By Hairdresser Michael J Eoff
Consumers who buy professional hair products at major retailers or at grocery and drug stores are not getting the bargains they may think. They are also fueling a grey market industry that deals in counterfeit, stolen or outdated merchandise.
Many of these beauty products are made outside of the United States. They do not have to follow US laws and are harder to prosecute the companies making them. While in China, I was able to see firsthand how beauty products like hair care, make-up and toothpaste are made to look real to the Western consumer.
So you may think that a large chain store or online retailer can sale hair care for less than your local salon. And that the large box store has your best interests in mind. If you believe this, then you believe the government is your friend! These stores don’t care about the health of your skin or hair. It’s about profit – anyway they can make it. (Including fake products.) And they are not breaking the law by buying fake goods and selling them. It is customer beware!
Your local stylist knows what to recommend and you can be reassured that you’re buying the real thing at a better price than the drugstore or box store. Plus, you’re keeping your dollars local.
How the scheme works. Fake beauty products that are made in other countries are warehoused alongside real product that was bought in bits and pieces from illegal channels. They sit in the warehouse for years … until the batch codes on the real product are no longer good. Because of the time, the product sits in a warehouse in varying temperatures. The counterfeiters must re-fill most of the product. They often use water or alcohol, and in some cases, worse. New York police in March of this year busted two brothers making fake health and beauty products. They used urine along with sewer water mixed into products. It was a 15 million dollar a year operation.