Fake make-up packed with poison flooding the UK

Rat faeces, human urine and arsenic – these are just some of the substances found in counterfeit online beauty products, police have warned.

Make-up, perfume, electrical hair stylers and sun cream are among thefae goods being highlighted by the City of London Police in a campaign bearing the slogan “wake up – don’t fake up!”.

Last year, the City of London’s Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit seized a shipping container full of more than 4,700 counterfeit versions of one of the UK’s most popular beauty brands with products including foundation, bronzer, lip gloss, eye shadow and eyebrow pencils.

It is estimated that at least £90m is spent every year in the UK on fake goods and with the rise of online shopping their production and sale on the web is increasing. Fake beauty products in particular are becoming increasingly common and easily available on auction sites, online market places, rogue websites and social media.

Checking the authenticity of a product is more difficult when you are shopping online as customers can’t gauge the look and feel of a product before making the purchase. Police said stock images of well-known products also tend to be used online, which deceive consumers into believing they are buying the real deal.

Fake electrical products such as hair curlers, dryers and straighteners are not subject to the same rigorous safety tests as genuine items and so the bogus product is often dangerous.

All of these can cause allergic reactions, such as skin irritation, swelling, rashes and burns, as well as provoking long-term health problems.

Counterfeit make-up is often produced in unsanitised factories and there have been cases where rats’ droppings and poison have also been found in the fake cosmetics.

*Please note that Addmaster was acquired by the Polygiene Group AB in January 2021, so all news articles prior to that date will still be branded as Addmaster.