Grrrrrr-eenwashing: Arbonne Exposed

Published on March 10th, 2009 | by

When I tell people about my business, they often ask if I worry about competing with big all-natural beauty brands like Arbonne. They wonder how my natural products compare to the ones offered by this in-home party darling. I, of course, have had no idea how to answer their questions because I couldn’t find Arbonne’s ingredient lists for any of their products.

This past weekend I co-hosted a booth at the local Mind Body Life Expo, a big homeopathic love fest of salt rocks, acupuncturists, healing stones, beauty products, and even motivational speakers. In between the guy who was reading auras to diagnose allergies and the latest and greatest in anti-aging smoothies was the Arbonne booth. I took advantage of this rare opportunity to ask an Arbonne rep about the contents of their “pure and safe” skin care. She replied that they did not have the information about their natural products, but I was more than welcome to find complete ingredient information on the Arbonne website.

Rather than rant about the minutes of my life I wasted trying to find even one list of ingredients anywhere on the website, I will simply tell you that they do not exist. I knew I could not be the only one determined to know what was in the stuff, so I did a little web-sleuthing. Thanks to brave blogger Winking Brunette, I can now provide you with the dirty little secrets that apparently we’re supposed to be able to get via Arbonne consultants (let me repeat, I asked one and she quickly referred me to the website). Let’s take a look, shall we?


Ingredients for Arbonne’s Line Defiance Liquid Foundation SPF15: Water, Octinoxate, Cyclopentasiloxane, Isododecane, Butylene Glycol, Peg/ppg-18/18 Dimethicone, Dimethicone, Polysilicone-11, Hexyl Laurate, Polyglyceryl-4 Isostearate, Dimethylacrylamide/acrylic Acid, Polystyrene Ethyl Methacrylate Copolymer Disteardimonium Hectorite, Cetyl Peg/ppg-10/1 Dimethicone, Caprylyl Glycol, Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Lycium Barbarum Fruit Extract, Lecithin, Coco-caprylate/caprate, Dimethicone/divinyldimethicone, Silsesquioxane Crosspolymer, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Stearoxymethicone/dimethicone Copolymer, Peg-10 Dimethicone, Propylene Carbonate, Propylene Glycol Stearate, Propylene Glycol Laurate, Ethoxydiglycol, Dimethyl Isosorbide, Polysorbate 20, Sorbitan Laurate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Oligopeptide-10, Aminobutyric Acid, Barium Sulfate, Glycerin, Steareth-20, Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate, Chrysin, N-hydroxysuccinimide, Palmitoyl Hexapeptide-14, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Sodium Chloride, Stearic Acid, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Phenoxyethanol, Alumina, Titanium Dioxide (Ci 77891), Mica (77019), Iron Oxides (Ci 77491, Ci 77492, Ci 77499).

It’s practically like rubbing a garden all over your face!

Now I realize I’m likely to get more than one angry comment from someone linked to Arbonne, and to that I say, bring it on! Please, if this information is incorrect, enlighten us! I couldn’t help but notice, however, that the angry comments under the Winking Brunette post did not dispute the accuracy of the ingredients. So are they just upset to see the truth plastered on the web without a sales rep there to explain away our concerns?

The bottom line is that the vast majority of Arbonne customers are under the distinct impression that Arbonne products are natural. Yet, one quick look at the ingredient lists – should you exert the considerable effort necessary to find them –  and it becomes quite clear that it takes some serious spin cycles to wash this line green.


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About the Author

Terri Bly is the founder of The Nature of Beauty, LTD, an all-eco website, shop, and spa. She is a freelance writer, currently residing in Minneapolis.
  • Hi Mernie,

    I would like to respond to some of your points above because I have a different perspective:

    1). This statement is inaccurate. A product can most definitely be 100% natural AND contain a (natural) preservative (like Vitamin E for example). There are indeed both natural and synthetic preservatives, but synthetic version are usually less expensive and have a longer shelf life as you mentioned. Yes, a truly natural product usually has a shorter shelf life, but personally I don’t want to use something that was made 2 years before I use it. I know many brands that use a natural preservative and on average they have a shelf life of 6 months to 1 year.

    With regards to FDA allowables – that is a moot point for me personally as I don’t necessarily believe they have consumer’s best interest/health in mind. They also allow lead in lipstick, yet it has been banned from baby/kids toys and paint claiming its carcinogenic.

    2). The fact that Arbonne won’t eliminate parabens at any percentage and replace it with another preservative is telling, but not surprising.

    3). I agree with “makeup with no preservative can produce mold” – but that doesn’t mean parabens need to be used. Refer to my comments in #1 above.

    4). It is true that consumers may misunderstand INCI (International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients) labeling, but most plant ingredients are listed in English or Latin. For example, the INCI label for Olive oil is “Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil”. I think the point of this article refers not to the misunderstanding of Latin names of plants, but rather what makes up the majority of an Arbonne product. In the author’s example, the Liquid Foundation SPF 15 is LOADED with synthetic, petrochemical, toxic junk with a very small percentage of natural ingredients thrown in to the mix. This is a perfect example of greenwashing. A natural product is one that has a very high percentage of natural ingredients, not one that has a very high percentage of unnatural/synthetic ingredients with some natural ingredients in it.

    If you like the products, it’s definitely your decision to use and sell them. The important thing is to be informed and know what’s in the products we are using and whatever you decide to do with that information is of course your decision.

