BY AMANDA TULLOS
Jaclyn Hill is one of the most influential beauty vloggers on YouTube today. The makeup artist launched her massively popular beauty channel on the video platform in 2010, and her videos have accumulated well over 500 million views. Her channel — which boasts over 5.9 million subscribers at the time of writing — features colorful makeup tutorials, stunning makeup looks on celebs like Kim Kardashian, challenges, and more.
Hill’s down-to-earth, affable personality and self-deprecating humor showcased in her videos could make anyone feel like they were hanging with their best friend. Never one to take herself too seriously and always honest and upfront with her fans about everything in her life — including her 2018 divorce — fans found her relatable, and her popularity is understandable.
The makeup mogul has extended her success outside of YouTube to launch beauty collaborations praised by her fanbase. And, in 2019, Hill answered fan demand by releasing her own cosmetics line. While the line was hotly anticipated, Hill’s makeup launch quickly became one of the most disastrous scandals to hit YouTube’s beauty community. This is the truth about the Jaclyn Hill Cosmetics line.
Jaclyn Hill broke a Sephora sales record
Before Jaclyn Hill launched her own beauty line, she collaborated with Becca Cosmetics on a highlighter that set a single-day sales record for Sephora. According to Forbes, Hill’s Champagne Pop highlighter sold 25,000 units in its first 20 minutes online in July 2015. The cosmetics company partnered with Hill because she helped elevate their brand by simply mentioning their products in her videos.
Due to the massive success of Hill’s highlighter, Becca Cosmetics collaborated with Hill again to release the Jaclyn Hill Champagne Pop collection, which included eyeshadows, a face palette, and highlighters. In a May 2016 interview with Refinery29, Hill explained, “I wanted to do a face palette and thought I’d be stupid not to do a face palette with them because… Becca has the best blush formula… [and] their highlighter is one of my absolute number-ones.”
The beauty vlogger also went on to explain how she has changed her mindset toward negativity on her channel, saying, “I let the haters control my channel for a very long time… I’ve learned to block them mentally, and I’ve learned to look at the positive.”
Jaclyn Hill Cosmetics failed to launch in 2016
After the success of her Becca Cosmetics collaboration, fans were hungry for Jaclyn Hill to create her own beauty line. The YouTube star initially announced she was creating her own cosmetics brand, aptly titled Jaclyn Hill Cosmetics, in 2015, with a goal to launch the line in 2016.
As reported by Refinery29 in July 2015, the makeup mogul made the announcement at a Becca welcome reception, explaining that she had been working on the line for two years at the time, and she had been saving up for it with her own funds rather than working with investors. “I didn’t want people telling me what to do, or controlling me,” she said. “I wanted to make sure that I stayed true to myself.”
Hill went on to explain that the first products of her line would be lipsticks, and they would come in glamorous packaging. While the news was exciting, Jaclyn Hill Cosmetics did not launch in 2016 — and it would take three more years before it released.
Jaclyn Hill’s collaborations were hit and miss
In 2017, Jaclyn Hill collaborated with Morphe on an eyeshadow palette, Morphe x Jaclyn Hill. Like her partnership with Becca Cosmetics, Hill’s Morphe release was a monumental success. The YouTube star shared the exciting news in a tweet (via Revelist), writing, “As of this week, we have officially sold 1 million Jaclyn Hill Palettes!” The palette, which took Hill two years to develop, sold out within hours of its initial release. Originally sold as a limited edition, the popularity of Hill’s collection prompted Morphe to make it a permanent collection.
While Hill’s first project with Morphe was a huge hit, her second collaboration with the brand was a dud. Initially set to release on June 26, 2018, Hill’s next Morphe palette, The Vault, was quickly delayed after receiving a negative response from beauty influencers on YouTube. Morphe recalled the palette to fix issues (via Cosmopolitan), but some fans still complained about poor quality after the palette was finally released in August 2018.
Hill addressed the drama over her Vault collection in a September 2018 YouTube video, expressing her sadness about the poor response and apologizing to fans who felt she was shoving the Morphe brand down their throats.
Jaclyn Hill teased that a lipstick line was on the way
Jaclyn Hill initially teased she was creating her own cosmetics line back in 2015, but, after she continued to focus on brand collaborations with Morphe, it seemed as though the line was placed on the back-burner. That all changed when Hill gave fans a major hint during an Instagram Q&A in January 2019.
