I have stood behind the chair as a stylist/master colorist for over 30 years and licensed in 3 states. My education has always been so important to me and I continue to learn something new constantly. When there are new products, processes or techniques I always want to know as much as I can about them. Now because of social media a buzz begins on this magical new line of hair care products available and I am curious to know more about them. I was quite reluctant to find out more because the line was not a professional line but was now being sold by so many stylists and available in salons. Many stylists that I am friends with on social media avenues were now selling the products and sounded so excited about them. I also noticed many stylists that travel to teach educational classes and have a huge amount instagram followers are just raving about the line like it was simply magical. It is obvious that Monat targeted them due to the amount of followers they have.
Over several months many stylists had reached out to me about the Monat line and sent me some samples to get me to try the products and sell them under them. I can honestly say from the few samples I tried I was not impressed and definitely did not see any amazing results like I had heard/read about all over social media. I really did not see any difference in my hair and probably did not expect to from 2 or 3 samples of a shampoo and conditioner. I never even thought any more about using the line nor learning anything else about it.
I moved to a different state in the spring and had wanted to connect with a few local stylists to trade favors, educate with as well as network with like minded individuals. I befriended a stylist(I will call her Rose) in my area and we were taking care of each other’s hair and always talking shop. Rose is now wanting to use more organic and healthier options behind the chair for her clients. One day, a few months ago Rose comes into my salon and we were doing services on each other and she mentioned one of her stylist friends Holly was going to come by during her visit to share some info on a new line of products. Right away I knew exactly what it was and why she was coming. When she arrived she started talking bad about all the chemicals in professional products and how they have toxic ingredients. I know ingredients, the purpose of them and the necessity of why they are in the products. I defended most of the professional products and ingredients she was bashing but she had an jumbled, uneducated answer for everything I said. Holly was mind blown by all I knew and could not understand why I am not working for a professional haircare company as an educator because of all of my knowledge. She even said if she ever needed to know about a product or process she would definitely call me to pick my brain. I can honestly say she was very new to the Monat line and could not answer any of the questions I was asking about the product line.
Rose did not know about the negative feedback about Monat because she is not someone that uses social networks. She thought it sounded so great because of all the essential oils in the products the lack of sulfates, parabens and how healthy it claimed to be. She ended up joining under Holly to become a Monat market partner. She gave me a bottle of the Renew shampoo and Replenish masque for me to try and offer her my feedback. Even as hesitant as I was I offered to use it to give her my honest opinion. I had even called Monat that day to inquire about the process of becoming a market partner. I was about to order and buy the largest package that was over $1000. I received all the emails about how the process goes, what I need to do to join and what I needed to do to become a partner. Then I decided to hold off on buying it before I try it on myself first to see if it was as great as I had heard. I requested the MSDS sheets and I was unable to get them without signing up as a professional market partner. So....I began using the Monat when I washed my hair which was 2-3 times per week. After the first month and a half I noticed more hair loss when I washed my hair. Typically I may lose 10-15 hairs at most when I shampooed my hair. This was more then normal but did not think to much of it. As I continued to use it I began losing so much more hair to the point of being nervous about why a shampoo and conditioning system could cause hair loss as excessive as this. I stopped using the products and the hair loss was happening more and more with no end in site. I began to actually save the hair I was losing in a jar for a visual(I almost wish I didn’t because it has caused major depression). I normally to not bring my phone into the bathroom when I shower but if I did bring it in I started taking photos of the size of the hair balls that I lost during my shower. I thought I needed to start to document what was going on.
I mentioned what was happening to Rose and she thought I was crazy and even a product from the drug store would not cause this amount of hair loss. I have no reason for this kind of shedding at all. I have no stress, no change in medication, no surgeries and no ailments. The only change I had made was using Monat. When I asked friends on Facebook that were Monat market partners about the hair loss they told me I needed to buy other Monat products and switch up what I am using. I would interrogate them and asked so much about the cause, they could never answer me other then saying my hair was going thru a detox phase and once I finish detoxing my hair will be amazing. Then they blocked me from being their friends because I called their bluff by informing them hair does not detox and that was a fallacy. When I talked about how much hair I was losing, the abrasions on my scalp they could not reply and blocked me as a friend on all social media feeds.
I started to contact Monat. I emailed many, many times and never received anything more then an auto reply saying someone would contact me soon. I have called several times to be on hold hours at a time and no one would ever answer the phone. Finally after about the 6th or 7th email I received an email saying someone would call me and they asked for my number. I replied with my cell number and then I received a response saying that I must reply to them with the phone number attached to my account. I do not have an account and received my products from a market partner and never signed up as a vip or partner. That was the end of our conversation...once I said I was not signed up with Monat they would never reply with any further communication with me. I have a record of each and every email and attempt to speak to anyone I could get in touch with at Monat. Including the very first email to Monat to ask about the process of becoming a market partner and selling the line in my salon.