  • Hi Mernie,

    I would like to respond to some of your points above because I have a different perspective:

    1). This statement is inaccurate. A product can most definitely be 100% natural AND contain a (natural) preservative (like Vitamin E for example). There are indeed both natural and synthetic preservatives, but synthetic version are usually less expensive and have a longer shelf life as you mentioned. Yes, a truly natural product usually has a shorter shelf life, but personally I don’t want to use something that was made 2 years before I use it. I know many brands that use a natural preservative and on average they have a shelf life of 6 months to 1 year.

    With regards to FDA allowables – that is a moot point for me personally as I don’t necessarily believe they have consumer’s best interest/health in mind. They also allow lead in lipstick, yet it has been banned from baby/kids toys and paint claiming its carcinogenic.

    2). The fact that Arbonne won’t eliminate parabens at any percentage and replace it with another preservative is telling, but not surprising.

    3). I agree with “makeup with no preservative can produce mold” – but that doesn’t mean parabens need to be used. Refer to my comments in #1 above.

    4). It is true that consumers may misunderstand INCI (International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients) labeling, but most plant ingredients are listed in English or Latin. For example, the INCI label for Olive oil is “Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil”. I think the point of this article refers not to the misunderstanding of Latin names of plants, but rather what makes up the majority of an Arbonne product. In the author’s example, the Liquid Foundation SPF 15 is LOADED with synthetic, petrochemical, toxic junk with a very small percentage of natural ingredients thrown in to the mix. This is a perfect example of greenwashing. A natural product is one that has a very high percentage of natural ingredients, not one that has a very high percentage of unnatural/synthetic ingredients with some natural ingredients in it.

    If you like the products, it’s definitely your decision to use and sell them. The important thing is to be informed and know what’s in the products we are using and whatever you decide to do with that information is of course your decision.

  • Lindsey

    I’ve read all of the posts and I agree with Arbonne never claimed to be “organic” or “all-natural” so the very first article was really pointless…but everyone has freedom of speech. Organic is organic and everything else is not. Products can have “natural” ingredients in them and still be fabulous without being organic. If you want organic…just make sure it says organic…otherwise it’s not. Arbonne products do have fabulous botanical ingredients…there is a huge glossary in the back of the catalog and they do not test on animals or have animal products or bi-products in them…no mineral oil, no added dyes or fragrances. I love Arbonne products. I get comments on my skin all the time that it is perfect. (Nobody is perfect…but still I get those comments) I’ve been using them since 2006.

  • Lindsey

    I’ve read all of the posts and I agree with Arbonne never claimed to be “organic” or “all-natural” so the very first article was really pointless…but everyone has freedom of speech. Organic is organic and everything else is not. Products can have “natural” ingredients in them and still be fabulous without being organic. If you want organic…just make sure it says organic…otherwise it’s not. Arbonne products do have fabulous botanical ingredients…there is a huge glossary in the back of the catalog and they do not test on animals or have animal products or bi-products in them…no mineral oil, no added dyes or fragrances. I love Arbonne products. I get comments on my skin all the time that it is perfect. (Nobody is perfect…but still I get those comments) I’ve been using them since 2006.

  • I want to be clear about something with regard to this discussion. The point is not whether Arbonne’s products are all natural or all organic. Every company has the right to put whatever they want in their products. It has to do with the perception the public has about their products. While it’s clear that many people want to think of this company as altruistic, only delivering the best skin care science and nature have to offer, the reality is that they clearly have laid out a strategy designed to give consumers the impression the products are VERY natural. Since writing this piece, I have encountered dozens upon dozens of women who were TOLD by Arbonne consultants that the products were “organic” and “all natural.”

    The reality is that if Arbonne was such an ethical, do-good organization, they would not hide their ingredients. If they truly do not “claim” to be organic or all-natural, then they should display their ingredients, rather than just throw around phrases and words that imply natural (e.g., “botanically based”).

    The truth is that they define greenwashing, which simply means highlighting that which is natural and/or organic about their products, and downplaying – or neglecting to mention anywhere – what is not. Which in Arbonne’s case is the vast majority of their ingredients.

  • I want to be clear about something with regard to this discussion. The point is not whether Arbonne’s products are all natural or all organic. Every company has the right to put whatever they want in their products. It has to do with the perception the public has about their products. While it’s clear that many people want to think of this company as altruistic, only delivering the best skin care science and nature have to offer, the reality is that they clearly have laid out a strategy designed to give consumers the impression the products are VERY natural. Since writing this piece, I have encountered dozens upon dozens of women who were TOLD by Arbonne consultants that the products were “organic” and “all natural.”

    The reality is that if Arbonne was such an ethical, do-good organization, they would not hide their ingredients. If they truly do not “claim” to be organic or all-natural, then they should display their ingredients, rather than just throw around phrases and words that imply natural (e.g., “botanically based”).

    The truth is that they define greenwashing, which simply means highlighting that which is natural and/or organic about their products, and downplaying – or neglecting to mention anywhere – what is not. Which in Arbonne’s case is the vast majority of their ingredients.

  • Stephanie

    Again, I’d like to echo a comment made by an arbonne rep. (I am also a consultant). Arbonne, the company, NEVER claims to be all-natural, rather “botanically-based” and for some it can be misleading. I am always up front with my clients about the fact they are not all natural…Consultants making these claims are mis-representing the company, and I’d like to add that the reason Arbonne allows for some chemicals is because they believe that their products are safer that way. They stand by “pure, safe, beneficial.” NOT all-natural. I stand by these products because they go under rigorous testing by outide laboratories and tested on actual people.

