REAL OR FAKE? Where You Buy Your Shampoo Could Affect Your Health

I recently reposted this on Instagram and it went viral. Why? Turns out, where you buy your shampoo can have a big impact on your well-being. Crazy, right?

Okay, so here's the deal. A lot of people don't realize that those professional salon products you find on Amazon or other online platforms are often fake or expired. Yup, you heard me right. So, if you're browsing and you don't see that it's legit from the actual brand, just move on. Same goes for sites like Ebay, Overstock, Alibaba, Wish, Poshmark, and those random beauty sites. Don't fall into the trap!

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I hear you...but there's generally a reason for the low price tag.

Beauty products expire, but unlike food, they're not required to have an expiration date on the label. Most shampoos and conditioners these days are paraben-free and sulfate-free, which is great. But in efforts to use cleaner, more natural ingredients, like essential oils as natural preservatives, shelf-life lessens (most products now only last about 12 to 24 months). After that, bacteria starts to party in those bottles.

When someone unknowingly purchases an expired product from an illegitimate company, they end up using a pool of bacteria to wash or style their hair.

Learn more at Does Shampoo Expire?

Are their really Fake Beauty Products?

1000%. Unfortunatey, there's a whole world of fake beauty products out there. Can you believe it's a $5.4 billion industry? Shady entrepreneurs and organized crime groups are making more money from selling fake beauty stuff than selling drugs. And guess where most of these knockoffs come from? Mainland China. They're getting better and better at making these fake, aka "counterfeit" products look like the real thing, so you gotta be careful.

“Usually, the price is the best tipoff that the goods are counterfeit,” says Chris Schwegmann, a lawyer in Texas who has represented a number of cosmetic companies and sued online retailers over counterfeit products. “If the price looks too good to be true, it is usually a sign that you are buying counterfeit goods, especially if you see these products on a website like Amazon or eBay.” Healthline

I get the appeal of shopping for all of your needs on third-party marketplaces when they offer lower prices and fast shipping, but they are hotspots for fakes. And trust me, you don't want to mess with counterfeit beauty products. They've been found to contain nasty stuff like arsenic, lead, and mercury. In high quantities, these ingredients can cause issues like headaches, memory loss, and infertility.

Not scared yet?

How about this? Most of these products are produced in filthy clandestine labs and tested positive for high levels of bacteria, like for urine, fecal matter, and particularly staph! After using these counterfeit products, dermatologists have time and time again seen boils, styes, pink eye, and pustules caused by these counterfeit products. I highly suggest checking out the Netflix series, “Broken” episode “Makeup Mayhem”. It is terrifying!

Is that $5 savings on that luxury shampoo still sounding worth it?

The thing is most major hair care brands do not sell on Amazon or other third party websites, therefore when it says the “Seller” is “Oribe” that is actually not true. Amazon sellers are able to list the brand as the seller without transparency when it is actually coming from who knows where. To earn the right to major brands, you have to be attached to a salon and go through a stringent application process where you agree against Diversion….I’ll get to this later.

I found it necessary to write this article as North Authentic has recently experienced a massive upswing in purchases of Davines Liter Pumps. My concern is, where is everyone buying these Davines Shampoo liters that they don’t also have access to liter pumps? Red flag!

Found this searching for Davines Shampoo Liters online. Davines changed it's packaging over 8 years ago!

How is Amazon allowed to do this?

Amazon works with 3rd party sellers or independent sellers that can sell anything that you can think of. The thing is Amazon has no control over these products. Randomly, these sellers may get caught and be shut down, but with the sheer mass of sellers on the platform make oversight almost impossible.

Don’t get me wrong, there are actual REAL brands selling on Amazon, but high end luxury brands are usually not one of them.

Here’s an example. Recently, @aleck_ shared information about a shampoo her client purchased on Amazon that she supposedly bought directly from “Kevin.Murphy”. The client didn’t know that it is actually all caps ‘ “KEVIN.MURPHY”. Sellers use little things like this to trick people into buying fake products. In recent years, counterfeit products have become more and more authentic looking. Just like a bootleg purse, they look like the real deal but the fonts can be slightly different. According to Aleck, the fake shampoo was yellow in color, watery, and smelled like vinegar. The real shampoo is pearl/pink and smells of citrus.

What is so sad is, according to a recent survey by Instyle, 31% of women are currently shopping for their products on Amazon. I recently did a test. I simply searched “best shampoo and conditioner” on Google. The 3rd website to be listed was Amazon Best Sellers in Beauty. The same when I searched for “Oway shampoo” and even “best purple shampoo." It is in your face constantly and as more and more people are shopping online, these criminal enterprises have access to you on a daily basis.

What is Diversion?

It is when a product is sold outside of its authorized chain of distribution potentially putting the quality of the product at risk. Brands spend millions of dollars a year on diversion campaigns to keep people from selling their products that are not authorized to keep counterfeit or expired products out of stores and support their small business salons and distributors.

When you see Kerastase, Davines or any other large brand at the end of an aisle in your local pharmacy, outlet or big box store, they are generally expired products purchased from someone going out of business. Remember, these expired, contaminated or counterfeit products could cause irritation or even infection.

So, what can you do to protect yourself?

It's simple. Be a smart consumer. Buy your beauty products from your hair stylist or authorized retailers, like North Authentic. That way, you can be sure you're using the real deal. Plus, salon professional products are super concentrated, so a little goes a long way. You'll be saving money in the long run, trust me.

Okay, I'll stop bombarding you with info now. But seriously, take care of yourself and don't fall for those cheap knockoffs. Your hair deserves the best, right? Stay safe and keep rocking those awesome locks!

Would you like to learn more. I loved this Netflix documentary “Broken.” Check it out.


meet the founder

Natalie Palomino is the owner of North Authentic and a 14+ year Pro Stylist. She started North Authentic to give women and men expert-guidance in finding the right hair care regimen for them while also ensuring all products are free of toxins.

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