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What Beauty Influencers Shouldn't Be Doing

Updated: Feb 1

There is a fine line between giving an honest opinion and making a comment that could hurt a brand - in terms of the law. And beauty influencers are straddling that fine line with seemingly not a care in the world.


beauty influencers

While one or two appear to have taken some legal advice, the temptation to let their mouths run away with them for the sake of a few more likes or subscribers is evident. It won't be long before one of the YouTube or TikTok 'greats' is financially stumped by a lawsuit.


What some forget is that legislation can differ from country to country and what may be fine to say to one audience may not be for another. Trouble is... You can't separate them on global platforms.


Making malicious, untrue or defamatory remarks about a brand to a large, captivated following is likely to not just damage the reputation of a business but hurt its bottom line.


Pick on the wrong one and it could be 'finito' for a channel that has taken years to build and generate revenue.


Why am I writing about this? Because I have been offended by some of the opinions shared about certain brands on social media recently. I have no connection to any of these businesses but, if I were them, I would seriously consider getting the legal eagles in.


Up-and-coming beauty influencers, take note: you are fair game. Not quite as polished in your delivery as some of the big names, a slip of the tongue is all it could take. And, oh, how some cosmetic companies must be looking for someone to make an example of.


The Unfunny Vomit Joke


Aside from all the videos gushing about countless brands filing for bankruptcy when, actually, they haven't, there are the wannabes who clearly hold personal grudges against businesses. It could be that their channel has not been selected for sponsorship or was dropped but, as a mere viewer, I am never going to know. I just have to try and make an educated guess as to why a beauty influencer is hating on a particular brand.


Which brings me to an eyeshadow tutorial I was watching a few weeks ago... It was a bog standard 'woman at her kitchen table' how-to guide, showing off products from a low-cost cosmetics company at the same time. I was engaged. Then, without warning, in the middle of the tutorial, she went 'off topic' to get in a sly remark about a rival makeup brand. One of my favourite brands, as it happens. And not content with the put-down, she went on to pretend to stick her fingers down her throat and made a vomiting gesture. Excuse me!


beauty influencer

While this type of behaviour is unlikely to lead to court action, because she could say she was expressing her personal opinion (and not to a huge audience), it is still damaging. Plus, it lost her a subscriber!


My way of thinking (and it's probably the safest way) is not to say anything about a brand if what you think isn't nice. If I buy a product to review and I don't like it, I simply won't give it space on this website. Ignoring something can be as powerful, if not more powerful, than slating it.


I see an awful lot of beauty influencers use the phrase 'honest opinion'. That's fine, if they are giving an honest opinion. But, if they don't know what they are talking about, it is not hard to stray into dangerous territory.


My favourite beauty influencer is James Welsh. I can tell by the way he delivers any type of criticism that he understands the law. Anything negative is nearly always offered in a constructive context. I say, nearly always. He strayed within a hair's breadth of crossing the line a few weeks ago with comments that I will not repeat about an individual in the beauty industry. For someone with razor-sharp observation skills, I hope he doesn't stray quite that close again. I like him because he says what I am thinking. Like too many irrelevant collections being released on the scale of a revolving door. I'd hate to 'lose' him.


Beauty Influencers and Publishing


The big-time influencers know the ropes. For those who are still a bit green, let me tell you - uploading anything to a social media platform is publishing. In exactly the same way that the Daily Mail publishes stories. Influencers are responsible for ensuring what they publish is true and balanced. And, if you think a review or giving your 'honest opinion' will save you, look into the history of how many restaurants have sued publishers over poor reviews.


beauty influencer

And, if you like commenting on beauty influencers' posts, always bear in mind that you are publishing your thoughts and the same rules apply. Also remember that it is essential personal opinions are clearly stated as that and not portrayed as facts.


Going back to the commonly banded-about word 'bankruptcy'... There are huge differences between a business being declared bankrupt, being liquidated and going into administration. These differences are recognised in law and should never, ever be confused.


There are some brilliant beauty influencers out there, but plenty of pretty awful ones too. The crux of this story is to remember that not everything you see or hear about a brand is accurate. Take the negatives - and the positives (they could be paid for) - with a pinch of salt. I do.





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