Mr Ikdeep Singh
Maybelline LLC
L’Oréal Group
10 Hudson Yards
New York, NY 10001


Dear Mr Singh,

We write to you with a heavy heart, an angry soul and utter disappointment at your Lemonade Craze Eyeshadow Palette.

It’s no secret we are on a mission to get companies to clean up their ingredients…. but seriously…. why on earth does an eyeshadow palette need to be scented?!?!?!  Who seriously has life goals where they get ready for the day and think ‘gee, my eyes smell gorgeous today’?!

We would expect this eyeshadow palette has a predominant target audience towards tweens and teens, which is a major problem.  Why do you think scented eyeshadow is needed, given you already have a massive slice of the cosmetics pie as it is?

Your ingredients list for both the US and Australian product is not only exhaustively long but contains a lot of ingredients which are linked to a myriad of health and environmental issues, some of which are incredibly serious.  The ingredients, taken from your websites, are listed as:

US Ingredients List:

G2014755 Ingredients: Nylon-12, Talc, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Boron Nitrate, Dimethicone, Bis-Diglyceryl Polyacylapidate-2, Diisostearyl Malate, Silica, Magnesium Stearate, Calcium Aluminium Borosilicate, Calcium Sodium Borosilicate, Caprylyl Glycol, Cera Microcristallina/Microcrystalline Wax/Cire Microcristalline, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Ethyhexyglycerin, Isostearyl Alcohol, Paraffin, Paraffinum Liquidum/Mineral Oil/Huile Minerale, Serica Powder/Silk Powder/Poudre De Soie, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Sorbic Acid, Sorbitan Isostearate, Tin Oxide, Tocopherol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Parfum/Fragrance, [+/- May Contain: CI 19140/Yellow 5 Lake, CI 75470/Carmine, CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499/Iron Oxides, CI 77510/Ferric Ferrocyanide, CI 77891/Titanium Dioxide Mica]

Australian Ingredients List:

G951666 Ingredients:  Talc, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, Octyldodecyl Stearoyl Stearate, Magnesium Myristate, Penataerythrityl Tetraisostearate, Stearyl Dimethicone, Calcium Sodium Borosilicate, Nylon-12, Aluminium Starch Octenylsuccinate, Silica, Diisostearyl Malate, Caprylyl Glycol, Alumina, Dimethicone, Calcium Aluminium Borosilicate, Dehydroacetic Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Octadecene, Isododecane, Hexylene Glycol, Pentaerythrityl Tetra-Di-T-Butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate, Aqua/Water, Maltodextrin, Tin Oxide, Aluminium Hydroxide, [+/- May Contain: MICA, CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499/Iron Oxides, CI 77891Titanium Dioxide, CI 77713/Magnesium Carbonate, CI 74570/Carmine, CI 77266 [Nano]/Black 2, CI 77077/Ultramarines, CI 19140/Yellow 5 Lake, CI 77288/Chromium Oxide Greens, CI 77510/Ferric Ferrocyanide, CI 77742/Magnesium Violet, CI 42090/Blue 1 Lake]

G2014996 Ingredients:  Talc, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, Calcium Sodium Borosilicate, Triethylhexanoin, Octyldodecyl Stearoyl Stearate, Caprylyl Glycol, Alumina, Dehydroacetic Acid, Isododecane, Phenoxyethanol, Silica Dimethyl Silylate [Nano], Silica Dimethyl Silylate, Hexylene Glycol, Tin Oxide, Calcium Aluminium Borosilicate, Silica, Maltodextrin, [+/- May Contain: MICA, CI 77891Titanium Dioxide, CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499/Iron Oxides, CI 74570/Carmine, CI 19140/Yellow 5 Lake]

First of all, there is a big discrepancy of ingredients from the US version to the Australian version of the product.  We understand different laws may come into play which dictates ingredients that can and cannot be used, however, one glaring thing missing off your Australian ingredient list is parfum/fragrance which is in the US listing.  Surely parfum/fragrance is in the Australian version given it is citrus scented and marketed as such.  So where is it or where is the citrus scent coming from?  We would love for you to explain this?

Let’s pick a few of the nasties from these ingredient listings above and break it down further (information sourced from EWG – Environmental Working Group):

Alumina | Aluminium Hydroxide

Classified as expected to be harmful or toxic; classified as a medium health priority; suspected to be an environmental toxin.


Talc is a powdered native, hydrous magnesium silicate sometimes containing a small portion of aluminium silicate. Talc can be contaminated with asbestos fibres, posing risks for respiratory toxicity and cancer. Studies by the National Toxicology Panel demonstrated that cosmetic-grade talc free of asbestos is a form of magnesium silicate that also can be toxic and carcinogenic.


Classified as expected to be toxic or harmful; suspected to be an environmental toxin; restricted for use in cosmetics.

Titanium Dioxide

Possible human carcinogen.

Tocopheryl Acetate

Human skin toxicant or allergen; one or more animal studies show tumour formation at high doses.

CI 19140/Yellow 5 Lake

Classified as a medium human health priority; persistent or bioaccumulative and moderate to high toxicity concern in humans.

