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September 28, 2011

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City salons using fake shampoo

SHAMPOO and conditioner used in many hair salons are suspected to be a blend of potentially harmful chemicals and fragrances, which cost less than 1 yuan (16 US cents) for each kilogram.

It is said to be a common practice in the industry that customers get their hair washed with inferior shampoo and conditioner unless they pay extra fees for "high-quality" products.

According to a report by the Southern Metropolis Weekly, such shampoo is often blended with thickener, fragrance, shampoo powder and water. It costs only 0.4-1.2 yuan for a kilogram.

However, customers in many salons pay no less than 10 yuan for the "top-grade professional" shampoo when having their hair washed.

Shampoo is considered the fastest-growing consumer product in these hair salons as washing hair is a must procedure before hair styling projects. To lower costs, many hair salons use inferior but "highly imitated" shampoo instead, said Hu Yingming, an industry insider.

In an investigation, Shanghai Daily found that suppliers from the city's biggest hairdressing wholesale market sometimes use counterfeit bottles of shampoo and were willing to describe how it's done. The reporter posed as a businesswoman considering opening a hair studio.

"It's simple and easy," said Chen Yan, the owner of a hairdressing products store in the market, located on Guangdong Road in Huangpu District. "Get empty shampoo bottles with branded labels and fill them with our shampoo. That's it," said Chen.

According to Chen, counterfeit Pantene and Head&Shoulders shampoos were bestsellers because they were similar to the genuine ones in color and fragrance. Most shampoos were made in Guangdong Province.

A 5-liter bottle of counterfeit shampoo was priced at 30 yuan, which could be turned into 20 bottles of "genuine shampoo." On the body of the bottle, there was no information on ingredients or the producer, while the production date was printed faintly on the top of the bottle.

Medical experts said poor quality shampoo can cause permanent damage to hair and the scalp, even leading to baldness. It also could cause cancer in extreme cases where shampoo might be blended with materials that contain mercury, sulfur or benzene.

However, local authorities said they will not carry out an inspection unless harmful substances are detected. Shanghai Bureau of Quality and Technical Supervision officials said they can do nothing about counterfeit shampoo if no harmful substances are detected.


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