The beauty industry can get downright ugly. Since the first public outcry about animal testing, the world of cosmetics has been rocked by scandal after scandal. Since the Internet took commerce and brand awareness by storm, it seems the scandals are only getting more frequent.
Before the prying eyes on Instagram were behind the scenes, dirty little secrets were easier to hide. There is no more curtain for the biggest names in beauty to hide behind. We’ve compiled 10 of the biggest flops to recently rock the fabulous world of makeup. Keep reading to find out what secrets hide behind that flawless foundation.
10 Laura Lee's Racist Tweet
There’s an inherent risk in being the face of a brand. When your name is tied to your product, it’s a good idea to keep that name or image clean. Any source of public embarrassment becomes a scandal for your band to wear.
Laura Lee learned this the hard when she unleashed an inexcusable racist tweet. Fans were shocked by her poor judgment and hateful words. Because of her language, Ulta pulled her products from their shelves and she lost several sponsorships as well. Her statement was pretty surprising but there was no surprise at the backlash. It’s 2019, those kinds of words have consequences.
9 Anti Vax Backlash For Kat Von D
Kat Von D’s makeup line has been popular since its launch, gaining her even more attention. When you have a massive social media following you really have to watch what you share. Your followers won’t hold back if they don’t like your content.
Kat Von D learned the hard way that her followers weren’t afraid to share their thoughts. When the reality star became pregnant, she took to Instagram to share her plans for her pregnancy and motherhood which included not vaccinating her newborn baby. No attempt was made to spare feelings. Her followers let her know exactly where they stood on the vaccine debate, and inevtiably, stopped wearing her makeup line.
8 Jeffree Star Bigotry
Jeffree Star is one of the biggest names in YouTube beauty. He has more than 12 million subscribers to his channel. With a following that big, it’s not unusual to have a few embarrassing posts from the past come back to bite you.
Unfortunately for Jeffree, his posts weren’t just embarrassing, they were racist, fat shaming, and hateful. These videos were pretty old and Star made a public apology in which he claimed to have grown up a lot since he made the offending content.
7 Jennifer Gerard Attack
Usually, when a customer has an allergic reaction to a product, a brand responds with compassion. Unfortunately for Karina Kaboom, she didn’t get the customer service experience of the year.
When she used a Gerard Cosmetics lipstick, it didn’t get along with her skin. She was honest about her experience in a vlog review that she shared publically. Brand owner Jennifer Gerard took to Snapchat with fellow beauty YouTuber Manny MUA to call negative reviews of the brand “hateful.”
Gerard can be heard laughing at the end of the snap, referring to Kaboom as “the ugliest person ever.” The brand has almost disappeared since the snafu.
6 Self Harm Insensitivity
Urban Decay is a massive international brand. They’re one of the biggest names in the beauty game and a favorite brand at retailers like Sephora. Any company that size probably has teams of PR and marketing professionals to help them avoid embarrassing mistakes. Even with a team of the best copywriters at their disposal though, they still created a stir with a photo on Twitter.
The post was to announce a new eyeliner collection and features swatches drawn across a woman's wrist. It was captioned “Ready for some razor-sharp swatches?”. Many followers of the brand thought this was insensitive to those prone to self-harm. Some went so far as to call it "gross."
5 Online Bullying For Z Palette
These days, a brand’s online presence is everything. If you don’t present an image that followers can respect, you’ll lose business fast.
Z Palette found themselves in trouble after they were busted bullying customers online. Anyone so bold as to post a negative review of a Z Palette product soon found themselves at the receiving end of some pretty rude comments.
Makeup artist Kevin James Bennett came out publicly about his experiences with the Brand’s owner. He claims to have also been bullied and pressured for positive reviews.
4 Bizzare Closing For DECIEM
Companies are founded and dissolved every day. It’s usually a mundane business transaction but not for beauty brand DECIEM. The company’s founder Brandon Truaxe posted an emotional video to Instagram in which he made some serious allegations.
Truaxe claimed that almost everyone at the company had been involved in criminal activity. It was accompanied by a long and confusing caption that called out several others in the beauty industry. Beauty giant Estée Lauder owns a minority share of the company and took swift legal action against Truaxe.
3 Sunday Riley's Fake Reviews
Sunday Riley is a luxury skincare brand. They were embroiled in a serious online scandal after an internal email was leaked to Reddit. It seems the company asked every employee to submit at least three reviews of some products. They wanted everyone at the company to help build up a profile history.
RELATED: Sunday Riley Admits To Posting Fake Reviews On Sephora.com After Employee Leaks Information
Not only did they solicit fake reviews, but they went so far as to provide guidelines for how to write them and instructions on obscuring IP addresses to avoid the revies being traced back to their authors. That’s beyond sketchy.
2 Beauty Blender's Noninclusive Foundation
When mega brand Beauty Blender announced their first ever foundation, many fans were hyped. People couldn’t wait to get their hands on the new product called Bounce.
The issue wasn’t with embarrassing tweets, fake reviews, or strange videos. This was a much more common and far too often overlooked issue. No one could help but notice that the range of tones in the 32 color line... They were heavily skewed toward lighter shades. Some even commented that the line looked like 50 shades of grey.
1 Lime Crime's Criminal History
Out of all of the brands we’ve mentioned so far, none has known as much controversy as Lime Crime. The brand’s founder, Doe Deere has caused more than one scandal. Doe has expressed quite a few racist opinions, dressed as Adolf Hitler for a costume party, and threatened to sue beauty bloggers for posting negative reviews. If that wasn’t enough to tarnish the brand’s name, there was also a massive security breach of customer information.
Credit card numbers were leaked and fraudulent charges were racked up but thieves. Many criticized the brand’s response to the breach. Lime Crime chose to inform their customers via Instagram post. Many of the affected customers claim they were never reimbursed.