2016 in Review: The Worst Beauty Moments of the Year

Let’s not pull any punches — 2016 pretty much sucked. From the loss of music icons such as Prince and David Bowie to the devastating results of the U.S. election, this year was kind of the worst ever. Hell, even Kim Kardashian felt the brunt of 2016’s wrath when she got robbed at gunpoint in Paris (and we, in turn, were robbed of any new Kim K Instagram selfies).

In terms of beauty, things weren’t much better. Sure, 2016 gave us some amazing moments, like Alicia Keys’ inspirational no-makeup pledge and the first-ever male CoverGirl ambassador, but there were also plenty of WTF moments that had us scratching our heads with our (obviously well-manicured) fingers.

Check out the worst beauty moments of 2016 below, and then take solace in the fact that 2017 is just around the corner.

1. The dreadlocks at Marc Jacobs

Marc Jacobs caused a fury when he sent his (primarily white) models down his spring 2017 runway wearing colourful dreadlocks. The wool hair pieces, which were created by a Florida woman who Jacobs and hairstylist, Guido Palau, found on Etsy after doing a Google search, were supposedly inspired by transgender director Lana Wachowski, rave culture, Boy George and Harajuku and “not at all” by Rastafarian culture.

But the worst part of all? The designer’s IDGAF response to the backlash for his blatant cultural appropriation.

“All who cry ‘cultural appropriation’ or whatever nonsense about any race or skin colour wearing their hair in any particular style or manner — funny how you don’t criticize women of colour for straightening their hair,” Jacobs wrote on Instagram. “I respect and am inspired by people and how they look. I don’t see colour or race — I see people.”

He later took to Instagram to “apologize for the lack of sensitivity unintentionally expressed by my brevity,” saying that he does “‘see’ colour” but does “NOT discriminate.”

2. Justin Bieber’s cornrows. And dreads.

@justinbieber: Wanted these since like Mike.. Island flow

A photo posted by Justin Bieber Updates™ (@justinbiebertracker) on

Justin Bieber was also seemingly tone-deaf when it came to his choice of hairstyles this year, first sporting cornrows in January, and then debuting dreadlocks in April.

Of course, the Biebs was (ironically) not “Sorry” about his new styles, blaming his (maybe) then-girlfriend, Hailey Baldwin, for making him get the “douche bag hairstyle” of cornrows and telling Big Sean backstage at the iHeartRadio Music Awards, “[People say] you wanna be black and all that stuff, I’m like ‘It’s just my hair.’”

3. Khloe Kardashian’s bantu knots

I like this one better

A photo posted by Khloé (@khloekardashian) on

While on the topic of cultural appropriation (still), let’s talk about Khloe Kardashian’s bantu knots, shall we? Back in August, the reality TV star came under fire for posting a photo of herself wearing the traditional black hairstyle dubbing herself a “Bantu babe.” She swiftly deleted the photo, and uploaded a new one with the caption, “I like this one better.” But the Internet didn’t let her first post slide, calling her out for (once again) appropriating black culture. Will she ever learn?

4. The (sort-of) downfall of Eos Lip Balm

Celeb fave lip balm, Eos, found itself in the middle of a class action lawsuit when a “substantial number of consumers” claimed to have experienced adverse reactions to the egg-shaped lip balm, such as “rashes, dryness, bleeding, blistering, cracking and loss of pigmentation.” The suit’s plaintiff, Rachel Cronan, claimed the lip balm caused her to break out in “boils and blisters on and around her lips requiring medical attention.”

The lawsuit, however, was quickly resolved, with the brand issuing the following statement:
“Our products are safe—and this settlement confirms that. Our lip balms are hypoallergenic, dermatologist tested, made with the highest quality ingredients, meet or exceed all safety and quality standards set by our industry, and are validated by rigorous safety testing conducted by independent labs. We love our customers and their enjoyment of our products is our top priority. We thank them for their continued support.”

5. Contouring overload

2016 was also the year the world hit peak contouring — beauty bloggers and “gurus” were trying their hands at contouring everything, including their butts, their necks and even their toes.

Seriously guys, you do not need to contour any of these body parts…especially your feet.

6. 100 Layers challenge

Another crazy fad that took the beauty world by storm this year? Wearing 100 layers of a beauty product. It started off with nail polish, then quickly progressed to mascara, foundation and even face masks. Sure it was kind of interesting at first, but then it just got to be 100 layers of overload. Thankfully, Jenna Marbles saved us all from the madness by making the ultimate 100 layers video that couldn’t be topped.

7. Kylie’s kopykat moments

This year was a pretty successful one for Kylie Jenner, especially when it came to her eponymous makeup line. But to some, the success wasn’t entirely valid, with many accusing 19-year-old makeup mogul of stealing ideas from other makeup artists and brands.

