“Maskne” Solutions

Masks are vital to return our communities to health and keep our business open, but the aren’t always skin-friendly, causing breakouts that have been referred to as “maskne.” Despite the fact that this term will probably get as irritating as the breakouts it refers to, at East Village Spa, we’re leaning into it with solutions.

Masks are vital to return our communities to health and keep our business open, but the aren’t always skin-friendly, causing breakouts that have been referred to as “maskne.” Despite the fact that this term will probably get as irritating as the breakouts it refers to, at East Village Spa, we’re leaning into it with solutions.

NEW! Maskne Facial

This 60 minute service offers an hour of relaxation and stress relief for your mind and therapeutic care for your skin. Our estheticians will select products to relieve clogged pores, breakouts and irritation. For a limited time, your Maskne facial includes $15 toward the Rhonda Allison products suggested by your esthetician, as home care is essential to prevent and manage future breakouts. Book yours online!

Manage maskne at home

In addition to the Maskne Facial, we can help with home care to help keep these annoying breakouts at bay. Our lead esthetician, Camille’s top picks:

Beta Green Tea Cleanser: anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, exfoliating with salicylic acid and green tea. Unlike many salicylic acid cleansers, this will NOT dry out skin!
Mandelic Au Lait Moisturizer: Even if you feel your skin is getting oily from wearing a mask, you still need a moisturizer. If you skip moisturizing, your skin will produce more oil to overcompensate. This product absorbs quickly with lightweight hydration and mandelic acid to heal and provide antibacterial support.
Blemish Serum: This spot treatment for breakouts can be used after cleansing and before moisturizing, morning and night.
Mandelic Arginine Serum: Exfoliating and supportive for breakout prone and inflamed skin, this multi-benefit serum should be used after cleansing morning and/or evening and before moisturizing.

Breakouts are annoying, but the benefit of wearing your mask far outweighs this minor convenience. The more we wear our masks, and wear them properly, the sooner we can get back to business as usual. We can help your skin get through this trying time, and reduce some of your stress in the process.

Products available in spa and online at www.shopeastvillagespa.com

Hydrafacial returns with safety upgrades

We took our time learning the safest way to start offering facial services again in the middle of a pandemic. There hasn’t been a ton of solid guidance for our profession, so we’ve been studying the dental profession and their practices as we developed our safety upgrades.

Hydrafacial at East Village Spa

Hydrafacial is currently the first facial skincare service we brought back after we re-opened. We love this service because it is the most effective of all of our facial services with maximum benefits in a shorter time. Because guests will be “unmasked” for most of the service, efficiency will help minimize risks for providers and guests/ Don’t worry though, this service still includes nurturing upgrades we’re known for. Read descriptions here.

We can be safe AND relaxing!

In addition to our regular COVID19 safety upgrades,

  • Your Hydrafacial will be performed by a licensed esthetician who is wearing both a mask and face shield.
  • We will run a HEPA air purifier designed for a much larger space in order to quickly exchange the air in the room.
  • Guests will arrive in a mask and leave in a mask. Consider bringing a clean, cotton mask to put on after the service.
  • You’ll first select one of three essential oil massage blends and your esthetician will help you relax (while masked) with some neck, arm, or scalp massage techniques (will vary by provider). You’ll get to keep the rest of your oil as a gift to enjoy at home.
  • If you select the Deluxe Hydrafacial option, we’ve changed the in-service mask to a custom selected mask your esthetician will send home with you. You’ll then apply this mask at home one-week following your Hydrafacial which will further enhance the results of your service.
Esthetician in a face mask and shield at East Village Spa

We feel confident we can provide Hydrafacial services with reasonable risk reduction, but please remember that no service is entirely risk free. For this reason, every one of our estheticians had a choice of whether to offer Hydrafacial services and some have decided to wait until cases significantly decline. This means that whomever you see is comfortable providing your service, which always makes for a more relaxing experience!

Book your Hydrafacial online now!

Skin care for your body

Is the skin on your body feeling dull, dry, or experiencing breakouts? We have services that can help! If you’re just feeling stressed and wanting to indulge a bit, we can manage that too! Combine one of these body services with a manicure, pedicure, or even a foot massage for a really decadant alternative to a vacation.

