Friday, February 11, 2011

Glittersniffer Warning!

For those of you unaware, there's been a lot of buzz in the blogosphere lately about indie cosmetic company Glittersniffer. The company is in the throws of a massive product recall affecting pigments made as far back as the company's inception (which, depending on your source, was either 2006 or 2008.) The recall addresses the company's use of dyes that are non-FDA approved for cosmetics (the ones used were meant to be diluted for use in soap making). Allegations of the company's deceptive business practices, which include claims of injuries, lost orders and missing refunds, are spread all over the internet. In fact, my friend Ana of Lipsticks & Lightsabers just shared her opinion of the matter, complete with screen captures and her own dazzling commentary. If you need a good primer on the scandal, I suggest you check out her post! I won't say it's unbiased, but it is factual, thorough and entertaining!

Since the issues with Glittersniffer have been so well documented, I'm not going to recount them all here, but I do want to share my comments (which are an edited version of what I posted in the comments section of Lipsticks & Lightsabers). I have never used Glittersniffer, and don't claim to have omniscient knowledge of the controversy, so be forewarned: the statements made herein are my personal opinions (except where noted) and should be taken as such. Nonetheless, I feel like my comments have value outside of the current discussion; they're relevant to anyone who's had issues with deceptive business practices, both inside the beauty arena and out.

With claims being made that Glittersniffer pigments have actually injured customers, I immediately wondered: has anyone contacted the FDA about this situation? Despite the recall, Glittersniffer owner Lela's comments on the website's recall info page prove that she still has no clue about FDA regulations. First thought? If she doesn't understand cosmetic ingredients well enough to, say, properly label her products, why in the world should be be trusted to properly use those ingredients? Second thought? DAMN WOMAN, get on the FDA website and get your info straight! OK. Maybe that was my first thought.

The first tell-tale sign that this company is a bit off? The US FDA requires that ingredients be listed by the INCI name, which is not necessarily the retail name OR the chemical name that Lela mentions. For instance, a retailer may sell Purified Water, the chemical name of which is Oxidane; in INCI nomenclature it must be listed as: Water (Aqua).

Lela also claims that since she's unable to label each pigment, she is working with her "graphic designer" for a solution. Bullshit.

My graphic designer is a Cannes gold award winner. He also happens to be my fiancé (brag brag) and I can assure you, he has no clue about labeling regulations (and yes, he works with cosmetic brands.) Why? Because it's not his job.

The fact is, since GS pigments contain less than .25oz (7.09g) per jar, the ingredients label doesn't have to be on the jar. However, they do have to be firmly affixed to the jar on a tag, tape or card. Otherwise, jars must be packaged in an outer container that includes the label. Simple, right? And my graphic designer didn't even have to tell me that!

Second, I haven't heard anyone mention getting an attorney. Again, I never tried Glittersniffer, and therefore am not directly affected, but I'm begging those of you who were, especially those that incurred medical expenses: GET A LAWYER & SUE HER!!! Most personal injury attorneys work on a pro-bono basis, meaning you don't pay them out of pocket, they just take a percentage of your settlement.

I had to sue a former landlord for an injury I sustained on his property, so I know how intimidating it can be to start this process, but in this case, it needs to be done. Not only to recover personal losses, but to stop this retailer from harming other people.

Finally, I encourage everyone effected by this to contact the Michigan State Attorney General. (Glittersniffer's business address is listed as: 4467 Vassar St Dearborn Heights , MI 48125. Incidentally, this info that should be on her products, as required by the FDA.) The website of the Michigan State Attorney General is:,1607,7-164-17331---,00.html

From what I was told by an insurance professional (in regards to a separate issue) this is the best way to get a business's attention quickly, and it often results in rapid resolution of an issue. Frankly, operating a business the volume of Glittersniffer without a business license can get Ms. Lela in big trouble as it is, so I imagine a letter from the AG would definitely get her attention.

Of course, a report to the Better Business Bureau is also warranted in situations like this, and can help to establish a negative history that can make it more difficult for a person to set up a business under another name in the future.

To those of you not affected, my purpose in publishing this is to help everyone become more educated and empowered consumers. To those that were involved, I'd like to extend my hopes that this situation is resolved quickly and justly, and I wish you all the best of luck!


Anastasia said...

I LOL'd at: "For instance, a retailer may sell Purified Water, the chemical name of which is Oxidane; in INCI nomenclature it must be listed as: Water (Aqua)."

But Jessica, don't you know water is CRAP?

The complaints blog owner has filed a report on GS everywhere under the sun, including the Attorney General, she documents them and tries and help others do the same, so I hope people do.

B said...

Heehee, water= crap. And don't get me started on the dangers of (stearic) ACID!

I don't really know what else I can say that hasn't been said already. I just wonder how this lady sleeps at night :/

Ciambella said...

Informative post; thanks! I've never tried Glittersniffer but I learned a bit about them recently from Grey and Phyrra. Not very inclined to try them now, either.

Just one unrelated thing--the payment scheme described for personal injury lawyers is called a contingency fee, not pro bono. Pro bono means the lawyer's doing it free of charge for those who can't afford the services otherwise; contingency fees are when the lawyer only gets a cut if the client gets some money.

Kira said...

Yes people have complained to the FDA and documented it. Lela herself has apparently talked to the FDA about her recall.

As for attorneys, people have been talking to attorneys to get information about what can be done and what can't be.

State attorneys have already contacted as well as the BBB.

So yes some consumers are already working on the good points you have set forth. While I am not in the middle of this I was someone who had to get a refund a little before this started for non delivery of pigments. Was sent other pigments to make me happy only to find they are basic repacks. So I am keeping up on what people are doing about this from the sidelines as I am in Australia.

Unknown said...

Ana & B-
I thought about putting in a jibe about how she'd never have to list water anyway, because according to her it's crap, but ya'know, so much to say!

You are of course, absolutely correct about pro bono -vs- C
contingency fees, thanks for the correction! Something was nagging me in the back of my mind when I wrote that, but I ignored it. Serves me right!

I'm really glad to hear that people are standing up for their rights here. I heard about the FDA reports from Ana, just seconds after I published this. I hope that through the discussions going on in posts like hers and mine (and the many, many before) people will realize that they have legal recourse in situations like this, and perhaps companies like Glittersniffer will realize that consumers are a savvy bunch, not just lambs lining up to be fleeced.

Emily said...

I agree with everything you said here. People like her hurt everyone: people who buy from her, other companies that get a bad name from being in the same industry...

The massive recall seems a bit too little too late.

Jean said...

Add the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) to the list of agencies to contact with complaints about Glittersniffer. State AGs, the FDA, the FTC and the BBB will DEFINITELY get a business's attention; I know, I've done it several times - with sucess every time.

Anonymous said...

Great advice! I don't know much about makeup (which is why I read your blog), but consumer protection is my bread and butter. You and your posters are correct, file with the BBB, the AG, and the FTC for the failure to deliver issue, and the FDA for product safety. Of those agencies, the state AG in which the business is incorporated is the most likely to take action, but they typically will pull BBB and FTC complaints to add to their victim lists.

On the criminal side, if the business is performing transactions through the mail, or receiving wire transfers, complaints may be made with the local postal inspectors for mail fraud.

It is great to see informed consumers taking appropriate action. I'll keep my eye out for this one in the papers.

The Makeup Pixie said...

went to the BBB website. there are NO complaints filed at this time against this idiot.. someone who was personally involved NEEDS to contact the BBB and get the word out about this company via the BBB.

Just a thought.


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