My most popular post by far this year was the one I did showing how to spot a fake Mary Lou-Manizer by The Balm. I still get messages at least once a week from people who are wondering if their bargain highlighter is a fake.
When a friend told me that she had bought a Chocolate Bar palette for €15 at a Christmas market recently, I asked her if she would bring it over and show me. I bought mine from Debenhams about a month or two ago for €47.
When I put hers next to mine the differences were immediately obvious, but she had never seen one in reality before so didn't know what it was supposed to look like. Here are a few photographs so that you don't fall into the same trap. This one was purchased in the Westmeath area about two weekends ago at a Christmas market.
Firstly, brands like Too Faced, Urban Decay, MAC - they don't sell wholesale to market sellers. No matter what they tell you, there is no way on earth that they could have bought those brands in bulk anywhere and sell them at a discount like that. My friend was told that the reason these palettes were so cheap was that her cousin was a company rep so could get them at wholesale prices. They had a whole conversation about the mark-up in shops and how it's so high.
The real box is pale pink, the fake one looks more peach. Still - if they weren't both together, I don't think I'd know the difference. The fake box is dull, the print quality isn't as good and the lettering isn't as sharp.
The shades on the back of the real one look cooler, while the ones on the back of the fake one look like someone has altered them. The print quality is poor, but again - if I didn't have them side by side and I hadn't seen it before, I don't think I'd know.
The only difference in the little booklets is that the fake one looks more faded, less clear. All of the packaging looks more washed out, as if it has faded over time. The print quality on the real packaging and booklet is much sharper, much crisper.
Here's the easiest way to tell if it's counterfeit or not. The real palette has a glossy finish. The fake one is matte.
The real shadows now have the names printed underneath, and are surrounded by light brown/beige plastic. Some older palettes may have the names printed on a sheet, but they are very much unlikely to still be in stock as this was a change made in 2013.
The fake shadows have the names printed on a sheet of plastic, and they're surrounded by dark brown plastic the same colour as the outer packaging.
The biggest giveaway with this palette is the smell - the shadows are infused with cocoa powder so there should be a faint smell of chocolate when you open the palette Predictably, the cheap one smells of chemicals and talc.
Already this week, Gardaí have made a huge leap in getting some of this crap off the streets by siezing over €200,000 of counterfeit shoes, bags and makeup in the Midlands. If you see stuff like this for sale, report it to your local Garda station the minute you see it. It's illegal to sell counterfeit goods, and it's beyond harmful.
I've gotten into arguments on youtube with people before who say "well I can't afford to spend $50 on a palette, I buy mine from Ali Express for $5". I can't understand that logic at all, if I were going to spend the equivalent of $5 on something I was going to be putting on my skin, I'd go to my local pharmacy and buy something from a budget range instead of trying to keep up with the Joneses and having a label on display. Nobody actually cares what anyone else has in their makeup collection, despite us being a community of nosey stash-video addicts. What's in fake make-up?
If you like the look of the chocolate bar palettes but they're out of your price range, have a look at Makeup Revolution's chocolate palettes. Makeup Revolution are a great range with really good eyeshadows at great prices, coming in around the £8/€11 mark.
NAKED 4, NAKED 5, OR NAKED BRUSH SETS DO NOT EXIST.
To read another post about counterfeit cosmetics, and for a look at some photographs of different fakes, have a look at this great post from Leanne of Blather and Beauty over on My Little Bábóg blog.