Counterfeit Cosmetics: What to Look for and How Not to Buy Any!

I think one of the more important issues with makeup are how there are so many counterfeits available. The sad part is how a lot of people don’t even realize that it is happening or if they have any. In this post I’m making it my makeup loving duty to inform the masses as much as I can about how harmful this can be and what you can do to make sure you don’t fall victim to any fakes. I was doing a lot of research before I decided to sit down and type this so I hope that it proves helpful.

Let’s start with what kind of harmful ingredients could be in fake makeup (eyeshadow, foundation, blush, lipstick, highlighter, etc…): sometimes when this makeup is stored and produced it isn’t kept in nice warehouses or stores. Sometimes it is kept in garages, places with dirt floors, places where quality control are nonexistent, and storage facilities with no climate control. That also creates a lot of bacteria and pests may get into the product. As a result, a lot of makeup will have human urine and rat dropping in it. Some of the foreign chemicals that were found in cheap knockoffs include: mercury, arsenic, cyanide, and lead. Counterfeit Benefit and MAC cosmetics have been found with 19 times the amount of lead in it than other counterfeit brands. All of these things can lead to burns, chemical reactions on skin, skin rashes, disfigurement, high blood pressure, and infertility. It isn’t worth it.

How does a brand get a counterfeit?

This is actually very simple. The more popular a product or brand is, the odds of it being copies increase dramatically. A lot of trending items on Instagram and what the Kardashians use are usually counterfeited. Some popular brands would be:

  • Ben Nye (Banana Powder)
  • Anastasia Beverly Hills  (Master Palette by Mario, glow kits, and Modern Renaissance palette)
  • Too Faced (Cocoa Contour book, Chocolate Bar palettes, Peach palette, and KVD collab)
  • Urban Decay
  • MAC (virtually every product especially the limited editions)
  • The Balm
  • Benefit
  • Huda Beauty (Rose Gold palette)
  • Jeffree Star  (liquid lipsticks)
  • Esteé Lauder
  • Kat Von D  (Shade and Light, Monarch Pastel Goth palettes)
  • Becca (highlighters)
  • Makeup Geek X MannyMUA
  • Dior
  • Violet Voss (Holy Grail)

Obviously I missed some but this is what I found by only spending ten minutes on Wish. Only ten minutes.

What sites sell fake cosmetics?

To answer this question the easiest way would be… if you are looking for makeup on any site except for a product’s approved retailer, you put yourself at risk. Even sites like Poshmark and Mercari can prove a risk because people post pictures of a real product and send a fake. Only buy from approved sellers that a great rating and have no issue proving authenticity. Here’s a quick list of sites that are known to sell counterfeits:

  • Wish
  • Ebay
  • Amazon
  • Aliexpress
  • Mercari
  • Poshmark
  • Alibaba
  • TradeKey
  • and WeChat. WeChat is scary because people buy and sell individually with a person and is not regulated on a website.

How do I know if I have a fake item? 

There are a lot of things to look for. I know on my Facebook, I have a live video discussing the differences between a real and fake Master Palette. Here are some way to check your makeup:

  • If there is a strong odor or chemical smell
  • Lower quality plastic or metals. It will feel light and flimsy.
  • Sponge applicators are given instead of brushes
  • Look for any spots of exposed cardboard, crooked gluing, magnets, misspellings, colors that are different or names that are different.
  • The product doesn’t look as full.
  • Sometimes the product will feel chalky and be thinner in consistency.
  • Every product has a serial number. Make sure that you research the real one and that the one up for sale matches it.

In this section, I’m going to add and explain some pictures of the items that I found.

Of course we can all see the issues here. This is part of the Dior line but the brand name has been erased. Also note the $2 price tag.
Here’s a good example of a seller using actual product photos to sell a fake. Note the $9 price tag.
So… you’re trying to tell me that four Too Faced palettes are authentic and only $12? Seriously? Too good to be true. Pass.
This poor palette doesn’t even have the Anastasia logo. The intent was there. But yeah, for $13 you can’t have everything. Note the really cheap looking gold color and lack of depth in the graphic.
This seller is just, yeah. We all know those lips and shades from Jeffree Star’s webpage. For the price, there’s no way those are real. Also, buy three get one free? Really?
Anything after Naked Ultimate Basics is fake. Fakey fake fake.
Even Becca isn’t safe! All those highlighters are now faked for only $8 a piece!
I cropped out the seller on Poshmark that is selling this as an authentic palette. There are huge spelling errors on it and the shades definitely do not match the authentic one.
Here’s a picture of an authentic Huda Beauty Rose Gold palette. If you compare the two pictures you can see the obvious differences between the two.
Then there’s people on ebay who are trying to post Limited Edition fakes for $60! I wasn’t sure about if it was fake or not until…
I compared it to my actual one. Note how the fake above doesn’t have the letter depth nor the Kat Von D emblem in the center.

I hope that this helps you all on your collecting journey! I’m going to do all that I can to keep people informed about new counterfeit products and in my photos I will keep posting up serial numbers that come on the products so you know which are real. Thanks for reading! ❤❤


Author: aubr3y87

I recently was a full-time worker that has went to a stay at home mom lifestyle and I'm attempting to blog about makeup and the perks of being a mother.

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