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Glittersniffer Cosmetics Causes a Cosmetics Safety Controversy

Indie Brand Causes a Huge Safety Controversy

Major beauty drama is going down in Michigan: an indie cosmetics brand Glittersniffer is being accused of using unsafe ingredients in its eye makeup. Glittersniffer proprietor Lela Warren, who does not have formal training in cosmetics formulation, is under fire for using non-FDA approved soap dyes — which can lead to irritation and even blindness — in the brand's vividly hued eye shadows.

After customers complained of irritation and ensuing visits to the hospital, some launched a collective blog. In December 2010, Warren recalled some products, acknowledging that she had previously used noncosmetic grade ingredients in her formulations to get brighter colors. "We decided to do an 'official' recall of our products because we felt Glittersniffer was becoming a more serious company," Warren explained to BellaSugar in an email. "We wanted to make sure all non eye-approved products were no longer in use."

Is the story over? No way. The drama continues. Find out what's up after the jump.

Michigan Public Radio reports that when a customer posted complaints on Glittersniffer's Facebook page, Warren retaliated with a profanity-laden, threatening voicemail. (NSFW audio is here.) Warren admits that she left the voicemail, but tells us it had nothing to do with her business:

"I have yet to release the real reason why, however I will state it involved released information of some highly private, painful, and sensitive subjects within my marriage. It had absolutely nothing to do with business or Glittersniffer as a company. I highly regret that voicemail to this day; however, I will not change my opinion on the fact that it was how I really felt at that moment in time."

While the debate is still online, Warren vows that all new Glittersniffer products are safe for use. "The recall has definitely affected the way we create our products," she said. "Again, we are completely committed to using only eye-approved and vegan ingredients." Whether this vow will be enough to satisfy customers concerned about safety, only time will tell.

Join The Conversation
francesdanger francesdanger 6 years
A little late, but as an addendum to this story the owner of GlitterSniffer Cosmetics, Lela Warren, used information obtained through our one business transaction to track down my full name, age, address, and telephone number and post it to her Facebook page on Tuesday, stating that if her demands aren't met she will continue releasing information including my jobs and my living relatives. Her demands are that the GlitterSniffer Complaints blog and Facebook page are taken down. She has used this information previously to email me at my job. She posted today that she has plans to possibly visit relatives in my home state. I am the author of the blog and original creator of the Facebook page which follows the business practices of GS as well as other concerns for indie cosmetic safety. I am making this information public as it would behoove anyone purchasing from the company to know that while the safety concerns may have been addressed and cleared up, that customers private information could be used for other purposes for which they are not intended.
Phyrra Phyrra 6 years
There are so many great indie companies out there, such as Fyrinnae, Sugarpill, Meow, Morgana Cryptoria, Evil Shades, BftE Cosmetics, etc and they treat their customers well, have bright colors and don't sell unsafe products. It's sad that because of companies like Glittersniffer, indie cosmetics are being painted in a bad light.
ModernGraceKelly ModernGraceKelly 6 years
I understand that some people love these bright shades, but sometimes you get what you payed for because they use cheap and harmful ingredients. I have seen the pictures of employees, and I'm sure they are barefoot as well as not wearing gloves. It looks like they hire anyone and come to their house to make the items.
glittersniffercomplaints glittersniffercomplaints 6 years
Annie- I am a huge supporter of indie cosmetics. There are so many great, reputable, safe companies out there with fantastically unique products. Yes, there are those that do not follow the rules and guidelines and unfortunately that may dissuade people from buying indie. That's a shame. With due diligence people can make an informed decision.
glittersniffercomplaints glittersniffercomplaints 6 years
Thank you for getting this story out to a wider audience. I hope that now people will be able to make a safe, informed decision. A few points of clarification from both the article and the comments: -The comment left that spurred the voicemail was left on a Facebook page of a former GS model and supporter on a post retracting that support. A screenshot of the comment may be found on the GS Complaints Facebook page. -Lela did not consider the person who reported the most recent unsanitary conditions to be an employee. She was a friend and a fan, though she did pack orders during her stay. -While it is true that GlitterSniffer Cosmetics has no business license, Lela stated in her Q&A that they do pay taxes. -Not all unapproved products were recalled. On Saturday, February 5, well after the recall, a customer asked if the mascara was unapproved. The answer was yes, the pink was unapproved. ( In the recent Q&A it has now come to light that not only was the pink mascara not approved, neither was the neon green, nor the same two colors of cream eyeliner. There has been no effort on the part of the company to announce this beyond answering the question, and the products have not been added to the recall.
Annie-Tomlin Annie-Tomlin 6 years
This is an interesting saga to me, because I've always wondered about indie cosmetics makers -- their background, how they work, that sort of thing. I found the MPR report pretty shocking, and the accusations against Lela are pretty serious, but I felt it's only fair to give Lela a chance to respond to the story. I was telling my beau about this story last night, and it took me three times to explain that the FDA does not regulate or approve cosmetics -- just the ingredients. (This goes for an indie business as well as a large beauty conglomerate.) He didn't believe me. Finally he said, "Wait, so I could just make my own cosmetics and sell them, and the FDA doesn't have to be involved at all?" Yep. His mind = blown. I'm curious: What do y'all think about indie cosmetics sellers on Etsy and the like in general?
vapidintuition vapidintuition 6 years
I am really glad that this is finally getting out there. Do not purchase from Glittersniffer. She herself has posted photos of her and her "employees" handling product without gloves, and in unsanitized environments. After being called out she said they were changing procedure to ensure that all product was handled properly. YET AGAIN she has changed her statement and said that they were not going to be changing procedure because they were "always clean" in the first place. Ridiculous. Also, they have not obtained a business license and are not paying taxes. I can't wait until the IRS finally goes and knocks on her door.
Faylinn Faylinn 6 years
I'm glad this is getting exposure outside of the MMU community. It angers me how lightly, hell indifferently, Lela took the situations of her customers when they told and showed her that her products gave them such nasty reactions. She even admitted to making her products in unsanitary conditions. Now Lela doesn't want to refund customers who returned the recalled eyeshadows. At the same time, it angers me that other MMU indie companies may suffer from her negative press because there really are some great ones out there who care about their customers' safety and sell great, reliable makeup.
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