Temu is one of the fastest-growing smartphone apps in the US, and offers a wide range of items for incredibly cheap prices. Products are shipped directly from Chinese warehouses, and the brand even offers free returns to compete with Amazon.
But is Temu a great site for value finds, or is the quality as low as the prices? How do Temu products compare to products at other retailers like Walmart? How do real Temu customers rate and describe their experience? And why was the company sued?
In this article we’ll answer all of these questions and more as we analyze the ingredients and specs in several Temu products to give our take on whether the marketplace is worth using, or if it’s a waste of money.
We’ll compare products on Temu to products on Walmart, feature unsponsored Temu customer reviews and explain why the company was recently sued.
Is Temu Low-Quality?
We’re a health publisher so our quality analysis will focus on health products sold by Temu.
We figure that the standard of quality found in one category of Temu products is likely to be similar to others.
The best-selling personal care product on Temu at the time of publishing this article is a turmeric soap from the AnYi Beauty brand, which retails for $2.69:
No ingredients are currently listed anywhere on the product page, which is a consumer health and safety issue.
Without knowing what ingredients are in a cosmetic product, it’s impossible to determine whether or not it’s likely to be safe and effective.
And nearly $3 isn’t even particularly cheap for a soap bar weighing two ounces (oz).
Kirk’s sells a fragrance-free soap on Walmart with clean and non-toxic ingredients that costs $4.97 for a 4-pack, or $1.24 per bottle.
Kirk’s soap bars are 4 oz each, making them around 5x cheaper per-ounce than the popular brand sold on Temu.
Temu’s next-best-selling cosmetic product is branded as a sunscreen, moisturizer and bronzer all in one. It’s from a brand called Eelhoe and only costs $2.97, which is significantly cheaper than most sunscreens in the US market:
The brand does publish some of its active ingredients in the product listing, but not the full ingredient list.
What’s confusing is that none of the active ingredients are active sunscreen ingredients, which are typically “physical” blockers like zinc oxide or “chemical” blockers like avobenzone.
Vitamin E may help protect the skin from the sun according to a 2016 medical review, but this vitamin is very rarely used as a standalone active ingredient in a sunscreen, and we haven’t seen any clinical research that it can provide full protection from the sun in humans.
Overall, we’re unimpressed by the two health and beauty products we reviewed on Temu, and we recommend that consumers be extremely cautious when purchasing cosmetics that fail to provide an ingredient list.
But how do real users rate and describe the product quality from Temu? We’ll feature unsponsored customer reviews in the next section of this article.
Real People Rate Temu
A YouTube creator named “TFG Vlogs” purchased $1,000 worth of products on Temu and shares his thoughts on whether the brand is a scam, in a video with over 500,000 views:
A YouTube creator named “Prymrr” did a try-on haul with Temu clothing:
Why Was Temu Sued?
Consumers who are interested in Temu may have heard that the brand was recently sued.
Another fast fashion brand called Shein sued Temu in December of 2022 over allegations that Temu was intentionally misleading consumers into believing the companies were one and the same, according to MIT Technology Review.
The above-linked article states that Temu was allegedly using the copyrighted term “Shein” in their paid advertising, selling products copyrighted by Shein and maintaining social media accounts with the “Shein” wordmark.
The good news for consumers is that this lawsuit is related to marketing and not product quality, so it doesn’t raise any red flags about safety when shopping from Temu.
But how did Temu blow up seemingly overnight to become the most-downloaded app in the US? We’ll feature a YouTube video uncovering that history in the next section of this article.
Temu’s Overnight Success Story
A YouTube video published by CNBC explains how Temu makes money while selling products for such cheap prices:
Pros and Cons of Temu
Here are the pros and cons of Temu in our opinion:
- Extremely cheap
- App experience is fun and gamified
- Free returns within 90 days
- Products not required to publish materials/ingredient lists
- Questionable effectiveness of Temu health products
- Some online customer reviews suggest fake products
- Concerns over data security