If you’ve ever found yourself exploring the internet for more than a minute, you’ve probably caught wind of at least a few beauty-community-related scandals. Whether it be a ruined friendship over a brand deal gone wrong, faulty makeup products, or blatant racism (yikes), the online beauty community (which is mainly based on YouTube) has been riddled with conflict— much of which has been brought about by the beauty bloggers themselves. Sadly, fame and fortune led certain influencers to do some bad things.
In fact, we found a whopping 10 times beauty bloggers were caught scamming us with their makeup lines.
Of course, issues with the beauty lines themselves are just the tip of the drama iceberg.
For example, in 2018, the beauty-blogging community was hit with what was dubbed “Dramageddon,” which basically pitted makeup guru Jeffree Star against fellow YouTube makeup artists Gabriel Zamora, Nikita Dragun, Manny MUA, and Laura Lee, which ultimately exposed the really dark sides of everyone involved.
And in early 2019, “Dramageddon 2.0” went down between former friends Tati Westbrook and James Charles after Charles refused to market Westbrook’s vitamin brand on his social channels, yet had no problem advertising SugarBearHair vitamins — Westbrook’s biggest rival.
We focused on the actual products, though. Some have been good, some have been very bad, and somehow all of them have been at the center of a firestorm at one point or another.
Some have been good, some have been very bad, and somehow all of them have been at the center of a firestorm at one point or another.
Here are the worst beauty blogger makeup scandals.
1. Jaclyn Hill’s lipstick fiasco.
YouTube makeup guru Jaclyn Hill is one of the most recent beauty bloggers to be forced into the spotlight after releasing a defective batch of lipsticks within her Jaclyn Cosmetics brand. The lipstick line, a collection of 20 different nude shades, was put on the market in 2019.
But it immediately attracted negative reviews.
Upon unboxing their new tubes of lipstick, many customers found fibers and gritty debris stuck to the product.
Some people even reported that their lipstick was melted and broken within the bullet.
At first, Hill got defensive, replying to the above tweet, “You posted swatches 2 days ago loving the lipsticks? Now you’re wondering why it’s lumpy? It’s obvious this lipstick is used & not fresh from the factory. Like any other lipstick, if you use it over other products, have dry lips, etc., things like this can happen.”
And, as would be expected, her response did not sit well with upset customers.
Other beauty channels began reviewing Hill’s product and found countless problems with the lipsticks. Even so, Jaclyn Cosmetics reported that “less [than] 0.1%” of the lipsticks had issues. Even so, the viral backlash forced Hill to record a response video addressing the controversy.
As of June 24, 2019, Hill and her team agreed to issue full refunds.
Everyone also got their shipping and tax fees returned, as Jaclyn announced on her Instagram. She has also moved her operations to another cosmetics lab to ensure this kind of scandal doesn’t happen again.
2. Huda Kattan “pandered” with her foundation.
In November 2017, YouTuber Jackie Aina, who has over three million subscribers, finally posted her review of the Huda Beauty Faux Filter Foundation from beauty blogger Huda Kattan’s makeup brand.
Aina included her review as part of a video in which she tests out products that receive major hype on Instagram.
The line itself reps a fantastic range of shades from the lightest pale to the darkest brown. However, Aina pointed out that, up until recently, Huda Beauty had lacked diversity and representation on social media.
“I have a hard time distinguishing when someone really truly does celebrate diversity and when they are pandering,” Aina said.
Aina expressed her concern that Huda was simply trying to cash in on the diversity movement rather than actually wanting to create makeup for those with darker skin tones.
And Aina wasn’t the only one to point out the strange hypocrisy of Huda’s shade range. After posting her video, which has since received over 3.7 million views, Revelist did a social media deep dive and discovered that Huda Beauty’s social media images consistently lacked diversity.
Since Aina’s call-out, Huda Beauty has increased representation on their socials.
But we can’t help but wonder if they would have done so if no one with a platform as large as Aina’s had complained.
3. Kylie Jenner produced questionable face scrub.
Before it even launched at the end of May 2019, Kylie Jenner’s “Kylie Skin” skincare line was raising eyebrows (not in a good way).
