Monat MLM Beauty Products – Are they remarkable? Episode 218

Welcome to the Beauty Brains, a show where real cosmetic chemists answer your beauty product questions and give you an insider’s look at the cosmetic industry. This is Episode 218.

Hosts: Valerie George and Perry Romanowski. 

On today’s show we’re going to be answering beauty questions about…

  • How do magnetic face masks work?
  • Do Rodan + Field products really live up to their claims?
  • Are Monat’s hair products really that special? 
  • Can Monat cleanser remove a marker mark?

Beauty Industry news

Most popular beauty products during quarantine

Recall alert

Wyndmere Naturals Recalls Birch Sweet Essential Oil and Aches & Pains Synergistic Essential Oil –  because it contains methyl salicylate which must be in child resistant packaging as required by the Poison Prevention Packaging Act (PPPA).  The product as packaged represents a poisoning danger if swallowed by small children. This is just another reminder that just because something is natural, that doesn’t mean it is safe!  

Beauty questions

Question 1 – Audio QuestionIrena – from Germany. I’ve seen a magnetic face mask. Is that something that works? The mask is supposed to absorb the gunk and the magnet pulls everything out of your pores. Does this work?

The main ingredient is iron powder. The rest of the mask is pretty standard. One that I saw from Dr Brandt had common skin care ingredients like Dimethicone, polysilicone, silica, peptides and a film forming polymer. You apply the mask, leave it on for 5-10 minutes, then remove it with an included magnet that you wrap in a tissue and glide over your face. This is purely a gimmick. The magnet is not pulling things out of your pores.

Question 2 – Nicole says, “Hi! I am wondering if you have ever looked into Rodan & Fields products to see if they really do what they claim. Specifically, the Reverse Regimen and Redefine Regimen. I have used both for at least 6mo each and saw good results, but it’s very expensive. Reverse claims to lighten hyperpigmentation, which it did lighten hyperpigmentation some and left my skin glowing. Redefine claims to lessen the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. While it did lessen the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, the price point is high and I am wondering if there is an alternative line that is cheaper with similar results? Thanks for looking into this! 

REVERSE – products

  • Exfoliating Wash $44
  • Intensive Brightening Toner $50
    • Kojic Acid, Salicylic Acid, Phenylethyl Resorcinol, Dipotassium Glycrrhizinate, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract
  • Dual Active Brightening Complex $102
    • Vitamin C Formula: Ethoxydiglycol, Ascorbic acid, Kojic acid, Syringa Vulgaris (Lilac) Leaf Cell Culture Extract
    • Retinol Formula: Retinol, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate
  • Reverse Broad Spectrum Sunscreen $43
    • ACTIVE INGREDIENTS: Avobenzone 3%, Homosalate 10%, Octisalate 5%, Octocrylene 2.6% Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate

REDEFINE – products The REDEFINE Regimen includes four products that together visibly improve fine lines, wrinkles and loss of firmness for younger-looking skin.

  • Redefine Daily Cleaning Mask $44
    • Sodium Lactate
  • Redefine Pore Minimizing Toner $50
    • Gluconolactone, Lactobionic Acid, Lens Esculenta (Lentil) Seed Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Panax Ginseng Root Extract
  • Defense Treatment Broad Spectrum SPF 30 $87
    • ACTIVE INGREDIENTS: Avobenzone 3%, Homosalate 2.5%, Octisalate 5%, Octocrylene 2.7%
  • Overnight Restorative Cream $80
    • Niacinamide, Gluconolactone, Squalane, Tetrapeptide-21, Ascorbic Acid, Hydrolyzed Sericin, Hydrolyzed Silk, Retinyl Palmitate, Sodium Hyaluronate

Other suggestions:
Renee Rouleau – spa brand
Olay Regenerist
The Ordinary

Question 3 – Audio – Julia – you have way better arguments and research. Big fan. Monat global brand which is MLM. I tried products and they worked great for my curly hair. They make outrageous claims. Says no other shampoo can do that. What’s your take on this company and their claims? Is there truth in their claims?

Thanks for the question. I’ll say at the outset that I’m not a big fan of the MLM model. This is mostly because the vast majority of people who sell MLM products just end up losing money. But I will say, that just because I think the business strategy is a bit suspect, that doesn’t mean the products necessarily are. There are plenty of MLM companies that make good beauty products.

