February 19, 2008

The Real McCoy or Fake-y : Hair Products Up For Review

The dark side of the beauty industry : DIVERSION of hair products

diversion_bottles How many times have wondered about those high end hair products that have sprung up in very weird sources like Target....CVS.....Longs Drug..... Rite Aid and so on? I do all the time and I know what the rules, laws and codes are.
The topic of DIVERSION has long been talked about to industry professionals, and have never understood why they don't talk to the public about it, I sure the hell would want to know - I bet you would too.
Diversion: the act or an instance of diverting from a source
Diversion is the unauthorized distribution, buying and selling of professional products to unauthorized outlets outside of the professional industry. Perhaps you've seen professional hair care products sold in your neighborhood grocery store, drugstore, pharmacy or on the Internet. Most likely, these products were acquired through a "collector" who, by operating in a "gray market", acquired these products from various sources and, once they collected enough product, sold them to a mass distributor who specializes in selling "gray market" product to unauthorized retail establishments.
It baffles me that the stores buy them, if more people reported them or didn't buy the products the problem would be eliminated. Not trying to blame the wrong people, just trying to make it clear how to get rid of it.
Professional companies like Joico, Redken, ISO, Wella, Matrix, etc., and so on DO NOT sell their products to drug, discount, stores - they just don't. Part of their agreement & policy with hair stylists is that they will only sell their product to Salons so that the customer has to get the product at 'the' Salon. Its a kind of a Gentlemens agreement they have had for many years and they do stick to it. The manufacturers will only guarantee their product if its bought at a Salon. If you buy those products at those stores you are taking a giant risk in my opinion.
The products in those stores are not supposed to be there, Period. They have gotten there by one of two ways - both wrong.
#1)There are companies in China, Taiwan, the Philippines, etc. that have gone to the trouble of duplicating the bottle and packaging of your favorite products. Stuffing it with some random concoction of ingredients, and selling it for the 'real' thing. Yep - they are completely bogus.
Today while I was waiting on a prescription , because I was contemplating writing this post, I meandered over to the aisle, found a bottle of Biosilk, opened it, sampled a little and was horrified. I used Biosilk for years (before I learned about ingredients & cosmetic chemistry), I know exactly how it should feel, and smell. This formula was full of some liquid laced with over 50% alcohol,it was no where even close to what it should be. So there it was....my sign for today on what to write! Not only was there none or very little of the cyclomethicone or dimethicone necessary to protect your hair (the most expensive ingredient) I checked the list of ingredients and they did not have a preservative listed. That can be a very dangerous avenue, products can become contaminated without the proper preservative as I have spoken about before. Its not the Preservative that is dangerous its the amount of it , that is crucial. But having none, is not what you want to see.
These companies fill the bottles with the wrong ingredients...in bottles that look exactly like the original - then sell them to you for as much as 15% higher than they should be. Please don't buy them in those stores, for your own good.
#2) The second method? Companies that have the real product, that are old -- way past their shelf life and should have been thrown away - decide to re-sell them to another outlet. So there are some that are in fact, real, but past their shelf life. Again, they charge too much for them and the safety is compromised with an out-of-date preservative.
There is virtually no way to tell which one of these problems is which. But the point is neither are any good, and both should be avoided.
I would guess over 60% are counterfeit, so please don't waste your money or ruin your hair with these bogus replicas!
DIVERSION : help to prevent it, only buy your high end hair products in appropriate Salons or the Beauty Supply.
18 comments on "The Real McCoy or Fake-y : Hair Products Up For Review"
  1. Hi,

    I've been reading your blog for awhile and I have a question... I have dyed level 7 blonde hair (naturally a 5), and I've noticed that in certain areas like around my face especially the blonde color has turned orangy...

    i think this might be because of the benzoyl peroxide in my face wash. I do really try to keep it out of my hair, i pull my hair back with a headband and everything when i wash my face, but it's still orangy!

    I've read about your colors and how you can use an violet semi-permanent dye to tint yellowy blonde, so was wondering if i should try the same with blue since blue is the opposite of orange, or if you had a better suggestion?

    Any help would be awesome! Your blog is so helpful! Thank you so much for sharing all this awesome information!


