beauty drama

What’s the Drama With the Kosas Concealer?

Photo-Illustration: by The Cut; Photo: Retailer

For the past year, the Kosas concealer has been dubbed one of the very best by TikTokers, who have featured it in countless GRWMs and beauty tutorials. It’s also beloved by celebrities like Hailey Bieber, who uses it in her full-makeup routine. The product, which the clean-beauty brand launched in 2020, has had nothing but positive feedback — until a few weeks ago. An eight-month-old Reddit thread resurfaced on TikTok with claims that someone had found mold in her Kosas concealer.

TikTokers quickly gave their two cents on the drama. One video showed someone who broke out in hives under her eyes and claimed it was from the concealer. Another showed a Kosas fan still using hers and claiming she saw no signs of mold in her year-old product. #BeautyTok is no stranger to controversy, including lashgating and Alix Earle using hair oil meant for Black women.

The original Reddit post by @veryangryorchards reads, “Okay so I originally got a sample of this concealer, and I flipping loved it. It was the best concealer I have ever used. Fast forward 9 months later, I started to notice a blue cheese smell.” The user adds that after a year, she applied it under her eyes and it “burned”; she says she later found “black spots” in the concealer. She claims to have contacted Kosas customer service about it: “They said they will look into it but to keep what I ordered for free, which is nice but if this concealer grows mold that fast don’t people have a right to know about it?” The thread quickly filled with testimonies from other alleged Kosas customers sharing stories of products they had used from the brand that went bad after a short time.

Photo: Kosas

Sure, all makeup has an expiration date. But what about when the makeup is “clean,” meaning it’s free of harmful chemical ingredients like parabens and sulfates? The Kosas product FAQs page claims that all of its unopened products have a shelf life of two or three years depending on whether they contain water. The very first ingredient of the Kosas concealer is water. When I checked the bottom of my own Kosas concealer, it showed an expiration date of six months. When I compared it with other concealers I use daily, the expiration dates weren’t so far off for a clean-beauty brand. (One of them, which isn’t considered clean beauty but is made by a brand that doesn’t use harmful ingredients, had the same six-month shelf life. Another concealer I love, which does contain synthetic ingredients and harsh chemicals, has a shelf life of 24 months.)

A Kosas spokesperson told the Cut, “We can’t speak broadly to clean-beauty shelf life versus other products’. We can only confirm that we do use safe, effective preservatives. We use antimicrobial stabilizers that prevent against mold, yeast, and pathogens when the package is used within its shelf life and PAO dates.”

In the Reddit user’s case, nine months was three months past the expiration date of her concealer. Have we all used expired products without realizing it? Sure, but when using those that take a cleaner, more natural approach, a bit more care should go into what’s going on your skin. Kosas told the Cut, “It is our top priority to look at the well-being of our customers and the quality of our products, so we take every single inquiry really seriously — whether it’s a random TikTok comment all the way to a customer-service email. We take the time to respond to every single customer, influencer, or retailer to ensure that our formulations are upholding the highest standards.”

Could this just be a case of someone reacting to an expired beauty product? Absolutely, but it certainly sheds light on the fact that we should clean out our makeup bags more frequently. Makeup isn’t a forever thing. Just like food, it’s blended with a bunch of ingredients that can go bad, and as this situation seems to prove, the skin will react. Moral of the story: Check your expiration dates.

What’s the Drama With the Kosas Concealer?