Wednesday, May 27, 2015

How to Spot Fake Mary-Lou Manizer by The Balm

Hi!

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.

Outer Packaging


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).

Inner Packaging



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.

Product


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. 

56 comments:

  1. what a brilliant post sharon. there is nothing that irritates me quite like the issue of fake make up. do you know i have even seen people trying to sell a "naked 5" palette!

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    1. It drives me up the walls. I know people bulk buy this rubbish to sell over here and while I'm angry at people who buy it on purpose, I'm more angry for the people who don't know they're buying fakes. Ugh x

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    2. I am SO happy I found this post!!! I am LOVING this highlighter, and am sitting here inspecting all of the details hoping mine is real, and it is....amazing job though- I feel better now! LOL

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  2. omg they look so same if we just look at the packaging!

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    1. I know!! After it arrived I couldn't tell whether it was real or fake at all until I found my own box!

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  3. Tell me people aren't trying to seel Naked 4 palettes?! Pleeeease.

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    1. And Naked 5, apparently! I left a comment for a girl on youtube who willingly buys fakes and was told "it's not really Naked 4 or 5, it's like their interpretation of what Naked 4 or 5 would be like" - WHAT?!

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  4. It's horrible that people buy this fakes. I already came across it on the internet too, but didn't bought anything because I got suspicious. Truly I'm more in love with those low budget brands like Makeup Revolution London, they have a great quality! And if I really want a high-end quality brand such as Benefit I have to save some money for it. The End.
    You got it straight to the point: it's poisonous! I don't want toxic shit on my face, because you only have that one face in life.

    Thank you for sharing this with us, love!

    xoxo Nadine from www.aelvalein.com

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    1. Yeah there's so much of it around that it gets really tempting, but generally if it's not a reputable Department Store or a website you're very familiar with, leave it where it is. Thank you!! I'd love a Michael Kors bag but I can't afford one, I'm not going to go out and give €50 for a mock-up. It's just so, so dangerous. x

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    2. This comment is the only thing I disagree with. I totally agree with you that selling fake make up as the real deal is awful, in fact its a crime (actually it's a crime even if you warn people that it is fake but selling a fake as a fake is just counterfeit whereas selling a fake as a real is deceit). I also do not understand people who willingly buy fakes...since they aren't getting the colors or quality of the real thing I agree with you that they would be better off getting a safety regulated dupe wet and wild palette at the drug store than a crappy, low quality fake palette off the internet. If youre going to get something different anyway you're better off getting cheap good shadows than an expensive looking case with crap in it. However with fake bags that's different- I wouldn't buy a fake designer bag because I think it's tacky but I can understand that if someone likes the LOOK of a bag and doesn't want to pay the price, they'd get a fake. For me, designer names mean nothing..I don't get pleasure from flaunting them, so if I didn't think it's embarassing to be seen with a fake and if I liked the look of a Chanel bag but couldn't afford it I wouldn't see anything wrong about getting a fake....it's not dangerous like beauty products would be. It's still wrong but then again when you really think about it, so is charging 600 bucks of a handbag that they pay underpaid foreign workers 2 dollars to make.

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  5. Great post - it is so important that people are award of the dangers of fake makeup!

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  6. I actually just bought this product (real, from House of Fraser) and love it. I don't know why anyone would buy products that are obviously fake - brand new at half the price, from a random eBay seller/market stall? It's pretty obvious it isn't the real thing! If I can't afford the actual thing, I'll look for a dupe. Great advice in this post.

    Milly // Mini Adventures

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  7. I got a horrific fake MAC powder once on EBay and that was the end of purchasing there. Now I get red cherry lashes and I'm done.

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  8. Well said, missus! Loads of great inexpensive brands out there, I don't know why anyone would knowingly purchase fake cosmetics. This is a great wee guide for those who are wondering if the deal is too good to be true!