I want to say I used the products about 2 1/2-3 months at the most. My hair loss has not stopped even after doing Malibu C crystal gel treatments, Un Doo Goo shampoos and Olaplex treatments. Since I stopped using the line I am still losing quite a bit of hair with each shampoo and have been for months. My hair was always super healthy, colored every 6 weeks with a demi permanent color with 5 volume peroxide, I never use any thermal tools because I had beautiful soft curly hair that just needed a bit of a styling product and it looked great. Now I have lost over 2/3 of my hair which was always thin and fine and now my scalp shows thru and is very visible. Besides constantly cutting inches off at a time so it will look fuller. I am absolutely devastated what Monat has done to my hair. Each and every hair I lost has fallen from the root with a healthy, white papilla still attached. This shows signs that this is not breakage but my hair and scalp is being suffocated by all of the oils in these products. I also had sores and abrasions on my scalp which I never ever had prior to using Monat. My head itched all the time but that did not happen until about 2 months of using the products. I even had my husband check my head several times for head lice. I also started having other issues with my help that I never experienced prior to the use of Monat. I had 3 urinary tract infections in 3 months and never had one in my life before. My breasts were very tender and sore and this was very alarming. I believe the cause was from using this product line. I had lab work performed to make sure there was nothing wrong with me an the doctor was quite concerned with how high my estrogen was from my lab results. When I had lab work done the previous year all my levels were normal and the only change was using Monat.
Rose noticed some hair loss on her head and quit using the products as well within 2 weeks of starting them. She tried to get out of her auto shipments and no one ever answered the phone when she called Monat, she needed to cancel her credit card to get out of the Monat auto shipments. She also mentioned to me that another stylist friend of hers that was a major market partner with Monat has experienced the major hair loss as well and finally said she had enough and got away from selling/recommending the products.
Then there is Holly who came and tried to convince me I needed to use this line and it was so healthy and had nothing harmful in the bottles and it was much better then any professional product she used or sold to her clients. She had seen a post I had posted online and had the audacity to tell me it was a good thing and that I needed to lose all of that hair. She said I should thank Monat for the shedding and how great my hair will be when it grows in. She said Monat caused my hair to detox and it was reforming my hair and scalp and how my hair needed that and it will only get better if I would continue to use it. Of course she begins to blame it on something going on with my body internally and no one loses hair like that from Monat. She is insisting that I keep on using it and my hair will be so much better then it was before(which was super healthy, shiny and full as ever for me). The messages kept coming, telling me that no one else has had loss as extreme as I did and now their hair is growing in so thick and healthy(considering she has been a market parter for maybe 2 months at best) how could they be seeing thick hair in that short of a period. This is obviously someone blinded by the all mighty dollar and thinking she will be getting a shiny, new car from selling this crap. I hope for her sake she gets rich over this because soon enough she will lose all of her clients that had any faith in her. How could you look someone in the eye and say their are losing extreme amounts of hair but stick with it...crazy...just crazy.
I believe these products have cause me so many health issues, hair loss, depression and distress. I needed to confirm there was nothing wrong with me medically because I have always been very healthy and have no medical conditions(especially anything that could cause severe hair loss). I had lab work done May 2017 when I relocated and began with a new doctor. I just recently had more lab work done just to be sure that medically I am fine(other then my estrogen levels were high). I saw a dermatologist that looked at my scalp, hair and the giant bag of hair I have lost. He looked at the Monat products I brought with me and he smelled them and was shocked and said they smelled like dead fish. The products inside had either spoiled or a chemical breakdown was happening inside the bottle. He told me my scalp looked healthy from everything I have done to try and recover from what these products had caused me. I was told it would take over a year for my hair to come back to normal if it is going to return. These products sent all of my hair into telogen phase(when your hair is falling out). The dermatologist was shocked how much hair I shed during my examination and looked at each hair under a microscope. Each hair was visibly healthy and had the papilla attached. There was not breakage but of the hair was falling out from the root. I have had no changes in medication, any surgeries, suffered any ailments, have no stress and have no reason at all to suffer severe hair loss whatsoever.
I would like to share an article from a Monat hair loss support group... this is not written by me but quite eye opening.