Jenner’s first “Kyshadow” palette (which sold out in one minute) bore striking similarities to YouTuber Shannon Harris’ eyeshadow palette created in collaboration with BH Cosmetics. Twitterverse was quick to accuse Kylie of copying Shannon, though Harris herself made it clear there was no beef between the two makeup moguls.

More recently, makeup artist Vlada Haggerty called out Kylie on Instagram for copying her imagery for the Kylie Cosmetics holiday collection. Both images feature a model sporting a bold lip colour, and covering her eyes with gold eyeshadow-dusted hands.

Just call her King Kopykat.

8. Blackhair magazine’s white cover model

I would deeply and sincerely like to apologise to every one for this, and black women especially. I would like to clarify, I believe this shoot is from when I was around 15 and didn't understand cultural appropriation or the impact it has on POC. I was uneducated, which obviously is no excuse, ignorant and immature. Growing up in a very very white city, I had no idea the struggles black women face and how often they were persecuted for their hair. I didn't understand how black women are constantly told their natural hair is inappropriate/unprofessional for the work place, or how young girls are told they can't go to school with natural hair. I didn't understand that shoots like this support the very Eurocentric beauty standard that the mainstream media focus on which reinforce the idea that black features are only ok on white women. I didn't understand that as a white passing woman I'd be praised for this hair, but if I was a black woman I'd be persecuted. I didn't understand cultural appropriation. ✨ I do regret doing this. I hold up my hands, I'm so so so sorry and I'm very sorry this cover was taken away from a black woman. This image is (I think, although I'm not 100% sure) about 3/4 years old, it was never intended to be on the cover of this magazine. If I had known it was going to be published, I would never have condoned it. I'm upset and angry I was never asked by the photographer/hair salon/anyone if this image could be used for the cover Black Hair. ✨ I'm so glad I've educated myself and surrounded my self with people to teach me what is right and wrong. I constantly am learning and becoming more and more informed. It's important to come forward and be honest with ourselves about our past mistakes, otherwise we will never learn. Again, I'm truly, deeply sorry to anyone I've offended and I hope if nothing else this post can educated others so they don't make similar mistakes. (also please let me know if I've said anything wrong or offensive in this post!!! or anything i can add!!!! i love u all sm and the last thing i want to do is offend or hurt any one, i really hope you don't all think im a massive twat 😔)

A photo posted by e m i l y bador (@darth_bador) on

The Internet got really P.O.’d when U.K. magazine Blackhair released its December/January 2017 issue featuring 19-year-old model Emily Bador who identifies as white and Malaysian.

Blackhair editor Keysha Davis took to Instagram to address the issue, saying they received the image from a PR company/salon and they were “obviously not aware” that Bador was not of black heritage. Emily also issued an apology via Instagram, writing “I would deeply and sincerely like to apologize to every one for this, and black women especially. I would like to clarify, I believe this shoot is from when I was around 15 and didn’t understand cultural appropriation or the impact it has on POC. I was uneducated, which obviously is no excuse, ignorant and immature.”

9. The Wen hair care saga

OK, OK, technically it was December 2015 when a class-action lawsuit was filed against Wen by Chaz Dean hair care, but it was this year that the lawsuit moved forward (and the FDA got involved).

In July, the FDA said it received 127 consumer complaints of adverse reactions to Wen’s Cleansing Conditioner, including hair loss, hair breakage, balding, and itching. This is the largest number of reports ever associated with any cosmetic hair cleansing product.

And last month, it was reported that the $26 million lawsuit would be moving forward, with preliminary settlement approval granted. If the U.S. District Court judge gives final approval over the settlement, up to six million people could be eligible for a monetary award, from $25 up to $20,000.

Despite all of this, Wen by Chaz Dean stands by its product, saying in a statement, “Wen by Chaz Dean is safe and we continue to provide our hundreds of thousands of customers with the Wen by Chaz Dean products that they know and love. Since the process of litigation is time consuming and costly, we made a business decision to pursue a settlement and put this behind us so that we can focus on delivering quality products.”

10. The Today Show’s “One Minute Summer Hair” fail

In perhaps what was one of the most cringe-worthy “makeover” moments on television, a poor black model was given a “one minute summer hairstyle” by the “Today Show’s” resident beauty expert, Deepica Mutyala, who, clearly, did not understand black hair.

Mutyala attempted to give Malyia McNaughton a side pony with bangs by pulling apart her natural curls, resulting in one big, frizzy mess. After the segment went viral online, Mutyala took to Twitter to apologize for her error, promising to “do everything I can to make this right.” McNaughton also spoke out on the incident, telling The Cut, “I totally understand the pressure that she [Deepica] was under, and I’m grateful for the fact that she wanted to be inclusive, and because the natural-hair movement is such a large segment.”