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3 months in: My Advice on how beauty brands can protect against counterfeits

By Wilma McDaniel, Head of Beauty

It’s been three months since I leapt from my career in luxury beauty over to the murky world of counterfeits.

Having spent over 20 years helping build and promote beauty brands, in my new role at SnapDragon Monitoring I have moved into the space of protecting them. 

So, what have I discovered in the first three months of my new career? It’s certainly been eye opening.

Never in my life have I been so surprised. Never in my life have I felt such devastation that the organisations I have walked hand in hand with for the last 20 years are being so ruthlessly ripped off by counterfeiters. Never in my life have I been so determined to raise awareness and fight back against these awful crimes.

But the biggest discovery of all, is that there is light at the end of this dark tunnel.

The counterfeit beauty epidemic

Beauty brands today spend all their energy on making their products perfect.

If you’re looking for a luxury product, some of its ingredients can only be picked at certain times of the day, while other formulations will contain patented peptides that research and development teams will spend years innovating.

It is this in-depth innovation and the clinical trials that follow that people pay for when they purchase a beauty product. It’s not just about the brand. It’s about knowing that every single ingredient in the product has been carefully selected and then tested to ensure it performs perfectly.

But counterfeit products do not do this.

When it comes to counterfeits, manufacturers may get the packaging correct, but the ingredients are far from legitimate. The colours are wrong, the consistency is off, and when it comes to the science and research behind them, there is none.

No tests are carried out, it’s simply a matter of fill the bottles with the cheapest ingredients possible and sell.

In the legitimate beauty world, this is completely illegal. No genuine brand would ever sell a product without having all its ingredients tested and fully approved.

All brands are currently being targeted, from the skinification of hair products in New York, to luxury Parisian beauty powerhouses, to small London-based independent makeup brands. Criminals are actively banking on the success of their products and making their own counterfeit versions, and then selling them on online marketplaces and duping unwitting consumers.

In today‘s world, counterfeits are very difficult to detect to the unwitting consumer. So many sales are now done online, so they easily fall for these scams, yet they only find out something is wrong when their skin or hair sadly has a negative reaction.

No responsible brand I believe will ever put their customers in such a risky position.

As a result, my advice to my friends in the beauty world is take action now.

I have been awestruck by just how big a problem our industry has, but fortunately it’s an issue we can resolve.

Light at the end of the tunnel

Whether you have an inhouse brand protection team, or you’re a boutique business, SnapDragon Monitoring has a solution to tackle counterfeits affecting your brand.

Our revolutionary Swoop software scans the internet and helps identify infringing products and then the team at SnapDragon can work to have them removed, before they cause harm to customers or damage to your brand.

We can scale to meet your needs, offering a self-service option, where your business just utilises Swoop but manages counterfeit takedowns inhouse. Or we can offer the full service where we handle the whole process, so your brand and your customers no longer need to worry about counterfeits.

So, there you have it, after three months exploring the shady world of counterfeits, I’m pleased to say I have seen the light. Yes, we have a big problem, but we can tackle it together.

It’s time to take action to protect your brand too.


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