"I am beyond disgusted with Monat and their reps. They have blatantly disregarded rules in groups, blatantly disrespected admins and members consisting of stylists, other beauty professionals, educators, chemists, higher ups from other cosmetic product companies, non professionals, and have been preying on and specifically targeting hair loss victims of Wen. They have been going through member lists and spamming our members via PM. One rep had the nerve to say that if you use Monat, "You won't need Olaplex anymore ". Clearly she hasn't a clue what Olaplex is chemically or its function, and must not really know what's in these products she and all the other pushy, oppressive, unprofessional, reps are trying to sell..Olaplex stops the oxidation of free thoils, stops those broken disulfide bonds from creating the sulfate group SO3, stops that SO3 from producing cystic acid, and stops that cystic acid from eating away at the protein in the hair. It does this by coupling the free thoil's (a broken disulfide bond) single sulfur hydrogen molecule end with a single oxygen molecule, via a covalent and ionic bridge, creating a perfect pair. It cross links broken disulfide bonds. This is absolutely not comparable to Monat at all.
Honestly, as an admin of 4 FB hair groups, most admins and members frankly are SICK of getting bombarded by Monat reps every day! We have all heard of it, how couldn't we have, having it constantly shoved down our throats in threads, and even better, Monat reps going through our members lists and spamming our members, including the admins! And for reps to Target hair loss victims of Wen specifically in my Wen Support Group? ? It's gross, sickening, and unprofessional. Most have no clue what's actually in Monat!
Wen and Monat both cause build up which traps the bodys hydrolipic film underneath the build up. The oil goes rancid and an overgrowth of bacteria and/or fungus is created, causing sores, burning, itching, and can cause serious secondary type infections that lead to hair loss. Many Wen users have developed yeast infections of the scalp that burn and itch just as a yeast infection would on other parts of the body, and thousands have experienced other imbalances, many leading to hair loss. I have been telling people for months that if they are using Monat and not clarifying regularly, that they will likely experience imbalance and they may start losing hair. I started seeing reports of Monat Users losing their hair in November, and it still continues.
There are not sufficient surfactants in Wen or Monat to ever adequately remove the buildup they create. There's a plethora of oils and extracts, but also non water soluble film formers, many ingredients which repel water, and without sufficient surfactants to properly cleanse them from the hair and scalp, the scalp and hair remain constantly coated. Monat has some growth promoters, some very mild surfactants, and Sodium c14-16 olefin sulfonate, which although is a more aggressive surfactant, it is accompanied by film formers that are not water soluble, so the hair and scalp remain forever coated. Not to mention it is FAR from "natural" like they boast, and it is not exactly safe. This leads to hair damage, depleted air flow to the scalp, the inability to exfoliate the scalp of oxidized sebum, dead skin cells, free radicals, mineral deposits, dirt, oils, and any other environmental contaminants, the buildup of silicones/polymers and oils in Wen and Monat, causing clogged follicles, bacterial and fungal imbalances, which can lead to permanent damage to the follicles, and can hair loss.
This coating of oils and artificial film formers can absolutely make hair feel and look incredible for a while, years even, because it's masking any damage, dryness, frizz etc you may have with its coating. Over time this coating will continue to buildup on the hair and scalp, preventing beneficial ingredients from working properly if at all, exacerbating issues. It makes doing any process to the hair more difficult - the more buildup there is, it's harder for hair to lighten, color to deposit, thermal or other chemical processes to take, etc. They can continue for months and even years with this coating constantly masking the devastation that this very coating is creating. When that coating is removed, the true condition of the hair is revealed, which is typically very unpleasant to put it lightly. Imagine doing nothing but putting lotion in your hair for X amount of time. Not good.
The dangerous part about this, regardless of what it's doing to hair long term, is what it's doing to the scalp. Our scalp isn't dead like hair is, it is alive. This coating over time decreases air flow to your scalp, throws off fungal and bacterial levels, many may not even notice it for a long time, except maybe a decrease in the rate of hair growth. Some may get visible signs of imbalances on their scalp though with greasy flakes, patches, itching, redness, tenderness, breakouts, infection, etc. Regardless if you have visible symptoms of imbalances though, our bodies try to fight and protect themselves in these situations. The scalp stays coated over time, throwing off these levels, and the scalp tries to protect, heal, and fight it off. When our bodies do this, white blood cells focus on the area, and over time this slowly creates scar tissue where the follicles are, which is where each and every hair strand is born and created. Scar tissue where the follicles are alters them physically, damaging them, and hair may never grow back.
