I discovered r/makeupaddiction on Reddit around the same time that I started hanging out on r/AsianBeauty, and during that time the most common question we all see is,
“I got this $50 palette on Ebay (AliExpress, Wish) for $10, is it fake?”
Yes. It’s fake.
Now for the long answer:
If something seems too good to be true, it is. You will not be able to legitimately buy a $50 palette for $10, you just won’t. But you will see listings claiming this amazing deal. How is this happening?
Counterfeit cosmetics have become a huge business, particularly for companies working out of China. Unfortunately, the Chinese government does not have the same consumer protection laws as many other countries, and they are also lacking intellectual property law enforcement. This has allowed an industry to bloom that sells fake makeup for cheap on the internet. Some of the most popular brands, such as Anastasia Beverly Hills, Urban Decay, MAC, Benefit, and Kylie Cosmetics have spawned many shady and unsafe “replicas” that, on first glance, appear nearly identical to the legitimate product. There are certainly ways that you can differentiate a “replica” from the real thing–different fonts or paint on packaging, flimsier packaging, strange product order… but why risk it? It is VERY unlikely (if not impossible) that you will get real brand name makeup for super cheap on Ebay, AliExpress, or Wish.
And what you are risking if you decide to purchase these fake products is scary AF.
Ok, my darlings, now that you aren’t going to buy fake makeup, what should you do instead?
- AliExpress and Wish are both places to get cheap, fun, NON-CONSUMABLE stuff like:
- Stickers Stickers Stickers Stickers Stickers
- Cosmetic brushes (unpredictable quality, but I’ve got some really nice ones this way)
- Cute brush containers and lucite makeup organizers
- A Hermione Granger wand that lights up for $10
- A compact mirror that says “Star Trek” in the “Star Wars” font that will infuriate your nerd friends
- Know your authorized resellers. First of all, there are no authorized resellers of Kylie Cosmetics, get it? But other brands, like Sugarpill, Charlotte Tillbury, Viseart, and Natasha Denona do have authorized resellers, like Beautylish.com. Amazon is an authorized reseller of The Balm and LORAC cosmetics. These sites can have great deals.
- If you’re buying on Amazon, choose PRIME (preferrably “Shipped and Sold by Amazon”). Amazon is much more careful about their Prime sellers, and I have successfully bought legit Korean beauty products through Prime. Third party sellers on Amazon are still suspect so avoid them.
- Coupon codes: HSN (Home Shopping Network) is an authorized reseller of a lot of great brands (like Too Faced) and they have had some amazing coupon codes (like $20 off $40) so check for those if you are looking for something specific.
- Subscribe to a beauty box. I have gotten wonderful full-size products through Ipsy ($10/month) and Boxycharm ($21/month, but it’s my favorite so far). Boxycharm box value is often $100+ for $21. You won’t get counterfeits from them.
- Beautylish Lucky Bag. I missed out last year but you can bet your ass I’m going to get one this year. Beautylish.com offers a “Lucky Bag” for $75 each January that contains WAY MORE value in brand name products. I saw a Lucky Bag that was worth over $400. They sell out fast so sign up here with your email address so you can get notified for the January 2018 bag.
- You can get free drugstore, mid-range, and high-end cosmetics to review from Influenster. Full disclosure: I haven’t gotten a VoxBox yet, but I’m working on it. From what I gather, if you’re younger (18-25) and have a lot of social media followers you’re more likely to get a VoxBox. If this describes you, it’s worth signing up here. You’ve got nothing to lose, right?
- Nordstrom Rack! I have gotten some DEALS from Nordstrom Rack’s cosmetics shelves. I’ve seen LORAC, Urban Decay, Too Faced, Stila, Laura Mercier, The Balm, Michael Kors, and other high-end brands there for very cheap. Make sure to check the clearance area too.
- TJ Maxx and Marshall’s also carry closeout products from popular brands. I haven’t had much luck there but I’ve seen some great stuff others have gotten (like Anastasia Beverly Hills and Kat Von D).
- Enter giveaways. The Instagram accounts of popular brands, as well as other beauty bloggers, give away makeup all the time. Again, nothing to lose!
So I hope you heed my warnings and avoid fake makeup from now on! Note: I did not receive any products, financial or promotional considerations for this blog post, but I did include a referral link for Influenster.