The YouTube beauty community has changed dramatically over the years. Where once there were only a handful of “beautubers” who recorded makeup tutorials in their poorly lit bedrooms or bathrooms, now there are dozens of professional YouTube beauty influencers with their own makeup lines and millions of followers.
The more YouTube beauty influencers there are, it seems, the more drama there is amongst them. Regardless of their different channels and specialties, YouTube beauty influencers are part of a pretty small community, one in which everyone has seemingly had a run-in with everyone else at some point in their careers. In June 2019, Marlena Stell, for instance, released “Dear Influencers,” a video that outlined her experiences with various other YouTubers over the years, as well as the drama she’s endured both privately and publicly.
It’s when issues — both small and large — go public, however, that things in the YouTube beauty community seem to get way out of hand. Response videos and public apologies only add fuel to the fire. These are the YouTube beauty community scandals that have garnered the most attention from fans. The appearance of Jaclyn Hill’s lipsticks worried fans
In May 2019, Jaclyn Hill announced the long-awaited launch of her cosmetics line, Jaclyn Cosmetics. In her video, Hill promoted her collection of nude lipsticks as “creamy” and “moisturizing,” with “a custom blend of fragrance that kind of smells like vanilla butter cake.” When they were actually released to the public, however, they did not live up to the hype.
In the video “The Truth About Jaclyn Hill Cosmetics,” fellow beautuber RawBeautyKristi broke down the problems consumers were having with Hill’s lipsticks, as many had allegedly found the products to be covered in a strange film. Most shockingly, some fans claimed the lipsticks had a lumpy texture or were covered in fuzz. “I was immediately shocked,” Kristi said, adding, “Some of these lipsticks are full of hair, lint, fuzz, holes.”
Following the backlash, Hill released both a video and an official statement on her website saying she would be issuing a full refund to anyone who made a purchase (via Insider), but she reassured customers that the issue was a manufacturing one and had nothing to do with product quality. Did Eltoria sell her YouTube fans second-hand products?
Eltoria has built her brand in the YouTube beauty community on unboxing advent calendars and doing hauls and try-on videos. In 2018, she put together her own 12-door beauty advent calendar, which she sold on her website for £50 (about $63). Unfortunately, according to some vloggers who did their own unboxings, Eltoria’s advent calendar wasn’t what they expected, as the calendars were allegedly filled with used or opened products.
In her Eltoria Advent Calendar unboxing video, YouTuber Mercedes Wilson pointed out a number of issues with the products, including an allegedly opened makeup brush with “dirt” on its packaging and a seemingly opened lip balm. “Another thing I’m a little bit concerned about is this doesn’t have a hygiene seal on it,” she said, noting, “It doesn’t really look like something I want to be putting on my lips. It looks dried out and old.”
In response to the backlash against her calendars, Eltoria told Metro, “It is unfortunate that people have made guesses and assumptions for it then to be treated as fact. Perhaps this is an issue that platforms need to figure out how to regulate.” Beauty YouTuber Huda Beauty’s setting powder seemed too familiar
Huda Kattan is a beauty vlogger with a YouTube following of over 3 million as of publication. She focuses mostly on DIY tutorials and beauty hacks, and, in 2013, she and her sisters launched Huda Beauty with a collection of false eyelashes. The company has gone on to create even more makeup products, including its Easy Bake Setting Powder, which caused a stir in June 2018. Fans pointed out that it closely resembled a product line from a smaller company.
When Huda Beauty announced its Easy Bake line on Instagram, the reception was less than warm, with commenters accusing the beautuber of stealing the idea from Beauty Bakerie Makeup, a black-owned cruelty-free brand whose tagline is “better, not bitter.” Comments ranged from calling the line “familiar” to outright accusing Huda Beauty of theft.
In July 2018, Huda Beauty released an Instagram video that didn’t quite address the accusations but instead gave an inside look into the “development process” for the campaign. For its part, Beauty Bakerie posted its own response on Instagram, saying, “Hey Sweets, Everyone’s invited to the baking party, even Huda.” Tati Westbrook claimed fellow YouTube beauty star James Charles betrayed her
Tati Westbrook and James Charles are both huge names in the YouTube beauty community — Westbrook’s channel has nearly 10 million followers as of publication, while Charles’ boasts 15 million. For a time, the two were best friends, with Westbrook acting as a sort of mentor to Charles.
In April 2019, Charles posted an Instagram story promoting Sugar Bear Hair vitamins, which happens to be in direct competition with Westbrook’s company, Halo Beauty. As reported by People, Westbrook posted a since-deleted 43-minute video titled “Bye Sister,” in which she slammed Charles for both his alleged betrayal and change in attitude since finding fame. “My relationship with James Charles is not transactional,” she said, adding, “This is more than just a sponsored post. … There’s so much going on with James Charles right now that I do not support. That I do not agree with. Fame, power, and a fat bank account will change almost anyone.”
That May, People reported that Charles posted his own apology video in response to Westbrook, in which he said, “I’m so disappointed in myself that I ruined our relationship.” That video has since been deleted. James Charles got accused of faking swatches by the YouTube beauty community
In November 2018, James Charles released his first eyeshadow palette for Morphe comprising of 39 rainbow colored shades and including eyeshadows and pressed pigments. In his original swatch video, Charles explained that he at first didn’t know the difference between eyeshadows and pressed pigments and said, “As an artist, I will say straight up to you guys, some of these pressed pigments are a little bit harder to work with just because you have to use slightly different techniques.”
Charles went on to give advice on how best to apply the different formulas in the palette, but his video came under some scrutiny when it appeared as though he had faked or relayered his swatches. On Twitter, users called out the video, but Charles was quick to reply. Responding to a tweet asking if the shadows had been “pre-swatched” in the video, he said, “Yes, a few shades I layered twice because the first swatch wasn’t good or because I had to re say my sentence and wasn’t going to continue washing my arm, or that would REALLY mess them up. Not hiding anything.” James Charles’ multiple social media missteps
Aside from his public friend-split with Tati Westbrook and his questionable swatching behavior, James Charles has repeatedly found himself in the spotlight on account of his social media practices. In 2017, Charles garnered the ire of the internet when he tweeted (via Allure), “I can’t believe we’re going to Africa today omg what if we get Ebola.” The vlogger soon apologized, but that was only the beginning of his trouble.
In 2019, Charles did a collaboration video with Jeff Wittek during which Charles implied that he wasn’t “full gay” because he had been attracted to trans men in the past. Understandably, that didn’t go over well, and he took to Twitter to apologize. But he’d soon make headlines again — this time because he allegedly tried to hit on a taken straight man.
When beauty Cosmopolitan reported on the YouTube beauty drama with Westbrook in May 2019, it referenced a since-deleted tweet from pop star Zara Larsson that accused Charles of trying to flirt with her boyfriend online. When Charles pointed out that Larsson had met her boyfriend by hitting on him online, Larsson deleted her original tweet and issued an apology. Jeffree Star vs. Manny MUA, Gabriel Zamora, and Laura Lee
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