The Fall of Morphe Cosmetics

Sienna Kemp, Journalist

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Popular makeup brand, Morphe Cosmetics, has been on a rapid decline in the past few months. The main question floating around now is ‘Why?’. That’s what employees, beauty gurus, and everyday shoppers are asking and I’ve come to hopefully answer that question.

Since a little before Christmas, Morphe has been subtly closing their stores across America. Dozens of upset, betrayed, and distraught Morphe employees took to Tiktok to show the world what was happening. Some employees got a 1 week notice, others, a 1 day notice from a Zoom call. These workers were suddenly out of a job right as the year began and had no time to search for a new one. Many had kids and families that relied one this job to pay bills and buy food. These workers are what alerted the public to what was happening inside Morphe. Everyone just wanted to know why this was happening.

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Morphe originally blew up 2019-2020 with the surge of beauty influencers like Jeffree Star, Jaclyn Hill, and many more. Pre-pandemic, the beauty industry was thriving; makeup was popular and getting a lot of attention for its artistry, influencers were collab

ing with major brands and making their own lines, and teens and adults found makeup as a way to live and dress the way they wanted too. Morphe was no exception to these events and collabed with James Charles, Jaclyn Hill, Jeffree 

Star, Nikita Dragun, etc. These palettes, brushes, blushes, and glosses became quick sales for their formulas, colors, and most of all, notoriety from the big names behind them. It was all looking up and the incoming sales allowed for them to open stores worldwide. So, what happened? ‘How did they get to this point now?’

There are many alleged causes of their sudden turn up but I see one as a blaring factor, their heavy reliance on social media. Their sudden gain of attention was never from their good products. They promoted themselves through paid sponsorships with claims of being a cheap and quality alternative to M.A.C and Dior. However, honest reviews by people unsponsored by Morphe describe their poor quality when it comes to their products. So if not chasing quality and affordability, what were Morphe’s customers’ motives for buying their products? Simple. ‘This has the name of my favorite youtuber! It must be good since they are promoting it!’ There is one fault in that thinking though. That thought assumes the influencer was honest. The main push that made people turn away was the scandals caused by their ‘beloved’ youtubers. Whether it be Jeffree Star’s alleged racism or James Charles allegedly texting minors almost every influencer Morphe has worked with has had some sort of allegations and were ‘canceled’. Through all the scandals Morphe has been pressed by the media to immediately drop influencers when scandals come out or shoppers just boycott their products themselves.

 Tiktok took over the social sphere quickly with its ability to show content you want to see in quick 30 second clips, fitting younger generations’ short attention span.


Of course, there are other factors that contributed to their decline. Nearing the end and post-pandemic, there was a social shift in the beauty standards. Beauty became more focused on ‘natural beauty’ rather than makeup and the creation of the ‘clean girl’ aesthetic. There’s also the fact that they’re main platform for influencers and overall promotion, Youtube, had become outshined by Tiktok.

So…what next? Morphe still continues to be in business, just running only on their online site and select retailers.  Morphe noticed the change in social beauty and launched ‘Morphe 2’ last July. It presents itself as a more “minimal makeup” line as a way to get more sales in. However, I asked a classmate who got a blush from them for christmas and in their words it was, “…colored gel. No pigment.” I feel that describes their future in a nutshell. As of January 12th, the parent company of Morphe, Forma Brands, has declared voluntary chapter 11 bankruptcy. Essentially, they get to keep most of their assets and try to rebuild overtime and pay back their creditors overtime.