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Don’t Get Scammed On Dubois Street

Where the best price is not always the best deal

BY Joan Thatiah

Apr 13, 2022, 11:42 AM

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It’s a dull Wednesday morning when you get the brilliant idea to go a little makeup shopping, shopping always brightens up your mood.

You remember a Vlog you watched last week about places to get makeup on the cheap. That’s how you find yourself on a street in downtown Nairobi painted with rows and rows of shops overflowing with hair and makeup products. Welcome to Dubois Street.

Beware Of The Great Bargains

Dubois Street is where you will get the best makeup bargains in the country. Every beauty blogger will tell you that. What they might not tell you is that a big chunk of the products sold here are fake and that the Ksh 200 lipstick you buy there may leave you with a swollen lip.

The most obvious tell is that what you are holding is fake as the price. I know, I know, the prices down there are tempting. Don’t forget the market is unregulated meaning the ingredients going into most of these products are unregulated and potentially harmful.

A quick Google search will show you if a product is retailing for way less than the manufacturers sells it for. That of course, means it does not belong on your face.

Look Closely

Seeing as the Dubois Street makeup market has been afloat for a few years, counterfeiters have almost gotten it right with the packaging. If you look closely though, there is almost always a spelling error, a missing word in there, or a difference in the logo. With lipsticks and lip-glosses, the shade is never right. If you have used a lipstick shade before and you buy the same one and it looks and feels different, you could be wearing a copy.

Also, examine the product. Does it have a strange smell? Is the texture different? Does it have visible signs of contamination like hair or dirt particles inside it? Yes? Throw it in the dust bin.

Fake products are not the only things that will make your face erupt. Expired makeup from established shops also sometimes finds its way to Dubois road and will harm you just as much as the fakes. As you look at the packaging for typos, also check the manufacturing dates.

Just Ask

It’s interesting how when you are in a relationship and bae is stepping out on you, you turn into a DCI agent. You will find the tiniest clues and when you are done combing through his trash and eavesdropping on his conversations and you confront him and he breaks at your first attempt, you wonder why you didn’t just ask him outright.

It’s the same with shopping on Dubois Street. If you walk in through the door and ask for a Joanna Cosmetics eye shadow palette and state that you want the original, the shop attendant knows that you are a regular on the street. If it’s a good day, she will dig into her stash of originals and get you one.

If You Buy It

Sometimes the counterfeiters do such a good job at imitation that you may just go home with a knock-off. If you use a product and it reacts with your skin, lips, or eyes, discontinue use and seek medical advice.

Some will argue that counterfeit products step in for the woman who would never be able to afford the originals. While this may be true, sometimes, the cost when it comes to damage to your body is too high.

If you are a Dubois girl you might want to consider quality over quantity. Instead of having ten shades of knock-off lipsticks, you could buy one safe, original one in the shade that best compliments you.

That’s something to think about, aye?

If It Does Work For You

Those of us who do not have sensitive skin and the make up bought from Dubois seems to be working, well good for you. It is hard to come by cheap original make up and at times we want to look good and feel good because it keeps us in a better mood. Hence the knock off that won't hurt the pocket. Consider yourself as one of the lucky ones, the only thing is to make sure that it now stays on all day and looks as fresh as when you first applied it. That is now the tricky part but you know what? You got it Queen. YouTube has so many tutorials with tips that can help you make it work.