The Perils of Fake Cosmetics: A Reader Tells of Skin Damage & Long Lasting Effects

mac fake

We've had a few pieces recently about the rise of fake cosmetics - notably Mac - on eBay and beyond on the site recently and last week Lorraine gave us a great guide on how to avoid buying counterfeits. But there's another problem at issue too: lots of people willingly buy fake makeup purely because they want the logo in their makeup bag.

If that's you, then hopefully this piece will give you pause. A logo only has worth it if it's attached to the real product. Otherwise, you're devaluing the brand you claim you love so much, and the money you're handing over for fake goods is going God-knows-where. Potentially, to fund terrorism, crime and definitely the black market. There are consequences.

What's more, because this makeup is quite literally coming in the back door, it neatly side-steps any health and safety requirements. No one is testing it for safety and no one cares if the ingredients are fit for use. Not a big deal? Think again - and read on. reader Acat bought what she thought was a genuine Mac product at a makeup party about seven years ago. A student at the time and more used to using products from brands like Rimmel, she wasn't savvy about what was real and what was fake, and splurged on a palette. "I had the palette about six months and was using it regularly on nights out, at least twice a week. I had just started college and it was my first piece of brand makeup."

But fairly soon, she was noticing a serious problem. "After I would take my makeup off my eyelids would be stingy and sore. They would feel tight and dry and I would have to put a lot of moisturiser on them to stop them burning. The next morning my eyes would have wept during the night and they would be crusty around the edges and very gunky. I would also have red streaks at the side of my eyes and they would be raw. If I wore any of the eye shadow as a liner under my eyes I would have bloodshot eyes the next day. My eyelids got red and flaky so I had to put a lot of moisturiser on them."


Because she was newish to makeup and hadn't really experimented much with shadows, she reckoned it was the makeup remover she was using that was at fault. "I tried about five or six different ones. I used plain make-up remover that was causing no reaction anywhere else on my face. I am a contact lens wearer and I have sensitive skin so I just figured that my eyes were really sensitive."

It wasn't until she tried the palette on a pal that the real truth was revealed. "I did my friends' makeup and gave her a smokey eye. She always had very clear skin, never broke out or reacted to anything. I was staying in her house and she slept in her makeup as she always did. She washed the makeup off in the shower and came out of the bathroom in tears. Her eye lids were red and swollen and raw: she looked like she had gotten punched. We went straight to the chemist and had to get some creams to sort it out. It took a few days to clear up. I was mortified when I realised."

And now? Seven years on, Acat still has problems. "I am sure the skin on my eyelids has been damaged from using it. My eyelids are no longer red but they get irritated very easily. I have to use a primer before I put any eye shadow on them. I can't use any make-up remover on them at all; I use Trilogy Rosehip Oil to take off eye make-up as it's the mildest. Even with that I get red streaks at the side of my eyes the next morning. I definitely can't use long wearing eye make-up. An annoying side effect of my crazy sensitive eye lids is that my eyelids burn even easier than the rest of my face and sunscreen really irritates them so I have weeping eyes in the summer - or else I wear big sunglasses."

A salutary lesson? I think so. Don't buy fakes: they're just not worth it.


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