Counterfeit Makeup and Cosmetics

During Black Friday and the holiday season we see many sales of almost every category of products. We all love sales. Cosmetics lovers look for discounts in stores, on websites or social media. You browse and see a great price, much lower than what you normally pay. The goods look so beautiful and tempting and they’re very affordable – but beware: they may be unsafe counterfeits.

Where can I find counterfeit cosmetics and makeup online?

Cosmetics rank high among fake items produced worldwide.

eCommerce and social media had given counterfeiters access to consumers, who are sometimes not aware that what they buy is not the real product.

Sellers can set up their own unique website where they can sell fake cosmetics and makeup without the regulations of marketplaces like AliExpress or Amazon. There, they can have more detailed photographs of the product, without risking takedown by the marketplace due to trademark infringement.

In addition to websites, the online counterfeit market relies mainly on marketplaces and social media.

A large percentage of those who buy fake cosmetics do it on the big online marketplaces such as eBay, Amazon, Alibaba or AliExpress.

Social media started as a platform for sharing, but it soon evolved to allow direct purchases.

In China, sales can take place on the messaging app itself without redirecting buyers to online marketplaces.

Why buy fake makeup?

Unlike a fake Louis Vuitton handbag or Adidas Yeezy sneakers, once you are wearing the makeup, no one knows what you’re wearing.

So if the brand and packaging are not visible anyway, why not wear safe drugstore makeup instead of fake brand name makeup?

There’s no clear answer. It seems that for makeup lovers, packaging does matter, even if nobody else sees it. The fact remains that fake cosmetics and fake makeup are very common.

Why avoid fake cosmetics?

  1. Illegal cosmetic products are not bound by regulations and don’t have to undergo safety checks.
  2. They may contain substandard or even dangerous chemicals, such as lead, arsenic, mercury, in addition to high levels of aluminum and dangerous bacteria, such as E. Coli bacteria, animal feces and urine.
  3. Illegal cosmetics operations in places like mainland China don’t have the same sanitation standards as regulated manufacturers.
  4. Cosmetics can affect your health.

Remember, counterfeiters are not looking to make a quality safe product that will earn them consumer satisfaction. They are looking for a product they may pass off as an authentic product for as cheaply as possible. Therefore, the possibility of experiencing irritation or worse is very real.

Can I detect a fake?

A large percentage of consumers believe in their ability to judge whether a product is genuine or not, even when presented online. This may be true for low quality fakes, but not for all. Counterfeiters are becoming better at creating fake products that look like the real ones online. This is how counterfeits are still common on marketplaces such as Amazon, in spite of Amazon’s anti-counterfeiting policy.

When the packaging and bottle look the same, it’s almost impossible to detect a fake. But on the inside the products may contain substances that are not helpful and even potentially dangerous. For example, hyaluronic acid may be exchanged for rubbing alcohol, and retinol for glue.

What are common indicators of counterfeit cosmetics and makeup?

  1. The packaging is not identical to that of the authentic brand.
  2. The price is significantly lower.
  3. The product is advertised as a “limited edition” even though the manufacturer doesn’t offer the product as a limited edition.
  4. The product just doesn’t feel or look like the real brand.
  5. The product is sold by non-authorized retailers, in mall kiosks and other physical locations or online.

Is there awareness to the risk of counterfeits?

It seems that a growing percentage of consumers are concerned about counterfeits in the cosmetics industry. It’s important that consumers realize the problems they are facing by counterfeiters.

The question remains how many believe they can spot a fake, and how many are tempted by low prices.

How do counterfeit cosmetics affect brands?

Counterfeits affect brands in various ways, lost revenue being the most obvious one. But counterfeits damage brands in other ways as well.

Fakes and expired products undermine consumers’ confidence in your brand’s safety and effectiveness. Also, about half of consumers believe it is the brand’s responsibility to remove fake items from online platforms. This means that in addition to lost revenue, consumer trust is damaged, as well as brand reputation.

Intellectual property protection

Understanding online risks, cosmetic brands should get intellectual property protection, such as registered trademarks in all regions where they market or have plans to market their products in.

IP offers a path to takedown actions and IP protection on the big online platforms.


Wiser Market brand protection services

Online marketing and sales of counterfeits become more and more prevalent. Understanding online channels for promoting fakes is key, but the online space is vast and ever changing.

Self-monitoring for cases of counterfeiting is both time consuming and discouraging, yet monitoring and taking proactive measures is crucial.

Wiser Market is an anti-counterfeiting agency. We have developed an advanced online system to monitor eCommerce and social media channels 24/7, in different languages and around the world. Together with our anti-counterfeiting experts, we detect, analyze and enforce takedown actions.

Wiser Market’s solution is designed to combat online counterfeiting and abuse on a large scale, while achieving an exceptionally high success rate.

Is Your Brand protected? Contact us for a FREE brand review.

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