it smells, but once it’s dry u can’t smell it!
    Bad, gross dandruff COMPLETELY GONE! Couldn’t believe it! My hair felt weird wet, but it looked & felt great dry!
    So not thrilled with using b. soda every wash, but will continue using vinegar unless going out with a wet head.
    Will try some of ur no-poos if I can find them in my local stores.

    • Katie says:

      Hey Lori, I use baking soda on occasion with ACV as a rinse but I rinse it completely out. It gives me the same result and my hair is super soft and shiny. The other thing I do is put coconut oil on my scalp and massage it in… Put it on the rest of my hair and leave it on while I’m just hanging at home. When you go to rinse make sure you add the soap before you get your hair wet…

  3. Michelle says:

    I do something similar to the “Make Your Own” method, but I add essential oils to better match the Wen ingredients list. Currently using geranium and rosemary. Not much, about 6-8 drops altogether in a bottle of conditioner. You wouldn’t want it to be too oily. But it does seem to really help a lot.

    I only use cheaper conditioner, particularly Vo5 Blackberry Tea. I know a lot of people like Tresemme Naturals. Then I add a little bit of more expensive sulfate-free shampoo. Overall, I don’t think I spend more than $2 per bottle. In the future, I might experiment with some of the brands listed here.

    • Katie says:

      Hey Michelle – I’m currently trying to lower the number of products I use and love essential oils. Hope you find something that works for you. Xo

  4. Rebecca says:

    ALL I USE is Hair One….have for years…ditched lather a long time ago and My hair grows like a week!!!! No more frizz and it stays clean!! I LOVE HAIR ONE!!! LARGEST bottle is $29 at Sally’s

  5. Shawn says:

    I’ m a guy, growing for terminal length. My hair is fine and curly and just below my shoulders after two years of growth from a shaved head. I went sulfate free a month ago and wow what a difference! My dry ends and frizz are gone. I also used Renpure Rosemary Mint CC today and it’s truly awesome!! My hair is thin and Ren seemed to make it heavier but not flat. It swings! It’s also really soft and very clean and shiny! I really can’ t wait to try some of your other suggestions. I feel like I have new hair. Thanks for the tips!

    • Katie says:

      Hey Shawn – I’m so happy you are happy. Let me know if you try something else and what you think. Best of luck with your hair growth.

    • Katie Marie says:

      Option 1 would to just use the store bought shampoo and condition and directed in the bottle… lather and rinse followed by conditioning. Option 2 would to mix them so it becomes a “no lather” product and wash in a one step process.

      • Kathy says:

        Hi. I used the Wen product. and liked it. They say it takes the place of all these products but sell. other deep conditioners, mists and deep conditioners on the side. If you let it sit on your head while you shower it works better. Overall, I. like it and my daughter who has fine hair it leaves it soft and shiny.
        I have tried Loreal ever creme sulfare free cleansing conditioner and that is a great product. You have to rinse well. I love this product! It works. People have even come up and asked me what I use on my hair because I have grown it out and now it is long… the back comes down to my waist, shiny and healthy looking.
        I have used Ren…. Hated it. Made my hair greasy no matter haw much rinsing I did.
        I wanted a recipe I could make. People in the Amazon don’t have shampoo and conditioners. and have beautiful hair. I know we don’t live in the Amazon…… am just making a point. I want a natural cleanser any ideas? Thanks

        • Andrea says:

          Baking soda to wash and apple cider vinegar rinse as a conditioner. I am switching from using wen (adore wen products) due to the cost and the nadty film it leaves in the bathroom. But 1-2 T. Baking soda per cup of water and the same ratio with the vinegar rinse. Don’t rinse out the vinegar. Use coconut oil as a deep conditioner once a week or so. Also works as a good leave in conditioner. I’ve been using this for a month and really like it. I wash my mid back length hair or bra strap length twice a week. If I go longer between washes the roots will get a lovely greasy appearance.