Is the skin on your body feeling dull, dry, or experiencing breakouts? We have services that can help! If you’re just feeling stressed and wanting to indulge a bit, we can manage that too! Combine one of these body services with a manicure, pedicure, or even a foot massage for a really decadant alternative to a vacation.

Body Treatment at East Village Spa

Hawaiian Full Body Skin Rejuvenation

You read that right! This hour of bliss starts with a deep cleanse for the skin on your back, arms, leg, hands and feet with 5 different Hawaiian fruit acides and extracts that smell like a trip to the islands. This will prepare your skin for your esthetician to massage in an exfoliating cream peel, then provide light circulatory massage techniques that nourish your skin with hydrating oils. Ths service gently exfoliates surface dead skin cells. Your skin will also feel smooth, brightened, firmed and toned. You thought a skincare treatment for your face was relaxing? This is divine and just in time to bare skin for summer.

Aromatherapy Body Scrub

Start by working with your massage therapist or esthetician to blend a custom-scented aromatherapy massage oil to use with our milk and sugar scrub for a 45 minute full-body exfoliaition. This scrub will soften skin, boost circulation, and relieve stress. As our gift, you’ll receive the remainder of your aromatherapy massage oil and a whole jar of scrub in the same scent to enjoy at home!

We hope to see you at the spa soon, but we understand a spa visit isn’t safe for everyone right now. Whether you’re staying in due to an underlying health concern or you’re quarantining because you’ve been exposed or have recently traveled or attended a large event we have great options for you to enjoy a bit of the spa at home. Visit our online spa shop for DIY facial kits, yummy body scrub scents, bath salts, and more! We thank you for keeping yourself and those around you safe!

Complimentary “Esthetician on Call” Services Available

Stress + season changes + face masks + dietary changes = We all need a skin care routine overhaul! Camille Arbegast, our managing esthetician, is now offering complementary virtual skin care consultations.

Stress + season changes + face masks + dietary changes = We all need a skin care routine overhaul! Camille Arbegast, our managing esthetician, is now offering complementary virtual skin care consultations. All you have to do is e-mail us at EVSpaDesk@gmail.com and put “Skincare” in the subject line. Submit your questions (feel free to attach a photo if needed) and Camille will get back to you to discuss next steps and offer advice or a customized home care routine.

Camille Arbegast, Licensed Esthetician and Managing Technician at East Village Spa

What kinds of questions can I ask?

  • Why are professional skin care products different than those from a drugstore or Amazon?
  • What kind of exfoliation should I be using and how often?
  • My husband gets horrible rashes from shaving, what should he do?
  • I miss my waxes so I tried shaving…and got some killer in-growns. What should I go?
  • Should I be using a Vitamin A serum (like Retinol)?
  • Do I need to cleanse my skin twice a day if I’m not wearing makeup and/or just staying home and not doing anything?
  • How can I give myself a facial at home?
  • I have oily skin, why do I need a moisturizer?
  • Here’s what I have at home: What should I use? What should I toss?
  • I want a mask to treat myself… which one is best for my skin?
  • My teenager is stressing about their skin, what should we do?

We know medical spas are starting to reopen and others will soon be able to, but we can’t legally or safely offer skincare services right now. Even once we DO get the all clear, we’ll wait longer on facial. Clients can’t wear masks during a facial, leaving our providers at higher risk of infection which in turn puts their future guests at risk. Thankfully, an appropriate home care routine is the most important piece of long term skin health and we’d love to help you find a routine that fits your schedule, budget, and specific needs!

We miss you and can’t wait to chat virtually!

Camille, Cassie, and the East Village Spa Team

Top skin issues and solutions during the pandemic

Stress, poor diet, lack of motivation for personal care (let’s face it, the Zoom videos are grainy!) are causing lots of skin issues. Providers on the front lines wearing N95 masks all day are faced with raw, irritatied skin. Don’t wait for spas to reopen, it will be awhile before we can safely perform facials. Fortunately, you can do a TON with a great home care regimine.

