Monday, December 13, 2010

Falling In And Out Of Love (Denouncing Glittersniffer Cosmetics)

The following post was original written for my personal facebook profile yesterday.  However, since that profile is not public and I have several blog readers who also follow my hair and makeup recommendations, I am reposting it here.

Falling in and out of love (or, "dude, it's only make-up")
by Krissi Sandvik on Sunday, December 12, 2010 at 3:58pm

You know that awesome feeling you get when you find something special that you really love and you want to tell EVERYONE you know about it? I have; you know I have. You've even seen it if you follow any of my blogs, videos or even just my facebook status. Just a few things that you may have seen me fall in love with over the past 5 years include Hina's Tea (oh how sad I was when they closed their doors!), Golden brand's acrylic gel medium and fluid acrylic paints, Special Effects hair color, driving, wood burning, Moleskine journals... and Glittersniffer Cosmetics.

Three different formulations of Glittersniffer's pigment "A.D.D."
Notice the unblended chunks of pigment in the far right swatch,
typical of almost all of the pots I received in the last 3 or 4 months.
I have fallen out of love with only one of the above brands/items, Glittersniffer Cosmetics, and I am sad to say that it is not because I found something better, different or that I lost interest in all similar products. It is due, very simply, to the company losing sight of who and what made it so wonderful in the first place. I was quietly retreating, but when several of my friends sent me messages saying they purchased from Glittersniffer because I used her product, I decided to speak my mind. And so, dear friends and fans, I will no longer recommend Glittersniffer Cosmetics to you.

Specifically, I experienced a growing number of the following problems as Glittersniffer grew over the last six months:
Two jars in my "mattes" collection (too chalky to use) arrived
completely open; sifter was improperly inserted, preventing
lid from being secured. My final three orders (which were incorrect)
arrived with open jars and pigment spilled all over the box/envelope.
  • incorrect orders / incorrect "replacement" orders
  • substituted items without notice or option for refund
  • items never sent / "lost" packages
  • accepting payment for items out of stock offering only store credit (not refund); credit required to be used in conjunction with another order
  • inconsistency in formulations (visibly noticeable from batch to batch)
  • poorly mixed or unmixed pigments (aka "chunks" of color and chalky pigments)
  • multiple attempts at communications ignored
  • broken / open / unsecured jar lids
  • blaming others for errors and lost packages
I personally experienced all of these issues on multiple occasions and even brought these issues to the owner's attention, again on multiple occasions. I understand that running a small business is difficult and that mistakes happen. I run a small business and of course, I have made mistakes. However, I do my best to ensure that they never happen twice. I have turned away work if I feel overwhelmed or am unable to fulfill obligations to existing customers. In the case of Glittersniffer, I would receive an apology, sometimes a product I did not need or want and then it was back to business as usual on the next order. After my last 8 or 10 orders, I started to suspect that maybe this was a pattern.

I am not qualified to say that every experience was like mine (though I can assure you that this issue is quite wide-spread throughout at least 25 of her very long-term customers), nor am I telling you to boycott her items. However, I will say that if you do purchase, I hope that you do it of your own accord and not based on any recommendation I may have made in the past.

There are MANY cosmetics companies out there - some which are also 'cottage industry' businesses - from whom you might wish to purchase. Here is a very small list of companies from whom I have purchased in the past and with whom I continue to be happy (just type the names into Google - you can find them very easily):
  • Madd Style Cosmetics (new company this year)
  • Hi-Fi Cosmetics
  • Medusa's Make Up
  • Alima
  • Aromaleigh Cosmetics (no longer in business)
And I added another to my "faves" list in March 2011:
  • Brazen Cosmetics

Other companies from whom I have not personally purchased, but about whom I have heard good things:
  • Pure Luxe Cosmetics Fell prey to Glittersniffer Syndrome and is selling glow in the dark pigments (updated 3/28/2011)
  • Beauty From The Earth
  • Detrivoire Cosmetics
  • The All Natural Facekept her shop open during a 4-week absence, selling items not in stock (3/28/2011)
  • Shiro Cosmetics
  • Sugar Pill Cosmetics
  • Elohi Cosmetics - noted here for good product, but mixed reviews on customer service admitted to allowing people to smoke in enclosed space with product ingredients and packaging (3/29/2011)
    and, of course, there's
  • TKB Trading for bulk purchases and supplies
The 2-5 week turnaround time is the only reason Fyrinnae is not on this list. I understand why the production time is so long, but it's tough to recommend a company who takes that long to ship.

One final note: This is a description of my experiences only, and you are free to disagree. However, please keep your comments here civil and to the point. I know I may lose "friends" over this, but frankly, if I do, my response will be "it's only makeup and they clearly weren't my friends."


Update (12/13/2010 - 2:20pm):  Yesterday, I set out to write a simple, clear post with the single purpose of letting my friends know that I had experienced ongoing and unaddressed problems with a company and was removing my recommendation.  I assure everyone that I had no idea the issue was so widespread or ran so deep.  While I did NOT set out to defame anyone or to bring anyone down, I cannot apologize for the avalanche this first post started since all I did was state a few facts about my personal experiences.  I cannot control that others had similar experiences as well.

With that said, while I empathize with everyone's anger and disappointment, I also request that you keep your comments constructive and restrain the urge to name-call others on this post (you can call me whatever names you like).  I'm not asking you to edit yourselves, just to post those more "subjective" expressions elsewhere so the point of this post stays on topic: the removal of my endorsement.

Thanks everyone.


