Everyone Is Mad About Kylie Jenner’s Hand Sanitizer

I am so sick of hand sanitizer discourse

kylie jenner
Kylie Jenner is making hand sanitizer now, and the internet has some thoughts!
Toni Anne Barson/WireImage

Remember a year ago when you almost never had to hear about hand sanitizer? It was around, though less ubiquitous, sure, but no one ever really wanted to talk about it. Every once in a while someone would be like, “Ugh I hate how that stuff smells,” as if they are uniquely averse to the otherwise universally beloved smell of ethanol, but that was pretty much it. If someone tried to make you listen to them talk about hand sanitizer, you’d be like, “Wow, I don’t think this is how conversations work?” and change the subject.

But that was a distant, pre-coronavirus time, no more than a dream remembered. For the past 10 months or so, we’ve had to talk, think, read and write about hand sanitizer on a near daily basis. Sometimes, like today, we’re even mad about it.

In today’s episode of the hand sanitizer discourse, we’re mad because almost-billionaire beauty mogul Kylie Jenner has released a $7 hand sanitizer from her skincare company, Kylie Skin. This, critics allege, represents an unseemly attempt to “profit off the pandemic” and “extort the hand sanitizer business.” Bet you didn’t think you’d ever hear that sentence a year ago.

Jenner’s critics also argue the beauty mogul’s $7 hand sanitizer is distastefully overpriced compared to your standard bottle of Purell, which retails at around $2.99.

Now, is Kylie’s company trying to profit off of the pandemic hand sanitizer boom? Yes, obviously. That’s what companies do. They release products and services that appear to be in demand. But how exactly is Kylie Skin any different than the many, many other companies that have pivoted to producing hand sanitizer over the past several months? Because with Kylie Skin, we have a face to put to the name, and that face has the unmistakable fillers and contouring of a Kardashian.

Listen, there are a lot of reasons to be mad at the Kardashian-Jenners, if one is so inclined. They are the poster family for extravagant, inordinate wealth, which they display lavishly and unapologetically. They go on luxurious vacations in the middle of a pandemic and post tone-deaf, instantly meme-worthy Instagram captions about it. The Kardashians will always be a target for often-justified criticism. But hand sanitizer? Really?

Some have argued that if Jenner “really wants to help,” she should donate the proceeds of her hand sanitizer to COVID-19 relief and/or give it away for free. This might be a nice idea, sure. But is free Kardashian hand sanitizer the make-or-break factor that’s going to finally free us from this pandemic? To quote a certain Clark Griswold, take a look around you, we’re at the threshold of hell. No amount of free Kylie Jenner hand sanitizer is going to save us now.

Jenner’s hand sanitizer, however “overpriced” a $7 product can be considered, isn’t cutting off anyone else’s access to more affordable hand sanitizer brands. Does “luxury” hand sanitizer need to exist? No, but neither does “luxury” anything. The reality is, people like nice things and most of us are a bunch of suckers. Life is a waking nightmare right now, and we all have to take comfort where we can find it. If that’s in a bottle of $7 hand sanitizer, by all means, get yourself some fancy KarJenner hand sanitizer and abuse it for all its worth. And if you don’t want to spend $7 on hand sanitizer, don’t! Just go to CVS and buy some reasonably priced Purell! Kylie Jenner and her millennial pink bottles of hand sanitizer aren’t stopping you.

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