Friday, January 21, 2011

What to do with GlitterSniffer Pigments

There have been several questions about what to do with GlitterSniffer Cosmetics pigments that, for whatever reason, are not going to be used on the eyes.

Here are a few suggestions from the Facebook page about useful ways to employ them, provided you are not holding on to them for refund or testing.

As we have been made aware, the dyes/pigments used in GS that have caused eye issues are SOAP pigments. SO what we are going to do here is make us some hand soaps!! These are NOT for your face, not for your body or sensitive areas. Handsoaps ONLY. OK maybe feetsoaps too. But that's it! No arguments! I'll pull this car over right now, missy!

I am also NOT recommending you resell these to ANYONE. Personal use is best, or you could all trade between each other or people who know what the dilly is.

I will be including pics for you to look at Step-by-step going about this. Easy peasy puddin pie!

So here are a list of things you will need to buy or scavenge (flea market, neighbors trash, neighbors house, heh :)

Plan on ANYTHING you use, not EVER using it again for food. In fact it's probably a good idea if it never was used for food, most of this stuff is super cheap anyway (DOLLA DOLLA store Y'all!)

WHATCHA GONNA NEED:

1. Disposable Forks/Spoons (easy to clean, you CAN reuse them - and your food won't taste like soap!)

2. Molds - You really can use pretty much anything shallow plastic/silicone - I prefer the silicone ice cube molds (because they are easy to flex and release) which I get at the Dollar Store, Amazon.com, Ebay, Michaels, Hobby Lobby, Ben Franklins, Party City, etc yaddyadda. You can also use chocolate molds, candy molds, jello molds really anything that is a thick plastic.

3. Melt and Pour Soap Base- These come in a variety of bases (Goats milk, clear glycerin, honey, olive oil) and most of them are vegan! Always double check with the manufacturer (you can sometimes google it too). I know for a fact that "Life of the Party" Essentials you can purchase from Michaels is all vegan except for Goats Milk base and Honey (I called the company for you!!) You can purchase these from Micheals, Hobby Lobby, Ebay, Etsy, or online. Personally I get mine from Michaels since I haven't been doing large batches and use my 40% off one item coupon that I get online every week. Hobby Lobby and a few other craft stores put out a coupon online as well, never hurts to check the website before you go! It ends up being about the same as ordering online (around 4.99 or so for 2lbs) but you don't have to pay the shipping.

4. Fragrance - OK so here's a few things about fragrance you need to know. You want to use ONLY fragrance/essential oils. You can pick these up in a pinch from your local natural food places but more than likely you won't ever need/use as much as they sell you and selection is a bit limited. What I LOVE to do is get samples of peoples fragrances via ETSY or directly from Saveonscents.com (you want their sniffies samples) and use them. They are generally enough for a small batch of soap, and I can test my soap scents before I dedicate to getting a bigger bottle. So for what we are doing here, they are Grrrreaaat! SaveonScents.com in particular has most of the MSDS safety data on the scents they carry (and you can call them if it's not on their site yet) and they are very careful of letting you know if something can cause a skin irritation.

DO NOT USE PERFUME/LOTION. EVA. PERIOD. Perfume and the like can cause bad reactions in the soap causing it not to solidify, plus it will all end up smelling like grannies Eau de' Alcohol after a few weeks. It's not pretty.

So pick out what scents you like! A lot of people carry Designer scents (oils that smell like CoolWater, and Bath and Body Works stuff) and Novelty scents (I like the bacon one) and you can even buy single scents (ex: I love Pomegranate, Lime, and Gardenia) and mix them together to make your own special blends!!

5. A plastic or glass measuring instrument WITH a spout - make sure it's at least twice as big as the amount of soap you plan on making at one time and that it fits in your microwave.

6. Microwave- Kinda obvious I guess. You can use a double boiler if you want but that's a little extreme and messy for me. Don't use a direct stove-top pot (will burn your soap) or a toaster over (will...toast your soap) or a lighter (will, um...not do anything but give you finger burns).

7. GLOVES (2 pair at least preferably disposable) - Seems silly since you are making soap for yourself right? This is because you are using undiluted fragrance oils, they can cause skin irritation if applied on the skin full strength, just a drop is enough to give you an itchy rash or more in some cases. After the oils have been diluted in the soap they are fine, but I use caution beforehand (plus I make it for other peeps and I like being sanitary! You can totally eat off of my soap...um...*grins*) You can get these at Walmart, Sallys Beauty, Pharmacies, and stores of that nature for pretty cheap. Sallys tends to have smaller sized gloves that feel better and fit our hands nicely.

