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Vigro 3-step programme . . . for pouring your money down the drain

Posted 21 May 2012

I remember as a kid, my father’s obsession with his hair-loss. I remember him spending lots of money on lots and lots 

of products, none which prevented further hair loss. Hair loss is mainly genetic. Few products have any effect on preventing further hair loss, and these assist in few specific reversible conditions.

Vigro capitalises on individuals stressed and over-anxious by hair loss, selling impossible dreams of regrowth. The advertisements claimed “Vigro 3-step programme” as “… and effective long lasting solution for thinning hair”.

In my complaint I argued that this was rubbish and impossible: ” As thinning hair is an emotive issue, people are likely to try this product out of desperation. Simply supplementing with the respondent’s vitamins will not work”.

The ASA asked Vigro for evidence that their claims were possible. Of course, they could not.

UPDATE 11 October 2013: See new ASA ruling, (opens in new window) which confirms our argument that there is no proof at all that this product works. The result of the ruling is that no further claims can be made that this product is beneficial for any form of hair loss.

  Vigro / HA Steinman / 19196
  Ruling of the : ASA Directorate
  In the matter between:
  Dr Harris Steinman Complainant(s)/Appellant(s)
  PSN Brands (Pty) Ltd Respondent

16 May 2012

http://www.asasa.org.za/ResultDetail.aspx?Ruling=6093

Dr Steinman lodged a consumer complaint against advertising appearing on the respondent’s website www.vigrohair.co.za.

The advertising promotes the respondent’s “Vigro 3-step programme” as “… and effective long lasting solution for thinning hair”.

COMPLAINT
In essence, the complainant argued that there is no robust evidence that this product would prevent hair loss, or even promote new hair growth. As thinning hair is an emotive issue, people are likely to try this product out of desperation. Simply supplementing with the respondent’s vitamins will not work.

RELEVANT CLAUSES OF THE CODE OF ADVERTISING PRACTICE
In light of the complaint the following clauses of the Code were taken into account:

• Section II, Clause 4.1 – Substantiation

• Section II, Clause 4.2.1 – Misleading claims

RESPONSE
Stefan Vos Marketing Regulation Advisers, on behalf of the respondent, pointed out that the complainant is incorrectly associating genetic or hereditary hair loss with abnormal hair loss (the latter being what this product is targeted at). It pointed out that the advertising at issue consistently refers to “counteracting abnormal hair loss”; “promote new hair growth”; “promote healthy hair growth” and “help guard against premature hair loss”.

In substantiation for the relevant claims it relied on a report from Mr John Knowlton, an independent and credible expert in the field to which the claims relate. It also submitted copies of the relevant studies conducted and relied on for the purposes of making the claims. It also explained that the level of active ingredient (FollicusanTM) in its products are at all times equal to or higher than that used in the relevant studies.

ASA DIRECTORATE RULING
The ASA Directorate considered all the relevant documentation submitted by the respective parties.

Clause 4.1 of Section II requires substantiation from an independent and credible expert for the claims made in advertising. In addition, it is trite that the Directorate requires unequivocal and product-specific substantiation, verifying that the claims are true for the product as a whole when used at the recommended dosage (see ruling under reference Solal Breast Protection Formula / R Jobson / 18707 (15 February 2012) for comprehensive explanation).

The respondent pointed out that the claims at issue relate to abnormal hair loss, meaning that they do not pertain to genetic or hereditary hair loss conditions. The Directorate, however, is doubtful whether the advertising at issue makes this pertinently clear, especially since the respondent’s homepage makes no mention of abnormal hair loss, but rather presents the product as a solution for thinning hair in general. In fact, even the page titled “Understanding Hair Loss” merely contextualises the phenomenon in terms of hair loss exceeding new hair growth. The Directorate is not convinced that any person would automatically realise that the respondent’s claims should be viewed from the context of “abnormal hair loss”.

One only learns that the respondent’s product is of no value in cases of hereditary hair loss if one bothers to scrutinise the “FAQ’s” listed on the respondent’s website. This is not sufficient and the Directorate agrees with the complainant that one would likely draw the conclusion that the respondent’s product could offer assistance for any type of hair loss.

