No, I Don’t Want No Fakes (and How You Can Spot Fake K-Beauty)
Yes, even the most veteran of K-beauty gurus have fallen prey to fake K-beauty products. Learn from contributing editor Sheryll Donerson’s experience and never let a counterfeit product ruin your day (and complexion).
Let’s all sit around the campfire for story time.
When I lived in Vietnam, I took a trip to Bangkok for a short holiday. Bangkok had (at the time) way more diverse beauty shopping, so I planned on spending my hard-earned coins on sheet masks and some other things I had my eyes on. I went to a Boots drugstore in the shopping district and stocked up on a whole lot of My Beauty Diary masks. Pleased with my purchases, I posted them online to my Instagram page.
But then, one of my eagle-eyed readers sent me an email that still haunts me to this day. One of the boxes of masks I’d bought was allegedly a fake. She sent me a link on how to spot fake My Beauty Diary masks, and what do you know — they were indeed fraudulent. I threw them away and thanked her profusely for saving my face from who knows what disaster.
Spotting fake K-beauty isn’t easy, especially when most of our K-beauty shopping is done online. I’ve come up with some tips to help you make sure your hard-earned coins aren’t going to waste!
1. Look for reputable sellers
Whenever I shop online, I read reviews for the seller, especially on Amazon and eBay. I make sure that the seller is a reputable one and that there aren’t any sketchy reviews lurking around. As an extra precaution, I always do a Google and reddit search of the seller to make sure that they’ve never been linked to fake products.
For example, when I search for COSRX Pimple Patches on Amazon, the first storefront is a seller by the name of florasumi90. I can then click on her name and read reviews from customers. So far, this storefront has a 100% rating and when I Googled the name of the shop, nothing bad came up. Wins for everyone!
P.S. The COSRX Pimple Patches are heaven-sent, and you should buy them.
2. Check the packaging
When I lived in Phuket, I used to go to the night market almost every weekend. Some of the biggest (and most popular stalls) were the ones selling counterfeit beauty products. One stall even sold fake Innisfree sheet masks, complete with a different brand name.
Some fakes won’t be that obvious, but when in doubt, cross check the packaging of your product with a Google image search. Don’t be alarmed if it is different though, as longtime K-beauty products sometimes go through a rebranding and a lot of brands change their packaging quite frequently.
Besides the actual look of the product, make sure to check the physical packaging. Does it look like it’s been tampered with? Does it have a safety seal? Has the safety seal been damaged in some way? Do reviews say the packaging should be in a heavy glass bottle, but instead it’s cheap plastic? All of these clues are tips that your product may not be real.
3. Touch it, smell it
One of the biggest giveaways for a fake product is its texture and scent. Nine times out of ten, the fake will have a completely different consistency and smell than the real product. Again, if you are unsure if your product is real, check the reviews. Most beauty bloggers will comment on scent and texture in some form. However, if there aren’t any reviews available, go with your instinct. If it doesn’t feel or look right, message the seller about your concerns and absolutely do not use the product if you don’t feel comfortable.
4. The dolla dolla bills
There’s a saying that if it’s too good to be true … then it probably is. I always cross reference prices when buying K-beauty online. Typically, most online stores have the same price range, plus or minus $10-$15. If you come across a product that is ridiculously cheap (and not on sale), this could be a sign that the product you want to buy is not real. You’re never going to find the full size Sulwhasoo Overnight Vitalizing mask for under $40, unless it’s on sale or a part of a discount code or something so don’t even think about buying a tube for $15.
5. Don’t freak out
If you use a product and it breaks you out, this does not mean it is fake. Fakes are not that common, and more than likely, your skin does not agree with a certain ingredient. Before you use any product, again, double check the packaging and make sure you’ve bought from a reputable seller and you’re good to go!
Have you ever bought a fake K-beauty product? How did you know it was fake and what happened? Share your experience with me below.