Disclaimer: I am about to throw shade.

My fascination with makeup has grown over the years and the entire art of application itself. With that, I’m doing my makeup now better than I ever used to do so and find myself stalking masters at it on Instagram when I should be asleep. Am I good enough? No, but at least I stopped applying foundation in streaks across my face so that is progress. With the explosion of imported makeup into SA in the past two years, Instagram boutiques sprouted like mushrooms during a storm.

There are a handful of these boutiques which have managed to grow their business from Instagram and have actual websites now. The owners of these businesses sell genuine product. Is there any way of quantifying their authenticity claims – ask the owners. Would businesses this large I doubt they would take a chance and end up being charged with selling counterfeit goods. With a following including celebrities and influencers, would you really risk selling fake products?

But that really is just a handful. So that leaves, I would estimate 80% of the remaining businesses selling products, with no way of verifying the authenticity. Doing basic mathematics, selling a product for cheaper than the retail price abroad and adding in shipping costs would equate to no profit. What does this logically mean? It’s not feasible for owners to sell original products at prices lower than retail prices abroad because they would be selling this at a loss. Essentially you are being offered counterfeit products under the guise that it is original.

Now not everyone will verify the authenticity of a product before purchasing it. You cannot actually hold the customer at fault if the packaging looks exactly the same – would you question it? I am always wary with online purchases, so I usually end up pissing off owners with my questions. But as a customer, it is actually my right to enquire about whether the product is in fact, an original.

An example, a few weeks ago I had seen Kylie Cosmetics Mascara advertised on one of these Instagram boutiques. When I had approached the owner, I was told it was under the Halloween section on her website. It was not on the website at all, in fact, Kylie never dropped a mascara. The only mention of mascara is a list detailing her favourites. Instead of calling her out on the blatant lie, I laughed it off. Yesterday I had enquired about it again and was told that it did exist after I called her out on the lie. Subsequently, the image has been deleted from the Instagram page so I suppose I had made my point.

How do we as customers combat counterfeit products? 
1. Question the authenticity. If it’s the genuine product then why is the owner catching feelings? 
2. Report Instagram accounts selling counterfeit goods online – this is harsh but you’re putting that shit on your skin so yes it is actually serious.
3. Understand the process and costs of shipping in original products – this will really help you spot the fake shit.

Now let’s talk about counterfeit goods for a few minutes. Counterfeiting is trading infringement and the primary goal is to be sold to confuse customers into thinking it is original. Economically speaking what does this mean? You buying counterfeit goods lead to cuts into actual sales, resulting in revenue drops and eventually employees losing their jobs. It’s a domino effect and you’re screwing up economies, pls staph.