Lawsuit: Here’s Why People are Complaining About This Popular Lip Balm

Lawsuit: Here’s Why People are Complaining About This Popular Lip Balm
General Health

“Evolution of Smooth” (EOS) lip balm is supposed to keep your lips from cracking and bleeding, but that’s exactly what happened to one woman who filed a class action lawsuit on Jan. 12 against the company.

Rachel Cronin reportedly claims that when she reapplied EOS’ “Summer Fruit” balm, her lips cracked, bled and blistered and were “anything but smooth.”

The egg-shaped lip balms are touted by celebrities such as Britney Spears and Kim Kardashian and come in a variety of colors.

Today reports that “within hours [of applying the balm], her lips became substantially dry and coarse, what Ms. Cronin describes as feeling like ‘sandpaper,’ so she applied for of the product to achieve the results of becoming ‘sensationally smooth.’ [3]

Instead, she achieved a rash that was sensationally painful.

Cronin alleges her lips began cracking on the edges, and the following day, the surrounding skin had “severe blistering and rashes causing her to seek medical care on Dec. 7, 2015.” The woman’s smackers remained sore and downright ugly for about 10 days. [1]

“From the pictures, it looks like some people [in the suit] got a contact dermatitis or a perioral dermatitis, which are both types of allergic reactions,” said Montclair, NJ, dermatologist Jeanine B. Downie, MD. “Any product can cause an allergy at any time, for no reason and this includes products you have been using for awhile.”

In an e-mail to Time, EOS said:

“We firmly believe this lawsuit is without merit. Our products are made with the highest quality ingredients and meet or exceed all safety and quality standards set out by our industry and validated by rigorous testing conducted by an independent lab. The health and well-being of our customers is our top priority and millions of satisfied customers use our products every day, many of whom take the time to share their experiences with us.” [2]

The suit asks for damages, claiming EOS deceived consumers and misrepresented the product as natural and organic.

Cronin could be allergic to just about anything in EOS’ ingredient list. Even all-natural, organic ingredients can cause reactions in some people.

“Just because something is natural doesn’t mean it is safe. Anthrax is natural but not safe,” said Dr. Adam Friedman, associate professor of dermatology at George Washington School of Medicine and Health Sciences. [3]

But vanillin, mint, and beeswax found in the lip balm pods are all potential irritants.

This is a little bit confusing, because according to the company’s website, its lip balms are 100% natural, but vanillin is a synthetic ingredient made from wood pulp sometimes made from petrochemicals and byproducts from the paper industry. Vanillin tastes just like vanilla, and it’s far cheaper, so many companies use it as a vanilla alternative. [4]

Hershey is even replacing vanillin for vanilla in a move to go more ‘natural’ for consumers.

One can only assume vanillin is the “Natural Flavor (Aroma)” ingredient that is neither “organic” nor a “component of natural flavor”:

Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil*, Beeswax (Cire D’abeille)*, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil*, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil*, Natural Flavor (Aroma), Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter)*, Stevia Rebaudiana Leaf/Stem Extract*, Tocopherol, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil*, Vaccinium Angustifolium (Blueberry) Fruit Extract*, Fragaria Vesca (Strawberry) Fruit Extract*, Prunus Persica (Peach) Fruit Extract*, Linalool**. *Organic. **Component of Natural Flavor. Certified Organic by Oregon Tilth.

I’m not hating on EOS. I love their lip balms, frankly. I’ve never had problems with them, and they are paraben-free, petroleum-free and phthalate-free. For the price, that’s a pretty good deal. Vanillin won’t kill you, but it can cause an allergic reaction. Overall, it seems that the lawsuit is a bit unjust.

We’ll see if the bad press will convince EOS to remove that one, last, chemical sin.


[1] New Beauty Magazine

[2] Time

[3] Today

[4] Global Healing Center