Is Arbonne Toxic or Is Arbonne Safe?

Is Arbonne Toxic or Is Arbonne Safe?

Oh, Arbonne…

How I’d love to love you, but just can’t. If I had a penny for every time someone asks me if Arbonne is safe…well, I’d have many pennies. I always give my honest answer or opinion. If I had a penny for every time someone wrote back in Arbonne’s defense saying something like “You’re wrong. Arbonne is a great company. They give back lots of money to charity and their products are safe and harmless,”….oh boy, all the pennies I’d have.












A part of me wants to yell back. “Seriously?! Wake up and smell the coffee….um, I mean the chemicals.”
Instead, I dig deep down within myself to remember how I felt in their shoes. At first, it wasn’t a great feeling, but then it all became clear. Crystal, crystal clear.

You don’t need to be a chemist to research and understand what some ingredients can do to your family’s health. I’m a mother who’s simply investigating ingredients for our own family, and feel the need to share it with you and other families who may be consumers (or future consumers) of Arbonne. Feel free to do the same.

Our intention isn’t to tell you what not to buy. It’s simply to share these ingredients with you so that you can do further research and find out for yourself. Please refer to the sources I provide at the bottom of this article.



When a company promises you the world, it’s easy to blindly believe every word they say about their product without checking it out yourself. But what if using their products daily means possibly jeopardizing the health of your baby? Would you want to look into the ingredients further?

Arbonne, Avon, Mary Kay and others are all guilty of one common offense: each of these companies has done their fair share of lying to us .

Here are some definite signs of greenwashing:
- When a company does not disclose each and every ingredient on their website.
– When their reps have no idea what is in each and every product, and when you call the company, and ask them          ”what are the exact ingredients in your product?”, they tip-toe around your question.
– When companies use terms like “proprietary blend”, “fragrance”, or even “natural flavours” (Arbonne’s products don’t all contain fragrance, only their actual perfumes)

These companies hide behind words like “botanical”, “pure”, “vegan”, “cruelty free” When the truth comes out, it’s obvious they are only care about the bottom line. Profits should never come before the safety of people. Sadly, we see this all too often. I’m not saying Arbonne is the worst company out there. I’m saying it’s not the best (not even by a stretch). And it’s definitely not what they want us (and you) to believe

They claim to the ‘the best’ in terms of technology…when many others use Nano Technology also.  To many people hearing ‘nano technology’ is exciting (I  know the medical world is looking at nanosphere/technology for fast
delivery of certain ingredients right where they want them in our bodies), but to us, and many others, there is still too much that’s  ’unknown’ about nano tech.

When looking at the ingredients, Arbonne isn’t any different than some store brands (or even drug store brands like Aveeno).  I wouldn’t dream of using their baby line on my children.











We did some searching to find the ingredients for you. Here are three of their products, all of which are part of their Baby line, so you can see for yourself.

Again, the purpose of this article is to highlight the ingredient lists, not talk specifics about each ingredient. We started with their baby line on purpose. Aren’t baby products, supposed to be especially safe? Some of the ingredients in their ‘adult’ skin care and make up line are worse.

Let’s take a look at the ingredients, shall we?

