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Why Fake Makeup is Dangerous?

fake makeup is dangerous

I’ve seen fake Chanel lipsticks and mascara before on eBay and Amazon. But I had no idea that counterfeit cosmetics business is so big right now! Based on the first episode of ‘Broken’ documentary on Netflix, the counterfeit cosmetics global sales reached 461 billion dollars a year!

Why counterfeit cosmetics is dangerous? If you wear a fake purse, it doesn’t harm your health. But if you wear fake lipstick, it may irritate and burn your lips. The product may come to your stomach while you eat. You don’t know what ingredients it was made from and in what conditions. Counterfeit lipsticks (and eyeshadows) may contain lead and heavy metals, as well as bacteria. When you use fake creams, dangerous ingredients may penetrate your skin. Fake perfumes penetrate your nose and that’s how you can get dangerous ingredients in your lungs.

Even authentic lipsticks (and eyeshadows) may contain a small amount of lead (especially the red lipsticks). Please check out this article and FDA list of lipstick brands/shades that contain lead

Lipstick is intended for topical use, not for swallowing. But when you drink and eat, you get some of the lipstick swallowed and the product gets into your stomach. For that reason, I would recommend removing the lipstick before the meal. Drinking from a straw helps to minimize the lipstick coming inside your mouth. Also, I prefer to use lipsticks without shimmer. I believe that it’s hard for a human body to get rid of it.

If you really want to use that bold lipstick with a holographic shimmer, you may apply it for a short period of time, take your Instagram pictures and remove it before drinking or having a meal. If you don’t take care of your health now, later you may have unpleasant consequences. Even a small amount of lead can cause brain damage and memory problems.

Now you can see why counterfeit cosmetics can be potentially dangerous. Most of it is produced in China. You may respond: ‘Everything is produced in China now!’ Yes, but big companies usually have certain regulations of ingredients they use and labor/sanitary conditions for people working on those factories.

When it comes to producing fake cosmetics, there are no regulations what’s so ever. According to the ‘Broken’ documentary, an American dermatologist Dr. Whitney Bowe confirms that specific eye infections increased in the past five years. Usually, she asks her patients to bring the cosmetic products they use. It turned out that many of them are fake! After analyzing some counterfeit cosmetics, the scientists found rat droppings, horse urine and substances capable of causing cancer!

I love shopping at Santee Alley in the Fashion District (Los Angeles, CA), where I usually buy clothes. I had no idea there’s a huge counterfeit cosmetics market over there! I knew that Downtown Los Angeles is like a Wild West: you can buy just about anything! But I didn’t know about the amount of fake makeup sold over there. If you live in Los Angeles, it’s so easy to buy fake makeup at Santee Alley and list it on eBay, Amazon or even your own website.

According to the ‘Broken’ documentary, Los Angeles Police Department arrested many counterfeit makeup sellers at Santee Alley, but the new ones keep coming every day! The easy money is too tempting, so many sellers are willing to take the risk of going to jail.

The fake makeup producers are getting more and more sophisticated every year. They are very savy about top-selling products and they are capable of creating almost identical copies. Popular brands to fake are Too Faced, Kylie Jenner, MAC, YSL, Cle de Peau and Chanel, of course.

How to avoid buying fake makeup? Buy it from official websites ( or big department stores (Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, Saks) and not from third-party websites like eBay and Amazon. If you still want to shop on eBay, you have to be savy about fake makeup sellers.

How to spot a fake Chanel lipstick on eBay? First of all, let’s find out where the authentic Chanel lipsticks are coming from on eBay:

  • Unwanted gifts (few lipsticks of various shades – New in Box condition);
  • From people who actually work at Chanel counter in big stores – they often get makeup as a bonus for their work. They usually work with reputable eBay sellers with good feedback, because they don’t want to put their names on eBay. Many of them sell full-size testers in box or without;
  • Expired makeup sellers. Usually, luxury brands like Chanel produce makeup in limited quantities which sell out very fast! That’s why they call it ‘Limited Edition’ collection. They DON’T have overstocks of expired makeup. But less popular brands do. I don’t think it’s legal to sell expired makeup. The makeup companies wouldn’t risk their reputation. But if some sneaky sellers get the stock of the expired items, they may sell it on Ebay or Amazon;
  • Sellers who buy out potentially popular shades from official websites and sell it 2-3 times more expensive on eBay and Amazon. But for the price much higher than retail. It makes no sense to them to sell it cheaper.

If you see a makeup product that has more than 10 items of the same shade in stock for a price twice cheaper than retail, that’s a bad sign. Where did they get so many lipsticks, eyeshadows or perfumes? Especially of the same shade? It’s much easier to produce many items of one shade than to create a variety of different shades.

The counterfeit makeup producers are very smart: they pick a very popular sold-out or discontinued product, which is out of reach for many customers. For example, discontinued Chanel Rouge Coco Shine lipsticks or discontinued Cle de Peau lip luminizers. The customers get used to the product and they need to refill it. The demand creates the supply. The product in high demand but out of reach has a big chance to be produced at Chinese counterfeit makeup labs. The fake makeup packaging and the product itself may look almost identical. Have a close look: there can be slightly different font on the packaging or different scent of the product.

This eBay seller has managed to get not only one shade of fake Chanel Rouge Coco Shine lipsticks but a whole collection!

fake chanel lipstick

I speak fluent French and I know this shade very well. So I could immediately spot the mistakes in the shade name. The correct name is 44 Sari d’Eau, not 44 Sari Eam. Also, the shape of the lipstick top is wrong: it’s usually round, cushion-like, not flat with cut-off edges. If you look more attentively, you can see than the font on the box is different from the original Chanel font. If you click on this seller’s other items, you will find many similar lipsticks of different shades that resemble famous, sold-out and discontinued Chanel Rouge Coco Shine lipsticks.

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