Friday, April 22, 2011

Others Experiences-Further Fundraiser Followup

I posted about a need for information regarding the Fundraiser for Christie Brooks on February 21, 2011. I want to thank everyone for responding or helping get the word out so Christie could get a total.

Briefly, GlitterSniffer Cosmetics held a fundraiser for Christie Brooks' father after a devastating fire in December in which he lost his home and all of his possessions. Despite many promises that a gift card with funds raised and personally promised by the company had been sent it never materialized. The company contacted Christie in February and requested an accounting of how much was owed for the fundraiser, despite Christie not having access to this information as it all went into the GS Paypal. It should be noted that GS had to access their Paypal emails to provide customer information to the FDA in regards to the recall so it appears they had ready access to most of the donation figures themselves, but for whatever reason did not do an accounting.

GlitterSniffer Cosmetics contacted Christie on 2/21/11 and asked how much more than $80.00 was owed for the fundraiser.

Christie responded and asked for clarification. GS responded and rescinded their own personal commitment to send $100.00, citing a feeling of betrayal, but committed to sending any other monies owed for the fundraiser. They apologized for the long wait and stated that in an effort to turn the company around they wanted to make a sincere effort to make it right.

Christie asked that GS go back through their receipts and send her the total they had. The response was $78.00. At that point the request for information from those that had donated had already been posted to the blog and on Facebook.

After the responses to the blog and Facebook posta were totaled Christie again contacted GlitterSniffer Cosmetics on February 24, 2011 and informed them that it appeared the actual amount owed was $144.00. Here is GS response:

In an effort to resolve the matter Christie proposed that an average of the two amounts, $78.00 and $144.00, be sent, a total of $111.00.

Almost two months to the day later since the initial email requesting a total was sent by GS the fundraiser money still has not been remitted and no further communication has transpired between Christie and the company in regards to the situation, despite their "sincere effort to make this right".

**Note: GlitterSniffer Cosmetics has added a confidentiality disclaimer to their emails since these communications were sent. They are posted here as they were not disclaimed, and Lela herself gives permission in the email for its dissemination in the February 23, 2011 message. Though I have not personally had communication with the company since the disclaimer was added I would like to take a moment and state that I refuse the terms of the email disclaimer. As it takes an agreement to make such a disclaimer binding to both parties the company is now forewarned that no such agreement is in place with me and I will continue to post any communications between myself and the company freely and without legal consequence should any communication occur. I am making this declaration public as I was asked to cease private communication with the company and am more than willing to comply with that particular request.**

4/22/11 ETA: Corrected the second total to $144.00 from $114.00. Thank you to the eagle eyed Facebook page member for pointing it out. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

FDA Dispute Resolution-Followup

Two hours after my email to the FDA Office of the Ombudsman regarding the escalation of my complaint about the March 23 FDA Enforcement Report and the information within it I received a reply.

My concerns have been forwarded to the Compliance Division of the FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, the FDA regulatory arm for cosmetics.

I will update as more information becomes available.

FDA Dispute Resolution

I emailed the FDA Office of the Ombudsman  at to escalate my FDA complaint in regards to the March 23 FDA Enforcement Report and the information it contained.

According to the FDA site the Office of the Ombudsman is for dispute resolution:
The Office of the Ombudsman is a resource for individuals and for companies when they are experiencing problems with the regulatory process or with the application of FDA policies or procedures. The Office of the Ombudsman provides assistance if there are problems or concerns that are not being addressed, or cannot be addressed, at the center or district level, or when there are concerns about raising an issue at that level. If requested, confidentiality will be maintained by the Office of the Ombudsman to the greatest extent possible.
I outlined my concerns about the information provided to the FDA about the recall, including the communication of the recall by the company and the possibility that the reach exceeds the 500 units in commerce that was reported to the FDA. I included a link to the post with supporting information and I identified myself by name.

There is no clear turnaround time for response, but I plan to make a follow up call in a week to (301) 796-8530 if I have not heard back about my concerns with the handling/reporting of the GlitterSniffer Cosmetics recall.

Wash, Rinse, Repeat: GlitterSniffer Cosmetics Commits to Change

On April 10, 2011 GlitterSniffer Cosmetics recommitted to a 3-5 day turnaround time, and a "150%" commitment to turn "this ship around". They cited "a serious rough few months" and depression, but stated they were finally ready to make some "serious changes".

GlitterSniffer Cosmetics has a history of recognizing the need for change and committing to it.