So, let’s dive into your question.  You said you tried the products and they worked great for your curly hair. That’s great. Now, you didn’t say specifically what product you tried and they only have one targeted to curly hair (their Curl Cream).  I was looking for the outrageous claims you mentioned but honestly, I didn’t see them. Here is what they say about the curl cream 

Defines and conditions all curl types, for frizz-free long-lasting, natural-looking, manageable tresses.

These are decidedly pedestrian claims that pretty much any brand can make.  And in looking at the product ingredient list, it features a styling polymer called Polyquaternium 72 made by a raw material company named Croda. It’s a perfectly fine polymer and they have evidence that in lab tests it provides a bit more hold than other styling polymers like the ever popular PVP. But there is nothing special about this product, its ingredient list or even its claims.  Everyone makes these same claims about their products. 

Now, you said their shampoo makes claims that no other shampoo can do. So, I looked at one of their shampoo products, and didn’t see anything special there either.  Their Advanced Hydrating shampoo is “sulfate free” and based on a couple Isethionate surfactants and a Betaine. This is not revolutionary technology. I don’t think it’s particularly impressive technology either but some people might like it. They do load it up with a bunch of oils which just makes the product worse at cleaning hair but some consumers and marketers think that oils in your shampoos is a good thing.  I don’t think it is. 

But honestly, they don’t even have any outrageous claims here. 

Sulfate-free, gentle cleanser. “Renews dehydrated hair with softness, elasticity, and shine.”  “Infuses hair with intense hydration.” “Improves manageability…” “Leaves hair soft and shiny.”  Pretty much every hair care product will make similar claims. 

They have their “feature” ingredients like REJUVENIQE® Oil which is just some blend of oils that is going to do pretty much what all the other oils do. Then this ingredient Capixyl which “helps to strengthen and thicken hair while supporting natural growth.”  Notice how weak the claim is? What does “supporting natural growth mean” or what does it mean to “help” strengthen hair? These claims are only meant to sound impressive. They really aren’t. 

In a video on their website they talk about restructuring hair from the inside out. But if you pay attention carefully to their claims, they are not making any claims that can’t be supported by any other product.  The bottom line is that while they likely make perfectly fine, albeit a bit overpriced, products, there is nothing special about them. You can go to Target and get products that work every bit as good (or even better) than Monat products. 

Yes, I think there is truth in the claims.  I didn’t see any false claims. I just also didn’t see any impressive claims. Mostly, these seem like pretty boring, standard hair products.

As far as what I think of the company…there are some things that cause me concern. First, I do object to the BS fear marketing they employ posting all the things that their products don’t include as if that somehow makes their products safer. They make claims about ingredients that are “toxic” which aren’t toxic or unsafe. This is pretty standard in the “clean beauty” movement though so they aren’t especially bad here. 

Article from which reviewed the company 

Question 4  – Kimberly says, I’ve seen a few people that sell Monat put Sharpie on their face and remove it with their new makeup removing balm. What ingredient(s) would be in that to be able to remove a permanent marker? They’re super into marketing their products as all natural, and I don’t buy into that because they’re not all natural, and even if they were, I’m a believer that natural is a marketing gimmick. 

Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Isoamyl Laurate, C13-15 Alkane, PEG-20 Glyceryl Triisostearate, Polyethylene, Heptyl Undecylenate, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Synthetic Wax, Calcium Silicate, Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, Crambe Abyssinica Seed Oil, Camellia Oleifera Seed Oil, Solanum Lycopersicum (Tomato) Seed Oil, Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Seed Oil, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Peel Oil, Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Oil, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Adansonia Digitata Oil, Mauritia Flexuosa Fruit Oil, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Gardenia Taitensis Flower Extract, Moringa Oleifera Seed Oil, Caryocar Brasiliense Fruit Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Extract, Mangifera Indica (Mango) Pulp Extract, Musa Sapientum (Banana) Pulp Extract, Saccharum Officinarum (Sugarcane) Extract, Glycolic Acid, Myrica Cerifera (Bayberry) Fruit Wax, Glycerin, Tocopherol, Silica, Aqua/Water/Eau, Ethylhexylglycerin, Benzyl Alcohol    

“Like dissolves like.”

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