“As the nail industry continues growing, so too are some very concerning issues that are affecting the professionalism and standards we are so desperately trying to uplift.”

Sonette van Rensburg

In an article for Nail File, Sonette adds: The word integrity means “honesty”, “truth”, “honour” and “reliability”, while the antonym of the word is “dishonesty”. If you believe in running a professional, reputable nail business that offers professional services, then there shouldn’t be any place for dishonesty or compromising the products and brands you use and how they should be used.

Never compromise the quality of your services, your professionalism, your salon’s standards, and most importantly, your client’s trust, for the sake of saving a few bucks here and there.”

Counterfeit products

Counterfeit nail care products have become a popular choice for many DIY and aspiring nail technicians, mainly due to their vastly lower prices. Many people unwittingly buy counterfeit because they are unaware of the differences, dangers and consequences involved with buying fakes.

While you may be led to believe that there isn’t much harm in buying counterfeit beauty products, consider the following points:

  • No quality control in the manufacturing process. It’s unlikely that the quality of ingredients, nor the facility being used to manufacture the products are up to standard.
  • Cheap substitutes replace safe, cosmetic grade ingredients – tests have shown that many counterfeit cosmetics contain high levels of toxic ingredients used in industrial chemicals.
  • No to low hygiene standards in factories – tests have found high levels of bacteria and impurities including fecal matter and urine in samples confiscated by law enforcement.
  • Fake Safety Data Sheets (or SDS) and product labels are used to fool customs officials and consumers of what’s inside, merely so that goods can pass through border inspections appearing “legit”.
  • Many factories manufacturing and selling counterfeit products are connected to known criminals who are linked to human trafficking, child labour, modern slavery and other forms of organised crime.

Big name brands are most often counterfeited, and for good reason – people have grown to trust these established brands and can count on them being reliable – so it makes sense for counterfeiters to mimic these products. In recent years, a global clamp-down on counterfeiting has taken place, and ever since, the “Grey market” has expolded.

In a nutshell: Grey market products ARE the same as counterfeit products, they just go by a different name!

Grey Market Products

Asian manufacturers are the main exporters of grey products. These are often marketed and sold to budding entrepreneurs who want to develop their own brands, but who also don’t have the resources to fund their own research, labs and factories. The “problems” counterfeiters faced resulting from the global clampdown on fakes resulted in the following solution: Sell what’s always been put into the counterfeits on a massive scale and flood the market with “New” independent brands.

Many resellers of these products have little knowledge regarding the complexity of the chemicals they sell, and are often only after the fame and glamour that goes along with having their own brands. Most of them aren’t knowingly endangering their customers, either. They believe that what they’re selling is perfectly safe, and seldom (if ever) conduct independent tests to make sure that what they’re selling is indeed compliant with health & safety regulations.

How to spot Grey and Counterfeit products:

  • Price – is it a lot cheaper than an established, legitimate brand’s product?
  • Place – are you buying it from a legitimate source? Professional salon brand manufacturers only sell to professionals who can prove they are qualified, through appointed, authorised distributors – NOT on sites like Amazon, e-Bay, Aliexpress, etc.
  • Packaging – notice any spelling errors? Is something “off” with the logo’s and print quality? Does the packaging mimic or outright copy a professional brand’s? (Box / bottle shape, colour, size)
  • Product – does it have a strong, chemical smell? Does it burn / tingle / feel bad when applied? Does it work as well as “the real thing”? Does it cause any damage, sensitivity, allergies over time or when removed?

If YES to all or most of the above, chances are it’s fake or grey – and doesn’t belong anywhere near you or your clients.

If you’re a Netflix subscriber, watch “Broken- Makeup Mayhem” for a real eye opening look at this subject!

What you can do to help

As a consumer, the most powerful tool you have is YOUR DECISION. You have the power to safeguard yourself and stop counterfeiters from harming you, is simply to stop buying their products.

Be responsible. BUY ORIGINAL. While it may be tempting to save a few bucks today, the impact of buying and using counterfeits can cost you greatly in future:

  • Your business’s reputation.
  • Your health & safety – serious illnesses, injuries and disfugurement (sometimes permanent) HAVE been caused by these products.

Please help create public awareness of the dangers of counterfeit and grey market beauty products – share this post to protect your clients, colleagues and your loved ones.

More articles about Counterfeit Beauty Products:

If you’re interested in becoming a nail technician in Southern Africa, pairing our online theory with any of the locally available, reputable brands’ product training will give you an edge over your competitors – knowledge is power, so why not invest in yourself, and get the best education available?

Try it FREE or enroll today. Have you already done a course, but feel like you’re still short on some essential info? Then you should try our Fill the Gap Programme and upgrade what you already know.