  2. Hi Bia,
    and thank you for your question
    Your face wash should not matter and with experience in over 10,000 Heads of hair I have never had it matter.
    Did YOU tint the hair Level 7? Or was it professionally done? Is it one color?
    Yes, there are toners to help all sorts of obnoxious hues in hair. I have over 150 here in the Lab! I make my own and have decided lately to sell everything I use, to my readers. So you have the advantage of being able to acquire professional toners, if you'd like.
    A toner is a hair color that is opaque and "coats" the hair and hair color. Gwen Stefani uses a toner to make Marilyn Monroe blond white (with ZERO yellow) so does Christina Aguiellera - both use toners to kill yellow.
    I am going to put together a small series on toners, that's how wonderful I feel they are and would solve your's and many readers problems.
    The problem with them, "WAS"& "is"
    paying to have a Salon apply them once a week ( most can't afford that often of a luxury).
    Its a SUPER easy project ( its not even messy)- that Stylists just kind of kept the knowledge "from" the public. Which is Ridiculous.
    Its a trick we have used to accomplish "show" hair and "celeb" hair. I can't tell you how many people (men too) came to me once a week for a toner - all actors that are blond use them. They don't use those colored conditioners, because all top colorists tell their clients not to use them. It screws up their next color job having that on the hair.

    Now that my situation has changed I actually think it was stupid of me to not teach my clients, I should have taught them how to do it at home...but....whatever I never thought of it.

    The opposite of orange is blue. What color is blue? or blue/green?
    ASH or MATT
    So you can either use SUNLIGHTS,in ASH PEARL or IRIDESCENT PEARL an off-shoot of the Color Touch Line I speak so highly about. I will write todays post on this, to better explain.
    thanks &

  3. I had my hair professionally done.. it's a level 7, with full very fine level 6 highlights, so it looks pretty natural... if I tone it, should i just tone it in the orangy places or all over? will that effect the highlights?


  4. also, i would LOVE to have my hair lighten up a level or two overall and was planning to go to the salon in the next month or so to have it done, but I just read your latest post and was wondering if i used a slightly higher volume of devloper with the toner if it would achieve the same effect?

    Thanks so much for all your help! :-)


  5. thank you for this post on diversion... I get clients all the time telling me that they're going to by the products I've used on them from the drugstore, at what they think is a less expensive price. So I have to explain the whole diversion thing to at least once a day! And they're still skeptical! So I write them a list of products and prices, and tell them to check at the rite aid or wherever they're going... they always end up coming back!

  6. Bia,
    NO NO NO....what you don't want to do is use the wrong thing for your goal.
    Toners #1 advantage is that they do NOT lighten the hair at all. They do NOT alter the color of your "VIRGIN" hair the Volume of peroxide is so low. This is the advantage, that is why we like them. You cannot ask them to do anything else or you have taken it "OUT" of the "toner" category and put the color in the "PERMANENT " category.
    Just by changing the volume of Developer - you can make that same tube of color go from a Demi Permanent to a Permanent.
    With Permanent - you have altered your own virgin hair and created a line of demaracation....
    what does that mean?
    Well . . . ."roots" ;)
    So basically Upkeep...
    which is fine . . . more than fine.
    But as a COLORIST.....and now as a CRIB COLORIST >


    Toners have always had the least amount available in that category which is why I end up making a lot of my own.

    The advantage of this is that you do not make a mess with it , you do not even need gloves unless like my hair you are toning your lengths and they are an 8R (Red) the color doesn't stain your hands...but all the blonds you can't even see the color...that is how 'sheer' it is.

    TONING is Toning. Not lightening, not lifting one level . . .nope another category for that.
    Does that make it clear?

    If its turned orangey, that means they did not leave the color on long enough if they used bleach OR....OR they used the wrong color in lightening. They should have used a 10A or 12(ASH) - which kills all orange-red-yellow tints.

    WAit a minute I just re-read your post....Your base is a Level 7 and your highlights are a LEVEL 6 ??? ARE you positive?
    Go back and look at the LEVELS chart....
    get back to me...


  7. I always seem to get the levels switched and think the lower number is lighter, I meant to say that the highlights are a level 8, i feel pretty silly now...

    Would it be best to just tone it for now to get the orangyness balanced out of it and then go to my stylist when I want to get it lightened? I am tentative to lighten it myself... if i were to lighten it myself, what method would be best? (would i lose my highlights in the process?) and could i use that dying process to get rid of the orangyness as well? I'm completely open to your words of wisdom!


