Somehow, almost every YouTuber is problematic, and for whatever reason, the beauty community seems to really bring out the dregs. In the shadow of the James Charles/Tati Westbrook/Jeffree Star controversy comes another, this time, with seemingly decent human-influencer Jaclyn Hill. For nearly a decade, Hill has taught nobodies how to get Instagram-hot with tutorials and, as of 2015, various cosmetics through her own collaborative lines. That might be coming to an end after fans found mold, black spots, and white hairs on her lipsticks. It’s gross. Let’s unpack this fungus-y beef!
June 8, 2019
Though Jaclyn has collaborated with makeup companies like Morphe in the past for her own collections, in June she finally launched her own brand, Jaclyn Cosmetics, with 20 $18 nude lipsticks. Fans immediately noticed something was up with them—deformities, hairs, fungus, fibers, bumps, fuzz, air bubbles, you name it—and vocalized their concerns on social media. Many uploaded their own YouTube reviews. This “THE TRUTH ABOUT JACLYN HILL COSMETICS LIPSTICKS” is nearly an hour long and has nearly 4 million views:
Hill responded on Twitter by writing, “If any of you are receiving lipsticks like this…. please know that this is NOT hair! My factory used brand new white gloves to do quality control & they shed all over my product! We switched to rubber gloves 2 days ago & will make sure this never happens again.” She later added, “My team and I are working very hard on finding out EXACTLY what is causing the “grittiness & bumpy texture” on some of my lipsticks. I am so sorry to see some of you dissatisfied with my product. I will make it right for you & learn from this mistake! That’s a promise” and instructed dissatisfied costumers to reach out: “I’m so sorry if the product you received was anything less than perfect. If you are unsatisfied in ANY way please contact firstname.lastname@example.org & we will be sure to give you a full refund as well as send you a new product.”
June 12, 2019
Hill responded to the accusations—where else, but YouTube, in a respectfully demonetized 14-minute video—and released a statement. Via Refinery 29:
“We are distressed to learn that a small percentage of our customers have received lipstick with quality issues related to the texture and the look-and-feel of the lipsticks. We would like to reassure customers that while it is unacceptable for these quality issues to have occurred, there are no safety concerns related to the lipsticks.”
There’s more, denying the accusations from fans and clarifying that their product isn’t expired:
“We want to provide assurances to customers who may have heard that our products are old, or contain mold — this is false. Our launch collection was manufactured in May 2019. The preservative system, material composition of the formula, and processing temperature of our lipstick does not support microbial growth and protects the product through the expiration date of May 2021.”
Sure! In the video, Hill blames the lab that she used to which I say, get a better lab?
June 22, 2019
Jaclyn Hill Cosmetics responded on Twitter, fully realizing this isn’t something that can be swept under the rug, and offered full refunds.
June 28, 2019
Jaclyn deleted all of her social media accounts—Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat—with the exception of YouTube. Fans assume it is because of her damaged makeup and the fallout. One theory I personally appreciate is this person who thinks it is a temporary deactivation so Hill won’t loose followers:
Then—O.G. beauty influencer Marlena Stell posted an hour and a half (!!!) long video, essentially calling out influencers and outlining her friendship with Hill while making a few damning accusations. She claims she used the same lab Hill used for a few concealers that never saw the light of day because they were contaminated. “They had shards of plastic in them, they had finger prints, they had hairs in them, they had black specks in them. Does that sound familiar?” she says in the video.
Stell also claims she saw Hill at the lab and told her not to work with them but, lol, who cares about consumers?
What does it all mean?
Nothing, other than the fact that BeauTubers really don’t know how to handle a scandal. I doubt Hill’s gone for good—she will emerge when enough time has passed, or when another YouTuber controversy takes over. The day is young. I await the followup apology video with bated breath.