There are certain topics on the Beauty Brains that spark vigorous debate. Supporters provide a tenacious defense of their favorite products despite limited proof of effectiveness. Jan Marini and the eyelash growth product is one and Arbonne products are another. This post concerns the later.
Recently, we received an email from Christine who is a self-proclaimed Arbonne representative. She is proud to report that she’s a true believer who has “drunk the Koolaid”. You can see all of her comments in our previous Arbonne post.
She took issue with the fact that we suggested Arbonne products really weren’t much different than store brands. We’d like to respond to some points made in her comments because they are instructive in how to be a skeptical cosmetic consumer.
What does it mean to research a topic?
“I spent three years of law school learning how to learn, so I researched Arbonne quite thoroughly before deciding to jump in with both feet.”
We hear this claim fairly often. People write in and explain how they’ve researched a product. Unfortunately, they rarely describe what was involved in this research. Did they go to the website and just read what was published by the marketing department of the company? Did they go to internet forums and see what people were posting about the products? Did they just read opinions on beauty blogs or hear something from their stylist? While these sources are helpful for product information, they are not really “research”. Each of these is full of biased opinions that may or may not be reliable.
Real research is a combination of product information plus intimate knowledge of raw materials, familiarity with formulating techniques, and experience with numerous laboratory evaluation techniques. Ideally, there would even be peer reviewed research published in a journal like those found at PubMed.
Here at the Beauty Brains we try to use our background in product formulation and sometimes even actual laboratory product evaluations to generate our opinions. Christine is correct to say that these are still just “subjective opinions” but unlike most, we have no products to sell you and we are not trying to convince ourselves we didn’t overpay for a product. Hopefully, this allows us to provide the most unbiased evaluations possible.
Is the technology really different?
The commenter makes the point that there are “THREE KEY THINGS” that make Arbonne different. Only one of these has to do with the product.
The first thing is Arbonne’s technology, and the delivery system of the product. Most beauty products are made up of great ingredients – they can be the best on the market. However, they often do not penetrate directly to the epidermal cells that need the moisture the most. The do not self-adjust. Arbonne uses a technology called Nanosphere technology – look it up…The nanosphere technology takes the medication, or the product, in our case, directly to the cellular areas that need it the most. Arbonne’s moisturizers do not sit on the skin like most other brands do. The product not only penetrates down from the top epidermal level, but does its work where it is needed the most. Superior product? Not necessarily. Superior delivery? Definitely.
It’s common for people to tell us that their technology is different. Arbonne’s “superior” technology is a thing they call Nanospheres. But this is the same type of technology that companies like L’Oreal and P&G have. This doesn’t make them different.
And while nanosphere technology may sound superior to some, it scares many experts in the nanotechnology field. In the US, nanotechnology is unregulated even though it has the potential to cause unexpected harm. You don’t want your cosmetics to penetrate your skin! When they do, they can get into your body and potentially cause harm. Superior technology does not penetrate. At present, we recommend you avoid products that say they contain nanotechnology.
Finally, despite the safety concerns of nanotechnology there is still no proof that Arbonne moisturizers, body washes or shampoos work any better than typical store brands. Could someone show us an independent side-by-side study comparing Arbonne moisturizers to Olay?
The Beauty Brains bottom line
There is no doubt that Arbonne produces a high quality product. However, we stand behind our original assessment that they are technologically not much different than brands you can get at the store. With the exception of sunscreen, we also suggest you avoid cosmetics that claim to have nanotechnology. In the future, we will do a more extensive post on nanotechnology.