  8. Bia,
    What do your highlights look like?Can you think of a celebrity that your hair resembles pretty close? There is a lot to choose from, or if you could use our sister www.Killerpics.blogspot.com site, to find a photo of what your hair looks like now and one of what you would "like" it to look like.
    Its very hard to do this "BLIND"..the best thing would be up close PHOtos - I have had people use their camera phone - to sens in pictures. they do not need to be glam - just up close and shot of your Roots - -
    please answer all that & we will go from there

  9. Ummmm...not to be offensive, but isn't what you are doing (selling professional products privately)diversion? I assume you are not altering the formulas, but still, you are selling a product without authorization to do so. As a consumer, I say, THANK GAWD for diversion!!!! Now i don't have to go into a salon and listen to the advertizing mumbo jumbo from hairdressers trying to sell their products. And let's be real, most professional products sold in dept. stores are not altered. It is the same product being sold in salons; just easier to access. Please don't be offended by this; just so tired of stylists complaining of diversion all the time!

  10. Here are some pictures, i took them without any flash so they're a lot more accurate color-wise, because whenever I use flash my hair looks really really red-blonde.

    you cant really see my highlights in this one because they're so subtle. He literally foiled my entire head with highlights the last time i was at the salon, so it's just really more variation to the same color... I really like natural looking highlights

    Here i just pulled my hair back and you can see the orangyness around my face better, especially on the right in the front...

    i was looking through the killerpics site and really found that i like the clean vanilla blonde that ashley olsen has here:

    Hopefully this helps!


  11. Agele,

    Touche. I guess.

    I'm fired.

    Good I can rest.

    Although I find it fascinating that you say that.
    I have NEVER brought it up before. EVER.
    Not one of my clients know what it is...I was telling one the other day after I wrote it. She was blown away, I've never told her. I'm not in the whole Beauty Salon whirlwind anymore...out of the loop > I guess you'd call it.

    But I do disagree, I'm one of those obnoxious people that opens up and poors a tiny bit out, especially being as I suspect it. I have NEVER opened one that is a true product. Are you kidding? What a great scam, why not? I think its brilliant and I have heard 1/2 of them are made in Mexico. My father does aerospace business in Mexico just south of tijuana and said there is one of the "fake making hair product plants" near one of the plants he goes to. So No I disagree with you on that point.

    I'm such a space case as I am sure my readers could testify !!
    Diversion is NOT selling professional products privately.
    Diversion is selling ILLEGAL and IMPROPERLY MADE/improperly PRESERVED Products at a retail store.
    You have it COMPLETELY WRONG>
    Whats on the inside of the bottle is NOT WHAT IT SAYS ON THE OUTSIDE, and that is dangerous - period. VERY dangerous.

    and finally . . . .
    I will not speak a whole lot on the fact that I have an entire LAB full of cases and cases of product that is not returnable.
    Combine that with the fact that it looks like I may not make it through this year, I decided to sell it and put it in a savings account for my 2 daughters. I want them to put a down payment on a townhouse so they have something for a very long time to remember me by.

    get your facts straight

  12. I also really like her hair:

    I just really am looking for a clean little bit lighter blonde from what I am now...

    Thanks so much for all your patience and help with all this... I dont know what illness you're facing, but I really hope that you dont let people, like the one above, get to you too much. You're doing a wonderful service for people everywhere, and I just wanted to make sure you know that you're appreciated!!


  13. Bia,
    Thanks, I am getting tougher, especially when she got about everything she said - WRONG.
    Guess I am nieve, thought I wouldn't get attacked on here, especially if I just opened up and told the truth about 15 years of hard work and experience.
    But, I guess there is always someone that has a stick up their "you-know-what"!
    But anyhow...
    Your hair is very yellow, the most common problem I see out there...I just shot a little demonstration that will be the post tomorrow or next day. Hopefully displaying how hair is lightened and what is wrong if your hair is yellow.

    Is your stylist someone that is reputable? I just could never let someone walk out of the Salon with hair that yellow, so how will you get him/her to do the right thing the next time?

    Can you get someone new?

