Nothing feels quite as good as getting your hair washed at the salon, which is probably why a lot of us end up buying those high-end shampoos and conditioners from our stylists.

But shampoo and conditioner brands like Redken and John Paul Mitchell tell the NBC2 Investigators they only sell their products to authorized salons and spas.

So how were the NBC2 Investigators able to walk into popular Southwest Florida pharmacies and grocery stores, and buy these salon shampoos and conditioners?

Redken and John Paul Mitchell say it’s because these are “diverted” products. Diversion occurs when products are sold in “unauthorized” places. Genuine Redken and John Paul Mitchell products are sold only in authorized salons and spas.

So, whose diverting the products?

According to Redken, “Products are diverted by unauthorized distributors and salons or their employees, plus other dishonest individuals who see profit in piracy.”

It’s perfectly legal, but the hair care companies don’t like it.

Why should consumers care?

“Anytime that you see a product there, it could actually be dangerous to the consumer,” said Will Hutt, of La-Te-Da Salon. “It could be counterfeit, it could be old, could be diluted, could be expired, could even cause irritations.”

Redken’s website lists “unauthorized” outlets as “any discount store, drugstore, or grocery store.”

But really, what’s the worst that could happen?

“This isn’t a game. People can get seriously hurt by using counterfeit or out of date products,” said Barrie Drewitt, the technical director of Princeton Consumer Research in St. Petersburg.

Drewitt tests products for major cosmetic and pharmaceutical companies.

“We don’t want you to use a product after a certain amount of time because that’s giving the bacteria enough time to grow and become a problem,” said Drewitt.

We asked him to find out what’s inside the hair products NBC2 bought from a pharmacy, a grocery store, and a salon. He took samples and sent them to PCR’s lab in the United Kingdom.

A week later, he shared the results:

In the pharmacy shampoo, “bacteria Psuedomonas aeruginosa was present in this sample (Infection by the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa (P. aeruginosa) is the main cause of death among patients with cystic fibrosis). Excessive amounts of Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) were also found in this sample at least 10% higher than normally found in similar products.”

In the pharmacy conditioner, “there were no traces of any preservatives in this product. The lack of preservatives makes us believe that this is a fake product. If the product is not fake, then there is a concern that not enough preservatives were put into this product or the product sake on the shelf before its sale date for many many months before being sold which actually puts the product out of date.”

In the grocery store shampoo, “no preservatives present in formulation, mainly water based and excessive amounts of SLS present over recommended levels. May cause irritation to skin on hands during application and to scalp. No bacteria present. Not much of anything in this product but water. It actually seems that this could have been a real product that was watered down at some point, but the SLS agent added. Some other ingredients that were not recognizable with current testing which means unknown chemical.”

In the grocery store conditioner, “high concentrate of silicone were found in the conditioner. (cyclomethicone) lots of water again not much of anything else.” In the salon shampoo, “no bacteria or high levels of any ingredients, we would assume that this product was in date and correct. No formulation breakdown in terms of ingredient list and all within normal levels.” In the salon conditioner, “no bacteria or high levels of any ingredients, we would assume that this product was in date and correct. No formulation breakdown in terms of ingredient list and all within normal levels.”