  • Stephanie

    Again, I’d like to echo a comment made by an arbonne rep. (I am also a consultant). Arbonne, the company, NEVER claims to be all-natural, rather “botanically-based” and for some it can be misleading. I am always up front with my clients about the fact they are not all natural…Consultants making these claims are mis-representing the company, and I’d like to add that the reason Arbonne allows for some chemicals is because they believe that their products are safer that way. They stand by “pure, safe, beneficial.” NOT all-natural. I stand by these products because they go under rigorous testing by outide laboratories and tested on actual people.

  • Hi,
    I had a friend who started with Arbonne about 2 or so months ago and I do understand how a consultant can get excited about an opportunity and the “key” ingredients or ‘active’ ingredients and not know much about or don’t think to know what the other ingredients are for. I myself used to be a consultant for a ‘naturally based’ skin care company before I became an esthetician. My instructor opened my eyes to understanding ingredients that are in products. Now I own a spa and I understand ingredients more and when I go to the store I don’t get pulled in by labels nor do I get pulled in by compelling presentations and pictures in sales catalogues from representatives. I turn right on the back of the product and get to know what is in it. But you don’t have to be an esthetician to know what isn’t good for you skin. There databases on line to help anyone know what the effects of ingredients will be. My arbonne friend wanted me to look at the line for my spa, but I pride my spa for using ALL natural and organic skin care and ingredients. So I will not be using or offering the line. I just encourage people to read the label or ask a representative of these companies for a list of ingredients. Regardless of what a company advertises make sure we find out what is in the bottle. It can save you time, money and disappointment.

  • Hi,
    I had a friend who started with Arbonne about 2 or so months ago and I do understand how a consultant can get excited about an opportunity and the “key” ingredients or ‘active’ ingredients and not know much about or don’t think to know what the other ingredients are for. I myself used to be a consultant for a ‘naturally based’ skin care company before I became an esthetician. My instructor opened my eyes to understanding ingredients that are in products. Now I own a spa and I understand ingredients more and when I go to the store I don’t get pulled in by labels nor do I get pulled in by compelling presentations and pictures in sales catalogues from representatives. I turn right on the back of the product and get to know what is in it. But you don’t have to be an esthetician to know what isn’t good for you skin. There databases on line to help anyone know what the effects of ingredients will be. My arbonne friend wanted me to look at the line for my spa, but I pride my spa for using ALL natural and organic skin care and ingredients. So I will not be using or offering the line. I just encourage people to read the label or ask a representative of these companies for a list of ingredients. Regardless of what a company advertises make sure we find out what is in the bottle. It can save you time, money and disappointment.

  • I am so happy to see this discussion going on. I am a huge advocate of the truth and have heard many times that this company is natural. When I received samples of the baby products and read the ingredients, I was quite surprised and disappointed . If one truly understands how our health is affected by what we put on our skin continuosly even in small doses, you would be concerned!
    I have found only one company that I ethical, truly organic and very informative.
    Please feel free to view my site to make comparisons and see what real products should look like.
    http://www.aprilshabazz.mionegroup.com
    blessings!

  • I am so happy to see this discussion going on. I am a huge advocate of the truth and have heard many times that this company is natural. When I received samples of the baby products and read the ingredients, I was quite surprised and disappointed . If one truly understands how our health is affected by what we put on our skin continuosly even in small doses, you would be concerned!
    I have found only one company that I ethical, truly organic and very informative.
    Please feel free to view my site to make comparisons and see what real products should look like.
    http://www.aprilshabazz.mionegroup.com
    blessings!

  • Jennifer Grenadier

    I have been an avid user of Arbonne products for a couple of years and the results are amazing. I would like to know, which specific ingredient you seem to have a problem with? And what is the problem with “rubbing a garden all over your face?” To me, that is much better than rubbing toxic (and sometimes cancer-causing) chemicals all over your face. More than that, I don’t know which Arbonne reps you have been talking to, but I’ve gotten an ingredients list straight-away every time I have asked (which has been often). Moreover, I am a preferred client, so I can log onto the website at any time and get the ingredients of every single Arbonne product with the click of a button. It seems you have been a bit misinformed. But if my word isn’t enough, my Oncologist believes enough in the ingredients of the products that he offers them to patients in his office, sometimes for free. Yes, he had no problem finding the ingredients list either.

  • Jennifer Grenadier

    I have been an avid user of Arbonne products for a couple of years and the results are amazing. I would like to know, which specific ingredient you seem to have a problem with? And what is the problem with “rubbing a garden all over your face?” To me, that is much better than rubbing toxic (and sometimes cancer-causing) chemicals all over your face. More than that, I don’t know which Arbonne reps you have been talking to, but I’ve gotten an ingredients list straight-away every time I have asked (which has been often). Moreover, I am a preferred client, so I can log onto the website at any time and get the ingredients of every single Arbonne product with the click of a button. It seems you have been a bit misinformed. But if my word isn’t enough, my Oncologist believes enough in the ingredients of the products that he offers them to patients in his office, sometimes for free. Yes, he had no problem finding the ingredients list either.