During the Q&A, a fan asked what the first product in her cosmetics line would be. Hill coyly responded with a lipstick emoji and a red lips emoji, as reported by Bustle. The vague response sent fans into a tizzy as they theorized about the kind of lipstick Hill would release, whether it was single lipstick bullets or bundles. Hill remained mum on the topic as speculation brewed throughout the beauty community. Then, in May 2019, Hill posted a video on her Instagram with the caption: “It’s really happening @jaclynhillcosmetics.” The video showed Hill swinging from a giant diamond, which is in sync with Jaclyn Cosmetics glam packaging.
A very glam introduction to Jaclyn Cosmetics
On May 23, 2019, Jaclyn Hill released a YouTube video and announced that Jaclyn Cosmetics was finally happening. The emotional Hill was understandably excited to share the news that one of her dreams was becoming a reality, and she revealed she was kicking off her makeup line with a 20-shade nude lipstick collection.
In the video, Hill recalled the exact moment she decided she was going to create her own makeup line: “I remember exactly where I was standing. I remember the shoes I was wearing. I remember standing … holding a lipstick, saying to myself, ‘One day, I want to have a brand of my own.'” The young makeup artist, who was on food stamps at the time, spent eight years perfecting her brand and makeup line to deliver a product she was sure fans would love.
Hill, who initially started working on her line back in 2014, expressed how proud she was of herself for accomplishing her goal of creating a brand, saying, “I can say that I am launching a brand that I am so proud to be the owner of.”
Jaclyn Cosmetics initially enjoyed success
After Jaclyn Hill announced she was launching her cosmetics line with a collection of nude lipsticks, excitement sparked throughout the internet. Fans wanted to know everything about the buttery So Rich lipstick collection, and they were chomping at the bit to get their hands on the long-awaited makeup products from their queen. Before long, the Jaclyn Cosmetics Instagram account accrued over 500k followers.
Within 24 hours of the launch, several of the lipsticks sold out, which shouldn’t have come as a surprise to fans of the makeup maven; her previous beauty launches with both Becca and Morphe also sold out quickly. Elated with fan reception, Jaclyn Cosmetics shared a happy message on Instagram, saying, “THANK YOU to everyone who showed us so much love today! We can’t wait to see you all wearing your So Rich Lipsticks! And don’t worry, we have restocks coming really soon.”
Soon things took a turn for Jaclyn Hill
After the Jaclyn Cosmetics lipstick collection quickly sold out and received initial widespread praise, it seemed like Jaclyn Hill’s first product launch from her own brand was a massive success. However, as fans began receiving their products, the response became less than stellar. One by one, fans and beauty influencers around the internet expressed their concerns and aired their complaints about the lipsticks, and the criticism spread like wildfire across social media.
On June 5, 2019, a fan tweeted an image of her lipstick, which appeared to have lumps in it. According to Refinery29, Hill responded in a now-deleted tweet, saying, “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.”
While Hill denied there were issues with her products, the concern from fans continued rolling in. Just two days later on June 7, 2019, another fan tweeted an image of her lipstick with a hard ball inside of it. There appeared to be problems with more than just one product.
A closer look at the Jaclyn Hill lipstick issue
As fan concern over Jaclyn Hill’s lipstick collection continued popping up across social media, beauty influencers on YouTube began testing the Jaclyn Cosmetics collection for themselves. YouTube star RawBeautyKristi provided an in-depth look into the So Rich lipstick collection, and the results were extremely disconcerting. In a YouTube video posted on June 8, 2019, Kristi used a microscope to thoroughly examine the lipsticks and give viewers an up-close look at the discrepancies with the products. Similar to fan complaints, she found hair, bubbles, holes, and lumps within the Jaclyn Cosmetics lipsticks.
In her YouTube review, Kristi said, “Do I feel comfortable recommending these to you off of my first impression? Absolutely not.” While she stated that the lipsticks “might just glide on like butter” and that they “look incredible on Jaclyn,” she repeated consumers’ concerns that “the product itself is unstable and not quality-tested in any way.” She also tweeted a photo of her hairy lipstick with the caption, “All I can say is WTF.” There was no more denying that the lipsticks were unsightly, and it prompted many fans to worry about the safety and sanitation of the products.
Jaclyn Hill tried easing fan concern on social media
Since RawBeautyKristi’s video hit YouTube, it has been viewed over 4 million times. Several other influencers — like ThatGirlShaeXO and Pretty Pastel Please — have also shared their insight regarding the Jaclyn Cosmetics lipstick collection. Still, Jaclyn Hill has continued to defend herself.
She initially responded to RawBeautyKristi’s tweet, blaming the cosmetics lab for the issue and saying, “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.”
