Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Why Fake Kylie Jenner Lip Kits Could Be Dangerous | Shady | Refinery29

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So were going to meet the undercover operative

right now.

Make the buy.

Walk away.

Hand me the products that theyve purchased.

If anything happens,

Im supposed to go into the bank immediately.

Is this the black market?

Its counterfeit goods.

Its illegal activity.

Its black market.

This is shady.

This winter, I got a tip that made my jaw drop.

Car cables on the street in Downtown Los Angeles

lined with just released, in demand beauty

products at a fraction of the retail price.

Things that just hit stores.

And even to a Beauty Editor,

they looked totally authentic.

So whats the deal?

I headed downtown to see for myself.

This is fake, but the good kind.

Oh we can cut through the alley, do you want to?

Alright so we just wanted into Santee Alley

and were going to look around.

The prices in Santee Alley are astounding.

It appears that MAC lipstick is going for $2.

Urban Decay palettes for $15 instead of $50.

So whats the catch?

So she says that makeup artists come down here

and buy a lot of this stuff.

The majority of the people were talking to down here

dont want to be on camera,

but we found one woman who might talk to us.

So were going to try to find her.

So you have every brand that everyone wants.

You have Too Faced, MAC, Kylie.

How much for example is it

for a Kylie Lip Kit here?

Its $6.

$6 and then how do you sell them for so much less than

you would find them on Kylies

website for example?

Well not lying, everythings from China.

How do you get it?

Where do you order it from?



A lot of people cannot afford $30 lipstick.

You know?

So $5, $3, they prefer to pay that.

I heard people have reactions and things,

but complaints?


I use it myself.

Oh you do.

Do you ever get scared that you dont know whats in it

or what the conditions are

like in China where they make it.


I think everythings just a lie.

I think everything comes from the samesame thing.

So you think a lot of the stuff that youre

buying from China is replicatheyre just

the same stuff?

Theyre just the same stuff.

Thats what I think.

Because I use it.

I see the original.

I see the fake.

And I dont really see a lot of things

that are different.

You just save more money.


According to sellers,

this is the secret to getting cult products

at rock-bottom prices.

But are they really the same?

To find out, I headed to the beauty capital of the country.

If it feels like the beauty industry has

exploded overnight, its because youre right.

The makeup category grew by 12% in 2016.

And the $445 billion dollar per year industry

is growing at a steady rate of 3% per year.

And has proven to be recession-proof.

To fulfill the demand,

conglomerates like Estée Lauder and LOréal

are purchasing

indie brands at a record rate.

The result is a palpable demand for expensive

luxury beauty products, an atmosphere perfect

for counterfeiting.

Its a huge problem and it seems to be getting bigger.

I would compare this industry to say

a drug-trafficking organization.

Some of the items weve examined

have been found to contain lead, arsenic, mercury, even

horse urine.

How are the products getting into the country?

They usually come into our seaports

and then from there, theyre off loaded and taken

to various distribution points.

We run investigations and work our way back

and for the most part, it takes us to China.

To find out just how easy it is to get the goods in bulk,

we sent an undercover reporter

into a cosmetics market in Guangzhou,

a major manufacturing hub in China.

It turns out, its as easy as walking into the right store,

which was the first one we tried.

Actually, what's inside is very different.

The FBI reports that counterfeit cosmetics

have been found to contain dangerous levels

of bacteria.

And reported reactions include acne,

psoriasis, serious skin rashes, and eye infections.

Whats more?

These reactions can take days to show up

which means the counterfeit products dont always

get the blame they deserve.

Estée Lauder seized over 2.6 million counterfeit

MAC products in 2016 alone.

Back in New York,

we met with the man in charge of

its global security team.

What does the dark underbelly of this look like?

I traveled to China, to Guangzhou,

a couple of years ago and my team took me around to

some of the locations where these products are made.

And its just unsanitary conditions.

I mean theres no quality control.

Theres no list that isnt right.

Meet the test, lets take it off the line.

You wouldnt eat there, let alone

make products there for distribution.

This is just a taste of the kind of conditions

that Estée Lauders global security team

finds when raiding counterfeit factories

both overseas and in the U.S.

MAC has such a massive problem with counterfeiting

that they actually have an entire division

thats set up just to combat it.

And they have a private investigator

who sort of heads finding the people who are selling

it on the streets.

So we are going to meet with this person now.


Driving in New York for the first time

so Im going to try to get us there.

This is Jimmy, Estée Lauders private investigator.

Hes the real deal

and not just because people compare him

to Tony Soprano.

Hes ex-Military, served 20 years in the NYPD,

and now hes hired by huge corporations

to get knock-offs off the street.

Hes going to be showing us just how they fight

counterfeiting here in New York City.

A company like Estée Lauder will reach out to me.

They have an anti-counterfeiting program.

What well do is investigate leads and determine

if theyre counterfeit and conduct an investigation

and we send it to the police.

Im going to guess that youre not

on the streets buying beauty products from the


I do not think that Ill be effective

in my world to buy beauty products.

In order to deliver a counterfeiting case

to the police on a silver platter,

Estée Lauder does the legwork.

For example, MAC gets tipped off about suspicious products,

often by consumers through social media.

The global security team develops the leads.

Then they often hand them over to

a private investigator.

A case is developed using undercover operatives,

often criminal justice students who fit an

average buyers age.

Undercover footage seals the deal

and the products are inspected by a brand rep who

completes an affidavit that theyre counterfeit

before its all turned over to the cops.

All this just to get a single seller off the corner.



So Lexy this is is Nancy Gordon with Estée Lauder.

Hi, its so nice to meet you.

Nancy is the expert is authentication

so shes coming out with us to actually examine the

products that were buying to confirm

that theyre counterfeit.

They can become agitated.

They can become confrontational.

They can escalate it to a physical altercation.

So those are all the risks that are involved

with doing an undercover operation.

Alright, listen.

I dont know who the undercover is.

Youre the undercover?

Uh huh.

The girls are just going to playjust act

like youre dating their brothers like youre

from college.

Because youre not going to fit here.

Im going to stay here.

I can see that.

And were going to get closer as a matter of fact.

And remember be careful.

If anything happens,

Im suppose to go into the bank immediately.

Alright, bye guys.

They literally bought all of this for $120.

And this just at the store

would be hundreds of dollars, easily.

Thats wild.

I also got a couple things too.

So now Nancy does her thing.

Can you tell if its counterfeit yet?

You didnt even open it yet.

You just know.

I didnt need to.

I can tell by the packaging.

Nancy, what do you think about that one?

Its pretty obvious.

The label.

Take a look at howsheertoneis spelled.


You guys, they spelledtone

wrong on the packaging.


T-I-O-N-E is how they spelled it.

So what is the final verdict?

Its counterfeit.

All of it?

So far.


But, Im sure they will be.

What is going to happen to this guy?

Well after the police conduct their investigations,

then they make their determinations of our

findings as what we see here,

that he is selling counterfeit goods, he broke the law.

So, hell be arrested.

Jimmy was right.

The New York seller got arrested by NYPD

using the evidence Estée Lauder collected and his

goods were seized.

But he pledged down to lesser charges

to avoid jail time.

Its hard not to think it was all just a

drop in the bucket.

All that work for one tabletop of products.

So whats the long-term solution?


The consumer must be aware of the counterfeit ingredients,

of the products of inferior quality

that are out there.

Ultimately, if you eliminate the demand,

you address the supply.

Some may say thats easier said than done,

especially when the efficacy of our cosmetics

seem to be growing less valuable

than the name on the package.

So whats more important?

Your skin or the name printed on your makeup?

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