Scandalous

I just wanted to take a moment today to touch on a couple of the scandals currently rocking the Indie community.  I really do try to remain neutral on things, but so many people have asked me about these topics, I NEED to address them.

Glittersniffer

How I fell for Lela and her silver tongued lies I don’t know and I sincerely apologize for that.  I have withdrawn all of my support/reviews/etc about this company and am sort of sick about the things she got away with and is STILL getting away with.

I’ve seen her blame things on an ‘anxiety’ disorder.  I suffer from severe anxiety and I would NEVER use that as an excuse to lie/cheat/scam and potentially make people (and CHILDREN) sick.

There are a few great resources about her shenannigans here:

Michigan Radio investigates.

Listen as Lela calls and threatens someone for revealing the truth about her company

Glittersniffer Complaints

Although I’ve linked this before, go check it out again and join the Facebook com to keep up with the news.

Orglamix

I don’t know how many times I’ve said that MM is not ‘organic’ or ‘all natural and from the earth’.  Still, people try to make that claim.  Just knowing this company was misleading customers with that info doesn’t surprise me one bit that they knowingly sold repackaged Lady Burd products as lip and eyeshadows when they were NOT SAFE to be used that way.  They even went so far as to COVER up the safety into on the label and make false claims about making the product and it’s safe usage.

As always, Phyrra has a complete collection of info I urge you ALL to read.

The owner has a LONG reputation of potentially misleading and potentially unsanitary practices as well as a seemingly poor business sense.  Take a poor review and learn from it, don’t try to sue.

This brings me to the most important

point of this post.

DO NOT LOSE FAITH IN THE INDIE COMMUNITY.

These two (along with a few others I could comment on) are horrible examples of what goes wrong.  There are DOZENS more amazing Indies out there blowing companies like MAC, Sephora, and BBW out of the water in terms of product, value, and service.  It takes a couple of clicks to be able to research a company, and if you don’t know, please ask.  I actually know about quite a few good (and bad) companies that I often won’t post about.  I will, however, share my opinion about things, don’t be afraid to ask.  After months and months of reviewing and researching and talking to certified and qualified professionals (both in local private label companies and labs as well as some amazing Indie formulators), I would be more then happy to poke around and find out and give my opinion.

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45 Responses to “Scandalous”

  1. Victoria Vague March 2, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    Good to know who to avoid and that there are still trustworthy companies out there.

    I can’t believe she used anxiety as an excuse. As someone with several mental health issues, including severe anxiety, it really winds me up when people use them as an excuse for their awful behaviour.

    I’m thankful to have your blog to steer me through the masses of indie companies out there, without coming to harm. Thank you x

  2. Thank you for sharing this. I don’t want to see people give up on indie brands either.

  3. Guidance! Like a dazed greenhorn wandering through a chaotic battlefield field, I am drawn magnetically to your informativeness like a moth to a flame! Also to overwrought mixed metaphors.

    Companies you know about but don’t talk about… have you had any further experience with BL Soaps’ lipsticks? Is the Portland Black Lipstick Company worth a spend? In general is there an unmentioned one which ought to be avoided for some reason? (Although I guess if you had an experience with a company that had something that made it stick out, good or bad, you’d’ve writ aboot it.)

  4. Jenny Whiskey March 2, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    Don’t feel bad, I too was tricked by that shifty broad, and am now stuck with a retarded amount of unsafe pigments that I can only use for nailpolish. No matter what their webpage says about mailing recalled items back, there is NO WAY IN HELL i will spend another second, penny, etc in dealing with them.

    There’s a BIG difference between anxiety and being absolutely batshit crazy. I have no idea how she is still pushing out new collections, keeping customers, maintaing fan support after some of the unbelievable things she’s pulled. I’m telling you….it’s more mind numbing than the Flowbee.

    • Jules Noctambule March 3, 2011 at 8:46 am

      I don’t know if you’re the crafty sort, but if you are, I’ve used pigments like that in gel medium for some pretty cool effects.

      • Jenny Whiskey March 3, 2011 at 1:34 pm

        Oh I definietly am the crafty sort. In a gel medium? Like hair gel? Please elaborate, I am interested.

