counterfeit-cosmetics

Counterfeit cosmetics being taken off the streets!

I recently saw an episode in a docuseries on Netflix that exposes the dangers of counterfeit cosmetics, and I was shocked at just how bad some of them are.

Don’t let yourself be a victim- use common sense and be careful of where you shop!

I don’t know why counterfeit hair products aren’t being exposed as much as makeup is because product diversion was a big deal long before makeup, but I’ll touch on that later.

Counterfeit cosmetics are everywhere these days, so it’s important that you know what to look for when buying makeup. The danger of these products is the ingredients and what they can do to your skin. Some products have even been reported to contain GLUE!

Counterfeit Cosmetics


Why are counterfeit cosmetics dangerous?

The people who make fake or look-alike cosmetic products can literally put anything in them they want to. They have no morals or standards and to put it quite simply- they just don’t give a shit about you.

You may be wondering why someone would produce counterfeit cosmetics in the first place. It’s because they can get away with it and they know they’ll make a lot of money. There will always be someone that falls for it and buys their products, so they are going to do it as long as people are buying.

In the documentary there was a girl that bought counterfeit lip gloss. It looked like the real thing, but if smelled kind funny. She used it anyways because she didn’t know what it was supposed to smell like. It contained so much glue that her lips got stuck together and she started freaking out…that’s how she discovered what the real ingredients were. This may be one of the more extreme cases, but it happened

Where are counterfeit cosmetics sold?

Counterfeit cosmetics are sold in more places than you think. One of the top places these dangerous products are sold is online. I know…you want to get a good deal on makeup, but if it’s super cheap(and not because it’s on sale at Sephora/Ulta Beauty) then it’s probably too good to be true and you shouldn’t buy it.

The tricky part is that not all products that are sold on websites like eBay and Amazon are counterfeit cosmetics. Some of them are the real thing- they are sold by reputable Amazon sellers and the products you find on eBay might just be something someone bought(never opened), but can’t return

Fake makeup products are also sold by street vendors, at discount stores, and pretty much anywhere that you know wouldn’t be selling the good stuff.

The same is true of products sold at stores like TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Ross, etc.- they may or may not be counterfeit cosmetics. Often, the products you’ll find at discount stores were discontinued by the retailer and sold to these stores at a very low cost.

Keep in mind that a lot of reputable retailers do not send their products back to the manufacturer when taken off the shelves- they destroy it. This is most likely because the value of the products is less than what it would cost to package, ship, and pay people to process the items back to their manufacturers.

For example, when I worked at Ulta Beauty we had to literally destroy everything that was taken off the shelves(with the exception of some products that do get sent back). This was mainly to prevent dumpster diving and/or to prevent associates from taking it home. I’ve seen a beauty advisor with boxes full of perfectly good makeup that had to be destroyed one by one. They had to squeeze lip gloss out of the tubes, scrape eyeshadow out of palettes, etc. It sounds crazy, but it definitely happens.

How can I make sure I don’t accidentally buy counterfeit cosmetics?

For starters, don’t buy cosmetics from a source that isn’t reputable. This seems obvious, but for some reason people fall for it everyday.

I only go to a few specific places to buy makeup because I know it’s the real thing. You should buy your makeup from the brands actual website/store or reputable retailers like Sephora and Ulta Beauty.


If you want to know more about the growing problem with counterfeit cosmetics check it out on Netflix! The series is called “Broken”, it’s season 1/episode 1- “Makeup Mayhem”.

Have you seen the episode of Kylie Jenners’ show about counterfeit cosmetics? If not, you should definitely check it out below! She learns that dangerous replicas of her makeup are being sold on the street and takes matters into her own hands.

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© 2019 Confessions of a Cosmetologist
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