Wednesday, 25 October 2017

How Gravitymud ruined my skin

blog header 

A couple of months ago, Glamglow released their blue Gravitymud, Sonic the Hedgehog themed in Europe. So of course I ordered it from the ICI PARIS XL website. Stored it in a cool and dry environment the way you should, because I knew I wasn’t using it ‘till Charlotte would come to visit, because she also wanted to try it. 

Click to find out about the horror that happened to my skin...

Last Friday afternoon, October 20, we decided to have fun with. 
Initially, it was a really good mask. 
I had bought a mask brush at H&M, which had been thoroughly and properly cleaned (as you should do with all new brushes) and the mask applied easily and evenly. 
It smelled nice, it felt nice. We had looked up the manual, so to speak, so we knew for sure we were doing everything right. 
 After nearly 30 minutes we peeled it off, washed the left overs of our faces with lukewarm water, made sure our faces were 100% clean, all was well. 
We both had one zit, and figured it meant the mask had done its job getting the gunk out of our skin, left it at that and continued our day having fun.

Photo of the day: 23.8.2017 (day 235) 

I disagree with Sonic, I would absolutely give this a thumbs down!

The next day, I woke up with my skin feeling itchy. 
I initially thought it was because I had gone to bed quite late and had to get up at 6.30am because Charlotte left an hour later (even though this had never happened before when I hadn't had enough sleep). 
I didn’t properly look in the mirror before she left, and oh boy. 
The entire area where I had used the mask was irritated. 
It itched quite a bit and just felt mank in general. 

At that point I figured it was irritated, so hoped that a good moisturizer would do the trick and continued skin care as I usually would (for those curious, I use an Yves Rocher cleansing gel, TonyMoly’s moisture gel cream and then Weleda’s almond face cream, I’ve been using all of these for months and unless I use a lot of heavy bodypaint a few days on end, I never have issues with my skin. FIY, I hadn't used heavy bodypaint in a while, so that couldn't be it either, my skin was fine before I used this mask!). 

The next day, Sunday, I woke up and my skin had gotten WORSE. 
Now, on a Sunday (and a Saturday in fact) in Belgium it is really hard to see a doctor. 
I would have had to go to the emergency doctor, or the ER, and it wasn’t bad enough to warrant either. 
My own family doctor had given me a prescription in case something would happen to my skin (because I am allergic to methyl, buthyl and ethyl paraben, neither which are listed as ingredients on the package) so I decided to file that the next day with the pharmacy (in reality Bert did because he was kind enough to offer). 

In the meantime I kept using products I knew would at least properly moisturize and hydrate my skin. 
Which did fuck all, because on Monday, my skin was still WORSE. 
It literally felt like sandpaper to the touch, as if there were a million little spikes right underneath my skin. 
And it didn’t just feel like that to the touch (I didn’t scratch or rub my skin, but I do touch it when I put cream on, obviously!). 
That was also the day where I started using prescription tablets to counter the allergic reaction, meaning that I got mega sleepy and drowsy, and had to miss out on class because they made me too tired to function. 

Tuesday, my skin was mega red and swollen, on top of the itching, pulling and sore feeling. 
I had to go to physical therapy, and I can assure you, people noticed it. 
So I had to reassure them that no, it wasn’t anything contagious, it was an allergic reaction to Glamglow’s Gravitymud. 
As you can imagine, this did not incline people to ever try the product. 
I didn’t go out of my way to tell people what happened, but when I noticed their obvious worry of catching something, or when they asked what happened to my face, I did honestly tell them. 

I had tweeted about the situation every day since the weekend, and this is the day that Glamglow decided to get in touch on twitter. 
First they publicly left an empty message saying how sorry they were and that I should email them at a certain address where they would provided assistance asap. 
I emailed said address, only to receive a message a few hours later, telling me there were delivery issues to said address. 
I had also left a message on their Instagram account, where they also told me to email that same address. 
On twitter, I rather publicly pointed out that the address had issues, and asked if they could please provide me with a working one. 
To which they responded by sending me a private message asking for my contact details, to which I provided them with both my email address and my land line phone number (and made sure to tell them I’m on GMT+1 to avoid being woken in the middle of the night). They said thank you and that they would be in touch directly, for which I thanked them in turn.


Guess what, they never got in touch…


So I guess the word directly means nothing to them… 

I figured that they might have mailed me during the night (time difference between the US and Belgium after all) but when I woke up today: nothing. 
Not in the spam either, because I actually check that folder. 
At this point it’s past 1pm, and still nothing. 
I did go out for a few hours because I had to do things I could not avoid (in total zombie mode because of the meds) but even then they could have just sent an email. I can only conclude they’ll tell you they’ll be in touch, but in reality, Glamglow could NOT care less. 

And you know what, I’m just a girl online with not that many followers, so I’m easy to ignore for a big company. But one day this shit will happen to one of their huge influencers or bloggers, and shit will hit the fan. And then things won’t be so easy to ignore. Food for thought Glamglow, food for thought.

Day 5 of the allergy to Gravitymud... 

And this is what my face looks today… 
Everyone that has looked at a photo on this blog that contains my face (and there’s a lot of those on here) knows that that is FAR from what my face looks normally. 
Also: I don’t wear foundation or use heavy photoshop on photos, so what you see is what you get! 

