Skip Nav
Celebrity Beauty
See the Incredibly Sexy Beauty Looks From the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show
Celebrity Beauty
13 Celebrity Beauty Campaigns We Won't Forget From 2016
Models
What Victoria's Secret Angels Eat For Consistently Clear Skin
Celebrity Beauty
How to Copy Instagram's Most Liked Celebrity Looks This Season

Grey Area: The Dangers of Buying Cut-Priced Cosmetics

Everyone loves a bargain, but at what cost? Discount cosmetics and fragrances may seem like a great deal at the time, but what do you really know about them — where do they come from? Why are they so cheap? And most importantly, are they even what they say they are? The selling of goods, often at a heavily reduced price and outside registered channels of distribution, is referred to as the grey market. And as you can imagine, or may have experienced, the fragrance world is ripe for the picking when it comes to the grey market.

Because of the nature of grey marketing, it's impossible to track just how many perfumes are sold through unauthorised distribution channels each year, but a quick Google search of your favourite fragrance will likely throw up thousands of sites advertising it at discount prices. So what's so bad about a cut-price perfume? According to Erica Moore, Fragrance Evaluator at Fragrances of the World, "The biggest problem with grey market fragrance is that you can't always tell how old the stock is and if it has been correctly stored. This could cause it to 'go off' sooner." So that "brand new" perfume could be well past its sell-by date.

Keep reading . . .Kate Morris, Founder of Adore Beauty, which is an authorised online stockist of brands such as Lancôme, Clarins, Benefit and OPI, says that as well as substandard stock, a huge problem is what to do if you have a bad or allergic reaction to a product: "The manufacturer won't be able to help you as their guarantees only apply to products purchased through official outlets." Alice Hampton, Estée Lauder's Communications Manager in Australia agrees: "When you buy grey market products you are not protected by the cosmetics company or brand if the product is faulty, expired, if you develop any type of reaction or if the products never arrive." Not sounding like such a bargain after all now, is it?

So how can you tell the difference between authorised and grey market goods? Well this is where it gets a little tricky. Grey market goods aren't necessarily counterfeits or fake, so they often look exactly the same as the real deal. Erica, Kate and Alice all recommend contacting the brand directly if you're unsure whether a shop or site is legit or not. As Kate says, "Most brands will list their official stockists (such as department stores) on their own sites, or will be able to recommend an online stockist." Also look at the price: "If there is a significant difference in price [from RRP to what the site is offering] be wary," says Erica. Kate echoes this: "If the deal seems too good to be true, it probably is." Other things to be wary of, according to Kate: "No brand logos displayed; a seemingly random selection of a brand's products; products being sold unboxed; outdated packaging; tester labels; or discontinued lines that you know aren't available anymore."

Image Source: Getty
Join The Conversation
POPSUGAR-Beauty-AU POPSUGAR-Beauty-AU 5 years
We do understand that it can be difficult with price discrepancies, which is why it's great that in recent months brands such as Kiehl's and Lancome have been lowering prices in the Australian market. At the end of the day, it's everybody's individual choice where they shop but we feel it our duty to educate people on the dangers and potential lack of rights that you have when not shopping through authorised stockists. We're glad to hear that you haven't had any horror stories though! x
Minimalist Beauty Gift Ideas
What Summer Fragrance Matches My Personality
What Perfume Does Kristen Bell Wear?
Behati Prinsloo Juicy Couture Beauty Interview 2016
Best Men's Colognes Father's Day 2016
Spike Jonze Kenzo Fragrance Ad
Chanel No 5 Celebrity Campaigns Over the Years
Health and Beauty Awards Best Fragrance 2016
Gigi Hadid in Tommy Girl Fragrance Ad
Britney Spears's Private Show Fragrance

POPSUGAR, the #1 independent media and technology company for women. Where more than 75 million women go for original, inspirational content that feeds their passions and interests.

From Our Partners
Latest Beauty
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds