UPDATE 27/07/2018: This particular article was written in September 2017, and predominantly details an exchange I had with a misinformed Younique presenter. For an updated report on Younique’s cruelty-free stance (or lack thereof), please jump to my June 2018 article, “Let’s Be Honest, Younique Are Never Going to Obtain Cruelty-Free Certification.”
For those of you that followed my #Poonique saga, you must remember Harriet’s quandary in Chapter 10 – whether to admit to a vegan customer that she had lied about Younique being cruelty-free?
This was back in late 2015 – I am saddened to see that it is still happening in 2017.
As with my Its Really Not Your Fault article, the purpose of this article is to delve deeper into hun-behaviour over social media, especially when they are misinformed by their uplines (or telling fibs, but I’ll always give the benefit of the doubt).
In real life, some of my friends-circle know who Elle Beau truly is; most folks who know me, know that I am staunchly anti-MLM. 😉
So, imagine my surprise when one of my pals – we’ll call her Blue – added me into what was blatantly a Younique presenter’s “VIP” Facebook group.
Before I could ask what the heck she was playing at, she swiftly messaged me with an explanation.
Deliberately baiting huns is not my preferred style, but I figured I’d loiter quietly in the background and observe. You never know, perhaps I may even gain a fresher perspective on how huns operate in 2017.
In an attempt to be fair, I took a look at the group description – for the purpose of this article, we’ll call her group Pinkie’s VIP Sparkles. As I poured over Pinkie’s words, there were instant eyebrow raises.
I have highlighted in red my areas of concern. I was instantly irritated.
- AMAZING? No. They’re really not. Some of Maz Carrah‘s reviews and my Better Than MLM section should prove that.
- Natural? Again, questionable. Take a look at any of the ingredients lists on their website, and make your deductions.
- High quality? Refer to my above statement on whether the products are “AMAAAAAAZING”.
- Cruelty-free? That’s a huge NO. Ugh, its 2017 and we’re still dealing with presenters making false statements about this matter.
Before I go on to my dealings with Pinkie, let me give you some background on Younique’s cruelty-free stance. This is certainly not the first time it has been up for discussion, and it sadly won’t be the last.
For those not familiar with the terminology, I would like to refer to What Makes a Product ‘Cruelty-Free’ by Vicky Ly of Ethical Elephant.
The very same author has also written a thought-provoking article which I will make several references to, where she questions “Is Younique Truly Cruelty-Free?”
Ly makes reference to this below statement, taken directly from Younique’s website (since her last update of Nov 2016).
The statement says:
“…Younique does not test our products on animals. We are in the process of exploring/procuring official certification as a cruelty-free company. However, Younique has not conducted an in-depth cruelty-free review tracing each ingredient back to such ingredient’s original source at this time…”
Unless I am going bonkers, I cannot find this statement on Younique’s website anymore, so I am glad Ly has taken this screenshot. Is it possible that Younique have taken their website statement on animal testing down?
Ly also points out that Younique is not listed on any of the following cruelty-free databases:
- Leaping Bunny
- PETA’s Companies That Don’t Test On Animals
- Choose Cruelty Free
- Logical Harmony
- Cruelty Free Kitty
With all these facts laid out, why the hell do presenters still think its acceptable to say Younique is cruelty-free, when it isn’t?
People have certainly asked the questions, but even today, it would appear that no one within Younique can give a straight answer.
UK lifestyle blogger ChammyIRL documented her investigations in her article Are Younique Cruelty Free? The Most Confusing Question Of All Time.
So, Chammy, did you find out whether they are truly cruelty-free?
“…I’m sorry to say that I don’t exactly know. They say they are, they say they don’t test on animals and reassure customers that none of the ingredients used to make their products are tested on animals. All this while still failing to apply for the Leaping Bunny logo or to become PETA approved…”
Ly also deduces:
“…all cruelty-free companies must verify and make sure that their ingredient suppliers consent to a no animal testing policy. Unfortunately Younique has failed to do this.”
I also found a Feb 2016 article from worldissuesbygem, called “Younique claims products are not tested on animals: but is it really 100% cruelty free?” It references Ly’s original article, but also appears to elaborate on some of the brutal laboratory testing methods.
The fact of the matter still stands – Younique state that none of their products are tested on animals. Fine, I will accept that.
