BEAUTY CARE
Inspiration from Meghan

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Arbonne Review Update: Has Anything Changed?

 

Two years ago, I wrote about Arbonne and whether Arbonne was as pure and safe as they claim to be.

My main intentions in writing that Arbonne Review post were as follows:

  1. The Arbonne Consultants: To convince Arbonne consultants that they could stop pitching me, that I definitely wasn't going to sign up, or get you to do the same, and land all of us under them in the pyramid.
  2. Create Change: To get the attention of Arbonne in hopes that they might take my questions to heart and perhaps start actually making products that lived up to their manifesto. At the very least, I wanted to show the importance of transparency and persuade them to share their ingredients without a consumer needing to contact the company or a consultant.
  3. Inspire You: To invite you, the consumers, to start asking important questions about the beauty care products you are using and the claims being made by the brands and - more often these days - by the consultants pushing them at their sales parties.

And what happened?

Goal 1: The Arbonne Consultants

I succeeded on my first goal with flying colours - in shades I couldn't quite have imagined possible. They didn't just stop pitching me, but took to forums, Twitter and their Facebook pages in defence of the brand. Some even took up name calling - all the way to the C U Next Tuesday variety. We have a delete and forgive policy around here- so all we could really do was appreciate their passionate devotion. Arbonne has most definitely grown and nourished a loyal tribe.

Goal 2: Create Change

A few very interesting things happened after my original post went up.

Connecting With Arbonne

With the uproar from the consultants who were in my social media circle, Arbonne contacted me- which was great as they had been very tough to get a hold of before my article went up. I requested a recorded interview but was declined. I was hoping for an opportunity to ask my questions and share their responses with you directly.

I was told that I could submit written questions, which I did, and they were returned to me a few weeks later. It was clear the responses had gone through several rounds of vetting and what remained were cut/paste blocks of text from their website. I also learned that my blog post was used in their forum for how to manage negative propaganda, which I believe led to what happened next.

Being Used As An Example

One of the top search terms that brings people to my website is "Arbonne". It is the most popular post, statistically speaking, of the 1,500+ posts I have written. And so when you google "Arbonne", my original post is the second or third link to come up.

Arbonne attempted to remedy this by creating a bunch of ghost sites. I don't know if this is the technical term, but they basically created a bunch of blank sites in an attempt to push my post down in the search results.

And it worked. Briefly.

Arbonne.com fake website

But see how descriptions weren't even entered for those fake sites? Well I guess they got found out and the results re-regulated themselves so my post remains near the top.

Arbonne Review Meghan

Still wondering if @Arbonne is as pure & safe as they claim? via @MeghanTelpner #healthwashing

Then Arbonne Did Something Truly Awesome and Effective!

We received an email from a consultant letting us know that Arbonne had launched a brand new site. And with it came the words "transparency",  "honesty", and "integrity" to describe their ingredients. On most product pages, you can now find a link to the complete ingredient list. Thank you, Arbonne!

You can look up any Arbonne product you like and see what's actually in it. This means it's no longer up to a consultant or the company to tell you how pure, safe and beneficial their products are. You get to decide for yourself. That is mighty empowering.

Arbonne has created a massive line of products that are free of animal derived ingredients and are gluten-free. They cheerlead a lot for what's not in their products and seem to be better than most conventional products you'll find in a pharmacy or department store. And they have a loyal and enthusiastic tribe of (mostly) women selling their heart out.

Now That I Know What's In It, Would I Use It?

No.

There is a video Arbonne has posted (there are a few actually, including one of the staff's children thanking the company for helping protect the planet), but the one that caught my attention is called "From The Field To You".  In it you see one of the key researchers out in a field talking about soil quality and harvesting some cultivated strawberries, then driving off in a tractor to deliver this box of fresh produce to a truck. We then see the truck deliver the box of fruit to a guy in a hairnet in the Arbonne manufacturing facility. He sets the box of fruit aside and offers a tour of the plant.

I was curious about what product those fresh strawberries ended up in. Arbonne SearchI found a cleanser that contained an extract of Fragaria Vesca, the latin name for the wild or woodland strawberry- which aren't typically the variety cultivated on a farm.Arbonne Strawberry Ingredient

I guess that box of fruit went to the breakroom for snacks?

I simply don't see these products as pure, safe or beneficial.  In other words, they are healthwashed.

Yes, there are loads of products out there that are filled with questionable ingredients, but they're not claiming to be pure, natural, green, etc.

Ready to ditch the chemicals? Get FREE access to my natural beauty directory and discover my favourite brands. Learn More

Moreover, there are loads of products available that aren't swimming in genetically modified, pesticide-laden oils and aren't as preservative heavy. Genetically modified crops require more chemicals to grow and sustain. These chemicals affect the people who grow and harvest them, the communities that surround them, and wash into our waterways, affecting life in our rivers, streams and lakes all the way into the ocean causing rapidly growing 'dead zones'. In short, they disrupt our ecosystem and as part of this ecosystem, they also affect each of us - whether we use these products directly or not.

