Buying cosmetics and perfume

Please note that these guides do not constitute legal advice and any information provided in the guides should not be construed as legal advice or legal interpretation. We do not accept any liability for any loss caused by your reliance on this guide.

The Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) has advised consumers to be vigilant of counterfeit ‘high end’ beauty products being offered for sale.

It identified harmful substances in a number of counterfeit cosmetics intended for the Irish market. 

Among the counterfeit products identified are luxury make-up brands including MAC, Urban Decay and Benefit.

HPRA advice on how to spot a counterfeit cosmetic

  • Is it significantly cheaper than on the high street?
  • Is the distributor reliable? Beauty brands usually list their licenced sellers on their website
  • Physically check counterfeit cosmetics for:
  • Uneven fill levels e.g. in eye-shadow palettes
  • Faded packaging
  • Misspelling on packaging or in information leaflet
  • Name of the product or shade is slightly different
  • Print (font or style) on the container is different
  • Mirrors that don’t quite fit or are of bad quality

The HPRA always advises consumers to:

  • Ensure that the product is labelled with a European address (this means there is a company in Europe responsible for ensuring it complies with quality and safety requirements);
  • If you have any concerns about a product you have purchased that you think may be counterfeit, do not use it. Contact the supplier and the European manufacturer listed on the label;
  • Report any sellers of fake cosmetic products to An Garda Síochána on 1800 666 111
  • Report anyone who is illegally importing counterfeit cosmetic products to Revenue on 1800 295 295
  • Report any undesirable health effects to your healthcare professional, the manufacturer (contact details on product packaging) or directly to the Health Products Regulatory Authority. Consumers can do that through or email