Offbeat
4:30 pm
Tue March 1, 2011

Health and safety concerns surround Glittersniffer Cosmetics

Glittersniffer Cosmetics is the brainchild of Lela Warren who lives in Dearborn Heights, Mich.

Warren sells brightly colored pigments called "giraffes in love" and "French kiss snow cone," which she markets as eye makeup. She has thousands of fans on facebook. Some of the women say the Glittersniffer cosmetics made them feel "beautiful" for the first time in their lives.

Safety concerns

What all those facebook fans didn’t know, was that Warren was using non-FDA approved soap dyes to achieve some of those vivid shades. Soap dyes can cause irritation and even blindness if applied to the eyes.

Angela Larkin bought a collection of Glittersniffer pigments last fall:

“I went to put the colors on my eyes and within seconds, my eyes started to burn and itch and I just wanted to rub, and dig my eyeballs out of my face they hurt so badly.”

Larkin and other customers tried to reach out to Warren through email and phone calls. But when confronted, Warren assured customers like Dominique Rice that the colors were "okay to use." Many of them have formed their own community to voice their complaints against Warren and her product.

Eventually, Warren did recall some of her products in December 2010. She also admitted that she had knowingly used non-FDA approved ingredients, and that her methods for preparing and packaging her pigments were not quite sanitary.

Harassment ensues

Chrissie Hayden of Idaho became a fan of the pigments and even of Warren herself through the Glittersniffer facebook page. But when she posted something about Warren’s business practices to the Facebook page that Warren felt was less than complimentary, Warren responded by leaving her a voicemail - complete with expletives and threats.

Moving forward with little resolution

Warren continues to mix and sell pigments despite complaints against the product.

The Michigan Attorney General’s office has received four complaints against Glittersniffer, ranging from  irritation to misrepresentation of the products.  A spokesperson at the Attorney General’s office says Warren has not responded to their calls.  

Warren is also currently under investigation by the FDA. But even if the FDA does find something wrong, it’s up to Glittersniffer Cosmetics to recall the products; the FDA doesn’t have that authority.

Warren canceled a scheduled interview for this story, and since then, she hasn’t responded to phone messages and emails asking her to reschedule.

-Bridget Bodnar, Michigan Radio News