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Is SHEIN legit? Yes, But Its Mixed Bag of Quality, Service and Controversies Are Hard to Ignore

Is SHEIN legit? Yes, But… It’s a Complex Mix of Quality, Service, and Controversy

Yes, in our experience, SHEIN is a legit shopping site and its fast-fashion clothing is of a surprisingly high standard, but… its customer service is woeful, some of its stock is downright weird and it’s mired in controversy, including potential use of forced labor and high levels of harmful chemicals found in clothes.

Overall LegitScore: 3.75/5

We gauge the legitimacy of a store based on a range of factors that are most relevant to you, the customer. Read more about our LegitScore methodology.


  • Genuine products delivered within the estimated time, our orders arrived in just 7 days, beating the estimate by 3 days.
  • Impressive product quality for the price, particularly clothing.
  • Built-in features like an “Outfits” button that enhance shopping experience.
  • Clear website navigation and effective product recommendation algorithm.

Not Legit 

  • Concerns over labor practices, especially potential use of forced Uyghur labor.
  • Excessive use of plastic in packaging, indicating environmental neglect.
  • High levels of chemicals like lead, phthalates, and PFAS found in clothes, as per a 2021 investigation.
  • Allegations of copyright infringement for replicating designs from social media.
  • Inconsistent sizing in clothing items and return policies need improvement.
  • Automated customer service makes getting help hard.

SHEIN Ordering

We ordered three hauls from SHEIN to see what its products across a range of categories—not just its clothes, which it’s well known for—were like for ourselves.

Our hauls included: 

Clothes: 8 items, one package. TOTAL: $66.54 (AU$105.35)
Homewares: 11 items, one package. TOTAL: $26.48 (AU$41.93)
Electronics: 4 items, one package. TOTAL:  $24.67 (AU$39.07)

We found the SHEIN shopping pretty good, it has a huge range of goods but its navigation is clear and categories are well organized, so you find what you want is relatively quick and easy. 

Its algorithm is also good at recommending products that fit with what you’re browsing and buying.

Including a useful “Outfits” button on its clothing pages which shows you other pieces you can buy to put an outfit together.  

SHEIN is known for its clothes but recently it has been pushing its SHEIN Home range, where we found some very strange items.  

Like this Cat and Shark Pattern Shower Curtain for $12.50 (AU$19.68)
And this Banana Duck Thing for $9.10 (AU$14.32)

For every order you make with SHEIN, you earn SHEIN Points. You earn 1 point for every $1 you spend and they’re credited to your account once you confirm your delivery. 

100 SHEIN points = $1 to spend in the store. You can use the points to deduct up to 70% off your total order. 

You can also earn SHEIN points by:

  • Confirming you’ve received your order
  • Writing reviews of products you’ve purchased (reviews must be at least xxx words):
    • 5 points for text-only reviews.
    • 10 points for reviews with text and photos.
    • 2 points for including size information.
  • Joining outfit contests by uploading videos and images of you in SHEIN outfits to social media (ensure you use the right tags).
  • Watching SHEIN live streams (points are given out randomly during the stream).

SHEIN Delivery 

SHEIN estimated our delivery would take 9 to 11 days based on our location, but our orders arrived in just seven days.

SHEIN has an ‘On-Time Delivery Guarantee’ which entitles you to receive 500 SHEIN points if your order doesn’t arrive by the expected date. 

We were keen to test out the quality of SHEIN’s postage and packing so we ordered a number of glass candle holders. One arrived smashed. 

We asked for a refund for the broken item. We thought we might get a refund without return for the entire haul, we didn’t.

In fact, we had to provide SHEIN customer service with a photo of the smashed candle holder to get the refund. 

We were also originally expected to return the broken item, but given it’s smashed glass and therefore dangerous, we didn’t. 

This saga took us over an hour as we were bounced around SHEIN’s automated customer service system until we got through to a human.

You can read more about our experience of SHEIN shipping here, its refunds here and its returns here.

SHEIN Product Quality

Across the 23 items we ordered from SHEIN, the quality was generally good, given the low prices.

Here are our standouts.

Electronics: Surprising Given the Prices 

THE STANDOUT: A waterproof, wireless speaker $4.39 (AU$6.95) with Bluetooth and sound quality actually blew our minds, given the price. It’s sturdy, easy to use and sticks well to wet shower walls. 
THE LETDOWN: We knew an $11 (AU$17.95) robot vacuum cleaner might be too good to be true, but we hoped. Fools. It shuffled dirt around instead of picking it up.

SHEIN Home: Cheap and Cheerful 

THE STANDOUT: The candle holders from $5 (AU$7.95) were cheap for the quality, we reckon you’d spend $30+ on an equivalent at a different store. 
THE LETDOWN: Cutlery, $1.80 (AU$2.95),  while priced appropriately, felt overly light and it seemed like the gold finish wouldn’t stand up well to washing.

Clothes: Exceeded Expectations

THE STANDOUT: Everything, from $5 to $17 (AU$9 to AU$28). It might seem like a cop out, but the quality surprised us. Every item had quality labels, no loose threads and was well-stitched. Sure, it’s all polyester, but that’s expected at this price point.
THE LETDOWN: While no single piece disappointed us, sizing was off. Based on our experience, we’d recommend ordering one size down.

SHEIN Company, ownership and location

SHEIN is owned and was founded by Xu Yangtian, also known as Chris Xu.

He started the company in 2008 as an e-commerce site selling wedding dresses that were made in China, but pivoted to focus on fast fashion in 2015. 

According to Statista, SHEIN is valued at approximately $100 billion.

Though Shein is a Chinese company with its headquarters located in Singapore, the products it sells are shipped from several wholesale warehouses around the world.

More to Know


Student discount: SHEIN provides a 15% student discount for students enrolled at university, including part-time, mature and distance learning students. To qualify, you need to verify student status at UNiDAYS. 

And obviously, EVERYONE GETS A DISCOUNT with one of our codes.


SHEIN is currently under scrutiny for a range of concerns: how it can sell goods so cheaply, the transparency of its labor and sourcing methods and the environmental waste it produces.

Copyright infringement: SHEIN is the subject of a copyright infringement lawsuit, having been accused of replicating designs shared on social media. 

Chemicals in clothes: In 2021, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation investigated SHEIN and discovered high levels of lead, phthalates, and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in both children’s, adults’ and maternity clothing. These chemicals are associated with health issues.

Plastic: Most of the items we ordered from SHEIN came wrapped in soft plastic, with some having up to three layers. While no one expects SHEIN to be an eco-champion, this is excessive.


Labor Practices: SHEIN has faced multiple allegations and investigations surrounding its labor practices:

Wired reported on how both laborers and consumers were negatively impacted by SHEIN’s clothing production.

A Channel 4 documentary from the UK highlighted SHEIN employees working exhausting 75-hour shifts with minimal breaks.

Public Eye, a Swiss watchdog organization, released a report in November alleging that SHEIN was in violation of Chinese labor laws.

The House Select Committee has also gone on record to caution American consumers that there’s an “extremely high risk” that SHEIN products could be made using forced Uyghur labor, in violation of a 2021 US law. 

This is part of a larger US investigation into Chinese-made products, with companies like Nike, Adidas and Temu also being examined amid rising political tensions.