Keep These Out of Salons!

In my view, two of the biggest problems facing the professional beauty industry could best be solved by salon professionals!  These two big problems are tightly interlinked; you might say they’re “birds of a feather”. It is widely known that diverting professional products into salons through unauthorized channels of distribution hurts the salon industry and can take money out of everyone’s pocket, except for those of the diverters.  Unauthorized distribution of professional products is referred to as the “grey market”.  Because this practice is technically legal, there’s little a product manufacturer can do to stop someone from selling professional salon products in supermarkets, swap meets, on the internet, etc.  Even so, the original product manufacturer is often unfairly blamed by salon professionals for “going retail”.

The facts are, grey market distributors ALSO are likely sources of counterfeit products, which is the other big problem the industry faces.  Some may not see much harm in buying a counterfeit Gucci purse or fake Rolex.  At most your purse falls apart after a few months or several “diamonds” suddenly pop off your watch. This is quite a different experience from what can happen when professional salon products are counterfeited.  These may have the potential to injure or harm salon professionals or their clients. Remember that counterfeit products are designed to “mimic”, not “duplicate”.  Counterfeit professional salon products are unlikely to be manufactured using proper quality control, nor will they undergo the same quality and safety testing performed by the original product manufacturer.  Counterfeit products are likely to contain substitute ingredients that are less costly than ingredients used by the original manufacturer and may not be safe replacement choices. Counterfeit products have been known to cause serious adverse skin reactions and burns, just to name a few of the potential problems associated with their use.


Recently at a trade show in Ireland, a nail professional approached me with a very interesting story.  She found her favorite UV gel manicure product on the Internet at a lower cost than what her authorized distributor was charging and thought she was getting a great deal.  When the product arrived she noticed the packaging looked slightly different.  A printed piece of paper inside announced, “We’ve has recently change this pakaging”, which insinuated there was no need to be concerned, but clearly the grammar errors should be a red flag indicating that something is wrong.  During product application she noticed the odor was different and the product didn’t seem to cure very well.  Clearly she had purchased a counterfeit version of this popular brand.  It’s no surprise that popular brands are often the ones that are counterfeited; so beware if you buy your favorite products from an unauthorized distributor or source, e.g. the Internet.  The most obvious red flag should be the price, especially when the price is surprisingly low.  Besides misspelling on labels and improper grammar, poor quality logos or art work is another red flag.  If you’re unsure about a distributor, contact the original product manufacturer to determine if they are an authorized source.

If you suspect that a professional salon product you purchase is counterfeit, I recommend reporting the seller to the local authorities, as well as informing the original product manufacturer.  This is the best way for salon professionals to put a stop to this unfair and risky practice. Salons can play a big role in stopping these two big problems simply by ensuring all professional salon products are purchased from an authorized distributor or directly from the original manufacturer. Counterfeit professional salon products don’t just harm the industry; these fake products can harm people.  Help keep them out of salons!