CI 75470/Carmine

May cause skin, eye or lung irritation.

Ferric Ferrocyanide

Classified as expected to be toxic or harmful; suspected to be an environmental toxin.

CI 77266 (Nano)/Black 2

Possible human carcinogen, strong cancer link; classified as a high human health priority; possible human respiratory toxicant; classified as expected to be toxic or harmful.

CI 77007/Ultramarines

Restricted for use in products to be used on the lips.

CI 77288/Chromium Oxide Greens

Restricted for use in products to be used on the lips; moderate to high toxicity concern in humans; classified as expected to be toxic or harmful; suspected to be an environmental toxin; suspected nano-scale ingredients with potential to absorb into the skin.

Fragrance | Parfum

Clearly, this is what is used to scent the product.  Which really begs the question of why do you need to lace it with extra ingredients and chemicals to make it scented when your eyeshadow pallets don’t smell anyway?!

EWG classifies fragrance as:

The word “fragrance” or “parfum” on the product label represents an undisclosed mixture of various scent chemicals and ingredients used as fragrance dispersants such as diethyl phthalate. Fragrance mixes have been associated with allergies, dermatitis, respiratory distress and potential effects on the reproductive system

Not only that but here’s what the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has to say about it:

Labelling of Fragrance Ingredients 

If a cosmetic is marketed on a retail basis to consumers, such as in stores, on the Internet, or person-to-person, it must have a list of ingredients. In most cases, each ingredient must be listed individually. But under U.S. regulations, fragrance and flavour ingredients can be listed simply as “Fragrance” or “Flavor.”

Here’s why: FDA requires the list of ingredients under the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (FPLA). This law is not allowed to be used to force a company to tell “trade secrets.” Fragrance and flavour formulas are complex mixtures of many different natural and synthetic chemical ingredients, and they are the kinds of cosmetic components that are most likely to be “trade secrets.” To learn more, see the regulation on cosmetic ingredient labeling and the Federal Register notice for this regulation, which addresses “trade secrets” and the FPLA.

So, let’s break this down, not only are you allowed to add in a concoction of ingredients without having to list each individual one, but you’re also allowed to lump them altogether under the term ‘fragrance’ which means they cannot be revealed to your consumers, because the formula can be classified as a ‘trade secret’.

It’s so heart-warming to know that you, as a company, and your trade secrets are more highly regarded than the health of your consumers!  In case you missed it, yes sarcasm was intended!

This means that we have a product that we apply to our eyelids, a very delicate skin area of the body, which contains potentially harmful ingredients and then we also have fragrance in there too!  Skin is the biggest porous organ on our body.  So, what goes on our skin goes into our body.

As we know, if you are a cosmetics wearer, you usually wear them all day long.  Which means that your eyeshadow palette concoction is sitting on our eyelids all day long and being absorbed into our bodies all day long.

How bad is Fragrance?

It’s well documented that synthetic fragrance can be detrimental to your health.  Fragrance has now been labelled ‘the next second-hand smoke’ and for very good reason.  They have been linked to:

  • Endocrine/Hormone disruption
  • Headaches/Migraines
  • Allergic reactions
  • Respiratory issues

In 2009, the University of Maryland completed a study called ‘Fragrance in the Workplace is the New Second-Hand Smoke’ whereby it was detailed that:

The problem with fragrance products is not the scent but the properties of synthetic chemicals that they are derived from such as petroleum and tar.  The United States tests less than 10% of products on the market for toxicity and almost one-third of the chemical additives used in perfume are known to be toxic (Rigsby, 1996).

Over the past 50 years, 80-90% of fragrances have been synthesized from petroleum and some of the commonly found harmful chemicals in fragrance and products include acetone, phenol, toluene, benzyl acetate, and limonene.

The chemicals used to produce the fragrance in a product are protected under trade secret laws and are not listed in the ingredients of a product. Chemical irritants in fragrance can initiate a sensitizing process within an individual’s immune system as it learns to recognize materials that later prompt a response/reaction when re-exposure occurs (Lessenger, 2001).

There are four categories of health effects due to fragrance: Respiratory, which includes allergic asthma, non-allergic asthma, reactive airway dysfunction syndrome (RADS); Neurological, which includes headaches, migraine headaches, nausea, dizziness, and mental confusion; Skin, urticaria, irritation and sensitization; and Eye, irritation, tearing and inflammation.

Does that sound as abhorrent to you as it does to us?


Adding a scent to a product just so that you can market it in a way that is attractive to the younger generation, but that carries the risk of harming consumers, is in our view, incredibly irresponsible.  It is simply not necessary!

There are plenty of companies out there using natural ingredients in their cosmetics with great success.  So why not be the shining example and change your ingredients to ones that aren’t risking the health of your consumers?

We are under no illusion of the massive hit your profit and loss statements would take but imagine how good it would be for consumers and the environment if you led the charge to revolutionise the cosmetics industry.

For now, this is seemingly a dream, but we hope that change is on the horizon…


Yours respectfully,

Tracey Fry and Joanne Ling
Founders | CFO | CEO