        I also fully admit, as a person who does not like to waste things, and also does not have very sensitive eyes, i was probably just going to continue using them safe or not.

    • It is a good thing you chose not to send them in anyway. Lela has not yet refunded those ladies that did comply and send in their recalled products.

      She stated the other day that she might go back on what she had said earlier and only offer replacement pigments for the recalled items sent in, not monetary refunds.

      Ugh. I just don’t understand it.

  5. Thank you, Grey. It’s good the word is getting out there. 🙂 And I agree, people REALLY shouldn’t lose faith in indies!

  6. I really agree with the last point made. When I began to become interested in makeup I bought from 2 indie brands and got repackaged pigments basically. The companies you listed above simply reinforce the idea that indie cosmetic companies are poorly run and unsafe. But by coming across blogs like yours and Phyrra’s has really allowed me to understand that there are fantastic companies. I have discovered brands like Fyrinnae, Haus of Gloi, OHWTO, and Brazen that all make superb products. Although it does take some research I think it is definitely worth it.

  7. One of my personalities wants to rage about the extremely unethical and immoral bullshit of blaming a mental illness for behaving like a completely heartless money hungry bitch. Another is curled up in a corner crying about people getting hurt. But another is tossing up between picturing her institutionalized and scared shitless, or tipping chemicals on her so that she may better understand the pain and suffering she has inflicted on others.

    The funny thing is, none of my personalities have any inclination what so ever to grab some soap dye and god only knows what else, roll around in it for a bit so it’s all nice and dirty, then sell it as eyeshadows to the general public.

    Go figure.

  8. It was shocking to see a girl’s red infected oozing eye after using GS cosmetics and seeing the casual callousness with Lela handled the situation.She really hurt somebody! Why is she not being fined? ? Or in jail?! She’s peddling this crap as being childsafe!!!!

  9. I appreciate all that you do for us, Grey! If it wasn’t for your reviews and whatnots I probably wouldn’t ever have tried indie cosmetics, but thanks to all that you do I still believe the majority of indie companies are good and doing it for the sake of makup/art. As for the whole glittersniffer fiasco, I am disgusted to know that Lela is still making products. I wonder what would she do if her kids got into her cosmetics and ended up in the er? Would that finally be a wakeup call for her, or would she just continue making crap but putting it on a higher shelf? I really hope karma comes to her really soon, if not already happening.. she makes me sick. I’m glad i never purchased any of her products!

  10. Thanks for the News for Michigan link. The message the owner left for her customer – wow.

  11. Whenever I see a new company I get interested in some product, I ask. I think it’s the best thing to do. You and others have saved my money from being wasted more than once, and I’m sure you know that.
    It’s awful to see people using psychological disorders as excuses. It’s one of the reasons I’m against giving people diagnostics. Plenty of people use it as an excuse or as a definition of themselves….
    it creates problems for them and for other people who have the same diagnostic. (People who believe her might think now that every person with anxiety disorder can lie and hurt others for no apparent reason ¬¬)

    I really don’t understand how the glittersniffer owner is not in jail… :/

  12. I’m so disgusted by these companies. I’m not off indie companies entirely, there are definitely trustworthy ones, but with things like this coming out, it does make you wonder…I’m so glad to have stumbled across review sites when I first got into indie makeup.
    By the way, your post on Nature Girlz and Erzulie Cosmetics is password protected…is there some way to read it? I have a friend who has bought from them, so am curious about your experience 😮

  13. The FDA can recommend that GS pulls her products, but they have no “teeth” in their program. They can’t enforce any recalls- they ” all voluntary. And she does not voluntarily pull anything. When she does, she’s known for repackaging them and selling them as “extras”, “samples”, or “mixed lots”.

    Artfire has been written to repeatedly about her behaviour, yet she still has a shoppe there. -_-

    As for Orglamix- I should have read the comments on your first thing about her and done some searches for reviews! I’d seen so much positive feedback on her Etsy site, and was referred by another Etsian, that I didn’t think about it until after I ordered. I’ll have to post the screencap of the tiff she had over me asking for the ingredients in her eyeshadow, since her Policies state that eyeshadow may contain carmine, but many were labelled as ‘vegan’. Carmine is not vegan! Of course, she removed the post from her page. LOLroll.