Stress, poor diet, lack of motivation for personal care (let’s face it, the Zoom videos are grainy!) are causing lots of skin issues. Providers on the front lines wearing N95 masks all day are faced with raw, irritatied skin. Don’t wait for spas to reopen, it will be awhile before we can safely perform facials. Fortunately, you can do a TON with a great home care regimen. Camille Arbegast, a Licensed Esthetician, shared a few solutions if you’re experiencing skin challenges right now.

Camille Arbegast, Managing Esthetician at East Village Spa
Camille Arbegast, Managing Esthetician at East Village Spa

Solutions for stress-related skin freak-outs

Camille suggests Rhonda Allison’s Mandelic Arginine Serum for a gentle, daily exfoliation to curb breakouts from stress and also help calm rosacea flare-ups.

With weather (slowly) warming up, it might be time to switch to a lighter moisturizer. Camille recommends the Mandelic Au Lait, which is medium weight and has ingredients that also help calm breakouts and reduce redness.

Outdoor must-haves

Socially-distant outdoor activities like gardening, long walks, or supervising kids in the yard, are stress-busting musts for many of us. Rhonda Allison has two great sunscreen options. 1. eZinc is best for those with concerns about breakouts or redness. It is light weight and doesn’t have that sunscreen smell or feel. 2. Daytime Defense is ideal for those wanting to get pro-youth antioxidants.

Beta Green Tea Cleanser is great for AM and PM and one of our most popular clenasers. It has a small amount of salycilic acid to deeply cleanse sweat and dirt without drying skin. For best results with any Rhonda Allison cleanser, start with dry skin (or just put a few drops of water on your fingers) and massage in your cleanser that way first, before adding water. You’ll get a better cleanse and your product will last longer!

The Arnica Therapy is a staple of the Rhonda Allison line and is a natural antibacterial cream. It is great for cuts, burns, wounds, or bug bites.

Medical-grade PPE relief

Our front line medical providers and support staff are heroes. Many of have seen photos of the raw skin caused by wearing N95 masks all day. Camille suggests a 3 step approach to ease pain from the irritation caused by these masks. 1. Rhonda Allison Creamy Milk Cleanser, a gentle and soothing cleanser. 2. Rhonda Allison Arnica Therapy, a barrier for skin before the mask goes on. 3. Rhonda Allison Drops of Essence, a soothing gel for after cleaning at the end of the day to help ease discomfort.

We took her suggestions and created a specially priced Face Mask Relief kit that you can purchase for a front line healthcare worker who is struggling with pain from their mask.

Rhonda Allison Skincare for face mask irritation.

Poor diet, dehydrated skin

Listen, we won’t tell you what to eat in times of stress and I pity the person who gets between me and my “secret” chocolate stash right now. We WILL gently suggest that you increase your water intake. All of those Zoom Cocktail hours and extra coffees are going to take their toll on your skin. Tired of water? Try adding some calorie free, sugar free, caffeine free Pure Inventions extracts to your water. For a delicious “mocktail” mix your favorite drops with sparking water and drop in a few frozen blueberries and a lemon wedge.

Blueberry Lemon mocktail at East Village Spa

We can’t wait to be able to give you professional facials and Hydrafacials again, but don’t neglect your skin while you wait for your esthetician to be able to safely provide services to you. Take control of your skin and start or continue good habits at home now!

Blog contributors: Camille Arbegast is the managing esthetician at East Village Spa, where she’s worked since 2012. Cassie Sampson, BA, LMT is the owner of East Village Spa.

FAQ: When should I come back?

A question we’re frequently asked is: How often should I get a (insert your favorite spa service here)? As far as how often you should get spa services, it depends on the service and why you are receiving it.

HOW OFTEN SHOULD I GET A FACIAL?

  • For general relaxation and routine skin wellness: typically a monthly facial will suffice, though we understand sometimes you have to stretch it out to every other month or quarterly. As long as you are using the products your esthetician recommends in between visits you should be fine. At a minimum, each season it is good to get checked out in case you need to change your routine due to changes in the weather and your activities.
  • For peels or Minus 10 protocols: you may need to visit in shorter intervals (perhaps 2-3 weeks) based on the treatment goal and where in your skin cell turnover cycle your esthetician wants you to repeat the service.
  • For acne facials like our “Clear Relief” facial: a monthly facial to assess skin, perform extractions, and do a deeper cleanse along with recommended home care between visits is necessary until the acne clears up.
  • For Hydrafacial: Monthly is a great starting point, but if you your esthetician may suggest a period of more frequent visits to address certain concerns.

HOW OFTEN SHOULD I GET A MASSAGE?

You can typically get massage therapy as often as you’d like, but any of us who have spent a day getting massage in school or testing massage students or job applicants can attest that there IS such a thing as too much massage! Your body will let you know when you’ve had enough! A few good suggestions for spacing your services:

  • General stress management and relaxation massages: These are fine in whatever interval you can manage with your schedule. We have clients in weekly (sometimes twice weekly), lots of every other week and monthly massage clients, as well as some who are able to treat themselves on special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries.
  • Sports massage: If you’re training for an event, regular massage at weekly or every-other week intervals are helpful to prevent injury and keep you on your training schedule. The type of massage your therapist recommends during training, shortly before an event (1-2 days) and shortly after an event will have different session goals, techniques, and duration.
  • Injury or specific focus work massages: The frequency will vary for these services based on what you and your therapist are addressing. It is possible to overwork an area and for most kinds of massage, we don’t want to further inflame an area so your therapist will suggest rest periods between massage. Typically we’d ask a client to come more frequently at the beginning of treatment for a specific issue until it has subsided (2 sessions in a week is not uncommon at this stage), then maintenance massages. Your therapist will gauge frequency based on how long the benefits of the treatment seem to last. Sometimes even a quick 30 minute treatment here or there can help maintain progress.
  • If you are seeing multiple providers to treat the same condition: We often partner with chiropractors and physical therapists for greater treatment effectiveness. Do make sure your massage therapist knows all of the treatments you’re receiving for the injury or health concern (i.e. physical therapy, chiropractic, acupuncture, etc…) and make sure your other providers know you’re receiving massage so you don’t over treat a condition and all providers are on the same page with scheduling service frequency.

HOW OFTEN DO I NEED TO WAX?

Wax intervals vary greatly depending on the person, hair texture, ethnicity, hormones, and heredity play a role in how often you’ll need to book your follow-up waxes. It is important to grow hair to at least 1/4 inch before waxing to make sure the hair catches in the wax.

  • Facial waxing:Typically 3-4 weeks is common between waxing for brows, upper lip, and chin.
  • Brazilian/bikini, back and chest waxing: 4-6 weeks is a typical interval for Brazilian, back, and chest waxing.
  • Leg waxing: Leg hair needs a bit more time to grow in enough to wax, most people need to go 6-8 weeks once their hair is on a good growth schedule.

Are you ready for a rebook or looking to schedule your first service? Learn more and book online. Don’t hesitate to give us a call with your questions at (515) 309-2904.

Sunscreen FAQs

Lately there’s been buzz about chemical sunscreens. Many of our clients are asking if sunscreen is still safe. The answer YES! There are different types of sunscreens and it can get confusing. Our expert estheticians are here to sort it out for you!

Woman with hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen on her nose.

What’s the difference between chemical sunscreen and barrier sunscreen?

Chemical sunscreen contains ingredients that absorb the sun’s rays, change them to heat, then release them from the skin. These are sunscreens you’re most likely to find mass marketed and probably what is in your pool bag. I sometimes use an aerosol chemical sunscreen when I swim alone so I can get my back and I don’t plan to stop. We understand clients are concerned right now because the FDA is investigating 12 ingredients used in chemical sunscreen for more information because these ingredients can absorb into the body. The FDA and American Academy of Dermatology still want people to use sunscreen, even chemical sunscreens, during this study.

Physical barrier sunscreens are those that contain zinc oxide and block the rays from getting to your skin. These are the sunscreens we carry from Rhonda Allison because they are tend to be better for sensitive skin and cause less irritation.

Chemical sunscreens are hit and miss causing serious skin irritation for my husband and me, so we’ve both found Zinc Oxide barrier sports sunscreens work best to protect us when running or biking in the sun. Granted, these are thick and don’t absorb quickly…but we’d rather have streaky sunscreen residue on our skin than cancer! Our favorite sport brands for our sensitive skin are Think Sport (available at REI) and Blue Lizard (which we’ve only found online).

