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Estée Laundry is the Diet Prada of the beauty industry

The Instagram collective calling for more transparency

Estée Laundry is the Diet Prada of the beauty industry The Instagram collective calling for more transparency

Now that sustainability, transparency, diversity and inclusiveness are the main focus for both brands and costumers, we need someone to help us distinguish which brands adopt the right behaviour and which, instead, opt for an unethical and ambiguous business strategy. As BoF explains well:

The rise of watchdog culture is a consequence of a conflictual society, culturally aware and outspoken. Customer expectations have changed enormously. They want total transparency and are ready to denounce anyone who doesn't give it to them. The designers and founders of companies must offer an accessible face, which means interacting with customers who question the quality of their products or their respect for a whole range of values. Today, those who start a company must have responsible management, follow certain principles, take sides on certain issues, interact and if necessary defend their brand and their beliefs. 

If in the fashion world the figure of the supervisor is embodied by the popular Diet Prada, beauty is the sector protected by Estée Laundry. The first post dates back to April 2018, and, in just over a year, the Instagram account has gathered a large following of over 126k followers including beauty editors, PR and even brands like Victoria Beckham.

The collective behind the project has decided to remain anonymous to keep the focus on the products and not on its members, even if they all seem to work in the beauty industry, and from the beginning, it has repeatedly reiterated the intention to "air out the beauty industry’s dirty laundry". In some interviews the group stated: 

We thought now was a good time to launch Estée Laundry because the beauty industry is engaging in too many questionable practices, especially on social media. No one was holding them accountable for it, and we wanted to create a change.

And it added: 

Over the years they have become less objective. We want to be completely neutral and we have neither favorites nor enemies. We don't attack any brand, person or influencer. We simply recall actions that we believe are unethical on a case-by-case basis. For us, it is first and foremost by educating consumers to demand greater transparency that we will change this sector.

About 60 per cent of Estée Laundry's contents come from followers' reviews, which give an insight into the best-selling products, commenting on their qualities and flaws, but above all highlight imitations, copycats and problems of cultural appropriation or lack of diversity. Among the most famous cases, the account has followed there's Fenty Beauty. Rihanna's brand has repeatedly come under the spotlight of the watchdog: for the suspicion of having copied the packaging of the Korean brand Dear Dahlia and for the accusation of cultural appropriation. Many, in fact, had criticized, as it happened to Kim Kardashian with her Kimono collection, the decision to call the new highlighter Geisha Chic judged as offensive. Fenty's response was the removal of the product from the shelves immediately, but not always those who are called out by Estée Laundry have the same attitude.

We were surprised and delighted by Fenty’s immediate response. Most brands get defensive and try to attack us. The worst thing a brand can do is remain silent and hope that things will pass. The Internet never forgets.

Other protagonists in the beauty world called out by the profile include the skincare brand Sunday Riley which asked its employees to write positive reviews on Sephora's website; Glossier, accused of erroneously labeling a mascara as vegan; Beautyblender and its limited foundation palette; and Kim Kardashian who was overwhelmed with negative comments for promoting anti-hunger lollipops.

View this post on Instagram

Did you purchase @Glossier’s new Lash Stick yesterday? #Glossier is reportedly issuing refunds for customers that purchased their new mascara. . Before the launch, Glossier, sent out a press release with details on the new product. In the release, it said that Lash Stick was made with ‘vegan biotin’ and that the product itself was completely vegan. . Fast forward to the official launch, the Lash Stick was also labeled as vegan on the website. Customers noticed a discrepancy right away—beeswax is one of the main ingredients which makes this product not vegan. Plus, biotin itself cannot be completely vegan as Glossier claims. . Good on Glossier for addressing the issue straight away. We’re surprised no one caught this when the press release was sent out so they could correct it before the launch. Nevertheless, we do hope this serves as a valuable lesson for Glossier (and other brands) going forward. #LashStick #EmilyWeiss #IntoTheGloss

A post shared by Estée Laundry (@esteelaundry) on

Estée Laundry also publishes product reviews, pills of make-up history, the #ShelfieSunday column on celeb beauty routines and beauty editors and launches campaigns such as #ShopMyStash Challenge that invites you to buy fewer cosmetics.

Asked about the future of the beauty industry and the evolution of its role, the account said:

The future is where transparency, sustainability, and inclusivity are the norm, and not the exception. This means no more shady business practices, a requirement for eco-friendly materials, and that everyone feels welcomed and represented.