  6. Faith says:

    Another 1 to try and not on the list (oopsies. lol) is Flawless cleansing conditioner by Macadamia. It can be a bit pricey unless you compare it to Wen. Or you can buy it from Amazon at half the prize with their product guarantees. I just paid $13 for an 8 oz container . It controls my frizzies, leaving me with lovely, soft, and touchable, wavy curls. Nothing else, at any price, comes close.

    I tried Hair One a while ago. I absolutely despised it. I followed the directions to the letter, I came out of the shower with absolutely filthy, vile and disgusting, greasy hair.

    • Katie Marie says:

      Hi Faith, I’ll check out the Flawless Cleansing conditioner by Macadamia, thanks. I’m sorry the Hair One did not work for you, I have a friend who has similar experiences with all co-washing type products.

  7. RJ says:

    equal parts of coconut milk (Canned Organic) and bentonite clay mixed to a creamy consistency is a wonderful natural cleansing conditioner! Apply this mixture to wet hair and massage into the scalp. You may leave it in for as long as you like before rinsing thoroughly. (leave on at least 20-30 minutes for extra moisture) Rinse thoroughly and style your hair as usual. :)

  8. glenda says:

    Ren is NOTHING AT ALL like Wen. Wen outshines these products by far. I have long naturally curly, frizzy, very dried, processed hair and Wen transformed it almost the first time i used it. I use the Fig and it has done wonders. I LOVE it, but I agree the price is High – more than Gold almost! I really can’t believe it costs that much to manufacture. Chaz Dean is making a fortune!
    Interesting above comment on the ingredient list. Makes me wonder if it is so good!

    • Katie says:

      I’m just reading comments here and you’ve reminded me to look at the ingredients a little more…

      Ill let you know what I find out.

  9. I have used Renpure, Hair One (Sally), Salon Grafx, LOreal, and Herbal Essence. Have gone “no-poo” for over a year and will never go back! Hair One has won so far with Renpure close behind. HairOne also has four different formulas / fragrances and travel sizes. The last time I bought it, I got a travel size free ($5 value). I did not like Herbal Essence AT ALL and threw it out after a few uses. It made my curly, color-treated hair feel like straw. The L’Oreal was ok, but had a very small amount which suggests that they don’t really get how the product works. I still would like to try Wen just for comparison and because I like the sound of their new peach / honey formula. Maybe I’ll try eBay.

    • Katie Marie says:

      I’m so glad you are getting good results, I would say that if you could try WEN at one point in the future it’s nice to compare but if you are happy with your hair and results, don’t fix what is not broken.

  10. Jeanne says:

    Wen contains sulfates and several chemical based ingredients. For some reason they have taken down the complete ingredients list and now only show “Key” ingredients. Here is the original list of all ingredients. Water, Glycerin, Cetyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Prunus Serotina (Wild Cherry) Bark Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Vegetable Oil (Olus Oil), Panthenol, Butylene Glycol, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Polysorbate 60, PEG-60 Almond Glycerides, Amodimethicone, Citric Acid, Menthol, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Fragrance, Limonene, Hexyl Cinnamal, Linalool, Geraniol, Benzyl Benzoate, Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde, Hydroxycitronellal.C960

    Butylene Glycol (petrochemical! and they say wen doesn’t contain them…hmm.)
    Behentrimonium Methosulfate (it’s a sulfate. i’m sorry wen… how is this cleansing conditioner “sulfate free”? and for those claiming it’s natural because it’s derived from rapeseed oil – it’s HIGHLY industrially processed and doesn’t resemble a natural substance in the slightest. it’s a sulfate. )
    PEG 60 (another petrochemical)
    Fragrance (that dreaded cocktail of smell-good chemicals that irritate the lungs and skin)
    Limonene (recommended RESTRICTION from cosmetics from the International Fragrance Association Codes & Standards AND a restriction in cosmetics from CosIng!)
    Hexyl Cinnamal (again… a recommended restriction from cosmetics from the International Fragrance Association Codes & Standards AND a restriction in cosmetics from CosIng!)
    Benzyl Benzoate (& again… a recommended restriction from cosmetics from the International Fragrance Association Codes & Standards AND a restriction in cosmetics from CosIng!)
    Hydroxycitronellal (and even worse – BANNED IN THE EU because it’s a known human immune system toxicant.. as well as a recommended restriction from cosmetics from the International Fragrance Association Codes & Standards AND a restriction in cosmetics from CosIng!

