Why people knowingly buy fake cosmetics online, and why they shouldn't
Do you know how cheap it is to make cosmetics? Your 1000-peso foundation probably only cost less than 100 pesos to make, and that's already including the packaging. But the reason you're not getting that foundation for a hundred bucks is that the company selling it has to account for overhead costs. That includes taxes on their business, commissions from retailers, hiring manpower to distribute the products, keep inventory, manage finances, and of course market the product so people know about it. It also includes rent and utilities - the company will also have to pay to literally keep the lights on and have a space to sell those products.
Most importantly, however, is that the cost of the product includes being certified as safe to use and sell by the requisite governing bodies. There are necessary permits that need to be obtained before it can be released in the market, and this is why your 1000-peso foundation is not causing your face to break out in nasty hives.
I'm sure a lot of people already have a sense of this behind the products they buy, but still, many opt to save money by purchasing cheap and fake cosmetics knowingly. Here are some of the reasons this happens:
Fake cosmetics allow people to feel included in the brand's prestige. MAC lipsticks are still status symbols after all these years, but many don't have P1000+ to spend on it. The next best thing? A 100-peso dupe that looks almost the same except for a few cosmetic differences in the packaging. Who among their friends could tell? Sure they know it's fake, but as long as their friends don't, then they are a person who can afford to blow 1,000 pesos on something as frivolous as lipstick.
What I do find odd though is that brands like Maybelline, NYX, and Etude House - drugstore brands! - are also being copied. They're not that expensive which is why it's surprising. Still, if the person is earning minimum wage or earning no wage at all (such as students), a couple hundred bucks makes a big difference.
Some people truly believe that fake cosmetics are "replicas", or almost like the real thing. If their only goal was function, they could've just bought a cheap drugstore product that will be of the same quality or better. But they want to get the fake, "Class A replica" version of something more famous because they think that the quality of it is ~close enough~ to the real thing.
Nothing can be further from the truth. They know the products look almost the same, but they don't know what's in that stuff! For the product to be sold that cheap, the ingredients used and the manufacturing practices are likely below standard. You're not cutting through all the red tape to get something at manufacturing cost - the people making and selling these dirt cheap stuff are still making serious profit by reducing costs even more.
I have yet to understand why people would take such a risk, on their skin no less.
Cosmetics are, at the end of the day, non-essential products. This might trap people into thinking that they shouldn't spend on it if there are similar alternatives. However, we don't have to buy fake products just to feel like we have something that's good when it is likely not, or feel like someone we are not. There are tons of other legit makeup out there according to your budget and you can easily find them by reading reviews online.
Weigh in: how do you feel about fake cosmetics?