General / Society

The Dangers of Cheap, Knock-Off Makeup

The rise of cult beauty products like Fenty Beauty foundation or Kylie Cosmetics lip kits has sent make-up enthusiasts over the moon, but it certainly isn’t easy on the wallet. This may make it more enticing for fans to get products in more budget-friendly places, to get the desired look for a fraction of the price. Knock-off makeups sold in non-official outlets may indeed be cheaper in price, but also in quality – they may contain potentially dangerous ingredients and bring a swath of health hazards. Here are a few of the risks that come with buying cheap/fake makeups.

Harmful Ingredients

With cheap prices, come questionable ingredients. Counterfeit cosmetics are often found to contain mercury, lead, arsenic, aluminium, cyanide, urine, faeces and/or E. coli. “Counterfeit cosmetics sometimes contain harmful or even carcinogenic ingredients, perhaps not intentionally designed to harm but because the counterfeiters feel no obligation to protect the consumers they are defrauding,” David Farquhar, supervisory special-agent unit chief at the FBI told Cosmopolitan.


Tampered or Nearly Expired Products

Even if the cheap makeups turn out to be original, they are often sold near their expiry date, making it less effective and long-lasting. Sometimes, sellers also mix real products with water or other buffer in order to sell more goods at lower costs. This may lead to contamination from careless mixing process, unhygienic ingredients, and more.


Side Effects

Cheap, fake makeups have taken a lot of victims. Beauty vlogger Sarah Tanya Arguelles suffered from eye infection after using a US$6 Kylie Cosmetics Ky Shadow Palette she bought from a street market. Others have also experienced unwanted side effects like rashes, chemical burns, acne breakouts, swelling and numbness.


How to Avoid Fakes?

The best thing you can do is to go to the cosmetics brands’ websites and find their authorised retailers. Familiarise yourself with the products, and stay up-to-date with any changes in packaging/branding to get the freshest batch. You can also see if the listed prices are significantly lower than the RRP at official stores.