Oop, This Cult Skincare Brand Has Been Faking Good Reviews For Years

Beauty is in the eye of the fake reviewer.

If you’ve given in to the luxurious, elegant advertising ploys of a ‘cult’ beauty brand there’s a good chance you’re going to check the reviews before dropping your hard-earned cash on a face oil or magic anti-ageing serum. But what if those reviews were fake?

This week, American skincare brand Sunday Riley settled with the Federal Trade Commission after being found guilty of posting fake reviews of their products on Sephora’s website for two years.

CNN reports that Sunday Riley employees were ordered to not only write fake reviews but dislike negative ones “in order to boost sales.” The brand’s dodgy behaviour was discovered when a Reddit user leaked an email asking employees to create fake Sephora accounts and post positive reviews of products.

“The Commission’s investigation confirmed the whistleblower’s claim and found that the scheme to generate fake reviews of Sunday Riley products involved Ms. Riley herself,” the FTC wrote in a letter. “Rather than relying on satisfied customers to generate real buzz about her products, she directed her employees to write glowing reviews and bury negative ones, while offering detailed instructions on how to avoid detection.” 

In an email to her employees, Riley said, “if you see a negative review — DISLIKE it…after enough dislikes, it is removed. This directly translates to sales!!” She also encouraged employees to use a VPN before writing fake reviews so they couldn’t be traced back to the company. 

In response to the backlash, Sunday Riley commented, “The simple and official answer to this Reddit post is that yes, this email was sent by a former employee to several members of our company.” 

“At one point, we did encourage people to post positive reviews at the launch of this product, consistent with their experiences.” The brand’s excuse for pushing employees to post positive reviews was to combat “competitors who often post negative reviews.”

Credit: Sephora

Sadly, it’s not the first time the skincare brand which describes itself as “powered by science, balanced by botanicals” has found itself at the centre of a controversy. Founder Sunday Riley frequently refers to herself as a “formulator” and “cosmetic chemist” and various news outlets have consistently made reference to Riley as having a “biochemistry degree from the University of Texas.” However, a 2018 report from Insider states that a representative for the University of Texas confirmed she doesn’t have a degree, despite attending the school from 1994 to 1996.

Sunday Riley. Credit: Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for QVC

Sounds like the fake reviews are just the tip of a much bigger iceberg for Sunday Riley, and perhaps a lot cult beauty brands. Kudos to the Internet sleuths and whistleblowers that sniff out the fakes and keep us from spending big bucks on faux beauty products. 

What Makes You Think You Can Nick Billie Eilish's Jewels Mid-Show?

All the jewel thieves go to hell.

Billie Eilish is known for her unique sense of style, and in recent times, her lavish drip – but just because she rocks it on-stage, doesn’t mean it’s up for grabs.

Footage has emerged from Eilish’s performance at ACL Festival, showing the singer interacting with the crowd during one of her songs.

As Eilish makes her way back up on stage she quickly realises someone has taken her ring. “Somebody stole my f*cking ring,” she said. “Ugh, I guess that’s my fault. Keep that shit. Take care of that shit.”

Later, the crowd started chanting “GIVE IT BACK” and Eilish was forced to calm her fans down. “Nah, nah, it’s OK,” she said. “The ring is gone for good. It’s OK, don’t worry about it.”

“Whoever has that shit though, take care of it, OK?” she begged.

After the performance, angry fans took to Twitter demanding the person who took Billie Eilish’s jewellery give it back. 

It’s not the first time Eilish has had to deal with crazy fans. Earlier this year, a fan posted a photo of the singer in a white singlet and called her “thick.” 

Other fans ran to Eilish’s defence and called the post out for sexually objectifying her. They also pointed out that in a previous interview for Calvin Klein, Eilish had explained she wears “big, baggy clothes” so “nobody can have an opinion, because they haven’t seen what’s underneath.”

Speaking to Vanity Fair, Eilish spoke about her fandom and said, “it’s at a point right now where it’s, like, so perfect. At this point I feel like I know what I’m doing. I feel like there was a point where I was like, I don’t really know what I’m doing, but I’m just kind of winging it.”

“And they love me so much, and I don’t feel like I’m good enough for them to love me. And I feel like I really have, you know, kept that in mind, and really tried to work on it. I’ve tried to make my show, my stage presence and everything, be exactly what I would want it to be if I was a fan.” 

Clearly, Billie is giving her fans exactly what they want – but in return they should probably stop stealing Billie Eilish’s jewellery and making her feel uncomfortable.

I Regret To Inform You That Black Lip Liner Could Be Making A Comeback

The '90s are calling, they want their makeup back.

Remember back in the ‘90s and early ’00s when it was really cool to wear black lip liner with super light lipstick? Yeah – it’s a memory I’d quite like to forget, but sadly it seems it might be making a comeback.

Vogue recently touted black lipstick as “the only lip colour you need this season,” and featured an image of a model from Chalayan’s Fall 2019 ready-to-wear show sporting dusky lip liner with peachy-red lips. 

Credit: Victor VIRGILE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

I know Halloween is right around the corner, but does that mean black eye liner is suddenly appropriate to use on our lips? I think not.

Vogue’s trend page isn’t the only place we’ve seen the bold lip liner look pop up. After making her recent foray into the beauty industry, reality TV star Kim Kardashian firmly latched onto ‘90s makeup trends – including heavy lip liner and lighter lipstick. 

Mad Men star January Jones jumped on the trend earlier this month, rocking a glossy lip with a slightly darker line tracing the edges.

Even the cast of HBO series Euphoria got the ‘90s treatment with bold lip looks throughout the entire season.

My question is: are we ready for this ~edgy~ look to make a comeback in our daily beauty routines? Considering we’ve seen the thick brows, tawny brown eyeshadows and touches of glitter from the ‘90s re-emerge on red carpets and makeup tutorials in recent times, it’s not totally out of the realm of possibility. 

There are a few issues with the black lip liner/light lipstick trend making a return. Firstly – kissing is 100% off the menu if you’re bold enough to rock this look. You’ll end up covering you, and your lover’s face in black streaks.

Secondly – reapplying over the course of a day is going to be an absolute nightmare. It’s hard enough to nail lip liner the first time around, let alone every time you take a sip of coffee or a bite of lunch. 

I’m calling it. The black lip liner trends needs to stay where it belongs – in the 1990s and early 2000s.

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