If you’re like me and have a thing for some of the finer cosmetics in life, you would agree that when you buy high-end makeup you do so for the quality and not to publicly show off the brand (after all, no one sees Benefit stamped on your lashes)! Therefore, it can be disheartening to receive a counterfeit product when you think you’ve made that high-end purchase. The packaging is extremely convincing and similar, and whether you’re a first-time purchaser or questioning whether your favourite mascara has perhaps changed, here are some sure signs showing the differences between an authentic Benefit They’re Real mascara and a fake.

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Image credit: Benefit Cosmetics

The first sign is the colour of the mascara tube. The authentic product utilises a bright, silver-coloured coating on both the body and cap of the tube (it is not metal, but looks it), whereas the fake tube is two-toned, the body appearing more of a purple/grey-coloured silver and the lid appearing more of an oyster-coloured silver. The signature, radiant orange of the lettering ‘Real!’ is also extremely underwhelming, appearing more of a dull-peach tone. Can you already pick the differences in the pictures below?

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The base of the tube displays different labels, and the fake tube contains an obvious indented line through the plastic.

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Upon unscrewing the mascara there is a key difference in the screw-top mechanism and look. The real mascara has a black screw-top, only containing one, raised ridge the entire way round. Whereas the fake mascara utilises the same colour as the body of the tube, and has the raised ridge wrap-around approximately 2-3 times.

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There is also a significant variance in weight. As soon as I picked up the fake mascara it felt unusually light for a brand new product. The real mascara weighed in at approximately 26 grams, whereas the fake mascara weighed in at approximately 17 grams, both unused.

The weight variance also made me wonder what products were actually used in the fake mascara. Benefit Cosmetics displays the ingredient list on the mascara box, yet doesn’t display quantities (ie the mascara recipe). Therefore, did the manufacturer of the fake mascara use exactly the same ingredients, and if so in what quantities? If not, what ingredients make up this fake mascara?! I was definitely wary about putting it anywhere near my eyes, especially when the product came out like pictured below.

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The mascara looks thick and gluggy, actually a lot like tar. It is stringy and clings to the brush bristles. It also smells sickeningly, sweet and peachy. The fake mascara has been opened a few days now, and the sickeningly sweet smell is changing to more of a paint-like smell – also a concerning indicator of the ingredients used. The genuine They’re Real mascara does not have a sickly sweet smell, it has a usual mascara smell. I would describe it as more of a marker smell, though only at about 10% of the pungency of that – it is not unpleasant nor concerning.

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That’s a summary of the key differences I found between the fake They’re Real mascara and the authentic They’re Real mascara. As Benefit’s retail price of the They’re Real mascara is USD $23.00, if you’re purchasing off a website such as eBay for a price less than that, chances are the deal may in fact be too good to be true. Benefit They’re Real retails in Australia for AUD $38.00, so it is quite pricey. The safest place to purchase a genuine They’re Real mascara is from www.benefitcosmetics.com, they have free postage to Australia for purchases over $125 (which they sometimes lower for limited periods), or from www.myer.com.au.