How to Spot Fake MAC Lipsticks on Carousell


Hello guys! I’m back with another “How to Spot Fake” post specially for the Carousell community but I reckon this will also come in handy for the penny-pinching online shoppers who buy frequently on eBay and Duriana.

Click here to read How to Spot Fake Urban Decay Naked 2 Palettes on Carousell.

If you had read my last haul post, you should know how much a lipstick junkie I am lately. But I only use certain brands such as Urban Decay (you guys know that I’m a UD fanatic), Benefit, Anna Sui and MAC, especially Urban Decay and MAC lipstick as their shades are to die for. I have no issues with buying Urban Decay lipsticks off the net because their Revolution line is probably too new in the market to spawn fakes. However the problem comes when purchasing MAC ones because counterfeit MAC lipstick sales is so rampant on Carousell! I had to be extra careful when buying them and thank god I haven’t gotten any fakes so far (I hope).

Singaporeans! Find out how to buy from maccosmetics.com here!

I have personally seen some users ignorantly buy fakes because the seller assured that they are authentic. And if these buyers don’t like what they bought, they resell them and pass them off as authentic ones again. It’s like a vicious cycle. Many a time, I wanted to leave a comment to clarify, but I guess many users take offense to that so I held back most of the time (except for a few occasions when I was terribly moody and wanted to confront someone lol gangsta). So instead of leaving truthful comments on every misleading listing, blogging about it seems to be more feasible since I know many Carousellers visit this site.

Google “fake mac lipstick” and you will get more than 2 million results but I will skip the size and swatch comparison since you most likely are going to pay before touching or viewing the product, and only list and elaborate on 2 simple steps to avoid purchasing counterfeit MAC lipsticks on Carousell.

1. Ask where the product was purchased from

To me, it is more credible if the seller elaborates on which MAC outlet she bought it from, and when. Highly unconvincing if seller claims that she bought it from a reseller who does preorders. Once again, NEVER buy branded stuff through preorders if you don’t know the source as 99.9% of the time, the products are inauthentic! Sellers can assure its authenticity all they want (but it’s always along the lines of “Supplier claims authentic”) but at the end of the day, when you realize that the product is not the real deal, are they going to refund you your money? Of course not, who are you kidding? Maybe half the amount for the nicer sellers, but definitely not the full sum.

However, if seller honestly tells you that she is unsure of its origin (because it was a gift), you can still probe further by asking for a…

2. Picture of the bottom label

The label is a round sticker found at the bottom (duh) of the lipstick. It is not a demanding request so go ahead and ask for this very important additional picture. Some ethical sellers would have probably known about this as I have also seen some voluntarily attach pictures of it on their listings.

For a clearer explanation, I am going to use my own MAC lipsticks to compare against some blatantly fake ones on Carousell.

Images are for illustration purposes so please don’t get offended if yours is used here. Please note that I am only familiar with MAC lipsticks so please do not use this guide to identify fake MAC foundations, blushes, etc, as they may differ in terms of packaging.

On Carousell:

@noor.shahirah.5 but seller makes known the inauthenticity of product so kudos to her!

@n**r.sh****ah.5 – Seller makes known the inauthenticity of product so kudos to her! This is one of the more obvious ones.

@shoppingcart - "Bought from another carouseller, she claim that this is ori(ginal)"

@sh**ping**rt – Description reads “Bought from another carouseller, she claim that this is ori(ginal)” – A classic example of blind reselling as mentioned above.

@rugrat - Another user who also makes known the inauthenticity of the product.

@r**at – Another user who also makes known the inauthenticity of the product.

Apart from the first picture, you can’t really tell the authenticity of the lipsticks unless you compare it with a genuine one. For my example, I’ve included one of different finish to give you a better idea.

Finishes from left to right: Dazzle, Mattene, Amplified, Sheen Supreme, Cremesheen, Retro Matte, Matte, Mineralize Rich, Satin

Finishes from left to right: Dazzle, Mattene, Amplified, Sheen Supreme, Cremesheen, Retro Matte, Matte, Mineralize Rich, Satin

Just a close-up

Just a close-up

Another close-up

Another close-up

Can you spot the difference?

Well, first of all, the genuine ones do NOT have the brand “MAC” printed again on the bottom label and this is consistent throughout different finishes. Even with some difference in the lipstick packaging (i.e. Mineralize Rich comes in a more luxurious tube), the bottom label still does not bear the brand name. What it has are just the name of the shade and the finish.. which brings me to my next point.

