EOS is wildly popular.
The 10-year-old lip balm available at Target and Walmart is a hit among cool girls. It’s also sold in hip retailer Urban Outfitters and beauty haven Sephora.
The brand came in at #20 on a list of brands compiled by Goldman Sachs and Teen Vogue that fashion-forward girls age 13 to 29 like. Kim Kardashian has been a spokesperson for the company, whose names stand for “Evolution of Smooth.”
Eos is a private brand that doesn’t disclose sales. But according to Statista, it’s the second most-popular lip balm brand in America behind Burt’s Bees.
The lip balms are known for their round, colorful packaging. The company advertises the product as being 95% organic and paraben-free. It’s been featured in music videos for Jennifer Lopez and Miley Cyrus.
But this past week, the company ran into some hard times.
One consumer, Rachael Cronin, filed a class action lawsuit against the lip balm company, claiming that it caused damage to her lips and made them crack, bleed, and blister. In the lawsuit, Cronin’s lawyers allege that other customers experienced this discomfort, too.
EOS defended its products on its Facebook page:
“Some of you may have seen reports of a lawsuit filed against our company. We wanted to be sure that you, our valued customers and fans, know that the health and well-being of our customers is our top priority. Our products are safe to use, are made with the highest quality ingredients and they all meet or exceed all safety and quality standards set out by our industry. An independent laboratory puts each of our products through a battery of rigorous testing to ensure this is the case. For these reasons, we firmly believe this lawsuit is without merit, and we will continue to create new and exciting products that delight our customers. Thank you. EOS”
Some people have taken to Twitter, saying that they, too, have had adverse reactions to the lip balm.
This isn’t the first scandal that has hit EOS.
A cursory Google image search for “EOS mold” sheds light on another problem plaguing the company.
A 2013 Reddit post in the subreddit Makeup Addiction is filled with confused EOS owners, wondering why their lip balm has mold.
One Redditor says she heard back from EOS after sending a concerned email. The response reportedly said:
“Thank you for your email. We do very occasionally hear of this. Mold will grow on many surfaces, especially warm and moist places and on products with natural ingredients. The best way to prevent this is to try to not get the lip balm itself wet when applying it (apply to dry lips) and/or let any moisture that’s on the lip balm dry before you put the top back on. I hope this helps and thank you for using our products.
We would be happy to send you a coupon for a free eos product of your choice if you would please send us your mailing address. Thank you for your patience and I apologize for the inconvenience.”
Interestingly enough, EOS has a section on its website dedicated to addressing fears about mold. EOS says that two things that the alleged mold is “a brown spec in the lip balm. This is usually just a crystal of stevia (a natural ingredient in the lip balm) that browned with heat.” Another thing that is often mistaken for mold? “Dirt or lint from a bag or pocket that got stuck on the lip balm.” The company also says on its website that the product is devoid of parabens or preservatives. (“Preservatives have benefits but they can also have many health related negative consequences, both known and suspected,” the company writes.)
But amid criticism, the lip balm remains a favorite among young people – and as for the blisters, many users chalk it up to an allergic reaction.
— Sade` (@SadeAmina) January 14, 2016
I have v. sensitive skin + love @eos lip balm. Had my tubs for >year, never had a bad reaction. Allergic reactions aren’t a company’s fault.
— Noël Fisher (@NoelFisher) January 13, 2016
And the company always has Kim Kardashian’s classic 2013 endorsement: