Buyer Beware: Online Beauty Bargains

Buying make-up online can be a money-saver, but be careful of possibly dangerous knockoffs.
3:00 | 04/04/14

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Transcript for Buyer Beware: Online Beauty Bargains
We have a consumer warning tonight about knockoff makeup products that can lead surprising side effects. A and we're not talking about glowing skin here. Reporter: Buying makeup can very quickly get expensive, which is why some people are trying to save money online. Looking for their favorite brands sold by third party vendors on such websites like Ebay, am zone and various et outlet sites. But are you getting the real thing? Those brand names bought online may actually be knockouts. Dermatologists say knockoffs Macon taken dangerous amounts of chemicals like heavy medals like lead, which can cause serious reactions to the skin. They may look like the real thing on line. But do you know what you're really getting? We went online and ordered a bunch of cosmetic from third party vendors selling brand numb products. Then we compared them to the same items we bought at authorized retail stores. The first red flag, our purchase from this outlet site, which says it sells authentic Mac makeup for a fraction of the cost. This came from beijing, China. Many of the items looked a little off. This is supposed to be a matte shade. The color is definitely different. Look at this imperfection right above the "R." But this Mac foundation from the outlet site. There's a sticker printed on the box here. It feels lighter. Mi mirror is cracked. It's different eyes. They're green. They're brown. See how the printing over here is just imperfect? We sent what we bought online to nsf lab to see if they were comparable. Guess what? They weren't. The mascara was not the same as the awe the authentic benefit mascara. The authentic product had 0.27 micrograms of lead. The knockoff we purchased, 260 mic micrograms per gram. Almost 1,000 times as much lead. This equates to 26 times the allowable level of lead in cosmetics produced in Canada. Reporter: Many countries have strict laws and oversight for the ingredients allowed in beauty products. Currently there are no set levels for lead or other heavy metals for cosmetics in the U.S. The dermatologist we spoke with said the trace amounts of lead in the authentic is not concerning. But the knockoff is. Some knockoffs can potentially cause reactions. They can permanently scar you if you get a reaction on your skin that's severe enough. The fda leaves it up to cosmetic companies to test their products. But knockoffs aren't guaranteed to be tested at all. If they're sold by a retailer not designated to sell these problem then you don't know what you're going. Ebay and Amazon said they investigate all reports of knockoff goods. Ebay even restricted the seller we bought our mascara from, because some knockoffs may look more authentic than others, both Mac and benefit told us they urge their customers to shop only at authorized retailers. So ladies, this is one bargain you may want to skip. Sometimes you get what your pay for.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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