Counterfeit makeup products are so common these days that some YouTubers have even made videos to compare the fake goods from the real deal. But here’s the thing about those fake makeup – you can’t be sure if they’re safe to use. Here are some things you can look out for to avoid being scammed, or worse, put your skin at risk of irritation and infection.
Know your sources
Online shopping has made life more convenient – you can be having lunch one minute, pop onto Sephora’s web store, buy a lipstick and continue with lunch. Always be discerning with where you purchase products and only buy from credible sources like Sephora or authorised boutiques and departmental stores.
If it’s too good to be true, it probably is
Most makeup brands have controlled pricing, so it’s unlikely for you to score new Chanel lipsticks at $10 (and even if so, wouldn’t you be wary of putting them on your lips?). If it’s any indication, Sephora usually holds a 20 per cent discount at maximum.
For better deals, warehouse sales for brands under the L’Oreal, Shiseido, Luxasia and Estee Lauder group are held on occasion so you should keep your eyes peeled for those. Any other warehouse sale that lumps different brands that are not under the same cosmetics company are most likely illegal and have obtained their goods from unauthorised sources.
Always do your research. If a warehouse sale has M.A.C (from the Estee Lauder group), NARS (from the Shiseido group), MAKE UP FOR EVER (from L Beauty) and LANEIGE (from Amore Pacific), then something really fishy is going on.
Compare the packaging
Counterfeit makeup products often skimp on packaging and this can span across the boxes they come in and the actual product itself. Telltale signs would be spelling mistakes, low quality printing, inaccurate shade names or difference in sizes.
If it’s a repurchase of something you already have, it’s a good idea to make a comparison between the packaging, and look out for differences in weight, packaging quality, logos, and colour of the product. To be really sure, swatch the products and note the texture.
Know what you’re buying
Some of us can get really carried away, especially when we’re shopping overseas. But if you come across some cheap makeup at a night market, be sure to sound your internal alarm bells first. Eye shadow palettes, especially from coveted brands, are really tempting, but before you purchase what you think is the new Naked palette, do a quick search on your phone. We’re pretty sure that there isn’t a dedicated Naked brush set from Urban Decay.
If you have the opportunity to swatch or test the products, give it a whiff or two. Fake products usually smell bad, or have a different scent from the authentic ones. Counterfeit products usually don’t replicate the formulas of the authentic products, and this includes the scent – explaining why some of them smell like chemicals.
This story was originally published on The Singapore's Women Weekly, March 1, 2017.