Beauty influencer Nikita Dragun is under scrutiny yet again over a contest she participated in hosting with Benefit Cosmetics. If you've been following the fan-favorite eyebrow product brand, then you know it hosts an annual Benefit Brow Search Contest, and the prize is $50,000 and a contract with the brand, which likely brings in even more money. 

It's a big deal to the brow lovers and aspiring influencers of the beauty community. Major influencers get involved in the "training" to show final contestants how to really snatch their brows the best. If you think that sounds a little silly, then you're probably right. The best brow contest isn't a serious thing. It's meant to be super fun and lighthearted and is ultimately just a cute PR-friendly way to drum up more social media buzz about Benefit Cosmetics brow products and techniques. 

Still, die-hard fans in the beauty community take it seriously, and many of them believe Nikita Dragun, one of the brow trainers, used her influencer status to cheat the contest. Luckily, Benefit Cosmetics put in its own two cents about the matter to quell the drama. 

Let's dive into this thing and get it all squared away — that is, if we can.

Benefit Cosmetics began searching for its contestants for the Benefit Brow Search contest in March. 

The brand allowed anyone to enter into the contest via social media. Contestants were required to "post two (2) photos to Instagram (each photo a “Promotion Post”), with each post recreating a different Benefit Brow Style (defined herein), using only Benefit brow products," according to the brand's landing page. "Benefit Brows Styles include only a feathered, natural, straight, or contour brow style (collectively, “Benefit Brow Style”)." 

The brand narrowed down the entries to its desired people, then split them up into teams that were headed by different influencers.

These are the influencers or "browfessors" heading the different teams.

That's Patrick Starrr, Desi Perkins, Nikita Dragun, and Ale La Chula. "These archmasters have aced their brow angles & will be teaching their teams about the ABCs of #benefitbrows — but only one beauty school knockout will win the $50,000 grand prize! Make sure you head to our IG Stories to find out what happens at our third annual #benefitbrowsearch," the brand wrote on Instagram.

After the contestants went to brow school and got their training, these were the top four contestants.

"Introducing THE TOP FOUR! Comment the NUMBER 1, 2, 3 or 4 to vote for the WINNER of our third annual #benefitbrowsearch," Benefit Cosmetics explained. "Whose brows are best in class?! Watch the big reveal on our IG Stories tonight!" 

The contestants are Carobi Parada (contestant #1), Kameron Lester (contestant #2), Shaniah (contestant #3), and Ashley (contestant #4), and each one is a finalist from the respective groups of the influencers or "browfessors." 

It's a cute idea, and plenty of excited fans got involved in the voting process. 

Unfortunately, Nikita Dragun rubbed some fans the wrong way after she attached a giveaway for her followers if they voted for her pupil, who was contestant no. 2, Kameron Lester. 

"Comment the number two on the Benefit Cosmetics post. Picking randomly," Dragun wrote in her Instagram Stories along with a photo of a huge box full of Benefit Cosmetics products. The message sent to her fans seemed like she was offering a makeup giveaway for any of her fans who voted for her contestant. Although the other influencers urged their fans to vote for the person on their team, it appears Dragun was the only one who provided an *extra* incentive. That's sort of like hosting a contest within a contest.

"This is literally cheating," one critic wrote on Twitter. "Why is Nikita grown ass doing a giveaway for folks who vote number two in the benefit brow search...." 

Dragun also deleted the photo, as it isn't in her Instagram Stories anymore at the time of publication, although the rest of her posts about the contest are. 

They feel like she was taking advantage of her influencer status.

"Not only that but literally all her peers with MILLIONS on MILLIONS of followers are saying the same thing........???? Like, if he win it literally wouldn’t be fair," the person elaborated. 

For what it's worth, I did see a few other influencers voting for people other than Dragun's team member. Still, it is interesting that she was the only "browfessor" who seemingly offered an extra incentive to vote. 

And... Dragun's contestant, Kameron Lester, did actually win the whole shebang.

"A big congratulations to our 2019 #benefitbrowsearch winner, @kameronlester, from #TeamDragun! His top of the class #benefitbrows & Benebabe spirit earned him a 4.0," Benefit Cosmetics shared. 

His eyebrows do look pretty snatched and his makeup overall looks like a dream. Still, critics are skeptical about whether or not he really "earned" that "4.0.

Some people wanted to see Benefit Cosmetics take proper measures against Dragun's tactics.

"I hope the person gets disqualified. This isn’t fair for anyone," one critic asserted. Whew! Disqualifying an innocent person in the contest seems kind of extreme and yet it's worth it to wonder whether a different winner would have been chosen if all four influencers had offered giveaway incentives the way that Nikita Dragun seemed to. After all, Patrick Starrr and Desi Perkins alone are superstars in the beauty influencer ranks. The Ale La Chula YouTuber also has close to one million followers. All of them could have offered giveaways from their respective brands and it might have evened out the odds. What say you?

One critic thinks Dragun went the extra mile because there was money in it for her.

"She's probably getting money alongside the person," the person speculated. "That's definitely bribery and shouldn't be allowed. Didn't JC do that last year over an influencer or whatever award show?" 

Well, I don't know about this theory. After all, Dragun has a lot of money already. She also probably got paid to participate as a "browfessor" in the first place. Also, the $50,000 is not split between the winner and the "browfessor"; it goes directly to the winner. 

One curious tweeter asked Benefit Cosmetics about the alleged cheating incident directly and actually got a response from the brand. 

"No one's going to talk about how Nikita bribed her followers on her story then deleted it?" she asked on the Benefit Cosmetics Instagram page. "Hey, gorgeous! Our voting ended at 5 p.m. EST. No additional votes were considered after that time."

The brand seems to be implying that Dragun posted her giveaway after the voting was already closed. One more glance at the initial screenshot of her post dispels that explanation though. 

Take another peep at the timestamp from the screenshot of Dragun's Instagram Stories. 

The screenshot was taken at 5:34 p.m. Instagram has it labeled that her Instagram Story went up one hour before the screenshot was taken. That puts her post time at around 4:34 p.m., give or take some time for the Instagram app to register it. This means that Dragun's followers had around 26 minutes to get votes in after she posted her makeup giveaway incentive. If this person is on Pacific time, then that makes Dragun's post even earlier and means her fans had even more time. The only way the Benefit Cosmetics explanation makes sense is if, for some reason, Dragun was in a time zone that made her post go up later than 5 p.m. EST. 

So what say you? Do you think Dragun's contestant deserved to win the $50,000 and contract from Benefit Cosmetics? Do you even think his brows were better than the other three participants? Who do you think should have won?

Let's revisit this next time on "Never Again, Because The Contest Is Over And Benefit Cosmetics Got Their Social Buzz, So It Is What It Is." Ha!