8. Metal/Plastic tray - This is a messy process and it's easier to get soap off of one area, than off of...everything. Nothing sucks worse than scrubbing soap out of your carpet (OK I can think of a few other things, candle wax being one) cause it never stops foaming. Never. Try getting one with a lip (yep, dollar store again!!) that is pretty sturdy, that way if you have to move cooling soap, it's steady. And if you make a spill, whala! It's contained.

9. Knife - That's not a knife. This, THIS is a KNIFE! I like a smooth small pairing or fruit peeling knife for this, sooo much less to hurt myself on, and the thin knives kinda glide through the soap. Cheap and non-serrated is what you are looking for.

OPTIONAL Shtuffs!!

1. Wire whisk - It helps break down the pigments a little easier. Since your not JUST using soap pigment it needs to be broken down a bit harder. Smaller ones are available, they work great (I just get the cheapos). A fork is just fine, but it might take a bit less time with a whisk.

2. Digital Scale - Since your soap is pretty much broken down into 1oz squares when you get it you really don't NEED one, but they do help if you are trying to get exact measurements.

3. Embellishments/additives - You can make a foot scrubbie bar with apricot or blueberry seeds, you can add glitter, you can add sequins, you can add bunches of things if you want. The sky is the limit there.

That's really it! All ya need! Woohoo!! NOW GET TO WORK. :)

Calculating soap volume for your mold:
To find out how much soap you'll need to melt to fill your mold, pour some water in the mold cavity all the way to the top. Then pour the water in a measuring glass. If each cavity is a different shape you'll need to measure each one, and write the measurement somewhere (I write mine on the bottom of the molds in sharpie). Add or multiply and you have the amount you'll need! ALWAYS ADD 1/2 oz more than you need in soap TOTAL to make up for lost soap that gets stuck to the side of the glass.

Instructions!

1. Gather together your Tray, Soap Base, Measuring Glass, Knife, Fork, Fragrance, Pigment (Your GS eyeshadow ;), and Gloves. Put your mold to the side for now.

2. Put on your Gloves. Place your Measuring Cup and Soap Base in the tray. Take your Knife and SLOWLY cut off a square one by one (1 square = approx. 1oz).

3. Place Soap Base in measuring glass.

4. Move Measuring Glass with Soap Base to Microwave But DON'T turn it on just yet! Just stick it in there (or near there) and walk away for a bit, you have some other things to do first. Take your Fork with you. A paper towel would also be good to have to lay your fork on if needed.

5. Get you Mold setup in the Tray. Make sure you have your Pigment and Fragrance open and ready to go.

6. NOW you can go back to the Microwave! You want to start it off at 40 seconds, but WATCH IT LIKE A HAWK. You are wtahcing it to see if it starts expanding. IF YOU SEE IT EXPANDING like a marshmallow TAKE IT OUT, it's ready. Don't leave it, don't go grab a magazine, don't even look away from it for a second!!! I promise you it will explody all over your Microwave if you do. Not fun to clean. Take it out and see if it's melted by swirling it around in the glass. Take your Fork and mix it up. if you see chunks, pop it back in for 10 second intervals until it's melted. Your goal is to get it out before its starts expanding, because expansion causes air bubbles, and they don't hurt anything - they just don't look very pretty.

7. It should look like this picture (or clear if you used glycerin).

8. Have your Fork ready (or you can leave it in the glass) and grab your Pigment and start adding it gently. TAP it in with your finger. Tappy tap tap!!

9. MIX it up with yer Fork!!

10. Add your Fragrance drop by drop (I normally do 2-4 drops per 1oz) and smell it to see if it's strong enough. Don't go over 6 drops per 1oz or it might not harden correctly. Mixey, mixey mixey again!!! Mix it for about 30 seconds until it's uniform.

11. Pour your Soap into the Mold GENTLY. Treat it like it was a newborn baby kitten, freshly hatched. Pour at the deepest part of the mold. Try not to 1/2 pour and then pour more, it can make weird layers and bubbles. The gentler you are to it the less chance you'll have air pockets or bubbles.

12. Leave it ALONE! Don't pOKe it/prod it/shake it/bake it/play pattycake with it for at least 30 minutes (for a Larger pour mold like 5oz each an over, give it an hour or more). You can take off your Gloves now too.

13. Since you're bored now, and sitting around waiting for soap to harden is pretty mind numbing, go soak your Measuring Cup and Fork in HOT WATER for a few minutes and then clean them up, and WASH your hands LOL! Really just use your hands to clean off that soap and you'll get a little of that happy good soap feeling.

