Grrrrrr-eenwashing: Arbonne Exposed

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.


Get non-toxic and cruelty free beauty and health tips from FeelGoodStyle!

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.

  • Arbonne is a Multi-level marketing company, red flag, that said these companies don’t care if you succeed, and it doesn’t matter if the product actually works, thats not how they make their money. They make it from you, you pay them to be a part of the company, you pay for inventory, you advertise yourself, and in the end regardless of how much you pay they’ve already made their money from your initial “investment”. Crunch the numbers, how much you’ve invested, how much have made, how long have you been doing it, an how much time you invest into it on a weekly basis. It doesn’t add up, you can make more money at a minimum wage job. And if you do fail or quit, they won’t blame themselves, the system works, you failed. Its all bullshit.

  • Kc_hartford

    They also claim that all their products are made in Switzerland but my friend just received her baby shampoo ( which makes her children break out in a rash) and right on the box it says MADE IN THE US. So I would like to know why they also “lie” about that.

    • Actually Arbonne is formulated in Switzerland and made in the USA…It has that posted right on the packaging as well as directly on the product. Also, the ingredients are posted on all the packaging that the product comes in. Sometimes you will run into a consultant that is just interested in selling the product and has not fully done their homework to be able to properly explain Arbonne. However, I find that with any skin care line though….I have had to do my research myself to know what exactly is in a skin care product as no salesperson is fully aware in a store either. I had used this all natural line that was sold in spa’s and the girl that was selling me the product didnt have any answers to my questions so poor salespeople can happen.I also know that Arbonne is always trying to use the purest and safest ingredients possible. If they find out that any ingredient has been tested negatively then they discontinue using that ingredeient in their products. Arbonne’s main goal is to continuosly make sure their product is Pure, Safe, and Benificial. As far as I know (and I have done some pretty extensive research) Arbonne is a pretty good company that sells good quality skin care products. I find all natural products made by individuals (who sell them at tradeshows and are small home based companies) are on to something but after a month or so thier products do not seem to do anything for your skin. Where as Arbonne at least you notice your wrinkles diminishing (with the RE9 face care set) after a while, or your excema dissapearing fully . With home based all natural products it seems the products just mask the problem for a while,then it reappears, or it makes your skin feel greasy (all natural beeswax for example can give you that feeling – but then it would not be fully Vegan because beezwax comes from bees ) Arbonne mixes scientific with botanical producing products that really do work. Nothing against home based all natural products as far as I see at least society is on the right track to being more healthy. By the way I am not a consultant for Arbonne but I have done my research….

      • These products are NOT natural! Natural ingredients should be from nature, not man made in a lab. I would not recommend these products to friends or clients.

      • If you have done your research you should know that there are no regulatory bodies in the US or Canada that restrict the use of labeling products “all natural”. No one is looking out for the consumer so do your homework. Read ” there’s lead in your lipstick”. It’s a great book to learn about product additives and what the crazy chemical ingredients are and what they are linked to ex. Cancer, allergic reactions, etc. Most of don’t understand that ingredients like sodium laureth sulfate or it evil counterpart sodium laurel sulphate is a chemical in most cleaning detergents, shampoo and soap. There is nothing safe about it. FDA approved just means that this product should not cause instant reactions or irritations. Hypoallergenic just means that the product is less likely to cause a reaction, it does not mean that the product does not have petroleum products, parabens, or other nasty ingredients in it. Educate yourself properly and ignore the pretty labels on pretty bottles . Pretty sure that Argonne label said it contained”1,4dioxane. This is classified by the US environmental protection agency probable human carcinogen.

    • After going to an Arbonne party, I was so excited to place my order for the Arbonne “ALL NATURAL” Baby Products line. I had been told how gentle and soothing Arbonne was, and how there were no “harsh chemicals” like in popular brand name baby products to irritate delicate baby skin. You can imagine my excitement to use these products for the first time on my 2 year old little bundle of preciousness. I filled the bottom of the tub with water and bath toys, a cap full of the wash (which I was told could be used as bubble bath too) and placed my little one in. WITHIN 1 MINUTE he was covered head to toe in a blotchy, warm rash. We rushed him to the pediatrician.

      Needless to say my family will NEVER use Arbonne products again.

      • Maybe it was a chemical from your tub cleaner that wasn’t rinsed all the way. Arbonne baby products contain no mineral oil or fragrance which is what causes allergic reactions in babies/kids/adults. So I really doubt it was the product that gave your child the rash. Water that is too hot can also cause red skin.

    • Maria

      They are formulated in Switzerland, but proudly made in the USA…

  • Laura

    Arbonne isn’t a scam it’s network marketing…Mary Kay has animal fats…organic skin care/makeup is hard to achieve and get the best results but who cares we are all still making money and looking good some of us may die sooner but it’s probably from some other factor then the results of our skn care!

  • I just started working for NuSkin and was concerned about the “competition.” I see that Arbonne has at least as many if not more “carcinogens” as NuSkin. Thank you for digging into this! I am also disappointed to see the Winking Brunette’s blog is not posted anymore.

  • SileeLamb

    My mom has had breast cancer and “beat it”, cancer in/on her eyelid and “beat it” all in the last 10 years. We also found out this past December that she has lymphoma, and may have cancer in her lungs and liver/spleen even though she never smoked or drank to excess.
    I am worried about her and she no longer wears make up but does still use face creams.
    I am also worried about me, I want to reduce my chances of getting cancer as much as possible. But, I am very aware of the cystic acne scars on my face and still want to cover them up. Please, can you recommend a make up/skin care line? Thank you, Silvia
    sileelamb@outlook.com

    • Ivana Dojcinovic

      I too have a mother who battled with cancer and in return has made me extremely aware of my environment and exposure to unnecessary toxins/chemicals. A dear friend of mine introduced me to Beautycounter. Beautycounter is a gently, non-toxic & safe personal care company (shampoo+skin products and kids collections), they recently launched a full colour cosmetics line. Not only have they banned 1500 toxic ingredients in their products, but they refuse to manufacture anything that can’t be made with safe ingredients. Took them 3 years to get the formula correct with the mascara! I honestly feel this is one of, if not THE safest brands on the market and am happy to share more information. You can find more info here: http://www.beautycounter.com/ivanadojcinovic

  • Gemma Tamang

    Thanks for writing this. It makes me proud to be apart of World Organics