    Too bad for her. Before I did some digging (like checking here), I was going to place a $100 order with her, and was looking into wholesaling with her. I know a lot of drag queens that would be very, very happy to have indie mineral makeup. In the meantime, I’ll be looking up how to do makeup parties and such, and maybe talking to Morgana and Shiro about wholesale!

    Although, Grey, I can’t say I’m satisfied with Evil Cosmetics. I placed an order for three primers. I received two, after a month. I’m still waiting on the missing one… it’s been over a month, if I remember the dates correctly. -_- She was really nice in the e-mails though, and sent a really pretty green eyeshadow sample in a clamshell case! Still, not impressed enough to go back. I may try at a later date, if I keep seeing good reviews.

    • I had a meh experience with Evil Shades as well, but last year. I would like to go back and try a third order sometime and see if I have better luck, but haven’t had anything catch my eye.

      Having said that, I think most people’s experiences with Evil Shades are good.

  14. I’ve commented before under my usual alias, but for this part, I think not.

    I’m schizophrenic, or rather, “undifferentiated schizophrenic”. There are lots of different types. I’ve known this since I was very small. To clarify, I can’t relate to your feelings, and emotional displays tend to just confuse me. I have no desire to be near people, and I actively avoid things like concerts and busy restaurants. I go to places like malls during times when I know they’ll be mostly empty because being near people makes me cringe. I can’t focus properly most of the time, and my thoughts tend to jump around in patterns other people apparently just don’t get. Oh, and did I mention horrifying hallucinations? Like walking past a mirror and seeing parts of my face charred black and oozing? Yeah. I know those logically aren’t real, and logic keeps me clinging to sanity. Logic makes me functional in average society. But damn, it looks real, it feels real, it smells real… I have to check myself sometimes before I allow myself to react to things. For anyone wondering, anti-psychotics can make the condition worse, or be completely ineffective while leaving multiple lifelong health issues like uncontrollable movements, chronic migraines, and diabetes. I think not, so long as I can hold a job and manage real relationships, but some people still need them.

    All this, and I still can’t justify selling poison to a four year old. I don’t like kids. I find them annoying, and the thought of sticky, grabby hands makes me want to react with violence. If anyone should be a candidate for not being able to tell that this is wrong, or not caring if it’s wrong, it’s me. And even so, I STILL can’t justify selling poison to a four year old. Or to anyone else, for that matter. It isn’t right.

    There is something more than mental illness going on there. Sometimes sick people aren’t mentally ill. Sometimes they really do just do these things because they want to, and they think nothing of it beyond that point. Even when confronted with reality, some people are so self-absorbed into their own little worlds, that they just don’t care. We all want a concrete reason behind it, to tell ourselves that this person isn’t just a bad person- that this person has an illness, and that people without this unspecified illness are “safe”. It’s less scary than thinking that any “normal” person can commit atrocities like this. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. People like her give the rest of us people a bad image.

    • Thank you so much for commenting, I know it must have been hard, but I really do appreciate your thoughts and your perspective.

      • Considering the lack of emotional involvement (hey, sometimes schizophrenia is beneficial!), it isn’t really as hard for me as it is for other people. I’d be happy to answer questions if anyone has them- it gives me an excuse to do new research, since only 15 years ago, there were only 3 types of schizophrenia listed in my psych textbooks. Now there are four, and schizoid personality disorder is now listed as a separate condition. Stuff changes all the time!

        It’s more about not needing future backlash from potential employers searching my real name or aliases and finding reason to not hire me.

        The fact is, some* people with schizophrenia are downright dangerous, even when they don’t mean to be. My dad certainly is. His schizophrenic tendencies were made severely worse by outside factors, namely poverty and susceptibility to cult programming. I think he currently believes that he is some kind of living holy weapon of the Fundie variety and is sent to earth to stop us sinning evildoers who wear makeup and have vaginas, per the Bible, by whatever means necessary. Special Hebrew-derived name and everything. If he’d been less disorganized and more charismatic, I could have seen a David Koresh-like scenario happening. Delusions of grandeur and hallucinations are not uncommon in some types of schizophrenics, men being worse off than women most often. At another point, I was attacked at work by a paranoid schizophrenic who believed that I was a secret government agent spying on her through her use of her debit card. A ‘profound’ (severe) paranoid schizo can’t tell that I’m not dangerous, and often doesn’t take meds because they interpret them as being a conspiracy or some kind of great danger. They don’t mean to be (not for the most part). They just can’t understand that they’re sick.

