Counterfeit: Cosmetic Products

You know those times when you are watching Aliexpress cosmetics hauls on YouTube, where the YouTubers happily show the things they got from the site. They did mention IN THE F*CK*NG beginning that they know that the stuff they got are counterfeit/replicas/fakes and then after you watch the videos and glanced at the comments section and lo and behold; there are a lot of random sh*t there that says “Be careful most of the stuff they sell there are fakes”, “You know that those are fake right” and “$_ for ______ Palette? That’s gotta be a fake!” No sh*t Sherlock… either they skipped to the haul part and didn’t listen to the disclaimers, completely didn’t listen, trolling or just plain assholes.

With that being said, we all know that there are a lot of counterfeiting going on in the world right now; from bags to accessories to phones and even cosmetics. I gotta say my family and I had bought our fair share of “replicas” in the past and present, it is actually  hard not to, specially in the Philippines where anything counterfeited can be seen everywhere… I had my fair share of fake Beats headphones, fake Jansport bags, fake Havaianas slippers  and fake Swatch watches. Why, you ask? The answer is actually so simple,so freaki’n simple that it might blow your mind; we can’t afford the real deal, and the cheaper alternatives are not cheap enough, so we go to the cheapest option there is in here; which is the counterfeit version/replica that product that most of the time doesn’t even look close to the real deal.

Because if we look into it; if you need a slipper… the cheapest thing available that you can see in the nearest Palengke (marketplace) is a Php35.00-50.00 (Usd0.75-1.08) “Havaianas” slipper… I’ll take that rather than go around the palengke you see; it’s not always the brand that gets people into buying these fakes; the simple fact is that, they are easily accessible, you can find them everywhere in here; unlike in the U.S. or other first world counties where you can only find them online.

Now lets go to the main topic, the main reason I got into this post actually; counterfeit cosmetics. like I said, you can find counterfeit products everywhere in the Philippines, cosmetic products are no exception. Here you can see counterfeit products from small stalls in the public market to boutiques in huge malls and even online. Some of these items are marketed as “Singapore Authentic” products. To the eyes of some people those words means “safety” and “legit”. But for people who knows better these words raises alarms in their heads.

Since; 1) These are still counterfeited items, and 2) Singapore has strict laws against counterfeiting so this probably came from somewhere else.

I’m pretty sure some of you are going nuts over there in front of your screens with things like “OMG, why are they marketing stuff like that?”, “(shaking head) There are really a lot of evil people in the world who takes advantage on clueless people…” or something along those lines.

But contrary to popular belief; these sellers and even the local suppliers do not know that that there is no such thing as Singapore Authentic, but they do know that these are only replicas; and most sellers do not market them as the real deal. I know that someone might ask; “Then why are they using the word ‘authentic’ if they know that these products are replicas?”, well here is a fact: MOST people in the Philippines, China, anywhere in Asia are NOT NATIVE ENGLISH SPEAKERS. And imagine how easy it is to screw up and interchange a word with another. Not that I am insulting Asian people’s intelligence, I am Asian… but sometimes studying a second language is hard as f*ck. When I was younger I even accidentally said the word “disposable” when what I mean is actually “reversible”. We can’t deny that this theory is totally possible; to be honest most of my classmates in  my past college still fumbles around during recitation in English class, they still find it hard to speak and write straight English. I can write and speak English fluently, only because of the fact that my mother is a past call center agent.

Therefore we can’t really blame them fully… in fact I know a seller personally; she’s a classmate of mine. And I did bought some items from her, the way she approached me was like this “uy, di ba mahilig ka sa makeup, baka gusto mo bumili nito (she shows me the pictures on her phone, which I noticed looked a lot like a popular brand of eyeshadow palette) class A lang sila pero maganda naman,” and it roughly translates to: “Hey, you’re that girl that really loves makeup right, I think you might like these items that I sell, they are only class A items (replicas) but I think they are nice..” and I did bought some stuff from her mostly out of curiosity, and also because I like the colors in the palette even though they were not the exact same as the original.

But really she is a very kind person, so please don’t hate on her for selling these items, she is a reseller of an equally clueless local supplier, who is also kind by the way. They believe so much in the products they sell, which are actually good, quality wise if only they were not stamped with the name of another company, or if the ingredients weren’t uncertain.

