Reader question: What does "authentic" mean in online shopping?

I have been online shopping at shops like digitaltraincase, stuffinstyle, makeuphub, redgirlshop and others. I keep seeing those words "authentic" on some brands. For example, Authentic BenNye Banana, authentic Mac.. Etc. what does authentic actually mean in terms of makeup products? I researched definitions of authentic, its like a veryclose replica of the original. Another definition is, it is made the same way. So what is it with shops adding "authentic" to their products, because sometimes I doubt if its oroginal or its whatever. So what is it really? Is it fake products if theres "authentic" in it? - Maggie

Sounds like a straightforward question, but not really! Authentic means "genuine" or "original". If an online store claims that its products are authentic then hold them to the fact that their wares are the exact same ones sold in retail locations. If they say their Benefit Hervana Blush is authentic, then it should be exactly what Benefit sells in its Greenbelt store.

Digital Traincase is a store I trust 100%! Stuff in Style too.

But it gets confusing once a store claims that its products are "Singapore authentic", for example. Perfumes, cosmetics, and bags are usually tagged as such. The sellers would even post elaborate descriptions and photos to prove that their products are not bootlegged from China or something. (Even though most things are made in China these days anyway.)

So are they fake or not? They're fake. :) They might even be a class A or B replica, which means that the products almost look like the real thing, but make no mistake - they are not authentic. Something is authentic only if (1) the parent company sells it directly individually or in bulk to its distributors and/or (2) the same factory producing for the parent company sells what it makes for the brand. But the latter is not very plausible, since I doubt the brands would legally allow their manufactures to undercut them. 

If the price is too good to be true, then you should think twice about buying online or even in brick and mortar stores! If a product is cheaper by sa 30% than retail price then that's still fine. But 50% off the SRP plus the product is brand new? You must wonder. To be safe, just don't buy! Do read my old but still relevant article on how to spot fake cosmetics.

High-end products are expensive for a reason. Luxury brands invest heavily on research, ingredients, and packaging to come up with something that would fit the desires of their consumers. That, factored in with their marketing costs, make up for the price tag. But owning something authentic is not just about the guaranteed quality. It's also that smug feeling of being able to align with the brand story, of owning something from it simply because you can.

So always buy authentic products, or if you can't afford them, buy the fake ones. Just don't let anyone (including yourself) fool you into thinking it's anything else. :)