What is the difference between Rhonda Allison E-Zinc and Daytime Defence Sunscreens?

Rhonda Allison Sunscreen eZinc vs Daytime Defense
Rhonda Allison offers two sunscreens. EZinc, and Daytime Defense

Rhonda Allison eZinc Protection Cream is a highly protective barrier sunscreen with Zinc Oxide offering a natural SPF 22 for daily sun protection without leaving the skin white or pasty. This is light, quick-absorbing, and may be used day and night. If you travel light like me, you COULD use this as a light nighttime moisturizer for a few days if you’re only packing a carry-on. This is great for people who are a bit more sensitive, oily, or breakout prone. It also has a really accessible price point to make it easier to use daily. Personally, I’m a fan of the eZinc, but it is less protective than the Daytime Defense SPF30.

Rhonda Allison’s Daytime Defense SPF30 is an ultra-refined complex; perfect sun protection providing a continuation of good skin care. Giving skin support to guard against environmental pollution, it glides on skin for soothing moisture protection you will feel all day. Using Zinc Oxide to as a natural sun barrier, this pure and clean formulation protects the skin while providing antimicrobial, antioxidant, and soothing, healing support that is ideal for all skin types.

Whichever type of sunscreen you put on in the morning, it won’t protect you from the sun all day. You’ll still need to reapply regularly and after any activity where you sweat or get wet as these are not waterproof or sport sunscreens.

My make-up has sunscreen, am I good to go?

No! Make-up with SPF and mineral make-up is great for added protection, but if you’re wearing it thick enough for a sufficient application to protect against sun exposure, we need to have a chat about how much make-up you’re wearing!

I see scary stories about sunscreen in my facebook feed, how do I know who to trust?

It is important to carefully select reliable sources when researching health information online and making health decisions. Skin cancer is a serious issue. To get you started on your research for the best sunscreen for you, check out the well-researched sources I used for this post: American Academy of Dermatology and the Mayo Clinic. Want more advice or want to try on some of our Rhonda Allison sunscreens? Stop into the spa or book a facial with one of our licensed estheticians for customized advice.

Rosacea Awareness

April is Rosacea Awareness Month. Many people don’t understand rosacea, which is frequently confused with sensitive skin. According to Shannon Esau of Rhonda Allison, “Rosacea is a chronic and progressive disorder that impacts 16 million Americans. Rosacea will typically present as redness on the cheeks, nose, chin or forehead that will come and go. It is a complex condition, with three stages of progressed symptoms.”

More progressed rosacea with bumps and thickening of the skin.

Mild rosacea causes some redness or flushing that is exacerbated by certain topical products, improper skin care, some foods, alcohol, drugs, or other triggers. According to the Mayo Clinic, more progressed stages of rosacea can lead to bumps that look like acne, a thickening of the skin on the nose leading to a bulbous appearance, and eye issues. Rosacea is not caused by poor hygiene. It may be hereditary, but people with fair skin with sun damage, people who drink or smoke may be more at risk.

Things to avoid

Rosacea symptoms may be lessened by avoiding triggers. This can include using a sunscreen daily (which you should do anyway), reducing sugar, and stopping smoking. Studies show that alcohol consumption may cause rosacea or worsen symptoms for some people, though it is important to note someone who never drinks can also develop rosacea.

People with rosacea should also avoid “scrubbing” their skin or using manual exfoliation (gritty) products. These can cause irritation which may worsen symptoms. A product like Rhonda Allison’s Mandelic Arginine serum can gently rejuvenate skin without an aggressive scrub.

Managing Symptoms

Rhonda Allison Skincare

In addition to avoiding triggers that can worsen symptoms, proper skincare is essential to treating rosacea. For more severe symptoms, people may wish to seek assistance from a dermatologist.

At East Village Spa, we offer Rhonda Allison professional skincare which has several options to help ease rosacea symptoms.

Sensitive Skin Complex: This serum supports inflamed, irritated, infection-prone skin while providing a high degree of environmental protection. This product also eases facial redness and burning.

Creamy Milk Cleanser: Formulated for sensitive and traumatized skin, gentle with milk proteins to soothe and hydrate.

C-Stem Cell: This complex strengthens skin and protects against environmental stress.

