Wash And Worry
Special Report: Wash And Worry
Emily Hardy buys most of her hair products at Boston drug stores, shampoos, conditioners, gels, spraysóall right around the corner.
"Just the convenience of being able to buy it when you know you get more things done at once," Emily explains.
But the makers of some high-end products like this one say they were never meant to end up on drug store shelves. In fact, they say it may not even be their product inside the bottle.
John Paul DeJoria of Paul Mitchell has seen his products in unauthorized stores all over the country. We went undercover to see for ourselves; and sure enough all 8 stores we checked out had his products lining the shelves.
"If you find any Paul Mitchell in any drug store or in any supermarket, itís definitely the black market," John Paul says. "We do not put it there."
He says in some instances, heís found his bottles with a knock-off formula inside them.
"We had one incident in Massachusetts where a lady bought one of our products, it was for hair and skin, sprayed it on her face and immediately her eyes started tearing," John Paul describes. "We checked it out and it was counterfeit all the way."
Counterfeit products have been found in Canada as well. In 2003 health officials issued caution to consumers about contaminated hair products made to look like the "Bed Head" brand.
Here in the Bay State, Philip Holmes of Hair Lines Inc. has been tracking down fakes since the late 90s.
"I go into these drug store chains, grocery store chains, wholesale clubs, and I know what to look for on the packaging," Philip explains.
Along with counterfeiting, products are being diverted from salons and put on sale years after their shelf life is up.
"We went to a department store chain and I purchased quite a few bottles," Philip says. "Most of it was counterfeit and some of it came back where it was at least 11 to 12 years old!"
The Massachusetts Retailers Association says their members are doing nothing wrong by selling salon goods. They say stores are getting them from "reputable suppliers."
"Well, you know, the products are fine or they wouldnít be on the shelf," says Jon Hurst of the Retailers Association.
But salon owners disagree, saying the older the product the less effective it becomes.
"You may either not be getting the product you think you are or the product may be bad," explains Edward Blee of Persona Salon.
Emily Hardy was shocked to find out what she puts in her hair may be bogus.
"It kind of scares me," she says. "Iíll probably just stock up on the product when Iím back at the salon."
She says she wonít be watching her money go down the drain any more.
(Copyright 2005 by WHDHTV 7News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)