Fakes do not tell you what finish (e.g. lustre, matte, satin) the lipsticks give you. They just have the shade name and the serial number. Hence, do not assume that the lipstick is authentic just because it has a serial number as ALL fakes have one! It’s not that difficult to print some random numbers on the sticker after all! On top of that, genuine serial numbers seem like they are embossed on at random places, unlike those on the fake ones which are typed and aligned according to the shade name. Also, the serial number of genuine MAC lipsticks changes from time to time depending on their batches so don’t be alarmed if yours doesn’t match with those on Google Images!

I’m not sure if you can tell.. but the typeface used on the fake label is also rather tacky and lazy. It’s something that I’d notice at the first glance. Obviously the manufacturers couldn’t be bothered to bold and reduce the size of the serial number. It’s in the default Arial font.. a font which is used mostly by fake factories.

However, counterfeit factories are raising their game these days. They are able to make 1:1 imitation, so close to the original item that even I got deceived! Check out the fake MAC lipstick I bought off Carousell below for (thank goodness) S$5:

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I bought “Viva Glam Cyndi”. Dang, even the box looks exactly like the original. How not to be duped?!

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Wow, seems like these people no longer use stickers! They PRINT the names on the box instead! Just like the original!

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On the other side of the box

The sticker shown above got me a little suspicious, but I’ve seen authentic MAC products sold outside of Singapore with silvery stickers like this pasted on the box, so I closed my eyes on that. The exact same sticker is also pasted at the bottom of the lipstick casing! Furthermore, the sticker satisfies all the criteria of an authentic MAC lipstick: (1) it does not have a MAC logo, (2) the finish of the lipstick is stated and (3) batch number is emboldened and aligned differently from the rest! OMG WHAT. OK IMITATORS, YOU WIN.

By the way, I am not blaming the seller for selling me an imitation. In fact, she did express her uncertainty about its authenticity since it was gifted to her but I took the risk and bought it anyway! I’m actually glad to have bought it because only then would I be able to see and touch a fake MAC lipstick. This post lacks credibility without firsthand experience right?! So here I am, with a fake MAC lipstick that cost me S$5! Ouch. That’s two packets of chicken rice.

It was mailed to me and when I tore open the envelope, the box was already distorted even though it was carefully bubble-wrapped! This never happened to me before. Ignoring those minute details, I excitedly removed the lipstick from the box. Then, I took off the lipstick cap and immediately, I was greeted by a strong plasticky smell and a DISLODGED lipstick bullet! I was like wtf?!?!

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How the dislodged bullet looks like and it’s VERY DISGUSTING AND SMELLY. I tried to put it back into the casing but it was too soft to withstand my touch/grip/whatever (I swear I held it gently enough), thus making a dent on the bullet!

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The lipstick casing isn’t of very good quality too! Look how easily they can be detached from each other! It’s made of thin, light plastic.

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A closer look at Cyndi’s signature. Quite convincing, dotcha think?

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The bullet fell out NICELY and definitely wasn’t pulled out because why? There isn’t any trace of lipstick in the casing! Omg, use a better and stronger glue, won’t you?!?

Now, let’s do a quick comparison between this and an authentic MAC lipstick! I know one common way to distinguish a fake is to compare its weight and size against an authentic one. But I’m really all about convenience and that method is definitely too troublesome for me. So I did something else which could tell me the results in a snap of the fingers!

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Fake on the left, real on the right. You won’t be able to tell which is fake just by looking at their sizes!

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The cap! Clearly, the logo on the fake one is fading.

fakevsrealmac

Watch the animation! I’m sorry that it’s a little slow-mo but I can’t seem to change that on Photoshop.

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In conclusion, the cap of a fake MAC lipstick would not be able to fit onto a real MAC lipstick nicely as it is too loose. On the other hand, the cap of a real one will not be able to fit onto a fake at all. Fakes are made a little bigger than the genuine ones!

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In general, this is the crap I bought.

Hope this is useful information to you! If you have other ways to spot fake MAC lipsticks online, do leave them down in the comments below 🙂

And yes, most of the lipsticks shown in my collection above are my latest haul 😛 Will do a review on them in my next Carousell haul post!

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30 thoughts on “How to Spot Fake MAC Lipsticks on Carousell

  1. I think you need to get a life than spending all your time on line talking about MAC. You obviously have nothing else to do with your life.If u don’t like it that’s ure damn problem as people like me are happy paying 75% off for a fake and still great quality products!

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  2. Oh hi Natalie! You’re so full of yourself *rolls eyes*

    First of all, if you like fakes, then this post is NOT intended for you.

    Secondly, what I do with my life is also none of your (not “ure” or “you’re” puh-leeeeze) business. But fret not, it’s definitely more exciting than your cheap life.

