Salon Retail Products: us versus the big box stores, diversion, and knockoffs.

  • By Shelly Hyland
  • 28 Mar, 2016

A candid discussion about authorized salon & skin care retailers, unauthorized retailers, diverted products, and knockoffs.

What compelled me to finally get this blog set up and running was a conversation that I had with one of our stylists about OUR in-house pricing of salon and skin care retail. She wanted some solid information that she could share with her clients regarding "our" prices versus big box beauty stores, internet retailers, and diverters. Quite frankly, this is a hot topic in all salons as we see our professional product lines showing up in the strangest places, mixed in with toilet bowl cleaner and tampons on grocery store shelves.  What gives? Here is what we want you to know...

Our cosmetologists and technicians attended accredited schools to obtain their cosmetologist/technician licenses and must complete many hours of continuing education classes to maintain their license and provide their clients with quality salon and spa services. As professionals, our staff must keep up to date with the features, benefits and uses for new products and will use/demonstrate these products during your salon visit. They will also recommend products for homecare to help you achieve and maintain your hairstyle, or to help you achieve your goals with a targeted skincare regimen. Selling retail in the salon provides us with the added benefit of earning credit toward continuing education, which in turn, benefits our stylists and their clients. Sure, many clients are just not going to buy Professional Salon Products and we respect that. But what about other clients who listen intently to the features and benefits of the products but walk out the door without purchasing?

We know that clients purchase products from other sources, following our staff’s recommendations, because they want to save money or have the impression that they are saving money. Clients frequently ask about pricing differences between our retail prices, beauty supply chains (like Ulta), big box stores (like Jewel), and online stores so we would like to break it down for you to help you with your purchasing decisions (and in some cases, keep you safe!)

 

About Us: Our suppliers ONLY sell products directly to professional salons/licensed cosmetologists/licensed technicians. Manufacturers (like Redken/Pureology/Moroccanoil/Dermalogica) will only guarantee their products if they are purchased at an authorized retailer, like us. Many of our suppliers require us to sign an agreement, promising that we will not sell professional salon and skincare products to unauthorized retailers, for a profit. 

 

We set pricing for hair care and skincare products at “suggested retail price”. During the year, we frequently offer our salon products at special discounts and we also offer Retail Reward punch cards for salon retail products ($10 savings after $100 purchase) and Dermalogica Retail Reward punch card ($10 savings after $200 purchase). We try very hard to offer good value. We also offer proper instruction for retail use so that product is not wasted - for instance, Pureology products are expensive, but very concentrated and using the proper amount makes a bottle of Pureology last a long time AND be more cost effective!

 

Big Box Beauty Stores, Like Ulta: If you have been in an Ulta store, you may have noticed that there is a salon in the back of the store and some Ulta locations also have treatment rooms. Because Ulta is technically considered to be a “salon” and employs at least 1 licensed cosmetologist, they are considered to be a legitimate retail outlet for professional salon and skincare products. They carry many of the same lines that we carry.

 

As an authorized dealer for professional salon/skincare products, Ulta sets their pricing at “suggested retail price”, the same as us – contrary to popular belief, they are not a beauty discount store!   It's nice to know that they follow the rules set up by their suppliers, just like we do, and we can go head-to-head with them on price. Similar to us, Ulta runs periodic sales and coupon offers on salon products. We honor competitor coupons (for legitimate salon retail outlets, like Ulta) and will apply the coupon to full price items.

 

Ulta is also a retail outlet for professional skincare products, including Dermalogica. Dermalogica has strict rules about advertised  discounting and forbids its legitimate accounts from offering their products at an advertised discount. (Ulta does not discount any “prestige” product.) Our prices for Dermalogica products are the same as Ulta’s.

 

One advantage that we have (compared to Ulta) is a Dermalogica punch card (provided by our Dermalogica representative) and we also offer non-advertised, in-salon promotions, incentives, gifts-with-purchase, etc. I think it is also meaningful for you to know that we have had a long history with Dermalogica. We have carried Dermalogica skin care for over 15 years, long before big box beauty stores (like Ulta), ever existed and this is the only skin care line that we carry. Big box beauty stores, like Ulta have dozens of skincare lines. Our esthetician is dedicated to these products and she frequently attends classes at the Chicago IDI (International Dermal Institute) – which is the education arm of Dermalogica. 

