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.

Which facial is best for me?

We have so many great facial options, sometimes it can be hard to decide which one is the best choice for your needs!  I hope this guide helps to narrow it down for you. Our estheticians are able to customize many services and have no fear, if you select a facial that is not the best choice for your needs, they can often make a last minute change to a more appropriate facial that is the same length of time or can substitute products as needed to customize your service.

EV Signature Facial: MOST POPULAR FACIAL!

  • Our most relaxing facial for those who are looking for great skin care results AND relaxation
  • Includes a longer masking time than the Wellness Facial so skin receives more benefits that way
  • Extra relaxation benefits like more massage techniques incorporated, plus a softening honey foot mask and foot massage while the active professional products are working their magic on your face..

Best for: Adults who have concerns to address including acne, dryness, aging, rosacea, and hyper-pigmentation

Not recommended for: Anyone who can’t lay on their back for over an hour, younger teens, pregnant guests (book our Pregnancy Glow facial instead)

Minus 10 Facial: MOST CORRECTIVE FACIAL

  • Our most corrective facial for anti-aging results as this facial utilizes 3 different acid exfoliants to firm and brightening the skin
  • This facial is recommended to our clients as a series of 3, performed every 2 to 3 weeks for optimal results
  • Clients may experience very light flaking and/or slight dryness after this facial due to the rejuvenating exfoliants

Best for: Adults who want to see age-defying results, people willing to complete the series and home care for best results

Not recommended for: Teens or people without aging skin concerns, anyone with acneic skin, pregnant guests (book our Pregnancy Glow facial instead!), or anyone who can’t lay on their back for over an hour.

Clear Relief Acne Facial:

  • An hour long healing facial for people who have cystic or inflamed acne
  • Designed to reduce bacteria, soften and dissolve cellular buildup, and reduce inflammation

Best for: People who want to get a start on treating inflamed or cystic acne

Not recommended for: Pregnant guests (book the Pregnancy Glow Facial), guests who do not have cystic or inflamed acne, or guests who are already under a dermatologist’s care for their acne.

Wellness Facial:

  • An hour-long facial that includes skin care for face, neck, and decollete, some extractions if needed
  • Can address any and all skin concerns

Best for: Everyone! This is a great option if you aren’t sure you are the right candidate for our more clinical facials or as a consultation facial if you are considering peels.

Not recommended for: This is a great facial for everyone, but if you are pregnant, please schedule a Pregnancy Glow facial so we can be sure you are scheduled in the room with an incline table.

Express Facial:

  • A quick 30 minute cleanse, mask, moisturizing facial that includes professional skincare recommendations.
  • Does not include extractions or exfoliation.

Best for: Anyone in a time crunch, someone just wanting an introduction to the Rhonda Allison line or professional product recommendations. Can serve as a good consultation facial before scheduling a peel service. This is a great starter service for younger teens.

Not recommended for:  Someone wanting to address multiple skin concerns as there aren’t many corrective products (like exfoliants or masks) used in this facial, someone looking for a more pampering and indulgent service. We recommend scheduling the Wellness or EV Signature Facial.

Pregnancy Glow Facial:

  • An hour-long pampering, pregnancy safe facial that addresses a variety of skin needs from changing hormones.
  • Includes a hydrating foot mask and foot massage
  • Performed on a treatment table that allows our guest to rest with her head elevated.

Best for: Pregnant guests, this is the facial we require our pregnant guests to schedule as we can be sure the products are safe and that we have the service scheduled in a room with a table that allows our pregnant guests to rest in an inclined position.

Not recommended for:  Anyone who isn’t expecting. However, if you have a concern laying flat on your back during another facial, mention this at booking and we can reserve this room for you!

Click the title of any facial we’ve described in this post or click here to book your customized facial with our experienced and licensed Estheticians at East Village Spa!