A note from our editors: Thank you so much for all your support of Rue in 2018.  Before we launch into new content for the new year, we wanted to share the posts of 2018 according to you, our readers! So we’re republishing our most popular posts, including this one. We hope you enjoy it!

You’ve probably heard the horror stories of Kylie Jenner’s #fakelipkits. Swollen eyes, burning lips… the possibility of using a counterfeit beauty product is frightening. More and more we’re seeing reviewers on sites like Amazon complain that the product they bought wasn’t the real thing.

Besides wasting your money, many of these counterfeit products pose health concerns. “The companies that make these products infringe intellectual property rights and reverse engineer the products but they don’t use the same ingredients – in fact, the ingredients are cheap in order to turn out the biggest profit,” explains celebrity dermatologist Dr. Zena H. Grabriel. “Also, the counterfeiters don’t follow FDA sanitation guidelines so these products are not tested.” Many of these products are made in filthy conditions and have contained all sorts of horrific ingredients including human waste.

So how can you tell that what you bought is the real thing? Here are our 5 guidelines:

  1. Check the price: most counterfeit products are a lot less expensive than the list price. If it’s half the $$, it’s most likely a fake.
  2. Pay attention to the font, wording and packaging design: check the brand’s site to make sure that what your purchasing looks exactly the same. Although counterfeit manufacturers are getting better at imitating the original, you can still occasionally spot a discrepancy.
  3. Check the barcode: barcodes are a great way to spot a fake. Oftentimes the first three digits of the code aren’t the same meaning that their country of origin is different. Also, download a free barcode scanner, like QR Reader to see if your product shows up when you scan it. If the details appear, it’s authentic, if not, your dealing with a fake.
  4. Find that leaflet: most beauty products come with detailed product information, ingredients and instructions in the form of leaflets or on the box. If your product has minimal product information it’s likely not authentic.
  5. Buy from authorized retailers: Dr. Zena H. Gabriel recommends to “check the brand’s official website and look for authorized dealers this way you can be sure you’re getting the REAL deal. Even if you have to pay a little more.”