A garbage product belongs in the garbage.
* WARNING: Extremely negative review ahead… if you’re not easily offended, read on.
Kypris is a brand that has a lot going for it… at face value, anyway. They claim their products are natural cosmeceuticals that are holistic, wildcrafted, active, and luxurious—you know, all the buzzwords that everyone loves. Those words mean nothing to me. What I do appreciate about Kypris is that their products are cruelty-free, organic, environmentally-sound, and sustainably procured. These things aren’t the be-all and end-all for me, as many of you know. Admittedly, I use products from brands that conduct animal testing, love a bit of artificial fragrance, and use synthetic ingredients in their products. The choice to use such products is my own, however, and I respect others’ choice to abstain from using them if that’s their MO. A lot of the time you can’t have your cake and eat it, too. With Kypris, you can. But that’s where the positives come to an end, I’m afraid.
I’ve been going through products like nobody’s business these days, and was in need of a new serum by the end of last year. Kypris was next on my to-buy list, so I researched them extensively throughout the month of December. I even went so far as watching interviews with the brand’s founder on YouTube. What better way to get revved up about a brand and their offerings? They have two categories of products: oils and serums. As many of you know, I’m an oil junkie. But I have quite a few oils to get through, and my mission was to ultimately end up with a serum, so I had to stay focused! I was enamoured by the Moonlight Catalyst—the name, the bottle, the ingredients, the proposed results… everything. I read hundreds (no joke) of reviews and watched dozens of videos dedicated to this product, and not a single one was negative. Seriously. How is that even possible? The Moonlight Catalyst also had Caroline Hirons’ stamp of approval! But there are only TWO Kypris stockists in all of Canada [*at the time this post is being written], and I don’t live close to either of them. When I am about to drop a significant wad of cash on a product without being able to test it first, online research is critical. Normally I hit the nail square on the head, too. Not this time. When Moonlight Catalyst arrived in the post I was thrilled… until I opened the bottle. It was a gel. Ugh. You all know how I feel about gels. It looked like a very thick, coagulated aloe vera gel (photos below). I wasn’t over the moon (see what I did there?) for the way it looked, but I was still determined, because I had just spent $100 on it! Thankfully, when it is applied to the skin, it doesn’t feel like the kinds of gel-textured products I despise (those cold, soft, slick, matte-finish feeling gel moisturizers… yuck. I’m getting goosebumps just thinking about them). The product smells softly of peach and neroli as it’s being blended into the skin… then it starts to smell faintly of vomit as it dries. Since the smell goes away quickly, I wasn’t too bothered by this. It has been four whole weeks of daily, nightly use of the product, and I have yet to see any kind of result. This product *claps to the syllables* literally. does. NOTHING. Moonlight Catalyst was the only new addition to my product lineup for January. I started getting the feeling that it wasn’t doing much of anything after the first two weeks, so I tried using it in different ways. I put a very thick layer on a couple of times as the last/only product after toner, as sort of a nighttime sleeping mask, to see if other products had been disrupting its efficacy, I tried slotting it into my routine at atypical steps, I tried mixing it with face oils to make “micro emulsions” as I heard the brand’s owner suggest this in a YouTube video… nothing. Bugger-all nothing. Where did these hundreds of glowing reviews I read come from? The people who were reporting seeing dramatic changes overnight? Vast differences in skin clarity and texture over a couple of days? Were all these reviews I read just bullshit? Every single one of my self-proclaimed skin conditions tells me that this product should work for me. The Kypris website says this product should work for me. Even if it’s not making miracles happen, I’d at least like it to be doing SOMETHING! Break me out! Cause an allergic reaction! Just give me a sign that my skin is aware this product is on it! The Kypris website says that Moonlight Catalyst is a serum that encourages cell renewal, is an alternative to retinol, refines the skin’s texture, clears pores, evens the skin tone and diminishes post-blemish pigmentation, hydrates, calms, and soothes. It doesn’t do a single one of these things. I paid $100 for a product that does nothing but add an additional, unnecessary minute-and-a-half to my skincare routine.
