Another day, another beauty industry impropriety come to light via YouTube. Who knew the mostly monstrous social media platform could also embolden those who speak truth to power? Today’s sister scandal comes from Lauren Updegrove, a professional makeup artist (MUA for short) and BeauTuber who posts under the moniker Lauren Mae Beauty. Over the weekend, Updegrove posted a 13-and-a-half minute video titled “Sephora STOP Selling This Makeup!” In it, Updegrove accused Sephora of listing and selling expiring and/or expired makeup—specifically the Sephora x Pantone Color Corrector Palette and Sephora x Mara Hoffman collection of makeup and creams, limited edition items from 2016—which BuzzFeed reports have been taken down by the beauty retailer.
Here’s where it gets slightly juicy: the items were only removed from the website after BuzzFeed inquired about their state, which a spokesperson assured were “not expired.” That’s great, because if the products were expired, selling them would be unethical.
“I wanted to bring attention to very old products on Sephora’s sale page that I would feel uncomfortable using on clients as a professional makeup artist,” Updegrove says in the video. “It’s old product. It’s very old. What happens to all that deadstock? I can only imagine… it’s going to be a lot of expired makeup going on... I don’t know why they’re still on the website. I was triggered to make this video and talk about it.” She continued, “It is my responsibility to make sure I’m not going to be using a product [on clients] that’s going to break them out or give them an infection.”
It shouldn’t be up to the consumer, or a YouTuber, to verify whether or not the “new” product they’re interested in buying could be expired. It’s dangerous to imagine that Sephora might work with stock it doesn’t keep meticulously inventoried, or that items costumers have already spent good money on that are hypothetically toxic to their bodies. In truth, this news feels strikingly similar to the Jaclyn Hill drama of... two weeks ago, when the YouTuber/makeup mogul was accused of selling expired lipsticks complete with mold, black spots, and white hairs. It’s gross! How are consumers supposed to feel protected if these companies can’t—or, perhaps, won’t—even promise their products won’t be contaminated with who knows what?
In short, trust no one.