Here's just a few of their ingredients that Monat uses:
Lauramidopropyl Betaine: a very mild Surfactant in the same family as Cocamidopropyl Betaine
Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate: Sodium c14-16 olefin sulfonate has been classified as having traces of Benzene, a carcinogen or reproductive toxin and also is created using petrochemicals. It also is not readily biodegradable. Ordinary products that use Sodium C 14-16 Olefin Sulfonate (Alpha Olefin Sulfonate) dry your hair and scalp and require heavy ingredients in the shampoo or conditioner to cover up damage done. It is a common cleansing ingredients in things labeled as "sulfate free". It is often advertised as being derived from coconut, which yes, partially it is, but on average over 50% of it is petroleum derivatives.
Acrylates Copolymer: Acrylates copolymer is non water soluble and is composed of acrylic acid and methacrylic acid building blocks.
Classified as an Adhesive, Artificial Nail Builder, Binder, Film Former, Hair Fixative, Suspending Agent.
cocamidopropyl hydroxysultaine: lt may be overly drying, particularly flor mature skin. It may also create allergic reactions like contact dermatitis in people with sensitive skin, particularly around the eyes.
Propoxytetramethyl piperdinyl Dimethicone: film former
Benzyl alcohol: is a naturally ocurring and synthetic ingredient used as solvent and preservative; known contact allergen, associated with immunotoxicity, moderate organ toxicity, classified as toxic and harmful by the EU and Environment Canada Domestic Substance List
Amodimethicone: spreads out and forms a cross linked film on the hair when it dries, which can remain in the hair through several washings with even the harshest sulfates/surfactants. When paired with Trideceth-12 (non ionic surfactant) and Cetrimonium Chloride (cationic surfactant) in a cosmetic preparation, it is a common misunderstanding that this makes the Amodimethicone water soluble. This is incorrect. Emulsified in a cosmetic preparation, the Trideceth-12 and Cetrimonium Chloride render the Amodimethicone dispersible in water, for ease in manufacturing. Deposited onto the hair, it is non water soluble. The inorganic cationic polymer, amine-functional silicone is deposited onto the surface of the hair via electrostatic attraction between the polymer and the negatively-charged protein surface of the cuticle. Highly damaged areas of the hair cuticle possess higher negative charge density, which enhances the affinity of the cationic polymer to that specific area. So your most damaged areas are coated the most. It spreads out and forms a cross linked film when it dries. This cross linked film can last through several washings, and repels further deposit of amine-functional polymers. It can take several washings with harsher surfactants to fully remove, due to it's electrostatic attraction. It also has very low thermal conductivity, and a high refractive index.
Sounds really "natural", right? It's just another company preying on the general lack of understanding of cosmetic chemistry amongst the public and stylists, and the overall naive trust in manufacturers that most people have. The safety of a product is not just looking at the individual ingredients, or even the concentrations, or the entire preparation as a whole. Though an ingredient may be deemed safe in terms of toxicology under proper concentrations, this does not reflect the ingredient's effects when combined with penetration enhancers (some dissolve intercellular matrix, some change the skin's metabolism, and some damage or alter the physical and chemical nature of the top skin layer), potential buildup issues, or effects of repeated exposure- the snowballing effect of continuous, long term exposure. Most people do not realize that manufacturers are not required to test their products first, nor are they required to report complaints to the FDA. Wen received hundreds and hundreds of complaints about scalp imbalance and hair loss starting YEARS ago. Some Monat users are already experiencing hair loss as well.
Are Wen or Monat taking any actions to prevent this or warn people? No.
Out of the 30+ Monat reps I have spoken with (all of whom were spammers/slick promoters), not a single one even knew what actually in these products, let alone the potential long term effects if you're not clarifying regularly..some argued that there were no silicones or film formers in them, which is completely false. They all have just repeated whatever Monat has told them to say, beating around the bush, not actually answering questions, because they don't know the answers.”
I have integrity and I am very honest with my clients and refuse to sell a product or offer a service that I think may cause damage to their hair. All the money in the world could never change that and my reputation means so much more to me then a few dollars. I now make sure to not perform some chemical services if anyone mentions that they have used any Monat products without going thru an extensive clarifying process and I still will not guarantee exceptional results due to the use of those products hindering my job. I have more education then many stylists I know and value my education and my career. To know anyone without any knowledge of hair, hair loss, scalp disorders and diseases of the scalp can sell this line of hair care really frustrates me. The market partners are programmed to sell at all costs with no integrity whatsoever. My heart is breaking for going against my gut and giving this product a shot and I am still paying the price. I am so sad for all the others experiencing this and even more issues due the the use of Monat. I called and emailed the company to discuss my issues and no one responded to me but I knew in my heart I would not hear back. I have now contacted several news agencies, the BBB, the FDA and I am not finished and I will not go away quietly.
That is my story and I can only hope one day my hair returns and I can put this nightmare behind me.