How Dangerous Are Fake Makeup Products And Do They Have Real Health Consequences?

Image: nadianb / Shutterstock.com (Image is for illustration purpose only)

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Over the years, more and more women have found many new loves – bubble tea, good music, and most importantly, a love for themselves and the products that empower us, such as makeup.

Image: Giphy

Makeup’s great and all, for it allows us to look good, feel good, express our creativity and it has become a new form of art too in recent years. Most girls absolutely enjoy putting on makeup and collecting more shades and products.

But of course, there’s just a teeny tiny drawback to this hobby – makeup is so expensive!

One simple eyeshadow palette would set you back by at least $50, and how can anyone just be restricted to one, especially when prettier ones just keep getting released every season?

Image: Giphy

Sometimes, to cut corners on getting the makeup products one wants, some people resort to buying fake makeup products from China (the famed country of imitation goods) at much cheaper prices, assuming that it’ll work the same way, just like fake handbags and fake T-shirts.

However, unlike handbags and T-shirts, you’re actually putting makeup on your face and skin, which are very sensitive parts of the body.

Fake makeup products may seem like a cheaper option that barely has any difference from the original products, but are they really?

Fake Makeup Could Be Lethal

Nope, fake makeup products actually contain a whole load of horrifying chemicals and substances, so think twice before buying any.


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It’s been proven as of late, what with the increasing amount of reports about fake makeup products being sold, that these counterfeit options are extremely detrimental to one’s skin as they hold a variety of dangerous bacteria that could possibly lead to fatal consequences.

Horror stories of fake makeup products leading to eye itches and swollen lips have been swarming the Internet as well.

Tanya Arguelles, a beauty blogger, went to purchase fake makeup products at a Los Angeles street market to test if they were as good as the real deal, but the next morning after she tried the eyeshadow, she woke up to burning, uncomfortable and itchy eyes.

Rachel McLaughlin, an 18-year-old girl who hails from Northern Ireland, also had a similar experience with her fake Kylie lip product, which resulted in her lips and face becoming swollen with blisters developing inside her mouth.

According to her sister in a Facebook post, it could have been fatal if it was not treated fast enough as it was.

These are SO scary.

What’s In It?

High amounts of chemicals such as lead, arsenic, mercury and aluminium have been found in fake makeup products, and these chemicals pose serious health risks if a human being has too much contact with it, including lead poisoning.

Dr. Bobby Buka, a dermatologist in New York City, explained that the carcinogens arsenic, beryllium, and cadmium exist in fake makeup products, and also has “an alarming number of potentially infection-causing bacteria that can lead to scarring, burning, and disfigurement.”

That’s not what you want happening to your pretty face!

Get this – some fake makeup products also contain traces of animal poop, which contains tons of infectious bacteria. Imagine putting animal poop on your face, your eyes, and your lips! EWW!

Image: Giphy

“I’ve seen people get eye infections from sharing mascara with a friend who had an eye infection. That was a trusted friend. Imagine what could happen if you buy and use what you think is a new or professional product but with unknown ingredients. The results won’t be pretty,” said Dr. Amanda Hoelscher, OD, of the Key-Whitman Eye Center in Dallas, Texas.

Due to the unsanitary factory conditions that these fake makeup products are made in, more bacteria could contaminate the products to make it even more unsafe for use – there isn’t any quality control of any sort, for they just care about the quick buck they’re making. Who knows what else could be in there?!

Avoid Getting Scammed

It’s honestly very hard to differentiate between fake and real makeup products, for the fake products can look almost identical to the real ones. Scammers are getting smarter and smarter nowadays.

Image: CBS News

However, a huge give away for the authenticity of the product would be its price. Bargains that are too good to be true may not be real, especially if you’re buying products online on places that are known to sell cheap items like Taobao.

Experts have also warned against purchasing outdated or expired cosmetic products for those may also react badly with your skin. The same online shopping websites may sell very old authentic products, so it’s best to check the expiry dates of all makeup products before buying them.

After all, it’s better to burn a hole in your wallet rather than burn a hole in your own precious face. The price is never worth sacrificing quality for, especially for something that could pose dangers to your own health. Stay safe out there and use the right products, ladies!


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