Then you might ask me, do I know about the hazardous possibilities that these products hold; then I’ll answer you with a big yes; yes I know that there could be harmful chemicals in it like most of the people in here who buy it. It is all over the news after all. But like I said a while ago most people buy because; it’s either they like the look it provides or like the situation with the slippers… they can’t afford legit cosmetics or counterfeit products are the ones they have easy access to; we just used them at our own risk.

Now you might ask; “How the hell did those fakes got into malls?” well, unlike in the U.S., Singapore, Japan, and the U.K.; the regulations regarding fake products is not that strong in the Philippines, and even those weak regulations are not properly implemented… yes there could be those raids in smaller malls and ware houses, but those only happens once in a blue moon, and the moment they got into the boutiques in the huge malls the authorities can’t do shit about it anymore.

That simple.

Also I know that there are a lot of bloggers (Filipinos too nonetheless)  who put the blame on the consumers; saying that if no one buys the stuff, then no one would make it: Wrong… I’m pretty sure that those bloggers based their theory from the law of supply and demand, but they used the wrong end of it by saying that the consumers are the one demanding the products. But in reality the consumers do not demand anything, the manufacturers would still make it in bulk even if the public or the consumers do not demand any supply; the proof lies on the price of these products, that is why these products are almost dirt cheap… the only difference on the prices varies from one retailer to another.

The reason why these products got around without the demand is due to the distributors that has a brilliant strategy: they distribute them to the people who needs extra cash, people who only stumble upon a website or something and got blinded by the awesome but still simple psychological tactics. The tactic goes the same way as the tactic that Paul Finch used in American Pie, where he got the help of Jessica to spread good rumors about him so the other girls in the campus would want him as a date. The distributors put good reviews under the product, gaining the attention of a probable reseller (who might turn into a local supplier  one day) then they throw out promos to the future reseller like; 50% off, reseller price (giving the products way cheaper to resellers compared to ordinary buyers), they also offers packages. Meaning you’ll get a lot of products for a very small capital.

Most of the time the people who falls into selling these items are people who needs the money, people who needs fast cash, because let’s face it; it is easy to sell these things once the word got out to people. And notice that most people who sells these are single moms or working moms… my friend for example; she has a three year-old son, aside from that she is also still studying beauty care (and I am telling you this is an expensive course to take), and to top it all off she has asthma and she needs to maintain their way of living despite all that, she needs a small business that needs a small capital that sells easily.

Please take note that I am not defending the people who buys counterfeits or the counterfeit cosmetics industry in general, since I know the risk of using those; but I’m also not gonna sit here and act like I do not understand the situation.

Most of the people blogging against these things since the beginning are people who could buy expensive stuff, and most people in the blogging community are; it is either they are high middle class or downright rich. So I get why they are very biased with their reviews, because really if I have the cash for it I’ll only buy original products from my underwear to my makeup, but for most people in third world countries that is not the case… I’m just being realistic here, this is the truth, the ugly truth, but still truth nonetheless, since I got my viewpoint from experience.

Let’s look at it this way; a fake MAC 78 Palette is cheaper than most of our country’s local brands, so really I can’t blame most people here from opting for the cheaper alternative; consequences be damned.

The thing is, it actually took me four months to save for most of the items that was included in a haul I made a year ago, I know too that most of the items there just worth pennies and loose change for other people or bloggers but for most people the cost of that e.l.f. palette is a whole day of hard work since the minimum wage here ranges from Php212.00 (Usd4.56) to Php480.00 (Usd10.32) per day, and that is not a part time job, that is full 8 hours a day, then there is tax, your bills and daily food intake and you’re left with a few cents to care for your appearance. And let’s not forget that there are also a lot of people in the Philippines who works for less, the under minimum wage earners; I can actually make my self an example for this one… last May I decided to look for a job since I was out of school for a while, since I stopped last October 2014… I got hired to work in a book store and I was so happy that I got accepted into that job. The lady who interviewed me even said that I was hired because they are in desperate need for people.

That should have raised a red flag for me; since later I knew that the reason for the shortage of people is because of the small pay and long working hours; take note I work for 11 hours and only get paid Php130.00 (Usd2.80) a day; that was 11 hours of pure physical and mental labor and it only got me php130.00… and if you didn’t finish the 11 hours, you won’t get paid because what you did is under-time, also the over-time pay is only 9 f*cki’ng pesos (Usd0.19) per hour. And there are more people here who work for less.

Again I’m not defending the counterfeit industry whatsoever, it’s just; sometimes people do not have a choice…

By the way if you want to hate, just do so… I’m not going to hold it against you. 😉


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