Monday, June 27, 2011

Buyer Beware- Coastal Scents Followup

I posted on June 22, 2011 regarding Coastal Scents and the issue of the safe usage of Cellini Red. Since that post there have been several new developments. 

Coastal Scents (CS) has now posted the MSDS for Cellini Red (CR) and all the Cellini colors. This information was not previously available at the time of the initial post.


At least one of the formulators who had to recall shades that contacted Coastal Scents was issued a refund. The company admits that at one point in time it was listed as safe for eye use, but again gives no timeline for when the usage change occurred. The message also states the issue was corrected immediately, though as shown in the original post CS states they changed it on February 23, 2011, but were still shipping jars out marked eye safe as late as May 2011. The formulator was refunded for two full size jars and a sample.


To date there has been no indication the CS has contacted customers that purchased the Cellini Red to advise them of the change. There has been no announcement posted on their website nor communication sent via their newsletter.  The last newsletter I received from Coastal Scents was on June 24, 2011, two days after the post (and one day after the MSDS sheets for the Cellinis were finally posted) and it contained info about their sales, nothing more. 


At this point a sixth indie MMU company has issued a recall and another has had to push back their launch date to reformulate shades made with Cellini Red. Coastal Scents has ceased contact with the original formulator and refuses to answer her email.

Mistakes happen. When it comes down to it it is the handling of those mistakes that makes the difference. As I previously noted the formulators affected by the Cellini Red usage change have handled this beautifully, being forthcoming and correcting the issue, despite the inherent pitfalls of having to issue a recall. They all responded quickly, pulling the affected shades, notifying customers, and making the situation right.

I wish I could say that the Cellini Red issue was an isolated one. Though CS has issued at least one refund for this issue this is not the first time an issue like this has happened with Coastal Scents.

Late last year these micas were offered for sale on the Coastal Scents site, advertised as for use on eyes, lips, nails, and face.



Here are the individual listings for Perfect Mint and Mermaid Tail shown in the home screen above, advertised as safe for eye use.



Both of these micas contain Pigment Green 7 which is not approved for eye use. Upon being contacted about the issue by an alert formulator CS immediately pulled them from sale, but again, there was no communication to customers that may have purchased the micas that they were not safe to be used as they were advertised and sold.

This now makes two instances where CS has mismarked ingredients sold on their site. Though in each case corrections were made going forward (though as we saw with CR not in as timely a manner as CS would have us believe) the past issues were apparently not corrected. It is unknown at this point how many people were affected by these mismarked micas, or if there are any other issues with any other ingredients listed now or previously on the CS site.

The plain fact of the matter is that it is incumbent upon anyone who sells ingredients that they are aware will be used for formulating products to be as transparent as possible regarding any changes or issues that may occur. As illustrated by the fact that CS can send out a newsletter advertising their sales it is well within their means to make these changes abundantly clear to their customers. That they have yet to do so, and have seemingly not done so in the past, is a business practice that perhaps Coastal Scents should take a good hard look at.

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

Is GlitterSniffer Cosmetics Looking for a Clean Slate?

There were recent rumblings that the GlitterSniffer Cosmetics FaceBook Fan Page might be brought back. While that has not yet come to pass it does seem proprietor Lela Warren is attempting to get as clean a slate as possible to start fresh.

Although there was talk of bringing the FB page back it appears the GS Cosmetics MySpace is still active, though private. 

Lela herself has gone to great lengths to distance herself from the GlitterSniffer Cosmetics brand, popping up online with a new persona 'pigmentchick'.

This photostream on Flickr was posted to the Complaints Facebook page on Friday, June 24, 2011. Once filled with all manner of handcrafted soaps  the captions asked that if anyone wanted to try a slice to message 'pigmentchick'. The photos have since either been removed or made private. Though the profile does not give any identifying information the soaps matched the products posted to Lela Warren's personal Facebook profile (which you can view here) and the Flickr profile photo is the same as that used during GlitterSniffer Cosmetics Etsy days (of the cosmetic dipped q-tips, the pink and green of which are not eye approved).



In the event there is still any doubt that this is Lela Warren and her new online identity there is also this, a profile on Swap Style clearly showing that 'pigmentchick' and Lela Warren are one and the same.


This listing was recently posted on the Detroit area Craigslist, asking to sell or trade handmade mineral cosmetics, soaps, and wedding/party favors for craft items, with a focus on soap making.


No mention is made in any of these advertisements of the past issues with GlitterSniffer Cosmetics: Not the hundreds waiting for refunds, the ongoing FDA investigation, the charities waiting for money raised in their name, nor the TWO payment processors that refuse to do business with GS. In fact, every effort has been made not to identify these items with GS and Lela has made it a practice not to publicly announce her previous sale on June 18, 2011, or where her current products are being consigned. This does not bode well for the transparency all new customers need to make an informed decision and once again illustrates that despite the seeming move over to a concentration on soap, the slate that Lela Warren so desperately wants to make clean is not going to be washed away any time soon.

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