  • As a former Arbonne rep,I had many people who tried samples of the products break out in rashes and developed inflamed skin. This is one of the reasons I could no longer recommend the products. There is a website – http://www.safecosmetics.org that lists the names of companies that have signed the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, saying their products are safe from known toxins. My new company, Apriori Beauty, is based on the new science of Nutrigenomics – the molecular relationship between nutrition and the response of your genes. We have gone away from the AHA/BHA’s and highly acidic ingredients that cause sensitive skin to respond in such a way, and our ingredient lists for each product are on that product’s page. Our ingredients affect our genes in such a way to keep our cells healthier throughout their normal life and beyond. We are certified Organic, with a new OPN toxicology rating for Organic, Performance and Natural. With the release of new scientific research, there will be so many more great products released. I have even seen a new serum that contains stem cells to be applied directly to the face! I don’t think I am quite ready for that! Best wishes to all of you on making your life beautiful!

    • Lacey

      Hi Candy. Is Apriori actually "certified organic"? I know this is an old discussion I'm jumping in on, but it seems it's largely about mostly well-intentioned Arbonne reps misrepresenting the company as all-natural. I don't see anything on Apriori's site about certified organic, and just thought I'd inquire so you don't run into the same problem of having well-meaning misrepresentation come back to bite you. "Certified Organic" has very specific definitions, that the Apriori site does not seem to meet or claim to meet. Thanks for clarifiying.

  • As a former Arbonne rep,I had many people who tried samples of the products break out in rashes and developed inflamed skin. This is one of the reasons I could no longer recommend the products. There is a website – http://www.safecosmetics.org that lists the names of companies that have signed the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, saying their products are safe from known toxins. My new company, Apriori Beauty, is based on the new science of Nutrigenomics – the molecular relationship between nutrition and the response of your genes. We have gone away from the AHA/BHA’s and highly acidic ingredients that cause sensitive skin to respond in such a way, and our ingredient lists for each product are on that product’s page. Our ingredients affect our genes in such a way to keep our cells healthier throughout their normal life and beyond. We are certified Organic, with a new OPN toxicology rating for Organic, Performance and Natural. With the release of new scientific research, there will be so many more great products released. I have even seen a new serum that contains stem cells to be applied directly to the face! I don’t think I am quite ready for that! Best wishes to all of you on making your life beautiful!

    • Lacey

      Hi Candy. Is Apriori actually "certified organic"? I know this is an old discussion I'm jumping in on, but it seems it's largely about mostly well-intentioned Arbonne reps misrepresenting the company as all-natural. I don't see anything on Apriori's site about certified organic, and just thought I'd inquire so you don't run into the same problem of having well-meaning misrepresentation come back to bite you. "Certified Organic" has very specific definitions, that the Apriori site does not seem to meet or claim to meet. Thanks for clarifiying.

  • I agree with one of the posts that Arbonne doesn’t claim to be organic and most companies that are “natural” really are not so being educated with reading what’s on the labels is your best defense.

    I check ingredients on http://www.skindeep.com when I’m not familiar with something. Having said that, I don’t think all products with low doses such as parabens may be all that bad, especially in tiny doses and for some people, it doesn’t bother them. There are worst things like eating fast food on a daily basis. I feel as someone who loves healthy, clean products I want to educate people, but ultimately it’s their decision to choose what they want to use. But with so many healthier products on the market these days and at reasonable prices, I do wonder why someone would risk using products with toxic ingredients.

    Great article!

    Janette

  • I agree with one of the posts that Arbonne doesn’t claim to be organic and most companies that are “natural” really are not so being educated with reading what’s on the labels is your best defense.

    I check ingredients on http://www.skindeep.com when I’m not familiar with something. Having said that, I don’t think all products with low doses such as parabens may be all that bad, especially in tiny doses and for some people, it doesn’t bother them. There are worst things like eating fast food on a daily basis. I feel as someone who loves healthy, clean products I want to educate people, but ultimately it’s their decision to choose what they want to use. But with so many healthier products on the market these days and at reasonable prices, I do wonder why someone would risk using products with toxic ingredients.

    Great article!

    Janette

  • Char

    Arbonne is Botanically based, which means a proprietary blending of science AND nature, based on herbal and botanical principles. It is the main thing that makes Arbonne different. Because Arbonne formulates their ingredients without any animal products or by-products (aka vegan friendly), they must use science to formulate their products. A good example: natural beeswax is a wonderful ingredient with many beneficial properties. Because it is considered an animal by-product, to use it would not be in compliance with our philosophies. To overcome this, we use synthetic beeswax, which replicates the composition of natural beeswax.

    Therefore, the ingredient list may confuse those who are not as educated about the products and the philosophies of Arbonne.

  • Char

    Arbonne is Botanically based, which means a proprietary blending of science AND nature, based on herbal and botanical principles. It is the main thing that makes Arbonne different. Because Arbonne formulates their ingredients without any animal products or by-products (aka vegan friendly), they must use science to formulate their products. A good example: natural beeswax is a wonderful ingredient with many beneficial properties. Because it is considered an animal by-product, to use it would not be in compliance with our philosophies. To overcome this, we use synthetic beeswax, which replicates the composition of natural beeswax.

    Therefore, the ingredient list may confuse those who are not as educated about the products and the philosophies of Arbonne.

  • Char
  • Char
  • Hi,

    I’d like to see your ingredient list of the products you sell?

    My thoughts are that a poor extraction process can leave residual solvents in ppm or ppb range in the ingredients used in formulations, so if you sell “natural” products, your ingredients are probably not as natural as you think. For the example of natural sun protection, the best choice for natural sun protection is staying out of the sun. Also, if your sun protection factor doesn’t have any active ingredients, then it is totally unregulated, and probably a bigger wild card in terms of effectiveness and clinically proven, reproducible results.