    • Gloria Lawrenson says:

      Wow! thanks for providing this important information! And here I thought I was using a good product. information is power.

  11. Diana says:

    I have been using Hair One for about a year now. Love it. I tried Wen and just thought it was little expensive so i tried Hair one. It’s a little less expensive. I also tried Ren. I found that at a Rite Aid. Just by accident. I did not care for it.

    I think i might try some off of this list just to see what results I get.

    Great list.

  12. Ju-Ju-Julie says:

    At last, I have a bit of news…testing products can take so long!! I have a lot of long, straight blonde streaked hair with after-wash tangling being my biggest issue. I decided to try the ‘Make Your Own’ no-poo (love that expression!) cleansing conditioner outlined early in Katie Marie’s post. Many of the recommended Wen substitutes on-site are not available in Canada so I am currently experimenting with the Live Clean product line.

    There is volumizing shampoo (like clarifying – lovely but strong ‘ocean’ smell) which I used at the 1:4 ratio (great for dirty/oily hair) but found this one could inch up to 1:5 (shampoo to conditioner) for me. I also purchased (oops) a mis-matched set of Healthy Balance shampoo (build-up remover) and Bali Oil conditioner (dry hair). I used it at 1:4 as well and it is moisturizing but light (like Wen cucumber aloe). I LOVE all the scents from these three versions (from coconut/tropical to sea breeze). I have 1 bottle of Wen tucked away but don’t need to get it out of the cupboard so far…I am going to keep with the ‘Make Your Own”, particularly as I now have 5 bottles of Live Clean shampoo–oops–thank goodness it works for me!!

    The tick boxes for desirable/undesirable ingredients seem to follow directions on what to avoid. Live Clean is: plant-derived, certified organic botanicals, SLS/sulfate-free, petroleum & paraben & dye & phtalate & phosphate free, pure vegan, never tested on animals, package recyclable, biodegradable ingredients (impressed the no poo out of me!!).

    Thank you Katie Marie for options! I wish I’d found your site sooner as, like many others, Wen’s cost is just not feasible on an ongoing basis. I can see me coming back from the States with a butt-load of products (like Renpure) as numerous stores that carry Wen dupes aren’t in Canada.

    Kudos, Katie Marie

  13. Helen says:

    Katie, Thank you for the co- wash info. That’s basically how I’ve been taking care of my hair. It is nice of you to share this with others. I have seen improvement also in my hair. I think people are afraid to use too much conditioner thinking it will make your dirty sooner. However, I don’t shampoo as often now and my hair is in better condition!

  14. Joanie Kanyo says:

    I have natural curly hair. I am Caucasian. I LOVE Wen but I couldn’t afford to have it come every month out of my account. :(. I have tried so many products. Has anyone tried vinegar? I have heard it works well. Is there a way to purchase Wen somewhere cheaper? I wish you could see my hair…depends on the weather …. Depends what it looks like. I really appreciate all these comments!!!

    • mariah says:

      Joanie, try Ebay, there is always Wen on there. People dont cancel their auto debits and try to at least get some of their money back, at least this way you can purchase as needed and not get stuck in that cycle :)

    • sue says:

      same here with hair type, mixing 1part sulfate free shampoo with 3 parts sulfate free conditioner works as well and best styling product ever is bouncy cream by ISO

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