Update: After a month-long hiatus, Jaclyn Hill has returned to YouTube with her first video since she ceased production and refunded sales of her Jaclyn Cosmetics lipsticks.
"This video might be the biggest mistake of my career, but that's okay," Hill begins the 19-minute clip, titled "Where I've Been." She goes on to address claims from customers that their Jaclyn Cosmetics lipsticks contained unidentified textures and spots. "My first launch was a fail. It sucked," she says. "I was so confident that I was almost cocky."
Hill continues, "I did not have a quality-control team big enough to handle what I was doing, and it's important that you guys know sorry and embarrassed I am." As far as her hiatus from social media, Hill says she's needed a break to "rebuild" her business. "I have fired so many people and I have hired so many people," she says. "This past month I've build an entire quality control team, and I have brought on several people for different things. It's why I left social media."
The YouTuber shared that she has since parted ways with the labs responsible for her first product launch, and is currently working with another. "I am doing everything in my power to make sure things like this never happen again, and if they do we'll deal with it," she says. "But I am working really hard to make sure that we are good to go in the future, and that it [Jaclyn Cosmetics] is the brand I promised you guys."
Update (June 13): In addition to a new video from Jaclyn Hill directly addressing the controversy, a spokesperson for Jaclyn Cosmetics has also released a statement regarding the safety of the lipsticks. In it, the brand assures that — despite social media accusations — the product is still safe for its intended use. "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," the statement reads. "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."
The message comes following claims from customers that their lipsticks contained what looked like mold, unidentified black spots, white hairs, or uneven texture. The brand assured customers that Jaclyn Cosmetic products are made with FDA-compliant ingredients and underwent rigorous testing before launch. "We want to provide assurances to customers who may have heard that our products are old, or contain mold — this is false," the statement continues. "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."
The brand has since halted production of Jaclyn Cosmetics to rectify any issues with product quality and switched labs, according to Hill.
This story was originally published on June 10th.
Jaclyn Hill's long-awaited cosmetics brand has been years in the making, according to the YouTube star who launched her eponymous makeup line late last month. Hill, who has previously collaborated with Morphe Cosmetics on multiple collections, debuted with 20 nude lipsticks meant to flatter all skin tones — but the reactions have been mixed.
Since the initial launch, Hill's lipsticks have sparked an intense social media debate. While some customers raved about the consistency, colour selection, and payoff of her lipsticks (including a few Refinery29 staffers who were tasked with giving them an honest review), others expressed disappointment over various manufacturing flaws ranging from broken or melted lipsticks to bullets containing what appeared to be hair. (Editor's note: Refinery29 received the samples directly from the brand for testing, which might have impacted the quality.)
One Twitter user posted a photo of her Jaclyn Cosmetics lipstick to Twitter and tagged Hill. "Why is my @JaclynCosmetics Decaf Lipstick lumpy?? @JaclynHill this can't be ok right?" she wrote.
Hill initially replied defensively, tweeting, "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."
Hill's tweet prompted backlash from fans who accused the YouTuber of having a snarky tone. She deleted the initial tweet (later admitting that it "seemed much more harsh that (sic) it sounded in my mind" and was "unprofessional") but defended her underlying sentiment. "Honest to God, I have not seen one other person complain about this & I take my reviews very seriously," Hill tweeted. "It's obvious the lipstick was used (you could see other product on top), and since her first review was great, it's hard to know the actual issue. If you have seen any other issue like this, please send with photos & I will OF COURSE address it. I'm sorry if I come off defensive, truly!"
Honest to God, I have not seen one other person complain about this & I take my reviews very seriously. It’s obvious the lipstick was used (you could see other product on top) and since her first review was great, it’s hard to know the actual issue.— Jaclyn Hill (@Jaclynhill) June 6, 2019
And send they did, with customers posting multiple reviews and photos to YouTube and Twitter flagging a variety of product issues. Fellow YouTuber RawBeautyKristi even made a video in which she inspected the lipstick bullets under a microscope, claiming that the quality of the lipsticks she received in a PR mailing were drastically better than the ones she purchased online.
Other fans complained of broken bullets, lumps, spots, and even what they thought to be hair in their lipsticks, the last of which Hill claims is due to the texture of the gloves used during quality control. "If any of you are receiving lipsticks like this.... please know that this is NOT hair!" Hill tweeted. "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."
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. https://t.co/qn6UTUJzRE— Jaclyn Hill (@Jaclynhill) June 8, 2019
The brand officially responded to the controversy with this statement: “The response to the launch of Jaclyn Cosmetics has been incredible. Of the incredible volume of orders that were placed at launch, we believe less than half of one percent of orders were impacted by compromised product," wrote a spokesperson for Jaclyn Cosmetics. "We are actively reaching out to our customers with questions and concerns and have added to our customer service team to make sure that any questions are swiftly addressed. We are keeping an eye on the Jaclyn Cosmetics social channels and firstname.lastname@example.org, and welcome all feedback. We love our customers and are proud of our successful launch."
In another tweet, the brand shed more light on the exact cause of the issues, writing, "In rare circumstances some lipsticks were exposed to high temperatures or the raw materials were not blended thoroughly and that is not acceptable to us."
In rare circumstances some lipsticks were exposed to high temperatures or the raw materials were not blended thoroughly and that is not acceptable to us - as of now we are seeing less 0.1% with issues – but we see your complaints on social and want to fix things!— Jaclyn Cosmetics (@jaclyncosmetics) June 7, 2019
Hill also released a statement on her Twitter account, thanking customers for their feedback, and pledging to resolve the issue quickly. "I want to thank you all for the unbiased feedback on my lipstick collection. The good, the bad & the ugly," she wrote. "Every comment or concern that has been brought to my attention has not been taken lightly. My team and I are working nonstop to address any & all issues you may be having."
She continued, "I’m so sorry if the product you received was anything less than perfect. If you are unsatisfied in ANY way please contact email@example.com & we will be sure to give you a full refund as well as send you a new product. 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."
I want to thank you all for the unbiased feedback on my lipstick collection. The good, the bad & the ugly. Every comment or concern that has been brought to my attention has not been taken lightly. My team and I are working nonstop to address any & all issues you may be having.— Jaclyn Hill (@Jaclynhill) June 7, 2019
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.— Jaclyn Hill (@Jaclynhill) June 7, 2019
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❤️— Jaclyn Hill (@Jaclynhill) June 8, 2019