#FakeUp! A warning has been released over the harmful ingredients in counterfeit cosmetics... Do you know what's in your blusher!?

Time to think carefully about what beauty products you’re using – urine, rat droppings and even poison have been found in fake make-up and perfume products that are flooding the UK market.

According to a police report, £3.5million worth of knock-off cosmetics have been seized from over 5000 websites in the last 18 months.

Fake versions of cosmetic brands including MAC and Benefit have been found to contain 200 times the recommended safe levels of metal, whilst paint stripper, rat poo and nail varnish remover have also been found in mascara and eyeliner.

Dermatoligists report that the untested substances in these counterfeit products can cause allergic reactions such as skin irritation, swelling, rashes and burns as well as leaving the consumer with long-term health problems.

Some products have also been found to contain excessive levels of lead which can cause high blood pressure, fertility problems, memory loss and can even harm the development of unborn babies.

It’s easy to be fooled by the fake products, too. Mascaras, eyeliners, foundations and moisturisers are often in identical packaging, and are sold by criminals on trusted sites like eBay and Amazon.

But how do you spot a fake? These tell tale signs will help you beat the cheats

– Is it suspiciously cheap? Legitimate designer items are rarely discounted.
– Check the spelling and grammar on the website – poor attention to detail can be a giveaway to fake goods
– Research unfamiliar websites by checking for online reviews
– Are they overusing words like ‘genuine’, ‘real’ or ‘authentic’?
– Does the company have a returns policy or guarantee?
– Look for “https” in web addresses on payment pages to indicate your bank details are safe

If in doubt, visit brand-i.org to check whether a seller is legit, and call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 if you believe you have bought a fake product.

And remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

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Hannah Eichler