This is an extremely important topic that I would like to discuss. The beauty industry in South Africa from sellers, buyers, beauty gurus, and your average Jane has really skyrocketed in recent years. With access to international brands from resellers to the basic consumer buying from the comfort of their own home, directly from overseas-based makeup sites, things have drastically changed in the way we buy our beauty products. Resellers make it easier for us to get our hands on brands we won’t find in our regular stores. Most of these resellers advertise on social media and have a website.
But with the good also comes the bad. There has been a rise in fake beauty products being sold at the corner shop down the street to so-called online resellers, duping people into buying counterfeit products while assuring people their goods are real. This is a very serious and scary thing that many South African consumers get trapped in.
This post was inspired by recent events that occurred on a trusted beauty news Instagram account beautynewssa. Beauty News SA is “a source for the tea on all things makeup in SA, new releases, sales and giveaways” (taken from their Instagram bio.)
I was following their Insta story and to my horror, they were scammed into believing that a certain reseller was legit (after doing all the right checks of course) and shared this seller with their followers. Being a trusted brand themselves, their follows too, unfortunately fell into this trap. This is truly an awful experience for everyone involved and Beauty News SA was quick to admit their faults as seen in their Instagram story. I do not believe their intentions were bad, it’s just a really tough position they were placed in after trying to help the seller.
The conversation continued in a post where they asked these questions:
“So how did you all feel about today’s Story, and the whole fake makeup issue in general?? 🙊 Are resellers who deceive customers thief’s? Have you tried fake/replica makeup?”
I jumped into the thread and added some of my views on authentic resellers I trusted. As I read through the comments one thing jumped out at me. Some commenters admitted to using fake products, expressing that in some cases they were aware that the products were not original and simply, real products were financially unattainable and that buying fakes were more budget friendly. Others said that they have not had a bad reaction to fake products. This sent me into panic mode and I posted some of my thoughts on the matter which I would like to elaborate on here.
Let’s first establish what fake or counterfeit make up is for the purpose of this post:
Counterfeit makeup is anything that a fake or forgery of a well-known beauty brand. Knock-off products that copy the labeling and sell inferior products that elude the buyer to believe it is genuine. Not only does this tick off many illegal boxes, counterfeiting is a form of trademark infringement and can be punishable by law. I’ve often come across counterfeit products of brands such as Kylie Cosmetics, Huda Beauty, Urban Decay and Anastasia Beverly Hills to name a few.
Why it is a bad decision to knowingly buy fake products:
I understand the reasoning that high-end brands may be out of reach for those on a budget. The real deal can cost you over an R1000 an item also when you consider shipping costs from overseas, tariffs and customs, as well as the profit authentic sellers, need to make for all their work (remember when you buy from a legit reseller this cuts out the drama of dealing with customs and shipping amongst other things.) Also if you have used fake products and not had a reaction this does not mean the products are safe:
1. Endorsing counterfeit makeup creates the market allowing bad sellers to sell more.
2. As mentioned above, this is illegal on a lot of levels such as trademark.
3. Buying counterfeit makeup creates a false sense of security for other unsuspecting customers to be scammed and even worse. They could be exposed to a bad reaction that will damage their skin and cost more money than one would have imagined paying for the real deal. If you don’t know this by now, fakes are known to be replicated in uncontrolled environments. You can never know for sure what is in the counterfeit you are buying as with the label they also copy the ingredients of the real product. So essentially you are getting an exact copy of the packaging but an inferior product that could have chemicals and even rat feces in it.
4. This can also taint the original brand’s reputation. If you don’t know you are buying a fake, your idea of the real brand could potentially create negative connotations to it.
An alternative to buying high-end products:
We are fortunate to have some really great budget-friendly makeup available to us, that even rival high-end products. Drugstore brands, as well as some locally produced makeup, is a better option for many reasons. You definitely know what is going into the products and there is very little risk factor when using these products. Brands like Essence, Catrice, Wet and Wild as well as Makeup Revolution can be found at your local Clicks or Dischem at a fraction of the cost.
What if you must have the high-end stuff?
I hear you, I pined over my AB Glow Palette for months before being able to afford it. And when it finally went on sale at an authentic re-seller and I had the cash, I knew this was my moment. I try not to buy into the hype of makeup products and the need to have it now because so and so has it. Peer pressure can lead you to wanting products now, and I know people have bought fakes just because of the label. We all start somewhere, and for most of us on a budget it is a slow grow. Here are some tips on how I grew my makeup inventory:
1. I have a makeup fund I put spare cash into and save for the products I want most. It takes time but it is worth the wait.
2. Make a list of what you need in your makeup kit, this way if you see something on sale you don’t go out and buy it on a whim. Stick to this list and set goals with your savings.
3. It’s pretty difficult to suss out resellers to know if their products are authentic but here’s what I have done. Check the price if it’s too good to be true it probably is. This isn’t a foolproof plan but it is an indicator.
4. I am on South African based Facebook makeup groups and they usually don’t allow sellers that are fake. One of the common practices on these groups is that a seller provides proof of authenticity in the means of proof of purchase. I also look at the comments on sellers posts and check out the more experienced buyers to judge sellers.
5. I attend makeup expos and pop-ups. Fake sellers are usually unwelcome here so I know I am in a safe place. Buying at expos and pop-ups mean prices are cheaper as you cut out shipping costs and they usually have sales.
Some authentic resellers I have purchased from:
Thank you for reading. I hope that this post will help makeup lovers like myself save money and unnecessary pain. Let me know in the comments below if this helped you. Have you had a bad experience with a seller? Tell me about that too. If you would like to know more don’t hesitate to ask me any questions and I will try to assist.