Beyond fake reviews, counterfeit products take on the beauty industry.

WHAT HAPPENED: As the cosmetics boom continues, counterfeit beauty tools are threatening companies’ IP and posing risks to consumers.

Why it matters

  • Sham reviews aren’t the only fake things trolling the consumer economy. As cosmetics companies face rising competition, they’re also increasingly dealing with faux products. Overall, the beauty market has the fifth-most counterfeit products after perfume, watches, shoes, and handbags, which rank first place, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation. That said, within the beauty industry, beauty tools such as facial cleansing brushes and hair straighteners suffer more because of their higher price point. Not only do these products threaten IP, but some post real risks to consumers because of poor manufacturing standards, especially when operating electrically.
  • When it comes to beauty tools, practically identical counterfeit products win over consumers with their low prices; the Foreo Luna facial cleansing brush, for instance, typically costs $169, while an eBay knockoff is only $9. The good news is that shoppers increasingly want to know exactly what they are consuming or applying to their skin, as you read in Wild, Wild Wellness. Just as shoppers join Subreddits to discuss beauty products, they can also search various sites or apps such as Cosmethics, which allows users to scan a barcode on a product and read information about where and how it was manufactured. The question is whether ethical- or health-related concerns will dissuade price-conscious consumers from purchasing fake products. Unlike sneakerheads, for example, who are less inclined to buy counterfeit sneakers because of the presentational aspect and status tied to wearing bona fide Air Jordans, beauty buffs are using cosmetics products at home, which may make buying counterfeit items less of a problem.