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Arbonne versus Mary Kay: Which one is more natural?

Sheri says...I have been researching home based businesses. I really want to get into skin care/make up products. I am currently using Mary Kay and I am now looking into Arbonne. Which skin care line is the most natural and healthy for my skin and what business do women tend to benefit from most..Mary Kay or Arbonne or another skin care line I’m unaware of??? I’m just confused with so much information out there. Any help/suggestions would be appreciated! Thanks!

PS-I am all about being natural and using natural products. My current primary MD is a natural path doctor as well and I only take supplements at this time. I work at a nursing home and I see the effects of a stroke, heart attack, dementia and skin disorders/cancers. I want to be on the right track!

Left Brain Loves MLM (not):

The most challenging part of this question was finding ingredient lists for either Arbonne and Mary Kay products. You Beauty Brains in training should always be suspicious of companies that don’t make their ingredient lists easily available on their websites. Are they trying to hide something? Maybe not, but this is sloppy and irresponsible. Consumers have a right to know what they are putting on their bodies.

Neither is Natural

Trying to pick which is more natural, Arbonne or Mary Kay, is like trying to decide which feels harder, pudding or jello. There’s really not much difference and neither of them are natural anyway.

After some searching (not easy), I found ingredient lists for products from both Arbonne and Mary Kay. First, Arbonne Tranforming Lift Formula.

Water, PEG-20 almond glycerides, glycerin, butylene glycol, palmitoyl tetrapeptide-3, palmitoyl oligopeptide, chondrus crispus (carrageenan), xanthan gum, glucose, cellulose gum, cetyl hydroxyethylcellulose, lecithin, tocopheryl acetate, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, retinyl

palmitate, borago officinialis see oil, caprylic/capric triglyceride, ascorbyl palmitate, panthenol, stearamine, hydrolyzed soy protein, glycine soja (soybean) protein, ruscuc aculeatus root extract, triticum vulgare (wheat) germ extract, pisum sativum (pea) extract, sodium hyaluronate thioctic acid, lactic acid, sodium PCA, polyamino sugar condensate, urea, cucumis sativus (cucumber) fruit extract, betula alba leaf extract, trifolium pratense (clover) flower extract, symphytum officinale extract, nasturtium officinale extract, panax ginseng root extract, hypericum perforatum extract, carbomer, polysorbate 20, methylparaben, disodium EDTA, DMDM hydrantoin, diazolidinyl urea.

While they have loaded their product up with things like wheat germ extract, pea extract, and clover flower this doesn’t make them “natural”. There is nothing natural about Carbomer, Disodium EDTA, Methylparaben, Butylene Glycol or DMDM Hydantoin. This formula would fail any good granola crunching green group’s standards.

How about Mary Kay?

Mary Kay product: Timewise 3-in-1 Cleanser

Water, Mineral Oil, Glycerin, Isotheral, Neopentanoate, Bentonite, Cetyl Dimethicone Copolyol, Octyl Pelargonate, Neopentyl, Glycol Dioctanoate, Myristyl Myristate, PPg-26-Buteth-26, Sorbitol, Sucrose, Distearate, Peg-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Oleyl Oleate, Tocopherol, Comfrey Extract, Burdock Extract, Hops Extract, Yarrow Extract, Meadowsweet Extract, Hydrocotyl Extract, Coneflower, Extract, Camellia Sinensis Extract, Retinyl Palmitate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Triethanolamine, Sucrose Stearate, Butylene Glycol, Propylene Glycol, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Carbomer, Disodium EDTA, Diazolidinyl Urea, Carnauba Wax, Lactose, Methylparaben, Cellulose, Propylparaben, C9-15 Alkyl Phosphate, Phenoxyethanol, Lauramine Oxide, Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose, Titanium Dioxide, Ultra-marines, Chromium Hydroxide, Green FD&C Red 4, D&C Red 33.

Natural? Forget about it. Only a natural newbie would be fooled by the greenwashing in this product. True green groupies would be aghast at the inclusion of Mineral oil and Propylene glycol in anything called natural.

This is not to say that neither of these products are good. Both appear to be formulated with some of the best technology available. I haven’t tried them, but they are likely to be high quality, highly functional products. But they certainly aren’t better (or more natural) than something you can get at the grocery store like Olay. They also aren’t more “natural” than a store brand like Burt’s Bees although even Burt’s “naturalness” is debatable.

Which Company Should You Work With?

If you want to know which to work for, I’d encourage you to read other people’s experiences of working for both Arbonne and Mary Kay. Be wary of anyone who is too positive or too negative.

My interpretation of these people’s experience is that it is tough to make money at either business. You have to buy your initial stock and then try to sell off all your product to get your money back. People do make money with both Arbonne and Mary Kay, but not many. They are both examples of Multi-level Marketing and these systems almost never make money for most hard-working sales people.

Multi-level Marketing Scams

For the most part, I find multi-level marketing (MLM) companies to be a bit of a scam. The good folks at Skeptoid explain the MLM problems nicely. Normally, a company pays you to sell for them. You get a salary or a commission and get compensated for your time. But in MLM companies, you have to pay the company for the privilege of selling for them. What a deal, not! And then you have to work hard to convert your friends and families into both customers and salespeople. Eventually, you will run out of people and your sales will stagnate and stop.

Start Your Own Business

If you are really interested in starting your own business, the first thing you should do is get the book Start Up Nation and head over to their excellent website. They provide all the steps you need to follow to get in business for yourself. My own suggestion is to start an online business because you can do all the work without leaving your house. Plus you don’t have to put up a huge investment as you do with companies like Arbonne or Mary Kay.

And if you want to start your own cosmetic line, find yourself a good cosmetic chemist and maybe they’ll help you start your own line.