        There seems to be approx. 10% of a child having some form of schizophrenia if a parent does, so it’s not surprising that I became this way as well, and a higher chance than that if exposed to poverty or other “outside risks”. Approx. 1% of the population has some form of schizophrenia, or approx. 1.8M Americans. Actual figures may be higher, since people like me are smart enough not to get “official” diagnosis, since it will profoundly affect our social mobility. Like the ability to get a job, even if we’re relatively ‘safe’ and ‘stable’ mentally and can take care of ourselves. And people wonder why mentally ill folks are so often unemployed.

        Social stigma dominates what happens to people like me, and there is a lot of pressure on the medical industry to convince schizophrenics who can handle themselves to become consenting guinea pigs for drug companies. Unlike more severe or impaired schizos, we can actually tell people what is happening on these drugs. Which, I’m sure might help a severe schizophrenic of some types in thirty or forty years… but that isn’t what I was to spend my life doing. Literally, since the side effects in some cases can be lethal, or so painful for life that people would wish they were dead.

        Because the genetic factor is relatively high, I do ask that other people with certain physical/mental illnesses to consider adopting children if they want to be parents. While schizophrenia worked out for me (relatively), it doesn’t mean that any offspring won’t have to be institutionalized. It’s one thing to have something like depression. It’s another to hallucinate a very real person that you don’t know standing in your kitchen when you come home one day, or to attack someone at their job at random, or to lead a life debilitated on heavy narcotics and anti-psychotics, in chronic pain, and unable to form complete sentences because of the lifelong side effects. A schizophrenic person might* be able to lead a “normal” life, but the chance of an existence which is detrimental to the person and everyone around them is greater. There are lots of awesome kids, including those with special needs, that need permanent homes. If you know* that you have something painful and incurable that will more than likely be passed down to a kid, please try to make the best-informed decision that you can. The desire to have a kid that’s “really yours” is strong, and not necessarily a bad thing, but also please think about what kind of life the kid will have to lead when it’s an adult. You can’t protect us forever. I turned out relatively OK, but what about how my dad turned out? What about how that paranoid lady turned out? I think of it like Russian Roulette, but with genetics.

        • childofaschizo March 4, 2011 at 11:04 am

          I changed my alias, too for this. I was terrified of my mother. She was mentally ill, and she used to hear voices. My sibling said that she would see my mother talking to somebody that wasn’t there and telling them to get away. Every 3 months, she would just up and leave her apartment and leave everything behind because it was contaminated/corrupted by the surroundings. She couldn’t stand to be close to people at all, and always seemed to me that she was imaging slights against her. When she would get angry, she was so destructive. She would cut up the target of her anger’s clothes, slash up their furniture with a knife, ruin electronics, call jobs to get her kids fired. When she was nice, she was great, but when she wasn’t, she just wasn’t. I didn’t want her to know where I lived, and it was very difficult for me. I have a bit of a theory. There was this one day that I was visiting a sibling and her young child, and my mother was over there. She was talking about how an ancestor from 100 years ago was wronged in some way. We had never even heard about this ancestor, and I know this will sound crazy, but I think she was being possessed by spirits that had not passed on to the other side. Within the Catholic tradition, the death rituals (like the wake) are performed so that the soul will not stick around and so that it can move on to the other side. There is a book called “The Unquiet Dead” by Edith Fiore that discussions possession. There are also rituals that can be formed — sanctioned by the Church for deliverance (eliminating negative energy) and exorcism. When my mother was enraged talking about this thing that happened to an ancestor, we were all scared. I just began to pray. I didn’t know what else to do. And, she calmed down and fell asleep. I believe that there are things beyond what can be explained in this physical world and that some of these diagnoses of schizophrenia might be psychic phenomena.