Fellow beauty influencer and CEO of Makeup Geek Marlena Stell tweeted a response, saying, “I’m going to get scorched for speaking out. WTF lab ever has used furry gloves?! In my 11 years I’ve never once seen furry gloves on production floor. And why is that hair so damn long? If it was a furry glove it would be very slight fuzz. And it’s embedded IN the lipstick.”
Jaclyn Hill went on damage control
Despite widespread criticism over the Jaclyn Cosmetics lipstick collection, Jaclyn Hill stayed relatively silent, especially on her YouTube channel. Her brand kept a brave face toward the media, maintaining the product launch was a success and did not acknowledge that there was an alleged widespread issue with the collection.
In a statement shared with People on June 11, 2019, Jaclyn Cosmetics said, “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.”
The statement continued, “We are actively reaching out to our customers with questions and concerns … We love our customers and are proud of our successful launch.” Jaclyn Cosmetics also responded to complaints in a tweet posted on June 7, 2019, explaining that high temperatures were to blame for some of the lipstick defects in the collection.
Jaclyn Hill broke her silence on the lipstick drama
After several complaints about the quality of the Jaclyn Cosmetics lipstick collection flooded social media, Jaclyn Hill finally addressed the controversy in a YouTube video titled, “My Lipsticks,” on June 12, 2019. In the 14-minute video, a bare-faced Hill opened up about what happened with the cosmetics lab, and she addressed concerns that her lipsticks had been contaminated.
Hill started the video by saying, “The first thing I want to address before anything else is the accusation that my lipsticks are expired, moldy or hazardous in any way, shape, or form.” Noting that her “lipsticks are not moldy,” she stated, “They are not hazardous, they are not contaminated, they are not unsafe for you in any way, shape, or form.”
She went on to explain that the “black holes” people were seeing in the lipsticks were actually “oxygen bubbles” — not mold. As for the hair found in the lipsticks? Hill claimed that it isn’t actually hair but rather fuzz from the white gloves worn by workers at the lab. Hill has since cut ties with that cosmetics lab and has urged anyone who is still finding issues with their lipsticks to reach out to Jaclyn Cosmetics directly.
Did Jaclyn Hill know there were problems all along?
While Jaclyn Hill claimed she had a hard time believing customers were finding hair embedded within her So Rich lipsticks, fans took to Twitter to share a video they believed said otherwise. On June 12, 2019, one Twitter user posteda video of Hill, writing, “So even here on her personal lipsticks during the swatching … she had fuzzies on As If. at that point it would have been smart to check the lab for any problems.”
In the video, Hill showed off one of her new lipsticks before her brand’s launch. While swatching the color “As If” on herself, Hill stopped as she found a hair on her own personal lipstick. Hill can be heard on the video saying, “Oh my gosh, what is on there? Sorry, this is my personal collection I’m using right now.” At the time of writing, Hill has not responded to the video.
Jaclyn Hill is trying to make things right
After releasing her official apology on YouTube, Jaclyn Hill took to Instagram Stories to apologize to her fans again on Saturday, June 22, 2019. She explained that she officially cut ties with the cosmetics lab that caused her grief, and she announced she was refunding all orders. “I’m going to be issuing a full refund, including shipping and tax, to every single customer from Jaclyn Cosmetics,” she said. “I don’t care about the loss of this money. You know how embarrassing this is for me. I will do everything in my power to make this right moving forward and learn from this lesson God has given me.”
On the same day, Jaclyn Cosmetics tweeted, “Jaclyn Cosmetics takes consumer feedback very seriously. We’ve reviewed the quality issues related to our So Rich Lipsticks & believe our production did not meet our brand standards. We’ll be issuing a full refund (inc. shipping charges) to everyone who purchased the product.”
The makeup brand also issued a statement on the company’s website informing customers that a product recall would not be happening because it was not necessary.
Social media became too much for Jaclyn Hill
After experiencing weeks of criticism from fans across social media over her imperfect lipstick collection, Jaclyn Hill appeared to have had enough. At the time of writing, Hill has deleted her Twitter and Instagram accounts (via Teen Vogue). However, her YouTube channel and Jaclyn Cosmetics Instagram and Twitter accounts remain active.
Will the social media blackout last forever this time or is this Hill’s attempt to avoid any more online heat until the fire dies down? Only time will tell.
While the popular beauty vlogger had presumably hoped to make a splash on the makeup scene with the launch of her eponymous brand, she probably never imagined things would turn out as they have with annoyed customers and funky looking lipsticks. What will happen to the brand and Hill next is still a mystery, but one thing is certain: Jaclyn Cosmetics definitely made a big first impression.
SOURCE: THE LIST