Beware of Misleading Brand Names, Slogans and Logos!


One important topic in my next film, “The Beautiful LieS” is labeling of hair care products. Advertising is key to success for a business in the beauty industry and a manufacturer or entrepreneur will say and do whatever is in the parameters legality. Stretch it, twist it and they the manufacturer will also go outside of what the government guidelines and use the printed information on the product container to their benefit until the government catch’s them.  Manufacturers often use misleading brand names, logos and slogans in an effort to dupe health conscious consumers into buying their products.  Constant vigilance is necessary when making purchases of  personal care products.

BULLSHIT keratin-complex

(Keratin Complex has aldehydes that when used with the  Flat Iron form formaldehyde. Pure and simple fact. Read there MSDS sheet if you can get one. I don’t think that the manufacturers are the ones who are going to “set the record straight.” There is bit of conflict of interest here. I would tend to trust third party (A Chemist) more than someone who has something to lose if we stop buying their products. Also on the container it is read as, “OSHA COMPLIANT”. OSHA does not endorse and or all beauty products. See how a manufacturer can stretch there usage of words. By the way OSHA did send Keratin Complex a letter to change there wording on the product label.)

These products are used for your home use and also for services that are given to you in a professional salon.  Take it from me everyone, so called professionals in my industry are the sheep of all sheep. They will take the word of a sales person coming in there salon front door. And listen to the advertising SPEAL from them and the next thing they will ask the salesperson is “How much is a whole line? Do you have a intro deal?,  Do you take payments?”. Not bothering to ask for the MSDS sheet for the product. A MSDS sheet is required by law from a manufacturer to the person using, purchasing or selling the product to see the listed ingredients in any and all chemical or hair and skin products used on a consumer in a so called licensed professional beauty salon.


In this day and age the FDA is your GOVERNMENT watch dog for you. According to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), its responsibilities include “[protecting the public health by assuring that foods are safe, wholesome, sanitary and properly labeled.” This responsibility entails regulating a large number of companies producing this nation’s food, making appointments to the high-level positions within the agency very important. And anything and everything they say you should take there (FDA) word on if it is healthy, toxic, or illegal.


But in this day and age would you take the governments word!

A good example is the 1976 slogan in which a soft drink manufacturer claimed that their product “Adds Life”, thus giving consumers the impression that the product was not only refreshing, but also somehow added to their well-being. The slogan should have read something to the effect that the product “is addictive, will rot teeth and will contribute to obesity and diabetes”. Tobacco companies have typically used beautiful, young, wealthy-looking models with perfect teeth to advertise their products, when the “grim reaper” would be more appropriate.


Don’t Read Slogans – Read Labels
Take the time to read labels on packaging to find out what exactly it is you are buying. Packaged cereal such as muesli is considered by many to be an excellent breakfast choice. However, a closer look at the ingredient list will reveal that many muesli products are packed with refined sugar, fat and preservatives. Don’t be fooled by slogans such as “Nature`s Choice”, “Nature`s Best” or “Happy and Healthy”. These slogans imply that the contents are nutritious and wholesome when they are often far from it.

Manufacturers will also try to get around legislation regarding honest labeling. For example, in Australia and New Zealand, the word “light” can only be used if the ingredients it refers to meets the criteria for low fat and sugar content. However, companies increasingly use the word “lite” to get past this requirement.

When Organic Doesn’t mean Organic
Shampoo manufacturers are notorious for dishonest labeling. “Organic” is a favorite word they use, suggesting of course, that their product is a healthy pure organic product to use to wash your hair. Careful scrutiny of the ingredient list will reveal that many shampoos with this slogan are as far from being organic as the next cheap, toxic shampoo on the shelf.


Golden Syrup is not Honey
Golden syrup is a pale treacle made during the process of refining sugar cane juice into sugar; or by treatment of a sugar solution with acid. While it may have an appearance similar to honey and is often used as a substitute for honey, it is a pure cane sugar product. Slogans on the can may lead the consumer to believe that syrup is the same as honey.


Don’t be fooled by misleading Brand Names beauty products. slogans and pictures. Be informed about the products you use. Research the product if you can, or at the very least, read the ingredients listed on the packaging.




Real Hair Truth – Michael Gordon Playing it Cool.

