The Biggest Beauty Influencer Scandals of 2019 
Sun, April 18, 2021

The Biggest Beauty Influencer Scandals of 2019 

The YouTube beauty community is a minefield that is difficult to traverse for anyone starting off in it. Even veterans on the platform are not safe from the scandals that they themselves sometimes start or are just unfortunate enough to be caught in / Photo by: BrokenSphere via Wikimedia Commons

 

The YouTube beauty community is a minefield that is difficult to traverse for anyone starting off in it. Even veterans on the platform are not safe from the scandals that they themselves sometimes start or are just unfortunate enough to be caught in.

Indeed, the full size and scope of the beauty community keeps growing, and that is most evident in the fact that 2019 saw scandals, issues, public feuds, public apologies more than ever before. Here’s a look back at all the biggest scandals that went down in the beauty community. 

Before diving deep in these hot topics, it remains to be said that the beauty community is a little messy even on a daily basis. One moment, you’d think everything was going well and everyone is quiet, and then the next, people are mudslinging. In this list, though, issues that really shook the beauty community to its core will be discussed. 

Jaclyn Hill’s Lip-Sticky Situation 

This was probably one of the biggest issues in 2019; the entirety of Twitter even found out about it, but for those who are a little lost, let’s take a trip back to June 2019 when it happened. Jaclyn Cosmetics' lipstick launch was set for success, all thanks to Jaclyn Hill’s dedicated 6 million-strong fanbase, which she then proceeded to disappoint.

The problem is that it wasn’t just an isolated case. Almost everyone who purchased the lipsticks complained about seeing “tiny hairs, holes, and round particles” in them. Hill eventually took to YouTube to issue an explanation for these mishaps but, to this day, people only ever saw it as a non-apology. 

Hill lost 70,000 subscribers after the issue, according to showbiz website Cheat Sheet. 

Tati Westbrook vs. James Charles

This one takes the cake as the biggest and most seismic beef in the beauty community of 2019 simply because it was a fight between a beauty community veteran and a 19-year-old household name in the YouTube beauty community. 

Being that both Tati Westbrook, the older of the two, and James Charles are both nearly synonymous to the beauty industry, everyone devoured their beef. According to The List, a website offering advice and tips on style, beauty, food, relationships and more, the feud began in April 2019 when Tati accused James of partnering with Sugar Bear Hair when it was a company in direct competition with her own, Halo Beauty. 

According to The List, a website offering advice and tips on style, beauty, food, relationships and more, the feud began in April 2019 when Tati accused James of partnering with Sugar Bear Hair when it was a company in direct competition with her own, Halo Beauty / Photo by: Katrina_S via Pixabay

 

In a 43-minute long takedown, Tati exposed James only for everything to come crashing back down when James debunked every accusation that Tati threw his way. Other beauty influencers who dipped their toes in the conflict only served to complicate matters further causing everyone to take sides. It was a tenuous few days of every influencers’ social blade meter just wildly oscillating. 

Tati gained 4 million new subscribers after the issue broke out, even reaching the 10 million mark at the height of the issue, but her numbers dipped back to 9 million after James released his debunking video. 

Meanwhile, James lost roughly 3 million subscribers after the issue and though he has mostly cleared his name, a lot of people still find it hard to trust him again. Both statistics are based on fashion industry trade journal Women's Wear Daily. 

Olivia Jade’s Rocky Return

Though not technically part of the inner circle that Tati, James, or any other big-name YouTubers inhabit, Olivia Jade was thrown into the spotlight when her mother, Lori Loughlin, got charged in a college admissions scandal in which she “used bribes to get their children admitted to elite colleges.” 

At the time, Olivia was building and already cultivating her influencer career, making bank on the pretty life she has. But after the scandal, Olivia Jade’s parents -- Loughlin and fashion designer husband Mossimo Giannulli -- were charged with mail fraud and spending “roughly $500,000 in bribes to get her and her older sister, Isabella Rose Giannulli, admitted to the University of Southern California."

As of December last year, Olivia Jade has not lost many subscribers, according to Trackalytics, which recorded her losing only a few thousand followers, as opposed to millions.

In a report by Distractify, a website that covers trending topics, Olivia Jade’s opinion of the matter and of her mother leaned mostly negative. She told ET that she “resented” her mother for orchestrating the whole thing. Recently, she’s been slowly trying to get back into her influencing career and even made a video entitled “hi, again” when she returned to social media. 

Pamela Rutledge, a media psychologist, explained on the business website Insider why so much of this drama may seem to just be publicity stunts. There are real feelings and grievances felt in the community, of course, but the possibility that it is driven by the needs of every YouTuber to pull in attention overshadows possibly genuine emotions on the platform. 

“The YouTube world is very competitive, a lot of work, and very profitable if you can gather fans. Because the hurdle is low for entrants in the market, there is a continual need to keep your fans’ attention,” she said. 

Olivia Jade was thrown into the spotlight when her mother, Lori Loughlin, got charged in a college admissions scandal in which she “used bribes to get their children admitted to elite colleges” / Photo by: R.schneider101 via Wikimedia Commons