Professional hair care companies as well as professional hair dressers try to spread fear amongst hair consumers by warning them about Product Diversion. Fear is a powerful emotion which can motivate in a variety of ways.
(Aveda Products sold at Amazon.com – All Rights Reserved).
Why do professional hair dressers hate hair product diversion? Quite simply if hair consumers buy from CVS, Walgreens or Amazon.com, they’re not buying from their salon professionals. From the beginning of time, professional hair product companies would promise professional hairdressers that they would only sell to them so that there would be no competition for any other marketplaces.
As a result, when a professional product line such as Aveda winds up in Amazon.com, professional hairdressers rise up in arms to try and stop the sale of the professional products by anyone but professional hair stylists and salons. The basic bottom line is that professional hairdressers just want to protect their sales territories.
Although as someone who has gone to cosmetology school I understand the idea promoted by professional hair care companies that professionals should only sell professional products to their customers. But I think the message has gotten all mixed up over the years with a lot of confusion and deliberate untruths.
Ask yourself how professional hair products make it to CVS or other large grocery chains? Contrary to what the professional hair companies might want you to believe, they aren’t delivered in SUVs by individual professional hairdressers who are “selling out the back door of their salon.”
No. If a CVS sized retail outlet is buying professional products, and they are, it’s because the professional hair care company is either secretly selling directly to CVS or is looking the other way when it happens.
Bottom line. Professional hair product manufacturers talk out of both sides of their mouths. The professional hair care companies have brainwashed hair consumers. In fact, in the Summer of 2008 “Good Morning America” had a segment that was focused on what has become known as Professional Hair Product Diversion. The segment spread the same fear based untruths that are often spread to hair consumers.
Good Morning America warned consumers about contamination, excessive cost and counterfeiting. None of the Big Cs of Product Diversion which are true dangers to hair consumers.
What Are Diverted Products?
The basic definition of Diverted Hair Products are products which are manufactured by professional hair care companies such as Aveda, Toni & Guy and similar professional product development companies.
According to the professional hair care industry professional hair care products are only to be delivered and sold through professional salons, distributors or hairdressers. Anyone else selling professional hair care products such as Amazon.com or CVS or Target is officially selling “diverted products.” Yet why would large corporations like that take the risk to divert?
Fear Based Diversion Rumors
To try and minimize diversion, the professional companies will put out the fear based rumors that hair consumers who buy their professional hair care products from Amazon.com, Target or CVS are buying potentially contaminated products. Seriously, do you think that a major company like CVS and Target would risk consumer lawsuits over contaminated products? Think about that one.
The other rumors are that diverted products may be counterfeit. While I’m sure this is much more of a possibility, it is very unlikely. Yes, there have been some isolated cases but they are very rare. While major hair product manufacturers like Aveda might say they fight product diversion, if they had a hint that their products were being counterfeited they would swarm down on the store in question and seize the products in question. Why? Neither the manufacter or the retailed, like CVS, wants any legal problems from counterfeited products.
Besides falling under monitoring by the FDA, hair care products are chock full of preservatives to extend the shelf life of the products. Most hair care products have a shelf life of 3-4 years. Those very preservatives protect against the growth of any type of fungus or bacteria. If not, the products would be bulging at the seems and have a frightful odor. Just like rancid food products.
Fungal Or Bacterial Infestations
The hair care industry also hints at fungal and bacterial infestation. Is this a real danger? Again, unlikely. It is simply a scare tactic to keep hair consumers away from professional products sold over the counter.
It should be noted that many of the professional hair products found on the shelves of CVS are the latest packaging and the latest ingredients. How do I know? I have stopped to look at them in great detail. I have even taken labels from professional products purchased through professional outlets and have compared them. Yes, you guessed it. Identical.
Cost factors is the other diversion bugaboo. Is it true that diverted products cost more in non-authorized companies than authorized professional beauty outlets? In some cases yes but in other cases maybe not.
With the explosions of online retail stores like Amazon.com and Follica.com and a slew of online beauty supply companies in California, its possible to actually save money by buying online. Are the online retailers actually diverting professional products? A good question indeed. Do all of those companies have licensed hair pros on staff somewhere? Another good question.
Ulta.com is a good example of a company that does not divert. Ulta.com has licensed hairdressers working for the company nationally so they are free and clear of the dirtly little diversion secrets. Many other companies have licensed hairdressers on staff. HairBoutique.com has three licensed stylists with two of the hairdressers actively doing hair for hair consumers. How many other companies fall under that same approved pro hairdressing umbrella? But do all of the online stores meet selling requirements?
Before you recoil in horror at the Diversion Propaganda that circulates consider the following factors:
1. Competition in the professional hair product arena continues to explode. If a professional hair product company can sell trailor truckloads of their products to a CVS or Target and look the other way, why not? I’m not saying ALL professional companies do it, but I’m saying it happens. Probably more than you think.
Guess what, professional hairdressers know the truth. Most of them do anyway. I talked to so many hairdressers over the years who all call Hair Product Diversion the industry’s “dirty little secret.”
2. Good Business Plans.
The economy is in crisis. Hair consumers are cutting back on any hair related luxuries. Why would professional hair care companies promote the myth of professional diversion when it could cost them a strong growing sales base and a competitive edge with their competitors? Have they thought about that? I wonder.
3. Professional Hair Product Diversion Does Not Exist In The Rest Of The World. Hair product diversion only exists as an issue in the United States. In Europe and the rest of the world there is no Professional Hair Product Diversion issues. Hair consumers buy products from their professional hairdressers and salons but because they trust their hairdresser with the proper product recommendation and because of timing. The same should be true in the United States. Why isn’t it?
4. Professional Hair Publications Give Lip Service To Diversion Topics. Why? If a professional hair magazine or online newsletter is receiving advertising from a major professional hair care production company like an Aveda, they are definitely going to drink and share the Kool-aide. Money talks and advertising talks even louder.
Ultimately all hair consumers must think for themselves and not just believe what the hair product companies want us to believe. Before drinking the Kool-Aide of product diversion think about the realities of the situation.
How Hair Consumers Should React
Don’t get me wrong. I am definitely on the side of professional hairdressers. I have nothing but respect for these hardworking, talented people. I think if you go to the salon and your hairdresser recommends products to you, it doesn’t hurt to buy from them. Afterall, buying products from them supports their work. Also, they have a unique advantage of being able to recommend products specific to your hair type, texture and condition.
However, with all that said, I am also on the side of the hair consumer. If you can find your favorite products at CVS, Target or online, then why not? Although I think it is highly unlikely that diverted products are counterfeited or contaminated, look at the bottle closely. Does it look faded or dirty? Does it have an unusual aroma? Yes, open the lid and take a sniff. If it’s a product that you buy on a regular basis, be sure to see if the aroma matches.
Is the product in question fully stocked on the shelves? Is the entire line of products options available from shampoo to styling products? Are the products restocked on a regular basis? Do the products like brand new? They probably are.
Also remember that most companies will stand behind their products for at least 14 days. Take the professional products home and open them right away to see if there is any issues such as unusual odor or unusual product colors. Don’t use the product since many companies will not take back used items. If you use a particular product all the time, compare the labels.
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