I’ve gone back and forth about writing this review because there’s already been so much chatter around it. If you follow Jaclyn Hill and her fans (and those who are not fans of hers), you know exactly what I’m talking about.
But, before I get into it, I’ll say that I love Jaclyn Hill. Jaclyn is a YouTube beauty vlogger, who has millions of subscribers, and has done makeup collaborations with Becca and Morphe.
What I Know About Jaclyn
I started watching Jaclyn’s videos three years ago, when I was specifically looking for help learning how to contour my face. Not only was she really good at beauty application instruction, her personality was fantastic! She’s funny and fun to watch, no matter what she’s talking about.
Longtime fans of Jaclyn know that she’s got quite a come-up story; she got on YouTube early, and now lives a pretty lavish lifestyle because of her successes. But… we’ve also been witness to some failures, too.
Her collaboration with Becca was before my time (she’s been on YouTube since 2010) but there was a problem with the launch of the product (the champagne pop highlighter), even though it remains to be one of their best-selling products to-date.
She has released several products with Morphe, and her Jaclyn Hill palette was a top success. I bought it for myself when I paid off a credit card, and it was honestly my introduction to what QUALITY eyeshadows were.
However, a later launch of additional eyeshadows with Morphe — The Vault Collection — went terribly wrong when reviews started coming in, saying some of the shadows were patchy and didn’t blend well. This… was a mess.
Jaclyn posted a “tell-all” video where she basically blamed everyone but herself, and said people could send back their palettes and get a replacement, but they had to pay for shipping… which meant many just tossed their palettes. The ones who got replacements said it was exactly like the original palette. I never bought this collection, simply because I couldn’t justify it — it was very colorful and I didn’t see myself wearing them often enough to get it.
Shortly after that, she launched a brush collection with Morphe. In all honesty, I still want to buy this! While I never heard bad reviews about the brushes, many speculated it was quickly released to make up for the Vault Collection mess.
Over the years, we’ve also witnessed Jaclyn go through a divorce and fall in love again. She’s had other drama with fellow YouTubers and influencers, but for the most part, I’ve just enjoyed watching her videos and I love seeing the products she recommends.
Introducing Jaclyn Cosmetics
A little over a month ago, in a Q&A video, Jaclyn mentioned her cosmetic line was coming soon. This was honestly the first time I heard about it, and I was excited to hear more but didn’t think much of it.
A short time later (within two weeks), she posted a video introducing Jaclyn Cosmetics — a line that would be entirely her own. In the video, she said it’s been something in the works for years (four years, I believe), and parts of it were emotional because she just couldn’t believe it was finally happening.
She said she was launching the brand with a line of 20 nude lipsticks, made for all different skin tones and styles. These would be the So Rich lipsticks.
In the video, she said it had taken so long because of all the testing she was a part of — she wanted it to be a lipstick you could throw in your purse, wear every day, find your perfect nude shade, and feel proud pulling it out of your purse.
She’d worked extensively on the component (the lipstick tube), which was octagonal shaped, with a sparkly silver coating, a “JH” pendant on the side, and a faux diamond in the top.
The other half was, of course, the lipstick itself. Her formula was made to be highly pigmented, buttery, and soft on the lips. She swatched all 20 shades, and explained their names and what skin tone each shade would compliment.
She also outlined the launch date and the purchasing options. She reveled the press packages and said there would be several giveaways.
At first, I was like… a lipstick line? Really? I was expecting the whole shebang — foundation, concealer, bronzer, highlighter… but then I realized I know absolutely nothing about creating a makeup line and it’s probably so difficult, so yeah.
I know that Jaclyn uses nude lipsticks all the time (she talks about them in her videos), so maybe that was the best place for her to start.
The Jaclyn Cosmetics Launch
Jaclyn Cosmetics officially launched Thursday, May 30, and I was on that website right when purchasing became available. Individual lipsticks were $18, there were trio sets for $49 and the entire collection of 20 was $295.
I bought the “Nude Mood” trio, which was the lightest set, including the shades “Nude AF”, “Amazeballs” and “Obsessed”. There are other shades in the collection I liked, but I figured this would be the best way to start.
There wasn’t a shipping fee, so it was $49 + tax, and that was it. I was excited to receive them. The next day, many people were posting email notifications that their lipsticks had already been shipped. Wow!
On Jaclyn Hill’s personal social media accounts, she was saying how quickly things sold out, she was thanking everyone, and it was all so happy.
I didn’t get a shipping notification that fast, but I got my lipsticks about a week later, which I felt was pretty standard. The packaging was very cute, with graphic diamond J’s on the bubble mailer. The little trio box was wrapped in bubble wrap, and has a quilted texture to it.
Inside that box were three boxes with the lipsticks, which all looked great. I immediately swatched them on my arm and tried one on my lips. It was buttery, smooth, and all of the colors were really pretty.
Was it the best lipstick I’ve ever tried? No. But, I thought it was nice, worth the price I paid, and I was excited to support a female-owned company, and to support Jaclyn. As a business owner myself, I know it’s a lot, and I don’t care what your dreams are, I want to be supportive of anyone who’s really GOING for it. A lipstick line? That’s amazing!
And then, the reviews came in…
Over the weekend, I was hosting company so I wasn’t paying much attention to social media. So when the following week kicked off, I got online to see what other people were saying about the lipsticks.
…Things had gotten ugly fast. From what I could tell, a Jaclyn Cosmetics customer, named Veronica, was the first to Tweet a picture of one of her So Rich lipsticks after she had been using it for a few days. In the picture, you could see visible chunks in the lipstick, and they had caused deep lines in the top of the lipstick, which likely appeared on her lips during application.