14. Go back to your Soap after awhile and check it with a Gloved hand. It should feel solid in the center, there should be no "bounce" to it. If it still has "bounce" to it give it a little longer to cool. If not, move on up to the next step!

15. Lightly pull the edges around the mold. Then take your fingers and gently press in the center of the mold on the backside. It should pop out easily. Some molds like hard plastic are a little more ridged and require a bit more plying and pushing on the backside of the mold. Patience young Jedi, keep working at it and it will come free.

16. Gently lay you soaps on your tray. One by one, take your finger and run it around the edges to remove any excess soap and smooth down the edges.

17. It should look like this! When they are done, set them aside to "cure" for 3 days. You CAN use them immediately if you really really want to, but I always like to let them sit for awhile and harden up a bit to extend the life of them.

Caring for your soap

After you let them sit, use them! But when you are done using them, rinse the lather from them and put them on a "soap rest" and let them dry out after each use. If you are not using them for awhile you can store them in a cool dry place. Don't let the little buggers get warm or stand in water or you'll have a big puddle of gooey mess.

Summing up

It may sound like they are trixy to make, and I know I may make it sound harder or more complicated than it actually is. It's really really easy once you get the hang of it. And they are ADDICTING to make. You have SOOOO many options and you'll totally come up with new interesting things in no time!!

 You can read about "frankening" nail polish here, here, and here.

Thanks to everyone for sharing!

Pissed Consumer

I filed a complaint with Pissed Consumer, a product review and complaints site.

I filled out the form online. I had to provide my personal information, an outline of the situation, and contact information for both myself and GlitterSniffer Cosmetics.

I did not receive a confirmation email, but the site will mail a physical letter to GlitterSniffer Cosmetics with details of the complaint.

Consumer Affairs

I filed a complaint with Consumer Affairs. Per their website ConsumerAffairs.com is a private, non-govermental entity that empowers consumers by providing a forum for their complaints and a means for them to be contacted by lawyers if their complaints have legal merit.

I filled out the form, and provided my personal information, an overview of the situation, GlitterSniffer Cosmetics contact information, and a brief summary of the impact the situation has had. I received a confirmation email.

Consumer Reports

I submitted a complaint to ConsumerReports.org. Consumer Reports is the nations leading consumer protection reporting service.

I filled out the form, and included my name, a brief outline of the situation, and a request that I be emailed for followup.

The site does require registration.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Blog Directory ST4BUQ5N5MT6

In an effort to reach more people I have posted the blog to several blog indexes. One of them was Technorati.

In order to "claim" the blog I have to post a unique claim code in a new blog post. Please feel free to ignore.

Technorati claim code: ST4BUQ5N5MT6 

1/21/11 ETA: Claim token to post title since Technorati cannot seem to find it.

Paypal

I contacted Paypal yesterdayat 402-935-2050 as I recalled that my payment to GlitterSniffer for my products was not to their current email address attached to their account.
 

The email address I sent payment to was glittersniffer12186@yahoo.com. While it's true that GS may have simply changed their email address we know that currently they are using a second Paypal account under a different email address to continue doing business.

Per the Paypal user agreement:
2.2 Personal, Premier and Business Accounts; Types of Transactions. We offer three different types of Accounts: Personal, Premier and Business Accounts. You may only hold one Personal Account and either one Premier or one Business Account. By opening a Premier or Business Account and accepting the terms as outlined in this Agreement, you attest that you are not establishing the Account primarily for personal, family, or household purposes.
Depending on what account type is attached to glittersniffercosmetics@gmail.com, glittersniffer12186@yahoo.com, and the current account GS is using GS may be in violation of the Paypal user agreement.

I was transferred to the Fraud department and was informed that even if the use of the new Paypal account did not violate the Paypal user agreement that it still should not be used for issuing refunds from GlitterSniffer Cosmetics. Paypal has policies in place to protect their users, and their policy asks that these types of disputes be resolved with the originating Paypal account. If they are not, then GS can dispute ANY refund issued through the new account. They would not get very far, however, as (at least with mine) there was a note indicating that it was a refund and as such a dispute would be ruled in my favor.

It should also be noted that GS stance regarding refunds through the original Paypal account of glittersniffercosmetics@gmail.com is that due to account limitations they cannot send money from that account at the present time. While this may be true, it does not stop GS from reversing payments within a certain timeframe, as evidenced here:

As far as I can tell that timeframe is 60 days. So it stands to reason anyone with a dispute that made payment within the last 60 days could easily be refunded through a payment reversal on the original glittersniffercosmetics@gmail.com account despite the current account limitations.