Screen Shot 2013-04-08 at 10.30.15 PM   Arbonne Body Care (ABC) Baby Care Lotion Ingredients:
– Water/Aqua/Eau,
– Glycerin,
– Cetyl Lactate ( !! suspected carcinogen, “Ecotoxicology, Use restrictions”)
– Glyceryl Stearate,
– Isopropyl Palmitate,
– Sorbitan Stearate,
– Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil,
– Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter),
– Polysorbate 61,
– Dimethicone,
– Stearic Acid,
– Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract,
– Anthemis Nobilis Flower Extract,
– Prunus Persica (Peach) Fruit Extract
– Plantago Major Leaf Extract,
– Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract
– Carthamus Tinctorius (Saflower) Seed Oil
– Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil
– Retinyl Palmitate (!!)
– Ascorbyl Palmitate
– Tocopheryl Acetate
– Hydrolized Lecithin
– Tocopherol
– Panthenol
– Citric Acid
– Oleic Acid
– Stearoxytrimethylsilane
– Stearyl Alcohol
– Cetyl Alcohol
– Carbomer
Triethanolamine  (!! “Allergy concern, immunotoxicity, Contamination
concerns (NITROSAMINES-in the presence of nitrosating agents), Organ
system toxicity (non-reproductive), Use restrictions”)
– Ethylhexylglycerin (!!)
– Caprylyl Glycol
 Phenoxyethanol (!! See below)
– Butylene Glycol
– Hexylene Glycol
– Disodium EDTA
– Potassium Sorbate
– Sodium Benzoate
– Sorbic Acid
– Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil
– Cedrus Atlantica Bark Oil
– Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil
– Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil
– Dipteryx Odorata Seed Extract
– Citrus Reticulata, (Tangerine) Leaf Oil
– Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Peel Oil
– Jasminum Oficinale (Jasmine) Oil
– Limonene
– Geraniol

Arbonne Body Care (ABC) Baby Hair and Body Wash Ingredients:
– Water/Aqua/Eau
– Decyl Glucoside
– Cocamidopropyl Betaine
– PEG-80 Sorbitan Laurate
– PEG-120 Methyl Glucose Dioleate
– Butylene Glycol
– Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract
– Anthemis Nobilis Flower Extract
– Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter)
– Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract
– Prunus Persica (Peach) Fruit Extract
– Plantago Major Leaf Extract
– Retinyl Palmitate (!!)
– Ascorbyl Palmitate
– Tocopheryl Acetate
– Phospholipids
– Panthenol
– Triethanolamine (!!)
– Citric Acid
– Sodium Chloride
– Phenoxyethanol
– Caprylyl Glycol
– Ethylhexylglycerin (!!)
– Hexylene Glycol
– Potassium Sorbate
– Sodium Benzoate
– Sorbic Acid
– Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil
– Cedrus Atlantica Bark Oil
– Citrus Aurantium Bergamia
– (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil
– Dipteryx Odorata Seed Extract
– Citrus Reticulata (Tangerine) Leaf Oil
– Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Peel Oil
– Jasminum Oficinale (Jasmine) Oil
– Limonene
– Geraniol

Arbonne Baby Care (ABC)’ Sunscreen Ingredients:
– Octyl Methoxycinnamate,
– 2-Ethylhexyl Salicylate (Octyl Salicylate)
– Oxybenzone (score of 8)
– Retinyl Palmitate (score of 8)
– several others including chemical sunscreens


Just in case anyone is wondering, the above ingredient list came directly from two different reps in the company.

The Arbonne Baby Care (ABC) Sunscreen even got a rating of 7 on the EWG site. That’s very close to the worst rating you can possible get. Even the “Arbonne Damage Control Sunscreen” for adults got a slightly better rating of 4 (still not fantastic).

Why do we worry about Arbonne? Because many people don’t know that these ingredients are found in toxic companies like Lancome (L’Oreal), Aveeno  (Johnson and Johnson), Estee Lauder, and others. Arbonne’s ‘technology’ isn’t different at all.1

Some of these ingredients can be contaminated with 1,4 dioxane and formaldehyde. The problem is that once they’ve been bottled,  it’s difficult to know at what point these toxins are released. (See source #2, #11, #12) You will rarely (if ever) find 1,4 dioxane and/or formaldehyde on the labels.  That’s because they are only released when certain chemicals mix together after they’ve been bottled. These ingredients disrupt endocrine function   and are carcinogenic.

Sure, Arbonne has taken out a few parabens from their product, but as you can see, the list of chemical ingredients is still long and questionable.  It includes PEGs, Quats, Oxybenzone, Phenoxyethanol, and Retinyl Palmitate.

