Submitted 9 months ago
Created by
Cortney Nichols

Why you should never buy salon products at the drugstore

Have you ever wondered why your stylist always encourages you to buy your hair care products right at the salon? This is because they are actually protecting you and have your best interest at heart. Salon professional products being sold by unauthorized sellers, including drugstores, supermarkets, and online retailers is called diversion. Diversion is damaging to you, your stylist, and hair care companies who are taking serious measures to stop it. “Diversion is an important topic and people need to be aware that this is an issue,” said Andrea Marquay of Andrea’s Hair Studio. Always be sure to buy your professional hair care products from an authorized seller (preferably from the stylist who is doing your hair and knows best). It is important to note that diversion does not involve actual “drug store” brands such as Garnier, Suave, or Pantene (which are not salon professional brands).

How does it happen?

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Companies (drugstores, supermarkets, discount stores, etc..) purchase large quantities of professional hair care products at a wholesale price directly from authorized sellers. These products are printed with a barcode on the bottle. This barcode is used to track the products. The big box retailer then either stores these products in a warehouse until the barcode has expired (and the product inside) or puts their own sticker over the original barcode. After that, several things can happen to that product. They could be diluted, discontinued, tampered with, expired, or contaminated.

Why is diversion bad for me?

Purchasing professional products from unauthorized sellers is often more expensive. For example, a Paul Mitchell shampoo at a drugstore is usually $2-$3 more than when purchased from a salon. “By purchasing and using unknown products from unauthorized sellers you are essentially self-prescribing treatments for your hair which could be damaging and ineffective,” said Andrea. A hair stylist is like a doctor for your hair and they know best what your hair needs so you always look great. After investing your time and money at a salon why ruin your hair by using bad products at home?

How is diversion hurting my stylist?

Many times clients will go to the salon and when their stylist suggests a product they say “oh no, I’ve tried that and I didn’t like it”. Unfortunately, often what the client actually tried was a subpar, counterfeit version of a product. Diversion also makes it difficult for your stylist to identify problems with your hair because they don’t know what product you have actually been using. Your stylist wants you to look good and be able to recreate the “salon look” when you get home. By using bad products you won’t be able to do that and may lose the trust of your stylist. Remember, your stylist knows best and is recommending a product that will help you!

What is being done to stop this?

There are not currently any laws stopping the practice of diversion but hair care companies are taking serious measures to stop it. Pureology has hired a former FBI agent to oversee and implement their anti-diversion program. Some salon supply stores are becoming more vigilant about who they sell to and asking more questions to weed out the resellers. Salons like Andrea’s Hair Studio are working hard to educate their clients on this dangerous practice.

You can help by not buying salon professional hair products from unauthorized sellers. Purchase from your stylist, any salon, or even Ulta. When in doubt, most professional hair care companies have information about diversion on their website in addition to a list of where you can buy guaranteed products. Andrea’s Hair Studio in Norwich, VT often will offer samples of products to clients so you can try before you buy and will let you return something if it isn’t right for your hair, something that you won’t get from a big box store. Loma, Redken, Pureology, Deva Curl, and Paul Mitchell are just some of the brands that can be purchased from Andrea’s and should never be purchased at a drugstore or supermarket.

For more information about diversion check out these links:

How Can You Tell if Products Are Diverted

The Real Truth About Salon Product Diversion

Retailers Gloss Over Diversions of Professional Hair Care Products


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