For most people, Mario Badescu is a household name. The brand catapulted into the beauty market after being endorsed by influencers like Khloe Kardashian, and can now be found in stores like Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie. Created in 1967 by a facialist, the skincare line is a self-proclaimed “botanical brand” that focuses on minimalist marketing, social endorsement, and simple ingredients.
However, in the last few years, the brand has been outed as dishonest, and potentially harming to those who use it. In a now resolved lawsuit, it was proven that the brand failed to disclose the use of strong steroids in at least two of their products. The steroids — hydrocortisone and triamcinolone acetonide, can cause enlarged capillaries and severe side effects like skin atrophy. Some users were left with perforated skin, fungal growths, blisters, and rashes. Even after reformulating, the brand continued to receive backlash because those who had used the products were now dealing with topical steroid withdrawal, something that had equally as horrific side effects. One reviewer writes:
“To make a long story short, in doing frantic online research, my sister ended up coming across a group of people on Amazon.com who were suffering similar skin problems after using Control Cream. It was determined (via an article in The Korean Times) that CC was pulled in Korea by the Korean FDA for containing strong (UNLABELED) topical corticosteroids. Shortly thereafter, the product was silently removed from U.S. shelves, and apparently reformulated without the “magic ingredient” (the very same ingredient many people were using it to avoid). Many people who were long (or even not-so-long) users of the original CC suffered extremely bad reactions when they suddenly stopped using the topical corticosteroids it contained. My sister and I were 2 such people. The skin reactions we’ve been dealing with are far, far worse than any irritations we may have once used CC to treat.”
You can read more reviews on the now discontinued cream here, and though this lawsuit was settled, and users received a whopping $45 per person for their issues, a lot of consumers have continued to question the skincare line. To tote yourself as a natural, herbal company, and to then fail to disclose incredibly potent chemicals in your ingredients, is extremely unethical, and we aren’t surprised that many feel as if they can’t trust the products anymore.
And they aren’t wrong.
Despite all of the backlash, you’d think that the brand would be determined to stay transparent and honest. But Mario Badescu is still being accused of lying about their products.
Out of the 60 Mario Badescu products that “Cosmetics Cop” Paula Begoun and her team reviewed for Beautypedia.com, 55 achieved only 1 or 2 stars out of 5. The products are still being reviewed with words like “incredibly irritating” and “horrible for skin.” To make it worse, Begoun’s team found false claims related product formulations.
Both the Kiwi Face Scrub, and the Glycolic Skin Renewal Complex were completely misrepresented and marketed, and their Beautypedia expert reviews are alarming.
Are you a fan of Mario Badescu products? Have you experienced the same issues as those outlined in this article? Are you still going to buy from a company that is being called out for unethical behavior?