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Kylie Jenner is responding to claims that her Kylie Cosmetics lab is unsanitary, though one of her most vocal critics isn't buying her explanation.
The 24-year-old influencer faced backlash on Wednesday when she gave her followers a look at the creation process of her popular cosmetics brand through a series of photos taken at what appeared to be a manufacturing lab in Milan, Italy.
"In the lab creating new magic for you guys 💕 better than ever," Jenner captioned the pics on Instagram, which showed her looking over mixers and beakers while wearing a white lab coat.
Followers quickly questioned Jenner about the pics, wondering why she wasn't wearing personal protective equipment like gloves, a mask and hair net.
Makeup artist Kevin James Bennett dedicated an entire post to it on his own instagram page.
"I'm a cosmetic developer and work with cosmetic manufacturers (and their labs) as part of my job. I have very short hair, and I've NEVER been allowed into the lab or onto the manufacturing floor without a hair net, shoe covers, mask...and disposable GLOVES," he wrote, reposting Jenner's photos from the day before.
Bennett continued, accusing Jenner of "gaslighting her followers into thinking she is creating cosmetics." He added, "And I'd like to know what ignorant manufacturer (in Italy) let her stage this photo-op in their lab and on the manufacturing floor — without following proper sanitation protocols. I need the name because I want to make sure my clients NEVER work with them."
"Folks, this is not the way we create cosmetics and misrepresents how our industry works," he stated. "Credible manufacturers follow STRICT sanitation protocols to protect you."
Not long after, Jenner responded to Bennett's post, claiming that the photos were "not taken in a manufacturing facility."
"I would never bypass sanitary protocols and neither would any other celeb or beauty brand owner," she said. "That's completely unacceptable i agree."
The self-made billionaire went on to explain that she took the pictures in "a small personal space" where she creates "my own fun samples and taking pictures for content." The space is located "nowhere near the mass manufacturing."
"No one is putting customers at risk!" she said. "Shame on you Kevin for spreading false information !!!!"
Their back and forth didn't end there. ""Shame on me? NO, shame on you or whoever takes care of your social media for trying to gaslight everyone into thinking I'm the one to blame," Bennett responding, continuing to press Jenner in a series of comments.
"So you were standing on a platform, looking into an expensive homogenizing kettle that had processed at least 50 liters of a complexion product (the product still covering the mixing paddles) without PPE or your hair tied back , wearing a @weareregi lab coat? But this is not a cosmetics manufacturing facility? It's a personal space?" he said. "Wow, there's some serious gaslighting going on here."
"Are you a cosmetic developer? Do you know how strict sanitation protocols are in responsible labs? I do. So if you don't want your feelings hurt, don't break rules that protect people's safety because you want a photo-op and your privilege gives you leverage," Bennett said. "And don't lie about it when you get called out."
He told Jenner, "Just take responsibility for your mistake and move on."
After his replies, Jenner offered one more of her own, taking a jab at the makeup artist's name. "Oh were you there Kevin?" she asked, pointing out how he has the same name of one of her dogs. "Ugh, now I have to change my dogs name."
"Are you seriously going to lie and then troll me?" Bennett said in return. "Wow. 🙄"
On Wednesday, PEOPLE reached out to UPenn Prof. Thomas E. Mallouk, Vagelos Professor in Energy Research & Professor of Chemistry for information about the proper safety protocols when working in a chemistry lab.
"At minimum, all experimental chemists should wear safety glasses with side shields, gloves that are impermeable to the solid or liquid chemical compounds that are being handled, a flame-proof lab coat that is buttoned in front, long pants, and close-toed shoes," Prof. Thomas E. Mallouk said.
"Jewelry is generally OK, and hair nets are not required, but most researchers with long hair do wear it up in the lab," he added.
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Jenner launched Kylie Cosmetics with three Lip Kits in 2015, and had 100 percent ownership until she sold a majority stake to Coty in 2019. That same year, Forbes put her on the cover as the youngest self-made female billionaire, thanks to the brand's success digitally and in Ulta stores.
In 2021, Jenner and Coty relaunched the brand with "all new formulas that are clean and vegan," and revealed her future plans for Kylie Cosmetic, saying the empire is for her daughter Stormi, 4, if she wants to take the reins one day.
"Stormi is my legacy. I'm raising her to be smart and kind and driven. Maybe she will take over Kylie Cosmetics one day? Only if she wants to," Jenner said in a special edition of tmrw.