Chanel perfumes, especially Coco Chanel’s signature fragrance Chanel No. 5, rank among the most counterfeited cosmetic products by outdoor vendors and Internet sellers. Consumers in search of a cheap and easy Chanel fix may be duped by unscrupulous peddlers if they don’t have an eagle eye and sense of smell. You can find fake Chanel No. 5 on sale by dodgy dealers big cities like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, and on fly-by-night websites and eBay.
Study a Chanel No. 5 bottle for inconsistencies. If the bottle has never been used, the spray tube will have a bubble in it--an indicator of genuineness. Chanel counterfeiters pour a lower-grade perfume from a large bottle into smaller ones, either fake “testers” or regular perfume bottles.
Look at the color of the liquid in the bottle. If it’s cloudy, too light or dark, or has inconsistent coloring, there’s a good chance it’s counterfeit. Some fake Chanel No. 5 may even have debris floating in it. Always check the bottle contents before purchasing from a flea-market or street vendor.
Question an Internet or street seller if they only have sealed boxes. Counterfeiters sometimes hide fake bottles of Chanel No. 5 in sealed boxes. Be wary if you can’t examine the bottle before buying. The cellophane wrapped around a legitimate Chanel box will be folded by the ends and fixed in circles or lines with colorless glue. A shoddy cellophane covering, misspellings or flimsy paper indicate a fake.
Analyze the bottle. Counterfeiters use cheap, thin or warped glass to make fake containers.
Turn the bottle upside down. If the cap falls off, it’s a fake. Real Chanel bottle caps will fit tightly on the lip of the container.
Try scraping the printing on the bottle. Fakes have cheap ink printing on the glass. You can scrape it off with your nails.
Check the photo carefully when buying online. If it’s an original picture taken by the poster or web store, it’s probably the real Chanel No. 5. If it appears to be a generic or stock photo lifted from an ad or another site, be wary of buying the product. Highly reviewed sellers usually take photos of their own stock. If there's no photo, avoid buying the product unless the seller has a high rating or been recommended to you.
Test the perfume. If it smells like household cleaner, or has an unpleasant aroma, it's not Chanel. Even if you're not familiar with Chanel No. 5, your nose will know.
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Marianne Moro is a copywriter and journalist based in Hollywood. She has been writing professionally since 1999, specializing in home remodeling, interior decorating, pets, travel and holistic health. Moro was a part-time editor and contributing writer for Remodeleze.com, a home remodeling and decorating website, and has also contributed to the Cutting Chair and Entertainment Today.