   

Big Box, Brick and Mortar Retail Stores, (Like Jewel) : It’s always frustrating for us in the beauty industry to see professional salon and skincare products in the grocery isle or on drug store shelves. These stores ARE NOT authorized retailers but obtain their stock from “diverters”.

 

Diverted products can be the real thing, but they can also be counterfeit, diluted formulas, or old, expired formulas that may not be safe/effective to use. Products are diverted by unauthorized distributors and salons or their employees, plus other dishonest individuals who see profit in piracy. Diverted stock goes through additional layers of distribution where product integrity might be compromised by adverse environmental conditions.

 

We frequently see old packaging and/or discontinued products on chain store shelves but we also see “what appears to be” legitimate product. The difference is frequently in the pricing! Consumers might think they are getting a deal but look closely! Remember, diverted product has to go through those extra layers of distribution and this will ultimately affect the end pricing to the consumer: pricing is frequently higher in unauthorized brick and mortar stores than in your favorite salon!

 

We recently took some pictures of Redken, Pureology, and Big Sexy prices at Jewel in Crystal Lake and compared their pricing with ours:

PUREOLOGY – (matching sizes)

 

                                                                                                Jewel                                   Our price

 

Hydrate Shampoo                                                                 $32                                         $28

Hydrate Conditioner                                                            $32                                         $30

Hydrate Shine Max                                                                $30                                         $26

 Pure Volume Shampoo                                                       $32                                         $28

Pure Volume Conditioner                                                  $32                                         $30

Pure Volume Blow Dry Amplifier                                    $25                                         $24

 Super Smooth Shampoo                                                   $32                                        $27.50

Super Smooth Conditioner                                              $32                                         $29.50

Super Smooth Serum                                              $25                                        $24

Perfect Platinum 4 Shampoo                                           $32                                         $28

Perfect Platinum 4 Conditioner                                      $32                                         $30

 

Redken/Big Sexy (matching sizes)

 

Color Extend Shampoo                                                     $19                                         $15.50

Color Extend Conditioner                                                 $20                                         $16.50

Full Frame 07                                                                          $21                                         $18.50

Aerate                                                                                        $20.50                                   $18.50

Wax Blast 10                                                                           $21                                         $19

Rough Paste 12                                                                     $22.50                                   $19.50

Outshine 01                                                                            $22.50                                   $19.50

Water Wax 03                                                                        $22.50                                   $19.50

Thickening Lotion 06                                                          $21                                         $18.50

Rewind 06                                                                               $22                                         $19.50

B/S Spray & Stay                                                                  $19                                         $18

B/S Spray & Play                                                                  $19                                         $18


Unauthorized Online Retailers (like Amazon): Many consumers are lured into buying professional salon and skincare products through unauthorized, online retailers because of attractive price points. Similar to unauthorized diverted products in big box stores, products purchased online carry an added risk to the consumer because packaging/tampering/and product condition cannot be inspected before purchasing. Has the bottle been opened? Is the packaging old, damaged, or counterfeit? Online sources have products that have been passed through uncontrolled distribution channels and may be counterfeit, diluted formulas, old, expired and not safe to use.

 

There are many anecdotal and many “more formal” investigative news stories about counterfeit and dangerous professional salon, makeup, and skincare products, purchased online. Investigative news outlets have documented instances where products are expired, contaminated, or simply made with counterfeit ingredients that do not at all resemble “the real product”. In some cases, these fake products contained dangerous levels of lead and other harmful chemicals. Knock-off products are becoming more prevalent in the professional beauty industry and present a clear risk for the consumer.

 

Can online products be the real thing? The answer is yes, but how do you know? If you want to purchase online, consider the risks of purchasing products that may not be what you expect.

 

Remember that professional salon and skincare manufacturers will only guarantee products purchased from an authorized retailers - like us!


