Jan. 27, 2010 -- Before you buy a cheap designer fragrance, you should be aware it could be a fake containing products that could even be harmful to your health.
Harper's Bazaar magazine has been investigating counterfeit products for more than six years. Their latest target is fake fragrances.
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According to Valerie Salembier, senior vice president and publisher of the magazine, these are the things you need to keep in mind before you purchase perfumes:
• If it looks too good to be true, it probably is. If a designer fragrance seems too cheap, it's likely a fake.
• Beware of people claiming they are reselling the perfume, particularly on the Internet. They may say they got the perfume as a gift and don't want it. They could be looking for an easy victim, hoping to sell a counterfeit to someone who isn't familiar with the real perfume.
• If you are unfamiliar with the designer perfume you are planning to purchase, go to a department store and examine it first. Check out the shape and color of the product before you order it off the Internet so you can compare it with the product you are thinking about buying.
Here are tips on how you can spot a fake perfume:
• Carefully examine the cellophane wrap. On a well-made perfume, the cellophane is wrapped closely around the box. Most counterfeit products don't have the cellophane so tightly wrapped. If the cellophane is messy or moving around the box, that's a sure sign the perfume's a fake.
• Watch for excess glue or adhesive tape. If there is a lot of tape or glue inside the perfume box or on the exterior of the packaging, the perfume is probably a fraud.
• Look carefully at the box. If the perfume's box is made out of very thin material, the product is most likely a fake. Any high-end beauty manufacturer will use high quality paperboard when they're creating a carton for their product. Thin packaging signals a fake.
• Read the print. Watch for an uneven brand name or any misspelling on the packaging.
• Examine barcodes. Barcodes should be at the bottom of the perfume box. If you see that they are the side of the box, you should be suspicious.
Click here for a statement from the Personal Care Products Council.