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Pretty hurts: Inconveniences and injuries caused by defective cosmetics

Pretty hurts: Inconveniences and injuries caused by defective cosmetics

Everyone knows the benefits of looking beautiful, which, for many, requires the use of cosmetics. Beauty products enhance your features and make you look healthy. However, when you use cosmetics that not only make you look sick but actually make you sick, you might have to do more than swear off your makeup kit and go au naturel forever. You might have to call your lawyer.

The eyeshadow that’s not okay to use in the eye area

Dubai-based cosmetics brand Huda Beauty is a multimillion-dollar company owned by makeup mogul Huda Kattan and her two sisters. As a former influencer who has established a huge following, Ms. Kattan hardly needed to resort to deceptive marketing techniques to sell products — she could sell ice to an Eskimo. But for some reason, her company felt the need to use a questionable selling tactic.

In 2021, US consumers sued Huda Beauty because its “Neon Obsessions Pressed Pigment” products were marketed ‘unlawfully’. If that sentence makes little or no sense to you, allow us to break it down.

The product “Neon Obsessions Pressed Pigment” is a pressed pigment palette. Pressed pigment palettes are exactly how they are called: pigments pressed into a palette or pan. They are used as makeup, typically as an eyeshadow but also for blushing, highlighting, and contouring. They don’t teach this in law school, but there are a lot of video tutorials online.

Huda Beauty’s pressed pigment product, which was heavily advertised prior to launch as for use in the eye area, turned out to be unusable in the eye area. Some consumers complained about the eyeshadow product leaving eye stains that were difficult to wash off.

It’s like marketing a chopsticks product that is not safe for use for certain types of noodles but can otherwise be used for many kinds of dim sum. Huda Beauty settled the class action lawsuit, offering a $29 refund for purchasers of each product.

This eyeshadow may already seem like a horror story, but when it comes to defective, mislabeled, or problematic makeup, things could be much worse, such as if makeup burns a hole through your skin…

The toxic eye serum

Eye serums are skincare products used in the eye area to address skin concerns, like puffiness and crow’s feet, by hydrating and tightening the skin around the eyes. You wouldn’t use eye serum or any skincare product that’s “toxic, noxious, and dangerous”, but that’s how one consumer described Peter Thomas Roth Laser Free Eye Serum.

In March 2018, Rolando Grullon bought the said serum at a Sephora in New York City. He used the product three times before stopping when he noticed red bumps forming around the area where he applied it. Worse, one bump turned into a hole that won’t heal.

Mr. Grullon sued the beauty products retailer Sephora and skincare brand Peter Thomas Roth for being liable for the unwanted hole on his face. He sought $500,000 in damages for suffering a serious and permanent facial injury and great physical and mental pain and anguish. His lawsuit cited malice, oppression, and fraud.

Vetting the safety of cosmetic products that turn out to be defective and unsafe is a lot trickier for most consumers. Because unlike certain products like, say, household cleaners, no one purchases an eye serum thinking it could burn a hole through the skin in their eye area.

The asbestos-filled compact

If you’re planning to use a makeup product, you’d want to know if it’s safe and does not contain harmful ingredients like asbestos. Unfortunately, you may not always know what toxic ingredient is fused into your makeup kit until the authorities say so. Cosmetics company Claire’s, which markets its products mainly to young women and teens, became the subject of a class action suit when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration found via testing that certain Claire’s makeup products contain asbestos.

In 2019, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and AMA Analytical Services Inc discovered that from around 2016 to 2019, the company sold asbestos-filled makeup. Some health and scientific organizations have verified that asbestos is linked to certain cancers, including lung and ovarian cancer. Naturally, consumers filed suit against Claire’s for exposing them to asbestos-related hazards.

Certain Claire’s products like eyeshadows, compact palette, and compact powder were recalled, but plaintiffs in the class action lawsuit demanded more. They sought monetary damages, punitive damages, and court and attorney’s fees.

Some say beauty comes at a price. But let that price not be permanent or temporary injuries. Consult personal injury attorneys Buckingham, LaGrandeur, & Williams for your personal injury case in Washington State. Call our law offices in Renton, Seattle (206-222-3167) or leave us a message.