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    1. I got my money back. They have got so many fake Too Faced Peach Palettes it is mind blowing although Too Faced should have produced much much more of those palettes...anyway it was obvious it didn't have the "loud" peach smell like the "display palette at Ulta" I was going through chemo and it took a lot for me just to go to a store but I kept getting told by Ulta and Sephora new batches would be in next week but no palettes then after 3 months, oh it was just a special edition, well it come with a short sale time and shortage of palettes. I do say shame on Too Faced for that because now after such high demand there fakes everywhere!!!! I paid $60.00 and thought I was getting a real one, when it was fake, the seller tried saying it wasn't it was manufactoring errors. I said well I am sending pics of the palette and we will see what E-bay and Pay-Pal thinks and he immediately gave me a refund and let me keep the palette. It was important to me not because the name brand but ingredients I am battling cancer for the 2nd time since I was 37 mine is a genetic cancer! I prefer paraben free and the ingredients that are suppose to be good for you but the palette I must say is beautiful and they colors go on very smooth, pigmented, just georgous. I wish I could have got the real thing but everyday they announce something new that causes cancer and most of it to be honest comes from the food we eat! Like the steroids they put in animals like chicken to make them bigger.. I don't think "one" palette is going to end my life but I would not repeatedly buy fakes as I know how cancer destroys you and you think never you until a doctor 3 feet away or closer says your name and tells you the tumor is malignant, you have cancer!

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  9. I am such a huge idiot... I bid on auction of this product on eBay yesterday and I won and was so happy to get it for $17 with free shipping and after I took a look at the seller I'm like 99% sure I'm gonna get fake one :o(... Did this ever happened to anyone? Did eBay gave you your money back?

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    1. Hi Lucie, no, I never got my money back. It wasn't a PayPal transaction though, it was through AliExpress. I left negative feedback and the seller offered me a $1 refund! They were just very nonchalant about it, like what did I expect for the price? I think you'll have a better chance of getting a refund with eBay and PayPal, you can let them know that you will be destroying the fake product and you want an immediate refund, you don't have to send a counterfeit product back x

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  10. Hi Sharon, thank you so much for this. I just realized I have a fake one from ebay. Hopefully I can get my 15 dollars back and get the real one. I knew something was wrong with consistency of the powder, it is horribly chalky and almost matte in texture. The compact's front sticker has been made to look very authentic on mine, but it's missing the little expiration symbol and the trademark sign on the back beside the brand name.

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    1. Oh no, I really hope you get your money back!

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  11. What about Ebay mary lou from a seller who has great reviews?

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  12. I read your post and honestly don't know what to think since the balm ,lorac, tarte ,and yup urban decay all have their products made in China, it's confusing if those companies believe that the products from there are being mishandled and are indeed poisonous why OH why are our products that cost SO SO much being made there,mmm maybe because these big name companies are having these poor little Chinese people make their products and paying them 25 cents an hour ,PATHETIC ,AND SELLING US 50 DOLLAR PALLETES ,AND 35 DOLLAR LIPSTICKS WITH ALMOST THE SAME EXACT PACKAGING AGAIN PATHETIC, RIDICULOUS, CAN EASILY STEAL THEIR PROTOTYPE AND CREATE SUCH CONVINCING FAKES ,I BELIEVE THEY ARE ALL TO BLAME AND IS WHY SO MANY INDIE MAKE UP COMPANYS ARE BECOMING MORE POPULAR

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    1. They get paid $6 a day (8hrs). Minimun rate.

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    2. The Balm is made in the US

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  13. Very good job on this
    Can u do the same work with ( nude dude )
    Cuz i have it but everyone saying it is real
    But i dont think it is but i want to be sure
    The problem is that i bought it with the same price as the real balm pruducts

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    1. Is there anything in particular you want to check with the nude dude palette? I don't have a fake but I do have the real one, so if you want to mail me photographs of yours I can check them against mine, shannairl1983@hotmail.com

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  14. So after I read this post I thought for sure the recent cundy-Lou I bought was fake. Then I pulled out my mary-Lou since I knew that one could not be fake because I think I bought either at Hautelook or a department store. To my surprise my mary-Lou does not have the expiration symbol. I'm so confused I'd it possible that a department store sold me a fake?