    I do not welcome illiterates yet presumptuous people here so your future comments will be screened/deleted. Thanks for your valueless input and have fun poisoning your face.

    xoxo

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  3. UGH I just purchased a fake one on carousell. Should have read this earlier.. Thanks for your blog post! Really informative!

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  4. Hi Fiona! Not sure if you have used Bourjois Healthy Mix serum foundation before but I’m planning on getting it and I’m not sure what shade suits me better. I use Silky Girl water gel BB in 01 Natural and I’m thinking of getting the Bourjois serum foundation in shade 51 Light vanilla. Torn between shade 51 Light Vanilla and shade 52 Vanilla. Really hope you could help!

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  5. No problem Ally! I really hope this post can reach as many Carousell users as possible. There are just too many dishonest sellers around.

    Sorry but I don’t use Bourjois! I may be able to help if you’re a MAC, Benefit or Urban Decay user. 😦

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  6. ohhh says the presumptuous one who goes around slamming people. why don’t YOU get a proper job, earn decent money and buy good makeup hunny? #feelsadforyou

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  7. Hi Fiona
    do you know the batch number that is written at the sticker below the lippie case .
    Example A24
    as i google they say
    A is 1st batch
    2 is in Feb
    and last digit is 2004 or 2014 .
    Quite confuse as i went to a sale last sat at kembangan by Beauty allure .. and im not sure its fake or not or expired 😦

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  8. Hey Lenny! My opinion is… if there is no concrete evidence (such as an official email from MAC) that the code means something else, do take whatever you read online a pinch of salt. The only way to find out when it’s manufactured is by looking at the manufacturing date sticker on the packaging, which can only be found on lipsticks bought from Singapore MAC stores. For all of mine, the date on the stickers don’t tally with the “batch number” at the bottom of the lipstick. I do have unusual codes like “AC4” too. I really don’t think there’s a literal meaning to the code that we consumers can understand la 🙂

    From my understanding, MAC lipsticks have a shelf life of 2 years (not sure from whom I heard it) from the day of opening. But I use mine until they smell bad (which hasn’t happened so far and I still use lipsticks bought 3 years ago)

    I haven’t heard of Beauty Allure though.. and apart from Sephora, TANGS, Robinsons and MAC itself, I don’t think there’s any other local beauty retailers that carry MAC so I don’t know if Beauty Allure is trusted!

    Oops sorry for the wordy reply. Would you like me to take a look at your lipstick? Maybe you can drop me a mail with some pictures at askme@fionaseah.com and we can take the discussion further 🙂

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  9. very informative! i was at a bazzaar yesterday and saw a lot of fake Mac lippies. And yes you are right, they always claim their items are all authentic( i was smirking while staring at her fake items, duh).

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  10. I also read somewhere that the stickers on the bottom of the actual lipstick tube, if fake, do not have a recycling logo on them round the outside!

    (Also, some of my authentic, purchased-from-a-MAC-counter lipsticks do have the shade name on a sticker on the box instead of it being printed on! So don’t always assume that a sticker means it’s not real!)

    I only just discovered this blog and I have a feeling I will be a regular reader. 🙂

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  11. Hey Livia, I think old packaging does have the recycling logo on the sticker! Thanks for dropping by and do check out my other MAC reviews if you’re a MAC fanatic like me ^_^

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  12. Hey Fiona, thanks so much for this post. I buy make up on depop pretty often so reading this has helped me from spending money on fakes!
    I’m so confused as to why people are being and rude to you, why are they reading this then?
    They have no idea what’s in the replicas/fakes so it’s safer not to buy them, also it’s a waste of money as sometimes fakes aren’t that cheap.
    Thank you so much for this review! 🙂

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  13. Hey Ays! Thanks for the kind words and the reassurance that what I did was right 🙂 I was shocked to receive such mean comments too but I guess those people are the ones selling fakes themselves and this post had probably hurt their sales!

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  14. Hi Fiona,

    Thank you for such a informative post! I’m sure this would help a lot of people in buying mac lipsticks online. Fakes are definitely not the way to go, for you have no idea what they put in to make the lipstick and such. GRRR.. Never ever buy fakes! Could I suggest more swatches of mac lipsticks, and probably another of such informative posts?

    Cheers and have a good day!

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  15. Hello Cheryl! Thanks for your kind words! I will definitely do more posts like this if I see the need to 😉 Do you have any area of concerns that you’d want me to write about? And yes, more lipstick reviews comin you way 😀 Have a great day too!