From July 28, 2010:

December 21, 2010:

October 23, 2010:

December 23, 2010:

and from January 13, 2011, the 'official' recall information.

In the ten days since their commitment to give 150% here is the reality of what has been happening:

The email address was supplied by a fan, not GS.

All these were taken from the GS Facebook Fan Page and most have since been removed.

From 4/19/11, an announcement that orders were being sent. Of the eight replies from paying customers waiting for orders four were asking about replacement or incorrect orders.

Currently the only thing publicly for sale on the GlitterSniffer Cosmetics Artfire is a 1/2 Pot of Pigment for $1.00.

There are no ingredients in this listing. As they are technically samples the FDA does not require ingredients to be labeled, though it should be noted that GS themselves committed to list all ingredients for all products they sold after the recall.

Though it has been reiterated numerous times and the company has recognized the need for change and even commits to it it is demonstrable that they continue to fail to follow through, with the issues arising again in increasingly shorter intervals. People are still waiting on refunds promised since December. Orders are still incorrect, if they are received at all. Emails are still going unanswered. 

When two blogs, a Twitter, and a Facebook page are created to inform people of your business practices, and the page alone has a membership that is 10% of your company's Facebook fan base that should be a clear indicator that something is extremely amiss.

That the company committed to serious changes not ten days ago and then went right back to not answering emails shows that it's going to take a mighty big rudder and a steady hand at the helm to turn the GS ship around. I know I for one will be watching to see how exactly they plan to do it.

Mark Twain once said “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you always got.” It seems in the case of GlitterSniffer Cosmetics  truer words have never been spoken.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

GlitterSniffer Cosmetics Mineral Makeup Class

Recently GlitterSniffer Cosmetics announced it would be holding a Mineral Makeup formulating class.

The class was to be held at the Redford, MI YWCA on April 23 with a cost of $35.00.

I was made aware that several people had contacted the YWCA with their concerns regarding the class and the possibility of liability for the YWCA. It should be noted that GS stance is that all of their current products are eye approved and their formulating techniques are sanitary.

The class had ostensibly been canceled, with no clear explanation given, though the event invite was still on Facebook. I contacted the Redfield YWCA to confirm the cancellation on 4/15/11. After several phone calls I was informed that it was indeed canceled, that the event invite was still up in error, and was given an apology for the misinformation. The direct quote from the person I spoke with at the YWCA was "We are not affiliated with her". The event invite for the class has since been removed.

The event has now been rescheduled and GlitterSniffer Cosmetics is encouraging attendees to bring their friends and older children.

GlitterSniffer Cosmetics has been less than forthcoming regarding the details of the rescheduled class. After a bit of research and a phone call I was able to determine that the rescheduled class will now be held on Saturday, May 7 at 3 PM at Redford Karate. The cost has been lowered to $15.00 and attendees will be able to keep whatever they make. It is speculation at this point as to whether Redford Karate knows of the past recall and formulation concerns as well as the business practices of GS, but a person no longer publicly identified as being an employee of GS appears to have had some hand, at least tacitly, in the booking and hopefully would have disclosed this information so that RK could make an informed decision.

4/19/11 ETA: I have received an email stating that the class has been canceled. According to the email Redford Karate was informed of GlitterSniffer Cosmetics past and current business practices by a former customer and opted not to have the class.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Buyer Beware: The Conservatorie

**I would like to make it unequivocally clear that I have no knowledge that GlitterSniffer Cosmetics ever purchased from The Conservatorie. This post is about an ingredient supplier and it's effect on several MMU companies and is being posted for informational purposes as The Conservatorie has not made the information public. If you are a formulator or a person who purchased from The Conservatorie for personal use please take a moment to check your ingredients. Though the company is not publicly releasing this information there is a chance that what you have been sold may not be used for what you intended.**

Over the last few months safety of Indie MMU has been in the spotlight. I am very cognizant of the fact that there are people who are now shying away from Indie makeup due in part to this blog. This is very unfortunate, as most Indie MMU sellers are safe and put out amazing, unique products, and, for the most part, this blog is here to illustrate the business practices of one company. GlitterSniffer Cosmetics is not representative of Indie MMU as a whole. Most Indie MMU companies take safety seriously and the health of their customers is their first concern.

