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June 16, 2015

Gerard Cosmetics Goes "Kaboom!" in response to You Tuber

Many of you who follow social media may have heard about the video that sparked off a firestorm regarding Gerard Cosmetics. If you have not, read on and I will fill in the pieces for you as we go.

First off, I would like to state that I have no direct association with Gerard Cosmetics, or any of their acting Officers, past or present, MannyMUA or Karina Kaboom. My association with the beauty industry is strictly a personal one; our daughter is a budding makeup artist, determined to train and build a career with our support. I have spent countless hours and thousands of dollars on all things beauty, as well as watching thousands of hours of You Tube review/tutorial videos with her. That is where my association begins and ends. The opinions I voice are my own; I am not sponsored, endorsed, nor am I under any contractual obligation. Satisfied, Karina?

After witnessing the beauty side of social media go ape-shit, I decided I had to look into this further. In the end, there was no choice and no denying - the Author in me had to write.

The basics: Gerard Cosmetics was originally the creator of Whitening Lightning and, after its success, decided to expand to a line of cosmetics that were targeted to the needs and desires of the women (and men) who use them. They produce cosmetics in the mid-range price point. 

The company, realizing the power of social media, works in tandem with You Tube Beauty Bloggers, providing products for their use and review on their You Tube channels. With the power of the blogger and, more so, the video blogger, this has become a common practice in just about any product-driven industry that exists; cosmetics only leading the way.

Apparently, Beauty Blogger, Karina Kaboom, purchased two of their products and didn't care for them, to say it mildly. In her video, she uses oh so helpful terms such as "shit," "way over-priced" (and more). In reference to the price, she repeatedly asks the viewer, "who do they think they are?," comparing them to MAC, as a microscope would to a bug. 

Of mention: Karina Kaboom states that she paid Twenty Dollars for the Matte Lipstick and Twenty-Four Dollars for the LipGloss. Honestly, as a potential customer, I have closely examined Gerard Cosmetics prices many times over and have no idea why she would pay that much. That may be the individual product's retail price, but if you visit Gerard Cosmetics web page with any regularity, you will see that they are always offering products on special, frequently combining items at a much discounted price. Why anyone would pay MORE for the same product available to the rest of us at a much lower price is only one of the questions to be taken into regard when considering the motivations behind her "review."

As I am sure Karina expected, her video circulated and was eventually viewed by Gerard Cosmetics' Owner and CEO, Jennifer Gerard and friend, You Tube Beauty Blogger, MannyMUA. Manny recorded and, unfortunately, posted a brief Snap Chat, where the two can be heard voicing their (brief) irritation over Karina's comments (attacks) and, apparently, referring to her appearance in a negative manner, which I was unable to hear, even with her dutiful demonstration (see below). 

Note: In the follow-up video posted by Karina, she claims that you need to wear ear plugs to hear this comment and, for those of us who do not understand the English language well, she lifts a pair for our viewing reference.

And so it began...

After watching the original You Tube video, I can see why Jennifer Gerard was upset - had I been in the same situation, I would have, as well. That would be a Hell-to-the-Yes!

When I watch Beauty Bloggers, I expect their honest opinion to be delivered in a clear, unbiased format, explaining their experience with the product(s) and the pros and, if any, cons. I expect to hear why they would, or would not, purchase the product. I expect to hear their opinion on the value and effectiveness of the product; can it back up any claims the manufacturer may have made? I want details about the product and the reviewers experience in wearing the product. Period.

What I DO NOT expect is to sit and listen to a rant - and this was, without a doubt, a rant - about how horrible and overpriced the product is and, worse, to listen to unfounded and unproven accusations against the company itself. It is unethical and, in my opinion, a direct attack against both Gerard Cosmetics and Jennifer Gerard, herself - and her financial investment. 

That, my friends, is stepping so far over the line that you've abolished the damn thing.

Additionally, even if it is true that Beauty Bloggers are required to sign a contract stating that they will give a positive review if they are to work with Gerard Cosmetics, they ARE the ones signing it, are they not? That I am aware of, Gerard Cosmetics,  is not forcing Beauty Bloggers to sign contracts with them. I have a hard time believing that this is not a common practice in the beauty industry, besides. After all, what company in their right mind wants to pay sponsorship fees for someone to trash their products? It's goes against all basic common sense. It may not be spoken of, for obvious reasons, but I believe it's more of a common practice than we are led to believe.

In addition to the accusations made against Gerard Cosmetics and Jennifer Gerard, what really bothered me about Karina Kaboom's rant was, rather than give her constructive opinions of the products, she outright called the products "shit" and "total crap" repeatedly

Now, I don't know about you, but if I put my heart and soul into creating something - which, as an Author myself, I do it on a daily basis - and then someone, using a public forum, came straight-out and called it shit... Well, I think I would be offended and have a few things to say, as well. Adding further insult, calling into question my ethics? Yeah. Not. Going. To. Happen. EVER. 