          • I’m also Catholic. I actually used to teach catechism when I was younger. I’m going to go check out that book right now, it’s also the title of a Dr. Who episode, btw.

  15. WOW that radio segment about glitter sniffer realy made me sick. how can people do this sort of thing in the world. do they not have a concience?

  16. I actually found your site doing searches on Orglamix AFTER I bought some product. The pictures are were really decieving because when I got the product, not only was there little product to begin with but she got my order mixed up. Little did I know it, but it was all mica and I have a mica allergy that I wasn’t aware of so my eyelids got all itchy and swelly. Gross.

    I couldn’t go back and leave a negative comment for her though because we had already “kissed and made up” from my previous mixup in product. Rather disappointing in all. Most etsy sellers are much more reliable than that in my opinion.

  17. I try to remain neutral on things like this also. I have not been paying attention to the drama, even though I was aware it was going on.

    I want to thank you for reminding people to not lose faith in the indie market! I am a strong supporter of handmade products. There are so many people out there making wonderful, quality products. I hope people won’t let drama like this turn them away.

    And yes, just ask! I have been doing some research for a series I’m hoping to run at the end of the month on my blog. I have been so suprised by the positive responses I have gotten from the indie companies. Most of them make all their own products by hand, and they are happy to tell you about it!

  18. I’m surprised there are still Glittersniffer fans and people buying her products after all this. The Michigan Radio clip and her phonecall to the poor customer are especially disturbing. It and the new Orglamix fiasco all is.

    Thank you so much for your reviews. You’ve introduced me to new companies and helped me know which ones to stay away from.

    I’m still a little nervous about safety and trying new brands after these two events and will take you up on the offer of help. For companies you haven’t mentioned yet: I’m thinking about purchasing from JadoreNoirCosmetics and MineralMaven on Etsy and simplykendra.com who is under the same username on Etsy. Have you heard about these companies before, or would you think they’d be alright based on your experience with ingredients? Thank you.

  19. granattrichter March 2, 2011 at 6:33 pm

    Seriously, I’m glad I never bought anything from any of the mentioned companies, but let’s face it: That’s pure greed what they’re doing.
    Just because it works on you, doesn’t mean it works on anyone. There’s a reason soap dyes are called soap dyes. (PRO TIP: They’re used for coloring soap!)

    I can’t even grasp what happens in someone’s head, how you can justify _this_ to yourself and still sleep well at night.
    Pure ignorance is bliss, I guess.

    I really, really, hope karma bites back. Hard.

  20. This Glittersniffer (and now Orglamix) debacle has made the L*meCr*me repacking drama look like… nothing. I mean, seriously. Say what you want about LC, but they never physically hurt anyone with their product.

    Everything else I would have said has already been said. Thanks again, Grey, for all that you do for us. Lela needs to just go away forever. And I hope these bad apples don’t turn people off from buying indie, that would be the WORST thing 😦

  21. francesdanger March 2, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    I just wanted to chime in and say thanks for the shout out to the indie community. I try hard to keep focused on all things GS, but I’m very aware that the information I present on the blog is affecting the indie community negatively. Indie companies are, unfortunately, just another in a long line of innocent victims in this debacle.

    It is important that people know and understand that not every mineral makeup company will do these things. It’s quite understandable that people are gunshy, but I hope that they will take the time to research and find that there are some amazingly talented and safe companies out there that are worth the time and money. This entire situation hasn’t deterred me, and I hope that will be true for others as well.

    Keep up the excellent work, Grey.

  22. Thanks for posting this. That phone call clip in the radio show is just plain disgusting. I’m grateful for bloggers who circulate info on both good and bad indie companies. Without you folks, I wouldn’t have discovered that there’s a wealth of makeup and personal care options outside of whatever veganstore.com stocks. i wouldn’t have known about Fyrinnae, Hi Fi, Morgana, SoBe, or Sugarpill. I also wouldn’t have known to avoid people like this Lela person, who’s possibly dangerous and should be in jail.

  23. Lela is under investigation with ArtFire, so her shop and/or account could be suspended at any time. I received a human response to my emailed complaint explaining as such. So even *if* she manages to stay there, they are aware of the issue now.

