The Truth about Fake Makeup Brushes on eBay: Counterfeit vs Authentic Brush Comparison

The Truth about Fake Makeup Brushes on eBay: Counterfeit vs Authentic Brush Comparison
I’m the founder of a start-up called Glou Beauty. If you’re a beauty product hoarder, like myself, you *need* get join the waitlist for our launch. I’d love to have you. This post was originally published on Glou.

So we all know about the prevalence of counterfeit makeup. If price seems too good to be true, it probably is. Fake makeup is dangerous. You don’t know what’s in it or where it’s from. The people selling it to you are in it for one thing and one thing only, conning you out of your money.

But what about counterfeit makeup tools? You’re probably not going to end up gluing your eyes shut or ingesting lead laden pigments, but is it worth it? Are you saving anything at the day?

I never knowingly purchase counterfeit goods because if I can’t afford it… well then, I can’t afford it. I’ll just find something else that’s cooler, more unique. Besides, understated elegance is awesome. Who wants that big ol logo and look like everyone else anyways? But, I get it. Sometimes the allure of the brand or label is very tempting. 

What I wanted to know was whether or not a counterfeit makeup brush could be similar enough to the real deal to be worth it. I purchased the an authentic brush from the Marc Jacobs Beauty website, and found the “same one” from a seller on eBay.


Yes, at first glance they are very similar, but no it won’t give you the same results. At all. Moral of the story: Don’t do it. The label on the brush isn’t worth it. Save your $ and put it towards a great brush within your budget or save it towards the one you really want. 

External packaging:

Just like my real one, it came with an outer plastic sleeve. Once you take off the plastic…

  • The box cardboard is of lesser quality.
  • The printed panels aren’t centered along the folds of the boxes. So you have the black edge spilling over to another side, and the words aren’t centered along the opening flaps. 
  • The black isn’t as black as the real box. It’s the kind of black you get if you photocopy a black sheet of paper – granular and not a true black. The whites are also not as white and crisp.
  • The “Marc Jacobs” is metallic, but the letters aren’t crisp. The stroke of each letter is also thicker.
  • The fonts used in general appear thicker. 
  • There’s no batch number sticker on the bottom of the box near the barcode.
  • And the MOST obvious. The picture of the brush… Again, looks photocopied.

Top fake, Bottom authentic

Which box is fake?? No, it’s not your eyes. No, it’s not my camera. The picture on the fake’s box really is that bad. If there was any doubt in your mind… 

Top fake, Bottom authentic

There is a stark difference in the blackness of the inks, and in the sharpness of the type.

Top fake, Bottom authentic
Top fake, Bottom authentic

The printing on the fake isn’t centered – you can see that the text and the black panel aren’t aligned along the folds of the box. The print spills over onto other panels. There also isn’t a batch sticker, which you just make out the outline of on the bottom of the box. 


  • All the words have thicker type.
  • The overall brush is weighty yes, but lighter than the real brush.
  • The silver end cap doesn’t sit as well with the rest of the handle. The black part of the handle, where it joins with the end cap, ends with sharp edge, rather than slight rounded bevel.
  • The quality of the finish on the handle is also noticeably different. Even brand new out of the box, the fake has lots of micro-scratches that I can feel with my finger nail. My real brush has been tossed around and still has a perfect finish. This likely indicative that the handle is made out of plastic or has some kind of plastic coating instead of a wooden, lacquered handle, as lacquer is generally harder wearing. 
  • The ferrule has less of a pronounced dent.
  • The bristles are of lower quality (not as soft), aren’t packed as densely, and has an overall smaller brush head. 
Left fake, Right authentic

You can’t tell in the picture, but the overall quality of the finish of the handle is entirely different. There are microscratches that are visible on the fake, whereas on the authentic brush, the handle has a higher quality lacquered finish. 

Left fake, Right authentic

The brush heads are of a similar shape, but that’s kind of wear the similarities stop. The fake’s bristles are longer, less dense, and less soft. The overall brush head is smaller. The fake will function differently and produce different results from the authentic brush. 

Left fake, Right authentic

You can see that this little end cap part is bigger on the fake than the authentic brush. In this photo the microscratches are visible. Where the black handle meets the silver end cap, on the authentic brush, there’s a more elegant connection between the two components. 

Left authentic, Right fake
Left fake, Right authentic
Top fake, Bottom authentic
Top fake, Bottom authentic
Top fake, Bottom authentic

This video shows the difference between the two brush heads:

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