In the world of beauty, the challenge to create epic beauty looks for little to nothing is a quest many venture on. There is a Black Market for beauty products that has expanded beyond belief, filled with horrifying ingredients such as harsh chemicals and horse urine. The counterfeit items are harmful to the consumer’s skin and overall health, as many have began to investigate this phenomena, what has been found is disturbing.

Beauty Counterfeiting: How Did This Happen?

The tremendous growth in [the beauty industry and the counterfeiting industry] has created a perfect storm for beauty counterfeiting to explode into the U.S. economy — and the sellers appear to be targeting millennials and Gen Z consumers because of their unique demand for name-brand cosmetics and their online shopping habits (including their never-ending hunt for sales items and discounted products). Sellers aren’t focusing on Armani, La Mer, or even Chanel – they’re filling their shelves with Instagram favorites like Kat Von D, Lime Crime, Tarte, and Benefit. Even niche brands only familiar to YouTube fans (like Ben Nye) are a popular item.

Why Fake Beauty Products Are Worse Than Fake Bags:

The FBI reports that its agents have found aluminum, human carcinogens, dangerous levels of bacteria, and even horse urine in the products they’ve seized. “Some of these products have caused conditions like acne, psoriasis, rashes, and eye infections,” the report states. “It actually poses a national health problem,” states Deborah Parker, Homeland Security’s Deputy Special Agent In Charge. Brands like MAC and Anastasia Beverly Hills have also conducted their own investigations, and found even more deadly ingredients, including lead, arsenic, and mercury.

So, What’s Being Done To Stop This?

MAC is one of the most-counterfeited brands in the world, and parent company Estée Lauder’s Global Security division is leading the fight from the private sector. It seized over 2.6 million pieces of fake MAC makeup in 2016 by working closely with numerous government agencies. “Our team has an accumulated 500 years of law enforcement experience,” says Lewis Rice, Senior Vice President of Global Security for the Estée Lauder Companies. “We know how to conduct an investigation.”

Watch the full investigation unfold below.

Source: Refinery29