Arbonne has made great strides in improving the transparency and ease of access to the ingredients in their products, but as they continue to promote themselves as planet-protecting, pure and safe, I urge those of you who are consultants and customers to ask for more.

[Update: An Arbonne consultant notified us the day this was published that they they are working on getting their nutritional products certified Non-GMO. There is no word on when this will be complete, or when the same process will commence for beauty care.]

Still wondering if @Arbonne is as pure & safe as they claim...  via @MeghanTelpner #healthwashing

Goal 3: Inspire You

The cosmetic industry is a moolah making industry. The revenue of the U.S. cosmetic industry is estimated to amount to about 62.46 billion U.S. dollars in 2016. It definitely doesn't serve the big guys for us little guys to be using coconut oil as our moisturizer, diluted apple cider vinegar as a toner, or chocolate and avocados as our face masks. We want to look beautiful and in our culture, we believe products are going to be the answer. And we can't get enough.

Cosmetic Usage and Chemical Exposure Stats (via EWG.org)

  • The average US woman uses 12 personal care products and/or cosmetics a day, containing 168 different chemicals.
  • The average US man uses 6 products daily with 85 unique ingredients, on average.
  • Almost 13,000 chemicals are used in cosmetics, and only about 10 percent have been evaluated for safety.
  • Most cosmetic makers self regulate their own safety studies for FDA approval.
  • 12.2 million adults – one of every 13 women and one of every 23 men – are exposed to ingredients that are known or probable human carcinogens every day through their use of personal care products.
  • The top most common impurity ranked by number of people exposed is hydroquinone, which is a potential contaminant in products used daily by 94 percent of all women and 69 percent of all men.
  • There are no studies done on the combination of the average exposure women are getting with their standard beauty routine (we're talking the cocktail of products).
  • According to the Office of Cosmetics and Colors at the federal Food and Drug Administration, “…a cosmetic manufacturer may use almost any raw material as a cosmetic ingredient and market the product without an approval from FDA.”

Reading ingredient labels is the first step, for sure. But it's only one step. The ingredients of ingredients do not need to be labelled (on food or cosmetics). This is how, for example, Arbonne can get away with posting a cologne that has only three ingredients - alcohol, water and fragrance - fragrance being an ingredient that can contain as many as 3,000 different ingredients within it. Sometimes 'ingredients' is another word for synthetic plant derivatives or chemicals.

And so on this part of my mission, I hope my questions became your questions, and not just with Arbonne, but with anything and everything you are using on your body: from brushing your teeth, to your deodorant, to what you paint on your eyelashes, to what's in those tampons, what you use on your skin and what you use to colour your hair.

Every choice counts and if you want to check the true purity and safety of your products, this database has you covered. The database is not perfect but is the best we have to gauge an overview of our products. What I urge you to consider is not just the single products on their own, but the combination of all of the ingredients in all of the products that you use.

I urge you to consider the combination of all of the ingredients in all of the products that you use.

I know that on this front, my job is never done and as I keep digging, I will keep sharing with you what I learn and I appreciate what you continue to share with me.

Are you an Arbonne customer or consultant?

Thank you for pushing Arbonne to post their ingredients and for helping them to lead the way on this front. This is no small achievement. Continue asking for the standards to be raised.

Arbonne is a major player in the cosmetic world. If they can ban GMO oils, and truly start caring for the planet, not by making their packaging recyclable, but by ensuring the ingredients they use are grown and produced in a sustainable way and are truly chemical-free from the soil to the bottle, that products are packaged using planet-friendly materials (from production to decomposition) and by continuing to evolve the products to include more pure and less scientifically manufactured ingredients - then they will really start to elevate both their products and you as leaders in the beauty industry.

Still wondering if @Arbonne is as pure & safe as they claim? via @MeghanTelpner #healthwashing

Ready to ditch the chemicals? Get FREE access to my natural beauty directory and discover my favourite brands. Learn More

Due to the nature of the comments that are not lending to a constructive conversation, we've closed commenting. Have a great day! 