  • Hi,

    I’d like to see your ingredient list of the products you sell?

    My thoughts are that a poor extraction process can leave residual solvents in ppm or ppb range in the ingredients used in formulations, so if you sell “natural” products, your ingredients are probably not as natural as you think. For the example of natural sun protection, the best choice for natural sun protection is staying out of the sun. Also, if your sun protection factor doesn’t have any active ingredients, then it is totally unregulated, and probably a bigger wild card in terms of effectiveness and clinically proven, reproducible results.

  • Terri

    I think it’s important for me to once again clarify that the point of this article was not to criticize the actual ingredient content of Arbonne products. If they want to blend “the best of science and nature,” that is certainly their perogative. But the reality is that somehow, the vast majority of American consumers end up believing that these products are completely natural. Many believe they are “organic.” My guess is that Arbonne simply choose not to dispell this belief.

    Also, to say that using commercial (rather than “natural”) products means you have some kind of clinical, proven results is simply untrue. The beauty industry is UNREGULATED. No one has to provide any reproducible results. Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are proven full spectrum sun blocks.

    What I’m learning is that people will often believe what is most comfortable for them to believe. If you really don’t want to switch to natural/organic beauty products, then just make that a conscious choice, rather thanngrasping onto untruths, myths, and nonsensical phrases to justify sticking with what you know.

  • Terri

    I think it’s important for me to once again clarify that the point of this article was not to criticize the actual ingredient content of Arbonne products. If they want to blend “the best of science and nature,” that is certainly their perogative. But the reality is that somehow, the vast majority of American consumers end up believing that these products are completely natural. Many believe they are “organic.” My guess is that Arbonne simply choose not to dispell this belief.

    Also, to say that using commercial (rather than “natural”) products means you have some kind of clinical, proven results is simply untrue. The beauty industry is UNREGULATED. No one has to provide any reproducible results. Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are proven full spectrum sun blocks.

    What I’m learning is that people will often believe what is most comfortable for them to believe. If you really don’t want to switch to natural/organic beauty products, then just make that a conscious choice, rather thanngrasping onto untruths, myths, and nonsensical phrases to justify sticking with what you know.

  • If you claim an active ingredient, then the U.S. Federal Government will want to see the proof that you are adding those active raw ingredients in the correct concentration range – not too high and not too low. (Check out the USP for cosmetic chemistry testing). Zinc Oxide and TiO2 will get audited (and an audit happens after an SOP is validated and results are reproducible), just like any other active ingredient, not to prove it as a sun block, but to prove that it is present in the correct concentration.

    If you add too much of an active ingredient, you will harm or permanently damage human beings. If you put too little concentration of an active ingredient in a product, it is ineffective and people, in this case, will get sun damage, and sue the company for not living up to its claims.

    The cosmetics industry is regulated. If you buy from a cosmetics company that does not get audited, then you are buying a high risk product. Small, ma and pa compounders may not get audited, but the big names such as Arbonne, Avon, Mac, you name it, they get audited and they use SOPs and validated methodology, and for that reason, the bigger names have a competitive advantage over the smaller, individual compounders.

    Active ingredients in cosmetic products are regulated. I know. I was in the industry as a testing chemist for 10 years.

    Good blog post. It’s interesting stuff, isn’t it?

  • If you claim an active ingredient, then the U.S. Federal Government will want to see the proof that you are adding those active raw ingredients in the correct concentration range – not too high and not too low. (Check out the USP for cosmetic chemistry testing). Zinc Oxide and TiO2 will get audited (and an audit happens after an SOP is validated and results are reproducible), just like any other active ingredient, not to prove it as a sun block, but to prove that it is present in the correct concentration.

    If you add too much of an active ingredient, you will harm or permanently damage human beings. If you put too little concentration of an active ingredient in a product, it is ineffective and people, in this case, will get sun damage, and sue the company for not living up to its claims.

    The cosmetics industry is regulated. If you buy from a cosmetics company that does not get audited, then you are buying a high risk product. Small, ma and pa compounders may not get audited, but the big names such as Arbonne, Avon, Mac, you name it, they get audited and they use SOPs and validated methodology, and for that reason, the bigger names have a competitive advantage over the smaller, individual compounders.

    Active ingredients in cosmetic products are regulated. I know. I was in the industry as a testing chemist for 10 years.

    Good blog post. It’s interesting stuff, isn’t it?

  • Bernadette

    I too was disappointed when I got the ingredients of their “natural” cosmetics. There are a host of synthetic dyes in their lipsticks. The web site is careful not to say their cosmetics are natural; however the reps just lump all their products under the “natural” claim.

  • Bernadette

    I too was disappointed when I got the ingredients of their “natural” cosmetics. There are a host of synthetic dyes in their lipsticks. The web site is careful not to say their cosmetics are natural; however the reps just lump all their products under the “natural” claim.

  • To my friends in Arbonne,

    It makes me angry that those of you who tried to build a business get snagged in corporate mistakes. I disagree with Dabi above that the company’s distributors will survive. BK 11 rarely turns out favorably for any one involved. The company most likely will move to a store based model and eliminate the middlewomen who are distributors.

