Shopping for authentic beauty products online is more important than ever nowadays. For your health and safety, buying authentic beauty products (and not counterfeit goods) is the most important purchasing decision you can make when shopping online.
To help you learn how to spot fake beauty products and to become a smart, savvy shopper, today’s article shares 3 tips on how to shop for authentic beauty products online.
How To Shop for Authentic Beauty Products Online
Why Are Counterfeit Beauty Products Bad?
It might surprise you to learn that billions of dollars are spent each year by consumers on counterfeit beauty products (that are often produced in illegal factories in China). While you might be thinking – of course, I can spot a knock-off, often times its harder than you think. If you’ve ever searched on eBay or Amazon for low-priced beauty products from popular brands, you might have mistakenly bought counterfeit goods.
Aside from ripping off trademarked brands (which is illegal), the biggest problem with buying counterfeit beauty products is the potential health dangers in using these poorly-made products. Some customers have reported burning skin, unsightly blisters, rashes, chemical burns, and even their lips getting glued together (after discovering that the counterfeit lip gloss contained Superglue!).
Since these counterfeit beauty products are produced by unknown sources (which are often run by criminal organizations) in unclean, unregulated environments, they not only pose a health problem (due to potential bacteria in the products) but more often than not, the counterfeit beauty products contain hazardous chemicals and even shockingly disgusting ingredients (like rat droppings!).
To learn more, I recommend watching the Netflix docuseries called “Broken” that covers counterfeit beauty products and uncovers the scary truth about this growing billion-dollar business.
How To Shop for Authentic Beauty Products Online
TIP 1: Buy from Reputable Retailers & Brands
When shopping for authentic beauty products online, only buy from reputable retailers, brands, and sources. When shopping from leading beauty retailers like Sephora or Ulta, or even established mass retailers like Nordstrom, you can feel safe knowing that they have vetted each of the brands they sell. In addition, these retailers buy directly from brands and stock the goods in their warehouses. This ensures that they are only selling authentic beauty products. You can also shop directly from the brands online, as many have e-commerce sites that carry their products. That’s why shopping from these well-known retailers and brands is a smart way to go.
If you enjoy the convenience of shopping on marketplaces like Amazon, carefully review the product listings. When you click on a product, it takes you to a product listing page. Toward the top of the page, it will list who the product is sold and shipped by. If it is sold and shipped by Amazon, that is good. That means that Amazon is buying directly from the brand and stocking the product in their warehouse.
Another option is to buy from the brand itself. As an example, one of my favorite clean beauty brands (Purlisse) sells on Amazon. That means they list their products on Amazon and ship directly to customers. But I always make sure that the product listing shows it is being sold and shipped by the brand, as it ensures I’m buying authentic beauty products.
If you don’t know the name of the shipper listed, do NOT buy the product from them. Most likely it is a counterfeiter who is ripping off a brand name, by producing illegally. In addition, I don’t recommend shopping for beauty products on likes like eBay or Poshmark, as these shippers have not been evaluated or verified as shipping authentic beauty products.
Let’s be honest – it’s not worth jeopardizing your health just to save a few bucks on a product.
TIP 2: Beware of Low Prices
If you’re shopping for a known brand or a popular product (like the best-selling Huda Beauty Eyeshadow Palette or Urban Decay Naked Palette), then more often than not, you’ll have to pay what its worth. These beauty products aren’t usually cheap, so if you spot one that is surprisingly low-priced, that’s often a red flag.
Counterfeiters use questionable ingredients (even toxic ingredients that wouldn’t pass FDA regulations at all), so they can afford to make big margins of profit, even if they underprice these counterfeit beauty products. To attract customers, they often post these products online at very low prices. This lures in unsuspecting, bargain-hunting buyers who don’t know that it’s a fake.
Once the customer uses the product, that’s when the real trouble begins. Beyond realizing that the product doesn’t perform as expected, more often than not, they end up with severe side effects (that sometimes require hospitalization).
The bottom line is – if it seems to good to be true, it probably is. That’s why it’s smarter to just buy directly from known retailers and brands, rather than shopping on unregulated marketplaces.
TIP 3: Carefully Evaluate Product Packaging
Often times counterfeit beauty products have less-than-quality packaging. The packaging colors don’t look the same, there are noticeable misspellings and even visible inconsistencies between the authentic products and the fakes.
When shopping online for authentic beauty products, pay careful attention to the photos of the packaging. These are usually the easiest things to spot, as they do not look exactly like the authentic products’ packaging.
While the point of this article is not to scare you, but instead, to educate you about the importance of buying authentic beauty products, it’s important to remember that you, as the consumer, have purchasing power. Make sure to shop for products by reputable brands, and do your best to avoid buying from scammers. You’ll look and feel better as a result of only buying authentic beauty products.
To learn more, check out this article by Consumer Reports.
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