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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.

Written by Terri Bly

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.

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