It’s a fact of life that makeup can be ridiculously expensive. La Prairie’s foundation and concealer goes for £183 a pop, Pat McGrath has £115 eyeshadow palettes with only ten colours, and Christian Louboutin is selling three lipsticks for £210. You could pay rent with all that money.
But just because it’s expensive doesn’t mean you can’t own something exactly like it. So much luxury makeup has drugstore dupes out there, and it’s much better to pay £7 for a Maybelline lipstick that looks like a £40 Tom Ford one. Entire Instagram accounts are dedicated to finding the perfect dupe for thousands of products – check out my personal favourite @dupethat – so if you find the drugstore version, you don’t have to shell out more for the high-end version.
This isn’t to say that high end makeup is a scam and drugstore brands have done it all already. Sometimes, you do get what you pay for, and it can be better to invest in a more expensive palette with a great formula rather than finding a far cheaper one that might be chalky and patchy. But drugstore can be equally good – just look at all the YouTube videos titled ‘BEST Drugstore Makeup Haul + Try On!!!’. The demand for good quality makeup is at an all time high.
The issue with dupes start to arise when they stop being dupes and start being exact copies of high end products. Take the I Heart makeup line, often found in Superdrug. Their chocolate bar shaped palettes are almost identical to the Too Faced palettes, in similar, albeit much cheaper packing. Their love heart highlighters are the same as the ones made by Too Faced too. Now, I Heart’s products aren’t exactly bad – I have a highlighter from them and it’s quite nice – but they are stealing a concept from a different brand, and I’m incredibly surprised that they haven’t been sued yet.
Everyone’s favourite teenage delinquent Bhad Bahbie (Danielle Bregoli of Dr. Phil fame) has even recently being promoting an entire makeup line named Copycat Beauty. Looking at the pictures, you can clearly see rip offs of Anastasia Beverly Hills Glow Kits, Huda Beauty eyeshadow palettes, and Stila liquid eyeshadows. The website claims that they are ‘comparable’ to the original products, but it’s obvious to anyone with half a brain and a decent knowledge of makeup that they are attempting to copy the originals as closely as possible.
Jeffree Star tried the dupe line and claimed that whilst the dupes were a different formula and not the exact same as the originals, they were still decent products, especially for the price. This is far better than the makeup you see on discount websites such as Wish, which can even be hazardous when applied, as they don’t go through as rigorous testing as when products are released by genuine brands.
Mykie from Glam & Gore did a fascinating video about the black-market makeup that is sold on the streets of downtown LA. She films herself walking through the stalls, documenting the fake Kylie lip kits, Morphe palettes, and brush sets. The Kat Von D eyeshadow that she picks up looks almost exactly the same as the genuine one, with the same packaging, font, and shades. She then goes on to say that because of how unregulated this fake makeup is, it can break out your skin or even make you go blind due to the eyeshadows.
It’s so tempting when you see these discounted products, especially when the originals are so expensive. But it’s never worth your health, and as Mykie says in her video, the cost of medicine to treat whatever happens if you use fake products will be more than buying a genuine £40 palette.
Refinery 29 also released a video looking into the prevalence of fake, unregulated makeup. Because of the boom in the makeup industry, the opportunity for creating counterfeits is perfect. Everyone wants the branded products, but not everyone is able to afford them, so sellers offer something that looks exactly like the original, right down to the packaging and colour.
Fake products are everywhere. Markets all over the world have their fair share of fake Chanel purses, knock-off Gucci t-shirts, and faux Louis Vuitton handbags. This is damaging to the fashion industry, yes – but fake makeup is even more so, as it is incredibly dangerous to the health of all those that use it. Some people don’t even realise that they’re buying counterfeit makeup when they add it to their basket online, only seeing the $5 price tag and thinking that they’re getting a bargain.
Brands are taking significant steps to stop the spread of counterfeit products. MAC is one of the most counterfeited brands in the world, and has an entire division set up in order to combat it. They hire private detectives and get the police involved in order to remove counterfeit products from circulation. The fake makeup has even been tested and high levels of harmful chemicals such as lead, mercury and arsenic – even horse urine, have been found. These cause rashes, acne, and infections that are caused by the terrible conditions in which this makeup is made.
Jeffree Star and Kylie Jenner have taken to social media to warn people that if they find products that aren’t on their sites or trusted sellers’ sites, that it won’t be legitimate, allowing buyers to protect themselves. It is so important that awareness is raised to allow consumers to protect themselves against the health hazards in these counterfeits.
If it’s discounted makeup you’re after, take yourself down to TKMaxx and browse their stock of discounted high-end products, or keep an eye on websites like Beauty Bay for the deals and discounts they often run. It’s never worth risking your health over a single eyeshadow palette or lipstick. It doesn’t matter where your makeup comes from or what it is, dupe or not, just make sure it’s safe to put on your face. If you see something at a price that seems too good to be true – it’s probably is just that.