Beware of Counterfeit Cosmetics: How to Tell If The Product Is Fake

counterfeit cosmetics signsCounterfeiting, from clothing to purses to cosmetics, can be a lucrative but dangerous business.

Many times, you knowingly buy a counterfeit product for the status boost. And in cases such as purses or jewelry, the risk of physical harm is low. However, the story is totally different in cases such as car brake pads and makeup you put on your skin.

Fake cosmetics are made in non-sterile spaces. They don’t have to meet the higher safety standards legitimate products do. You never know what ingredients are in them. For example, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security finds toxins such as arsenic and lead in the cosmetics it seizes. They’ve also discovered urine in counterfeit perfumes. Continual use of such cosmetics can result in poisoning. Other possible consequences include rashes, acne, dermatitis, eczema, bacteria and scaling. If you have allergies, it’s even more important to be cautious.

What is actually in the product won’t match the ingredient list, which is usually just copied from the genuine product. You risk setting off a potentially deadly allergic reaction.

With fakes growing every day, it’s important to develop an eagle eye. Here are five counterfeit cosmetics signs.

1. The product is available at a shady retailer and/or through an auction site

For example, if you stumble across a tremendous deal on an auction site, do the math. How did the seller get these products in such huge volume? How can the seller make a profit? When in doubt, buy from a reputable, established store and avoid flea markets and street/mall kiosks.

2. The product packaging doesn’t exactly compare with packaging from a product you know is genuine

Some effective fakes make spotting differences difficult, but the task is often relatively easy. Look at color, scent, texture, font, dimensions and weight. This is obviously much easier to do in person, versus online. However, one online indicator is when the seller uses a stock photo instead of its own customized photo. Also keep an eye out for spelling mistakes on product packaging and in seller materials.

Grammar errors smack of unprofessional work and are one of the most telling counterfeit cosmetics signs.

3. The product lacks a serial number or batch number

Usually, batch numbers are stamped or printed on the bottoms of packaging.

4. The product, especially if sold online, has negative reviews from other buyers explaining it is fake

Even one report of it being fake should be enough for you to reconsider the product. This is because people often don’t notice when something is fake.

5. The inside of the packaging is off somehow

For example, the tray doesn’t fit the box or some padding is missing.

Basically, you’ll have to do a bit of detective work if you spot a great deal—especially if it is online. If the bargain seems too good to be true, it may well be. Don’t let the prospect of saving a few bucks blind you to counterfeit cosmetics signs.

Frank Trieu
Vice President of Business Development & Industry Relations

Frank Trieu is a cosmetology industry leader, and despite his accomplishments and accolades, he still prioritizes students on the Evergreen campus. Through building relationships within the community and local salons, retail stores, and spas, he helps facilitate job placements for aspiring beauty professionals using his expansive network.

Happy Evergreen Beauty College Students


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