Businessmen sentenced for selling toxic beauty products


Two men have narrowly escaped jail after admitting to selling hundreds of dangerous skin lightening products containing controlled or toxic ingredients.

More than 700 illegal items were seized by Hackney Council’s Trading Standards team from two beauty shops in Dalston - Beauty Queen Cosmetics, in 36-40 Kingsland High Street, and Shaba Hair and Cosmetics, in 17 Kingsland Road.

Company directors Banaras Hussain, 58, from Tottenham, and Sharafat Hussain, 36, from Ilford, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to 33 and 31 offences respectively under the consumer protection act 1987 (and consumer protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008), at sentencing in Snaresbrook Crown Court in May.

Banaras Hussain was handed a 10-week custodial sentence suspended for two years; and Sharafat Hussain given a 12-week custodial sentence suspended for two years.

The skin lightening creams contained controlled and toxic chemicals, including steroids; mercury, which affects the nervous system, liver and kidneys; and hydroquinone, which causes skin cancer and long-term skin problems.

The judge ordered the pair to undertake unpaid work for the community, alongside the forfeiture and destructions of stock seized, fines and costs worth £26,500.

Judge Canavan, who was presiding over the case, also disqualified Banaras Hussain from his company directorship. She said: “I simply cannot trust him to run a company in accordance with the laws of this country.”

Sharafat Hussain had a previous conviction from 2012 when Brent and Harrow Trading Standards seized 3,600 banned skin lightening products from his store in Edmonton.

Banaras Hussain was also prosecuted by Southwark Trading Standards in 2015, and both Banaras Hussain and Sharafat Hussain were prosecuted by Enfield Trading Standards in 2014, for various trading standard offences.

Cathy Gallagher, Assistant Director of Planning and Regulatory Services said: “I am pleased that trading standards officers were able to remove these dangerous products and protect shoppers in Hackney.

“I hope these sentences will serve as a warning for those acting outside the law and will also encourage all traders to check beauty products for these dangerous chemicals and keep their customers safe.”

For more information about Hackney Council’s Trading Standards service, please visit the website

To make a report about any trading standards concerns, please call: 0208 356 4929.