Counterfeit vs Drugstore vs High-end Makeup: What You Need to Know to Save Your Skin may earn commission when you buy something through the links or banners on this page.

Women turn to cosmetic products to enhance their natural beauty and to improve their appearance. We can choose from counterfeit, drugstore and high-end makeup products.

And since we place a lot of trust in brand names and celebrity prestige, we usually reach for familiar, well-known cosmetic lines.

Unfortunately, this isn’t always the surest way of buying the best product for you and your skin. Keep reading to learn about the dangerous makeup products that you might have in your beauty cabinet.

Is High-End Makeup Really the Best Option?

It’s a common belief that the more something costs, the higher its quality is, and the more reliable it is. So, when you compare a $5 lipstick with a $54 lipstick from high-end brands, like Tom Ford, it’s easy to just assume that the Tom Ford lipstick is simply better.

But when you take a closer look, you might be surprised to see that the ingredients in both lipsticks aren’t that different.  So, what are you really paying for?

Well, for one thing, you’re paying for the brand name and all the prestige that comes along with it. If you flip through a magazine, you probably see gorgeous spreads dedicated to your favorite brands. You’re helping to pay for that when you purchase expensive, high-end cosmetics. You’re also paying for better packaging and applicators.

When it comes to ingredients, there might be more pigments than fillers, which means there’s better pigmentation. So, even though the high-end product is more expensive, you usually need less of it and a little bit goes a long way. Plus, high-end products have fragrances to give you that added luxurious experience.

Even though these expensive cosmetics have amazing branding, there’s still a serious drawback hiding behind the fancy packaging: harsh chemicals. Lead has been found in Chanel lipsticks, and Bobby Brown products contain phthalates, a chemical linked to birth defects.

Are Drugstore Makeup Products a Safe Bet?

Since high-end cosmetics have virtually the same ingredients as drugstore brands, why not save yourself some money and opt for the cheaper brand? There are some drawbacks to drugstore cosmetics and it’s worth considering these, too.

Since the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t require cosmetic companies to conduct pre-market testing for their products, there’s little regulation involved.

That means, the ingredients you smooth into your skin may or may not have been tested. And if they’ve been tested, you might not ever know the (potentially negative) results.

This is something to think about, especially since the FDA allows companies to use a slew of chemicals in their products. For example, the European Union has banned over chemicals from their cosmetic products. In stark contrast, the United States has banned only 11 of these chemicals.

That means, that even if you purchase L’Oreal or Revlon – two well-known and well-respected brands – you could be adding untested and potentially harmful ingredients to your beautiful skin, day in and day out. For example, lead is found in popular lipstick brands and mascara can contain bacteria.

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics released a study showing that the average woman uses about nine products every day, and this can expose them to over 100 chemicals every single day.

If you’re using more than nine personal care products on a daily basis, you could easily be increasing your chemical exposure even more.

Chemicals Hiding in Your Drugstore Makeup Products

What are some of these chemicals? Acetate, phthalates,, petrochemicals, formaldehyde, and others. “Fragrance” is also a suspicious ingredient because it’s so vague.

In reality, it can contain a mix of over 100 ingredients, which adds up to a whopping 3,000 chemicals, some of which can be toxic, carcinogenic and allergy-inducing.

Why Counterfeit Makeup is the Worst Makeup You Can Ever Buy

Counterfeit makeup has flooded US and UK markets, and there are clever dupes for some of today’s most popular brands, like MAC cosmetics, Kylie Lip Kits, Ben Nye and others. They’re all being reproduced in sketchy factories throughout China and Eastern Europe.

While the actual product is poorly done and quite dangerous, there’s one thing these manufacturers are excellent at: they can create identical knock-offs that easily fool buyers.

Their packaging is spot on and it’s hard to tell the difference between the fake and genuine product, especially when you shop online, which is where many millennials are shopping these days.

Why is Counterfeit Makeup So Dangerous?

A knock-off designer bag is one thing, but a counterfeit makeup product is another. That’s because your skin is your body’s biggest organ, and it literally eats whatever you put on it.

This is a scary thought when you consider that the FBI has found horrifying ingredients in counterfeit products, such as horse and human urine, rat feces, mercury, arsenic, paint stripper, human carcinogens, aluminum and high levels of bacteria.

One type of bacteria identified in counterfeit cosmetics is e. Coli (Escherichia coli). How in the world does e. coli make it into a makeup product? Dirty factories and poor hygienic standards allow the spread of bacteria that’s found in fecal matter.

Health Risks Involved with Counterfeit Makeup

With so many terrible ingredients used in knock-off makeup products, it’s no wonder that many women come away with very bad reactions. Some of these can include, but are not limited to:

  • Allergic reactions, such as swelling, redness, and itching
  • Eye infections
  • Skin rashes

These are all acute and short-term reactions. However, long-term complications from toxic ingredients can include fertility issues, cognitive and respiratory problems, and so much more.

Estée Lauder Companies are Doing Their Best to Put a Stop to Counterfeit Makeup

MAC Cosmetics is one of Estée Lauder’s brands and it’s also one of the biggest victims in the counterfeit industry. To counteract this, Estée Lauder is busy conducting costly and labor-intensive investigations to halt the importation of dupes into the US.

They are discovering filthy laboratories where counterfeit products are made and they’re exposing this criminal activity.

By fighting against counterfeit manufacturers, Estée Lauder is protecting clients from being swindled and also ensuring that their customers continue to trust and love their products, too.

What’s more, they’re creating awareness for a large problem throughout the beauty industry.

Your skin is precious, so beware of cheap knock-offs and take time to invest in cosmetics that will not only keep you looking beautiful but will also support your health and wellness.

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