As far as I am concerned, this woman took out a big can of red paint and craggily-ass brush and painted a nice big target square in the middle of her chest. And I think she did it with intent - for publicity.

In closely examining her comments, I noticed that she made several uneducated comments about the products, talking about them as if they are the anti-Christ. As an example: The matte lipstick was so drying on her lips and the color changed from its original appearance in the tube to when she applied it, etc.  

And this is where she lost me completely. 

In order to refer to herself as an experienced Beauty Blogger, Karina would have, at a minimum,  some of the following: Experience working with the medium, educated in the products, their use and design, familiar with other products in the category, standard price point information, etc. Had she been experienced, the remarks she made would have never crossed her lips, among many. Therefor, by her own remarks, she is rendered lacking. Period. 

Basic facts Karina should know: Matte lipsticks are, as a whole, drying on the lips. This is the biggest complaint that is heard from customers regarding matte lipsticks, so why the hell she attempted to use this as a negative is beyond me. 

Since (she) had a tendency to compare Gerard Cosmetics to MAC so many times, I will use MAC's own matte lipstick as an example...

MAC's original matte lipstick formulation was considered, by customers, to be too drying; they also complained that they disliked the"tugging" on the lips during application. So, listening to their customers, MAC reformulated their matte lipsticks. The newly formulated matte ipsticks were received with wide applaud as being easier to apply and not AS drying to the lips. Notice I stress the word AS. Still, the story continues... There were customers whom didn't mind the extreme drying of the original mattes, some actually liking it, or the tugging and they missed the colors of the original mattes, begging MAC to bring them back - Hello Retro Mattes! 

Simply put, there is no matte lipstick (that I know of) that will not feel drying to the lips - it's simply a matter of degrees and what is tolerable to the person wearing it - as the very nature of matte lipstick (high-pigmented + long-wearing = low moisture). Mattes formulation has been altered to remove the moisturizing ingredients, among several things, therefor increasing the products longevity. 

Based on the facts of the product, her complaint holds no merit. If Karina is an experienced Beauty Blogger, using many different products (including matte lipsticks), then she should know the feel of them by now. She should know the affect that they have on the lips - drying. She should learn two words that any matte wearer learns - lip balm. But she shouldn't be reviewing, no, criticizing, products that she clearly has no knowledge of. As I said, I am not a Beauty Blogger, but I know.

On to the next rant... 

Karina also complained that the color of the lipstick changed once she applied it, looking different from what it appeared when in the tube. 

For real? Need I even go into detail on this one? Well, since she was naive enough to make this a complaint, I have no choice...

In this case, Karina had purchased and was reviewing the lipstick '1995' created in tandem with Jaclyn Hill for Gerard Cosmetics. The description of this color states, "Get inspired by the neutral nudes of the 90s with Jaclyn Hill's signature lipstick, 1995. Inspired by the 90s grunge revival and the beauty trends of an unforgettable decade, this iconic creation is a matte but creamy lip color that isn't trendy but a timeless expression of glam."

In Karina's review, she stated that, 'In the tube, the lipstick appeared to have a pinky-brown color, but when (she) applied it, especially after several coats, (which she demonstrates by swatching on her hand), the color turned solid brown'. 

Seriously? It's like watching another Dumb and Dumber. If you didn't already believe that this woman had very little knowledge of the products she was reviewing, this should seal the deal for you.

First off, anyone who wears lipstick knows that just because a color looks one way in the tube, or is described as a particular shade, does NOT mean that it will appear the same once on your skin. Period. Need I say, Duh?

Not only can the color change, depending on the tone and hue of your skin in combination with the pigments (and even the clothes you are wearing and the color of your hair), it's an almost given that it will. Additionally, to add more layers will darken ANY lipstick, no matter its formulation!

I literally could go on and on about this video... I honestly can't even believe their are people upset on Karina's behalf. She spouted falsehoods, accusations and more, yet is surprised when there's a response? I don't think so. I think she's orchestrated the whole thing - for attention. Even more, after looking at her channel and her video history, I think she leans towards the negative. I mean, seriously, who records videos on who to UN-follow? 

Unfortunately, the video that should have been cataloged far away instead had a finger pointed right at it by the posting of the Snap Chat, where we hear MannyMUA and Jennifer Gerard making a few comments about Karina Kaboom. Manny, for real? What were you thinking? There are some things, sweetie, that just need to stay private. But, ALL of us have done something, spur of the moment, that we later came to regret. I know you have a good heart and that there was no malicious intent on your part.

