If you haven’t heard the name Chaz Dean by now, you’ve definitely heard of Wen Hair Care. We’ve all seen the inspiring QVC commercials and the amazing transformations from fine flat hair, to thick shiny strands all with the use of a new innovative brand. Wen creator Chaz Dean, who has been both cutting and coloring hair for over 20 years, sat down with Mane Addicts to give us a glimpse behind the success of a hair care empire.
How did you get your start in the industry?
My start in the hair industry grew out of a desire to enhance my photography. Wanting to create the overall look with my subject’s hair was the next natural step in my career. This grew into a passion for hair that has never subsided. My product line – WEN – began in a similar way, as a stylist and salon owner, I was dependent on other companies products for cleansing and conditioning, and they simply were not good enough. Tired of watching my clients’ color go down the drain, I knew I could develop something better.
What was one of your biggest career challenges and how did you overcome it?
Back in 1989, the biggest challenge of my career was overcoming all the doubt that there could be a better way to cleanse and care for hair. People literally thought I was crazy to take on the shampoo companies. The name WEN itself comes from Cleansing Conditioner being a new, innovative way to think about hair care compared to what people were used to. New spelled backwards is WEN, a whole new approach to cleansing your hair without stripping it. The product line’s success is proof that dedication and a true passion for what you believe in can overcome the biggest challenges.
Do you have a signature look or style that you are known for?
I prefer to do styles that highlight my client’s natural beauty, so in that sense there is no signature look. My goal is to create looks that suit each client’s skin tone, face shape and lifestyle. I try to understand the client’s needs first and foremost, and from there create a look unique to them. As far as the WEN signature look, it tends to be beautiful, healthy, shiny, bouncy hair.
Which hair products or tools are always in your kit?
My Super Salono is a must in my kit, and I always use a nozzle on blow dryers to minimize damage. If you nourish and hydrate your hair more often than you apply heat and other damage, your hair will not only look thicker, but also become healthier, and shinier. I, of course, always use the Wen by Chaz Dean Cleansing Conditioner, as well as the Anti-Frizz Styling Creme & Volumizing Root Lift when I’m styling.
Who are some role models who have inspired you?
Originally, when I was first introduced to doing hair, the looks and images created by Herb Ritz and Bruce Weber were inspirational to me. Vidal Sasoon and Oribe’s sense of styling and fantasy were also visions that I admired. Oprah and Madonna’s passion, determination, motivation and drive were exceptional examples for me.
Who are some of your clients? Can you tell us about working with them?
WEN was launched in November of 2000, almost 14 years ago and the Cleansing Conditioner concept has been around since May of 1993. We have devotees such as bloggers and celebrities. It was 1990 and my first celebrity client was Nicollette Sheridan, I got her off of the bleach, the shampoos and the harsh chemicals. WEN completely changed her hair, the effect snowballed and soon enough Tori Spelling, Jennie Garth, Shannen Doherty, Julianna Margulies and Lisa Rinna were jumping on the bandwagon asking how they too can get healthier, shinier, youthful and more manageable hair.
Back in the ‘90210’ days, I took Tori off of the bleach, during this time, her hair was at its healthiest. Lisa Rinna originated her short, choppy, shaggy signature look with me.
Fast forward 14 year later, a few names I’ve worked with include Alyssa Milano, Holly Robinson Peete, Brooke Burke, Ming-Na Wen, Roselyn Sanchez, Candice Accola, Lindsay Ellingson, Rochelle Aytes, Angie Harmon and most recently Brooke Shields. Ming-Na and Angie Harmon have learned how to deal with the abuse their hair goes through while being on set, with WEN their hair is protected from heat and other damage.
Ironically, twenty-four years later, I taught Lindsay Ellingson how to get beautifully shiny blonde hair without the damage of bleach. Linsday is now at the point where she styles her own hair for red carpet events by solely using WEN. Brooke Shields has attained beautiful, healthy, shiny, manageable hair by using the WEN Hair care system. Brooke is a full pledged WEN girl, she realized that WEN is not only a hair care system that gives you, your best hair but enhances hair quality to its fullest potential.
What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago or what was the best piece of advice you received? What advice would you give to new stylists?
So many people aren’t doing what they are passionate about, and the world loses out on so many great ideas because of it. I often ask my staff and clients what they would do if money and bills were not an issue, if they could just drop everything and follow their dreams what would they choose to do in life? The answer to that question is your passion. Believe in yourself and your passion. Life can throw roadblocks in the way, but you should never lose sight of that dream and keep pursuing it. Even if you start off just in your spare time, if you work on that dream a little more each day, month and year you’ll be amazed at what can happen. To live a full life it unfolds as it’s meant to, not as you may expect it to.
How would you describe your beauty and hair philosophy?
The WEN Beauty and Hair philosophy is living a clean, healthy lifestyle, as much as possible. Everyone deserves the right to feel good about themselves and to have beautiful, healthy, shiny hair. The best way to think about the concept is how do your styling products feel on your hands, skin or your cuticles? Keep in mind whatever it is doing to your skin, it’s doing to your hair. So if it’s sticky, tacky or feels dry, its breaking down your hair, aging your hair, causing it to be finer, thinner and weaker.
Treat your hair as you treat your skin; be a lot kinder and gentler to it. Give up your curling irons, your flat irons and avoid the heating tools. You will find that once you give up the bleach, lather and the harsh chemicals your hair has been enduring, your hair will fall into place and automatically be more manageable without battling it everyday.
Where can we find you working today?
Where can’t you find me working is the real question. When I’m in Los Angeles you’ll find me working from home constantly, going out to fragrance houses, testing new formulas and still taking clients 3 days a week at my Hollywood salon. I go to the east coast almost every month as well to do shows with QVC. We do the hair for all of our shows so we fly in our advanced Team WEN to do color and cuts on all of our models, then the shows hit and it’s a whirlwind of activity. Beyond that you may find me in Canada, the UK, Germany or Japan for WEN shows and events.
Be sure to follow @chazdean for more #manespiration.