Council cautions consumers on fake hair products

12/11/2010 16:15

Consumers of hair care products in Fiji face health and safety risk with large number of fake hair products flooding the local market. The Consumer Council of Fiji in the recent months has been inundated with complaints not only from consumers but also from traders on cheap counterfeit hair care products sold and used in retail outlets and hair salons.

The recent complaint received was on the sale of fake Wella hair perming products such as waving creams/solutions which is allegedly being sold to the hair dressers at a cheap price. The Council is worried that consumers frequenting hair saloons are at risk as they are not aware of the products being used on their hair. In most cases hair dressers do not disclose the type of products they are using on their customer’s hair. Earlier this year, the Council also received a complaint from a consumer who had purchased a popular hair styling gel- Chiadin Hair Styling Gel- and claimed to have experienced hair loss after using the product. 

Fake products are much cheaper than originals because they don’t go through the rigorous safety checks as the genuine products and may have low quality ingredients. It is not easy for many consumers to differentiate between fake products and original products as they may have the similar trademarks and packaging as the originals. However, consumers can spot counterfeit products by telltale signs such as language errors and inadequate or in most cases no information on the manufacturers of the product, country of origin and the ingredients or on instructions of use on the products. The fake products don’t have this essential information.

The Council would like to advice consumers to question the hair dressers on products they are using on them. If needed consumers should demand to see the products used because it may be likely that consumers may be paying premium price for their hair styles which are fashioned with fake products.   Similarly, while buying hair gels, sprays and other products, consumers should read the labels carefully scrutinizing the ingredients, information on manufactures and country of origin and instructions of use. Products without this information are likely to be dodgy.    

Fiji does not have any proper mandatory information labeling standard for cosmetic products. This poses many risks to consumers who are unaware of what kind of chemicals they are exposing their body to. The labeling standard requires products to have a list of ingredients so consumers can: indentify ingredients to which they may be allergic or which may cause an adverse reaction; and compare various cosmetic products.

The Council hopes that the mandatory cosmetics labeling standards will prevent imitation and potentially dangerous cosmetics being dumped in the country by unscrupulous traders who want to get rich quickly.