People were a bit weirded out by the fact that she included a walnut face scrub in the collection. First off, manual exfoliants are apparently out (rather chemical exfoliants are totally in, BTW). And secondly, crushed walnuts have been proven to cause more harm than good to skin — especially if used too frequently.
Jenner recommended customers use the walnut scrub two or three times per week to achieve “baby soft” skin.
However, as many estheticians and dermatologists predicted before the scrub was even released, this exfoliating product could do some serious damage.
“Nuts or nutshells can create micro-tears in the skin, damaging the delicate barrier and triggering inflammation, which can exacerbate skin conditions like acne, eczema, rosacea, or even lead to premature aging,” NYC-based dermatologist Dr. Whitney Bowe told People.
“One of the biggest skincare mistakes people make is to over-scrub or over-exfoliate their skin.”
Despite the concerns on social media, Kylie Skin sold out — walnut scrub included. Do your skin a favor and resist purchasing the scrub when it restocks.
4. James Charles’s Morphe palette.
James Charles, who was at the center of some major drama with former-BFF Tati Westbrook, dealt with scandal, too.
In late 2018 after he announced he would be releasing a palette with the makeup brand Morphe. It was an exciting time for the YouTuber, who was crowned the first male Covergirl in 2016, as well as for those who have followed him for years.
However, upon posting his palette’s reveal video, people began accusing James Charles of faking his swatches in order to make his product look better on film.
Charles eventually admitted that he double swatched some colors because he had to get additional shots.
Charles even went so far as to post a live swatch reveal on his Instagram to quell fears that he was selling a potentially defective product. As it turned out, he wasn’t and everyone is seemingly really pleased with the Morphe x James Charles palette. It has a 4.6-star rating on Ulta.
5. Jeffree Star sold hairy highlighter.
In January 2017, Ciera Jewel, a Jeffree Star Cosmetics fan, tweeted photos at the YouTube beauty guru showing off a thick hair she found in her Skin Frost powder highlighter. She had hit pan by the time the hair emerged, and was thoroughly disgusted — um, same!
But rather than handling the situation in a professional manner, Star blocked Jewel on Twitter and sub-tweeted her in a series of since-deleted posts.
And things did get ugly.
Jewel accused Star of having poor customer service, and Star accused Jewel of cyber-bullying, as Teen Vogue reported. However, the issue was eventually settled and Jewel received a full refund for her faulty purchase.
Later that month, Star spoke to Seventeen.
He explained that the embedded hair was most likely not from a human. “A brush tool (like a paint brush) is used to clean the machines in between every time they press the powder down,” he said. “So sadly a tiny bristle fell into one of the machines.”
6. Zoe Sugg charged £50 for a holiday advent calendar.
YouTuber Zoe Sugg, who goes by Zoella on YouTube, isn’t always considered a beauty blogger.
However, she does produce “a little bit of everything,” as her YouTube banner states, and has dipped her toes into the beauty community in the past.
She’s even gone so far to produce her own line of beauty products, including a collaborative makeup line with ColourPop Cosmetics, which she released in February 2019.
But in November 2017, Zoella released a controversial holiday advent calendar that was sold at the U.K. drugstore chain Boots for a whopping £50.
Almost as soon as the advent calendar hit shelves (containing only 12 doors and dismal prizes like a pen, room spray, a cookie cutter, and a notebook), fans and followers of the YouTube star were outraged at the fact that she was trying to get so much money for so little.
She then released an explanation within a scheduled vlog, which caused many to accuse her of “hiding” her apology.
Her bit about the advent calendar begins at around 33 minutes.
Zoella claimed she had no say as to how much Boots was going to charge for her product. After the public outrage, Boots ultimately dropped the price of the calendar to £25.
7. Kylie Jenner’s brushes were “Dollar Tree” quality, according to Jeffree Star.
When Kylie Jenner released her $360 Kylie Cosmetics brush set in 2017, everyone talked about it.
Specifically, the exorbitant price turned heads. In fact, the internet freaked out so excessively that Jenner was forced to respond via Twitter and break down the cost of the set.