The Beautiful Lies

Up until the 2006 sale of the B&B brand (the salons, the products, et al) to Estee Lauder (most people don’t realize that it also owns Clinique, MAC, Bobbi Brown, La Mer, Origins, Jo Malone, Smashbox, Aveda, and Darphin), from time to time you could catch a site of Mr. Gordon on the premises.  His mannerism always struck me as a peculiar combination of a relaxed composure (grapevine has it that he is into Buddhist spirituality) and a blatant assholiness toward some employees.

But, as I always say, you don’t get to be a successful entrepreneur by being warm and fuzzy.  To survive in business you need to be tough.  Some of us can be tough and decent at the same time.  Unfortunately, that’s very rare.  Well, since I didn’t need to deal with him personally, I was able to abstract  into what he was as a small-business owner: someone, who started from nothing and grew his brand to international recognition.  I admired him for his courage, drive, and strategic savvy.

Also, one cannot dismiss the fact that for Mr. Gordon it wasn’t just about branding, growth, and money.  He was truly a hair-man, devoted to the idea of creating high-quality products that satisfied a wide spectrum of needs.  Unlike the vast majority of other famous salon owners (Sally Hershberger is one example), who are engaged in “private label” merchandising (i.e. buying generic, mass-produced,  “juice” and pouring it into containers with their names), Michael Gordon actually developed unique mixtures, which are used to great effects in many salons and homes.

It was his quality standards and unrelenting drive to succeed that fascinated me.  Imagine my surprise, when I read in New York Times that this remarkable and shrewd businessman was arrested for tax evasion.  And it wasn’t even for something cleverly devised (not that I would approve that) – no, it was plainly stupid: he didn’t declare on his tax return the $30 million capital gain generated by that famous sale of B&B.

The charges (both criminal and that of stupidity) against him are mounting: when he was questioned by IRS about this omission, he claimed ignorance of the fact.   And that’s lying to a federal agent, because apparently there is evidence of his active attempts to hide this money.

What is the point of lying like that anyway?  Didn’t he sign his tax return back in 2007?  He never heard of capital gains? Weren’t there a horde of lawyers and accountants involved in the closing the deal?  Nobody mentioned the tax liability?  Hard to believe.

NYT didn’t make it a secret that IRS has acted on a tip received from a “confidential informer.”  Of course, they did.  Truth be told, IRS doesn’t have sufficient resources to look for specific violations of the tax code.  The best they can do is to react to the red flags selected by their algorithms.  Your employer reported your earnings, but you didn’t include them on your tax return – an inquiry will commence.  Itemized deductions  exceed certain levels, even if by $100 – the flag will be raised.  Meanwhile, corporate executives receive multi-million dollar perks and call them “business expenses”; private shareholders transfer stocks and property between related parties and don’t recognize capital gains; owners make equity withdrawals and show them as loans – and none of it ever get noticed.

However, the situation changes if someone makes a call, sends a letter, or an electronic message to IRS, detailing a case of the tax evasion.  If this someone provides sufficient information and the violation is big enough to prick up agents’ ears, they will be on the case right away.  Especially if it involves a notable figure that can get media interest (hey, you cannot blame IRS agents for wanting some attention).

Even though IRS has, what they call, a whistleblower reward program, it’s not easy to get paid for reporting tax violations.  Obviously, in most cases, the informants are not motivated by money.  Typically, they have some sort of a relationship with the evader and it resulted in two outcomes: an incredible animosity that goes way beyond a simple grudge and the knowledge that the government is being shortchanged.  The IRS becomes a mere weapon of revenge.

This is why Leona Helmsley went to jail in 1992.  The Queen of Mean dragged behind herself a trail of disgruntled contractors, corporate employees, and household help, who really hated her.  Some of them possessed hard evidence proving that millions of dollars spent on personal properties were billed to Helmsley’s real estate business.

And that’s why Michael Gordon got arrested.  In his brazen manner, he must’ve rubbed the wrong way someone with the first-hand knowledge of the $30 million unreported gain.  That hurt someone dropped a note to IRS.

Do I have to state the obvious?  Don’t steal big bucks from government – it’s dangerous.  But if you make a conscious decision to dodge some taxes, make sure that no one knows about it but you.  And I mean NO ONE.  If that’s impossible, make sure that you are super nice to those who are onto you – they have your freedom in their hands.