What’s The Deal With Makeup Dupes?

Just about every time that I log into Youtube I see some kind of video about makeup dupes. Usually this entails testing a brand name product against a “dupe” or “fake” product. This can also mean testing a similar product, just from a different brand. The goal is to find another product that is very similar in color and effect, commonly at a cheaper price.

So, what’s wrong with that?

Well, simply finding a product from another brand that does the exact same thing as the “overpriced” product is really not a big deal as long as you know what you’re buying, who you’re buying from, and are comfortable with that. However, I’ve seen a lot of makeup enthusiasts purchasing from sites that sell “imitations” or “fakes” online.

One such example that I have seen time and time again is a site called AliExpress. This site and many other sites like it offer products for only a few dollars, which is usually a fraction of the real product’s cost. For example, if you wanted to purchase a name brand liquid lipstick, you’d probably be looking at spending about $20 or more per lipstick. But when you shop on these sites you’ll only pay between $1 and $3 per lipstick. Sounds like a great deal right? WRONG.

If you try to find information about where the “fakes” come from and what the ingredients are, guess what, it’s impossible to find. AliExpress for example is run by a company, called Alibaba, that manages many similar websites and happens to be located in China.

As you may or may not be aware, China used to require very strict animal testing laws on just about everything coming in or out of China. However, the laws have been updated to not require animal testing on products that are not being sold in China itself. So, the problem with this site is that there is very little information about where the products are made, aside from knowing the parent company is a Chinese brand, and where they are sold.

To break down Chinese animal testing laws, it goes like this – If the product was manufactured in China and is sold in China, animal testing may be conducted. If the product was not manufactured in China and is only sold online, not in Chinese stores, animal testing may not be necessary. Yet, some manufacturers might still do it anyway. Needless to say, this poses a huge problem to animal lovers around the world looking to save a few bucks on these “dupes”.

As you might have guessed, that isn’t the only problem. Because these are “imitations”, the packaging is mimicked exactly as the original is, but the manufacturers can technically put whatever ingredients they want in the actual product. So, what you get in the box isn’t the same product as what the box says.

I’m not trying to say that these products are intentionally bad or poisonous, but you just don’t know what exactly it is. That fact is horribly scary to me. Thousands of these manufacturers have actually been arrested for cutting their products with seriously harmful ingredients or selling products that are expired. Of course, I try to do as much research on a product and the brand as possible to make sure it is vegan and cruelty-free, but I’m human and I have messed up before. This? This is just crazy to me. If I don’t know what’s in something I’m definitely not putting it on my face.

I guess I understand if people don’t care about what they are putting on their own face, but think about who else might be harmed in the process. We don’t know where these products were made and by who. Were the workers treated fairly? Are they paid accordingly? Are they safe in the workplace? These are things we don’t know, in addition to the possible animal testing.

I implore you to not purchase from any company that you don’t know or trust. If not for your own health, please do it for animals and workers around the world. Simply not purchasing these products can help end countless cases of animal cruelty and abuse. I know that some makeup products are expensive, but it’s just not worth taking the life of an animal in order to save a few dollars. You’ll feel better knowing that you supported a trustworthy company that makes a quality product and upholds basic human rights.


Feature Image Credit: pomo mama/Flickr


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