However, they have no Leaping Bunny logo, no cruelty-free certification, and no credible cruelty-free blogger to back them. Therefore:
Younique are NOT cruelty-free!
When you put it in plain English, its quite simple. Yet, we still see shitty hun-propaganda like this popping up everywhere.
So, that’s why I couldn’t bite my tongue when I saw the following question pop up in Pinkie’s group:
So, a prospective customer asks a perfectly valid question, and is given a totally wrong answer. I wanted to give Pinkie the benefit of the doubt though – remember, she is a victim of the Younique machine too.
I wasn’t happy at all with Pinkie’s answer, but I wasn’t going to attack her for it. Instead, I merely corrected her.
Simple, straightforward, and correct.
I reported back to my friend, Blue. At this point, I didn’t know how close she was to Pinkie, so I didn’t want to cause any upset.
Note, I said that as a friend Blue had “a duty to pull Pinkie up on this nonsense”. As Bot Watch has revealed in How to Help Someone in a MLM, however, is that it can be a very difficult task indeed.
Turns out that Blue isn’t too worried about her, though.
Obviously, to protect Pinkie’s identity, I won’t reveal her prestigious job role, but it turns out she’s a very talented individual. So, its a damn shame to see her plugging something as questionable as Younique.
I was expecting my “not cruelty-free” comment on Pinkie’s group to be deleted, but surprisingly, no.
I can only surmise, but I think in the interim she had got herself in a little tizz about it. Based on my time in a Younique “team”, the chances are that she screenshotted my comment to have a moan to her upline, and ask the team to help her come back with a “valid” response to my statement.
I was not disappointed.
Emojis, capitals and the typical “we are a company” and “our products” gets a mention. Oh, and the emphasis on “NONE OF OUR INGREDIENTS ARE TESTED ON ANIMALS!!!” Well, that’s me told.
However, Pinkie advises that Younique “have no plans to obtain cruelty-free certification“. Why? “Its just not a priority when we are growing so quickly!“
OK…so Younique are essentially “too busy” to obtain cruelty-free status, if I understand correctly.
Pinkie is clearly not happy with my meddling, and goes on…
More emojis! More emphasis on “we do not test on animals” and “neither do our suppliers” – if that’s true, then that’s great, Pinkie!
I must point out, though, ‘you‘ still don’t have that all-important cruelty-free certification – therefore, you still can’t tell people its cruelty-free!
Pinkie isn’t quite done with making her copy/paste point, though.
Thus end’s Pinkie’s comment. She typed/pasted a lot, but didn’t say very much…and it certainly didn’t address any part of my advice to her.
I’ve got a perfect meme for this.
Look, I wasn’t there to shit on Pinkie’s day or ruin her Y-parade, but honestly, this cruelty-free fabrication is getting tiresome. Presenters will say anything to make a sale, if they’re desperate enough. I mean, just look at all the crazy health claims that Juice Plus reps have made in the Juice Plus / MLM Lies Exposed group, for an example or ten.
However, Blue had added me to Pinkie’s presenter group knowing that I would be unlikely to keep my mouth shut, and I had just witnessed a complete falsity. I’m not going to sit back and keep quiet. For many people, living a cruelty-free lifestyle is important – why lie to them?
As I mentioned before, I was giving Pinkie the benefit of the doubt – there was a high chance she was merely repeating information from her upline as opposed to doing her own research. This was my response to her:
To further emphasise my point, I even posted Pinkie this image that one of my Twitter followers has previously sent me, when making enquiries about Younique’s cruelty-free stance.
Note, that this reply has come from Younique corporate’s official Twitter account:
“…Although Younique does not test its products on animals and is confident that its product manufacturers do not conduct such tests, we have not pursued formal certification at this time…”
‘Confident’ is not ‘definite’, but OK.
Pinkie is unimpressed. She responds with the worst kind of hun tactic – aka killing me with kindness. By that, I mean she calls me all the pet-names she can possibly muster in one sentence.
So, Pinkie claims that the drivel she pasted was Younique Corporate’s response?
I have some concerns with that, dear – Younique or not, I can’t imagine any “corporate” entity using emojis in their business statements.
I believe that her copy/paste statement actually came from her upline, and I tell her so.
Pinkie has missed the point entirely – all I was trying to do is tell her to stop advising customers that Younique is cruelty-free. I don’t know her, but from what Blue has said, she is so much better than this crock of shit. So is every single person who decides to get involved with MLM companies, those that are drudging away at the bottom of the pyramid. YOU ARE SO MUCH BETTER THAN THAT.
