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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.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • 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.

  • Cat December 1, 2015, 8:54 am

    Arbonne States that they ARE vegan-friendly and that their suppliers provide non-animal tested ingredient statements as well as the finished product being non-animal tested either. Did you check on that?

  • Laura November 13, 2016, 9:37 pm

    You are mistaken about Arbonne conducting animal testing of any kind, including raw materials. Please find our policy attached below:
    A History of Non-Animal Testing (NAT)
    Since the company was founded in 1980, Arbonne has had a strict policy against testing on animals and our formulas have never contained animal products or by–products. This vegan philosophy extends to every ingredient we use and every finished formula we sell. This standard is upheld as a key part of our Ingredient Policy.

    Official Documentation – Written Statements and Declarations
    Arbonne’s ingredient suppliers submit individual ingredient Non–Animal Tested (NAT) statements and Arbonne also provides a Finished Good Non–Animal Testing declaration for each final product we sell.

    Industry Standards
    Over the last decade, the industry at large has also adopted a Non-Animal Testing standard.
    Today, the cosmetics industry has moved away from accepting ingredients that are tested on animals or associating with any suppliers who test on animals.

    Global Compliance
    Now, like Arbonne, other companies cannot sell products in the European Union (EU) without the proper Non-Animal Testing documentation on their ingredients and finished goods.

    Vegan Certification Requirement
    As a vegan company, Arbonne is required to show Non-Animal Tested certification at the time of application for each new product. This important, third-party Certified Vegan registration applies to the exclusion of animal products and by–products in our formulas, and also certifies that the formulas are not tested on animals.

    36 years strong of vegan, safe products that are indeed different, more pure, more effective than most brands in the market place. Non gmo, and truly gluten free in a market that allows so many parts per million of gluten in products sold in US stores! Arbonne tests to zero. We also offer a 45 day return policy. Please stop the bashing. Your facts are inaccurate.

  • Stephanie Mazzullo November 29, 2018, 7:46 am

    Hi, I would like your opinion on Mary Kay but I can’t find where to post. Also do you think medical grade products such as elta md is much superior to Mary Kay? I hope to hear from you guys! Love your podcasts and appreciate your knowledge!

  • Jenifer Richardson December 6, 2018, 3:00 pm

    Hi there!

    Just did a look up on Quaternium-15. It doesn’t exist in arbonnes products including the lotion. Quaternium-80 is in the shampoo. That is not derived from formaldehyde.

  • smith February 18, 2019, 5:39 pm

    mlm women get sucked in, to believe they can make a livinh,, only if you are a high level con artist..

  • smith February 18, 2019, 5:40 pm

    arnonne arbonne where has my money gone?