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Are Arbonne products the best skin care you can buy


Wenditha wonders: So I’m wondering about a beauty company called Arbonne? Could you tell me what the Beauty Brains think? They’re supposed to be the end-all, be-all, but I remain cautious. However, I’ve used some samples of their anti-aging skin line and found it to be very nice.

The Beauty Brains respond:

Thanks for the question. We looked into the Arbonne products and have this to say.

The Arbonne Company

First, Arbonne is one of these multi-level marketing companies like Amway in which you are encouraged to become a salesperson, have parties and recruit other people to become salespeople. I’ve always been skeptical of these kinds of schemes but here’s a guy who has an interesting perspective on Arbonne on becoming an Arbonne salesperson. Personally, I wonder why the products aren’t sold in the normal way through department or grocery stores. This would certainly make it easy to ignore the truth in advertising rules that other companies who sell through stores need to follow.
The Arbonne Marketing Story

Based on the information on their website, Arbonne products are claimed to be premium skin care products are formulated in Switzerland at the Arbonne Institute of Research and Development (AIRD) and made in the U.S.A.

They follow the standard all-natural marketing story that you find from every other natural company, although they imply some kind of advanced science as if there was any. All the usual claims about how great their products are here. We’ve previously discussed cosmetic claims and what they really mean.

Here is a sampling of their claims.

  • Botanically based: based on botanical and herbal principles. This doesn’t really mean anything. What are botanical & herbal principles?
  • pH correct. Big deal. So is every other skin care product.
  • Dermatologist tested. Just like everyone else`s product.
  • Formulated without dyes, animal products, fragrances, mineral oil. Again, more stuff that everyone else says.

The thing that’s different about these products than a mass market brand like Aveeno is the price. Arbonne is a whopping $19.50 for 8 ounces! Aveeno is $9.99 for 18 ounces. Functionally, there will likely be no noticeable difference.

The Arbonne Products

The problem with these products is that they don’t live up to their natural claims. While we here at The Beauty Brains think stories about the trouble with chemicals like SLS and parabens are overblown, the natural crowd does not feel similarly. Arbonne formulas fail in this regard because they contain all kinds of chemicals that those people are afraid of. This review of Arbonne products spells it all out from their perspective. Of course, this fact has no bearing on whether the products are good or not, but it certainly suggests their marketing is suspect.

So, what about the products? Are they worth the extra money? Scientifically speaking, they’re probably not.

It was difficult to find the ingredient lists because they are not on their main website. However, here is one we found related to their skin lotion.

Arbonne Skin Moisturizing Lotion

Ingredients: Water, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Cetearyl Alcohol, Ceteareth-20, Glycerin, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) Fruit, Althaea Officinalis Root Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Extract, Taraxacum Officinale (Dandelion) Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Salvia Officinalis (Sage) Leaf Extract, Retinyl Palmitate, Ergocalciferol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Panthenol, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Zea Mays (Corn) Oil, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Rosa Damascena Flower Oil, Stearic Acid, Cetyl Alcohol, Ethylhexyl Salicylate, Polysorbate 60, Carbomer, Disodium EDTA, Dimethicone, Quaternium-15, Triethanolamine

This is a standard lotion complete with water, fatty alcohols, oils, emulsifiers, thickeners and preservatives. All of the natural sounding ingredients are most likely in there at such low levels they don’t really do anything. And even if they were in there at higher levels there is no proof that they would have any special effect anyway.

The Beauty Brains bottom line

Arbonne is not the end-all be all of skin care or any other personal care product. They are good formulas, but pretty standard and will not perform noticeably better than the products you can buy at your local grocery store. Buy them if you like (they’ll work fine) but don’t kid yourself into thinking they are anything special, they’re not. And if you’re looking to start your own business, forget multi-level marketing schemes.

{ 6 comments… add one }

  • bobby arbonne February 8, 2014, 10:13 am

    This stuff isvdangerousvn is a pyramid scheme

    • Joanie March 24, 2015, 3:32 pm

      pyramid schemes are illegal, mutli level marketing can be skeezy but isn’t the devil

  • Houtini March 31, 2014, 9:10 am

    I like how you refer to the “stuff” as dangerous but then reference a pyramid scheme. What is dangerous the pyramid or the stuff?

  • Danielle August 4, 2014, 2:24 pm

    Saying “pyramid scheme” reveals to me a level of ignorance that needs to be addressed first; the term pyramid reflects every business model in existence with the person at the top leveraging their time with people below to be efficient. One person cannot do every task by themselves. Many amazing products are ignored because of their business model. If you want to pay more for less to cover the advertising, equal wages, etc. go ahead; but if you trust multi-billionaires who tell you Network Marketing is the opportunity you shouldn’t pass up, I’d rather join those who obviously know what they’re talking about.

    Second, I want to address the reference to claims and the responses.
    Botanically based: based on botanical and herbal principles. This doesn’t really mean anything. What are botanical & herbal principles? – every product has a plant base rather than a synthetic or oil base. This is not the case for products in the drug store and many spas.
    pH correct. Big deal. So is every other skin care product. – Not the same as every other skin care product. Other products claim “pH balance” which means there is a balance of the pH in the bottle, not that it is pH correct to most skin/hair types to reduce acidity and acidic reactions
    Dermatologist tested. Just like everyone else`s product. – Arbonne products follow the 1200+ banned ingredients in the Swiss model of care products rather than the 12+ in the North American model; and then tests everything before putting it on their shelves.
    Formulated without dyes, animal products, fragrances, mineral oil. Again, more stuff that everyone else says. – Get informed about your products. I will bet that any product made in North America has a mineral oil/petrolatum/petroleum base because it’s good and cheap.

    For someone with relatives with many sensitivities, this product performs as it should’ with no reactions no matter what the sensitivity is. Anti-aging starts from the inside out, not from a bottle to be rubbed in; but for a product with such high standards – the value is there.

    • meagain August 31, 2014, 12:40 am


      I don’t think posting on a beauty science blog to defend a particular company is doing it any favors. It’s just cementing my feelings about MLM companies and their products. Anyway, I want to address a few of your points.

      Everyone knows what a pyramid scheme is. A lot of people consider MLM companies to be running such schemes. But it’s the scheme part that people take issue with, not the hierarchy.

      If pH correct meant anything on a product label, it would be the opposite of what you suggest. Reducing the acidity of skin and hair is harmful; skin needs acidity to slough properly, protect from infection, etc. and reducing the acidity of hair opens the cuticle and leads to damage.

      All other North American made skincare products don’t have a petrolatum/mineral oil base. Really, very few do. But you’re right that it’s a good and cheap ingredient. And that’s a good thing!

  • Dainnie November 24, 2014, 2:57 pm

    Firstly MLM is increasing at a rapid pace as its proven to be an effective way of doing business. I have to agree with Danielle’s comments. Personally, I have had so many reactions and problems with expensive Drug Store products and was resigned to the fact that I would be plagued with skin problems the rest of my life. That all changed when I tried Arbonne products – they have made huge difference to my skin.

    Pyramid Scheme???? These are illegal. If you have to pay money to someone in order to be a part of that company then that’s a Pyramid Scheme. I’ve checked into Arbonne and all you pay is your $95 fee but you also receive 35% discount on products which you should buy if you are going to start a business. Every business requires some kind of initial investment – you can’t start a restaurant if you don’t have a location and food to serve.

    I’m truly amazed at how uneducated people can be sometimes – read your labels, do your homework, speak to the right people then you have the right to post opinions.

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