    Also, especially with the FDA not really being able to do anything, I still suggest that customers with grievances complain to the BBB. If you go to their site and use the company search for consumers, you should be able to find GS (last I checked, it was listed).

    Every little bit helps with her.

    On a tangent, I doubt any medical professional has diagnosed her with anxiety disorders. Her word is about as good as the stuff I flush down the toilet.

    Grey, thank you for reminding us all to keep our faith in indies. It’s hard to remember that when you’re familiar with them and something like this happens, but it has to be terribly off-putting to people just dipping their toes in.

  24. The radio clip has bumped the awareness of many of the GS fans. The ‘private’ GS group has been buzzing with members trying to voice concerns and admins hurriedly trying to shush them. People are finally waking up to the truth.

    But it is disappointing, since many of those girls are first time indie makeup buyers.
    GS just went and made so many girls think the indie-makeup-watering hole has been poisoned.

  25. Agreed! Honestly, these two companies were suspicious to me from day 1. Even with orglamix, the stock photos and obvious repackaging colors was a giveaway, and I won’t order from a company which doesn’t come forward as repackaing all/any of their products. If they won’t admit to repackaing a few, what’s to say they’re not repackaging all their shades?
    There’s been even more drama in the GS world lately, and Lela has admitted to being on herbal medications used to treat opiate withdrawl…

  26. These scandals are disheartening 😦 As a college kid, I don’t have a ton of cash to drop for higher- end cosmetics, so indie brands are usually a cheaper (and not uncommonly better!) alternative. As a child my parents taught me to never be too careful when it came to my money, so before making any purchase from an indie brand I do ALOT of research. From what all I have read about these two companies, I am seriously surprised that there have not been lawsuits yet (that I am aware of, at least.)
    Unfortunately this probably will taint many people’s views on indie companies, which is pretty darn sad.

  27. Amber, opiate withdrawal? Ouch. Also, the post’s title reminds me of another Lady Burd repackager that grabbed attention at specktra.net for her serious MAC bashing. If that wasn’t enough to get the MAC fans at Specktra interested, the fact the products were just private label stock that many of her competitors were selling. So much like in the mm world, the angle was unique, bold and bright colors.

  28. Wow. That voicemail…

    Luckily, for every single horrible company, there are handfuls of really wonderful ones. Indie makeup will easily survive these nasties.

  29. Wow. I live in MI and had no idea about this girl’s product. I suppose it’s a good thing. On her facebook you can see her replying to die-hard fans with things like, “I tried [contacting npr] and the reporter I was originally working with will not be in until Monday :p I’m hoping someone gets with me sooner. I would like to tell the story just as much.” That just made me think “Hmm” on all accounts. How bullshit shady is that? lol I stick to local etsy home cosmetic businesses.

  30. It’s disheartening. While it won’t turn me off from buying indie makeup, it makes me stick to well-known brands and not try new companies.

  31. I’m thankful to have never tried Glittersniffer, but I have bought from Orglamix. This doesn’t deter me from trying new indie companies, it just makes me realize how many are really trying to make a quick buck or repackage. Before buying someplace new, research needs to be done.

  32. Just wanted to say thank you to Grey for this info! I have a 16 year old daughter who is a makeup junkie like her mother! I prefer to support independant companies and would like my daughter to do the same. This is a great place for us to get a quick rundown on some super indie companies, and the ones to stay away from!
    Thank you again…Debra

  33. This makes me very sad to hear that one of the companies I was looking up to on Etsy is being dishonest. I don’t understand the mentality of businesses that are out to hurt others or make them feel anything less than special.
    I am sorry to everyone who has had any problems or harm done to them because of these companies.

    Lissa

  34. That’s just terrible. It’s one thing to not know what you are doing and then try to correct the mistake and it is another to intentionally defraud people to make a buck and cause harm. Just terrible.

  35. Thank you for posting this. 😦

    Is there a list someplace of bad companies? I know Lime Crime, Glitter Sniffer and now Orglamix are places to avoid like the plague, but I’m still a n00b to MM.
    And a list of good ones, for that matter? ❤