Scientist discover dangerous chemicals in “Fakeup”

Lara Russell-Lasalandra, Copy Editor and Video Producer

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Mall kiosk sells knock-off James Charles x Morphe Palette for less than $16. Fake makeup plagued the beauty industry with harsh chemicals like lead and arsenic. Consumers of “fakeup” risked severe skin irritation and infection.

Harmful fake makeup that alludes the FDA poses an enormous risk to consumers everywhere. Fans of the James Charles x Morphe eyeshadow palette should be particularly wary of potentially dangerous dupes.  

Counterfeit makeup, or “fakeup,” imitates the packaging and design of reputable makeup brands, but does not use the same quality ingredients to produce the cosmetic formulas. Fakeup is extremely cheap, often costing less than half the real makeup they are imitating. So it’s not surprising that consumers complain about how poorly counterfeit products perform. YouTuber Safiya Nygaard said in one of her videos that counterfeit “full coverage Fenty foundation,” which claimed to last all day, wore off in a only few hours. However, scientists and cosmetologists recently discovered that those who wear fakeup risk more than just looking bad in selfies.

An article for Fox News said, “fake cosmetics such as eyeliner, mascara, lip gloss and foundation have been found to contain toxic levels of chemicals as well as harmful substances such as arsenic, mercury and lead. They can cause allergic reactions including skin irritation, swelling, rashes and burns – and leave users with long term health problems.”

Beauty Blogger Tanya Arguelles purchased a fake version of the new James Charles x Morphe eyeshadow palette. The James Charles palette is so popular that it sold out the same day of its restock on Jan. 3. Since there aren’t enough palettes to match the intense consumer demand, many defeated shoppers turn to counterfeit versions to get their hands on this coveted eyeshadow palette. Arguelles purchased a fake palette for $16 at a kiosk in the mall, which is much cheaper than its typical $40 price tag.

Arguelles said in an interview with CBS, “within the first 45 minutes of applying the makeup, I realized that the itchy, burning sensation was an eye infection. I couldn’t get my contacts on.”

The counterfeit James Charles x Morphe palettes are especially toxic. Since the palette is in such high demand, third-party Fakeup producers cut even more corners than usual to keep up.

A recent article in Healthline said, “the eye shadows in the fake palette have nearly four times the amount of lead as those in the real version. In one, the amount almost doubles the FDA recommended maximum of 10 parts per million.”

Even though it may be cheaper, potential risks outweigh the reward. If looking for a bargain, consumers should buy well-known drugstore cosmetics. Otherwise, spend the $40 and pick up a genuine James Charles palette from a verified retailer.