RipOffReport.com

I was sent a link awhile ago to the site RipOffReport.com. I followed up today and filed a report.

I registered and provided my personally identifying information. The site emailed me a password and I logged in and filled out the form.

I gave a brief outline of the situation, a link to the recall, and a link to the blog should anyone need further information or proof of the allegations in my report. I attempted to upload a picture of the Statement, but got nothing but errors, even though I tried 3 different versions of the screenshot.

I was then directed to a page that stated my report would be available online in a few hours.

I am not, however, the first to file a report.

New Randoms-Labeling

I received pictures today of the new "Randoms" now being offered by GlitterSniffer Cosmetics.

The pigments came packaged together in a plastic bag, with an ingredients list affixed to it. The individual jars were not labeled with ingredients.


The ingredients list states it "may contain".

This does not appear to meet FDA labeling guidelines. When a fullsize product is sold it must contain ingredients, use, and place of manufacture/distributor statement on each individual jar. The stackers currently being sold by GS are exempt from this strict ingredient  labeling, but not the manufacturer/distributor statement and use guidelines, as they are considered one full size product and cannot be individually labeled by color, hence the "may contain" ingredient labeling.

The order contained  a sample which was labeled only with a GlitterSniffer sticker.

As this is a sample size, and not a fullsize product, the FDA labeling guidelines do not apply.

The order also contained a fullsize "Random", which has no label at all.

Suffice to say, this product meets none of the FDA labeling requirements and could therefore be called possibly misbranded and subject to FDA action.

Etsy Call Out Blog

I contacted the Etsy Call Out Blog last night. Glittersniffer had previously been called out on the blog for incorrectly listing a PIF.* I contacted them in hopes of informing more people about the recall, as neither GlitterSniffer nor Etsy has contacted the people who may be affected who purchased through Etsy.

The Etsy Call Out blog posted about the recall today.

The link to the blog has generated a fair amount of traffic today, and it is my hope that people will find the information here illuminating, and that they can now make an informed choice going forward.

*PIF stands for "Pay It Forward". It's a concept designed to inspire good actions in the world. A PIF is listed at $.20 on Etsy, with little to no shipping, and the only thing asked is that you list a PIF yourself if you are a seller, or that you perform an act of kindness.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Handmade Detroit

I contacted Handmade Detroit last night. As far as I could tell from their site they are affiliated with marketing the Detroit Urban Craft Fair, where GlitterSniffer Cosmetics has sold previously.

I provided them with a brief outline of the situation and a link to the recall.

Detroit Handmade posted this today:

Glittersniffer Cosmetics Recall

It’s come to our attention that Glittersniffer Cosmetics, a past participant in the Detroit Urban Craft Fair 2008 and 2009 and Maker Faire Detroit in 2010, has issued a recall as of Dec. 24th, 2010, for some of the company’s products, due to FDA regulations. Handmade Detroit’s only affiliation with Glittersniffer Cosmetics is that of a vendor – Handmade Detroit has never received any profit from this vendor’s sales. As a courtesy to our event shoppers, we wanted to share this information with the community.
If you’ve purchased some of these products between 2006-2010, you can find a list of recalled products and information on how to request a refund here. If you need any assistance contacting Glittersniffer Cosmetics or have additional questions, please e-mail the Handmade Detroit team at media [at] handmadedetroit [dot]com.
I am not sure the reach this site has, but I am very happy that more people are now aware so they can make an informed decision. I would like to note that it took one message on their contact form to get this information posted, as step that could have easily been taken by GS themselves.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Big Cartel/Old Stock/Refund

As I was researching today I ran across some information that reminded me of some of the commitments made by GlitterSniffer Cosmetics.

In her statement admitting to using unsafe dyes and selling non vegan products GS proprietor Lela Warren made the following commitment:

To ensure that they meet the standards they have set forth for themselves GS stated that they were only going to be selling through their official website.

GlitterSniffer has a BigCartel site.

The site contains a listing for a Back to Basics Collection which includes the recalled pigment Flight Club.

Perhaps this is an oversight on GS part, as we know that the company further committed to discard all unsold product as evidenced here:

Except this is what actually happened:

It does not need to be said that selling the old stock off in a lot is far different than discarding it.

In regards to the recall refund policy the company stance, in part, taken from the official website includes the following information (emphasis mine)
We are refunding at the price of $6.50 per 5g pot, $4.00 per 3g pot, and $1 per clamshell with proof of purchase. The proof of purchase we are requiring is that the recalled pigments are sent back to GS Cosmetics with Delivery Confirmation.
And this, taken from an email reply today:


According to the official company stance in order to receive a refund you must return your pigments and any pigment not on the recall list is ineligible.

