Are you buying Counterfeit Cosmetics and Skin Care – at what cost?

We have all seen it 50% off well known brands like Demalogica, ASAP, Revlon, MAC, Chanel, Dior and other mainstream brands. You think to yourself, fantastic bargain but do you stop to think why? Why are they so cheap and are they really the authentic product. The last thing you are thinking is that they are counterfeit cosmetics. Have you ever thought how this affects your local salon and spa? Most people would not know that they are about to purchase a counterfeit when they purchase these items online. Unfortunately they are putting their health and skin at risk plus damaging legitimate business and product reputations and income.  This has personally caught me when I owned my own Medi Spa. I will never forget the day.

“I was sitting in my reception area out of uniform on a day that I did not normally work. I was quietly working on my computer as my staff attended to their clients. The clients did not know me, to them I was just another client waiting to have a treatment. I could see one of the clients had just finished her treatment and waiting for her friend to come out the treatment room. She was happy looking at the products that my staff had recommended. Then the unthinkable happen right in front of me she pulled out her smart phone and started Goggling for the products at a cheaper price. The typical counterfeit stockest – ebay, amazon, china stores and strawberrynet came up on her search list. She clicked happily away on these sites and when her friend came into reception she whisper –  DON’T BUY FROM HERE WE CAN GET IT CHEAPER ON THE NET”.


This story is sadly too frequent in the beauty industry and costs many salons and spas of important sales after their trained skin therapist has spent valuable time to correctly analysis and recommended the perfect skincare prescription to their client/patients. This blog explores the moral, health and monetary risks of counterfeit cosmetics and why you should think twice. “remember if it’s too good to be true – then its not”

The dangerous ingredients in counterfeit cosmetics and skincare

Not only is buying counterfeit cosmetics a waste of your money but they can be dangerous to your health. Counterfeit products when compared with the true product measures up very poorly. They often come in shady packaging, more filler, low quality ingredients and some include banned ingredients. Many illegal counterfeit products are manufactured, formulated, and distributed without adhering to laws that are designed to protect you as the consumers. In recently seized and tested counterfeit cosmetics it was found that the counterfeits to contained some or the following ingredients:

  • Arsenic – is known to cause cancer, as well as many other serious health problems.
  • Beryllium – sensitization without evidence of disease to clinically apparent pulmonary disease.
  • Cadmium – can lead to a variety of adverse health effects including cancer.
  • Lead – profound and permanent adverse health effects to brain and the nervous system plus increased risk of high blood pressure and kidney damage.
  • Urine (counterfeit fragrance) – contain harmful organisms
  • Contaminated water- contain harmful organisms
  • Bacteria and other microbial spores – Harmful organisms


The danger of using counterfeit cosmetics and skincare

Using counterfeit cosmetics can cause allergic reactions, infections, rashes, acne, psoriasis, contact dermatitis, and other skin reactions that can cause permanent scaring. Also prolonged use of counterfeit products that have high concentrations of heavy metals and carcinogens can cause serious health issues and suffering.

Unfortunately if you have purchased a counterfeit  item and experience a reaction to it who are you going to go to? You can go back to the onlne store but do they offer any help or refund and that’s if they are still operating. If you go to a salon or department store that stock the product they are going to ask you where you have bought it from and inform you that you have purchased a counterfeit and you need to send it back to your online store.

I have seen some very negative reviews about products that may have been unfounded as they may have been basing their review on a counterfeit item. These reviews can hurt a good product’s reputation and unfortunately 10 good reviews can be destroyed by one bad review. I have seen some great brands suffer greatly and spend so much money on trying to undo the effects of counterfeit. This is so unfair and adds to the cost of the product to the consumer.


How to avoid buying counterfeit products

1. Shop with authorized retailers. Authorized retailers include:

  • The brand’s website and standalone authorized stores
  • Department stores and Specialty Beauty Retailers

2. Avoid the Common suppliers of  Counterfeit Cosmetics examples include:

  • Ebay listings
  • Amazon listings
  • Pinterest pins
  • Instagram pictures
  • Dhgate
  • Alliexpress
  • buychina
  • pop up standalone stores in China
  • Discount websites (counterfeit of MAC especially)

What to do if you accidentally purchased a counterfeit item.

Don’t feel bad just send it back and demand your money back. You are not the first or will be the last. Recently Australian Target Group had to paid a huge amount of money to MAC Cosmetics for purchasing counterfeit products from an unauthorized representative. Plus there is now an agreement with Ebay and Amazon that they must remove a seller if they are found not to be authorized seller of the product.

 Love to here your thoughts on this leave a comment below or send me an email


debra spence on Bloggerdebra spence on Emaildebra spence on Facebookdebra spence on Googledebra spence on Instagramdebra spence on Linkedindebra spence on Twitterdebra spence on Youtube
debra spence
Debra Spence is a Qualified Medical Aesthetician, Cosmetic Scientist, Lecture and Author. Owned of an Australian National Award Winning Medi Spa. Now is concerntrating on Education of Skin and Skincare plus provideing advance treatments to her private patients. Plus developing Zen Dejour a Result Based Cosmeceutical Skincare Range and Dermal Solution Private Lable Professional Skincare.

QUESTION ABOUT YOUR SKIN? Make an Appointment Today or send me an email to

PERMISSION TO REPRINT: You may use this article in your print, blog, magazine or electronic newsletter. But in order to do so, you must include the following paragraph “Information courtesy from Debra Spence – Answering your skin problems with Science and Nature. Debra Spence is a Cosmetic Chemist and Skin Specialist who provides skincare and treatment tips, product recommendations and reviews to professionals and patients.” Content Copyright © 2017, Debra Spence

All products, material and information provided within this Website are for educational and informational purposes only. No medical claims are implied in the information given and it is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Any reference to health benefits cannot be taken as a replacement for medical advice or prescription medication or seen as a diagnosis for a specific condition. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice or treatment of your medical professional. The information provided by in this website is believed to be accurate based on the best judgment of the author but the reader is responsible for consulting with your own medical professional / skin therapist. In no way is any of the content on this website to be construed as medical advice or instruction.