Challenge to ‘Natural’ Eyelash Products Reaches $3.25M Deal

Advertising Law

A cosmetics company can close its eyes on a lawsuit over the marketing of its eyelash products after reaching a $3.25 million deal in a putative class action.

Younique LLC touted its Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lashes as containing “Natural Fibers” and “100% Natural Green Tea fibers” when in reality, the lashes only had synthetic ingredients such as shredded nylon, a trio of plaintiffs alleged. They claimed they were injured by paying a price premium for the product based on the defendant’s misrepresentations.

Following the certification of multiple classes of consumers, the parties reached a deal. Pursuant to the proposed settlement agreement, Younique agreed to create a settlement fund in the amount of $3.25 million. The fund will cover all costs of settlement notice and administration (anticipated to be roughly $200,000) and provide a cash refund to the various class members.

Class members who resided in California, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington and purchased one or more products for personal, family, or household use and not for resale between 2012 and 2015 and who submit a timely and valid claim form are eligible for a pro rata share based on the number of total claims submitted.

The fund will also provide service awards to the named plaintiffs, as well as attorneys’ fees not to exceed one-third of the total settlement fund and expenses in the amount of $175,000.

In addition, Younique promised that for a period of three years, if it elects to describe an ingredient in its current or future fiber lash products as “natural,” it will have the product tested by a reputable U.S.-based laboratory every six months to confirm the ingredients identified as “natural” are as described.

To read the memorandum in support of preliminary approval of settlement in Schmitt v. Younique, LLC, click here

Why it matters: Advertisers have faced legal challenges to “natural” claims made for a wide range of products over the years, from deli meat to laundry detergent. Now eyelashes can join that list. Advertisers must take care to ensure that when they claim their product is natural, it actually is natural. Otherwise, there is a high risk that they will face legal challenges.