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.

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.


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.


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.




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.



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.

29 comments on “How to tell the difference between a real and fake Benefit They’re Real mascara”

  1. This post has helped tremendously! I also just bought this mascara off of eBay & it is a complete fake; it has ALL of the things you described here.

      • Yes that’s a good idea, I unfortunately don’t know the seller of mine as a friend purchased it from eBay for me. I agree with reporting them to eBay!

        • Received my “fake” today, purchased from eazybreezy1957. Photo on listing shows the “real” mascara but that is not what I was shipped. I emailed them (no response yet), will also be taking this up with eBay since seller does not offer refunds according to listing.

        • Just a follow up; my seller didn’t realize it was a fake. She had purchased 2 off eBay herself and didn’t like the mascara so tried to sell the one she didn’t use. Wasn’t aware that she had bought fakes off eBay. She refunded my money as well. So eazybreezy1957 is good to buy from and does not sell fake products intentionally.

          I would delete my original comment but don’t see anywhere to do that. Thanks!

  2. If you want “real” buy it from the benefit counter or online from benefit .The cheaper copy works just as well from ebay without supporting the big name companies who rip off everyone……….

    • If you don’t care about the big name companies (as you put it) why bother going to the trouble/risk of buying a fake Benefit product? Drugstore brands are cheaper and you can find out what’s in them. Fake products are risky and illegal.

  3. Just received my mascara from Ebay and matched it with your description and pics, and its fake, this prompted me to Google fake la touche eclat which has also come today from a diff Ebayer seller and thats fake too, Lesson learnt. thanks

  4. It still amazes me that people STILL in this day & age buy high end makeup off of unauthorized sources, such as Ebay, or local no-name beauty supplies, then are surprised to learn it’s fake. I just don’t get it. Often times those brands don’t deal with that many places besides their own websites & stores, like there’s Sephora, department stores, Ulta, & that’s really about it. Plus the very popular high-end products almost never are discounted. So when people see a popular high end product on Ebay for a third of what it really goes for, I don’t understand why a huge red flag wouldn’t go up. I mean yeah there’s always the chance you may get someone that got something for Christmas & already had it, or didn’t want it or whatever, but they’ll only be selling one, not hundreds. Even then I don’t see taking the chance just to save a little bit of money. I’ve always been curious about this mascara (the real one of course lol), like is it really that good & whatnot. Unfortunately despite having testers at Sephora, Ulta, & department stores, since it’s mascara, you really can’t try it on. I mean, I suppose you could, but that’d be a bit gross lol. Mascara’s tricky, it’s one of those things where it can work brilliantly on one person, & horrendously on the next. I suppose that could be said about any makeup product, but I think more so w/mascara.

    • Agreed. With mascara the best thing you can do is judge the product on the applicator to see if you might like it, as there’s no way to test the actual product unless you want to risk a tester (no thanks!). I definitely think with They’re Real you either love it or hate it. I regarded it as my favourite mascara for ages, before I tried another and moved on haha.

    • I hear what you are saying. I never want to be faked into buying a fake product at all, yet in today’s world it can and does happen; truly unfortunate.
      However, let’s think this through. With all the mail order makeup companies out there, there are bound to be some that subscribe to more then one. In turn there are many products that someone doesn’t want, can’t use has another favorite already etc. So, if a person such as myself is unable to pay $25-28 for mascara I would love to try why shouldn’t I be able to feel completely comfortable buying from someone on ebay. I mean most of those boxes are $10 and up a month right? This brings me to 2 additional thoughts. 1. You (blanketed statement) say one shouldn’t buy high end makeup from places like ebay, so then all unwanted products from monthly subscriptions should just be tossed out? 2. Or are we saying that it is okay for someone to offer it to another rather than tossing it out; but they should sell it for retail. I mean why not offer it for a few bucks (because technology that’s really what they paid for it) someone else gets a chance to try something that normally might be beyond their means, Yet you don’t agree, interesting.
      Oh and P.S. Sephora, Ulta etc… do offer individual toss away applicator’s for items you would like to try. So it really isn’t that gross.

      Tired, long night yet my thoughts. Just because there are fakes out there, doesn’t mean all bargains do and will always consists of fakes. Personally, if someone does get lucky enough to try something at a bargain, it could make them a buyer for life. Seriously, isn’t that the whole sale pitch behind all these monthly mail subscriptions anyway, it is they are banking on it. Just take cation and do some research.

      • Thanks for your comment! Not sure where you got my blanketed statement from – as I know that eBay can have great deals and genuine products, but the reality is that there are a lot of counterfeit products on eBay too. Which is why I said the deal MAY be too good to be true – it’s all about being aware as a consumer, which is what this post was designed to help with 🙂
        I’ve bought genuine cosmetics from eBay too, it’s all about research – I agree with you.

  5. So glad I found this, I’m new to high end make up. I didn’t know fakes were a thing in the make up world and WOW are the fakes similar!! Thanks for pointing out these differences, sadly mine is a fake.

  6. Thank you so much for this article. I also was duped and purchased a lot of 2 from an ebayer!
    @cg100 – there is no point in reprimanding people that have been duped! You can find a lot of great deals on ebay!

  7. Thanks for this article!! I totally knew better…Needless to say won’t happen again!! I agree with That Girl, there are so many great sellers and great deals on Ebay..I have a friend that is a seller of everything girlie and not one item out of 6k that she has sold has been fake/counterfeit..guaranteed!! 😉

    • Oh totally agree! I buy and sell on eBay and love it. Definitely not telling people to avoid eBay, just to be aware that not every seller abides by the eBay rules! Definitely lots of authentic products available 🙂

    • I would definitely use at your own risk. As counterfeit products have been known to contain a range of different ingredients not used in approved, genuine cosmetics. The one I got was also a terrible mascara, the consistency was thick, gluggy and smelly and not like other mascaras – so that was also a warning sign not to use it!

  8. I once bought a counterfeit Miss Dior on Ebay, and everything about it was so real except the scent. After finding a site similar to yours I was able to spot minor differences, but counterfeiters are getting better and better. I thought I was getting a deal for $20 less, when really this person was just robbing me blind.

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