It's no secret that I buy a hell of a lot of makeup online. I tend to stick to Brown Thomas, House of Fraser, Cloud 10, Simply Foxy, MUA, and I've bought the odd bit off Adverts when I can be fairly sure that the seller isn't trying to flog a fake.
There are a host of websites out there selling MAC, Lorac, The Balm - only they're not. When I was a little younger and didn't really know much about brands and where they sold, I found websites like Ali Express, Everbuying, and Tmart. I saw them selling high-end products at rock bottom prices and wondered how they did it. Same goes for market stalls - there's always a bottle of Chanel or the odd MAC foundation or Urban Decay Naked palette knocking around.
Only - they're not. What's on the label - that's not what's in the box. I have a serious issue with stuff like this - apart from it all being bad for your health, I hate fake makeup with a passion. If you want a Naked palette, save up and buy one. What are they, around €40? Save €4 for 10 weeks and enjoy your palette. Why would you spend €15 on something you know is not real? Something that could potentially damage your face? I'm not lecturing here, we all deserve nice things, but if you want them - buy them from reputable sellers, like proper shops that have counters in-store and brand sections online. Take advantage of discounts and collect beauty points. It can be hard sometimes when you're tight on money and you see blog after blog full of nice new things - but don't put your health at risk just so you can have a brand name on display, it's not worth it. There are so many fantastic budget brands out there at the minute - Catrice, Rimmel, Essence, Makeup Revolution, L'oreal, Wet n Wild, Maybelline, Seventeen, Natural Collection, MUA, NYX - we're spoiled for choice.
TL:DR? Don't buy shite from Chinese websites or Facebook pages, they could contain poison.
I was browing Ali Express a few weeks ago for some nail wheels and a few other storage bits when I saw THIS AD. A choice of The Balm Mary Lou Manizer, Cindy Lou Manizer or Betty Lou Manizer for $5.63, around €5.36. I bought one so I could show you how to spot a fake - because stuff like this is doing the rounds all the time at market stalls, car boot sales, and on facebook selling pages and it can be bloody convincing if you've got a good salesperson. "yeah they're 100% real hun x" my arse.
I bought my own Mary Lou Manizer on Cloud 10 Beauty here - it costs €20.50 but Cloud 10 run regular promotions and discounts so you could pick it up even cheaper.
The fake outer packaging is really convincing. It actually looks more real than the real one - it's slightly faded, and has a vintage look because of that. No immediate differences on the front apart from clarity. The little white lines in the black box are barely visible in the fake. The real box is more of a pink, whereas the fake box leans towards purple. In the fake, the grey lines around the box are darker.
The fake box is ever so slightly smaller than the real box.
There are a few visible differences between the back of the boxes, so that's what you need to look at before buying.
The fake is really professional - the QR code even leads you to the same tutorial featured on the QR code on the real box - but there are a couple of things that stand out.
1. The fingerprints are totally different. If you look at the first one on both the top and bottom row, you'll see that the real one features a very dark fingerprint on the first box, and an almost-double fingerprint under that. The fake ones are faded, they're different shapes.
2. Look to the right of the bar code - the real one has the product expiry information, the tiny pot with 12m on it to say that this product is good for 12 months after opening. The fake doesn't have that. Just a note about that - it's not mandatory in the US to display expiration dates on labels, so if your product was bought in the US, take the whole item into consideration. The smell, the look, the feel, the quality. Also look for the little registered trademark symbol, that should be there. It's tiny, but it should be there (I'll show you where in a minute).
Here's where this really falls down - I was actually shocked when I took the fake out of the box. Mary-Lou is not supposed to be wearing a red top, nor is she heavily tanned, nor does she have very brassy hair. The picture on the real one is supposed to be pale, vintage-y, with a pink top. If your Mary-Lou looks like she went a little heavy on the bronzer, leave her where she is.
A couple of main differences here.
1. Again, the little pot with "12m" is missing on the fake.
2. Also missing (and really hard to see on the real one) is the little "R" for registered trademark at the top right corner of "Mary-Lou Manizer" on the top line.
3. The holes in the packaging are different - the one in the middle under POIDS/NET is deeper on the fake, creating a groove.
There are two different batch numbers - but when I entered the numbers into checkfresh.com, they both came back as being manufactured in late 2014, so they've obviously copied a genuine batch number.
Leaving aside the actual product for a minute, take a look at the compact. The real one is very, very slightly more raised around the edge, making it look like it has a lip in the photograph. The fake doesn't have this extra tiny bit, making the corners less rounded. The fake is also hard to open.
The colours are different. The fake one looks more matte and leans towards peach, whereas the real one is lighter and looks more shimmery.
The difference is obvious here. The real one has that shimmer and is heavily pigmented, whereas the fake is matte, has no pigmentation worth talking about, and is chalky.
The worse thing of all was the smell. The real one has a powdery, talcy smell. The fake one smells like varnish or a cleaning product of some sort. There's no way this would go on my face.
I know that you can accidentally purchase a fake - but when I was researching this post, I found youtube videos and blog posts from girls who were proudly flaunting their "cheap" versions of Naked palettes. WHAT ARE YOU DOING. What makes you think you deserve to pay 75% less than everyone else and get the same product?
If you can't afford a Naked palette, buy a NYX one. Or a Wet n Wild one. Or a Catrice one. Or a L'oreal one. Or a Bourjois one (the Smoky Stories quads are to die for). This is poison. Do you know what has been found in counterfeit makeup? Rat poison. Urine. Faeces. Would you walk into a public bathroom and rub someone else's wee all over your face? What about formaldehyde, do you want that near your eyeballs? Just don't do it, please.
And for the record - there is no such thing as a Naked 4.
Update: I contacted the seller to ask why they were selling counterfeit items. She replied that it was genuine, I sent her the photographs. She denied sending me the fake. Then, she offered me a $1 refund because "dear, is just very cheap item made in China, I think is good quality for price". I asked again why she was selling as a genuine item if she knew it was fake, I got no reply.