Thursday, November 5, 2009

Mineral Makeup Mutiny:
A Letter to Doe Deere

If you follow any number of beauty blogs, You Tube gurus or makeup tweeps, you may have seen the term "Mineral Makeup Mutiny" flying around. Controversy has been swirling around small makeup companies that are reportedly repackaging pigments and micas exactly as they come from the wholesaler and selling them for an astronomical markup.

I myself weighed in on the issue back in September with my post comparing several retail pigment sellers with wholesale micas. Though I compared several companies, I did use several examples from Lime Crime Makeup. For many, Xenia (aka Doe Deere) the ingenue behind Lime Crime Makeup, is the face of the enemy- the Captain, if you will, in this mutiny. I have featured Lime Crime in the past. I was a fan of Xenia's artistry long before she started Lime Crime, and after the line launched, she was generous enough to send me some of her pigments to try. I have since purchased several more.

Because of my respect for both my readers and Xenia, I felt I needed to appeal to her personally. I sent this email to her Tuesday, and I'd like to share it with you. This is an exact copy of the email that was sent to Xenia; the text has not been altered or edited in any way.


I know that recently you have come under a lot of fire about the formulation of your Lime Crime Makeup Line. As you know, I have been a long time follower of yours and have myself featured your products several times on my blog. I consider myself a conscientious blogger and try to be as fair and impartial with my posts as possible- especially where brand profiles and reviews are concerned. I enjoy Lime Crime makeup; the quality as well as the brand ethos. I respect you as a makeup artist, and out of the respect I have for you as well as that which I owe my readers, I'd like to ask you to reply directly to the accusations that you are facing.

I implore you to answer definitively, do you personally formulate and blend your own products? Do you now or have you ever sold any product exactly as it came to you from your wholesale supplier?

I have done my best to remain objective and supportive of your brand, and it is with the most honest intentions that I send you this request. It is my hope that you'll take this opportunity to clear the air once and for all.

Best Wishes,
Jessica Allison

Though I have not received a personalized response, Today Xenia did post a response to the allegations on You Tube, as well as on her website. Of course, should I hear anything directly from Doe Deere, I'll update you all.

I thought it important to bring you both sides of the story. I am neither advocating for or against the mutiny- frankly, no line is completely original or un-dupable. I have Estee Lauder shades that appear to be exact matches of Lancome shades and MAC shades. When MAC released their Rated R eyeshadow, no one made a big deal over the fact that Nars has an extremely similar shade that actually has the same name! Does this mean they're all the same repackaged product? Of course not.

The reality is, there are only so many marketable colors in cosmetics, and I find it completely likely that even someone who is blending their own shades could end up with something that appears to be an exact match for another company's shade- wholesale or not. Does this mean that I think that no one is selling repackaged wholesale makeup? Again, of course not.

I have seen mineral makeup gurus from companies like Calypso Minerals and Beauty From The Earth openly admit that they have sold either un-blended pigments, or have blended only to affect texture and not to change the shade of the mica. I appreciate the honesty, and reject the notion that these companies should have to reveal their trade secrets in order to prove themselves innocent.

While I commend those that have been honest about this particular controversy, from my fellow bloggers to the companies themselves, when it comes down to it, I really think it's our responsibility as consumers to do our research and know what we're putting on our skin & in our bodies. I personally don't blame any of these businesses for trying to make a profit-after all, it's the "American way", isn't it? Will my knowledge affect my shopping choices? Yes, and it is for that reason that I share it with you. What you do with that knowledge is your choice.


Miss drifted Snow White said...

thank you for your post. i love that you've copied the email that you've sent xenia and agree that she had to come clean about her products. i think one of the reasons why people were so annoyed about her in particular was the ratio of cost for product volume and the possibility or probability that it was repackaged. had it been cheaper, well no one would've cared too much. plus, a new brand will always have to face critics esp when they have those sort of prices. that's why no one cared when NARS and MAC had identical products. they already are established and no one seems to care that they all just do the same.

but i have to disagree on one part - i dont think it's the buyer's responsibilty to do research regarding products. i'm a make-up newbie and i still find it difficult to understand the differences and would LOVE companies to state if its pure mica repackaged or not. you'd wanna know if the water in your bottle was lust repackaged from a different water bottle company, right? and esp in the current climate, everyone is keen on buyin cheaply, so obv selling a repackaged product for rip-off price is unfair and spiteful and esp for newbies a high risk. of course of repackaging companies, they could lose profit, if they stated that some of their items are just repackaged.

