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Spotting and Avoiding Fake Makeup

Friday, 27 November 2015
After so many of you were interested in my post about saying no to fake makeup I figured I would do a follow up for you on how to spot and avoid it. Sometimes it can be really hard to tell if things you buy, especially online, are the real deal so here are some tips. 

Now I just wanted to clarify because there was a little confusion about what I meant by fake makeup last time. Basically I mean all counterfeit makeup that is created to mimic big brand names like MAC, Urban Decay, Benefit, etc. If you missed my last post you can read it here and discover exactly how dangerous this makeup that is made in back alley criminal factories can be. 

The Dangers of eBay

Unfortunately eBay has some of the highest concentrations of fake makeup. Honestly, after being stung a couple of times I simply don't buy makeup off eBay anymore, period. I would recommend this course of action for you as well. Of course, there are a few things that you can do to protect yourself if you are set on buying off eBay. Firstly, look at all the negative reviews ever on a seller. If even one says anything about fakes run fast and far. Secondly, look at the photos carefully. You should be able to successfully compare them to good high res photos of the real deal. If they use stock photos, really poor quality photos where you can't make out details or the colours look even a bit off this is another big red flag. Thirdly, always always pay with PayPal. That way if you do received your products and they are fake you can easily get your money back by opening a dispute.

My Top Tips

  • If it is a place that really doesn't look like it should be selling makeup it likely hasn't got an agreement with suppliers and is selling fakes - this especially relates to markets and weird little stores that seem to have a bit of everything really cheap. This also applies to brands of makeup popping up in odd places. People went nuts (including me! yep I fell for it) when Target Australia introduced stands of MAC cosmetics but these proved to be fake. If something feels off, just walk away and don't risk wasting your money.
  • If it seems to good to be true, it is! You simply cannot buy a Urban Decay Naked palette for $30, you just can't. Even second hand they go for at least 60 odd bucks in Australia. If something is priced significantly lower than the full priced it is more than likely fake.
  • Buy from reputable stores. The allure of saving a bit of money really isn't worth wasting your money on fakes. Just save for that extra week and you can get something you know is real. If you can't afford the high end makeup, that is perfectly okay too. There are tons of great affordable makeup brands out there.
Here are some photos a fellow blogger, Emma Duval, took at a market last weekend. Not only are the colours nothing alike, they look down right terrible not to mention dirty and unhygenic. If you come across a market stall like this, run far and run fast.

s you will buy stuff from outside of stores and will want to authenticate it to ensure you didn't waste your money. Here are a few ways to do that.
  • Pull up some really high quality photos to compare your product to. Bloggers are increasingly maintaining an exceptionally high photographic quality level so start there. This can be tricky though because packaging changes a little over time so its never exact.
    HQ photos like this can really help authenticating your online purchases.
  • Look at the colours, do they look like the swatches you find online. Is there a lot of overspray to match a colour but beneath it is something totally different. Are they just really poor quality? All of this would point to fakes.
  • Really look at the packaging. It is often the biggest giveaway. Feel the weight and quality of it. Look at the finishing and the closures. The packing just often feels cheap and will be a dead giveaway from the moment you see it. Typos and font inconsistencies (like a Benefit Hoola box missing the fancy "f" in Benefit) will allow you to tell if something is real or not.
    Notice the fancy "f"? These are the sorts of details that don't make it onto cheap fakes.
  • Finally, simply type in "how to tell if [brand and product name] is fake" into Google. Tons of amazing people have posted about authenticating often forged products because it varies from product to product sometimes. These are great resources so definitely make use of them.
I know high end makeup can hurt the wallet sometimes but please remember that these high end brands guard their prices pretty zealously. They almost never go on sale and factory seconds really don't happen as much as everyone thinks. These are brands that maintain a high reputation to justify their prices so they are more than likely going to destroy products that aren't up to scratch, not sell them off cheaply. It really isn't worth risking it so, where you can, just buy products from the proper brick-and-mortar stores because that is really the only sure fire way to prevent the huge disappointment and potential health risk of ending up with fakes. If you do end up with fakes though, do all you can to recover your money and then toss them. It isn't worth risking it to get some use out of them.

I hope this helps. Part of me wanted to order some products I know to be fake so I could compare them to palettes and things in my collection that I know are authentic. I could still do this but I really don't want to support the criminal activity by buying fake cosmetics, even for test purposes. Also, if at any time you want high res pictures of high end products to compare or just generally want help trying to figure out if something is fake I am more than happy to help. Just contact me through any commenting or social media platforms or email me direct at I hope I've been of some help.

Stay Rosy.
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