For the past several days I have been vacillating between the idea of writing a dedicated negative review of Moonlight Catalyst or to finish using the remainder of the bottle and forget it ever existed; to lick my wounds and dream of the things I would have rather spent that $100 on. I was scrolling through Instagram and saw one of my friends post a picture of a breakout on her cheek. I read the description of the photo—this was her first breakout in 9 months, after finishing a course of isotretinoin. She called out Kypris’ Clearing Serum as the potential culprit, and like me, was confused by all the positive reviews and figured she just got a bad bottle. Hmm! I hadn’t even thought of that. Maybe my bottle was from a bad batch? Or maybe it had expired (no expiry date printed on the bottle), and that’s why the ingredients weren’t working as efficaciously as they could be? I took to Google and searched for images of Moonlight Catalyst, hoping I would find a box stamped with a batch number and see how close that number was to mine, and then compare that to when the person posted the picture. I noticed something I had never noticed before, or that had slipped my mind since my research from December — all of the pictures I saw of Moonlight Catalyst looked shockingly different than my bottle did. If you search for images of the product, you’ll see pictures where the formula is a light yellow/very pale brown, and it is a proper serum consistency. Compare them to my pictures below! “Eureka,” I thought, “This must be it.” So I commented on my friend’s picture and said that I was having a similar issue with a potential quality issue in a Kypris product, and tagged them, asking for advice. They quickly said that it wasn’t a batch issue, despite not knowing the batch number and looking into the quality notes from its production, and that this was simply their updated formula. Again, I have not seen ANY pictures of the product on Instagram or anywhere else that look like mine! Even the pictures I managed to find of the “updated” formula (the one that’s clear in colour) don’t really look like mine. Then I had another thought: the stockist I ordered it from e-mailed me when I placed my order and said the product was on back-order and that I’d have to wait a while before it was shipped. Maybe when it was shipped from the U.S. to Canada it got frozen in the process? Perhaps the highly active (apparently) formula doesn’t like traveling in the bitterly cold December temperatures of Canada? I am making a lot of excuses for this product, aren’t I? Anyway, Kypris responded back again to my comment and said that I should e-mail their “care” e-mail address, answer some questions, and that they would “sort me out”. As you guys all know, I am not a PR/sample whore (in fact, I’d prefer NOT to get things sent to me!), so I didn’t follow this through looking for a handout. All I wanted was some genuine answers to my genuine questions. Nothing could have prepared me for what was about to happen.
Kypris’ request to chat over e-mail. Requiring answers to specific questions, with the promise of “sorting me out”.
I took this invitation to chat via e-mail very seriously. I penned a 1500-word, 8-paragraph-long e-mail, providing all the information they requested. That e-mail is simply too long to post here, but I will give you the gist of it: expressing my concerns with the Moonlight Catalyst and how the product simply wasn’t performing for me despite having success using products with the same key ingredients Moonlight Catalyst contains, giving a description of the climate I live in, my skin type, skin conditions, skin concerns, and every product in my current skincare routine and how I use them. My e-mail was extremely polite, professional, and I complimented the brand and their ethics multiple times. I even stated that I did not want to write a negative review of the product if there was in fact something amiss with my bottle! I included photos of my bottle and box, with what I’m assuming is the batch number stamped on the bottom, so they could tell me their thoughts.
Pictures of my bottle of Moonlight Catalyst, which looks extremely sketchy compared to others I’ve seen.
This is the pitiful 150-word reply I received from Kypris, which is truly nothing more than a form letter saying “sorry for your luck”. Where are the answers to the questions I posed in the e-mail? Why haven’t they taken the extra step to assure me that the bottle/box I’ve provided pictures of is indeed from a current batch and is not expired? My day job is based in customer service, and doing that just seems like a no-brainer! I am a paying customer with genuine concerns and not a single one of them has been addressed, let alone acknowledged! I was prepared to purchase one of their face oils, as I expressed in the e-mail, pending their recommendation on which one might be the best fit, given that I had just explained my skin type and the climate I live in ad-nauseam!