Beauty Brains Bottom Line

Neither Arbonne or Mary Kay are more natural than the other. They use standard chemicals that everyone else in the cosmetic industry uses. Their business model is tough to follow to make any real money. And if you’re looking for a home business opportunity, these companies may not be the best choice for you either.

Do you have experience selling, buying, or using Arbonne or Mary Kay products? Leave your comments below.

{ 11 comments… add one }

  • Rocio December 24, 2013, 5:32 pm

    You sure needed to make more research on this one! Arbonne is Vegan Certified, Gluten Free, Paba Free, it is Free of fragances, colors and all that stuff. It does not use MINERAL OIL!! It is also Botanical based. Mary Kay is NOT, they use all the crap I just mentioned! Also, Arbonne follows the highest standards they use in Switzerland which are the highest in Europe! Arbonne also has a Green Commitment that shows to everyone who wants to read that. They DO NOT use any animal product or by product and will NEVER test their products in animals or in the eyes of animals. BIG difference here! The ingredients are NOT hidden. Get a bottle from any Arbonne product and read it. They are all there. It takes TOO much money and space to print this in catalogs…Look at other companies they all do the same.
    The prices might sound too much but in reality are less than Clinique, Lancome, Este Lauder, La Praire, etc! In fact, Arbonne can offer from 20% to 80% disc. AND if you are a Consultant you will eventually get these products free! There is MORE to say…
    Sorry, but you need to do more research in this one.
    Have a great day!

    • admin December 24, 2013, 6:57 pm

      @ Rocio :Speaking of research, can you please show us a link to one peer reviewed piece of scientific evidence that shows there is a problem using properly refined mineral oil in cosmetics? If not then please stop referring to that formulation strategy as an advantage.

  • Amanda January 16, 2014, 9:13 pm

    Mineral oil is a cheap, petroleum-based filler that cosmetic companies use to mass produce skin care and beauty products. The cells of mineral oil are too large to absorb into our skins’ pores, so you are right: science doesn’t show there is anything wrong with it, but it also doesn’t have a purpose. It sits on top of the skin and usually feels pretty good. Since it’s sitting on the skin it is not DOING anything. So mineral oil=Cheap filler. That is why Arbonne does not use it. Arbonne’s products are formulated without fillers, so it’s a highly concentrated blend of botanicals and science.

    • Randy Schueller January 17, 2014, 7:13 am

      Mineral oil is relatively cheap. It’s also a good emollient and occlusive agent which means that when it sits on top of your skin it prevents moisture from evaporating.

      • John March 27, 2015, 6:07 pm

        Mineral oil in a cleanser isn’t effective. Also means if you use a moisturize after cleansing that it isn’t getting in. It is also clogging pores and the purpose of cleansing is to get rid of dead skin cells and clean pores.

        • Randy Schueller March 27, 2015, 7:37 pm

          Hi John. I’m just curious, where did you get your information that mineral oil clogs pores? I’d like to check our your source because it’s different from what I’ve seen. Thanks.

  • Ashley February 1, 2014, 10:42 pm

    For those of you who actually want to read the work of someone who researched this, I encourage you to follow this link. http://meghantelpner.com/blog/arbonne-pure-safe-cosmetics/

  • Tessie February 17, 2014, 12:47 pm

    1)This is an outdated product ingredient list because Arbonne has removed all parabens from its products since they have become a questionable ingredient. 2)Mineral oil is a byproduct of the oil and gas industry. Regardless of the controversy of whether it’s bad or good for skin or not, it’s a part of non renewable resource that is bad for the environment. Can you show me a peer reviewed scientific evidence that using products from the oil and gas industry is a good thing for our planet? 3) There are currently no regulations that I am aware of in North America for the refining process of petro chemicals in cosmetics. Maybe you can point me to the regulations? In the EU the refining process has to be proven, not the case in North America. 4) Ingredient lists are readily available from consultants- that’s the whole point of network marketing. 5) This whole article is of mute point because Arbonne does not claim to be all natural.

  • Kellie McAdams May 29, 2014, 9:04 am

    “You have to buy your initial stock and then try to sell off all your product to get your money back.” This is an absolute, 100% falsehood. I just became an Arbonne Consultant, and I did not have to buy any stock whatsoever!!!! I do not resell product!! I represent the company, provide customers with excellent customer service, and place orders. All orders are shipped directly to the customer. If I buy product, it is either for personal use or to use at a presentation with potential customers, and Arbonne does not REQUIRE either. At the same time, I would say that most if not all consultants do choose to use the products themselves and use products as a business tool for demonstrations. If a consultant didn’t believe in the product their selling, they aren’t going to be very successful. I think this is the same for any sales job, whether is Direct Sales or something else. Your interpretation is not based on facts. You also make it sound like starting your own business is easy and carries no start-up costs or risks!! That is absolutely the most ridiculous interpretation I have ever heard!! The fact is with Arbonne, you can start your own business for $80!! No trip to the bank for a small business loan or outside investors necessary! So, I really don’t see why you have such a negative opinion of Arbonne or any other direct sales business. It is an option, and a good one for many people. Starting a business is also great, so really your opinion is very confusing to me.

  • Hilary November 12, 2014, 8:43 pm

    Have you ever looked into the MLM company Younique. All products are chemical free and naturally based! Please come by my website and check us out!! http://www.youniqueproducts.com/HilaryL

  • Mehro February 17, 2015, 4:19 pm

    I just switched back from Arbonne to Mary Kay, arbonne did absolutely nothing for my skin. Mary kay day and night repair cream is out of this world. Arbonne is just over priced and they market all natural which is hard to believe really.

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