Iā€™m Kristel. I vlog. I blog. Professional makeup artist based in Manila. 300 hours training in Make Up For Ever Academy, Seoul, South Korea. I live makeup, you have no idea.

Think Piece, Think Please: An Unexpected Argument for Fakes

Today, I want to talk about the dirty underbelly of fake cosmetics. This will be a conspiracy theory type of post so please don't expect sources and even I admit it gets kind of dumb. I just want to exercise a bit of free-thinking and I'm too lazy to make this journalistically sound. Think of it more as a dear-diary kind of stream of consciousness.

A few weeks ago, Liz posted about Why People Knowingly Buy Fake Cosmetics Online, And Why They Shouldn't.


I read it and nodded my head along, stroking my imaginary beard. She made some smart points about the socio-cultural motives of buyers and the extreme hustle sellers resort to to confuse the audience and dilute the brands' image.

The general consensus in these discussions is to stick to branded, cheapo cosmetics; Avon, Ever Bilena, FS Cosmetics and Nichido are just some of the top suggestions. They're great, I'd recommend those, too.

But then it got me thinking, why are we so averse to fake items?

I'd like to play the devil's advocate here for a second and share the temptations I face regarding fake cosmetics. I am not into the social aspect of "buying" prestige, but fake cosmetics offer a purely economical value to me: they are cheap. I'm not going to pretend that the temptation to save is beneath me.

Here are a few things I say to myself when considering fake items:

Branded Cosmetics Have Secret, Complicated Products

Special ingredients, extensive R&D spent for the best technology and a rich history: these are just some of the things branded cosmetics have in their favor versus imitation cosmetics.

On the other hand...

It's not that complicated to make decent product. You only need minimal industry experience to know the basic formula for lipsticks, eye shadow, foundation and skincare. Imitators might not be able to fully copy the branded equivalent, but they could easily copy packaging and fill it with decent product.

Imitation Cosmetics Imitate Because They're Too Dumb To Create Their Own Product

These people don't have access to their own R&D labs, they don't know how to make and sell their own product... which is why they ride on the success of a legitimate brand to get their junk bought.

On the other hand...

Imitators don't need R&D nor QC because they simply steal from the brands. Many branded cosmetics are produced in China and all you would need is a factory owner ballsy enough to thwart reams of legally binding contract and create imitation items off-hours. As far as I know, Coastal Scents was a victim of this though the news I read at the time was pure speculation.

Additionally, it's also not very far-fetched for a factory owner to discuss work at home, during a family dinner, with a relative who owns a non-contract bound factory just a few blocks away.

Why I choose not to support imitators, still


For all the reasons stated above, I am still occasionally tempted into fakes. There is a possibility that imitators are producing decent product in luxurious packaging or even selling same-quality (stolen) goods.

That said, I am still a HARD PASS on fakes.

If you're banking on the first possibility (generic and decent cosmetics,) you're better off with drugstore makeup. If you're banking on the second (repackaged, stolen goods,) well...

A person likely to steal and copy another's product is not likely to be ethical enough to care about the consumer. I could live in a fantasy world where I assume imitators merely wish to Robin Hood it and simply steal from brands, but let's be real here. A person who is bent enough to steal from a brand can't be trusted to care for consumers.

Consumers of fakes are lucky if manufacturers merely "extend" the product, use less pigment, or switch expensive beeswax with cheaper paraffin wax in their lipsticks. What happens when the manufacturer sources even cheaper paraffin wax, one that isn't graded for cosmetic use? What if they find a random wax-like product that's actually poisonous? I don't think I can trust them to have a line they won't cross in getting more money out of me, especially since they're sure not to face any repercussions.

Let's say I found that one-in-a-billion brand that doesn't tamper with the stolen product. Is it worth ALL the effort to wade through ALL the risk just for that one shot at cheaper cosmetics? Won't I end up spending the same than if I'd just bought the branded item anyway? Will I ever feel comfortable supporting dirty business? Sure, I hate The Man most days but I hate crooks even more. I would rather give my money in support of legitimate businesses than enrich people who have cheated their way through life. And if I feel like a brand is overcharging and making fools out of consumers, I would probably hate them anyway and not want their product.

There are a million ways to deal with wanting makeup badly, including simply not wanting it, but one thing's for sure: I will never buy fakes.

For more TPTP posts, click here.

How do you feel about fakes?

P.S. I've got a new laptop charger and am back on track for daily posting. Halleloo!

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