Naming and shaming some of the biggest names in beauty right now, we talk to the anonymously-run Instagram account which is taking on the beauty industry, one post at a time
From racist beauty bloggers to the demise of CEOs, the beauty industry is full of drama. However, unlike the fashion industry which is always under public scrutiny, and due to its historic lack of transparency, for a long time, the beauty industry’s unsavoury practices have gone unnoticed. That is until now. Step forward Estée Laundry – the anonymous vigilante Instagram account dedicated to “airing out the beauty industry’s dirty laundry”.
Following in the footsteps of @DietPrada, who have gained a considerable following on Instagram for calling out fashion brands and “ppl knocking off each other lol”, Estée Laundry have decided it is time for the beauty industry to be treated with the same level of public scrutiny. Identifying as a “watchdog for the beauty industry”, the account’s first post took on Trinny Woodall from How to Look Good Naked, after she copied RMS Beauty’s Lip2Cheek lip gloss. Since this, they have gone on to call out Kim Kardashian and her latest perfume bottle, which is suspiciously similar to Jean Paul Gaultier's Classique and have exposed Sunday Riley after they got their employees to write fake reviews for their products online. Only 217 posts in, they've already racked up a following of 25k “laundrites,” highlighting the collective appetite for transparency (and gossip). “It's important to call out beauty companies because many of them are dishonest and unethical in their business practices,” Estée Laundry tells Dazed Beauty. “They often put sales and revenue in front of the customer. Customers deserve to have a voice and to be taken seriously.”
What is Estée Laundry?
Estée Laundry: We're a worldwide network of beauty insiders. We like to consider ourselves the watchdog of the beauty industry, promoting transparency and honesty, and providing a voice for the people.
What do you do aside from running this account?
Estée Laundry: We hold full-time jobs in marketing, finance, operations, etc.
Your account follows the same premise as Diet Prada, which began a couple of years ago, have they been an inspiration to you?
Estée Laundry: Yes and no. Diet Prada paved the way for us in terms of calling out brands and bringing transparency to the forefront. Unlike Diet Prada, we do not work with brands or influencers so that we can stay as objective and unbiased as possible.
The fashion industry has long been under public scrutiny, but the beauty industry has for a long time remained unscathed, why do you think this is?
Estée Laundry: The majority of the beauty industry is owned by large conglomerates like Estée Lauder and L'Oreal. These companies have massive resources to make sure they remain unscathed. Also, much of the beauty industry is unregulated compared to other industries. It's easier to get away with questionable business practices.
Publicly taking on big companies must result in backlash, do you experience a lot of criticism from these companies and/or the public?
Estée Laundry: We do experience some criticism, but we understand it comes with the territory. It’s important to have these constructive conversations otherwise brands won't know how to improve. We’ve been attacked by stans but many people genuinely want to learn and become more informed consumers.
Why do you think there can be so little originality in the beauty industry?
Estée Laundry: Brands often see something that’s had a lot of success on the market so it’s easier for them to copy than to put in the resources to come out with something original of their own.
What are the biggest issues within the beauty industry right now? How can this change?
Estée Laundry: Fear mongering, unethical business practices (like fake reviews), and large influencers in general. It will change when people become more educated and start speaking up and standing up to brands and influencers.
You use social media as a platform to call out beauty industries, but what do you think are the effects of social media on the beauty industry?
Estée Laundry: The effects are tremendous! Brands can no longer hide or ignore issues. Customers are becoming more informed and expect immediate responses and actions.
What are your top beauty brands right now?
Estée Laundry: Brands that are ethical, honest and who put the customer first. You’ll have to stay tuned for our Estée Laundry-approved brand list!
What are the worst beauty brands, in terms of their lack of transparency of unoriginality?
Estée Laundry: We’ve mentioned a few on our page, but at the moment Sunday Riley comes to mind.
What is the future of beauty?
Estée Laundry: We think there will be a bigger focus on authenticity and inclusivity.
What are you working on at the moment?
Estée Laundry: We're working on an Estée Laundry-approved brand list and we just launched our “Ask an Expert” series. The series invites guest experts to weigh in and answer followers’ questions on different topics. This week the topic was on Green Preservatives.