Saturday, December 22, 2012

Real v Fake

A few weeks ago Anna, my friend who has relocated to Bangkok asked me if I knew anything about fake make up?  I have to admit I didn't-I know the difference between budget and premium brands but fake make-up wasn't something I knew even existed.

Anna told me she had seen posts on the Bangkok forum of Tripadvisor about make-up sold in the Malls that was branded but seemed to be super cheap.  People were asking if it was fake or 'off the back of a lorry' so to speak.

So we went to check it out when I was in Bangkok.  Now let me first caveat this post by saying I know counterfeit products are both illegal and wrong.  This is not a post about the ethics of whether this is right or wrong-I know it's wrong but I was curious about the quality.  I personally would not buy and use fake make-up but there must be a market for it.

The make-up is sold on stalls rather than from a shop.  My first reaction looking at the stall was 'it's fake'.  I could just tell by the packaging.  However bear in mind, I am an absolute make-up addict and to someone else the products may look bona fide.  The ones that seemed to be the most copied were Mac, Benefit and Urban Decay.

I decided to compare and contrast a real and fake product so I bought an Urban Decay Naked 1 palette and a Benefit Coralista blush-both of which I own the 'real' versions of.  The 2 products cost me the equivalent of £10-a little haggling was involved and maybe I could have pushed for a better price.  Buying the real versions costs £59.50 (Benefit Coralista £23.50 and UD Naked 1 palette £36)

Here are the real and fake products and swatches of them.  My own UD palette is VERY well used so its very obvious which is the real and fake.

Urban Decay Naked Palette 1-real and fake and Benefit Coralista real and fake-can you tell which is which?
Fake products

Real products

Fake products

Real products
Top=Real, Bottom=Fake

Left= Fake Right=Real

The Urban Decay palette has been swatched to death on blogs-the swatches are more for the purpose of seeing the colour comparison and pigmentation.  In the fake palette, the shades are all called the same as in the real palette.  All the swatches are over a primer as that is what I would use normally.  I use Clarins eye shadow primer.

Real UD palette swatches from Virgin in order all the way to Gunmetal

Fake UD palette swatches all the way from Virgin through to Gunmetal
As you can see, the colours are almost identical.  The pigmentation was stronger in the real palette but the fake palette is not far off.  The shimmery shades fair better than the matte shades.  However, I have not worn these on my eyes-I'm concerned about what might be in the ingredients and that it may irritate me.  But there is one school of thought that 'are we just paying for a name?' and could they be made of the same ingredients?  Of course the packaging on the fake palette states the same ingredients as the real but its obviously copied from the original and without scientific analysis of the shadows we'll never know.  However, the fake version feels as silky and smooth to apply as the real version.  It's not chalky or crumbly.

The Benefit Coralista doesn't fair so well in terms of colour similarity.

Top = Real Benefit Coralista, Bottom =Fake Benefit Coralista
The colours are totally different.  The real Coralista is more coral and shimmery than the fake one.  In fact the colours are not comparable at all even though the fake version colour is quite nice!  The texture feels no different to high end blushes I own such as Mac and Benefit.

Again I have not used this on my face but I have been wearing the swatch on my hand for about 2 hours and it's not producing any irritation.

What do you think?  Do you think someone was wasn't a big user of make-up would know these products were fake or would they think they would just be getting an unbelievable bargain?  Would you be tempted?


  1. I'm more than sure that many people get taken by these thinking "Everything is cheaper in Bankok!" No, I wouldn't use them, I, like you, would be afraid of the ingredients. I may or may not be able to tell the difference between the real & the fake but at these prices... If it's too good to be true, it usualy is, too good to be true.

    1. I agree...and I think where you are buying it from (ie a market stall rather than a store) has a big impact-although I can see why people might think its 'off the back of a lorry' or seconds/faulty as well!

  2. This is really interesting. I have not bought any make up from sites such as ebay as I am always so sceptical as I know they exist. Although, saying that I bought a CND nail varnish (shellac) off there the other week and I do wonder if it is real. How will I ever know?

    The 'fakeys' above look identical to me- visual wise, but I know what you mean about the pigmentation in the real ones. It looks better.

    Then again, if the quality is half tidy in the fakey's and you get a half decent look- the price is far more attractive!

    I often buy expensive products because I TELL myself they are better quality, yet half the time, I am certain it is the brand I am sucked in to!

    I read an article the other week that the ingredients to make Creme de le mer moisturiser was £7.50 (it might have been £9.50- one of the two). Not bad considering it is £100 to buy!!!!

    SUCKERS!!! I used to research everything and get the cheaper version with the same ingredients... sometimes that is too time consuming though! xxxx

    1. Ebay is a brilliant example of where you can buy fakes-I hadn't even thought of that!!

      I am exactly the same Martyne-I'm a high end girl because I 'believe' the products are 'better'. That's shocking about Creme de la mer-I suspect I;ll continue to be a sucker tho!!! x x

  3. Oh and FYI- I don't buy fake anything- that I am aware of! I don't like things pretending to be something they aren't! xxxx

  4. I hate fake. I bought some MAC once when I was told it was real and found out it wasn't They are so crafty nowadays. Unless you're a total make-up freak like us bloggers, people won't know what they are buying. I read somewhere that fake make-up contains a dangerous amount of lead. Stupid people, great post! Love these comparison posts xx

    1. Thanks Claudia, you're totally right-when you're buying off ebay its so hard to tell what's real and fake. Lead and mercury are my biggest concerns about using the fake products hence why I just swatched on my skin xx

  5. Very informative post hun. It's a topic I've also posted about in the past, when I found myself on the receiving end of a fake Mac blush. I think you have to be pretty clued up about cosmetics to be able to tell whether or not they're fake, and in fact, if you are not aware that counterfeit goods exist then I think it would be pretty easy to be fooled. I find it really frustrating that there is not more control over this, as many of the fakes have apparently been found to contain high levels of lead, and/or haven't even been tested for safety. Very worrying, and makes me really warey of buying makeup abroad or online. I think with the big brands, generally if they are cheap then there's a reason.
    Mel xx

    1. Thanks for commenting Mel, I agree with everything you've said-lead and mercury in products are my worry. Am following your lovely blog now xx


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