One ingredient in particular that isn’t talked about often is Phenoxyethanol. It’s  found in their adult sunscreen product  and causes damages to the nervous system and brain.   It’s been banned or restricted in many other countries.    Oxybenzone, has  become more and more regarded as an ingredient to avoid., whether you’re an all-natural type of person or not. (See source #10)

Retinyl Palmitate has been shown to increase photosensitivity.  That means that putting it on and exposing your skin to the Sun could intensify the sun’s effects,  possibly speeding up the mutation of cancer cells.  (See Source #14 and #15))

Even the U.S. EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) data sheets show “chromosomal changes and genetic mutation effects in testing as well as testicular atrophy and reproductive damage in mice.”2   Studies have shown that some of the above ingredients (including the PEGs and  polysorbates) “enhance the activity of known chemical carcinogens while not actually being carcinogenic themselves”  (see sources).

Lastly, Arbonne uses “nanosphere technology”.  This might sound really neat,but the more we read, the more dangerous it appears to be.   We do not want these ingredients to penetrate into our skin (and sometimes even organs). This technology is not regulated here in North America (and elsewhere).  More research needs to be done, but for now, suffice it to say, we’ll be staying away from any ‘nano’ technology cosmetics and skin care.  (see source #11)

To read more about how sunscreens can be more deadly than the sun itself click HERE.








Foods rich in vitamin A are good for the body. But applied to sun-exposed skin, this common sunscreen additive may speed the development of skin tumors and lesions, according to government studies. Why is vitamin A (shown as “retinyl palmitate” or “retinol palmitate” on labels) allowed in sunscreens made for use in the sun?  Almost 40 sunscreens advertised for babies and kids contain retinyl palmitate, including:

- Banana Boat Baby Tear Free Sunblock Lotion, SPF 50+
- Arbonne Baby Care Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30
- Australian Gold Baby Formula Lotion Sunscreen, SPF 50+

The FDA has yet to rule on the safety of retinyl palmitate in skin care products, but EWG recommends that consumers avoid sunscreens with this chemical. ” (See source #13)



 “They DO Care about me and my family, they really do!” The loyalty that companies like Arbonne breed in their reps is incredible.  They really do make people feel that they are out to help them and they really care.  That may be true, but do they care enough to change the ingredients?   There are safer alternatives.    we should expect better quality for the price they charge than the typical drug store ingredients,which is basically what they’re using.  

If we’ve upset you, I hope you can see past it and know that we truly care about people. We cannot stay silent while these companies continue to deceive innocent families.









I haven’t mentioned the ‘other’ really important reason to avoid chemicals and why we worry:   the environment.  Our oceans are being flooded with toxic chemicals each and every day.  When we shower, when we apply sunscreen (the beaches and shorelines are clogging up with sunscreen residue), basically anything and everything that we apply on our bodies ends up in the air, in the ground, and/or in the water.  Yikes!

We’ve   been “taken” by the glitz and glam of some of these companies in the past. Today, I say let them keep dangling that carrot.If we can be aware consumers and if we educate ourselves for the sake of our families, we’ll never take a bite from that carrot  . We don’t have personal experience using the Arbonne product line..but when it comes to products that they advertise as being safe for our families, it becomes personal.

Naturally Down To Earth Mom
Owner of The Best Deodorant In The World


*** Update 1:  Arbonne does now disclose their ingredients on the product labels.  Bad new is, the ingredients I mention above are all still in the product.  The wonderful news is consultants AND consumers can now do some research and make educated choices.  Which is the goal when ‘exposing’ companies like this.  It’s not about telling people what they shouldn’t buy…it’s about giving them the power to make their own decisions.

*** Update 2:  Naturally Down To Earth just got a personal reply from Dr. Bob Wright (from the American Anti-Cancer Institute) himself. They have REVERSED their stance on the Arbonne products and will not be including the company in their next edition of “Killing Cancer Not People”.    I will be making a special post about this, stay tuned.

