Buyer beware: That low-priced, high-end makeup could be counterfeit, and toxic

Avid makeup hobbyist Sarah Moore buys all the big brand makeup lines and warns her social media followers to stay away from fakes. (KOMO Photo)

U.S. Customs inspectors say some of those great makeup discounts you see could be dangerous knock-offs.

Counterfeiters know that a lot of you want to emulate the high-end makeup trends you see on TV and social media but without paying high prices.

Unfortunately, in your pursuit of a good deal on big-brand cosmetics, you might not even know you're getting a toxic knock-off until it's too late

The fake makeup can turn up on Craigslist, third-party retailers based overseas, and even flea markets.

Our East Coast sister station, WJLA recently purchased six box-sets of wildly popular Kylie (as in Jenner) liquid lipstick on the streets of New York City. The six sets sold for $35.

The price of authentic Kylie lipstick sets? $36 each.

Counterfeit cosmetics blemish both the revenue and the reputation of legitimate makeup manufacturers. But they're not the only one's getting burned."

Avid YouTubers help expose the fakes by showing fans how to tell the difference between the fake and the authentic.

They also reveal the bad eye infections and skin rashes they got after using knockoff cosmetic products -- not just makeup but cleansers, and moisturizers and even high-end sunscreens.

When investigators at Homeland Security test fake makeup, they say they often find cyanide, lead, human and animal urine, feces, arsenic and more.

Customs agents seize millions of dollars worth of fake makeup every year.

Major makeup manufacturers spend millions protecting their brands. Some even hire their own investigators to help hunt down and shut down knock-off operations.

The bottom line: A bargain price on high-end makeup may be enticing, but you have no idea what you're really buying.

The package might look identical, the product might even look the same, but unless you buy from an authorized retailer or directly from the manufacturer you're taking a gamble that could have skin deep consequences.

That's the ugly truth.

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