Was Gerard's response entirely appropriate? Not necessarily. But, the questions is, what was that wrong about it? Did Jennifer Gerrard and MannyMUA have a right to their reactions to Karina Kaboom's video? Damn straight. She, her products and her business practices were attacked and her friend was there, defending her as friends do. It wasn't necessarily their views that were wrong; rather, it was the public airing of them. Lesson learned. I would have been beyond angry, as well. As I said earlier, it's one thing to make your opinion of a product known to the public, to conduct a fair and reasonable review - but this was not any of those things. This was a straight-out attack against Jennifer Gerard and Gerard Cosmetics. 

Also, as you watch the video, please take note of Karina's voice; you will hear the volume increasing throughout the video, as her agitation grows and her tone becomes clipped and severe. 

Several times in the video, she mentions (Vanessa), another You Tube Beauty Blogger, gushing about how much she trusts her and how (she) went against Gerard Cosmetics by refusing to sign their contract, enforcing the positive reviews clause in exchange for free products. On and on it went, ad-friggen' nausea. At one point, I couldn't remember if I was watching a gushing about Vanessa's channel, an ad for MAC Cosmetics, or a hit on Gerrard Cosmetics. Can anyone say dis-com-bob-u-lated?

All of this combined should give you something to ponder as you consider the validity of her review...and her motivations behind it. People rarely get that emotional unless it's personal to them. In some way they feel they have been discarded, wronged, etc. and, in response, they go on the attack. After watching Karina's video, I have little doubt that this is personal.

Here's a little foundation-laying...

On You Tube, conduct a random search for a Beauty Blogger. Then, after opening their profile, select any review video and watch it. Repeat. And again. 

I would be willing to venture that you could watch fifty, maybe a hundred or more, You Tube videos and in NOT ONE will you hear the Beauty Blogger call the product "shit" or "crap." Not. One. Nor will you hear them attack the company, or it's founder(s). Ever.

I've watched thousands of these You Tube videos with my daughter over the years and, trust me, NOT ONCE have I ever heard a Beauty Blogger refer to products as such, let alone taking the review further, leveling accusations against the company and it's Owner, as a whole. Hell, even the Lime Crime debacle rarely generated that kind of emotion - and that involved people's money!

To add more even more proof to this puddin', after the Snap Chat was released, Karina Kaboom recorded a follow-up video on her channel, titling it, "Re: Owner of Gerard Cosmetics Calls me Ugly!" where she continues her rant against Gerard Cosmetics and Jennifer Gerard.

Well, you know what Karina Kaboom? I will call you ugly, and I am not referring to your appearance, rather your attitude way out ways your appearance! KA-BOOM! And listening to you then turn your rant on to your fellow Beauty Bloggers (i.e. Jaclyn Hill and others) who have (or not) worked with Gerard Cosmetics, set my ears to burning as you continued your tirade against the company and its ethics. You not only obliterated the damn line, you drew a new one...right into legal territories. 

Remember this... Freedom of speech only protects you so far. When you are leveling accusations against a company that, if proven, negatively affect peoples opinions of said company, their desire to conduct business with them and therefor their finances or their place in the industry, you wouldn't have the money to buy a handkerchief to cover that squawking hole you call a mouth.

I wonder...is it good old jealousy that has a hold of you? Are you upset that you are not one of the "many" Beauty Bloggers who have been offered a partnership with Gerard Cosmetics? Trying, unsuccessfully I might add, to turn viewers against those Bloggers who make just a SMALL pittance of the sales generated by those using their codes? It is just plain WRONG! They have a right to make money and to build a business just as the rest of us do. If they are featuring products on their channel that, as a result, cause the company financial benefit, why should they not see a small slice of that? THAT is what makes a successful Blogger - one that reaches the public AND makes money.

Possibly, if you were functioning more as a traditional Beauty Blogger does, rather than holding yourself above them all, and you worried less about what Gerard Cosmetics was doing and with whom, you would be working towards your own success, building something for yourself to stand on - in addition to your bitterness, that is. Jaclyn Hill should be a shining example of a way to build a business - not someone to tear down in your rants.

Keep up the hard work my lovely Beauty Bloggers! 

And to Jennifer Gerrard and MannyMUA, Marlena and Jaclyn Hill...no worries. We gotcha.

Shelbie Knight =)


After posting the above, I was not surprised that I received several comments; take note that these comments were emailed to me, rather than posted here, publicly, where it's quite readily available. A few of the responses "lectured" me that I clearly hadn't watched Karina's videos and that she has reviewed "thousands of products..." 

Naturally, as any writer worth their ink, I had investigated Karina Kaboom, and her claims, including watching the (involved) videos prior to writing the above blog post. Did I take the time to scour though her entire catalog of videos? Ah, no. And the reason? Point blank - they were not of relevance and, therefor, not worth my time.

So, after reading one particular email, I decided to look further into Karina Kaboom's video history and, predictably, what I found only solidified my opinions. Why you may ask?

