Killer counterfeits: the secret behind fake makeup

The makeup and cosmetics industry is one of the biggest industries in the world and with popular makeup brands like Kylie Cosmetics and Too Faced that have high prices attached to them, they are hard to come by for the everyday person. Many beauty product buyers will often try to find the best bargain when it comes to the products on the market, but some may not be as sanitary as one might think.

Websites like EBay and Poshmark will often sell these products at a lower price, but it can also come with questionable quality like pre-opened packaging or unsanitary conditions. This brings the question, is it worth getting a popular product for a discounted rate if the quality can result in infection due to the product’s ingredients?

According to Refinery29, the Los Angeles Police Department confiscated $700,000 worth of counterfeit makeup in the popular shopping district in Los Angeles known as Santee Alley due to the high levels of bacteria and even feces in the products. Many of the products look extremely similar to the original product and have a few minor changes like the name of the shade of eyeshadow or the order of the colors. However, for consumers that may not know the product very well could end up getting caught with an awful infection and may feel blindsided by the makeup creator.

James Charles, a popular makeup guru on YouTube turned makeup creator, made a video comparing the difference between the makeup palette he created called the James Charles X palette versus the counterfeit product. When Charles’ palette sold out, many consumers were found scouring the internet for the highly sought-out palette. To combat the demand for the product, some companies made James Charles X lookalike palettes but they could not come close to the same quality as the original.

Charles found the counterfeit palette at Santee Alley in Los Angeles where many other counterfeit products from the clothing industry to the makeup industry can be found. In the video he compared both palettes in every characteristic from colors to shade names to the size of the palettes and even put the fake eyeshadows on his face. When comparing the two products, Charles found that the palette size was smaller compared to the original palette however the face of the product looked identical and could be extremely misleading to the consumers. When he opened the palette, the colors were not the same in any aspect, not to mention the quality of the eyeshadows were not even close to the original palette, and he didn’t know the level of bacteria in the makeup.

As a cosmetic product consumer, it’s extremely concerning that bacteria or feces even appear in a product. There should be a level of ease and comfort that what the consumer is putting on their body is safe for them to use. According to CBS News, in 2016 the US Customs and Border Protection seized 1.4 Billion dollars worth of knockoff makeup. As a consumer or a government official, it could be extremely beneficial to add a standard to the cosmetic or beauty industry that could be equivalent to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). By adding this level of standard, it would eliminate any bacteria from getting in the products and even improve the products in performance level which would compel the customer to buy the product as well.

A key tip to be sure that one buys the original product is to always use trusted websites and stores like Ulta, Sephora, and Morphe and steer clear from resale websites and stores. It’s better to be safe than sorry.