Paul Hyland Salon and Day Spa

By Shelly Hyland 19 Jul, 2016
In the 30+ years that we have been in business, we have always attempted to bring new and innovative services and products to our clients, and we were one of the first salons in the area to branch out into "day spa" services, expanding our service menu to include the facials, massage, and nail services.  We have certainly seen our share of trends come and go, but nail services, including pedicures have exploded over the last 20 years with no end in site! Pedicure season used to be seasonal, running from spring break through fall, but now our pedicure chairs are occupied year round, as our clients embrace the benefits of a quality pedicure beyond painted toes and a relaxing massage. Pedicures offer relief during the cold, dry, winter months and many clients appreciate proper care and maintenance of their nails, callouses and dry, winter skin issues. PLUS, there is no denying that a good pedicure offers the therapeutic benefits of a relaxing leg and foot massage coupled with our comfortable shiatsu massage chairs and the expert attention of our nail staff!

Looking back at the evolution of pedicure services, our first pedicure chairs came from a Milwaukee based company that was the premier manufacturer of pedicure chairs, worldwide. Back then, these chairs were called pedicure thrones because the client had to literally step up onto the base of the chair to get into an elevated seat. The chairs were huge and the base of the chairs required a large amount of space! Early pedicure chairs also featured whirlpool jets to circulate water during the soaking period. While whirlpool action was extremely relaxing and therapeutic, it presented some serious cleaning and sanitation problems. Whirlpool jetted pedicure chairs relied on internal pipes that soon became a breeding ground for contagious pathogens. Although there were certainly ways to maintain the cleanliness of these pedicure chairs, many salons did not bother to clean the invisible inner-workings of the whirlpool plumbing because it was time consuming (taking the chair our of action in between cleanings) and expensive. We struggled with sanitizing our chair because cleanings involved the use of bleach soaks, left in the bowl and internal pipes, overnight. We soon learned that the bleach degraded our gaskets, which was a constant maintenance issue. In many nail salons, unsuspecting clients might have considered the bowl to be clean, not realizing that neglected internal components of the chair were putting their health at risk. The result was a serious skin tuberculosis outbreak in the early 2000's that spread from California to the midwest. States responded by setting new, mandatory cleaning guidelines and increased inspections but they also warned consumers to dip their toes at their own risk! 

Pedicure chair manufacturers quickly responded to this threat to their industry by introducing "pipeless" whirlpool pedicure chairs. This design relies on an external impeller to circulate water in the bowl and imitate whirlpool jet action with no internal pipes .  Over the last 17 years, we have purchased 3 pairs of "pipeless" pedicure chairs, all from quality American manufacturers, embracing the value of offering our clients a safe pedicure experience.

Case closed, correct? All salons now have pipeless chairs, so presumably,  all pedicures are safe, right?

Not exactly. Some salons still have whirlpool chairs with internal pipes, so ask your technician if you are unsure. And, while pipeless chairs are certainly easier to clean and sanitize, the operative concept is that someone must actually "perform" the cleaning and sanitizing  in-between each client...not just a quick rinse and refill. The pipeless design eliminates the hidden dangers but contagious pathogens can still be present and spread by an improperly cleaned and sanitized bowl and implements. Warts, fungus, and other mycobacterium are still commonly spread by improperly cleaned pedicure bowls and implements.

Here is what you need to know to before you dip your toes:

The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation is the governing body that oversees professions that require licensing, and they have established strict pedicure cleaning and sanitation standards. After each client, the bowl must be washed clean of visible debris followed by spraying the interior surface of the bowl or foot basin with either an EPA-registered disinfectant (demonstrated bactericidal, fungicidal, and virucidal activity) or 10% bleach solution. At the end of the day, pedicure bowls should be filled with water and the correct concentration of an EPA registered disinfectant or bleach solution circulating within the bowl for 5 minutes. (Whirlpool units require additional steps at the end of the day to clean internal screens and pipes.) Nail salons are also required to keep a log of pedicure cleanings which must be available for clients to inspect. 

