A proposed class action filed last week claims Huda Beauty’s Neon Obsessions makeup products are represented as eyeshadows despite containing color additives that aren’t approved for use near the eye.
While the digital brand founded by popular social media beauty influencer Huda Kattan specifically advertises the Neon Pink, Neon Orange, and Neon Green palettes for use around consumers’ eyes, a hidden disclosure buried deep within the products’ packaging states that the makeup is “not intended for the eye area,” the 33-page lawsuit alleges.
The plaintiff, a California resident, says she was misled by defendant HB USA Holdings Inc.’s advertising and marketing of its Neon Obsessions products. After applying the makeup to the area around her eye, the woman allegedly experienced “irritation and burning” that was made worse by the difficulty she experienced removing the makeup.
The plaintiff says she would not have purchased the Neon Obsessions products had she known they contained color additives that haven’t been approved for use in the eye area.
“The Dopest Eyeshadow Trend Of 2019”
Huda Beauty, a Dubai-based digital brand with offices in the U.K. and Los Angeles, launched its Neon Obsessions colors in May 2019 as part of its popular “Obsessions” line of eyeshadow products, the lawsuit relays. The three palettes—Neon Pink, Neon Orange, and Neon Green—seized on the seasonal neon color trend that swept the fashion and beauty industries that summer, the case says, with Huda Beauty calling the colors “The Dopest Eyeshadow Trend of 2019” in a June blog post. Per the complaint, the marketing and advertising of the Neon Obsessions products, which included social media posts and advertisements on the defendant’s website, product placement in Sephora and other retail stores, and tutorials from Huda Kattan herself, clearly indicated that the makeup was intended to be used around the eyes.
Huda Beauty repeatedly referred to its Neon Obsessions products as “eyeshadows,” while Huda Kattan detailed in online tutorials and “press” engagements how to apply the makeup to the eye, the suit relays.
JC Penney and Sephora, Huda Beauty’s retail partners, also promoted the makeup in stores and online as “eye” products, the case says, with “suggested usage” language provided by the defendant detailing the application of the makeup to the eye area.
Neon Obsessions’ Packaging Tells a Different Story, Lawsuit Alleges
Despite Huda Beauty’s marketing representations of its Neon Obsessions palettes, closer inspection of the products’ packaging indicates that the defendant may not be telling the whole story, the case alleges.
While the Neon Obsessions products are sold in the same packaging as Huda Beauty’s other “Obsessions” eyeshadow products, the word “eyeshadow” was discreetly omitted from the products’ name and replaced with “palettes” or “pressed pigment palettes,” the suit relays. According to the complaint, the only clue consumers are given regarding the approved use of the Neon Obsessions products is quietly disclosed on a “mouse print” disclaimer within “a hidden inner page” of the products’ back label, where Huda Beauty indicates that the makeup is “not intended for the eye area.”
“This is disclosure [sic] is the only such disclosure and the language did not appear in any Huda Beauty advertising, its website, its social media, nor on the Sephora or JC Penney websites or retail store displays,” the complaint scathes.
According to the suit, consumers are only able to view the hidden disclosure once they’ve purchased the Neon Obsessions product and removed part of the packaging:
Huda Beauty expects consumers to ignore its own affirmative advertisements and other promotional materials for the Products, and then, once the Product is in a consumer’s hands, she or he must unwrap the outer plastic wrapper of the Product, and then peel the rear label sticker to reveal a disclaimer stating ‘not intended for the eye area.’”
The case goes on to allege that the statement itself is misleading because, as evidenced by the myriad examples of the products’ marketing and advertising, the defendant does, in fact, intend for the Neon Obsessions makeup to be used in the eye area.
Neon Obsessions Contain Color Additives Not Approved for ‘Eye Area,’ Case Claims
Huda Beauty’s allegedly contradictory representations aside, Neon Obsessions makeup contains color additives not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in the “eye area,” according to the lawsuit.
Per the complaint, the FDA provides guidance on its website for the cosmetics industry, specifically stating that no neon colors are approved for use near the eye area:
There are eight fluorescent colors approved for cosmetics, and like other colors, there are limits on how they may be used. None of them are allowed for use near the eyes.”
Huda Beauty’s Neon Obsessions allegedly contain the following color additives not approved for use near the eyes:
Neon Pink Palette: Red 6 (CI 15850) in the Rose Matte, Hot Pink Matte, Bright Fuchsia Matte, Magenta Purple Matte, Lilac Matte shades.
Neon Green Palette: Yellow 10 (CI 47005), Red 6 (CI 15850), Red 22 (CI 45380), Red 28 (CI 45410) in the Fiery Orange Matte shade, and Yellow 10 (CI 47005), Red 22 (CI 45380), Red 28 (CI 45410) in the Pink Matte shade.
Neon Orange Palette: Yellow 10 (CI 47005), Red 6 (CI 15850), Red 22 (CI 45380), Red 28 (CI 45410) in the Fiery Orange Matte shade, and Yellow 10 (CI 47005), Red 22 (CI 45380), Red 28 (CI 45410) in the Pink Matte shade.
According to the case, although Huda Beauty is well aware that the color additives in its Neon Obsessions products are not approved for use in the eye area, the company has attempted to “obfuscate and conceal” that information from consumers in an effort to illegally market the products as eyeshadows while skirting federal and California law.
Who Is the Lawsuit Looking to Cover?
The lawsuit, alleging violations of California’s Business and Professions Code and Consumers Legal Remedies Act, looks to represent anyone in the U.S. who purchased the Neon Obsessions products up until the date a class is certified.
The case also proposes a sub-class for California residents who purchased the products.
How Do I Join the Lawsuit?
There’s typically nothing you need to do to join a class action when a case is first filed. If the lawsuit moves forward and settles, anyone affected should then have an opportunity to claim whatever compensation the court deems just. Find out more about the process here.
In the meantime, get class action news and updates sent straight to your inbox by signing up for ClassAction.org’s newsletter here.