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Did the beauty brains botch their arbonne review

Some time ago one the lovely members of The Beauty Brains community asked our opinion of Arbonne skin care products. We happily investigated the company and products and concluded that Arbonne products were not much different compared to the stuff you could buy in a regular store.

Well, commenter Heather disagreed and posted the following comments…

I’m very surprised that you didn’t dig deeper to find out what really makes Arbonne different. If women are indeed coming to you for advice, you should take the time to investigate better. Did you know that just about everything (I don’t know of anything that isn’t) you buy at the grocery store is A) Tested on animals B) Made with animal products/by-products (Look up ‘rendering plants’) C) “Hypoallergenic”… which means that even if 6 people react during testing, you can still label it “Hypoallergenic”. Arbonne tests 10 and if 1 reacts, it’s back to research! That’s only 3 flaws in your argument, there are more. I’m very skeptical about skin-care and nutrition and having worked for Lancome, Mary-Kay and Arbonne, I know a little about the different companies. Trusting women deserve the truth from you.

The Beauty Brains respond

Hello Heather,

Thanks so much for your comments and insight. We completely agree that trusting women deserve the truth from us.

That’s exactly why we stand behind everything here that we wrote about Arbonne and their products. Based on their reported ingredient lists, our own product evaluations and our knowledge of how the beauty industry (and cosmetic chemistry) works, we do not believe Arbonne products are anything special.

As to your specific claims.

Arbonne and animals

1. Did you know that just about everything you buy at a grocery store is tested on animals?

This isn’t exactly true. MOST finished formulas are NOT tested on animals. See this previous post on animal testing. Companies realize that this is a PR nightmare so they don’t test their final formulas on animals. Of course, all of the ingredients they use ARE tested on animals so they can get around the problem of selling safe products. But Arbonne does exactly the same thing. Every ingredient listed on Arbonne’s skin lotion has been tested on animals by the people who supply their raw materials.

2. Did you know that just about everything you by at a grocery store is made with animal products/by-products?

This is just wrong. Many things bought at grocery stores are made by companies that specifically avoid using animal products/by-products in them. In fact, lots of cosmetic raw material suppliers no longer promote animal derived ingredients. They focus on plant derived and synthetic chemicals. Perhaps there was a time that this was true, but times have changed. Sure, you can still find animal derived ingredients in grocery store products but there are plenty of companies who’ve stopped using them altogether.

It’s not surprising that you don’t know these facts about grocery store products because you are not in the lab working with raw material suppliers to get a full understanding of how cosmetic formulating works.

Arbonne Claims

3. Hypoallergenic doesn’t mean anything. It is just a made-up word by marketers and can be said about any formula. Even if 5 out of 10 people react during testing you can label it hypoallergenic.

First, of all, we agree that the term hypoallergenic is not very technically useful. There are no specific guidelines that the industry uniformly follows. About all it means is that the company has done some kind of irritation test.

But second, and most importantly, it’s curious you suggest that no one would have a reaction to Arbonne products. In the lotion featured in this post, Quaternium-15 is used. Did you know that Quat-15 is a preservative that works by releasing Formaldehyde? While this is a perfectly good preservative, there will be some people that will have a negative reaction to it. If Arbonne is using this ingredient, some people will have a negative reaction to it.

Feel free to show us the other flaws in our review. We are always open to different opinions. But if you do, please provide some researched facts to back up your statements. The three claims you’ve made about Arbonne products are just not supportable.


{ 4 comments… add one }

  • mary kay January 11, 2014, 5:47 pm

    It has been noted by some people though that like a lot MLM companies that market
    personal care products or nutritional products that the products are drastically
    over priced as to their value in comparison to similar products that could be purchased say in
    Wal Mart or Target. However, you don’t get 90% back of
    everything you put into Mary Kay, you get 90% of what you paid for product that is able to be resold.
    However, they also do not allow themselves to
    become so focused on the immediate problem that they forget to proactively plan for future innovations, projects and products.

  • Leanne White June 18, 2014, 6:05 pm

    I developed a severe reaction/skin rash after using Arbonne products. I found out I had Quaternium 15 allergy. Trying to research products that contain Q15. Can you tell me what Arbonne lotion you tested that had this ingredient ? Thank you.

  • admin June 18, 2014, 6:17 pm

    Hi Leanne. This post is several years old and we didn’t actually do any testing at that time. I’m sorry we can’t be of more help but if you check the ingredient list before you buy the product you should have no trouble spotting it.

  • SecretChemists August 13, 2014, 12:32 pm

    Arbonne products are just another MLM hype product that is overpriced and preys on women who don’t know better. Their formulas aren’t anything special and their manufacturing site and labs are sub par. I knew a few chemists that worked their and never heard any good stories. Just another company that spends minimal $ on R&D and most of it on marketing.

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