We very rarely get a glimpse at what truly goes on at ground level within beauty companies, but behind the gloss there is often a very different story. While what happens in Korea might not seem terribly relevant, the fact that retail workers from Chanel and Estee Lauder in that country have staged a strike against poor pay, long hours and work overload tells a whole story of its own. Over 1000 staff from 50 department stores walked out demanding improvements in their working conditions. Big surprise to nobody – management apparently have so far rejected all requests for improvement. Source: Cosmeticglobalnews

L’Oreal UK appears to have fared poorly in the gender pay gap, with women earning (averagely) 35.7% less than men. When it comes to bonuses, women earn 56.7% less. Male employees have 30% of the top roles at the company. L’Oreal UK employees break down to 84% female. All, seemingly, earning less than men. Quite shocking really, especially as LinkedIn listed L’Oreal UK as one of the most attractive companies to work for. Um. Boots didn’t fare terribly well either with make employees being paid on average 21% more than women. I know the figures don’t tell the full story, but as with the Korea strike workers, a lot of this disparity is down to lower paid female retail staff. L’Oreal hosts an annual Women Of Worth award. Just saying. Source: Huffington Post.

Over in legal land, a former MAC employee is bringing a $6m suit against the company for failing to address repeated sexual harassment. Source: Newsday

Rumoured new cosmetics brands launching from celebrities include Pharrell Williams (Girl), Gwen Stefani and Serena Williams.

Lancome has appointed influencer Chiara Ferragni (The Blonde Salad) as their latest ‘muse’. Bizarrely, as Ferragni was one of several high profile Instagrammers to receive a rap on the knuckles from the USA Federal Trade Commission for sloppy advertising disclosure practices and an ‘educational’ letter on how to do it properly!

Love or loathe Gwyneth’s Goop range, it’s just received $50m of investment, while Glossier recently picked up $52m. Private equity firms LOVE cosmetic brands right now – last year, Milk Makeup (which, yes, we will see in the UK in the not too distant) gave a minority stake to Main Post Partners, also investors of Too Faced. Source: Forbes

Class actions against cosmetic firms are a trend all of their own in the USA – the latest under fire from a class action is Drunk Elephant. Claims that their eye serum changes the structure and function of skin (the usual claims, by the way: improve radiance, smooth roughness etc) are called into question and the plaintiff argues that it does none of those things and that she was persuaded to spend more on the basis that she was led to believe that it would. She’s the angry beauty consumer in all of us – I want the T-shirt! Source: classaction.org



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