Toxic Makeup: The dangers of counterfeit cosmetics

The world of cheap, tatty designer knockoffs is no longer the preserve of coveted designer handbags. Counterfeit cosmetics are fast becoming a lucrative business, spreading like a nasty rash across the internet and claiming victims in the form of young women looking to find their favourite luxury cosmetics for bargain prices. Not only inferior in quality, these counterfeit cosmetics have been found to contain a variety of harmful substances.Luxury cosmetic brands such as MAC and Benefit are amongst those most frequently copied. With products that often retail above £20, makeup lovers turn to sites like eBay to track down these cosmetics at a bargain price. However, often they’re handing over money for cheap inferior copies. Counterfeit makeup is rife on sites like eBay, selling for a small fraction of the price you’d typically pay for them in department stores and boutiques.

Makeup isn’t the only source of counterfeit cosmetics. Rogue traders are also capitalising on the desirability of designer perfumes by offering cheap alternatives, claiming the difference to be unnoticeable. However, these cheap copies contain ingredients to match the price. Some have even been found to contain urine. Suddenly the extra £30/40 for the real thing seems attractive! Unlike their genuine counterparts, counterfeit fragrances can cause serious skin conditions like dermatitis.

There is no regulation controlling counterfeit cosmetics, which means they often contain dangerous chemicals. Many buyers have, unsurprisingly, suffered severe allergic reactions to cosmetics bought unwittingly online. Some of these copy makeup products have been found to contain dangerous levels of lead and arsenic. The idea of applying these kinds of chemicals to your face and around your eyes is enough to put anybody off using makeup but sadly, most buyers simply aren’t aware they’re buying cheap copies.

High-end cosmetic brands will usually only trade through their own websites, stores and official suppliers listed on their websites. They will never stock their wares on Ebay or frequently do discounted products. Should you decide to buy cosmetics off sites like Ebay, always look to see if the seller has retained the original receipt and inspect their feedback thoroughly, counterfeit cosmetics are easily spotted through the quality of the actual product so you’ll probably find the angry complaints of buyers ripped off before you. Above all, be realistic about the pricing, high-end cosmetics are blisteringly expensive for a reason and something that retails for £20 is unlikely to be found for a fiver.

The source of these counterfeit cosmetics is very questionable and therefore they won’t meet the same high ethical, testing and trade values of the brand they’re replicating. This also applies to fake designer clothing. The £10 price tag probably seemed like a good idea at the time but when it drops off your shoulder a few weeks later, perhaps not. The selling of counterfeit products is a damaging business, costing some of the biggest designer houses millions every year. Take to the high street to find clothing and accessories ‘inspired’ by designers rather than shady back alley traders.

Sellers of counterfeit cosmetics have no concern for the quality of the product or for your health, their only concern is money. Stay well away from this toxic makeup and save your money for the real thing or a cheaper high street alternative, both will have undergone vigorous testing and won’t leave you with nasty side effects. Above all remember that if it seems too good to be true, then unfortunately it probably is.


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