Have you heard of the term ‘Grey Market’? If you care about your skin’s health, it’s a trend that is important for you to know. And also to avoid at all costs.
In the cosmetics’ world, the term ‘Grey Market’ is very well known (and the source of many headaches) to large cosmetic companies like l’Oreal and Estee Lauder, and also by smaller skin care and makeup companies, like MAC, Urban Decay, NARS, Benefit, Jane Iredale, OPI, Clarisonic, Christian Dior, Dermalogica, L’Occitane, and the list goes on and on. Hair care and perfume products are also included in this list.
What are Grey Market cosmetics?
These are cosmetics (makeup, skin care, hair care, perfume) that are sold through unauthorized distribution channels. The products sold could be real, or they could be fake, it’s difficult to know for sure. However, as the distributor has not been authorized by the manufacturer the authenticity of the product cannot be guaranteed. And that potentially comes with a whole lots of problems. Examples of grey market cosmetics distributors include eBay, Amazon, AliExpress, AliBaba, Target, Costco, Walmart, Kijiji, Winners, Marshall’s, HomeSense, StrawberryNet, discount online stores, flea markets and other small online and brick-and-mortar stores*.
What are some of the issues with purchasing Grey Market products?
- Authenticity – When you purchase from an unauthorized distributor, you cannot be sure if the product is real or fake. You are taking a big risk as fake products are usually made with ‘dirty’ ingredients that can harm your skin, hair and eyes.
- Freshness – A lot of products purchased from the Grey Market might be expired (and the expiry date might have been ingeniously hidden by the illegal reseller). As those products often come from stolen shipping containers, we do not know the storage conditions the products might have gone through. Storage temperatures that are too high or too low can wreak havoc on the quality of the formula.
- Stability – If these products are counterfeit, they might not contain the proper antimicrobial ingredients. In that case, bacteria could easily grow in the products and cause irritation, scarring and vision loss. Worth saving a few bucks? I don’t think so.
- Liability – if you purchase a product from an unauthorized dealer, and you get a reaction, the manufacturer cannot be held responsible. That means no reimbursement, and no compensation if something really bad happens (like loss of vision from using a counterfeit mascara, for example)
- Counterfeit products – When you purchase from the Gray Market, your product could be authentic, but they could also be fake. China in particular is a huge manufacturer of fake cosmetics and research has shown that counterfeit products contain high levels of arsenic, lead and melamine. These ‘fillers’ ingredients are known to be very detrimental to skin health. Why would you play russian roulette with your skin care?
If that’s not bad enough, the counterfeit industry is said to have very strong ties to both organised crime and child labour.
Have you been stung by Grey Market products before? What did you buy and how did you know it was “not quite right”? Let me know in the comments.
In healthy skin,
*Source: www.wisegeeks.com, www.consumerist.com, www.marketresearchworld.net, www.makeuputopia.com, www.byrie.com, www.cosmeticsbusiness.com, www.beautyhaven.com, www.refinery29.com, www.trade.gov, www.reddit.com, www.askbobrankin.com, www.tesa-scribos.com, www.mashable.com.
DISCLAIMER: Information on this blog is provided for informational purposes and is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by your own dermatologist or other medical professional. You should not use the information contained herein for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are solely my own and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the companies, brands and products mentioned.