It is the lip balm beloved by the beautiful people.
Kim Kardashian apparently swears by it. Hillary Duff takes it “everywhere”, and Britney Spears is equally enamoured.
But EOS, producers of the “trendy” balms that come in flavours such as vanilla mint, strawberry sorbet and summer fruit, have been accused of manufacturing products that can lead to cracked and bleeding lips as a result of allergic reactions.
A class action lawsuit has now been filed against the makers of the balm in California.
“EOS meteoric rise came about because of social media," Ben Meiselas, a lawyer who has brought the lawsuit, told The Independent. "You have companies who are tying celebrity endorsements Instagram and stuff, but they are skirting regulations and consumer protections."
He said that listed among the lip balm ingredients was shea butter, which is derived from shea nuts and designated by the FDA as a food allergen.
“We were truly shocked that there was absolutely no warning anywhere to be found. This company thinks in this social media age they can skirt consumer protection laws,” he said.
The lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles after a number of users of the balm posted images of themselves on social media that appeared to show cracked or damaged lips. They claimed the was a reaction was using the EOS product.
Racheal Cronin, who is listed as one of the plaintiffs in the class action case, said she had suffered dryness, flakiness, burning, itching, cracking and bleeding.
When she went online to search for answers, she said there appeared to be a number of others who had experienced similar reactions.
“I found thousands of people talking about same results,” said the 24-year-old.
The lawsuit, which calls for unspecified compensation and the release of information about all its products by EOS, makes much of the celebrity-endorsement the products receive.
We want to assure our valued customers and fans that the health and well-being of our customers is our top priority. pic.twitter.com/K1CXmUj8ON— eos (@eos) January 13, 2016
“EOS uses and pays celebrity “brand ambassadors” such as Kim Kardashian, Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus, Hillary Duff, and others, to post pictures on Instagram and social media, creating a viral marketing frenzy around the product, targeted at consumers,” it said.
“In fact, the EOS website, evolutionofsmooth.com has an entire paged called “EOS BUZZ-CELEBRITY FANS” advertising hundreds of celebrity endorsements and sponsored content on social media with hashtags including “#YUMMY” and “EOSOBSESSED” along with posts treating EOS lipbalm as a travel companion, a cure for health and hygiene problems, and a product that consumers cannot live without.”
EOS said the lawsuit is without merit and issued a statement it said was designed to reassure its “valued customers”.
“Our products are safe to use, are made with the highest quality ingredients and they all meet or exceed all safety and quality standards set out by our industry,” it said.
We want to assure our valued customers and fans that the health and well-being of our customers is our top priority.
“An independent laboratory puts each of our products through a battery of rigorous testing to ensure this is the case."