Bobbi Brown parody of negative product reactions sparks debate over trust in influencer reviews

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After an influencer’s bad review of a new Bobbi Brown foundation product went viral, the makeup artist and brand founder responded by parodying the video.

Bobbi Brown’s new brand, Jones Road, is all about “clean” makeup products to create more natural looks, according to the brand. “What The Foundation” Tinted Hydrating Balm is a hydrating alternative to traditional foundations and claims to leave the user with a “fresh, even complexion that looks like your skin is looking its best.”

The foundation received mixed reviews from TikTok beauty creators, but a particularly negative review from makeup artist Meredith Duxbury sent the product going viral.

Duxbury, known online for creating heavy glam looks, posted a review earlier this month, which inspired parodies from people across TikTok, including Brown herself.

The backlash – initially against Jones Road after Duxbury’s video, then against Duxbury after Brown’s video – sparked an online discussion about whether people should trust influencer reviews.

The video that started it all

In her video, Duxbury, who describes herself as the “foundation queen,” scoops a generous dollop of foundation from the jar and spreads it over her face like a thick lotion.

“I don’t know what to make of this consistency,” she says in the review.

When she tries to blend it with a makeup sponge, the product comes off in patches.

“It’s going to be no from me,” she concluded the review, which now has 13 million views on TikTok.

Duxbury’s video quickly generated buzz with others online who began parodying his “technique”. Some have compared Duxbury to the “peanut butter baby” that went viral on Vine years ago. Others have simply tried the technique using a different product. Makeup artist Robert Welsh tried it on with an old lipstick, captioning his video, “I really wanted to like it too.”

Duxbury did not immediately respond to request for comment.

Meanwhile, Brown responded to the negative review by posting two videos to his TikTok account.

Brown: “WTF is not for everyone”

In a video, Brown suggests using the product sparingly, alluding to the amount Duxbury uses. “Because it has beautiful oils infused in it, it gives a nice shiny finish. It will be absorbed into the skin,” she says in the video. “Oil is the best thing for dry skin. If you have oily skin, you may not be someone who likes the What The Foundation finish. Also, if you like full coverage, you’re not going to like What The Foundation.

On Tuesday, Brown posted another video that appeared to parody Duxbury’s criticism by using the “new make-up technique” seen in Duxbury’s videos. She takes two big handfuls of foundation and slathers it on her face like Duxbury did in her review. “Hmm, didn’t really work out,” Brown said.

In a statement, Brown said the parody video “occurred spontaneously” while she and her team were shooting educational videos on What The Foundation.

“At the end of filming, we decided to have a little fun with it,” Brown said. “I have huge respect for Meredith and all the makeup artists and influencers who crush her on TikTok and I’m grateful she tried to produce.”

“But WTF isn’t for everyone and that’s okay,” she continued. “There is room for everyone in beauty.”

Product responses inspire discussion around influencer reviews

Duxbury is known for using heavy foundation in her reviews, but other makeup artists and influencers have had mixed responses to What The Foundation, even when used correctly.

Beautician and skincare designer Tyler Hysko called the foundation “awesome for dry or mature skin” and demonstrated blending it onto her face using a dry makeup sponge . The vlogger known as iamsohello said she was skeptical of the foundation’s limited shade range, but was impressed with how well it blended to match her skin tone. Beauty designer Gisele Ayora described the foundation as “glorified Vaseline” and said she would probably like it more in the winter, when her skin is drier, but she still had reservations about its daily use. And while lifestyle designer Thatsotee criticized the product for its “sticky” feel, she ultimately hailed it as a “glowing foundation” for its beauty six hours after applying it.

Others encouraged viewers to think critically about the opinions and recommendations they trust.

Not every product has to work for you, but you don’t have to rip it on a platform where millions and millions of people see it either.

-TikTok creator and former makeup artist Julesontherox

Makeup artist Jenn Aedo urged viewers to follow beauty designers who “are around the same age and do the kind of makeup you love to do.”

She also pushed brands to research influencers and the type of makeup they typically use before sending them products to review. Someone who does “full coverage and total glam on the eyes” wouldn’t like natural products, she said.

“That’s another reason why I think makeup artists are better influencers because they know what products will work for what skin type and age group,” Aedo added.

TikTok creator and former makeup artist Julesontherox said influencers should “consider whether a product is right for them” before choosing to review it. Beauty products aren’t designed to meet everyone’s needs, she noted, and influencers should be aware of the demographic they belong to before reviewing products. Brown’s products are suitable for “a very specific type of makeup and a very specific type of clientele”.

“Just because it’s not trendy is fine,” Julesontherox said. “Not every product has to work for you, but neither do you have to rip it on a platform where millions and millions of people see it.”

Duxbury continued to post “full glam” looks on TikTok, and continued to use generous amounts of foundation to do so. She recently responded to accusations that she only used so much product for shock value, and disputed claims that she removed most of the foundation before finishing the look.

“I definitely don’t have time to remove foundation between cuts haha,” she commented on her video posted Wednesday. “My life is too busy for that.”

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