However, were her brushes worth the $360 when it comes to quality?
According to Jeffree Star, no.
Star reviewed the natural-hair brush set in a December 2017 video, which has over 11 million views.
He said that people were better off saving their money. In a since-deleted tweet, Star asked Jenner for a refund and was reportedly removed from the Kylie Cosmetics PR list. The shade.
8. Huda Kattan’s “Easy Bake” controversy.
In July 2018, Huda Kattan’s brand Hude Beauty released a line of loose setting powders called “Easy Bake.”
She named after the liquid makeup setting technique called “baking.” The marketing for the line was baking-themed, which piqued the interest of fans of another makeup brand called Beauty Bakerie, whose products are marketed entirely with baking references.
As soon as Huda Beauty released the first promotional image for Easy Bake on Instagram, the comments section was flooded by people accusing Kattan of ripping off the independently owned Beauty Bakerie, which was founded by a black female entrepreneur.
Remember Huda Beauty’s issue with lack of diversity? Yeah, this didn’t help.
To make matters worse, this launch came mere months after Huda Beauty published a blog post entitled, “Why Your Vagina Gets Dark And How To Lighten It,” featuring a picture of Nicki Minaj. Although Kattan and her team didn’t mean to push the narrative that “lighter is better,” that’s how the since-removed post came across.
Then, having seemingly stolen an idea from a Black-owned makeup brand, the internet was collectively like, “HUH?”
Huda Beauty reportedly did not respond to the allegations that she ripped off Beauty Bakerie. However, Beauty Bakerie posted an image on Instagram that stated, “Everyone’s invited to the baking party, even Huda.” They definitely took the high road, and we’re not mad at that.
9. Laura Lee and Manny Gutierrez straight-up lied about buying makeup.
In 2017, Laura Lee and Manny Gutierrez (AKA Manny MUA) headed to a Morphe store to “buy” an arsenal of new makeup brushes.
And the beauty bloggers made sure to emphasize the word “buy” within the footage of the trip recorded via SnapChat. The problem was that viewers noticed that neither Lee nor Gutierrez actually bought anything. They got their entire haul for free.
This wouldn’t have been such an issue if they weren’t repped by Morphe and had commission codes with the brand.
Basically, in their video, they encouraged fans to buy brushes using their codes, knowing that they themselves didn’t have to purchase the brushes and would ultimately be making a profit off their fan base.
And obviously, a lot of people found that kind of scummy.
Lee and Gutierrez tried to cover their tracks but gave conflicting stories. Gutierrez said they got the brushes for free in order to do a giveaway. Meanwhile, Lee said they received the brushes as gifts after running into the founder of Morphe.
Hmm… Odd how they never mentioned either story in the video footage?
Both Lee and Gutierrez ran into more trouble after a series of old racist tweets were found on Lee’s feed. And when Manny MUA found himself in hot water with both Jeffree Star and fellow makeup guru Gabriel Zamora.
10. Kylie Jenner duped us with her face wash tutorial.
On May 29, 2019, Kylie Jenner posted a video of on Twitter showing how she uses her Kylie Skin foaming face wash.
Unfortunately, the tutorial, meant to encourage her fans to try the $24 product for themselves, ended up being super shady. Not only is the 35-second video heavily filtered, but Jenner seemingly doesn’t know how to properly use her own product.
She doesn’t nearly take enough time to actually wash her makeup off, as is evidenced by the foundation left on her towel.
And there was a lot of foundation left. No filter could blur that away.
For many, this flub is proof that Jenner either isn’t confident about her product or doesn’t know enough about skincare to be making her own. Neither scenario is good for business.
And yet, no matter how off-putting Kylie Skin and its publicity seem to be, it’s still sold out. You do you, guys, but don’t come crying to us when you break out because you’re following Jenner’s face-washing tutorial.
We don’t know about you, but after falling down that rabbit hole, we need an Advil and a hot shower.
Let this list be a lesson for all beauty bloggers who wish to launch makeup lines. Be honest and double check your product before shipping it out. Otherwise, you’ll be on this list before your makeup even gets a chance to hit shelves.