I received a refund today without meeting any of these guidelines.



These instances clearly illustrate that the commitments that GS has made to its customers are not set in stone. GS has in the recent past shown through their actions that as a company they can choose to make a business decision not in line with their official policy. I am hopeful that my refund is a benchmark that GS has set for itself, and that they will disregard their current recall guidelines and refund any consumer that feels unsafe using their products. Their choice as a company to refund me outside of the guidelines shows they could easily accomplish this. They were both willing and able to in my case, so there is nothing aside from policy, which they have a demonstrable history of disregarding, that is stopping them from doing so for others.

Wayne County Health Department

I called the Wayne County Health Department-Environmental Health Division at 734-727-7400 on Friday. I reached the switchboard and asked to be transferred to John to file a complaint about possible adulterated formulation by an unlicensed homebased cosmetics company. It is my understanding that a complaint has already been filed by a Facebook commenter and that John would be very amenable to any information that could be provided to him.


I was transferred and reached the voicemail system. I left a brief message with my name, contact information, a brief outline of the situation and a request for a callback.


I received a callback from John's direct line at 734-727-7442. Unfortunately, I was at work and couldn't answer. He left me a voicemail and asked me to call back.


I have contacted John again, but only reached voicemail. I plan on following up again on Tuesday as Monday is a holiday and I believe all county offices will be closed.


Thank you to the Facebook commenter for pointing me in this direction.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Refund-Complete

I received a refund for my full requested amount of $21.50, along with a request that I cancel my money request to the GlitterSnifferCosmetics email address. The payment came from the new email address that GS has been using since their relaunch, and indicated that this email address was the only way the company could send funds.

It should be noted that this sets a precedent in terms of the way GS has been handling the refund process. I did not send my product back (nor was it requested), and none of my items were on the official recall list, though one of them does flouresce under a blacklight. My request was based on the product not being as advertised, as it contained possible unsafe ingredients (through cross contamination) and potentially unsanitary packing and formulating procedures. While I am sure that the argument can be made that exceptions can be made in certain cases it is my thought that my refund is no different than anyone elses, and that each refund should be held to the same standard in order to be obtained.

I am researching Paypal now to ensure that should I cancel my money request there is no way for the refund to be canceled. I am confident that with this show of good faith that GS would hold true to their refund. As soon as my research is done and I am ensured that the refund will remain in my account I will cancel the money request.

I applaud GS for making this right. It speaks to the commitment to change that the company has promised.

As for me, I will be doing a bit of shopping today, before resuming activity on the blog. I have much more information to publish and complaints I must followup on.

1/16/11 ETA: I wanted to reiterate that this refund was initiated by GS and that I requested to wait for my refund to be processed in the order in which it was received. It is my hope that it was processed along with many others in the exact order in which it was received.

11/16/11 ETA: After a review of Paypal's policies, and a quick chat with Sarah the virtual assistant, I have canceled my money request. As the payment is marked complete in Paypal there is no way for the payment to be reversed unless I refund it myself. I consider the matter of my refund to be closed at this time.

Refund

I received an email today from GlitterSniffer. It contained a request for my refund amount and Paypal address and the generous offer to be first in line to receive a refund. It disclosed that although the process has taken some time that it has now begun. Here is my response:
Lela,

Thank you so much for your email. It is good to know that you are working towards a resolution to this matter.

While I do appreciate the offer, I believe that I will wait my turn in line for a refund. I have previously sent you 3 emails, a money request, and 2 reminders via Paypal, all with the details you have requested. As you process the refunds in the order they are received I am confident you will eventually get to mine. I, of course, will update the blog when it is received.

Again, thank you for contacting me. I look forward to watching you turn this around.

Have a great day,
GS Complaints
 I received another email requesting that I disclose which refund request was mine. Here is my response:
Lela,

Again, thank you for contacting me.

As I said before I have already provided you with all the necessary information to process my refund. Please do not mistake my reticence for being uncooperative. I want to ensure that my refund is processed in the order in which it was received as that seems the most fair for everyone involved. I respect what you are trying to do from a customer service standpoint, and it is much appreciated, but as you process all claims, disputes, and money requests mine will eventually be included. I will wait patiently just like everyone else.

I do look forward to a speedy resolution, and I wish you luck going forward.

GS Complaints
 And that is where we stand for now. I will wait for my refund and continue to update the blog with all information regarding that refund, complaints I have filed, and any other information that is relevant to the matter.

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