The Biggest Cancellations In The YouTube Beauty Community

Every day, tons of people open YouTube on their phone or laptop in search of the perfect beauty tutorial. If you're seeking cut creases and contours or a highlight that can be seen from outer space, chances are there's a beauty guru on the platform with a massive fanbase ready to show exactly how to achieve the makeup look of your dreams. The life of a beauty YouTuber appears glamorous as they effortlessly stroke high-end makeup products on their face, but, sometimes, things behind the scenes get a bit messy. Between poorly manufactured products being sold to the masses with a high price tag and alleged inappropriate behaviors, the world of beauty on YouTube has seen many public feuds and callouts (via Vulture).

Being a major YouTuber is a facet of the entertainment industry that leaves its stars subject to constant scrutiny as they amass more followers. Tons of makeup mavens have found themselves in the comment section of their videos facing backlash and criticism for their actions, and, in many cases, career-ruining cancellations. Of all the cancellations in the world of internet beauty, some stand above the rest.

Jaclyn Hill

When Jaclyn Hill uploaded her first content to YouTube almost a decade ago, her bubbly personality and head-turning makeup looks quickly caught the attention of internet users all over. The blossoming beauty guru rose to fame and amassed a major following. Her successes led her to collaborate with popular makeup brand Becca on the Champagne Pop highlighter, a collaboration that met much fanfare, then she went on to collaborate with Morphe. Following successes with these collaborations, Hill decided to develop and launch her own beauty line. She began dropping hints back in 2014, finally put her products on the market in May of 2019, and they sold out within a day (via WWD).

As the lipsticks from Hill's line began to arrive on the doorsteps of fans who had ordered them, people started to notice that something was off. Consumers were reporting discoloration, hairs in the product, and overall bad quality. In a 50-minute YouTube video uploaded by RawBeautyKristi, another YouTuber analyzed the reported issues and found the allegations about the lipsticks to be true. Hill addressed the issues with a less-than-satisfactory apology in a YouTube video, telling her disappointed fans, "I'm very sorry that this launch wasn't absolutely 100% perfect with a bow on it. We will make it right for you going forward. We will no longer be experiencing these experiences that we are having. We are taking drastic measures to make sure everything is perfect for you."

James Charles

22-year-old James Charles hasn't been in the beauty community as long as many of his cohorts, but he has already made a not-so-great name for himself in the influencer world. Charles first made headlines back in 2019 following a conflict with fellow YouTuber Tati Westbrook, which was caused by Charles' promotion of a product that was a competitor of one of Westbrook's products. Until that point, Charles had called Westbrook "mom," and even did her makeup for her wedding, according to Elle. This was not the last time Charles would find himself in hot water.

Following the feud, Westbrook accused Charles of predatory behaviors, according to Insider. Earlier in 2021, a series of allegations came out against Charles from fans who were under the age of 18 that the YouTuber was participating in inappropriate conversations with the minors. Charles denied the claims, and, when faced with accusations, claimed that he was, at first, unaware of the initial accuser's age (via Buzzfeed). He also claimed that he ceased communication once he learned the victim's age, while the victims allege that their age was known.

The allegations proved to be catastrophic for Charles. He was dropped from a collaboration with makeup brand Morphe, demonetized on YouTube, and fired from the second season of "Instant Influencer." According to Insider, Charles has replaced fellow beauty YouTuber Jeffree Star as the most disliked YouTuber.

Jeffree Star

If you remember Myspace, you most likely remember the early days of Jeffree Star. Star rose to fame on the social media platform in the early aughts, gaining popularity through his vlogs and unique style. The beauty blogger sported an androgynous look that featured bright colors and tattoos, popularizing an alternative aesthetic. Star says he often received messages from fans, saying, "a lot of people email me these crazy stories like, 'Oh my dad is beating me, because I like to dress different.' And I will, like, write back to them some long reply and let them know that it's OK to be different, you know?" (via Insider).

Since his rise to stardom, Star has faced backlash as a result of his actions. In 2017, the cosmetics connoisseur was called out for racist language used in videos from years prior. Star apologized, saying, "I am so sorry for my words. I am so sorry you ever had to see me like that ... that is not who I am and I apologize deep down to the core of my f***ing being" (via Allure). Following the allegations of racism, Insider reported that Star also allegedly had a history of sexual violence, with several sources alleging that he groped men without permission, used tasers as weapons to coerce men into having sexual relations with him, and even gave a homeless teen Ambien to incapacitate him while Star performed nonconsensual oral sex on him. This led to Star's fall from grace, rendering him canceled following years of relevance.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

Laura Lee

When Laura Lee first appeared on the YouTube beauty scene in 2013, fans were quickly captivated by her beauty skills and her charming Alabama accent. She amassed millions of followers on the platform, cementing her status as one of the top beauty vloggers in the game. She shared friendships with other big names in the YouTube beauty community such as Manny Guttierez and Nikita Dragun, garnering even more fame and attention for the southern beauty belle. When news broke that Lee had a racist history on Twitter, however, the cracks in the cement began to show.

In 2018, Lee found her follower count dropping rapidly after tweets that included racist language from 2012 resurfaced. Lee issued an apology on the same platform the tweets were found on, saying, "The insensitive retweet and tweets I made are inexcusable and I apologize from the bottom of my heart to anyone affected by them" (via Allure). "The girl who tweeted that isn't who I am today." 

Fans and followers did not find the apology sufficient, and Lee found herself without much of the support she had grown accustomed to and without many of the business contracts she had gotten over the years. Companies like Ulta, BoxyCharm, and Diff cut ties with the beauty mogul and many spoke out to rebuke her actions.

More cancellations to come

In 2019, Cosmopolitan reported on the high number of scandals within the beauty community on YouTube, posing the question of whether or not the scene has been too saturated with controversies to continue to thrive. In addition to the vloggers covered so far, YouTubers like Manny MUA, Nikita Dragun, and Gabriel Zamora have all faced backlash in light of their actions, primarily on social media, tainting the beauty community that once seemed so innocent.

Digital behavioral scientist Dr. Jillian Ney says that the rise to stardom, which has given YouTubers celebrity status, has allowed followers to hold the platform's stars to higher standards, leading to a seemingly high rate of cancellations. She also told Cosmopolitan how easy it is for people to thrive on drama much like that of the YouTube beauty community, saying, "Drama is familiar. Many people have grown up in dysfunctional families so this constant drama is like real life." Following these cancellations, it seems likely that there will be more to come.