I went back to Instagram and sent the Kypris account a direct message. This “Mariah” person from the e-mail, who, by the way, has zero grasp of the term customer service, was clearly not the one who asked me to chat via e-mail and requested that I answer all of those specific questions. I asked if it was the brand’s founder, Chase, who runs the Instagram account – if it was her that I was talking with initially, I’d rather follow the whole thing through with her.
My direct message goes unanswered for days. Interesting. I ask for them to read the direct message on one of their photos instead, to alert them of it.
Keep it to the care e-mail? You mean the one that sends form letters? I’ll pass, thank you. What kind of answer is that? How about in this exact moment—is it Chase running the Instagram account? Don’t tell me that the person operating the account is dependent on the phases of the moon… it’s a yes or no question! At this point I’m getting frustrated. Especially at those obnoxious hearts at the end of each of their sentences.
Wait… what? What just happened? As a customer, I have never been patronized like this before. What does jokingly calling myself a complainer in my Instagram bio of all things have to do with the fact that I’m not being acknowledged as a paying customer with unanswered questions, much less treated with a shred of respect? Have a bit of class!
So, calling me a complainer who will never be satisfied is Kypris’ definition of being professional, apparently. As for being informative, scroll up and re-read their e-mail to me. Do you guys think anything from that e-mail (FORM LETTER*) was informative? And then they ask me for help when THEY couldn’t be arsed to help ME – they have some set of stones!
And now the back-pedalling starts. No, really, she didn’t mean it! #crocodiletears If only I knew what it was like to work on a farm then surely I would appreciate the products more. Again, what does this have to do with anything?! Standing behind your brand comes in two forms: Form 1 is making sure that the customer is satisfied. If the customer is unsatisfied, you WILL find a way to make them feel satisfied, because even if they are unhappy with the product or service, there is a personal obligation to treat a paying customer with dignity. That’s the right thing to do. Form 2 is shrugging and saying, “Well, that’s too bad. I know the products are good, so your opinion is meaningless. The money’s already in my pocket, so I can simply wash my hands of this and chalk it up to the fact that everyone has a different opinion.” The latter is obviously not the desirable form. Also, she is clearly out of touch with her Canadian retailers, because the stockist I purchased Moonlight Catalyst from DOES NOT have samples of their products, and when I requested samples of other products, they said they do not have containers to provide me with such samples. Why would I purchase the sample kit from their US website, pay a currency conversion, pay a shipping fee, and then pay duties upon delivery when I could just use a Canadian stockist?
I think you will all agree that I was made to look like a fool in this situation. I’ve never seen a brand publicly shame and patronize someone the way Kypris did to me. I hope you are as disgusted by their absurd conduct as I am. Boycott isn’t even the right word. For those of you wondering, the people I tagged in my comments back to Kypris were blogger friends who are either A) already fans of Kypris, or B) were thinking of purchasing Kypris products. I wanted them to see that they have been funding or were about to fund a brand who thinks it’s fun to shame their paying customers. A lot of my Instagram followers have messaged me directly on Instagram saying they couldn’t believe what happened, and that this is something they would have never expected from the brand. Several also remarked that they have only ever received good customer service from Kypris, and that this will be a game-changer when it comes to them repurchasing the products (or not) going forward. I guess Kypris will only treat you with respect when you have good things to say about their products.
Now this is out there for the world to see. So I hope the reprehensible owner of Kypris enjoys the grocery money, mortgage/rent money, car payment, petrol money, etc., that my contribution to her brand surely went towards. So much for supporting small brands!
Let’s not forget that what goes around truly does come back around.
If all of that wasn’t enough to steer you away from Kypris entirely, I thought it might be worth mentioning some controversial points about the major ingredient of Moonlight Catalyst –
* Moonlight Catalyst contains an ingredient called sh-Oligopeptide-1, which Kypris claims to be a plant-derived, biomimetic form of human epidermal growth factor (EGF), meant to function as a retinol alternative.
