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On Wednesday, the makeup startup Glossier launched its first mascara, Lash Slick. The product, the brand told Racked in a prelaunch marketing email, took more than 18 months to create and is “the perfect formula for natural, glossy looking lashes that are long, fanned, and defined.” On its product page yesterday, Glossier wrote under the claims that the mascara is vegan.
Except it isn’t. Glossier shoppers were quick to realize that one of the ingredients of Lash Slick is beeswax. According to the activist group PETA, beeswax is made by melting, straining, and cooling honeycomb, and queen bees removed from hives are said to experience cruel treatment.
Glossier quickly followed up yesterday with customers who bought the mascara, telling them they’ll be refunded for the product.
In a statement to Racked this morning, a Glossier rep emailed that “when we realized our copy error yesterday morning, we immediately updated our site and proactively refunded every customer who purchased Lash Slick before the mistake had been updated on our website. We do sincerely apologize for any confusion caused by this.”
Glossier made a copy mistake, but it now finds itself part of the larger discussion around vegan skin care, which can get complicated when the details are scrutinized. Kat Von D, for example, is a hugely popular beauty line that says it’s vegan and cruelty-free, the latter of which means it isn’t tested on animals or sold in an area like mainland China, where products from foreign companies have to be tested on animals in order to make it to market.
Kat Von D herself is an outspoken vegan. But Kendo, an accelerator of beauty brands that the Kat Von D beauty company came out of, is owned by LVMH, which has other brands like Givenchy, Make Up For Ever, Fresh, and Benefit that are sold in China. So can Kat Von D be considered an entirely cruelty-free brand when its parent company is not? These are small details that matter in the very niche world of vegan skin care.
Glossier is cruelty-free; it doesn’t test ingredients on animals or hire third parties to do so, nor does it sell in the areas of China where animal testing is mandatory by law. The company does, however, use honey, lanolin, and beeswax in many of its products. Glossier wouldn’t comment on whether it will release a vegan version of its mascara, but it’s safe to assume the company will be a part of the vegan skin care discussion sometime soon as it continues to roll out more products.