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.
Comments on this entry are closed.
I appreciate your article and I am an independent Arbonne consultant. Different products help different people. Personally I became a client when one of my children had eczema so badly that every time he woke up from sleep, his crib looked like a crime scene. He would scratch his face in his sleep to the point he would bleed. 🙁
I tried everything…different soaps, different diaper rash creams and diapers (because various parts of his body were affected), over the counter products, prescription products…even OTHER direct sales companies’ products! NOTHING helped him.
A friend suggested Arbonne’s Baby Care line and I bulked. I had been down the direct sales road before and I was not getting wrapped up in another “give us your credit card and we’ll make sure you place an order every single month” situation. She explained how being a client worked and I agreed to try the products.
I used the Baby Care line from Arbonne as well as another one of their products on my son and I could not believe how beautiful his skin was after only a couple of weeks! There was no more redness, no rashes, no itching and bleeding. His diaper rashes were under control and eventually disappeared. Another bonus was that I didn’t have to apply products to him several times a day just to get them to work. I was hooked as a client from that point on. Now at this point, I am beginning to build my business as I realized why shouldn’t I represent a company that I believe in so much and that literally saved my son’s skin which by the way, did not scar one tiny bit! 😉
I’m not trying to say Arbonne is the best company out there with the best products. Somebody else might like Shaklee better, or Melaleuca, or a brand they can pick up at the grocery store. I am just giving you my testimonial.
I would also like to point out, you left some very important facts out. When it comes to Arbonne vs. L’Oréal, I don’t see how the two are anywhere near similar. L’Oréal was long known for testing on animals. Technically their suppliers in China still do. While they do not do the testing themselves, why wouldn’t they use suppliers who don’t as well? Arbonne never has and the company has been around for over 35 years. There are a LOT of people who care about our earth now and what we put into our bodies.
A short list of ingredients you will not find in Arbonne’s products is as follows:
animal products or by-products
sodium laureth sulfates (SLES)
sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS)
And so much more …
You need only to grab a bottle of just about any L’Oréal product and you will see a number of these.
Again, thank you for the great article as I agree. People really should do their research and be aware of what is in the products they are purchasing.
Thanks Lisa but the scientific consensus for the ingredients you listed (at least the ones added to cosmetics – benzene for example is NOT a cosmetic ingredient) is that they are safe when used at approved levels. So, other than pandering to ignorance and fear, why is it a good thing that Arbonne doesn’t use them?
Honestly, I think more people are educating themselves about ingredients in everything they use whether it’s food, personal care items, detergents, etc. More people buy organic because they now know the benefits associated with doing so. Personally, I won’t buy butter anymore if I can’t pronounce the ingredients in it for example.
More people are becoming aware of the benefits of being vegetarians or vegan. Those who choose not to eat meat don’t want products that have been tested on animals or contain animal by-products. There are even more people who, while they might still eat meat, don’t like the thought of testing being done on animals so purchasing products that are not is important to them.
There was a time when some of Arbonne’s products still had parabens in them. I remember introducing someone to the baby care line when it did only to have her immediately put the brakes on as soon as she learned that. The company would say that products were safe with up to a certain amount in them, but I saw many like her who didn’t care how much was in the product…they wanted that answer to be NONE. So there are many good reasons why Arbonne doesn’t use those ingredients even in the “acceptable” range. It is giving people product options keeping these things in mind when they are formulated.
Choosing products based on whether or not you can pronounce the ingredient seems a bit short sighted to me. A lot of people take useful medications with names that are very hard to pronounce. Wouldn’t it be better to look at the scientific merits of each ingredient rather than how many syllables it has?