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    1. It's very unlikely that a Department Store would sell a fake unless it was a returned item or something - are the other details the same? There should be a little registered trademark sign at the top right hand corner of "Mary Lou-Manizer" on the back, it's tiny, very very hard to see but it's there, almost looks like a dot. Also that fingerprint on the bottom row - the real one has a kinda shadow, you can see it in the picture. Now it's also worth noting - I don't think that U.S labelling regulations require companies to display expiration dates, so do check the other signs, I bought my original one in Europe where it's mandatory to have that little product symbol.

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  15. Dear Sharon,

    I have ordered The Balm-Bahama Mama bronzer awhile ago from Asos and now seeing your post about the Mary Lou Manizer, I am questioning if my bronzer is authentic or not. It does not have the QR code or the expiration date. Could it be that Asos is selling fake products? I am worried since I have been using this bronzer a lot.

    Appreciate the help.

    Best regards,

    Barbara

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    1. Hi Barbara! It's very, very unlikely that ASOS would ever sell a fake product. When you're looking at a product like this, you need to take the overall product into consideration - my fake highlighter smells like chemicals and the sticker on the compact is poor quality and badly printed. If you google your product packaging, you'll see that the bronzer doesn't have a QR code. Also, I mentioned to someone else - it's not mandatory in the US to put the expiration date on makeup products, so if your product was bought in the US don't worry about the little 12m symbol. I think this is really more of a guide to buying from eBay or disreputable sites or second hand. I'm sure your bronzer is fine!

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    2. Actually it could be fake, I've seen posts on tumblr where people buy the fake ones, then swap them out at a store for the real ones, seeing it as a way to keep them from having a hole in their inventory and then they have a Real palette for $5 or whatever, and some other poor person ends up with a fake.

      So honestly, you never know!

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  16. Thank you....useful

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  17. actually i used the fake one and the original one there is no different just the cost u pay and if u want my opinion all the makeup damage our skin whether it real or fake because all the makeup made from Chemicals whatever i don't think is something important at the end it just makeup and u will remove it

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    1. Actually, there's a huge difference. Fake makeup has been found to contain formaldehyde, cyanide, rat droppings, human urine, arsenic, mercury, cadmium, lead - not to mention bacteria. If you're comfortable putting any of that on your face, more power to you. I won't be. Not all chemicals are bad, that's true, but the kind of stuff used to bulk fake eyeshadow or powders out is dangerous for you. People have been scarred for life, people have had severe burns and reactions to fake makeup. It's not "just makeup", it's your skin and your health. I'm the first one to stand up and say I don't wear makeup every day, but when I do I want something that has been tested and that has complied with regulations. I don't want poison.

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  18. So is cloud 10 beauty genuine? As I would like to buy this product. Do let me know :)

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  19. So is cloud 10 beauty genuine? As I would like to purchase this product. And I want a real one. Please let me know

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  20. You certainly did your homework for this one, and I DO appreciate it. I think I might have just bought a fake Lou Manizer!
    But as far as the genuine article not being pure or not having rat feces ... I dunno. Even tomato sauce is "allowed" (under regulations) to have maybe 8 parts in a million of rat feces!! Contamination is simply so ubiquitous in all industrial manufacturing processes that I wonder how the authentic product would fare if we sent it to the same lab?

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  21. Good post Sharon, only found it googling the product. I also agree, if you want it that badly, save up! I do for my Christmas Chanel spend.xx

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  22. That was an eye opening post Sharon! Just for a two minutes of fame no one should use a fake, cheap quality and harmful product like this one! Can't trust Aliexpress anymore...