Jaclyn responded saying something along the lines of, wait, you loved the lipstick first and now you don’t like it, and accused Veronica of having dry lips and/or applying the lipstick on top of another lip product, which caused the chunks in the picture.
From there, at least a dozen or so more people came forward with similar pictures of chunky lipsticks. Some customers said their lipsticks had a white fuzz either on top or embedded in them, and they had photo evidence. Other complaints were lots of bubbles or what appeared to be black dots on the lipstick as well.
At first, I was not convinced. I had only tried my lipstick a few times but I hadn’t noticed any of these things. I figured this was just drama, although I believed the photos were real.
After a day or so, I watched a YouTube review where someone tried on every single shade of the So Rich lipstick. Some of them were perfectly fine and others were chunky, bubbly, or fuzzy.
This reviewer had a microscope so she showed some of them under it, and even melted down a few of the lipsticks to see if the chunks melted (they didn’t really melt, but she crushed them down).
Okay, now this was getting weird. Jaclyn was saying the fuzz was not hair, it was cotton fiber from the gloves used in the lab. What?
I got out my lipsticks and started looking at them closely. I noticed maybe one tiny chunk in one, but then I started looking through other lipsticks I had from Mac, Smashbox, and Too Faced. Some of those looked similar, and honestly, I’ve never thought twice about it. I’ve never looked at any of my makeup as close as I looked at these lipsticks!
By this point, people were angry that Jaclyn Cosmetics hadn’t provided answers. Many customers were starting to think the air bubbles and the fuzz were mold spores, and some reported irritation and even doctor visits after using the lipstick.
In general, I still felt fine about my purchase. But were they safe to use?
Jaclyn Responds via YouTube
Thursday of that week (June 13), Jaclyn posted a much-anticipated video on her YouTube channel in response to all of the complaints.
The 14-minute video was weird… She seemed angry and was very defensive. As I watched, I felt like she was yelling at me, and I wasn’t even upset about anything! The longer I watched, the more upset I became. This was not the Jaclyn I wanted to support.
She didn’t apologize until halfway through the video, she barely said thank you, and none of it seemed sincere. She touched on a majority of the complaints, said her lipstick was not old or moldy, that the chunks were bits of the formula that weren’t melted and properly combined.
She stuck to her theory about the fuzz, saying the lab workers used cotton gloves to handle her component instead of latex gloves that would leave fingerprints. She showed documents stating her ingredients and lipsticks were FDA approved, but many said the documents were blurry and/or dated from 2017 (I didn’t care enough to look).
When the video was over, I had a bad taste in my mouth. Where was the genuine thank you? How about an I’m sorry for even making you question a product you purchased? We supported someone and their dreams and instead of answers, we got yelled at. What happened to the Jaclyn we used to get excited to watch?
I still didn’t want a refund for the lipsticks, and since she said they were safe to use, I was going to use mine. I’ve worn each of them a handful of times, and honestly, they are nice lipsticks. I know not everyone has had this experience, and that’s a bummer. I always get compliments when I wear them, and they are soft and smooth on the lips. They are a velvet, satin finish, so there is some transfer, but I’m okay with that.
Jaclyn Goes Silent
A few days after the video, I noticed that Jaclyn and Jaclyn Cosmetics didn’t post a single thing on any of their social media channels.
More and more people were complaining, and the silence wasn’t helping. There were several more video reviews out, and people were saying they found pieces of metal in their lipsticks.
I wasn’t sure how much of everything I believed, but I know that it’s not a good look to just go totally silent. After six days of hearing/seeing nothing from her, I started to wonder if she would just never return.
Part of me wondered how she COULD return after everything that went down, but the other part of me felt sad that after everything she did, this might just be what takes her down.
As a digital marketer, I am fully-aware that social media is a necessary evil. It’s a pain in the ass, and it’s where many people go to complain to brands or businesses. Many businesses have had to hire employees simply to handle these kinds in inquiries because they are so public and more likely to be angry than happy.
But, Jaclyn made her entire career off social media. She’s no stranger to the backlash that happens when you don’t deliver on a promise and she promised a line of bomb-Ass lipsticks.
One thing that really bothered me was how much testing she said SHE did. If that were true, wouldn’t she have noticed the chunks? The bubbles? The fuzz?
I have no doubt that she had a hand in making this product, but I also think she may have been lied to, and she very well may have lied to us for whatever reason. I feel like she cut corners somewhere, and well, now shit hit the fan.
Jaclyn is BACK!
Yesterday, finally, Jaclyn and Jaclyn Cosmetics posted on social media, and sent emails stating that every single customer would be getting a refund within the next seven days.
Jaclyn posted a short video on stories and this seemed much more like the Jaclyn we know. She was sincere, she apologized multiple times, thanked us for supporting her, and told us she loved us.
She said she made mistakes, she thought she took the right measures, but she was wrong, and she’s embarrassed, but she’s determined to make it right. She knows some people liked the lipsticks, but she knows people didn’t and she said she can’t sleep knowing the product wasn’t what she promised.
I don’t think we will ever know what went wrong here, but I think it’s a class act to refund all of us. I still don’t even want a refund, but I appreciate the effort to make things right.
She said she will be working with a new lab from this point forward and there are additional launches coming soon. Although this wasn’t ideal, I’m not done with Jaclyn. I’m not into cancel culture and I want to keep watching her videos and I definitely want to see what’s next.
I totally understand if people don’t return to her channel or buy anything from her, and that was definitely a risk she took. But people make mistakes. She’s an entrepreneur, and I can attest that we don’t all get it right the first time.
So, I can’t even tell you to go buy the lipsticks because they aren’t available, but, I know I’ll be watching out for her next launch. And when these lipsticks come back, there’s a good chance I’ll use my refund money to buy additional colors (I’ve had my eye on Hotty Toddy).
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