    I’ve been in network marketing for over 29 years, and went through several corporate failures that decimated my business, my income and my lifestyle. Several years ago, I found a home with a totally debt free, Billion dollar 25 year old fortune 500 company. We are privately owned, and with no debt, will never face the music being faced by Arbonne’s parent. Give me a call if you are a true networker, tired of working for nothing, and need a place that is safe, profitable, secure and permanent. You owe it to yourself and to your team.

    Thanks

    Anthony
    917-331-9686

  • To my friends in Arbonne,

    It makes me angry that those of you who tried to build a business get snagged in corporate mistakes. I disagree with Dabi above that the company’s distributors will survive. BK 11 rarely turns out favorably for any one involved. The company most likely will move to a store based model and eliminate the middlewomen who are distributors.

    I’ve been in network marketing for over 29 years, and went through several corporate failures that decimated my business, my income and my lifestyle. Several years ago, I found a home with a totally debt free, Billion dollar 25 year old fortune 500 company. We are privately owned, and with no debt, will never face the music being faced by Arbonne’s parent. Give me a call if you are a true networker, tired of working for nothing, and need a place that is safe, profitable, secure and permanent. You owe it to yourself and to your team.

    Thanks

    Anthony
    917-331-9686

  • It is so frustrating to be at expos and have them show up presenting their products as natural. I usually have reprints of the OCA article about parabens and breast cancer However, this once got me into trouble as the Arbonne Rep complained that I was hurting her sales. (I once was at an Ewomen meeting where the A. rep in her presentation claimed she worked with a lot of breast cancer patients with her natural line. Not wanting to embarass her, I approached her later about parabens being associated with breast cancer. First she said that wasn’t proven. I said the tobacco companies say that about cigarettes. Well she said – parabens are only a problem when there is more than x amount and we have half that. Silly rep these chemicals accuumulate in your fat tissue.
    BTW:My company has a certified organic foundation that uses zinc oxide for SPF.

  • I was once shown the rep handbook. Ingredients are listed and the sources given. Plant ingredients are listed as plants and chemical ingredients are listed as coming from science. The rep that showed me her book was so brainwashed by her upline that she had a hard time understanding these ingredients were not natural.

  • Megan

    Many of the ingredient lists circulating on the Internet in regards to Arbonne are out of date and not accurate. Yes, only a consultant or preferred client can access this information, and I wish that were not the case! If consumers had access to the most up to date ingredient lists, I think you would be very pleased with the advancements Arbonne has made in improving their skin care! Arbonne is a direct selling company where people share with people and allow you the ability to try full-sized products in the comfort of your home to see if you like them. You receive one-on-one personal consultations, and any knowledgeable business partner can share nutritional and ingredient information by the click of a button. You don’t have to run around town sampling products, wasting your time, gas, and money! In addition you can have your products delivered to your door at a discount (and 45 day money back guarantee). There are great rewards for consumers and consultants in this business and it is truly a smart business with a phenomenal product line. I commend you for doing your research on this (as I realize it is limited), but have we not learned at this point in time that the internet is filled with misleading information at times? You might also be happy to know the makeup has been replaced. For the sake of those who read your post and take everything you say to heart, I encourage you to do your research from a reputable source.

  • Megan

    Many of the ingredient lists circulating on the Internet in regards to Arbonne are out of date and not accurate. Yes, only a consultant or preferred client can access this information, and I wish that were not the case! If consumers had access to the most up to date ingredient lists, I think you would be very pleased with the advancements Arbonne has made in improving their skin care! Arbonne is a direct selling company where people share with people and allow you the ability to try full-sized products in the comfort of your home to see if you like them. You receive one-on-one personal consultations, and any knowledgeable business partner can share nutritional and ingredient information by the click of a button. You don’t have to run around town sampling products, wasting your time, gas, and money! In addition you can have your products delivered to your door at a discount (and 45 day money back guarantee). There are great rewards for consumers and consultants in this business and it is truly a smart business with a phenomenal product line. I commend you for doing your research on this (as I realize it is limited), but have we not learned at this point in time that the internet is filled with misleading information at times? You might also be happy to know the makeup has been replaced. For the sake of those who read your post and take everything you say to heart, I encourage you to do your research from a reputable source.

  • Jean

    I was surprised when reading that Arbonne ingredients were not listed on the outside of the box. I just looked at NutriMenC boxes. They all have the ingredients listed on the outside of the box.

  • Jean

    I was surprised when reading that Arbonne ingredients were not listed on the outside of the box. I just looked at NutriMenC boxes. They all have the ingredients listed on the outside of the box.

  • Roger

    My wife uses Arbonne products (but I have to admit I have tried her shower gel).

    My purpose in writing here is not to critique the Arbonne’s products, but to reaffirm that Arbonne goes to great lengths to CONCEAL their ingredients from their customers and the general public.

    This fact raises questions about Arbonne the company, who stands virtually alone in going to great lengths to hide the essential nature of their products.

    CONSIDER THIS: If you’re not an Arbonne consultant, you won’t see a list of ingredients until AFTER you have purchased the product. Even then, the ingredients are nearly always printed on an outer box or wrapper, which consumers nearly always toss in the trash as soon as they have the product. I have wanted to know what was in that shower gel of my wife’s that I used surreptitiously, but nope, the box was tossed. This is of course the way Arbonne planned it.

    If you like to know what’s in the stuff you put on your skin, you’re not going to like Arbonne, because even if you like their products, you won’t like the fact that the company made you run through hoops to find out what was in them.

