WAS THE JACLYN HILL X MORPHE VAULT EVEN REFORMULATED?
This post was meant to be a review of the Morphe x Jaclyn Hill Vault Collection, but alas, it is not. Instead, I thought I’d write up my own investigation into what went wrong with the launch – why was it really delayed from June 22nd to August 14th? Were the palettes reformulated? What’s the lawsuit about?
I’ve been doing my research, using twitter, my own knowledge and experience, The Beauty Sleuth’s YouTube channel and Zadidoll’s blog for my information. I’m not writing this for the drama, or tea – it genuinely fascinates me and I’d like to know some answers.
I ordered the vault from the UK Morphe website (uk.morphe.com), which I’ve used before with no issues. I ordered the palettes, plus a bronzer brush at around 10 minutes past the launch time of 4pm on the 14th August. 48 hours later, it arrived on my doorstep (well, in my porch) and I was giddy with excitement. The original Jaclyn Hill palette from Morphe is my favourite palette of all time, so I was expecting similar feelings with the vault.
I took a note of my batch code (AB07D) and first saw that the outside packaging that contained the vault had a new sticker placed over the ingredients. This was my first moment of confusion. The palettes had been delayed to be repressed after beauty gurus reported bad shadow quality, but that shouldn’t have meant new formulas. But maybe they had been reformulated. After peeling off the sticker, I compared the two ingredients lists – they were the same, just in different orders. This means that the quantity of the ingredients in the list had changed, which is a reformulation. So not just a repressing issue, after all. The cynic in me thought immediately that they had used the sticker to pretend that the palette had been reformulated, but they just mixed up the ingredients list instead.
Even after that, I was still hopeful that my palettes were going to be the buttery smooth, blendable powders that I had seen on Jaclyn Hill’s YouTube channel and snapchat, so I began to swatch a few of them. My heart sank. No pigment. Patchy swatches. Sheer! Not the quality I was expecting. Immediately I began to ask around – did other people have the same issue? I saw @tinklou86 on Instagram produce gorgeous swatches with the batch code AB06H, and the code ‘V2’ printed on the corner. My palette didn’t have that V2 mark. Did V2 mean version two? Did I have an old batch?
Despite the dodgy swatches, I decided to use some shades on my eye, as swatches aren’t how you actually use eyeshadow. To my dismay, what I found was a patchy, unblended mess. I was heartbroken. £49, down the drain. I immediately contacted customer service, who just kept repeating that they stood by the quality of the vault 100% after every message I sent. After a lot of arguing, they agreed that I could send the palettes back for a full refund.
Scouring the internet, I found that there were a few batch codes that had the same issues as I did, but also some within the same batch code that were good and bad. For example, the batch code AB06H that @tinklou86 had used so perfectly was showing up patchy and sheer for someone else. There was no consistency with the batch codes. This doesn’t make sense, as batches are illegal to tamper with and palettes under one batch code will be created at the same time, in the same machine. Why were some palettes good and some bad? Were Morphe illegally changing batch codes of old palettes to match newer batches?
There’s also the issue of the V2 marker, which Morphe and Jaclyn have both said are just codes. Why, then, do some palettes have nothing, but some have V2? And why aren’t there other codes, like B1, C4, A9, and so on?
Zadidoll (zadidoll.com) investigated Ulta Beauty’s (an American drugstore) import records, to see when the palettes had been sent to the stores. There should have been a batch sent in May or June (before the June launch) and August or July (before the August launch). However, there was no imports of the vaults in June, July or August – just May, which means the ‘new’ palettes were never delivered and Ulta is selling the old batch of palettes. There was also no recall notice to destroy the old palettes. I think this happened to the UK Morphe site too – the distribution centre (based in Essex) didn’t get any new vaults either.
Then there’s the legal issues. Becca Cosmetics sued Morphe for using the packaging that Jaclyn used for her Champagne Pop collection with Becca. However, Morphe counter-sued and they will be going to court to settle. The main theory is that the Vault was actually delayed because of the lawsuit, with Morphe making sure they wouldn’t be in big trouble for releasing the palettes and so having to wait a few weeks before they released everything. That makes more sense than the claim that they destroyed all of the palettes and made them again within a month. A month doesn’t seem like a feasible timeline to recall, destroy and remake at least 100,000 units.
I can’t make any conclusions. All I have is research that points towards the lawsuit being the real reason behind the delay, and the batch codes being tampered with, and the ‘new’ palettes not being ‘new’ at all. Jaclyn has said on Twitter that Morphe are investigating the issue, but can we take her word for it? Even if they are investigating, can we trust Morphe to tell the truth at the end of it? Hopefully we’ll have some answers soon, but I can’t guarantee we will.