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  23. I bought mine on Feelunique.com. Mine looks like a mix of the two you have on the pictures. But i was never impressed with the product, because it didn't know up on my cheeks. It's very pigmented and shimmery otherwise.
    So, i threw the box out unfortunately, would have been interesting to see.
    The top lid looks genuine, the lock doesn't have the extra rim. The back is missing the R sign and the 12M.
    TBH on the Balm website, it looks entirely different. High rim around the pan and smaller mirror...

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  24. Thanks for your post.
    I bought my Mary-Lou Manizer in 2014 December, on feelunique.com. I was never really impressed with it, because it doesn't show up on my cheeks like i expected. I was blaming my technique. (recently i got Physicians Formula Shimmer strips, i have to say, they are wonderful)
    Back to Mary. My item is between the two you have on the pictures. The top lid is fine, the lock doesn't have the rim and the back side....that is missing the R and the 12M. Unfortunately I threw away the box it came in, i had it for ages, but i never suspected anything, feelunique.com thought was good, and didn't have problem with their other items.
    Tbh on the Balms website their mary-lou has a high rim around the pan and a smaller mirror... It's just so sad, because I can only buy it online where I live.

    And I figured all this out because i just ordered a Nude Dude palette on ebay, and 5 minutes after I saw 1 neg. comment that it's fake :( I cancelled the order right away, but the seller apparently "shipped" at at 1:30 AM. what an A-hole. *sigh Will be interesting to see the palette...

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  25. I just bought a mary loumanizer from flipkart .it was a fake product.nd after reading ur post i came to know it was fake.it looks more origial than the original one.it was not at all pigmented.they agreed for refund.12 m was missing.nd so is little R mark.fingerprints were different.but outer packaging was same.nd so is inner packaging.it was very difficult to differntiate.mainly look at the fingerprints.fake product has different prints.otherwise it isv difficult to know which one is real .now i have ordered it through adifferent site amazon see what happens .i m waiting.flipkart product cost me inr 2220.

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  26. The scan of the back of this product sold on Amazon.ca is that of a fake one. I thought that items that are sold and shipped by Amazon itself and not by a third-party seller were legitimate.... Do you think that they might have gotten the image from elsewhere and they accidentally got a picture of a fake ML? Should I still try buying it?

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    1. I was looking at thoes images as well. There all missing the 12mm pot on the back... :/

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  27. Hi, I'm looking to buy the manizer sisters pallete with all three in. If the back of it has the correct prints and other markets is it pretty likely to be real. Do they even fake these yet? Thanks

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    1. I have no idea, if you buy it from a reputable stockist you should have no issues.

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  28. Thanks for the description I just got my mary lou on Ebay it matches the REAL picture I guess its still possible to get an honest deal huh?

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  29. Okay so this thing about seller really really pisses me off. We have this online beauty store here that sells Real Techniques brushes and was selling the Expert Face at the same price as on the RT's website which is practically impossible because after currency conversion and added commission and customs one does not get the product for the same price in another country unless the seller is the company itself. So anyway I had the real EFB already with me and bought the one from this website as well and guess what it was a fake and the seller argued with me so much and even threatened that I had spoiled her name and business. I actually wrote a long blog post after that for people so they could point out the differences which were subtle yet obvious if you had a real one to compare the fake one to just like The Balm Mary Lou..

    The Pout Painters

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  30. OMG! It's really surprise me!!...thanks this is really helpful..i don't even know that mary lou has a fake product ...!

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  31. This just opened my eyes. I mean these 2 looks so damn similar, there is easily no way of telling them apart!
    Makeup and Beauty Forever

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  32. I really enjoyed reading this but why was the response to the question about buying from an eBay seller with great reviews deleted?

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    1. Because it's not up to me to comment on individual eBay sellers. Some are genuine, some are not, regardless of feedback. I don't want someone buying fake stuff online "because Sharon Leavy said it was safe if they had good feedback", iykwim?

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  33. I still can't tell if I bought a fake! Help!

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