  1. I've always been taught that what is done in the dark will come to the light. Lela has NEVER cared about her customers (even though she acts otherwise), and she is slowly losing the will to keep up with the facade that she does. I am very sorry that you have lost money while learning this lesson.

    On a brighter note, have you never heard of Fyrinnae? I am not affiliated, they are simply just my favorite company, and genuine sweethearts.

  2. Oh noes! I apparently deleted some comments I intended to publish - please repost if you wish.

    <3 K

  3. I agree wholeheartedly with this post, I also fell out of love with GS this year. The first time I order was sometime back in 2008 or 09. I didn't have any money to buy more for a long time and finally did at the beginning of this year. Like a lot of fans I jumped on the fanpage, preaching to my friends about the wonders of GS and got many to join the fanpage and make orders as well. My first major issue with the company began with the 80's collection. After I found out that they were soap dyes and were not safe to use cosmetically, I was extremely disappointed. When screen shots appeared showing that the original listings said nothing about using at your own risk, I was disgusted at what appeared to me to be greed. :( I mean they are soap dyes, they will never be approved for cosmetic use near your eyes :\. Also, I had a problem with the pricing scales. Earlier this year she was doing bulk sales, except the price actually rose the more you bought! It doesn't make sense to cost less buying multiples of the smaller deal, than one of the larger ones that would have the same amount of pots. This was all about the same time that I told you I was having issues with my orders. :\ So while it seemed like everything was really awesome at first, fun fanpage and such, to me it really became more of a cult. You still can't say anything negative, even something as minor as pining for a package that hasn't come yet, without somebody jumpin' down your throat for being 'rude' on the fanpage. Thankfully, there isn't a lack of indie MMU companies out there! :) I def. suggest checking out Fyrinnae, I have none of their makeup, but I drool over my screen looking at all of the reviews and swatches of their product.
    -Anna Lee

  4. I've been one of the silent 'lurkers' on her page since about April and I had also experienced problems with orders but thought maybe they were isolated incidents.. now that this has come to light I'm extremely disappointed and feel I have been lied to. I'm seeing this company for what it really is and it makes me sad because I believed in it for quite a while. Thank you for speaking out on all this, I probably would not have known I wasn't alone otherwise.

    Also on a brighter note I HAVE ordered from Fyrinnae before, the shipping was fast and the product is amazing. I definitely recommend <3

  5. I've heard good things about Sweet Libertine. A very dear, old friend of mine has volunteered with them so I trust her word on their cosmetics. I've always wanted to try my hand at making mineral cosmetics, but frankly, it kind of scares me. I don't know the owner of GS personally, nor have I ever had any business dealings with her, so I cannot offer any personal experiences but I do know that there is a reason I've avoided diving in. It's so hard to be 100% sure of ingredients! If I use something in soap, I know my dyes and pigments have been tested for that. Cosmetic testing and the FDA especially are renowned for rushing products out without proper testing and then recalling them. I'd be terrified that I would miss something and inadvertently sell someone something harmful.

  6. Oh Lori, I wish it were a matter of being unsure of ingredients, but that was not the case. She purchased ingredients that were sold strictly as soap dyes and then marketed and sold them as eye safe pigments. She did the same with ingredients that she new were not approved for use on the eyes, but she showed them modeled as eyemakeup on her website - why? The ingredients were cheaper and she could make more money.

    I have another huge blog post coming - if the influx of info would slow, I could finish the darned thing.

  7. That's just horrible. I know that I constantly wonder about the stuff I make. I know all of my ingredients are rated safe for what I use them for, but for things that go on or near people's faces...ugh. It scares me. I can't imagine letting myself slide like that. Yes, I'd love more money (I like eating after all), but I would never sell anything to anyone I wouldn't use on myself. The aspect of having your business suddenly boom and not having the ability to keep up I can understand, but still. She should have been more forthcoming from the beginning, and perhaps put things on hold while she instituted a better way of handling the volume. It's terrible people got hurt. :(

  8. I've heard that Pure Luxe has been having the same problems as GSC, marketing blacklight and Glow-in-the-Dark pigments as safe for eye usage. I don't have proof though, unfortunately :(

    On the other hand, I can vouch for Shiro and The All Natural Face. Shiro somehow got my order to me within four days of ordering, included samples obviously picked to compliment my order, and the owner, Caitlin, is very sweet and extremely easy to contact for anything. ANF has a longer turn around time, but I've always thought their eyeshadow coverage and blend blew GSC's out of the water, without primer.

    I'm glad people such as you, Mo, and Brandi have all finally spoken out about this. I was afraid to do so myself, since I was (comparatively) a small time buyer, and an irregular participant in the fanpage.

  9. Wow, I know this post is 3 to 4 months old, but if you go to this Pure Luxe page & scroll halfway down, you can still see the "Blacklight and Glow in the Dark Novelty Colors for face and body," that are specifically missing any warnings about them NOT being safe for eyes, nor the fact that neon pigments are *not approved for cosmetic use at all* (I swear I just read this about another company who felt that "customer demands," were an excuse for them to use dangerous soap dyes in eyeshadow):

  10. Yes, there are a lot of companies out there carrying on business in a way that is either unethical, careless or downright harmful to the consumer. While many of the companies like Pure Lux (neons), Orglamix (repackaging unsafe eye products), Elohi (smoking in and around ingredients and packaging) and a few others have been outed for horrible business practices they ADMIT they did; Lela's actions seem to have started a witch hunt with some others. It's a sad case study, but I think we all learn that it's a BUYER BEWARE situation whenever you purchase handmade (especially food product or cosmetics).

    It's been a while since I looked at the "recommended by others" list up there - I'll go edit it now. :)