YouTube sensation Rachell ‘Valkyrae’ Hofstetter launched her ‘RFLCT’ skincare line on October 19 with one key purpose: to “protect” users from “blue light pollution” emitted from screens. The announcement was met with a surge of backlash, with many labeling the products a “scam,” forcing out an early response.
Designed to “benefit everyone who uses a screen,” the five skincare items on offer intend to “boost your skin’s defense against blue light.”
There is a problem though: Social media users were quick to point out there’s a lack of conclusive evidence that supports the notion blue light has any damaging effects on our skin.
Before long, the announcement was washed up in a wave of controversy, with many criticizing the products themselves and the very foundation of Valkyrae’s new company.
It wasn’t long before the social media star broke her silence to address the concern.
The purpose of Valkyrae’s new RFLCT skincare collection
After 2 years, it's here!
I am a co-founder of @RFLCT_skin 🎉
It's a skincare collection designed to protect skin from blue light pollution.
— rae☀️ (@Valkyrae) October 19, 2021
From your mobile phones to your televisions at home, all screens emit blue light. At its core, the RFLCT company has one goal in mind, to “protect” its users from this “potentially harmful” blue light.
“It’s the skincare collection for everyone who uses a screen,” Valkyrae says herself in the RFLCT announcement video. “It’s designed to protect your skin from blue light that is emitted from all digital screens.”
With products varying from a Screen Shield Defense Face Moisturizer to a Lip Guard Moisture Balm, the range intends to not just provide “protection” from blue light, but also “repair” damage already done.
The company created its own custom mix of ingredients referred to as the “Blue Light Prevention Factor” in order to “boost your skin’s defenses.”
“It’s like SPF, but for the screen,” the official RFLCT store explains.
“Packed with vitamins and polyphenols, BLPF combats cell damage caused by blue light and other free radicals.”
#WTFisBLPF? We created BLPF™ [Blue Light Prevention Factor] to boost your skin's defense against blue light. Packed with vitamins and polyphenols, BLPF™ combats cell damage caused by blue light and other free radicals. #RFLCT. Learn more at https://t.co/HwTcAkMlyf pic.twitter.com/W54Mx8t2Nm
— RFLCT (@RFLCT_skin) October 19, 2021
While the initial announcement was limited just to skincare products, numerous trademarks indicate expansion plans. One filing covers “phone cases” while another touches on “cosmetic cases” such as handbags and purses.
The New York-based company behind RFLCT, Blue Mistral, LLC, also has various trademarks filed for similar skincare brands ranging from “Pollution Defender” to “BARRAER.”
However, the company itself admits its very purpose may be for naught. Product descriptions specifically state that blue light is “potentially harmful,” not that blue light is indisputably harmful.
Multiple studies in recent years have shown that artificial blue light has no significant impact on human skin.
“Compared to the emissions of the sun’s natural blue light, those of artificial blue light are virtually undetectable,” photobiologist Dr. Ludger Kolbe explained in a 2021 report.
“We do not warrant that the results that may be obtained from the use of the service will be accurate or reliable,” RFLCT’s terms of service mentions.
Moreover, the company is “not responsible” if certain information on its website happens to be “inaccurate.”
Backlash to Valkyrae’s RFLCT announcement
Rachel, there is no, peer reviewed literature, clinically assessing the damaging effects of blue light on the skin, and certainly none presented by rflct.Your company designs trademarks aimed to fool the average consumer into believing that the product is based on genuine science
— bruce u (@OFFICIAL_BRUCEU) October 19, 2021
While many of Valkyrae’s coworkers and contemporaries were quick to respond with their congratulations and praise for her new company, others weren’t so pleased by the products on offer.
“Your company designs trademarks aimed to fool the average consumer into believing that the product is based on genuine science,” one follower said.
“I don’t know what’s worse,” another Twitter user considered.
“This scam product based on pseudoscience being sold to a bunch of impressionable 12-year-olds, or all of the other huge streamers joining in on the scam.
“Whoever convinced you that this was a problem is a very good conman.”
“I don’t believe a blue light is destroying your skin in the way the RFLCT product presents itself,” fellow Twitch streamer HasanAbi chimed in.
“It’s just f**king soap. “This blue light sh*t is bullsh*t.”
“I’ve watched some of Valkyrae’s streams, what does she know about skincare? True,” xQc said during his own broadcast on October 19.
Valkyrae quietly responds to RFLCT controversy
Mere hours after the RFLCT announcement — and its subsequent backlash — spread across social media, Valkyrae herself issued a response.
“I was told to wait until tomorrow to speak,” Valkyrae shared on her private Twitter account ‘itsraechill.’
“I’m also very confused,” her message ended. This post was shortly removed within the hour.
Valkyrae’s confusion itself is a point of contention.
In previous comments, the 100 Thieves streamer was more than eager to delve into her involvement with RFLCT’s formation and the effort that went into its first batch of skincare products.
“I can’t stop crying, this has been a long journey with my team,” Valkyrae explained at the time of the announcement.
The YouTube star confirmed she was directly involved in the entire creation process.
From the foundational days of the company, “testing samples” with those on her team, meetings with chemists, to being taken under the wing of beauty industry veteran Claudia Poccia, Valkyrae appears to have been as hands-on as possible.
i can't stop crying.. this has been a long journey with my team; testing, samples, meetings, chemists & Claudia Poccia teaching/guiding me through the skincare industry. this is just the beginning! i wish my dad was here for this. im beyond happy & hope i made my community proud
— rae☀️ (@Valkyrae) October 19, 2021
The online RFLCT store has also been subtly updated since the announcement. At first, the site confidently asserted that “blue light emitted from digital screens can damage your skin.”
A few hours later, this wording was updated with further quotes from various studies. “There is mounting evidence that supports [blue light’s] contribution to photo-aging,” one referenced study outlined.
For the time being, no further response has been provided by either Valkyrae or those on the RFLCT team.
As it currently stands, the entire RFLCT skincare range is still available to purchase both online and in brick and mortar stores across the United States.