The so-called upline who is meant to be guiding Pinkie is not very clued-up either. With that in mind, I also decide to send Pinkie some articles to read, so she can be informed. Admittedly, by this point I was starting to lose patience – I am trying to tell her why she can’t call Younique cruelty-free, but she continues to dance around the issue and act like I am some negative negferret here to ruin her day.
Pinkie decides she doesn’t want to debate anymore, so she removes me from the group. I shortly receive a message from her.
She’s right – I am definitely not a fan of Younique, but I was never intending to attack her or bring her down, as she does seem a sweet person.
My parting words for Pinkie were as follows:
Pinkie read my messages, but sadly, she never responded.
Hey, Pinkie – I hope that Younique works out for you, I really do – but if it doesn’t (and we know what the statistics of success rates are) then we anti-MLM writers will be here for you.
Blue noticed that I’d been removed from the group, and also sent me a delightful little screenshot that proved Pinkie had semi-listened, within reason.
Here’s an enlarged version of Pinkie’s cruelty-free statement after removing me from her group.
I disagree with Pinkie thinking “some wires may have been crossed” – no, there was no misunderstanding, your upline was clearly telling you a load of twaddle.
She goes on to paste snippets of the little rant she gave me, but fortunately does admit that “Younique does not have an official cruelty-free certification” but still continues to harp on about the fact “this doesn’t mean the methods and practises we use aren’t cruelty-free.”
Yet again, she repeats that Younique are simply “too busy” to seek certification.
Ah well, I tried.
The crux of the matter is, there are thousands of presenters worldwide, like Pinkie, who are told by their uplines (in ignorance or otherwise) to say that Younique are cruelty-free. They are not, and there is a seemingly high chance that they never will be.
This means that many potential customers are buying Younique products on the basis that they are cruelty-free, when their sale has been obtained on false information. To me, that is very wrong – especially when it is important to the individual’s ethics, lifestyle and beliefs.
I also wonder if Younique Corporate even care?
So, to all Younique presenters, please – stop with the cruelty-free malarkey.
Stop making false claims about the products and what they stand for.
Do your own research instead of listening to your so-called uplines – yes, they want you to make the sale so they can earn a percentage of your commission, but consider your customer’s ethics.
Consider your own ethics too. Do you really want your good name tarnished, by being involved with these godawful excuses for businesses?
For those who wish to pursue further reading, I have already posted some excellent resources here for you to refer to (definitely look further at the work of Vicky Ly), and would also like to mention two writers who are also happy to share their opinions on this cruelty-free debacle.
- Jon Donnis – consumer adviser, photographer, vegan and social commentator to name a few – also a man who has been a fantastic guide to me in this blogging game (visit his website).
- Chris Pert – founder of @VeganRunCrew and one of my fellow Anti-MLM Movement writers. Chris has many talents including juggling, running, unicycling and living a vegan lifestyle (visit his website).
Readers, please do your bit – if you spot a presenter making a false cruelty-free claim on your social media feeds, please do your best to correct them.
Whether you care about the ethos behind being cruelty-free or not, its still not good to have presenters making false health and lifestyle claims about ‘their’ products. You can also share your findings with the guys behind Lies Exposed.
What’s next for Elle Beau?
On reflection, I do feel that I would like to rewrite my Poonique story into a proper novella – whether its an ebook, or if I find someone who would put me in print. The main reason being, I missed out “the smaller stuff” for the purpose of keeping the reader interested and driving the tale forward. When I wrote this blog, I wanted to mainly focus on the dodgy tactics I experienced, but on reflection I would like to talk more in-depth about everything I can remember.
I would like to rewrite my tale with the spreadsheet as more of a prominent reference point – it will also help me recall things in chronological order (i.e. when certain monthly kudos were released, little paltry orders etc). Mia is still lurking in some of the training groups, and is finding me screenshots to illustrate certain chapters. So, as well as writing anti-MLM articles, I will be working on producing a full, comprehensive story in the interim. I hope to set up a Kickstarter for this once I have an idea of costings.
If you like the anti-MLM aims I am working towards, please consider supporting me via Patreon. Anything is gratefully received.
Stay subscribed for upcoming anti-MLM news and articles, and of course the ever-popular #ShitHunsSay screenshots.
