Beware of fake products!

Buy from official channels

When buying cosmetic products resort preferably to outlets that can offer guarantees on the provenance and authenticity of their products; be extra careful if purchasing on stalls and on the Internet.

Remember that counterfeit cosmetics can be cheaper than the original ones, but do not offer guarantees of quality and safety.
Price depends on composition and good manufacturing practices, as well as packaging and advertising costs; In any case low-cost products should not be demonized.

Counterfeit Cosmetics

“Counterfeits Cosmetics” are all those products and their packaging (both external and internal packaging) on which a brand has been applied without authorization. The applied brand appears identical to a registered trademark for the same kind of product or it can be easily recognized as widely known. (Rulement (CE) 1383 del 22 July 2003).

Product forgery is a very relevant phenomenon and is ever increasing: the problem is mainly regarding perfumes and toothpaste, but is also spreading in soaps and detergents product categories.

This type of products is a problem for society in many different ways.
On one hand, the products concerned are by their very nature manufactured illegally and of unknown origin, resulting in non-guaranteed safety and quality as required by the Community rules on cosmetic products, con conseguenti pericoli per la sicurezza del consumatore: they may also contain ingredients banned by law.
On the other hand, the unknown origin and non-compliance with Community legislation also causes serious doubts about the effectiveness of these products.
Lastly, the counterfeit product is a detriment to the industrial activity conducted legally, since it constitutes a form of illegal competition affecting the free market with inevitable negative consequences on employment.

For these reasons it would be desirable that everyone refrain from purchasing counterfeit cosmetics.

It is not always easy to recognize a counterfeit cosmetic product.
However, the consumer may take some simple precautions when buying products by making comparisons with cosmetics previously purchased or otherwise known:

  • Pay attention to the name of the product and in particular the graphics (color and Writing of the name);
  • Carefully check the trademark of the product you intend to purchase, especially if it has anomalies or changes compared to the well-known one;
  • Check and compare the appearance of the packaging: colors, lettering (font size and presence of spelling mistakes), the size of the container and the box itself;
  • Check the presence of the mandatory information that must be to be included on the box or container;
  • Verify that the usage information, precautions and purpose of the product are given in Italian;
  • Assess the adequacy of the price compared to the type of product;
  • Choose sales channels regularly authorized.

The Ministero della Salute (Health Ministry) operates within the counterfeiting of cosmetic products area, through independent initiatives, and jointly with CNAC (Consiglio Nazionale Anticontraffazione – National Anti-Counterfeit Council) and with IMPACT Italia task-force.

As part of this activity, the Ministry of Health considers important the role of the consumer: by paying attention during the purchase process will not only ensure himself a safe purchase, but will also prevent from funding a phenomenon harmful to the community.


IMPACT Italia is the national task force established in 2007 to counteract the phenomenon of pharmaceutical counterfeiting.

It represents the unique reference point for activities in this field and consists of all the major institutions concerned with the issue: AIFA, Ministero del lavoro, della salute e delle politiche sociali, Istituto Superiore di Sanità e Carabinieri NAS that together with Ministero dello Sviluppo Economico, Agenzia delle Dogane e Ministero dell’Interno (Direzione Centrale Polizia Criminale), develop activities and joint investigations allowing to involve other authorities concerned for individual targeted projects.


What are the main risks of counterfeit cosmetics?

Research conducted in the past on counterfeit cosmetics and perfumes seized by the authorities have shown that these products may contain illegal substances that could not pass the tests of security provided by law.

These products, therefore, may pose a serious threat to the consumer’s health: for example, there have been cases in which the use of counterfeit perfume has caused a severe allergic reaction.

How can you identify a counterfeit product?

The advice is to always buy from a reliable source, such as retail stores known or official websites. Better, however, avoid buying from illegal street markets and be careful when you are choosing ethnic shops.

Source: ABC cosmetici.

Pubblicazione “Cosmetici e contraffazione”, 20 dicembre 2013 del Ministero della Salute


This post is also available in: Italian