We have consistently been recognized as "One of the Best" nail salons in McHenry County and our nail staff feels very strongly that we have achieved this status by providing an excellent pedicure experience that is also "safe" for our clients. We use quality, authentic products and we have an excellent, well trained, licensed staff. We go beyond state regulations to maintain a clean environment for our clients by using an EPA registered, hospital grade bactericidal, fungicidal & virucidal solution, circulated for 5+ minutes after each client. We log all pedicure cleanings as required by the state. We also use single use foot files, nail files, and buffers as well as single use, high quality pedicure products (soak/cleansing, moisturizing, masque, and massage oil). 

So, don't all nail salons have to comply with these regulations? They should, but in reality, many don't. The fact is, the cost of doing business in the nail industry can be drastically reduced by cutting corners and undercutting the prices of quality nail salons who follow the rules, but have to charge more. It's not uncommon to find nail salons operating with unlicensed technicians, knock-off products, and non-existent cleaning protocols. Hospital grade disinfectants and single use products are expensive and this expense is passed on to the consumer. The good news is, our pedicure business is thriving and we have successfully competed in a discount nail salon environment by carving out a niche among clients who want a quality, safe experience.

Whether you enjoy a pedicure with us or in another favorite nail salon, you are entitled to ask some basic questions. Is the staff licensed and are the licenses on display? Are the products authentic, purchased from authentic distributors? And most importantly, ask to see what they use to clean their pedicure equipment and inspect their cleaning logs. Be safe!
 
By Shelly Hyland 25 Apr, 2016
We love spring...it's a welcome change after surviving another midwest winter and clients come into the salon anxious to make a change and "try on" new spring colors that have arrived in the nail room and makeup station. The promise of warmer weather compels many of our clients to change-up their hairstyle or improve the look of their skin as they get ready for vacations and warm weather, outdoor life and activities. The boots go into the closet and the sandals come out. Our pedicure chairs are a busy, spring destination!

Spring also means a lot of preparation for our staff. Many of our hair, nail, and skincare staff attended the March, ABS (Americas Beauty Show) at McCormick Place in Chicago where we gained valuable inspiration on this season's beauty trends, fashion, new products, and new techniques.We are now firmly in the middle of our usual spring service rush and we are definitely seeing requests for many of the trends that we observed on the runways at the ABS! Spring is also a busy time in our salon for education - our yearly retail sales provides us with the opportunity to schedule in-house continuing education classes for our stylists and this year is no exception...we have some great professional education classes coming up in the next few months showcasing new cut, color, and styling techniques. (And yes, thank you for purchasing professional salon/spa products from us which in turn, helps us to schedule more continuing education classes!) The salon and spa industry is an exciting, dynamic world and we love the challenge of learning what's new, what's great (and weed out what's not so great) and sharing our knowledge with you.
 
So, without further adieu, here's what we are seeing as some of the best trends for hair:

HAIR COLOR

Color services are HUGE in our salon and by far, our most popular spring hair color request is for "highlights" to brighten/lighten up the hair for sunny days. Highlights are truly such a beautiful, full-proof, successful strategy to update your haircolor for spring and we just don't ever see this popular service losing steam. Highlights are very customize-able: we can add a few, or we can add a lot for a totally different effect. Highlights can also be in different shades and hues to add beautiful interest and dimension. Clients can achieve the look of soft, subtle, "natural-looking" highlights or branch out with highlights that are bold with contrast.
By Shelly Hyland 28 Mar, 2016

What compelled me to finally get this blog set up and running was a conversation that I had with one of our stylists about OUR in-house pricing of salon and skin care retail. She wanted some solid information that she could share with her clients regarding "our" prices versus big box beauty stores, internet retailers, and diverters. Quite frankly, this is a hot topic in all salons as we see our professional product lines showing up in the strangest places, mixed in with toilet bowl cleaner and tampons on grocery store shelves.  What gives? Here is what we want you to know...