Musing on Beauty said...

This is a very interesting post. I read some messages that Xena supposedly wrote and that would totally be a business suicide, so it makes sense when she says in this vid that false declarations have been spread. Her tone in the vid is not really spontaneous but it sounds like something a business person would have prepared to adress criticism, which makes sense as well.

Now when it comes to doing research or not being ripped off, let me give you a marketer's point of you if I may. A Porshe Cayenne and a VW Touran are basically the same car, but one is twice the price of the other. And still they both sell. Why? Because Porshe buyers believe in the story behind Porshe, love the brand, love what it says about them, and hence feel it's worth the price. It's all about what we believe.

If people believe that Lime Crime is a brand that says something about themselves, and that is worth loving, wether or not it's repackaged stuff doesn't matter. And someone who proudly wears Lime Crime because of the brand image, would not be as thrilled wearing TKB mica's even if they're identical. Now if you're solely interested in what the product looks like on your lid and spending as little as you can on it, of course this is not a brand for you and you should go to wholesalers right away or you'll feel ripped off.

The example of bottled water has been mentioned. Well bottled water is a perfect example of marketing success: you pay 10 times the price for something you can have at home, because you believe in the concept (portability, convenience etc...) and trust the brands (Evian etc). But water is always just water. See what I mean?

Tally7 said...

Thank you for posting this. You are the only blogger I have run across to stand up and post a objective review of the situation. I saw the swatches on her video and her products and the alleged wholesale products equals do not seem alike. I understand that she has not posted a response earlier because a response is not warrented to blatently false accusations by "haters" as she says. But once her custumers are affected, I see why she has to post a response. I applaud her for remaining mute for most of the bashing. That takes a lot of restraint and courage. I am glad she made this video now, though, since the bashing has come to such a high point a response is needed. I am going to purchase some of her products and see for myself. I don't understand how so much hate could be directed against one comapany. They only post that sticks out in my mind and would turn me off of her company is that comment she made about someone being stupid enough to buy a dress hemmed with duck-tape. Is that comment true? If it is, she needs to issue a youtube apology asap or clear things up.

Ashley! said...

Tally, if I were you I would only buy one colour from lime crime, and then purchase a $1.50 sample that is the exact match and test it out for yourself (theres many lists about what colours shes duping, they are easy to find). Thats what happened to me...I bought twilight because I thought it was unique, and then purchased "coastal scents blue-red chrome mica"
They were exact matches, and I was kind of upset about this because I'm a broke student, and I can't just be throwing my money around for products that I could get cheaper elsewhere. I thought that they would be unique products, and they turned out to be identicle.

I guess it boils down to if you love her image, then buy into it...but do some testing before you invest too much money.

Suzanne C said...

I just think that if I personally don't have any actual valid reason to doubt Limecrime over any other company why should I? Like you say we have no proof either way and I'm not a trusting person but I just get a really good vibe from Xenia! I'm not saying I don't think she's possibly made mistakes in the past because she may have but It's just a gut thing that this is just childish bullshit. There are just so many people out there who would make up horrible lies and spread them for fun.

I'm not in any way judging you for questioning her in your E-mail and just in general. You have every right and sombody's got to check the facts. I once wrote to her about a youtube rumor and she responded promptly, kindly and logically. I think she feels the video was enough of a response to your e-mail since she always writes me back.

I have to admit though that this is all a bit depressing. There are so many things in life to worry about that this never even occured to me.

Amy Lynn Schuch said...

DON'T ORDER FROM CALYPSO MINERALS! I ordered back in August after watching Cora's (Vintageortacky) video and was so excited. After getting the confirmation email, I never got anything else. I reported her to Etsy, which is why she's not on there anymore. Here we are in January 2010 and still no Rainbow Stacker or my $100. I am furious with this woman, whom I've sent numerous emails and messaged on Facebook before she deleted me. Don't let your other fans get scammed out of their money! JEN CROCKER kept my money and I got nothing but the run-around!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Did she ever respond to you personally? I tried the links for the video and her response on her website, and neither of those worked...

Unknown said...

Interesting Anon- I hadn't realized those videos had been taken down until you mentioned it. As I recall, she basically made a statement that the allegations regarding her repackaging were viciously false.

I'm not sure why the videos were removed from her site, but I do know that the product itself, Lime Crime Magic Dusts, have been completely reformulated. Perhaps she thinks the question isn't pertinent any more.

To answer you question, No, I never received a direct response from Doe (or any representative of her company) after writing her the letter contained in this post.

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