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How Can You Tell If Products Are Diverted?

Find Out How to Spot Diverted Products

When it comes to professional hair care products, do you know if what you're getting is legitimate? Last week, L’Oréal USA filed suit against Sally Beauty Holdings Inc. for allegedly selling Matrix products to a wholesaler without authorization; eventually, these products ended up at CVS and Target.

The process of products going through unapproved retail channels is called diversion. It's often caused by third parties offering underground deals to those who have a legitimate contract with the manufacturer, like shady salons. Once the arrangement is made, the products are then sold to mass retailers, who technically don't have the right to resell the product. Find out some tips on spotting diverted products, along with some other reasons why you might think again before making a purchase, when you


  • Pro only: If the label says something about the product being for sale only in professional salons, then only purchase the product in the salon or the brand's website. The manufacturer cannot guarantee that it hasn't been tampered with, replaced with cheaper product inside, diluted, or has been stolen unless it's purchased through the appropriate channels.
  • Old stuff: Since many of these underground products sit in warehouses for months at a time, they are often outdated, or worse, contaminated in some fashion. Ick.
  • The packaging: Think about it. If the product looks dirty or dented on the outside, what's really in the inside? Plus, if you notice that the caps are different colors, or something is off about the packaging in any way, put it down.
  • Batch codes: Check the labels. If batch codes are rubbed off or missing, this could be a sign that the product is counterfeit or that the third party is trying to erase evidence of original purchase.
  • Not really cheaper: Even though diverted products may end up on the shelves of discount retailers, the prices are often not all that much of a difference. In fact, diverted products often cost more, as a result of being shuffled around the gray market.

Source: Flickr user banna123456

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