After Jaclyn Hill’s last disastrous makeup launch, critics are eager to find flaws in her new highlighter collection

Jaclyn Hill announced her highlighter collection in the wake of an enormous scandal that rocked her brand’s reputation. Screenshot YouTube/Jaclyn Hill
  • After Jaclyn Hill launched her own beauty brand, Jaclyn Cosmetics, with a disastrous line of lipsticks, the reputation of her and the brand tumbled – to some, past the point of no return.
  • Customers who bought Hill’s lipsticks accused them of falling apart, leaving their lips swollen or bumpy, and containing black dots, white fuzz, and even sharp shards. She was also accused of editing her swatches.
  • As with almost any YouTube scandal, the extent of the controversy was judged via viral, unverifiable social media posts, which gave people an incentive to criticise Hill and her brand.
  • That incentive still stands as Hill has started shipping out new products from her comeback launch, a holiday highlighter collection. Some drama channels and microinfluencers have started criticising Hill for sending unequal PR packages and shipping products from the same orders at different times.
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Jaclyn Cosmetics faces a tough crowd with its holiday highlighter collection.

After beauty YouTuber Jaclyn Hill endured a disastrous lipstick launch at the beginning of her brand’s career, she took a short break from social media before diving headfirst back into the beauty business with a collection that includes $US49 four-pan highlighter palettes, $US32 glowy all-over face powders, $US24 loose highlighters, and $US24 highlighter brushes.

Several of the products look great, and pricey YouTuber beauty products have become the new normal. But Hill faces an uphill battle after her personal brand and reputation took a deep dive after customers reported issues with her last launch. Lipsticks were falling apart on arrival or after one use, were making users’ lips swollen and bumpy, and contained black dots, white fuzz, and even shards.

Viral but ultimately unverifiable social media posts spread like wildfire, and drama channels collected all the experiences to deliver monetized condemnations of the launch. Hill claimed the lipsticks weren’t actually contaminated or unsafe but decided to refund all her original customers – some people still say they never got their refunds.

Nonetheless, Jaclyn Cosmetics says it sold out of its first holiday release, and is gearing up to restock. Watchful beauty enthusiasts and drama peddlers have already called out the “wasteful” PR packaging, the suspiciously quick restock turnaround, and the fact that Hill rarely posts YouTube videos anymore that aren’t self-promotion.

But are the new complaints serious issues for Hill’s brand, or are they a case of Hill’s reputation preceding her products.

One microinfluencer was confused about why she only received one product from the launch in her PR package^tfw

The complaint about Hill’s highlighter collection that has gained the most traction since products began arriving is the microinfluencer PR package. As the beauty community has transitioned into around-the-clock vlogging and investigative docuseries, transparency has become a key consumer consideration.

PR packages play a huge role in product promotion.

Brands send samples in PR packages to influencers with diverse following sizes, including microinfluencers, who are usually defined as having somewhere around 2,000-50,000 followers and full blown celebrities. Some brands are more selective than others, but Jaclyn Cosmetics sent PR packages to at least some microinfluencers – including Paige Oenning, who 66,4000 Instagram followers.

But Oenning noted on Twitter that the PR package she was sent was drastically different than the ones sent to YouTubers like Jeffree Star, who is followed by 16 million users on YouTube alone. Oenning only received one product in her package – the one that multiple reviewers say was the most disappointing, too, the shimmery all-over face powder.

Oenning said she was “grateful, just confused,” but the seemingly tiered PR packages raised gripes. Some wondered why drama channels run by individuals who aren’t makeup artists received the full package, but an actual makeup artist like Oenning didn’t, when she was planning to actually review and test out the full line.

Others said that it wasn’t unique to Jaclyn Cosmetics to distribute tiered PR packages.

Some customers have raised concerns about their orders being split up for shipping, which could raise the cost

Another concern aired about the highlighter launch is shipping. Multiple tweets at Jaclyn Cosmetics and comments on the brand’s Instagram pages are from customers reporting that they ordered multiple items at once, and that they either only received some of the products, or got notified that the shipping would be split into multiple packages.

Other tweets show customers saying that they placed orders before products sold out, but still received emails saying that they weren’t going to be able to recieve products they had tried to purchase, pointing to possible technical issues on the website during the launch. Others say they recieved some of their products but have been left in the dark so far as to whether they will be getting the other items they ordered and when.

In some cases, that may cost the consumer more money, according to one former Hill customer. The Twitter account – which is entirely devoted to “exposing” Jaclyn Cosmetics’ manufacturer, or “lab,” – says international customers may have to pay multiple fees to pay for multiple shipments. They also said they raised this issue to the brand, which gave them a 10 per cent discount in return.

Another tweet initially said they would have to pay a $US24 import fee for each part of their Jaclyn Cosmetics package that would be delivered in three parts instead of one, but later replied to their tweet to say the brand had reached out to refund the cost of the import fees.

It’s not only possible, but pretty likely, that makeup and drama enthusiasts online are blowing aspects of Jaclyn Cosmetics’ launch out of proportion to stir up more engagement online. Whenever a new hot topic in influencer drama arises, monetisation on that drama spurns a lot of content – and sleuths are eager to dredge up new scoops.

Jaclyn Cosmetics was also accused of ignoring customers during the last launch, but this time around their social media accounts are actively replying to unsatisfied customers and directing them toward their DMs for support.

At the same time, the concerns being aired about Hill’s latest product launch are still valid – and her brand should expect a significantly higher level of scrutiny after her last launch.