What is Fake Make-Up?

August 20, 2016

Reference is made to a letter titled, ‘Fake make-up’ by Rajesh Lal of Navua, published in this newspaper (The Fiji Times) dated 09 August 2016. The key questions raised by the letter writer is – how it would be possible to classify make-up as genuine and fake?”

Today – we attempt to explain what fake make-up is.

So what is fake make-up?

Fake make-up are not the genuine brands of make-up. They are counterfeit cosmetics, designed to look like top-name brands to trick thousands of shoppers into buying what seems like a great bargain.  For example brands such Mac, Revlon, Sephora, Lancôme are high-end original make-up which are developed over years of research and expertise. Everything from the texture, colour, smell and the even the packaging is developed after a thorough research. Any brand that you pick up from the rack in the store will have a distinguish feature that would set it apart from the same product from a different brand on the other rack.

However, same high-end brands can be produced by unauthorized manufacturers in underground labs and more often than not are made of dangerous chemicals or sub-standard material which has cancer causing ingredients that are banned from use in cosmetics. Consumer organisations around the world have reported that fake make-up contain high concentrations of heavy metals such as lead, mercury, chromium, nickel, cobalt, aluminum and even cyanide that could cause long-term harm.

Often fake make up is made in a non-sterile environment laden with bacteria. There is a risk of using these products because it may trigger rashes, lip swelling and eye infections as well as more serious conditions such as lead poisoning. In some cases fake make-up has caused chemical burns, hair fall, allergic reaction and other skin infections.

In general, it should be remembered that by definition, fake make-up is an illegal product that has been manufactured without any consideration whatsoever for health and safety of cosmetic users. These unauthorised manufacturers take no responsibility for their products and being criminals they make sure that they cannot be traced.

There are several ways to distinguish a fake make-up product from real products. So, how can you spot fakes which are potentially dangerous, or even lethal?

  • Products discounted by a quarter or third — or even more — of their regular price are highly suspect.
  • The product packaging is not an exact match for what you are used to seeing.
  • The packaging suggests that it’s a new variation or “limited edition” of an existing product. Check the authenticity of this on the manufacturer’s website
  • The texture or consistency of the makeup seems wrong or different than usual. The texture of the make-up would also be different. An original branded lipstick would have a smooth, uninterrupted surface. Fake lipsticks sometimes have a thin line running through the length of it and the cap may not fit properly
  • The product is being sold at a corner store or other unauthorized retailers. Again, most genuine manufacturers carefully control who is allowed to sell their products and often authorized dealers are listed on their website
  • Always do a swatch test. Swatching is essentially applying a sample of product (like foundation, eyeshadow, or even eyeliner) to your skin to demonstrate its color and finish.

We all want to look beautiful and some consumers don’t mind spending money on grooming themselves. But it is important to take note that whatever cosmetic/make-up one is applying is not fake (counterfeit), posing health risks. Health and safety should never be compromised with ‘fake’ make-up.