Milk Mask: A cooling, calming, and hydrating mask

Wasabi Mask: It may be surprising that wasabi would be an appropriate ingredient for sensitive skin and rosacea, but this mask purifies and hydrates acne and rosacea-prone skin.

If you have concerns about your skin, you can visit with a licensed esthetician for more guidance, regular facials and proper home care can make a world of difference in your skin health. To book a facial with one of our licensed estheticians, click here.

Resources

Differentiating Rosacea From Sensitive Skin, Shannon Esau, Rhonda Allison Cosmeceuticals. Available at Skininc.com

Mayo Clinic: Rosacea https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/rosacea/symptoms-causes/syc-20353815

American Academy of Dermatology: Does Drinking Cause Rosacea?
https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/acne-and-rosacea/rosacea/does-drinking-cause-rosacea

American Academy of Dermatology: 6 rosacea skincare tips dermatologists give their patients:
https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/acne-and-rosacea/rosacea/6-rosacea-skin-care-tips-dermatologists-give-their-patients

Resolve to avoid these 3 skin health mistakes

New Year’s Day is always a good time to set goals. People often focus on nutrition or fitness goals, but neglect their skin’s health when creating a wellness plan for the year! We’ll make skin care resolutions easy with 3 common skin health mistakes to resolve to avoid this year.

From Camille Arbegast, Managing Esthetician at East Village Spa:

Resolve to exfoliate properly: That might not mean using an actual “scrub.”

Many people think that to exfoliate you need a scrub, any scrub. But more often than not, a manual scrub is not appropriate for your skin. Some scrubs are really aggressive and will damage your skin. For people with acne-prone skin, scrubs can cause inflammation, spread bacteria and increase breakouts. People think that Clarisonics exfoliate the skin but they really don’t (slightly, but not enough). They’re great for deep cleansing but that’s about it.

A serum exfoliates with acids instead of “grit.” The benefit of using a serum to exfoliate is they will likely have multiple benefits for your skin along with exfoliation.

From Lindsay Crowe, Licensed Esthetician at East Village Spa:

Resolve to stop getting skincare advice from social media celebrities.

People may use the wrong products because of social media influencers. They see what they are using and want to look like them or have their skin, but the products that work for the Instagram or You Tube celebrity may not be appropriate for the person watching the video. That’s a new thing happening in our industry and I have started to see it with my clients this last year… they see it on YouTube and they want it!

For example, you may see someone raving online about a clay mask, but those are only for oily skin or spot-treating blemishes. If someone with normal to dry skin uses that mask, it can lead to irritated dry skin and breakouts.

Getting the right products for your skin starts with an esthetician so we can talk and map out your personal needs. That’s why our facials and products are customizable, which I love!

Cassie Sampson, BA, LMT, Owner, East Village Spa

Resolve to quit picking at your skin!

2018 was a stressful year and stress translated to breakouts for me. Breakouts translated to stress relief in the form of “picking” my skin to try to do my own extractions. It was a vicious cycle that caused some scarring on my cheek and chin. I work with 7 licensed estheticians, so WHY I felt the need to try to extract my own skin is beyond me. (This is a lie, I did it because it was satisfying.)

Now I’m in repair mode to minimize the scarring. I use Rhonda Allison Perfection Clay to spot treat when I get a blemish to make it easier to extract if I feel compelled to try to do it, and I properly treat my skin before and after. Mostly, I’ve made it a goal to get a facial or Hydrafacial when I’m stressed. The services are incredibly relaxing which helps to reduce my stress and anxiety that causes my blemishes (and my desire to pick) AND they help with the scarring. Win-win.

East Village Spa Facial with Mask

Need help achieving your new year skin health resolutions? We’re here for you! You can book a facial online here. Not sure where to start? A Wellness Facial is a great option for people who are totally new to professional skincare. Want more stress relief with your facial? Book the EV Signature Facial which has all of the benefits of the Wellness Facial, plus lots of extra TLC. If you’ve tried facials before and want something that packs more punch, I strongly suggest the Hydrafacial. It is a game-changer!

You can also stop into the spa and see if one of our estheticians is free to consult with you about the best service or products for your needs. Cheers to healthy skin and a low-maintenance routine designed for YOUR needs in the new year!

