Not all beauty brands are created equally. In fact, many of the brands we know and love have bad news brewing in the background. In today’s business world, it’s impossible to separate a founder from the brand. Every business owner represents the brand and out of the office, and unfortunately for many business owners, they don’t hold up to the scrutiny. From animal testing and toxic chemicals to bad branding and re-packaging rumors, here’s the downside to these popular cosmetic companies:
Unfortunately, there are many popular beauty brands that test on animals—and still advertise their businesses as cruelty-free. There are many workarounds and reasons why this is possible without legal action, and how Benefit manages to achieve this is a good example of how some other brands do, too.
On the website’s FAQ section, it addresses the animal testing conducted on its benefits: “Our products are made in Europe and for imported cosmetics, the Chinese health authorities order some test on animals: they require companies to make their products available to be tested in state-certified laboratories for registration purposes only, as it is currently their only recognized method to demonstrate product safety.”
In layman’s terms, Benefit tests on animals where “required” by law. Although it doesn’t test on animals in Europe and the United States, it does test on imported products in China. There are plenty of other cruelty-free alternatives for you to try out. For instance, Egyptian Magic is a natural eczema cream, while Makeup Geek has plenty of cruelty-free eyeshadows.
Lime Crime has a lengthy laundry list of bad press—so much so, that it can be hard to decide where to start. To begin with, the company has been exposed for their harsh reaction towards negative reviews on multiple occasions. In one instance, a blogger described how the company listed her personal email and urged its subscribers to send her emails after she posted a negative review.
They also released a palette called “China Doll” that featured an image of a white women dressed in Chinese garment and hairstyle. When the company was accused of cultural appropriation, the founder, Doe Deere, responded to the criticism by calling the concept of cultural appropriation a “silly notion.” The same founder dressed up as Adolf Hitler during one Halloween.
And lastly, hundreds of people lost money after their credit card details were stolen during a hack of the Lime Crime website, and many of those customers were not compensated for the loss. Instead, Lime Crime simply posted an apology on their Instagram pages.
MAC is a very well-known makeup brand, but has lost some steam after a few items that got them some bad press over the years. Like Benefit, the company does test on animals in countries like China, where it’s required. And the truth about animal testing in China is brutal: some animals are even given “lethal dose,” where they’re forced to swallow massive amounts of a chemical to test to their reaction to it.
According to Humane International Society, “Almost without exception, companies have a choice about whether or not to test on animals. In the majority of cases, animal tests continue because some companies insist on developing and using “new” ingredients. These are ingredients that don’t have existing safety data—because they’re new! So new safety data has to be generated to satisfy the regulators before a product can go on sale, and that means new animal testing.
But it’s not just about animal testing. The company has also made some shady brand decisions. One example is the release of “Vibe Tribe” which plays into the tribal stereotype with packaging inspired by Native American prints. Commercials and print ads depicted women in traditional Native American garments and tribal tattoos.
Kylie Cosmetics is worth an estimated $900 million, according to Forbes. And despite this large number, the company has been repeatedly accused of simply being a repackaged brand. One of the biggest allegations is that Kylie Cosmetics uses the same ingredients as the much lesser-priced brand, ColourPop—and is simply repackaged under the Kylie Cosmetics name. While the company has denied the rumor, what’s certain is that both companies use the same labs, have nearly identical formulas, and are owned by the same parent company.
In addition to repackaging other brands, the company was also accused of repackaging old colors as limited edition items with new names. One of the most popular examples of this was the color Blitzen, which appeared as one of the colors in her holiday kit. Fans were upset for the limited edition Blitzen, which appeared to be the same exact color as another older lipstick in the collection called Spice.