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.