I am a former MUA and continued makeup junkie. I often joke that I could never work at Ulta or Sephora because I’d never make any money with all the makeup I’d end up buying. I’ve recently started getting back into doing makeup and in the search for deals to help build up my kit again, I was horrified to discover that people were selling counterfeit makeup. A fake Chanel purse is one thing (still not good, link), but it won’t kill you. Fake makeup, or fakeup, however, goes directly on your skin and in the case of lip products, is something you end up consuming. I started reading stories about people who had their lips stuck together or burned; people who got rashes or eye infections; people who ended up in the hospital from dangerous bacterial infections (read more on the stories page). These are people who just wanted a cool lipstick and thought they found a great deal, but ended up hurt or in the hospital.
As I started to learn more about this, I learned how to tell the good sellers from the bad. On sites like Mercari, I would start off by just asking people if products were authentic. If they never responded, well, I had my answer. But I was amazed at how many would admit they were knockoffs (“But they’re really good ones.” Yeah, right.). I would report them but nothing seemed to be happening — the same assholes (yes, if you’re selling fake-up, you’re an asshole. And a criminal. link to crime page) were still there the following week, selling the same fake Kylie lip kits or Huda lashes. How were they able to keep doing this and why were people still buying them?
Why I started this page
The idea that there are people out there making fake beauty products makes me incredibly mad. And it’s not just beauty products — some studies suggest that half of the medicine sold online is fake. This goes way beyond fake Loius Vuitton bags — these are things that directly affect our health and I wanted to do something to help. After spending countless hours going down the cyber black hole of news and personal stories about fake-up, it dawned on me that I could do something. I’m not a law enforcement officer or a chemist, but I am a former make-up artist and a web designer, which I think is a perfect combination of skills to start attacking this problem. I may not be able to find these people where they hide in their dirty factories, but I can expose them online and in social media. And I can give others an outlet for their stories and a place to come for help.
I had already spent hours looking up websites that had comparison photos to see if I could tell that a product I was interested in buying was fake. I was also concerned that some of the stuff I had already purchased might be fake as well (safe so far). But the problem was that there was no one place to find all this info. If you’re trying to find out if the Modern Renaissance palette you just scored for $20 is fake, you can find some websites with photos, but you have to spend time searching to find a good one. And if you don’t have a real one to compare it to, it can be hard to discern a counterfeit palette from a real one (those bastards are getting good). I decided that I could create a website, gather all that info, and put it in one place — a mecca of fake-up, if you will. I could also use it as a platform to inform people of the dangers of not only using it, but even buying it (link to crime page).
So, welcome to The Fakeup Take Down, a website that is devoted to informing people about the dangers of buying fake makeup. It’s a place where you can find info on how to tell if something is fake, along with links (link to page) to sites where you know you’re buying the real thing (hint, it’s not eBay.) There are also news stories about counterfeit cosmetics, and what companies are doing to fight it (I’m looking at you, Estee Lauder — way to take charge!). I also have links to stories from people who have had bad reactions to fake-up, so if you won’t believe me when I tell you it’s dangerous (link), then please listen to them.
My future plans include gathering as many fake and real cosmetics as I can to do my own comparison photos, showing everything from weight and exact measurements to help people steer clear of the bad stuff. There are a lot of comparison photos out there, but I’d love to have a database of one that all compare the same things. I’m also trying to raise money to buy some basic testing equipment to run tests on some of the fake-up to determine the levels of lead, mercury, and any other bad stuff that might be hidden in it. Or I might get lucky and find a local chemistry student who is looking to partner on a project. Lots of ideas, and I’m absolutely open to new one.