So no, I am not impressed with this product, as it is frankly point blank dangerous. 
I know there are a LOT of people out there that use this product and are very happy with it. 
But keep this in mind: if this is what it did to me, what is it doing to your body and skin on a long term basis? You may not see damage now, but what's building up inside of you?
It’s a question worth pondering in my honest opinion. 

That said, for completeness and honesty’s sake. 
I have dry skin leaning to normal (it’s normal in summer) with no issues as long as I properly use my skin care, so there is absolutely no reason that this should have happened, if it weren’t for there clearly being something dodgy in the ingredients. 
I can only wonder what is in there that is NOT listed on the box. 
FIY, according to EU law, a company is not legally obliged to list ingredients under a certain amount, so it’s not because there’s no crap on the box, that there’s no crap in there, of which my face is currently living proof. Alas. 

I will continue to update this post as things progress. 

UPDATE 1, 25.10.2017:
I left Glamglow another DM on twitter, and pointed out on their instagram that in fact, no one had gotten in touch with me. I provided them one of my gmail addresses, and ended up getting an email from them in my HOTMAIL account (never provided by me to them in any conversation). Which was a bit strange and WTF (I did ask them how that happened).
They asked me to provide them with a bunch of info, which I have complied to.
They are also very much aware of this blog post, I have linked them to it in the email I provided all the information they requested in.

To be continued I suppose...

UPDATE 2, 27.10.2017:
Even though I provided them with all the information they requested two days ago, which included personal details as to where I live etc, I have received no response. Which is making me think that Glamglow is only interested in data mining info from customers that reacted badly to their products.
Futhermore, my friend Claire has looked into this, and it turns out that I'm not the only one with allergic reactions.
In addition: when I tried to leave an honest review on and the ICI PARIS XL website, both reviews were simply not published! Why aren't people allowed to say that they had an allergic reaction?
But yeah, Glamglow clearly does NOT care about customer welfare, despite them ending the email to me with "We look forward to hearing from you. In the meantime, please be assured of our desire to be of assistance."
It's pissed me off so much that I flat out told Glamglow in a twitter DM that I am not appreciative of the way I am being treated by them at all, and that if I do not receive a satisfactory reply today, I will contact other people that have had the same issue and speak to a lawyer.
My face is ruined because of them, this is the 7th day of this allergy, my skin is still horribly red and flaking, itching, sore and making me look like something out of a horror movie. 

Update 3, 27.10.2017
I just received a phonecall from the Benelux (Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxemburg) customer service rep of Glamglow. Who was apparently on holiday for a week and just came back. I did tell her I don't fault her (especially considering she wasn't in), but I do fault the US section of the company for the way they've been handling the situation.
She took the time to listen to my story, asked relevant questions and told me she'd send me forms to fill in so they can try to determine what went wrong. She also told me she'd refund the product and my medical expenses (provided I provide them with the correct paperwork, which is an absolutely fair request of course). So at this point in time, I can't fault the actual EU branch of the company.

To be continued once more... 

Update 4, 30.10.2017
I did receive an email and paperwork from Glamglow/Estée Lauder. 
The email was basically a promo talk for Glamglow, how an allergy is a fluke, etc etc. (Obviously not worded like that, but that's how it felt to me).
But like they told me on the phone, they did offer to refund my medical expenses and the product (provided I send it back) and some paperwork.
When opening the paperwork it clearly said filling it in is optional. I read through it and I have to say that whilst I understand why they are asking these questions, I don't feel comfortable AT ALL filling it in, because I feel like I have zero control about what happens to my information AND I don't want to give a multinational international company ANY insight in my medical history, however small. 
I did ask them whether or not they would refund me for sending back the product, and in which way they would like me to send it (registered, unregistered, etc). So I'm still waiting for an answer. 
In any case, I won't be filling in that questionaire. 
If it means I get no money back, so be it, but I won't relinquish any medical information just to get some cash back. 
My privacy is worth a lot more to me than that.
As a side note, I was told on the phone that the medical data that would be requested would be minimal, and what was told to me then seemed perfectly reasonable. After having read the questionaire, I don't feel like that anymore. And it's not like I have something bad to hide, it's just that I don't want them to know what's going on in my life, it's simply NONE of their goddamn business. Especially not because literally NONE of my medical history is relevant to this allergy.

This entire thing could have been prevented if they simply had listed ALL of their ingredients on the packaging! 
What we need is a law that forces companies to list EVERYTHING in there. The end. 

But you know, after 10 days my face is finally getting back to normal. It's still a flaky mess, but at least the redness and swelling has gone. 

Final edit:
I realised I never editted this post telling you all what I ended up doing.
The lady from Glamglow ended up mailing me a few times, really pushing me to fill in the paperwork (she did state it was optional, but she pushed for it). She sent me emails trying me to give my bank account number for the refund, even before I had filled in anything or returned the product. Basically, I opted out of refunds because I didn't trust the entire situation. She was being way too pushy about it and it just felt wrong. 
And I rather not get the €14,95 back and have peace of mind than get the money back and have lord knows what coming down on me because I accepted the cheque, so to speak.


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