Our cosmetologists and technicians attended accredited schools to obtain their cosmetologist/technician licenses and must complete many hours of continuing education classes to maintain their license and provide their clients with quality salon and spa services. As professionals, our staff must keep up to date with the features, benefits and uses for new products and will use/demonstrate these products during your salon visit. They will also recommend products for homecare to help you achieve and maintain your hairstyle, or to help you achieve your goals with a targeted skincare regimen. Selling retail in the salon provides us with the added benefit of earning credit toward continuing education, which in turn, benefits our stylists and their clients. Sure, many clients are just not going to buy Professional Salon Products and we respect that. But what about other clients who listen intently to the features and benefits of the products but walk out the door without purchasing?

We know that clients purchase products from other sources, following our staff’s recommendations, because they want to save money or have the impression that they are saving money. Clients frequently ask about pricing differences between our retail prices, beauty supply chains (like Ulta), big box stores (like Jewel), and online stores so we would like to break it down for you to help you with your purchasing decisions (and in some cases, keep you safe!)

 

About Us: Our suppliers ONLY sell products directly to professional salons/licensed cosmetologists/licensed technicians. Manufacturers (like Redken/Pureology/Moroccanoil/Dermalogica) will only guarantee their products if they are purchased at an authorized retailer, like us. Many of our suppliers require us to sign an agreement, promising that we will not sell professional salon and skincare products to unauthorized retailers, for a profit. 

 

We set pricing for hair care and skincare products at “suggested retail price”. During the year, we frequently offer our salon products at special discounts and we also offer Retail Reward punch cards for salon retail products ($10 savings after $100 purchase) and Dermalogica Retail Reward punch card ($10 savings after $200 purchase). We try very hard to offer good value. We also offer proper instruction for retail use so that product is not wasted - for instance, Pureology products are expensive, but very concentrated and using the proper amount makes a bottle of Pureology last a long time AND be more cost effective!

 

Big Box Beauty Stores, Like Ulta: If you have been in an Ulta store, you may have noticed that there is a salon in the back of the store and some Ulta locations also have treatment rooms. Because Ulta is technically considered to be a “salon” and employs at least 1 licensed cosmetologist, they are considered to be a legitimate retail outlet for professional salon and skincare products. They carry many of the same lines that we carry.

 

As an authorized dealer for professional salon/skincare products, Ulta sets their pricing at “suggested retail price”, the same as us – contrary to popular belief, they are not a beauty discount store!   It's nice to know that they follow the rules set up by their suppliers, just like we do, and we can go head-to-head with them on price. Similar to us, Ulta runs periodic sales and coupon offers on salon products. We honor competitor coupons (for legitimate salon retail outlets, like Ulta) and will apply the coupon to full price items.

 

Ulta is also a retail outlet for professional skincare products, including Dermalogica. Dermalogica has strict rules about advertised  discounting and forbids its legitimate accounts from offering their products at an advertised discount. (Ulta does not discount any “prestige” product.) Our prices for Dermalogica products are the same as Ulta’s.

 

One advantage that we have (compared to Ulta) is a Dermalogica punch card (provided by our Dermalogica representative) and we also offer non-advertised, in-salon promotions, incentives, gifts-with-purchase, etc. I think it is also meaningful for you to know that we have had a long history with Dermalogica. We have carried Dermalogica skin care for over 15 years, long before big box beauty stores (like Ulta), ever existed and this is the only skin care line that we carry. Big box beauty stores, like Ulta have dozens of skincare lines. Our esthetician is dedicated to these products and she frequently attends classes at the Chicago IDI (International Dermal Institute) – which is the education arm of Dermalogica. 

   

Big Box, Brick and Mortar Retail Stores, (Like Jewel) : It’s always frustrating for us in the beauty industry to see professional salon and skincare products in the grocery isle or on drug store shelves. These stores ARE NOT authorized retailers but obtain their stock from “diverters”.

 

Diverted products can be the real thing, but they can also be counterfeit, diluted formulas, or old, expired formulas that may not be safe/effective to use. Products are diverted by unauthorized distributors and salons or their employees, plus other dishonest individuals who see profit in piracy. Diverted stock goes through additional layers of distribution where product integrity might be compromised by adverse environmental conditions.

