Counterfeit beauty products are big business and there are lots of dodgy companies out there making fake versions of your favourite products, ready to cash in on those that would rather pay less. We all love a good bargain, but you have to ask yourself at what price? Are you willing to sacrifice your health for the sake of getting your hands on that moisturiser or mascara that you've always wanted to try? I have to admit it worries me when I see some of my favourite beauty bloggers telling the world that they purchased products on an online auction site because they couldn't afford, or worse, were not willing to pay the full price. I'm not saying that all products that are sold on auction sites are fake (that would be ridiculous), but if the brands website doesn't have a link to an online auction shop, or a link somewhere along the supply chain (e.g. a store that's listed on the brands website as an authorised retailer having an online auction shop), then you might be taking a risk if you buy that product.
One thing about buying a fake beauty product that really sucks, but in many ways is the least of our worries, is that we may not realise it's fake, and just assume that the product isn't very good, or that it doesn't work. We could be missing out on a product that is really beneficial, if only we had have bought the real thing! This causes so many problems for brands too, and can really damage their reputation, especially if it's blogged about and published all over social media.
Maybe we've bought a product that could be fake, but we're not really sure. If it seems to be doing its job, then what's the problem? It's no skin off of our nose, right? Well, actually, it could quite literally be skin that's coming off of our nose! Bad reactions from unregulated ingredients in fake products are all too common. Who knows what you're putting on your skin? Buying a counterfeit beauty product could be far more risky than buying a fake designer handbag. Lets face it, you're going to put it on your skin, in your hair or on your nails. Either way it could be absorbed into your body. Yuck!
Personally I would rather save up and buy the genuine article, than risk buying a dud product or put my health at risk, and hopefully you guys feel the same too. Just in case you're worried that you've bought a fake product or you're considering purchasing one that could be, here's what to look for:
Counterfeit products often have faded packaging, missing images or text that just doesn't look right. If you're unsure you could find images of how the product should look on the brands website and compare them to your purchase.
This has to be one of the most obvious signs of a counterfeit product, and sometimes the only give-away when a dodgy company has made a good job of the fake product. Read all of the text on the packaging and look for mistakes such as 'like' being spelt as 'life' and so on. It's a good idea to check any leaflets that are included too.
An incomplete package
You may notice that certain parts of the product are missing, such as a make-up brush or sponge that usually comes with it. My fiance has his own business where he designs and manufactures his products and over the years so many people have created counterfeit versions of his 'best seller'. The item should come with an extra part, but the counterfeit ones are always sold without it because no one has managed to create a counterfeit version of the part! We constantly get e-mails asking if they can buy the part on its own, and we instantly know they've bought a fake one.
You might notice that the product and/or the packaging are of a very low quality, and not quite what you expected. I'm talking eye-shadow pans that fall out, lids that don't quite fit, and malting brushes. Again, check on the brands website or have a look at a genuine one in-store to see if the quality looks the same as yours.
There could be glue in places that it shouldn't be, or parts that are put on at the wrong angle or maybe there is a box that doesn't quite shut. Most brands won't ruin their reputation by selling products that look like they've been badly put together.
Cheap materials or ingredients
Maybe the packaging is too thin or the product is bad quality. A fake product is unlikely to create the same results as the genuine article. Look out for eye-shadows and blushers with barely any pigmentation or creams that seem too thick or thin. You get my drift.
The best way to ensure that you're buying a genuine product is to either buy from the company direct or check their website for a list of authorised retailers. Here's an example: If you want to buy a Dermalogica product you can buy from them direct online here, or you can click on their store locator here which will show you a list of authorised retailers (salons) near you. You can also use this list to identify salons that sell the products online.
If I come across an amazing offer somewhere, e.g. an advert on Twitter offering me 20% one of my favourite products, I always go the companies website and check that they are an authorised retailer. That way I can pretty much guarantee that the product I'm buying will be genuine.
Have you ever been unlucky enough to purchase a fake beauty product? I would love to hear your stories. Let me know in the comments box below.