Hey readers! Today I have one of my favorite bloggy friends and sponsors with us today to guest on the gross reality of Product Diversion and how to make sure you’re not being duped into buying products that aren’t really what you think they are. Here’s Kimi from Kimi Who:
I’ve heard a few mentions over social media about checking the bar codes on products I buy – particularly health and beauty products. I didn’t understand what all of the fuss was about until a Cosmetologist friend of mine brought Product Diversion to my attention. It’s scary. It’s serious. You might be harming yourself and even your children.
Do I have your attention? I should.
What is Product Diversion?
Diversion is when products are sold in stores that they are not authorized or licensed to be sold. For example, there are several brands of hair care items being sold at some grocery stores, online on Amazon, and larger retail chains like Walmart that are exclusively licensed to be sold only in salons. In fact, companies like Redken specifically have note on all of their advertising that “Genuine Products Guaranteed Only In Salons.” That is to say – if you purchase Redken at an unauthorized source, you risk purchasing a non-genuine product probably not even manufactured by Redken.
Shampoo isn’t the only product you find being diverted. There are many cases of duped or fake eye shadow pallets and other makeup on the market. And the most scary thing is: You are putting these items on your skin and it’s being absorbed into your body. Gross! Diverted products are often diluted, expired or even contain things that are not safe for you. In fact, study shows that these diverted products often contain high levels of bacteria and impurities than can make you sick!
How Does it Happen?
In a lot of cases, these salon-only items are being sold under the table for profit to a diverter who has probably agreed to pay quite a hefty percentage above retail price for the batch. The diverter will do this repeatedly until they have secured enough stock to take back to their warehouse where they begin the process of removing the batch codes.
This is where the concept of checking your bar code comes into it. Diverters will often scuff off the barcode or mark it out in some way to try to make the bottles no longer traceable. Companies like Paul Mitchell, Pureology, Redkin, etc in particular print their barcodes directly onto their bottles – they never use stickers. With the bar codes damaged or even removed entirely, and a new barcode sticker slapped on over it, the diverter is ready to sell the product to another store.
And then there are the especially bad cases. Sometimes, what you are buying is a bottle of… well, not what you thought you were paying money for. Some salons will sell their empty or half-used bottles to these diverters who in turn fill them with product. This is why a lot of companies like the above mentioned Redken do not guarantee products not purchased directly from a salon. These bottles can contain things you don’t want to be putting on your body.
Unfortunately, this happens daily and diversion in itself is not illegal.
How to Spot a Diverted Product
It’s “Pro Only”: Salon products in particular (shampoos, conditioners, hair care products in general) may say something about the products only being for sale in professional salons.
Barcode Tampering: If a product has a printed barcode that is scuffed, marked out or covered with a sticker barcode replacement, there’s a good chance it’s diverted. There’s no reason for marking out the printed barcode except to make it untraceable.
Packaging Obscurities: If a package looks dirty or dented on the outside, or the printing is scuffed in any way… be wary of its contents. Diverted products are often handled more and shuffled around which tends to cause damage.
Also, if you purchase a product online and you know what it’s supposed to look like and it doesn’t… don’t use it!
It’s not really cheaper: Although diverted products often end up on the shelves of discount retailers, the prices are often not different. In fact, they often cost more as a result of being shuffled around the market. So if $20 for your favorite shampoo sounds higher than you’re accustomed to paying, be wary of the product. It’s tempting to spend the extra few dollars for the convenience of buying these salon quality items at your local grocery store and that’s the whole point of product diversion.
Play it Smart.
Now that you know what to look for, be safe and smart about your purchases. Just because it seems convenient to buy your beloved products at the grocery store, doesn’t mean you’re getting a good deal. Put the safety of you and your family first.
Go through your health & beauty products now and toss out anything that seems suspicious, expired, or clearly has a barcode that has been tampered with! Better safe than sorry, right?
Some other posts by Kimi:
Introducing Funko Fridays
Why You Should Use Gleam for Your Next Giveaway
Book Review: Brilliantly Smart Tips
I Will Make Your Skin Look Fantastic in Your Pictures
I Don’t Know Enough About Breast Cancer