Be very careful when buying new GHD's - if the price looks like a bargain, then they are probably fake and not safe to use! This is especially true on market places such as Ebay, Amazon and even some "companies" advertising on Google are selling fakes. If you want to buy GHDs, stick to the reputable salons or the official GHD website.
Fakes are very difficult to distinguish from real GHDs - they come in an original looking box, with instructions, DVD etc. Those people in China are experts at copying anything. Sadly however they cut corners on the design and use sub standard components which causes them to be dangerous and fail very quickly.
There are however some examples of fakes which have survived a few years of use. It then falls to us to give the bad news when they do eventually fail and we get asked to repair them (we don't repair fakes)!
Which GHD Models have not been copied?
We have seen fake GHD 3.1b and all Mk4 models including the SS4.0 and MS4.0. A few years ago most faked model was the 4.1B - 90% of the 4.1Bs we saw were fake. These days the most common fake we see is the 4.2B, particularly the purple and silver pattern.
We have now also seen fake Mk5s Gold Series irons.
How to Spot Fakes
It is very hard to tell the difference between a fake pair and a genuine pair of GHD's from the outside. Once opened however, the difference is obvious - the electronics are much lower quality and the build quality is terrible.
The first step to work out if yours are genuine is to try registering them at http://www.ghdhair.com/customer-care/product-registration. If at the end of the process your serial number (the one on the cable) is not recognised, then they are probably fake. We have however seen one pair that the GHD registration process thought were genuine, but were blatantly fake when we took them apart and a genuine pair of irons that come up as fake, so we'd say the GHD registration process is 99.9% accurate.
Some other tell tale signs of fakes:
- They have a different "feel" to genuine GHD's - they are made from a different type of plastic. Obviously you can only tell this when you have a genuine pair next to a fake pair!
- They are pink despite having the model number 3.1b / 4.1b etc ("b" stands for black). For newer 4.2B irons, these is not always true.
- The hinge pin is made from plastic, rather than metal and is not held together with a screw (pop the hinge caps off and you will see this).
- The electronics are different - only one PCB rather than two.
- The connections to the PCB are soldered, not screw terminals. All genuine GHDs (except the really old ones) that we have seen have screw terminals
- The heaters are a different size - genuine GHD heaters are 15mm x 70mm (well - the 1" wide versions do - genuine wide and narrow plate modesl are different)
- The thermal fuse is a different style. genuine GHD ones are in a small ceramic pot, whereas fake ones are just a fuse wrapped in tape.
- The coating wears off or flakes off the plates.
- They have a purple Euro to UK adapter. To date we've not seen a genuine pair with a purple plug. Normally purple cables have black plugs fitted.
The cable has a different style of connector:
Note that 4.2B and more recent GHDs look slightly different inside to older varieties. These are still genuine and are what we have christened "type 2" GHDs. There is more info here.
Sites Selling Fake GHDs
If a website selling new GHDs is not listed on GHD's website checker then they are probably selling fakes - http://www.ghdhair.com/beware-imitations/website-checker/
Repairing Fake GHDs
If you end up with Fake GHD's and they go wrong then sadly no one will fix them for you - there are so many different fakes, that it's impossible to find common failures or have "standard" repair methods. Therefore it's not cost effective to spend an hour debugging each pair of fakes.
For more details see this FAQ page.
Photos of Fake GHDs
The following GHD's are all fakes (and some of them have gone bang!).
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