Beauty company Kao USA, which owns some of our favorite brands, including John Frieda, Jergens, Bioré, and Curél], recently announced its new initiative against a crop of counterfeit Jergens moisturizers in the northeastern U.S. This sort of thing isn't exactly new in the beauty industry; after all, brands such as Jeffree Star, Anastasia Beverly Hills, and Kylie Cosmetics have to deal with knockoff products all the time. What makes this instance a little different, though, is that while fake cosmetics and fragrances are everywhere, we rarely (if ever) hear about counterfeit skin-care products.
The products in question are the Jergens Original Scent and Ultra Healing body moisturizers, and it was—natch—the customers who brought it to the attention of Kao USA. "While only a small number of counterfeit products have been identified, our Consumer Care Center was alerted to this issue after consumers sent us their bottles of Jergens Ultra Healing and Jergens Original Scent," says Sam Wood, general counsel of Kao USA Inc. "They were concerned that the product appeared to be different than normal."
Even if you've been using them forever and don't think you'd fall for a fake, you might be surprised. The counterfeit Jergens moisturizers are so sophisticated that the differences are in the details. For the Original Scentbody lotion in the 21-ounce size, the pump should be ivory—that is, the same color as the bottle. (In the counterfeits, it's a mustard-gold color.) As for the 10-ounce Ultra Healing body lotion, flip yours over and look for the letters beneath the recycle symbol on the bottom. Those letters read "HDPE" in legit products, while the fakes have "NDPE." Of course, the biggest giveaway is in the moisturizers themselves. According to the brand, the counterfeit formulas usually have a thin, watery consistency. The texture, smell, or, color may also seem off or weird.
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The good news: The company hasn't noticed any adverse reactions to the counterfeits, and it has notified retailers to look for and remove any questionable items before customers even get a chance to buy them. Kao also dedicated a page on the Jergens website to a visual breakdown of the differences between the counterfeits and the real thing. If you're suspicious of your own bottle, contact Kao USA Consumer Care Center at 800-742-8798 or firstname.lastname@example.org.