Don’t forget to join the MLM fight on social media – if you’re on Twitter, please give @ElleBeauBlog a follow (and help me get the #Poonique hashtag trending again!). Alternatively, join in the discussion with Elle Beau, the Anti-Blogger on Facebook. I am also on Instagram now – look for @ellebeaublog!
Are you stuck in a MLM and are looking for a way to leave? My friends at Bot Watch have produced a fantastic guide on how to get out – read it here.
Or, are any of you concerned for a loved one who is totally and utterly wrapped up in MLM? Bot Watch have advice for you on what to do and how to remain supportive – read it here.
Please, also check out the good work of the people of Bot Watch, Juice Plus/MLM Lies Exposed and Timeless Vie. They work tirelessly to expose the truth and lies of the MLM industry, so anyone considering this line of work can make a fair, informed decision . In fact, I now have a Recommended Reading page for Anti-MLM writers and interesting lifestyle bloggers I think you will enjoy, such as Chammy in Real Life and my first Patreon, @yourolly.
For something a little different to pyramid schemes, I would also recommend a look at what Bad Psychics are up to. Award-winning and seen-on-TV, they have worked to expose false claims made by psychics, mediums and the paranormal since 2003.
[…] The Younique rep gives a standard, pet-name, “killing with kindness” response – very similar to the one I received when I called out the hun that lied about Younique being cruelty-free. […]
[…] Oh, did I also mention that Montagne Jeunesse are Leaping Bunny approved? That’s more than Younique can say. […]
[…] MLMs and other charlatans through their actions dilute the meaning of veganism, sometimes to the point that it’s only about healthy living, or for MLM-bots, healthy living + financial independence. Animal rights are pushed aside, or if they are considered at all, the “cruelty-free” label is similarly diluted. Some MLM cosmetics companies will even falsely claim their products are “cruelty-free” when they’re not: Presenters – You Need To Stop Telling Customers That Younique is Cruelty-Free, Now. […]
[…] this brings us back to the age-old battle of Younique presenters constantly claiming they are cruelty-free (they are certainly not) and vegan-friendly (debatable). Vicki Li of Ethical Elephant says its […]
[…] enough, my blocking was triggered by involving myself in the great “Is Younique Cruelty-Free” debate. Something I just couldn’t hold back from when I saw it appear on my newsfeed. […]
I see the statement “Younique does not test its products on animas” but have you ever asked them if they hire third parties to do so?
Also, are they still manufacturing some products in China?
Hi Susan – I am ridiculously late at replying to this! A Younique ex-employee is currently writing a series of whistleblowing posts, and in “Tale 12” they state “Notice how Younique dances around the animal testing question? That’s because they have very little control over the manufacturing process, so they can’t actually say for sure one way or another.
Younique doesn’t care that you’re spreading carcinogens on your face — so do you honestly think they give a shit about animal cruelty?
Also, they want to sell in mainland China, which requires animal testing.”
The original link is here: https://write.as/3h3nn3049owuo.md – all very interesting so far…
[…] someone who’s very committed to buying cruelty-free products, I’ve also had my fair share of exchanges with MLM presenters (that I don’t know personally) […]
[…] Younique Presenters, you’ve got to stop saying you’re Cruelty-Free. […]
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[…] year (Sept 2017), I documented a debate I had with a Younique presenter when she wrongly declared her precious company was cruelty-free. Heck, I even got myself blocked […]
Just found your blog through a link in an FB beauty group and this made me wonder whether maybe #poonique actually do not manufacture their products themselves but outsource them (and put their own labels on said finished products) from one of the MANY labs worldwide set up for this purpose? Sort of like the way Kylie Jenner’s line is made by Seed Beauty(http://seedbeauty.com/brands/), who also make Colourpop and the KKW line…..but a lot less upmarket and possibly not based in the US. The reason I say this is because they seem to be able to state that their products themselves are not tested on animals (may have reassurance from the company and don’t do anything afterwards themselves either) but can’t say that their ingredients aren’t (because they don’t actually source the ingredients themselves)…sort of similar to how companies who sell in China cannot say that ultimately their products are not ever tested because that is a pre-requisite of selling in that country,
Could be totally wrong and they may have huge manufacturing warehouses that you know of and do it from start to finish….I don’t know much about the company tbh, only what I have seen as a bystander and from this great blog. It’s just the first thing that came to mind.