CONSUMER ALERT: FBI warns of counterfeit cosmetics

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The federal government has issued a consumer alert about counterfeit cosmetics. The Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), a partner of the Federal Bureau of Investigations warns some substandard products could carry health risks.

Professionals stress, it pays to be picky.

Artist, Braylin Cheramie's professional makeup routine begins well before she seats her subject. Cheramie chooses from an assortment of blushes, eye shadows and lip glosses but cleanliness is her priority. She uses disposable tools and a product cleanser before she begins the application process.

Air Blow Dry Bar and Salon uses a line of cosmetics called "Air" which is made in California especially for the business.

Salon Owner, Gayle Reuling, said the ingredients were a critical part of the selection process.

"It's so important to know where you're getting your makeup. Make sure it's made in the United States, because people are buying it online and they don't know if they're getting it from China or where they're coming from and what's in the product itself. It's so important because you are putting it on your skin. It could absorb into your pores and cause rashes. It could cause infection," Reuling said.

The IPR said it had seen an increase in counterfeit cosmetics online, at flea markets, and at some mall kiosks. The IPR warns the fake stuff often contains dangerous chemicals like carcinogens and high levels of bacteria which could cause illness and infection.

"Even thought it costs a little, you're putting it on your face. That's important. You don't want something that's harsh, nobody wants breakouts, everyone wants beautiful glowing skin so you kind of get what you pay for," Cheramie said.

Especially, she said, when it comes to something as delicate as your eyes.

Cheramie suggests using a primer before putting on any makeup to give the face an added protective barrier. She said it's a good practice when using any products.

"If your face dries out that's not good. If you get breakouts often, rashes, there's something in there that's giving you that," Cheramie said.

She said knowing the products she uses are made in the USA gives her confidence when her clients leave air they not only look great but feel that way too.

The IPR warning also includes fragrances. The agency said if the scent or color is off, the product could be a fake.

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