Recently two of these companies were faced with the unfortunate task of recalling products. RockABetty Beauty and Morgana Cryptoria initiated recalls after discovering that their ingredient supplier The Conservatorie (first link on the google search) had changed their ingredient information and what they had previously purchased as either eye or lip safe or vegan was, in actuality, not.

In the case of RABB the company responded to customer concerns about glitter fallout by checking the ingredients on The Conservatorie site, only to find that the listings had changed and none of the glitter they had purchased was eye safe. The company immediately pulled all of their shades containing glitter and posted about the recall. They offered several options to their customers, including reformulated shades, trades for other shades, refund, or store credit. They then followed through on all their commitments.

Morgana Cryptoria discovered the ingredient changes in their own research. As a matter of course they research ingredients even if they have previously purchased them. As soon as the company realized the ingredients had been changed they issued a recall on some of their lipsticks, offering store credit, refund, or exchange. In all nine shades were recalled, some as containing carmine (the lipsticks were sold as vegan) and some not approved for lip use in the US as they contained Chromium Oxide Green or Ferric Ferrocyanide. Morgana Cryptoria has also followed through on their commitments.

A third company, whose line has yet to be launched, has had to reformulate at least 4 shades as they contain carmine, an ingredient change that affects this particular company as they will sell strictly vegan product. Due to issues with the INCI listing on The Conservatorie site they may have to reformulate several more.

There has been no effort on the part of The Conservatorie to notify customers that they changed their ingredients. Had it not been for the diligence of the above mentioned formulators the issue would still be unknown.

There was another change to The Conservatorie site as well. If you click the first link in the google search linked here, scroll to the bottom, and click on the Policies link you can read the suppliers' revised policy. This policy is what prevents me from linking directly to the site. Another change is that it, in effect, releases the company from any liability whatsoever. It states that they do not guarantee that any of their information is correct and that everything on the site is used 'at your own risk'.The company has made an all out effort to protect themselves, but no effort to communicate the ingredients changes to their customers.

At this time there is no official word as to why The Conservatorie has not made public these changes which have already resulted in 2 recalls. All three of the formulators I've written about in this post have been in contact with the company and they are aware that the changes have resulted in recalls and reformulation.

So what changes were made? Some of their products are now listed as containing carmine, Ferric Ferrocyanide, Chromium Green Oxide, and Chromium Hydroxy Green. Some glitters, previously listed as eye safe, are no longer listed as eye safe. You can review their updated ingredients list by accessing any of their micas and clicking on the Info Chart, which opens a PDF. Below I will post screenshots of Google cached versions of some of their affected previous ingredients for comparison.

A note about Chromium Green Oxide and Chromium Hydroxy Green as The Conservatorie now has them listed. It seems that The Conservatorie is referring to Chromium Oxide Green and Chromium Hydroxide Green, neither of which are lip safe. Even with the updated list the ingredients are not correctly listed. These names are not INCI compliant. Anyone going off this list to label would still be labeling incorrectly as the INCI is incorrect. As per the FDA ingredients on cosmetics must be listed in descending order of predominance by INCI. The correct INCI for these are Chromium Oxide Green (CI 77288) and Chromium Hydroxide Green (CI 77289).

Here are the screenshots for the previous ingredients for some of the affected ingredients, as of 3/7/11 per Google cache.

And from The Conservatorie Twitter, dated 2/3, an answer about the safe use of their glitters:

I present this information for a couple of reasons. As consumers we have a right to know that what we are purchasing, be it from a commercial cosmetics company, an Indie company, or a supplier is what it claims to be. The Conservatorie is not being forthcoming and the extent of the reach of these ingredients is unknown. These recalls do not lie at the feet of the Indie MMU companies who purchased these ingredients and people should know that. I also wanted to show that not all recalls have to be handled in the manner that GS' is.

I would like to thank RockABetty Beauty and Morgana Cryptoria not only for their permission to publish, but for the manner in which their recalls were handled. They could have easily pulled their products and reformulated, but they did not. They researched and did what was best for their customers. Both companies were transparent and apologetic. Though unfortunate, the recalls for these companies only serve to illustrate that diligence in research, concern for the customer, and simply doing what is right goes much farther than the fact that a product had to be recalled ever could. That both companies stepped up to the plate, not only in terms of their recalls, but in answering my inquiries and wanting first and foremost for others to be informed by this publication speaks volumes. It is a horrible situation to be in, but both handled it with grace and a business acumen geared toward the customer.

Again, if you purchased from The Conservatorie please check your ingredients. Be Safe. Be informed. Be well.

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