135 Responses to “Arbonne Review Update: Has Anything Changed?”

  1. Amber said… November 1, 2016
    Hi Meg. In regards to, "If they can ... truly start caring for the planet, not by making their packaging recyclable, but by ensuring the ingredients they use are grown and produced in a sustainable way", I've read through your comments & have found that your reports are on facts, however have yet to see any mention of their being other steps of becoming earth-friendly such as: Sustainable Palm-oil Certified & Carbon Neutral Certified. Is this intentional on your part or simply unaquired knowledge?
    • Hi Amber, my name is actually Meghan. Are they using palm-oil in their cosmetic products? That seems rather odd.
      • Yeah I certainly don't want palm oil in my products. Thank you, Meghan, for these articles. I was invited to an Arbonne party and it was so helpful to look it up and find you had done the work and I won't go because It isn't the type of product I go for. ;)
    • Arbonne are a member of the RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil). Many Arbonne suppliers are either already certified or are in phases of working toward sustainability certification. I don't know about carbon neutral, but I've heard directly from Executive National Vice President Louise Fowler that the warehouse in California is run on man power. Meaning they don't use machines to pack and move product and boxes, they use people. This reduces their carbon footprint. They also use eco-friendly packaging and vegetable and soy based inks from sustainable sources. All of their paper products are printed on FSC certified paper. Even the boxes they send their products in are made from recycled materials and can be recycled, as can all of the product packaging. They're continually striving to improve their environmental impact. A few years ago they reduced all of their packaging by 50%. I have high expectations for this company. They have some of the highest integrity I've seen in the beauty industry and I'm proud to use their products.
  2. Hi Meghan, Apologies for the delayed response, I didn't get a notification that you'd replied to my comment. I appreciate that you don't know me from a bar of soap and my previous message was quite assertive, but I would never attack your personal appearance. I hadn't even looked at your photo when I wrote that so, no, I wasn't undermining your appearance in any way. I'm sure as someone who follows a clean lifestyle, your skin probably looks great. My comment about the proof being in the pudding was merely highlighting the fact that my skin is ageing slower because I'm using safe anti-ageing products from Arbonne. People often think I'm in my 20s, even though I'm 33. I'll admit, it was a little rude to say that you can keep your apple cider vinegar, but I was frustrated by your posts about Arbonne for the reasons I first outlined. I think there are countless other companies who are doing extremely harmful green washing and not striving to do better or be transparent, whereas Arbonne (in my experience) are always open to feedback and will actually take it on board and do something about the constructive criticism they receive. The consultants I've met have an open dialogue with the company and their opinions are heard on a weekly basis. Yes, I'm an ambassador for Arbonne because I've used their products for years and they work for me. I'm also a green beauty blogger and use a lot of green and organic products. So that's not why I take issue with the 'facts' you outline in your articles. I take issue because they're not facts. You don't have all of the information and even though it must be frustrating that you haven't been able to garner all the facts you'd like from Arbonne, this doesn't mean that they're being shady or hiding some sinister dark secret. For example, I've just come across a document from Arbonne that states - "We regularly audit Arbonne raw materials and finished products to ensure absence of GMOs." I'd be happy to email you this document if you'd like to read it. What I take issue with is that, in lieu of documentation from Arbonne about their stance on GMOs, you assumed that they DO use them. You then included this message over and over in your content without confirmation of this as fact. I'm not sure why Arbonne didn't give you any information about GMOs in their initial communication with you, but just because they didn't say verbatim that they don't use them, doesn't mean that they do. So, in essence, what you've done is spread propaganda about this company to serve your own interests, which is probably to divert people away from Arbonne products and towards your own affiliated links and products. This is what I meant when I asked what your motives are. There's nothing wrong with wanting to monetize your website and sell your products. Everybody deserves to have a viable online business. I just think it's not right to do it at the expense of another company. It's not just the corporation that suffers, it's all the men and women who are consultants of Arbonne that suffer as well. I couldn't help but notice all the comments from people in New Zealand who found your site after going to an Arbonne presentation there. How sad that so many of them missed out on a great business opportunity because they believe the information you've posted on this site, most of it assumption not backed up by facts. Regarding your comment about Arbonne using pesticides on their plant materials (again, your assumption), I've heard directly from Dr. Peter Matravers at a conference I attended that they source organic ingredients when available. It's unfortunate that they don't have this information on their website because I think it would really help. As a green beauty blogger, I have colleagues who own green skin care brands here in Australia and abroad and they have said the same thing to me about their ingredients. That organic isn't always available, so sometimes they have to use the next best thing. Farming is a volatile industry because of weather conditions and crops don't always turn out as hoped, so I appreciate when brands like Arbonne are transparent and say that they can't always source the organic ingredients they'd like, but they do their best. On their website under the 'Our Promise' section, Arbonne states: What makes Arbonne products superior? They are naturally inspired, and scientifically tested. By integrating the most beneficial botanical ingredients from nature with the principles of green chemistry — "We craft products with integrity, expertise and innovation. And we do it responsibly, taking care of our earth at the same time." And: "Our products are safe, nontoxic, and committed to being eco-friendly. We’re vigilant about the newest research regarding chemicals to ensure we’re being mindful and cautious. We proactively search for the purest, most unadulterated botanical ingredients from natural sources." I'll leave it there, but I'd urge you to reconsider these posts. You have such an amazing platform and it seems a shame to waste it on a good company like Arbonne who actually have integrity and are always striving to improve the purity, efficacy and eco-friendliness of their formulations. I hope you'll consider what I've had to say.
    • Julie said… December 1, 2016
      Once you know the truth, you cant undo it. The facts are the facts. It is no safer than 1000s of other brands..yet is 4 times the price. There simply is no ground to stand on. If you love it, use it promote it, thats your choice. You choose to be ignorant to research other than what youve been told by the company. Blinders on mentality...but that does not make the facts on whats in it go away. or any less harmfull. Period! Meghan clearly is stating facts about ingriedients that you can research, you have to be able to simply admit you are not repping a 100 % Natural safe , non GMO, no toxins product. Thats not an insult , its the facts.
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