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  16. Hi Fiona. I don’t own any MAC lipstick products but after seeing the YouTube vids on the MAC lipsticks, I am so tempted to purchase one! Thanks for the info on distinguishing between a fake & an authentic MAC lipstick. Some of the colors I really like are twig, syrup, dark side, & rebel. I like lady danger too but it’s not a color I would wear too often if I had it because it’s hecka bright. BTW, what is the shelf life for a MAC lipstick.

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  17. Hey Naveena, no problem! Just wanted to prevent people from being duped into buying fake ones. The shelf life of lipsticks is typically between 6 months and a year but I only toss mine away once it starts to smell bad, or the colour starts to change. My lipsticks (even those as old at 5 years old) have been in great condition so far. Just keep them away from direct sunlight and it should be fine 🙂

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  18. Just found your post when Googling about the codes on the bottom. I have two I received from someone else as a gift I am now convinced are fakes. The labels look good except that one has the code embossed only and not printed, wouldn’t be an issue except that it’s sideways! The only other tell is the shade of grey of the tubes themselves and the little nobbles that the lid catches onto are slightly different. But the lids interchange with authentic MAC lipsticks and everything, the counterfeiters have upped their game again, beware folks!

    To the people who are happy with fakes I cannot believe how dumb you must be to willingly put make-up that could contain heavy metals, rat poison, rat faeces and human urine on your face. You are also funding organised crime and terrorism by purposefully buying that dangerous crap. But hey, if you go blind its not my circus and not my freaking monkeys.
    This is why drugstore dupes exist. Buy those instead.

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  19. Hey SS! If you really bought your lipstick from a legit MAC store then fret not, yours should be authentic. MAC could have altered the packaging or you could have bought a lipstick that’s not in matte finish 😉

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  20. Hi Fiona, thanks for the informative post. I am curious on whether you are able to identify real vs fake MAC lip pencils. I love the real ones, but there are so many on Carousell that are selling at such a low price I find it hard to believe that they are genuine although I did buy two genuine ones online. Any pics to illustrate real vs fake MAC lip pencils? Thanks.

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  21. Oh I don’t really buy MAC lip pencils so I can’t really advise on that. But the smell is a giveaway! If it smells plasticky, fake! And if the printing on the packaging/pencil is off, fake too! Most importantly, the price! And the quality of the photo taken. Sometimes I also observe the kind of products the Carouseller is selling.. I don’t mean to be racist or anything but from my own observation, I noticed that a *particular* racial group has been peddling fake products with poor written English so I tend to stay away from them. Always trust your instinct!

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  22. Hi,
    am a lipstick lover myself and will read blogs time to time whenever they pop out from a related search on google (usually lip products ^^) and this post reminds me of all the fake lip products I’ve come across which are very similar to the authentic ones.

    Some are obviously fake, based on pricing and “supplier claims authentic”, whereas others have a much more competitive pricing yet not too cheaply priced, and great reviews which increases its credibility.

    A more prominent example would be of the Laneige Two Tone Lipstick purchased from Qoo10 local seller, Merxxxx Treaxxxxx. If I’m not wrong this seller has changed “her” name before. I’ve purchased the same authentic product previously on Qoo10 from korean sellers. When I received my order from this local seller however, something wasn’t right. It looked authentic, but thankfully I had purchased the same colour before and could do a true comparison.
    The giveaways were
    – packaging looked the same but somehow less glossy and word and colour print was bolder and darker
    – different scent
    – colour looks slightly different and edges were rounder instead of sharper
    – push slide did not have the same “feel” when pushing down
    – fake CAP did not fit exactly onto the authentic lip bar, it was looser, no “click” sound when closed
    It was a really great dupe but I’m amazed barely anyone realised it. Some did question authenticity but left it at that. I managed to get my refund although I absorbed the return smartpac mailing. Seller insists it was authentic and I didn’t know how to bring up to Qoo10 management. I couldn’t leave a review either since there was no option to do so once refunded, thus I also left it at that.
    After that I noticed the seller moved on to other platforms such as Carousell where it was sold at $15 only, many purchased and none seemed the wiser, and also on another online platform, who brought the seller in upon seeing the multiple reviews on Qoo10 and promoted “her” stocks. Thankfully, some alert buyers compared it to their original pieces and called the seller out on selling fakes. However by then most of the stocks are already sold. Have tried reporting the post but not sure if there was any action taken, so far only the post for the lip bars was taken down but seller is still allowed to sell other products.

    I’ve also heard of horror stories from a friend who was convinced his pomade was old stock and expiry date was tampered with to make it seem new, as the packaging was of an old design yet it was “recently manufactured”. Am not sure if that’s possible but unscrupulous sellers are everywhere.

    Reading this post made me feel I should voice out my concerns, even though it is only indirectly related.

    Hope it’s fine and thanks for your time. =)

    Like

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