* There is very little research to support the benefit of topical application of EGF.
* Some research suggests it may be helpful in healing burns and other skin wounds, and that it may also have an anti-inflammatory effect, however, there is also research that shows these effects may not be any different than that of a placebo.
* Retinol is a proven powerhouse ingredient with decades of research behind it. EGF is not retinol, nor is it comparable.
* EGF and other human growth factors are highly mitogenic (meaning they cause extreme cell proliferation). Do you know what we call it when cells are unable to stop dividing at alarming rates? CANCER! This is certainly a problem when growth factors are ingested internally, but since little research has been done on their topical application, the jury’s still out. Psoriasis is an example of a condition that arises from over-production of skin cells. Keloid scarring is the result of over-production of collagen. Just some food for thought.
IMPORTANT: Since this all went down (30th January 2016), Kypris has deleted all of the comments from Instagram. Scared? Maybe if you treated your customers better you wouldn’t need to cover your tracks. Cowards. Good thing I take screeenshots of everything.
* ~ MAJOR UPDATES ~ *
Brace yourself, folks. Things are about to get even grosser. And sketchier.
I received these comments on my IG post from a user who is clearly in cahoots with Kypris. Please note that the very first sentence of her comment says that my e-mail was not nice and it was very attacking. Hang on a minute… how does she know the details of my original e-mail if Kypris didn’t show it to her? Since I didn’t post my e-mail here, nobody but Kypris should have seen it. Do we even need to discuss the unprofessionalism of a company sharing the private communications of a customer with an unauthorized third party? Isn’t that illegal? And if it’s not illegal, clearly ethics are out the window with this brand.
Now, I’d like to address the random person calling my e-mail not nice and attacking. My e-mail, as I stated earlier in the post, was super professional, friendly, and courteous. It was even apologetic at points. That’s right, folks… me, being apologetic for purchasing a product, and worrying that I would be WASTING the time of their customer service (barf) team. Clearly I was on glue when I wrote it. I even ended the e-mail with: “At any rate, I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts! Hope I didn’t bore you to tears – LOL.” Yup, that sounds absolutely monstrous and cruel. And as for attacking, here is another line, copied directly from my e-mail: “So yeah, that was a very longwinded message, but I hope I’ve captured everything. Please please please don’t take any of my comments on Moonlight Catalyst as an attack on the brand or anything! That was not my intention behind my Instagram comment, nor this e-mail.” This is me BEGGING them NOT to take what I’ve written as an attack! Nothing in my e-mail could have been misconstrued as attacking in the first place, but I wanted to really drive that point home! I’ll let you guys decide for yourselves on this!
As for this organic bunny character, this is where things get sketchy. Moments after she tried and failed to turn my followers against me, knowing Kypris is now in hot water and on a lot of people’s shit lists, she ANNOUNCES A KYPRIS GIVEAWAY ON HER INSTAGRAM! Yeah, nothing suspect about that WHATSOEVER! This giveaway is clearly a ruse to detract attention away from all the backlash. But it’s not going to work. This information is already here for the world to see, in black and white, and now people are going to think SHE is sketchy as heck as well. I’m flabbergasted by what has transpired today. I truly have no words (for once!!). You guys are all smart cookies, though. I know you’re going to be able to see right through it. Spread the word that these creeps are nothing more than scum. The lowest of low. Spend your money on brands that will actually appreciate your contribution.
Here’s a screenshot showing how Kypris now has me blocked on Instagram. Have you guys ever seen a brand block a customer before? I sure haven’t. In case any of you were still doubting what I said before, this is truly the cherry on top, innit? A couple people have also come forward since and told me that Kypris has direct messaged them on Instagram saying that they stand behind everything they said to me. That’s right, the direct messaging that they told me they don’t use and isn’t monitored because of spammers… I guess they only use it when they have damage control to do.
This is a screenshot of a DM that Kypris sent to one of my followers, who graciously shared it with me because it left her speechless!
Every day this gets better and better.