As the old adage goes, you get what you pay for …
By Angelina Zervos
Sometimes, you just want to save a couple extra bucks on makeup, especially if you’re like me and wear makeup almost every day. But why settle for drug store beauty brands when you can simply buy knock-off or unreleased high-end products for waaay cheaper from obscure sellers on Facebook and eBay? DON’T DO THAT. JUST DON’T. Here’s why.
The counterfeit makeup industry had garnered widespread attention when earlier this month, internet celebrity and makeup mogul Jeffree Star released a video on his YouTube channel titled “My Concealer Line Was Stolen & Leaked ($2.5 Million of Makeup Hijacked)” where he detailed an alleged large-scale robbery of his California warehouse building. Star decided to go public with the news after images of the stolen makeup, which included an entire shade of an unreleased concealer product, started surfacing online.
Star’s brand, Jeffree Star Cosmetics, of which he is the founder and CEO, is unique in that its products are not sold at high-profile makeup retailers such as Sephora or Ulta; it is largely a web-based brand. For the latest collection launches, fans must purchase directly from Star’s website, where all of the purchases are packaged and shipped from his warehouse.
Star explained that he had been awaiting the stolen products to appear for sale online; the counterfeit makeup industry works extremely fast to create knockoff products, which poses not only copyright infringement and other related issues for makeup companies, but also serious health risks (studies have shown that such products contain high concentrations of bacteria and POOP! Actual poop!). The feds are constantly seizing counterfeit makeup which violates U.S. health regulations, but the situation as exposed by Jeffree Star crosses into a different territory of crime: the illegal sale of stolen goods.
In his video, Star revealed that an alleged FBI investigation has been launched to find the organizers of the massive robbery. He even insinuated that the culprits may have also been involved with another robbery that took place last year, when $4.5 million worth of makeup was stolen from an Anastasia Beverly Hills (the company famous for brow powder and contour kits) warehouse in L.A. Despite these shocking allegations and insight into the world of stolen and counterfeit makeup, no major news sources have covered the event. Good thing the paper is talking about it.
This past week, Star released another shocking update: his products were found for sale at discount retailers such as T.J. Maxx and Burlington Coat Factory. While these were not the products that had been stolen from him most recently, he revealed that they were products that had been discarded in his warehouse because they were expired or had bad formulas. Definitely not the sort of stuff you want to put on your face. Now that I think about it…I did buy a contour kit from T.J. Maxx recently…
The whole situation has the beauty community raising eyebrows at discount retailers who sell high-end beauty products; however, the real issue lies within the counterfeit and black-market makeup industries that have huge online communities on platforms like Facebook and eBay. The first picture of Star’s stolen concealer was posted to a black-market makeup community on Facebook. Not only is the use of counterfeit makeup extremely risky for your health, but in the case of Star’s makeup line, purchasing black-market products are a federal offense. According to Star, the woman who originally posted the photo has been taken into custody by authorities.
If there really is an FBI investigation underway, I’m very interested to see the outcome. At the end of the day, saving money on a beauty product that can either burn your face off or send you to prison is just not worth it.