To start, in looking through her video list (going back a eight months), I would estimate that 95% of her videos are featuring NAIL POLISH. There is certainly no problem with this - there are many Bloggers who specifically select this product and review it exclusively. However, it does add to the suspicions I placed upon her and her motives; when a Blogger features nail polish almost exclusively (and no other cosmetics), what exactly made her select this one company?

Additionally, I did take note that, out of all of Karina Kaboom's videos, I could only find TWO reviews for cosmetics: One, Gerard Cosmetics and, interestingly, the other, Makeup Geek.

We already know what her reaction was to Gerard Cosmetics, so there's no need to go into detail there. But, given her reaction to GC, I was curious to see what she had to say about Makeup Geek...especially since I have had direct experience with many of their products.

In her "review" video, Karina featured ONE Makeup Geek shadow, in this case Caitlin Rose. One. Shadow.And throughout the painfully long video, she, again, makes repeated accusations against past Makeup Geek reviewers, stating that they gave good reviews only because 'they received free products', etc. She refers to the shadow as 'ok' and 'nothing special', complaining about the amount of product you receive compared to the price-point. And on and on it goes...

God, it was painful to watch. It was nothing more than a repeat of what she did with Gerard Cosmetics. (The Makeup Geek "review" was first, then Gerard Cosmetics.)

To the small minority that exist with the belief that Karina Kaboom is some poor, corporate-attacked,  bullied, innocent You Tube Blogger, I ask that you not only read and consider the points that I make above, but that you watch the videos in mention.

For disclosure sake (again), I have no affiliation with Makeup Geek, or Marlena (Makeup Geek's Creator and CEO), other than as a customer. I have PURCHASED many of their shadows for myself and my daughter and I will do so again; my cart currently sits full with my next order. Because of this, I KNOW that Karina's "review" is garbage and is done with malice, just as with Gerard Cosmetics. It's unfortunate that I do not have the medium set up with which to give honest reviews; I would be all over this...but I do have this...

My review of Makeup Geek's shadows: 

The shadows are high quality in every way that counts; smooth consistency, highly-pigmented with little-to-no "fallout" and they blend beautifully. MG offers a wide-range of colors - something for everyone - warm tones, cool tones, bright colors and several that could pass for dupes of many top brands (Stilla, Nars, MAC). 

The application lasts throughout the day with, or without, a shadow base, although I always use one for maximum color pay-off. And Karina's comment about the 'small size of the product' only shows what little she knows of cosmetics - and how little she was informed before making her statements. Makeup Geek shadows are comparable in size to other top brands, if not larger (see below).

Product priced: Eyeshadow Refill "pan" (R); Compact (C)
(size specifics and price are taken directly from manufacturers website & Sephora)
  • Makeup Geek:  Standard 1.8G/0.064 oz  $5.99 R Foiled 1.8G/0.064 oz $9.99 R
  • MAC:  Standard 1.3 g/0.04 oz  $10 R
  • Stila:  Standard 0.09 oz  $18 C  Jewels (foils) 0.08 oz  $20 C
  • Too Faced:  .06 oz/1.7 g)  $18 (currently sale, $16.20) C
  • Urban Decay: Standard 1.5g 0.05oz  $18 C Moondust (foils)  $20 C
  • Makeup Forever: Standard 0.07 oz  $21 C
  • Sephora: Standard 0.07 oz  $12 C
  • Ardency Inn: Standard 0.06 oz  $21 C
  • Benefit Cosmetics: Standard 0.11 oz  $20 C
Note: The use of the words Standard is used only for the purposes of specifying that this is a shadow that is not foiled. The terms Foiled, Jewels & Moondust are specific to the company they are listed with and represent this company's "foiled" shadows.

The above pricing is meant for comparison purposes only and in no way a representation of the products mentioned, or the quality of their products. My purpose in listing this is to counter Karina Kaboom's claims that Makeup Geek shadows are overpriced and contain little product. As you can see, even considering that many of them are in compacts, the price difference is considerable. As well, take note of the size comparison.

In closing, it is now more clear that ever that Karina Kaboom has ulterior movies in her reviews of these two companies. If not for the difference in the company name and product, they are almost a repeat of one another. In both she makes claims of "hyped" product reviews, accuses other You Tuber's of being "bought out" and "receiving free products in exchange for reviews" and, most sad, in both she makes accusations against the business' of improper business practices.

From an outsider's point of view, Karina Kaboom's own words and history have become her own downfall and it is clear that she is bitter and using her medium vindictively. At this point, I would not trust her word on dog food.

Best Wishes to all of you and, no matter what you do, give it your all!

Shelbie =)

This chapter in this book has finally reached its conclusion... This is what happens when a writer sits in front of the keyboard amped up on injustice! I write and write and... E-NUF! 

*entranced* I. MUST. WALK. AWAY. Book...yes, that thing I've been working on...I can write there! 


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