In addition to this, the Directorate is not satisfied that the substantiation submitted is adequate. While the respondent has submitted independent verification from, what appears to be a credible expert in the field (something which the Directorate does not have to make a finding on at this time), this substantiation is not product-specific.

Mr Knowlton confirms this when he states:

“… the data submitted to me provides adequate evidence for the scientific substantiation of the claims being made about Vigro, with two caveats: Firstly, that the excipients used in the various studies to determine the efficacy of FollicusanTM would not enhance the effectiveness of the active ingredient, when compared to the excipients design used in the Vigro product range. Secondly, that the level of FollicusanTM used in the Vigro product range was equal to, or greater than the concentration of FollicusanTM used in the studies from which data was provided”.

This not only confirms that the product formulation used for testing was different to that available for sale on the market, but also appears to suggest that the excipients (i.e. additional ingredients used to compile the entire product) could impact on efficacy.

Given the above, and given that the Directorate is not satisfied that it is made perfectly clear on the respondent’s website that this product would only (assuming that this were true) work on people who are not exhibiting signs of hereditary hair loss, the Directorate is not satisfied that the substantiation is adequate.

In light of the above, the advertising is currently unsubstantiated and in breach of Clause 4.1 of Section II of the Code.

As a result, the respondent is instructed to:

Withdraw the advertising that gave rise to the dispute;

Action its withdrawal with immediate effect upon receipt of this ruling;

Ensure that the withdrawal process is completed within the deadlines stipulated in Clause 15.3 of the Procedural Guide; and

Not use the advertising at issue again in future unless new substantiation has been submitted, evaluated, and accepted by way of a new ruling.

The complaint is upheld.


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31 comments to Vigro 3-step programme . . . for pouring your money down the drain

  • Missthang

    I have been using vigro 3 step for more than a year to date. I actually came across this website by chance as i was about to send an email to vigro support. I was curious as i have been using the product for such a long time should i not have seen some results by now. Guess i been duped. Done with this product. Think i was just desperate for help with thinning hair

  • axue khoases

    virgro is a ever good products which help my hair to grow now my hair is becoming thicker.
    thanks a lot

  • aziza

    i would like to know if this product works,im tempted to use it but my instictings tells me otherwise.any ideas pls

  • Harris

    @Aziza
    I have evaluated the studies that Vigro claims proves that their product works and can say that the evidence does NOT support their claims. There is no evidence that this product works.

  • Shinu

    I am a medical doctor and have been using vigro products for over a year. I lost a lot of hair in 2011 when I was writing my speciality exams. I am happy with the results so far. my hair is growing faster and thicker. And will continue using their products.

  • Anne

    I would like to be informed of the ingredients of the shampoo and conditioner

  • Harris

    @Anne
    You can examine the ingredients and the arguments why this product is unlikely to do much for you, at: http://www.camcheck.co.za/vigro-balderdash/

  • jennifer

    Hi
    I am using vigro’s products,I would like to know if I can still use relaxer(organic root simulator range) on my hair while using Virgo.I also need advice as my hair is very dry even though I am using the cream and leave in conditioner.
    Regards

  • Harris

    @Jennifer
    We are not convinced that the product works. I suggest you contact the company to ask them as they would know the ingredients best.

  • Charmaine

    I’ve been using the Vigro hair capsules for years, and I’ve found my hairfall is greater when I missed a day or two, so for me, I think that this product works.

  • Raul

    The Vigro Shampoo contains Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS) – which is something that has been linked to HAIR LOSS. How can a hair product that is marketed as helping regrowth contain SLS??? I have used this product with the leave-on serum and the pills for over a WHOLE YEAR and I have not seen any positive results. Also, the phone number where Vigro can be reached for enquiries is absolutely useless – given the fact that answers to any detailed questioning is simply not forthcoming. Also the people who answer the phone are somewhat patronizing.

  • Harris

    I am not suprised by Raul’s experience that Vigro does not assist hair growth. However I also cannot find documented proof that SLS causes hair loss although it can have an irritant effect. SLS is an irritant like many other detergents, with the irritation increasing with concentration.

  • My question is why do they still have it on the market if its not working, I don’t think they allowed to place something out there if its bogus

  • Harris

    @Renee
    Because the product was sold by one company to another, the new company regards the ASA ruling as nul and and void. So a new complaint was laid and ruled in the consumers favour. However the company has applied for condonation for a late filing of an appeal and the ASA has to decide whether the appeal can proceed or not. Technically they are therefore not supposed to be advertising. Where did you see the advert?