Don’t get scammed by diverted beauty products

Confession time: I’ve bought diverted products in a moment of despiration and I KNOW better! A couple years ago, I realized that I didn’t have enough foundation to last through an upcoming trip. Because of my poor planning, I didn’t have time to run to the store that carried the brand, and there wasn’t enough time to have it shipped directly from an authorized retailer. I caved to the temptation: I ordered it on Amazon Prime for 1 day shipping. My foundation arrived and I immediately realized it wasn’t quite right. The label didn’t match the original label. Instead of the shade being printed on the bottle, it was attached with a crooked sticker. It was orange. I’d been fooled. Not only was I out the money for a fake bottle of foundation, I was still out of foundation for my trip.

What does it mean if a product is “diverted?”

Diverted products are not sold through authorized channels. Many people think of shampoo and conditioner, but this is common with skincare and cosmetics too. Some lines are intended only for sale by licensed professionals or authorized distributors. Products sold outside of these channels are likely to be expired, diluted, adulterated, have not been properly stored, and are definitely not gauranteed by the manufacturer. Sometimes, these products contain dangerous additives or ingredients that are not on the label, so you can’t be certain a diverted product doesn’t contain ingredients you are allergic to.

How to spot a diverted product:

If you see a salon or spa brand, or any exclusive cosmetic or personal care product at a drug store, grocery store, or discount clothing and home goods store, chances are it is diverted. This In-Style article offers helpful tips for spotting diverted items, including looking for inconsistencies in the labels or packaging, covering bar codes to make them harder to track (look for bar code stickers or markered out bar codes), and prices that seem significantly lower.

This bottle of hair spray has a telltale sign of diversion: A sticker over the real barcode. Note how old the product and sticker are. This was on the shelves at a Des Moines grocery store today.

Am I getting a better deal at a big box store? 

Many professional quality hair and skincare lines dictate the prices that their authorized distributors can charge. No authorized licensed professionals or distributors are allowed to charge less. Ironically enough, many diverted products cost as much as, or more than, a guaranteed product sold from a legitimate distributor, and you truly can’t know what you’re buying if it isn’t from an authorized retailer.

This bottle of Redken Shampoo sells for $15.99 from an authorized salon, but was on the shelf at a local grocery store with a sticker over the real bar code today for $19.99.

Professional skincare lines like Rhonda Allison, our exclusive skincare line, are only available through licensed estheticians or dermatologists. According to Rhonda Allison:

“Consumers need to be aware that if they purchase from an institution such as eBay or Amazon, their product may be diluted, expired, or counterfeit. Such product may not be safe to use or perform as tested and Rhonda Allison will not take responsibility for the purchaser’s dissatisfaction…these products are considered “diverted” and constitute a high risk to the consumer.”

A quick check of Amazon showed a few Rhonda Allison products, and almost all of these diverted products were priced higher than our products! Some appear to be bottles that are either older designs or not “quite right.”  For example, I found a bottle of Rhonda Allison’s Drops of Essence today on Amazon selling for nearly $50 more than we sell it at East Village Spa. Our product is guaranteed to be exactly what it says, comes with expert advice, and we’ll happily ship it to our clients!

Diverted and seriously overpriced product on Amazon.

If diversion is so bad, how are stores getting away with it?

According to Consumer Affairs, the illegality comes from people within the supply chain diverting the products to stores like big box or online retailers, which is a breach of their contract. For example, if a distributor unethically sells their products, including those that are expired, damaged, or used, to a big box store, they are breaching their contract with the manufacturer. Some individuals sell stolen goods. The products then go to a warehouse where the products bar codes are destroyed or covered to make them hard to track. When a big box store buys diverted products from these unethical operators, this is not illegal, but it is unethical because the retailer cannot guarantee the authenticity or safety of the products.

The only way to reduce this practice, short of passing legislation making it illegal for retailers to purchase unauthorized products, is to educate consumers about product diversion and encourage consumers to purchase directly from their salon, spa, or wellness professionals. This is the only way to guarantee that you are getting what you pay for, and more often than not, you’ll end up saving money. Plus, you will be supporting small business owners instead of online or big box retailers engaging in unethical practices without concern for your health.