Buying makeup online? Make sure you’re not buying a fake! Unless you’re buying from the official brand website or authorized online retailers like Althea or Hush, there’s always a chance that you’re getting a bootleg beauty product.
Fake makeup and skincare is scary because you don’t know what you’re putting on your face. It could contain arsenic, lead, or cyanide. It could also use cheaper oils or pigments that can clog your pores or irritate your skin. Plus, you’re getting scammed! You think you got a huge discount for buying makeup online, but you’re actually throwing money away on a product that won’t deliver on its promises.
So how can you tell if your makeup is a fakeup? Here are some tell-tale signs.
The price is too low
All makeup brands hold online sales, but these are usually part of official promos. Check the price of the makeup on different sites. Really cheap makeup is a red flag – how could they possibly sell it that low and still make a profit?
The packaging is different
You need to know what the original product looks like, or even feels like. Go to its store or its official website and learn everything you can about it: dimensions, scents, textures, packaging, name of the shades, etc.
Fake makeup usually use lower quality plastic or metal cases, or badly attached applicators or mirrors. Look for subtle differences – the color of the box, or whether the name of the shade was printed or put on a sticker.
One of the problems of buying makeup online is you can’t scrutinize the product, and sellers will just steal the photos from the official site. Try to message the seller and ask them to send you a photo of the actual item.
Check the consistency
Fake makeup will usually have a thinner or chalkier texture. The glitter or shimmer may be bigger, since the very fine and light reflective particles are actually an expensive technology that’s hard to fake. Lipsticks may also feel thick or heavy on the lips, or have less pigment. It looks the same on the tube, but not on your lips.
It’s harder to tell if a powder and liquid foundation is fake until you actually try it. “I think this is one item I’d never get from a makeup online reseller,” says makeup artist Sarah Chua. “First of all, it’s always better to check foundation personally because you want to get the exact skin tone. Second of all, if it is fake, you could really damage your skin. Unlike eyeshadow or lipstick, this goes all over your face and is actually absorbed. It’s not worth the risk.”
The websites don’t offer consumer protection
Always buy from online makeup stores that offer escrow payments or protection against fraudulent transactions. They may not be able to catch all fake makeup products, but they can address your complaint and ban the seller from the site.
The reviews sound too good
Your first instinct will always be to read the reviews on the seller. But watch out for fake reviews. If they all sound like they were written by one person, sound like a very gushy ad, or were all posted within the same time frame, think again.