 

We frequently see old packaging and/or discontinued products on chain store shelves but we also see “what appears to be” legitimate product. The difference is frequently in the pricing! Consumers might think they are getting a deal but look closely! Remember, diverted product has to go through those extra layers of distribution and this will ultimately affect the end pricing to the consumer: pricing is frequently higher in unauthorized brick and mortar stores than in your favorite salon!

 

We recently took some pictures of Redken, Pureology, and Big Sexy prices at Jewel in Crystal Lake and compared their pricing with ours:

PUREOLOGY – (matching sizes)

 

                                                                                                Jewel                                   Our price

 

Hydrate Shampoo                                                                 $32                                         $28

Hydrate Conditioner                                                            $32                                         $30

Hydrate Shine Max                                                                $30                                         $26

 Pure Volume Shampoo                                                       $32                                         $28

Pure Volume Conditioner                                                  $32                                         $30

Pure Volume Blow Dry Amplifier                                    $25                                         $24

 Super Smooth Shampoo                                                   $32                                        $27.50

Super Smooth Conditioner                                              $32                                         $29.50

Super Smooth Serum                                              $25                                        $24

Perfect Platinum 4 Shampoo                                           $32                                         $28

Perfect Platinum 4 Conditioner                                      $32                                         $30

 

Redken/Big Sexy (matching sizes)

 

Color Extend Shampoo                                                     $19                                         $15.50

Color Extend Conditioner                                                 $20                                         $16.50

Full Frame 07                                                                          $21                                         $18.50

Aerate                                                                                        $20.50                                   $18.50

Wax Blast 10                                                                           $21                                         $19

Rough Paste 12                                                                     $22.50                                   $19.50

Outshine 01                                                                            $22.50                                   $19.50

Water Wax 03                                                                        $22.50                                   $19.50

Thickening Lotion 06                                                          $21                                         $18.50

Rewind 06                                                                               $22                                         $19.50

B/S Spray & Stay                                                                  $19                                         $18

B/S Spray & Play                                                                  $19                                         $18


Unauthorized Online Retailers (like Amazon): Many consumers are lured into buying professional salon and skincare products through unauthorized, online retailers because of attractive price points. Similar to unauthorized diverted products in big box stores, products purchased online carry an added risk to the consumer because packaging/tampering/and product condition cannot be inspected before purchasing. Has the bottle been opened? Is the packaging old, damaged, or counterfeit? Online sources have products that have been passed through uncontrolled distribution channels and may be counterfeit, diluted formulas, old, expired and not safe to use.

 

There are many anecdotal and many “more formal” investigative news stories about counterfeit and dangerous professional salon, makeup, and skincare products, purchased online. Investigative news outlets have documented instances where products are expired, contaminated, or simply made with counterfeit ingredients that do not at all resemble “the real product”. In some cases, these fake products contained dangerous levels of lead and other harmful chemicals. Knock-off products are becoming more prevalent in the professional beauty industry and present a clear risk for the consumer.

 

Can online products be the real thing? The answer is yes, but how do you know? If you want to purchase online, consider the risks of purchasing products that may not be what you expect.

 

Remember that professional salon and skincare manufacturers will only guarantee products purchased from an authorized retailers - like us!


By Shelly Hyland 28 Mar, 2016
It's official - we have joined the blogosphere! 

Actually, we have been considering adding a blog to our website for quite some time, for a number of reasons. First, we feel there is an opportunity to go into more detail about our services and products. Many of you subscribe to our monthly eblast to get advanced notice of our promotions, sales, and service specials. The eblasts are by design, short and sweet! A blog will give us the opportunity to get into the nitty-gritty details about services and products, and the potential benefits for you, our clients. 

We also want to have the opportunity to highlight our great team of stylists and technicians and our support staff who play such an important role, keeping things humming. As of today, we have 28 employees so there are a lot of moving parts! It's a team effort and we want you to get to know our team!

Last, the salon/spa business is such a dynamic industry! The constant changes, trends, technology advances, and educational requirements make this exciting, but challenging, especially when we are trying to convey new information to our clients during a half hour hairstyle appointment. We feel that a blog will give us the opportunity to share more detailed insight on important topics.

We hope you will check back often. If there is a topic you would like for us to address...let us know and thanks for reading!


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