According to the series, most recycled products end up in landfills or on beaches in Southeast Asia.

There isn’t much in common between cosmetics, vape products, furniture and recycling. Each one has a primary function, but they also have a negative impact on modern-day consumerism. The four-episode Netflix docuseries “Broken” explores deceitful and false marketing within these products, as well as the results of their poor manufacturing. 

The series begins by diving into the processes and errors that have evolved with counterfeit makeup producers, sellers and users. This decade has further developed makeup’s impact because of beauty bloggers and influencers. With social media platforms such as YouTube and Twitter, makeup lovers can engage directly with their favorite brands and provide direct product feedback.

Regulated products are made by special chemists in clean and safe facilities. Unregulated products, or counterfeit makeup, have had a recent spike in attraction due to their cheaper value. People can buy what they believe is a dupe product from their favorite brands — like Anastasia or Kylie Jenner — that’s less than half of the original’s price because of the ingredients they’re made with. Counterfeit products have tested positive for fecal matter, mercury and carcinogens that are harmful to the body. 

This type of knock-off makeup has always been available to consumers. However, it’s shocking to see what the contents of these products are. People should be more aware of the seriousness of these products so they know how to differentiate between the real and fake ones to protect themselves.  

The series shows that counterfeit makeup has grown internationally and has accumulated tens of thousands of dollars in recent years. To avoid these products, consumers should be wary of where they’re purchasing makeup, according to “Broken.” Safe products can be bought directly from the brand’s website or store, as well as big retailers like Target. 

The documentary ventures deeper to examine the consequences of the vape industry. Originally, e-cigarettes were products designed to help adults with nicotine addictions ditch cigarettes. With mass advertising and flavored pod options for JUULs, e-cigarettes fell into the hands of teenagers and young adults. A new nicotine epidemic spread within a generation that was never supposed to have such an addiction. According to the series, vaping-related illnesses have sickened over 1,000 people and killed more than 30.

This felt like one of the most important episodes in the series because the subject matter has  affected a great number of young adults, especially among high school and college students. Some people today may find smoking distasteful, yet they tend to rely on vape products for an identical high. Smoking one pod a day is the equivalent to smoking a pack of cigarettes, according to “Broken.” By bringing awareness to the serious consequences of vaping, the show aims to make more people understand the true purpose of e-cigarettes and become more educated about them.

“Broken” also makes important statements addressing sustainable furniture use and recycling. It discloses information about furniture items, such as dressers from IKEA, for causing infant deaths due to furniture falling on top of young children. It also discusses secrets of recycling and single-use plastics, such as how most recycled products end up in landfills or on beaches in Southeast Asia.

Though the series itself is short, each episode is over 50 minutes long and filled with informational interviews and statistics. It tries to prove there are detrimental outcomes on consumers and society that have impacted these four markets, and it succeeds. “Broken” ultimately debriefs each topic individually and heavily focuses on the faults that were created because of false advertising. The messages it shares are blunt, direct and effective at showing the audience what’s going on behind the scenes. By laying out all the information directly to the viewers, they’re giving a list of everything customers need to know to make informative future decisions. 

This series holds important information to consumers interested in these markets and has the potential to impact the way they decide to engage with them. 

Contact Joanna Sommer at For more on the culture, arts and lifestyle of the JMU and Harrisonburg communities, follow the culture desk on Twitter @Breeze_Culture.