Counterfeit Cosmetics

This week let’s talk about counterfeit makeup! YES.
Seriously there are fakes out there. You might be wondering, why? Well, the global cosmetics industry is valued at about $523 billion and was projected to reach $805 billion by 2022. In 2019 Ulta alone had over 7.4 Billion dollars in retail sales. An average anti-aging cream can cost between $18-$30 but a high-end brand can be as much as $250! So people are trying to get in on this money!

What is counterfeit makeup?

It is makeup that is produced to look like popular brands of makeup and sold at lower price points not by approved retailers.

Why is it bad?

These products are produced in unsafe, unsanitary environments where cross contamination is happening, allowing harmful bacteria into the makeup. One case even found human feces and high levels of mercury in the products. GROSS DUDE. Not to mention the poor working conditions for the workers in these illegal labs.


Things to look for

Make sure you are buying your products new from approved retailers.  What are approved retailers? Straight from the brand itself or places like Sephora, Ultra, or makeup counters at department stores like Macy’s and Nordstrom.

What isn’t an approved retailer? Amazon, eBay, poshmark or even your local makeup artist selling MAC products. MAC doesn’t do wholesale to individuals. Most mass-produced reputable makeup brands don’t. So, purchasing that product is illegal and possibly unsafe.


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If you are buying makeup at a secondary retailer like ROSS or TJMAX you probably won’t run into counterfeit makeup. Just know there is a reason the actual brand is no longer selling the item. It could be as simple as it has last year’s packaging, or it is over stock they couldn’t sell.

Make sure you are looking for defects in the packaging or branding. Most counterfeit makeup will have the font wrong, a typo or the colors inside the palette might be the wrong names.It will always have less detail than an original. If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is!

If you want to dive deeper into this topic, check out the Netflix series ‘Broken’, it is crazy! I hope this gives you a little more insight on counterfeit makeup and what to watch out for while shopping.  <3