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Hair Care Product Labels . . . Are They Truthful?

Hair Care Products

Hair Care Products Diversion

Are the professional hair care products you find in the drug store or department store the same hair care products you find in your hair styling salon?

It’s a good question, but have you ever tried to get a straight answer? Your hairdresser answers something like,”Read the label, it says, they won’t guarantee it is their product unless sold by a licensed hairdresser.” Or, “It’s got to be an imposter because they are only authorized to sell to legitimate hair styling salons.” Most manufacturers of salon-only hair care products do have such a disclaimer. Then how come I held the same product yesterday at my local Walgreens? So,”Is it the real thing or not?”


There are only a couple ways in which this could happen:

  • Hair care products manufacturer or distributor sell to unauthorized persons.
  • They could also choose to look the other way when selling more hair care products than would legitimately be used by a hair styling salon.
  • Salons that sell bulk hair care products to a third party who then in turn sells to whomever.

So why don’t the hair care products manufacturers and distributors trace where the product is being sold? My local Aerial Beauty Supply said,”There is an ongoing lawsuit about this”. . . I’ve heard that answer for almost 30 years now.

It used to be that illegitimate retailers wouldn’t be as bold as this Snyder’s ad, to advertise their salon products and especially at discount prices. I spoke with a representative at Target, which actually has an area called,”The Salon Store.” Of course he wasn’t able to tell me who distributes the large amount of salon hair care products to their stores, but he assured me Target is a reputable company and would not dupe it’s customers. He agrees that the “trademark” on the bottles will tell you of the legitimacy of the product. But that does not wash with the labels on the product. I found, Paul Mitchell, Matrix,TIGI, Redken, Rusk, and more on the shelves at Target.

The only company who at least is putting a public face on the issue seems to be, Graham Webb International, with their “diversion practices” and the illegal distribution of their hair care products. They say:

“We believe our quality hair care products will produce optimum results only if they are prescribed by trained salon professionals who understand their clients’ hair and beauty needs. We so firmly believe this that we guarantee you will be satisfied with Graham Webb products when you purchase them through professional salons.

Another important reason Graham Webb fights diversion practices is to ensure the quality of the Graham Webb hair care products you are buying. When products are “diverted” and sold at unauthorized retail outlets, they may have been mishandled before reaching the store’s shelves, or may be old, damaged, obsolete, contaminated or even counterfeit.”

Do the department stores or the drug stores sell hair care products cheaper? In my little survey at my local Target some products were cheaper and some were not.

I challenge Paul Mitchell, Matrix, TIGI, Redken, Rusk, and the retailers, drug chains and supermarkets to come clean.

What is going on? Quit playing the hair care label game. I invite any of their executives to leave comments.



  1. Have you picked up a bottle of TIGI or Redken that is sold at Target or Walgreens? First off, the product is old. Hair products have a shelf life of about 1 year. A lot of the products that you find there have been discontinued or have had their packaging updated. I’ve found some products that were over 3 years old in Target. Why would you want to put that on your hair?
    Fighting diversion is a hard battle. I don’t see how you can say ‘they need to come clean.” Come clean about what? This is diversion! It’s their distributors that end of selling old product to Target and Walgreens who then in return sell it to uneducated customers. I think it’s the stores that sell it to consumers and the distributors and consumers responsibility. Graham Webb and Paul Mitchell are becoming very proactive about making consumers aware of this issue. Maybe this will get people to stop buying the product in grocery stores.

    Comment by Kate K — October 12, 2005 @ 11:17 am

  2. As a faithful Redken and Paul mitchell stylist who pushed the products for years, its a slap in the face to have a client say oh on sunday your shop was closed so I ran to albertsons to get my shampoo.
    Whats next the color at walmart? Why would we want to keep selling a product you can buy at target. I work hard for my professional standing, went to school for my job, and continue paying for on going education. Who at target or savons is the professional. It makes me sick!

    Comment by kelly mulligan — September 29, 2005 @ 6:12 pm

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