Fake Makeup

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  1. Sales of Fake Makeup Annually:$3.0 Billion

Fake Makeup

Information and statistics about fake makeup and counterfeit cosmetics for sale on the black market. Data about the fake beauty products are collected from public criminal justice information.

Criminal justice programs in Iran show that 80 to 90 percent of all cosmetics that are imported into Iran are counterfeits. Most of the counterfeit cosmetics are manufactured in China, Thailand or Turkey, according to security experts.

Due to the high rate of fakes, dermatologists in Iran recommended their patients to only use domestic cosmetic labels. The cosmetics that are made in Iran are regulated by the government.

The market value of the cosmetics industry in Iran is around $2 Billion a year, with Iranian females between the ages of 15 to 45 accounting for one third of all cosmetics sales in the Middle East.

Source:  Mehrnaz Samimi, “Cosmetics boom in Iran,” Al-Monitor, December 17, 2013.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police saw an increase in the number of cases involving harmful counterfeit goods in Canada between 2005 and 2013.

In 2005, harmful counterfeits were involved with 11.5 percent of cases. By 2012, there were over 200 cases, or 30.4 percent of cases, that involved harmful fakes of toys, drugs, cosmetics, batteries and electronics.

In 2012, the counterfeit good that was most seized by the RCMP was replica clothing and replica shoes, which accounted for 45 percent of all counterfeits seized, followed by pirated movies and music with 20 percent.

Source:  Rita Demontis, “Beware of counterfeit goods on Black Friday,” Toronto Sun, November 28, 2013.

Romania’s Custom Service stated in a report that about 50 percent of all “brand name” products that are available for sale in retail shops in Romania are actually counterfeit.

Counterfeit goods from China enter the Romania market through smuggling routes that pass through Moldova and Ukraine.

Some of the items seized by security services in 2013 included thousands of counterfeit Bulgari, Patek Philippe and Rolex watches, as well as counterfeit cosmetics destined for the Britain market. Romania also has the highest number of counterfeit toys seized within its border each year.

The country has also become the starting point for smugglers moving contraband across European Union members. Fake luxury goods, smuggled tobacco and illicit drugs are smuggled from Turkey through Bulgaria and into Turkey on its way to various EU markets.

Source:  Jon Coates, “Britain to be hit with a flood of fake goods as migrants swarm in,” Sunday Express, November 24, 2013.


According to a news report in Tampa, Florida, the profit margin for selling a single counterfeit lipstick from popular makeup company MAC could be as high as $10.

The investigative news team for ABC Action News in Tampa bought a MAC lipstick off of eBay for $13. According to MAC employees, the lipstick was fake. The legitimate version sells for $15 in MAC retail stores.

When the reporters ed the counterfeit lipstick seller on eBay, she directed them to the name of a website from China where she bought her inventory. On that website, the price to purchase the lipstick from China was less than one dollar.

Source:  Adam Walser, “Counterfeit MAC makeup prevalent in Bay area,” ABC Action News, November 21, 2013.

In the first six months of 2013, authorities in Yemen seized and destroyed over 57 tons of counterfeit and expired foods, counterfeit cosmetics and counterfeit drugs. 581 cases of counterfeiting have been identified by law enforcement, with 522 cases being sent to the Prosecutors office.

Amongst the actions taken by officials were seizing  50,000 packs of chewing gum and shutting down 8 ice cream factories that were shut down due to lack safety standards and substandard ingredients.

In 2012, over 80 tons of counterfeit goods was seized and destroyed in Yemen.

Source: Ali Ibrahim Al-Moshki, “Over 57 tons of expired, counterfeit goods destroyed,” Yemen Times, July 8, 2013.

According to an investigation into counterfeit cosmetics by the Daily Mail, a counterfeit MAC eyeliner bought on Amazon was found to have contained 46 times the acceptable level of copper in the eyeliner. The high level of copper makes the eyeliner unacceptable for use on eyes.

The counterfeit eyeliner was bought for $5.60 (£3.50) online, when the normal retail price for a MAC eyeliner is $22 (£14).

Source:  Charlotte Kemp, “The toxic trade in fake make-up: How counterfeit cosmetics containing dangerous levels of arsenic are being sold online to unsuspecting bargain hunters,” Daily Mail, September 30, 2012.

In 2011, police seized 8.9 million counterfeit goods items in France. Half of the products that were seized within the country was luxury goods items, such as clothes, sunglasses, and cosmetics. Louis Vuitton products were the most counterfeited items seized by authorities in France.

France losses up to $8.5 Billion a year to counterfeit goods.

Source:  AAP,”French luxury brands fight back against fakes,” News.com.au, May 30, 2012.

The sales of counterfeit products in Indonesia causes tax losses of up to $4.8 Billion (43.2 Trillion Indonesian Rupiahs) in 2010.

The following is the percentage of counterfeit goods that make up all sales in that category:

Product                     Counterfeit Percentage

Leather products              35.7

Software                             34.1

Automotive Parts             16.8

Electronic goods              13.7

Cigarettes                          11.5

Beverages                          8.9

Pesticides                          7.7

Cosmetics                          6.4

Drugs                                  3.5

Source: “Fake products cost RI Rp 43.2t in lost taxes,” Jakarta Post, November 5, 2011.

The Interior Ministry stated that up to 60 percent of Microsoft products in use in Russia are pirated copies. 37 percent of all clothing sales in the country are replica clothing, and counterfeit cosmetics consist of between 15 and 30 percent of the total market.

The Ministry stated that most counterfeits and imported into the county, with minimal production of fake goods occurring within the country.

Source: Interfax, “Internet Cuts Down Piracy,” Moscow Times, September 2, 2011.

Law enforcement officials in Russia estimated that counterfeit cosmetics in Russia make up to 30 percent of the entire cosmetics market.

Source: “Counterfeit cosmetics: turning beauties into beasts,” RT, November 8, 2010.