    The photos of those 2 girls you sent links to > displays perfectly the problem of leaving the bleach on the hair PLENTY long enough and toning it. You cannot fix the yellow you have with a toner.
    Its too deep/strong.
    It must be lifted one more level first.
    Did you have an on-the-scalp Bleach and Tone done? Double process, any of those sound familiar ? If so they took it off too early was the problem.
    Its just not light enough for the toner to work.

  14. It was bleached first and then they put the color on it. It was nowhere near that yellow when i left the salon. My hair always seems to do this, it'll look great when i leave the salon, but then about two weeks later it'll really start to be yellower and yellower and orangyer in random places.

    I went to a new place this last time, and since i'm out in the country, there's really not too many options as far as decent salons go :-(

    do you think i would be able to bleach it up one more level and then tone it myself? it's only been since the beginning of February that i had it done, should i go back to the salon and complain or find a different salon? i dont have the extra money to be going to the salon repeatedly in one month, so that's what's holding me back from that.

    i dont like it how it is, but i've heard horror stories about rushing into using bleach that scare me from trying to fix it myself since i have no experience with it... what would you recommend?


  15. I just don't think bleaching is that hard, I've had some girls have great success with it...on here.
    there is a very important point that some seem to forget which makes all the difference

    ...you lighten the lengths of the hair before EVER putting any bleach on the roots. In your case you may never put it on the roots...ONLY THE LENGTHS...
    If you follow those directions, and read and re-read the bleaching series I bet you can do it...
    If you have any questions at all - please ask.
    I have faith in you
    Killer Chemist

  16. i stumbled upon your diversion blog and i'm fascinated by your opinion. maybe you can offer an opinion on this:

    i have been a licensed cosmetologist for 11 years. i cut hair and operate under a salon entity that is my own. i believe strongly in my profession and to boost my business, i decided to go "public" if you will with my product line. i'm pretty computer saavy. i created a very professional website, designed my own graphics and put my product in a very positive light. i was not operating under a deceptive practice or as a beauty supply warehouse. i simply listed the line i believe in and sold it to people who wanted it. long story short...my line was pulled from me and i was accused of diversion. i purchased products from my local distributor as a professional. all perfectly on the up and up. i didn't even realize i was doing anything wrong, quite honestly and really, i still feel that way. i listed all of the product knowledge on my site, sent informational material with every order, packaged the product in product-supplied bags and included free samples of products that i thought the purchaser might like based on the product i sent to them. i was ALWAYS immediately responsive to e-mail and questions about the product. i shipped immediately, priority shipping and orders were ALWAYS received within 3 business days. i held the entire situation to the highest possible esteem.

    i think diversion is loosely enforced...and should be more clearly defined if what i did was wrong. nonetheless, i took the site down. the people who bought from me were pretty unhappy...i sold the product to them as a professional and made sure it stayed that way. it was/is important to me.

  17. Anonymous,
    WOW.I must say you caught me off guard. That is kind of what I am doing and what is wrong with what you did?
    I guess maybe I don't completely understand DIVERSION...I really don't.
    I'm out of the Salon loop and just really do NOT know what is going on via that version you mentioned.
    Diversion to me is when the product that is IN the bottle is not the one that is printed ON that bottle's Label >THAT is what I worry about. As a chemist I know the danger in the wrong combination of ingredients...I have a witness who has been to one of those fake product making plants in Mexico....so I have a different theory on the whole DIVERSION theory than most of you do...I guess.

    Plus just pouring the product in my hands was all I needed to prove to myself that they were loading the bottle up with rubbing alcohol --- do you know how horrible that is for the hair???
    Pure alcohol.
    That is what I think of when I think of DIVERSION...Which I am still in amazement of what happened to you.
    Can you explain it more to me?
    Email me, i'd love to talk to you more about this, no it makes no sense- & i DON'T UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU DID WRONG, I'm of the same belief - and am trying to make it so people are required to be educated about hair color before they can purchase it....something the ...STATE BOARD DOES NOT EVEN DO ..
    I am requiring my readers to become educated about the LEVEL SYSTEM before they can get some color from my lab.
    I would love to hear more from you,please write and join our group if you don't mind..


    THANKS for your email, Dakota

  18. Most professional products, such as Wella, are intended for salon use only. Whether or not you are educating people online- most of the people who read your blog are still not licensed cosmetologists and therefore are not legally supposed to be buying stuff like Wella bleach, color, and other professional products that you are selling in your store.


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