“If something LOOKS too good to be true… it usually is!”. Dontcha just HATE that saying. Even more because usually it IS true. It’s like hearing ‘I told you so’ – yuck! Counterfeit cosmetics and skincare are getting a lot of press recently which is GOOD because these dudes can cause some SERIOUS harm to skin. There is ANOTHER little cake shaped segment of skincare ‘dupes’ which aren’t really dupes but more OLD, past it product, which is being called the ‘beauty GREY market’ and it could be just as dangerous to YOUR skin.
WHAT IS THE ‘BEAUTY GREY’ MARKET
Before we get into it, it has nothing to do with the business activities of the entrepreneurial Mr.Grey of 50 shades *wink wink*. The beauty GREY market is a fuzzy area where REAL branded skincare is SOLD through non-approved shops. It’s NOT counterfeit so… it should work right? How could it be harmful? Does cheaper mean it’s less effective? How can they sell it cheaper? Is there something wrong with it? So many questions, but we have all the answers!
THE NON-APPROVED RETAILERS OF SKINCARE
Every skincare brand has a ‘special’ list, like a little black book of names and contacts that it trusts to sell its products. They have agreements between them that protect the product to make sure it’s in PERFECT condition when you get it AND that should anything go wrong, they are able to trace back that EXACT product you had to see if anything a bit strange happened in the manufacture, to recall that batch if its needed and to help understand why it might ‘ave all gone a bit wrong with your skin.
This is the difference between giving your trusted next door neighbour a key to your house when you’re off on your sun-seeking holidays OR giving that key to someone you bumped into in town. #Randomer #CharacterReferencePlease.
WHAT’S THE PROBLEM WITH A NON-APPROVED RETAILER OF SKINCARE
Imagine that stranger who you’ve just given a key to your house while you’re off on hollybobs. Well however lovely that random is, they will not KNOW just how you like your garden watered, OR how your cat loves a good tickle just under his ear.. little to the left, nope right.. there you got it (!), most of all they have NO idea what to do if ANYTHING goes wrong, water-leak, break-in, cat hasn’t come home. Sure they might figure ‘something’ out, but they don’t KNOW what they SHOULD be doing. This is why non-approved retailers of skincare are NOT good places to buy from, they don’t know anything about the product they are selling, they don’t know what to do if you got a huge skin rash from using that product and a lot of the time, they have no idea when it was made, and how to trace it back to its ‘birth-date’ – that’s the really important bit, if something goes wrong, knowing the birth-date of your skincare is like having access to medical history!
WHAT DOES A NON-APPROVED RETAILER OF SKINCARE LOOK LIKE?
What we would want is a HUGE beacon shouting non-approved retailer – preferably one we could also see from space, you know, should we become astronauts with skincare needs, because we are that awesome! What you might be imagining a non-approved retailer to look like is a dark back-alley shop with neon lighting and a twitchy shutter that snaps shut every time a police-person comes within a 5 mile radius. You might be a little surprised to find out they are hiding SMACK-BANG in the middle of your high-street. If you are reading this in the UK, then TKMAX is where you will find non-approved supply of skincare, if you’re over the pond in the US, then COSTCO is another retailer who supplies skincare without approvals or agreements with the manufacturer. DOH!
HOW TO FIND AN APPROVED RETAILER OF THE SKINCARE PRODUCT YOU WANT
Here is the thing, skincare companies will actually SHARE their ‘little black book’ of contacts with YOU. They want us to be safe when lathering up in their skincare lovelies, AND they want to avoid BAD press on their products being past-their best in a non-approved store. It’s WIN-WIN. All you have to do is visit their direct website, or shortcut a Google search of ‘approved retailers of XX skincare’ will take you straight there. This page will list out ALL approved retailers, so if you wondered whether AMAZON (because they are sometimes barginlicious!) is a safe ‘n approved retailer, then visit this list and KNOW they are (or aren’t) and rest your worries knowing that you only have safe and working skincare. #YAY #SleepBetter.
WHAT COULD GO WRONG IF YOU BUY SKINCARE FROM A NON-APPROVED RETAILER
ITS WAAYYYYYY PAST IT’S BEST BEFORE DATE. This is the main ‘baddy’ when buying skincare through non-approved retailers. The approved retailer is like the next-door neighbour who is house-sitting and KNOWS when to chuck out the left over cat food, or which day of the week to put your bins out. The non-approved retailer has absolutely NO idea which day of the week your bin-man visits, so your bins just get left right where they are. That means skincare in non-approved retailers is likely to be OLD, it’s also more likely because they usually sell at a DISCOUNT, which they can offer because they brought this skincare when it was near, on or even actually past its best before date.
THE ACTIVES ARE ALL DEAD. Skincare can do awesome things for our faces.. and legs..tums ‘n bums, let’s not leave ‘em out ‘ey! WELL, skincare that’s past its best, will have much less of these actives in them than when they were first made. Active ingredients, have the skills to DO something, they have lots of energy to GIVE, which means they ‘like to DO THERE THANG’ and the simple fact they are bottled up isn’t going to stop them dancing away in the bottle. #SOS
YOU HAVE NO WAY TO TELL THAT IT’S REAL. YOU’RE RISKING COUNTERFEIT. Non-approved retailers do not get their stock directly from the skincare company. That means there’s 1 to LOTS of middle-men in-between that makes things a bit messy. That also means that even the non-approved retailer can’t really be SURE that their product is genuine.
IT COULD HAVE GONE THROUGH ANYTHING BEFORE IT GETS TO YOU. IT HAS BAGGAGE YOU DON’T KNOW ABOUT. An approved retailer is like the next-door neighbour who knows how to ‘jiggle’ your key just-right to open up that front door. The non-approved retailer is like the random who has no clue and pushes until it’s open. #CannotWatch. That special skincare something, might need to be transported at a lovely stable 25oC to keep it fresh and fruity, it might be a bit sensitive to sun, so shouldn’t be left out on an un-loading bay in direct sunshine. Approved retailers know all this and have a ‘special (legally enforceable) handshake’ with the skincare company to set this in stone. Non-approved retailers don’t.
HOW TO BAG A SKINCARE BARGIN AND STILL BE SKIN SAFE
All this doesn’t mean you have to buy directly from the brand website OR buy the most expensive one you can find, because ‘it must be real if it’s that expensive’. Getting a skincare bargain is still 100% possible, just make sure wherever you want to buy from is on that special LIST of approved retailers on the skincare companies website. #Simples
If you want to get even more SAVVY there is a great article over on REFINERY29.com, ‘Think twice before you buy these beauty products’ which gives even more info on the ‘Beauty GREY market’.