    • Sarah

      all you need to do is ask your consultant to send u the ingredients list. thats what my consultant did

  • Roger

    My wife uses Arbonne products (but I have to admit I have tried her shower gel).

    My purpose in writing here is not to critique the Arbonne’s products, but to reaffirm that Arbonne goes to great lengths to CONCEAL their ingredients from their customers and the general public.

    This fact raises questions about Arbonne the company, who stands virtually alone in going to great lengths to hide the essential nature of their products.

    CONSIDER THIS: If you’re not an Arbonne consultant, you won’t see a list of ingredients until AFTER you have purchased the product. Even then, the ingredients are nearly always printed on an outer box or wrapper, which consumers nearly always toss in the trash as soon as they have the product. I have wanted to know what was in that shower gel of my wife’s that I used surreptitiously, but nope, the box was tossed. This is of course the way Arbonne planned it.

    If you like to know what’s in the stuff you put on your skin, you’re not going to like Arbonne, because even if you like their products, you won’t like the fact that the company made you run through hoops to find out what was in them.

  • Kim

    To the Arbonne Bashers
    Arbonne’s product statement is “Inspired by nature and enhanced by science” and also “Pure, Safe and Beneficial” I have used Arbonne and have been a professional makeup artist for over 20 years nvolved in the skincare industry. The Arbonne products are wonderful. I was never told they were natural and every box list every single ingredient so if you could’t see the ingredients then you weren’t looking too hard. Arbonne doesn’t and has never hid their ingredients. You folks stating this are misleading. From the first day I used Arbonne I could look up every product and I never experienced a consultant who wouldn’t gladly get the needed information for me.

    For a product to be truly green and safe it would have a shelf life of about one week then the bacteria and fungus would start decomposing the ingredients. All products needs some type preservative be it in natural form or synthetic.
    It would also have to only be placed in a glass container. If placed in synthectic plastic it would be contaminated with carcogens.
    If any of the ingredients placed in the products were not produced on organic farms then they could contain genetically modified ingredients and there goes your so called “Green”.
    It is great to be a label reader, as I am myself, but at some point you have to realize that every green, natural, organic product is only as pure as the environment it is grown or manufactured in. The only way to have a truly “Green” product is to make it yourself and store it in glass.

    Just a thought:)

    Cheers.

  • Kim

    To the Arbonne Bashers
    Arbonne’s product statement is “Inspired by nature and enhanced by science” and also “Pure, Safe and Beneficial” I have used Arbonne and have been a professional makeup artist for over 20 years nvolved in the skincare industry. The Arbonne products are wonderful. I was never told they were natural and every box list every single ingredient so if you could’t see the ingredients then you weren’t looking too hard. Arbonne doesn’t and has never hid their ingredients. You folks stating this are misleading. From the first day I used Arbonne I could look up every product and I never experienced a consultant who wouldn’t gladly get the needed information for me.

    For a product to be truly green and safe it would have a shelf life of about one week then the bacteria and fungus would start decomposing the ingredients. All products needs some type preservative be it in natural form or synthetic.
    It would also have to only be placed in a glass container. If placed in synthectic plastic it would be contaminated with carcogens.
    If any of the ingredients placed in the products were not produced on organic farms then they could contain genetically modified ingredients and there goes your so called “Green”.
    It is great to be a label reader, as I am myself, but at some point you have to realize that every green, natural, organic product is only as pure as the environment it is grown or manufactured in. The only way to have a truly “Green” product is to make it yourself and store it in glass.

    Just a thought:)

    Cheers.

  • Teresa

    Arbonne is re-vamping its website & consumers will be able to see all the information about product ingredients.
    It launched new product lines in March 2010 – improved anti-aging skin care for both men & women and an entirely new cosmetic line. Both offer improvements to the ingredients used, they work better on the skin and there are NO PARABENS in these products.

  • Teresa

    Arbonne is re-vamping its website & consumers will be able to see all the information about product ingredients.
    It launched new product lines in March 2010 – improved anti-aging skin care for both men & women and an entirely new cosmetic line. Both offer improvements to the ingredients used, they work better on the skin and there are NO PARABENS in these products.

  • Katie

    I just ordered from an arbonne rep. My internet was down (lightening strike) or I would have googled every thing she said before I spent the money.

    However, the hand cream tested well (it absorbed and didn’t take much) and according to her she was 58 but she looked 45. I decided to give it a go because the claims were exactly what I needed.

    I was a little disturbed because the catalogue lists “selected ingredients” but the impression that the CATALOGUE gives is exactly what this article complains about.

    The presentation from the rep sealed the deal. This woman is clearly an excellent sales woman and does this full time, so she appears very successful at it. It doesn’t strike me as a rogue or unethical rep thing at all.

    It does strike me as an image the company wants to project without getting pegged for doing so. Otherwise they would put their full ingredient lists on the catalogue or on the website.

    I am waiting for my package and if the products are not as the rep represented – petroleum free, formaldehyde free and made from simple botanic ingedients, I am sending for my money back.

    To all who say that how this article says arbonne is being presented is untrue, I will tell you that it defines exactly how this arbonne was presented to me by both the reps and the clever marketing materials.

    It *may* be a fine product, but if any of this is true about the actual ingredients (which I will verify for myself when I get the box I guess) then the company (the company! not just rogue reps) encourages the selling of its products based on a false and misleading image.

    Its too expensive for me to buy on a projected natural basis. I can buy more natural products for the same price at the health food store.

    It would be very different if, as some in the comments have said, it was truly sold on the basis that it is the best of science and botanics. Then the consumer can make a choice thats best for them.

    But, if that were true, their catalogue would be laid out differently. And its not. I loved the presentation. I liked the tested products. I don’t like finding out I’ve been mislead.

  • Katie

    I just ordered from an arbonne rep. My internet was down (lightening strike) or I would have googled every thing she said before I spent the money.

    However, the hand cream tested well (it absorbed and didn’t take much) and according to her she was 58 but she looked 45. I decided to give it a go because the claims were exactly what I needed.

    I was a little disturbed because the catalogue lists “selected ingredients” but the impression that the CATALOGUE gives is exactly what this article complains about.

    The presentation from the rep sealed the deal. This woman is clearly an excellent sales woman and does this full time, so she appears very successful at it. It doesn’t strike me as a rogue or unethical rep thing at all.

    It does strike me as an image the company wants to project without getting pegged for doing so. Otherwise they would put their full ingredient lists on the catalogue or on the website.

    I am waiting for my package and if the products are not as the rep represented – petroleum free, formaldehyde free and made from simple botanic ingedients, I am sending for my money back.

    To all who say that how this article says arbonne is being presented is untrue, I will tell you that it defines exactly how this arbonne was presented to me by both the reps and the clever marketing materials.

    It *may* be a fine product, but if any of this is true about the actual ingredients (which I will verify for myself when I get the box I guess) then the company (the company! not just rogue reps) encourages the selling of its products based on a false and misleading image.

    Its too expensive for me to buy on a projected natural basis. I can buy more natural products for the same price at the health food store.

    It would be very different if, as some in the comments have said, it was truly sold on the basis that it is the best of science and botanics. Then the consumer can make a choice thats best for them.

    But, if that were true, their catalogue would be laid out differently. And its not. I loved the presentation. I liked the tested products. I don’t like finding out I’ve been mislead.

  • My observations on this… It's true that Arbonne does not claim to be all-natural or organic, but it's also true that they haven't done a very good job of reiging in the largely well-meaning but dangerously misleading reps who carelessly and flippantly use buzz words like "all-natural" in their presentations. Kudos to those of you Arbonne reps posting here who are running your business wisely and carefully!

    When Arbonne was presented to me 5 years ago, it was presented truthfully and correctly, and what appealed to me about them was their use of fewer synthetic chemicals and their integrity to say upfront (because it was presented to me correctly) that they still use synthetics for various formula functions. When you turn around the "natural" product bottles in the healthfood stores, or products from the many "So-and-So Organics" companies, or even ask the handmade formulators selling on Etsy for more details on their ingredients, they are largely the same: semi-natural… but often being marketed as "all-natural."

    To be continued…

  • My observations on this… It's true that Arbonne does not claim to be all-natural or organic, but it's also true that they haven't done a very good job of reiging in the largely well-meaning but dangerously misleading reps who carelessly and flippantly use buzz words like "all-natural" in their presentations. Kudos to those of you Arbonne reps posting here who are running your business wisely and carefully!

    When Arbonne was presented to me 5 years ago, it was presented truthfully and correctly, and what appealed to me about them was their use of fewer synthetic chemicals and their integrity to say upfront (because it was presented to me correctly) that they still use synthetics for various formula functions. When you turn around the "natural" product bottles in the healthfood stores, or products from the many "So-and-So Organics" companies, or even ask the handmade formulators selling on Etsy for more details on their ingredients, they are largely the same: semi-natural… but often being marketed as "all-natural."

    To be continued…

  • All this talk about what Arbonne is and what Arbonne isn't is a distraction. Arbonne is a business, Arbonne does use the minimum amount of chemicals to preserve the integrity of their botanically based Swiss formulated products. Arbonne is a Premium Line, which means it is above a hi-end line, so you will pay more for a moisturizer but you will not pay $300, as you may in the commercial and traditional market. While you guys sit by your computers debating ingredients I will continue to grow my Arbonne business to benefit families who are in need of extra income because they can't afford to pay rent or a mortgage, or put food on the tables of their families. Or someone whose aware of the fact that if someone in their home lost their job due to illness their primary income would be gone. Arbonne continues to strive for excellence by updating and changing products. We don't even have the Line defiance foundation anymore, lots of our products have been updated, check the site, we use soy based dyes for printing so on and so on. You are missing the point, would I rather work 12 hours a day away from my family helping someone else get rich or would I rather grow a company who strives for excellence so I can do the same from and in my home.

  • All this talk about what Arbonne is and what Arbonne isn't is a distraction. Arbonne is a business, Arbonne does use the minimum amount of chemicals to preserve the integrity of their botanically based Swiss formulated products. Arbonne is a Premium Line, which means it is above a hi-end line, so you will pay more for a moisturizer but you will not pay $300, as you may in the commercial and traditional market. While you guys sit by your computers debating ingredients I will continue to grow my Arbonne business to benefit families who are in need of extra income because they can't afford to pay rent or a mortgage, or put food on the tables of their families. Or someone whose aware of the fact that if someone in their home lost their job due to illness their primary income would be gone. Arbonne continues to strive for excellence by updating and changing products. We don't even have the Line defiance foundation anymore, lots of our products have been updated, check the site, we use soy based dyes for printing so on and so on. You are missing the point, would I rather work 12 hours a day away from my family helping someone else get rich or would I rather grow a company who strives for excellence so I can do the same from and in my home.