Here’s What You Need to Know About Counterfeit Makeup vs. High-Quality Ingredients

Have you ever thought about what might be in that super trendy, surprisingly inexpensive beauty product you’ve been seeing all over Instagram? Yes, it might have super cute packaging and a fun aesthetic, but what about the ingredients that make up the product? Where do they come from, are they good for your skin, and in what working environments were these products produced? 

The cosmetics industry has seen a worldwide boom in the last few years, and with the demand for more products comes the rise of counterfeit makeup. In January 2018, the U.S. Government Accountability Office issued a report regarding the threat of counterfeit products to consumers, including the high volume of counterfeit cosmetics on big e-commerce websites such as Amazon and eBay, noting that 13 out of 13 samples purchased from third-party sellers with exceptional approval ratings were actually fake. 

Unfortunately, many counterfeit cosmetics that are coming into the United States originate from Asia and Southeast Asia, where there’s a thriving underground counterfeit cosmetics market. The cosmetic products may look exactly like the real deal, but the ingredients inside are anything but. Ranging from harmful toxins like lead, arsenic, mercury, aluminum, bacteria, cyanide, and yes, even animal feces, you never really know what you’re actually applying to your face when using a counterfeit product. 

Counterfeit products are definitely a cause for concern, but they’re not the only issue facing the cosmetics industry. “Most mass and/or luxury designer cosmetic brands are all for-profit, reporting to a board of directors who are trying to squeeze every cent of profit margin as possible—high quality ingredients are far from top priority as they cost a lot more,” says Sébastien Tardif, founder of Veil Cosmetics. “Small, indie and/or challenger cosmetic brands have a different approach and philosophy, for which quality, ethics and innovation truly mean something—Veil Cosmetics falls in the latter category.” 

Unlike some other mass or luxury designer cosmetic brands, Veil sources its ingredients from reliable sources based in Canada, the United State, and Europe, where strict protocols and laws are put in place to ensure the safety of every ingredient going into cosmetic products, an important factor for Tardif as a founder and creator of a cosmetics brand.   

scientist in laboratory

Another fact: Veil refuses to make any false claims on their packaging, an issue that has permeated the cosmetics industry, thanks to the  “clean beauty” movement in the last few years. “It is easy to highlight an ingredient for marketing purposes, but since there are no worldwide ‘regulators’ to counter such claims, it’s kind of like the wild wild west out there,” says Tardif. “The word ‘natural’ or ‘clean’ has as many interpretations as there are claims.”

In order to figure out just how “clean” a product is, Tardif suggests looking at where the product is made, and the overall ingredient list. “If you find parabens, propylene glycol, alcohol, triclosan, phthalates and fragrance, it means the product probably isn’t clean,” says Tardif. “It's like saying ‘made from concentrate’ when buying juice with all the added glucose fructose.”

It’s easy for cosmetic companies to play around with words to try and excuse or manipulate the messaging when it comes to animal testing, too. “It’s pretty simple, though: if your company makes the decision to sell products in a country where animal testing is the norm, then you are endorsing that animal testing, no matter how beautifully wrapped the excuse or statement may be,” explains Tardif.  

Veil Cosmetics doesn’t claim to be “organic” or “natural,” but the ingredients we use to formulate our luxe products are as clean as they come, sourced from high-quality, trustworthy sources that cannot be cheaply replicated. 

Published By: Daley Quinn

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The light-infused cosmetics impart instant illumination while soothing and hydrating the complexion with their treatment benefits.

~ Sebastien Tardif