Counterfeit cosmetics: turning beauties into beasts

Counterfeit make-up and fragrances are making their way into beauty stores all across Russia.

­Shoppers may be enticed by a cheap price tag, but end up with a low quality product which sometimes has severe side effects.

Officials say up to 30 per cent of all cosmetics in Russia are fake. But even these official statistics by the Ministry of Internal Affairs could just be the tip of the iceberg.

Almost every month police raid store rooms with illegal goods produced both in Asian countries and in clandestine operations in Russia's own backyard, but counterfeit lipsticks and perfume are still everywhere.

It is not always easy to tell real from fake. Sometimes even an expert can fail to spot the difference. But the price can be a real clue. A $3 tag on Chanel or Dior guarantees that you are purchasing a fake brand and, most likely, it will smell bad.

Fake is always many times cheaper, but the real price to pay could be much greater.

Veronika, who bought cheap mascara promising a “special” and “unforgettable” look, ended up in the hospital.

“The first week all was fine, but then my eyes started itching terribly, became all red, and were watering. I couldn’t drive because I couldn’t see anything! I was diagnosed with blepharitis- inflammation of the eyelids. It led to a kind of allergy,” she said.

Veronika says she'll never ever get anything from a dubious shop again, but the problem still remains – as there is no guarantee even in boutique stores.