  • okay Harry now I understand, now tell me does anyone know y the capsules make me sleep a lot, I’ve been using them for 3 days now, but gosh ever since I started using them I just feel like jumping into bed and sleeping

  • Thinnetta van Zyl

    I need to know does Vigro Bio-Capsules cancel out your birth contol pill or is it safe to drink when iam on the pill?

  • Harris

    @Thinnetta
    I do not know. I suggest that you contact the owners of the product.

  • loe

    i used vigro products for about a year and a half on and off and all i can say is it gave me results. I started using their products because i had a dandruff problem and like all products out there that claimto fix your problem i had tried them all yet my dandruff persisted so i thought it wouldnt hurt trying vigros anti-dandruff shampoo within a month of using it as specified on the package and bottle dandruff was gone and my hair had stopped breaking and shedding everytime i combed my hair. i continued using different products to moisturize my hair but kept using their shampoo atleast once a week with my hair regiment. Especially since i did not have my dandruff problem anymore. The product is not a cheap option for students so i never really tried using the whole 3step system at the same time . In 2012 sometime there i came across a special of the minipack that had all 3steps for an offordable amount so i got to try the pills and the tonic which i never bothered much with before. I used shampoo,tonic,conditioner and pills as per package instructions but felt that the extra things i used did not make much difference to my hair. My hair had already improved in length and thickness just by using shampoo and conditioner and that was always the same with each month. So when i ran out of the product i simply went back to the shampoo and conditioner. Family and friends had also noticed the change in the thickness of my hair and some were seeing me with very long hair for the first time. I have always attributed my hair loss(breakage) to stress and when my hair started being very strong ,long and my scalp was healthy i soon dismissed the possibility of me having a heredatory hairloss problem.As my understanding from reading their insert that comes with all their products,there isnt much to help with inherent hairloss if its in your genetic makeup then there is no hope. In the case of abnormal hairloss there might be hope. I moved to the United states early 2013 and have been unable to find a product that works for my hair as good as Vigro. That is just my 2cents worth.

  • honey

    I am pregnant and have been using the video shampoo. Do u know if it’s safe to use during pregnancy?

  • honey

    I am pregnant and i have been using the vigro shampoo. Do you know I’d it’s safe to use during pregnancy?

  • Harris

    @Honey
    No idea. Suggest you contact the manufacturer.

  • Fahim

    I want to find this shampoo to dubai please help me to find it in dubai

  • Monique

    I want to know more about the product and if the product is for all hair types. I want to know about the Shampoo, conditioner and the hair treatment that strengthens and grow the hair

    • Harris

      @Monique
      You will need to contact the manufacturer. We simply say that we have examined the ingredients and proof, and finding nothing convincing to make us believe that it can restore, prevent or help with hair loss. It may be a good shampoo, it may be bad.

  • Yvette

    I have been using Vigro for years, i dye my hair blonde.so its always been on the dry and sometimes on the breaking side. since ive used Vigro my hair had thicken and grown so much. I do recommend the product, I tried different types of hair products and Vigro was honestly the best product for me. You see results in a few months. Im a student, i use the capsules daily and often the Bio-tonic on my hair. Im truely happy with it, just make sure to make a routine. i also found that i get ingrowing hair on my head about once a month which was another prove to me that it promotes the hair growth. every person has different hair types.But for me it works.

  • AMANDA

    I am African and i am using a Vigro capsules only its been 2 months now and i do not see any results,so i ve been wondering if its working for AFRICAN hair.Please help

  • George

    Hi,
    A friend has been experiencing penis erectile problems since he started using the bio capsules.Is this possible?

    • Harris

      @George
      This is an unusual reaction for I am not aware of any ingredient in the product that could cause this. But of course, since I am not the manufacturer, I do not know if they have changed the formulation. Suggest you contact the company (nativa. co. za) and ask!

  • R

    Hello,when I was young I suffered from a sickness which made me lose my hair and since my hair haven’t recovered..so I have heard from virdo 3 steps I would like to know if it is a good idea to try it or it will make things worse

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