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Makeup brands must wake up from their beauty sleep, along with FDA

Marcelo Moreira | Pexels

The beauty industry has faced multiple controversies across the board. Recently, multiple products from a variety of brands have been revealed to contain questionable and downright toxic materials. 

Just within the year, prominent beauty retailer Claire’s, as well as entrepreneur and beauty influencer Jaclyn Hill have been in the limelight for distributing makeup products that have raised multiple red flags.

The first public instance was in March of 2019, where the Food and Drug Administration posted a tweet regarding the presence of asbestos in certain Claire’s products. Testing on the products concluded that the product had 100% of fatal tremolite asbestos, which could cause mesothelioma, a fatal carcinogenic condition, NBC News 10 reported. 

What made this shocking to a majority of consumers was that it implied Claire’s knew about the situation in 2017, way before the FDA released the current news. 

The company reported to CNN, however, that “the FDA test reports have mischaracterized fibers in the products as asbestos, in direct contradiction to established EPA and USP criterion for classifying asbestos fibers.” 

It also told CNN that “Despite our efforts to discuss these issues with the FDA, they insisted
on moving forward with their release.”

 As a company whose demographic ranges from kids to teens, they should not claim that the FDA was in the wrong for warning innocent consumers about the dangers of its products. 

Specifically, when Claire’s knew that a majority of its consumers are most likely unaware of what asbestos is, information must be transparent when it can affect consumers’ lives permanently. It was highly irresponsible for the company to shift blame onto the FDA when they were only doing the right thing.

Fast-forward to June 2019, when Jaclyn Hill released her lipstick collection. After the controversy with her Vault collaboration with Morphe, fans and spectators were wondering if this launch was going to turn the tides in her favor. Spoiler alert, it did not.

Once the collection came out, multiple people on Twitter were complaining about how their lipsticks came with hair on it, had a beaded texture, holes or even had metal in it. 

Fans were quick to speculate that she either has held these lipsticks on for a year — as this launch was heavily delayed due to personal issues in her life — or was just careless in the production of them. 

One YouTuber, RawBeautyKristi, compared the public relations package to the lipsticks she bought herself, and noticed slight differences. This caused fans to be even more upset, as it seemed that Jaclyn put more care onto the PR and not the selling units. 

At first, Jaclyn posted a video titled, “My Lipsticks,” trying to explain that the hairs on the lipsticks were from the gloves that the workers in the lab were using. 

One of the most ironic lines in this video is how she says that she wants people to approach her about complaints and issues, but the majority of this video was her making excuses, topped with the fact that when someone did make a complaint on Twitter, she quickly deflected the issue.

This video caused backlash as well as people deeming it to be an unreliable excuse. In a video posted by Jaclyn before the launch, she showcased how her workers were using latex gloves, YouTube channel Tea Spill reported so her excuse didn’t even line up. 

After this, she took a month-long hiatus off YouTube, but came back with a video titled “Where I’ve Been,” in which she explains how she’s actually feeling about the whole situation. While she tries to apologize, she also adds the fact that she trusted the wrong lab in making her products.

A majority of YouTuber apology videos were more clips of them victim-blaming than taking full responsibility for their mistakes, and this one is no exception. She set herself to be a martyr, from how people advised her to not make the video to how people on social media were going to dissect it. 

Both these cases illustrate that brands don’t exercise enough care about their demographic. The only difference is that while Claire’s has a board of executives, that the average everyday person wouldn’t know, Jaclyn Hills is quite literally the face of her own brand. 

Additionally, It is astonishing that the FDA has such limited control on what products go on our skin. The fact that large brands can come out with toxic makeup, has to make you wonder, what about all smaller brands or counterfeit ones that no one bats an eye to? 

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