Reason #963,501 of why buying counterfeit beauty products is never a good idea: The Los Angeles Police Department confirmed yesterday that it confiscated $700,000 worth of knockoff makeup in downtown L.A.'s infamous Santee Alley shopping district — some of which tested positive for high levels of feces (!!!) and bacteria. After multiple customers complained of bumps and rashes, officers seized fakes trying to pass as MAC, Urban Decay, Kylie Cosmetics, and more from 21 locations in the area, CNN reports.
As we uncovered, adverse skin reactions to counterfeit cosmetics are fairly common — and yet another example of how bootleg beauty is far more dangerous than a fake Louis Vuitton bag could ever be. As for where the point of contamination starts? According to detective Rick Ishitani, it's mostly likely the result of unsanitary working conditions.
He told KABC of the investigation: "Those feces will just basically somehow get mixed into the product they're manufacturing in their garage or in their bathroom — wherever they're manufacturing this stuff." Shudder.
Unfortunately, this isn't an isolated incident. In fact, these shady beauty "bargains" — and their ensuing issues — have become a widespread problem across the country. In 2013, it was estimated that 2.5% of the world's trade is made up of fake goods, a large percentage of which extends to makeup.
"Beauty plays a big part of the pie," Deborah Parker, Homeland Security's Deputy Special Agent In Charge told Refinery29 last year. "In 2015 alone, we had about 2,000 seizures of counterfeit cosmetics and beauty products. It cost the industry about $75 million dollars — and that was just one fiscal year."
Getting lured in by a cheap luxury lipstick can have dire consequences on the consumer. In addition to the human waste and bacteria found in this most recent raid, the FBI reports that its agents have also found aluminum, human carcinogens, and even horse urine in the products they've seized. Unsurprisingly, people have cited rashes, dermatitis, and eye infections as a result.
Bottom line: There is no crime in wanting a good deal. But when it's your health at stake, keep in mind that paying full price on a product directly from the brand or a reputable retailer will always cost less than an unexpected trip to the ER.