***Update 3:  I have been notified that Arbonne has been making changes to their ingredients!!!
This makes me happy, because I know companies are listening.  I checked the EWG site for the *new* sunscreen and it has a much better overall rating of 1.  Although, it still rates high on a couple ingredients:
1. PHENOXYETHANOL “Allergies/immunotoxicity, Irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs), Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive), Occupational hazards, Use restrictions” RATE: 4
2. TOCOPHERYL ACETATE:  ”Cancer, Ecotoxicology, Allergies/immunotoxicity, Contamination concerns (HYDROQUINONE)” RATE: 3

Plus, I have no idea if the zinc they use is non-nano technology.
I think it’s safe to say if a company doesn’t specify “non-nano”, it’s not.  

Screen Shot 2012-10-29 at 12.57.13 PM











(***For an article on Aveeno and a successful Johnston and Johnston
lawsuit see here:  Are Aveeno products natural? A Johnson and Johnson lawsuit ***)

(To read more on greenwashing and how the deodorant or antiperspirant you are using may be harmful see here:  Are Antiperspirants and Deodorants Safe?) To learn more and for other great posts and updates, simply  ’like’ us on Facebook here:  Naturally Down To Earth


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  1. Thanks for investigating this more in depth!
    You have written this in the most unbiased way you could. Very well done!
    Thanks for getting the facts out :D

  2. fyi – from Dr Peter in response to a question about Oxybenzone and EWG
    good info to have with all the press on sunscreen and new regulations

    Begin forwarded message

    I wanted to take this moment to respond to your enquiries on ingredient safety.EWG and other less reputable website uses this scare tactics every year before the summer.

    Unfortunately, the web is filled with controversial information about almost everything; not all sources of information are reliable and not all studies are conclusive, especially when using major search engines as a primary source of research. When researching products, one can easily get caught up in the details of ingredients; so it is important for your Client to have confidence not only in the products but also in the company that produces them.

    When researching product information, it is important to use reputable sources. We recommend the following websites for ingredient information:
    • Cosmetic Ingredient Review Board:
    The CIRB was established in 1976 with the support of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Consumer Federation of America.
    • Personal Care Products Council:
    PCPC is the leading national trade association for the cosmetic and personal care products industry.

    Let us assure you that all of Arbonne’s product safety and testing is performed independently (not in-house). And we abide by global governmental agency regulations. All Arbonne products must have a 100% pass rate to be introduced to our line.

    All of our cosmetic ingredients are tested periodically for safety and effectiveness by industry experts. CIR (Cosmetic Ingredient Review) Board is the one to determine ingredients’ safety. The CIR reports its findings to the CTFA (Cosmetic, Toiletries, and Fragrance Association). The CIR and PCPC (formerly CTFA) are unbiased and extremely reputable. Unlike the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), they are not government bodies. The PCPC (formerly CTFA) is the watchdog for all manufacturing and cosmetic ingredients. We also embrace the European Commissions Scientific Committee on Cosmetic and Non-Food Products (SCCNFP), which conducts safety evaluation on cosmetic ingredients.

    Please be assured that Arbonne will take immediate action on any ingredient that is unsafe in any of its formulations when guided by the FDA, the CTFA and the CIR. In our normal course of business, we continue to research and develop the pure, safe, and beneficial products our Independent Consultants and Clients have enjoyed for more than 31 years.

    We recognize there are many non-reputable, bias, non-scientific information out there in various websites. Skin Deep-EWG is certainly one of them. Their goal is sensationalism with negative assumptions discrediting the entire industry. They have provided incorrect information and started this snow ball effect.

    They do not have labs to do analysis nor assessing quality & purity. So their accusation on ingredients and formulas are incorrect. They rely solely on library reference searches and broadcast only the story that favors them.
    Their grading system is also bogus and not accurate. This is due to information they have on all the brands are out dated, plus their science is incorrect. They do not understand that their concern of impurities had been addressed and pure ingredients are available to all today. They are not equipped to do any quality checks and just cry wolf According to Skin Deep, Fragrance, Aloe, vitamin E are automatically bad ingredients.

    The Compact, though with good intention has no teeth. There is no enforcement and audit requirement on these who signs. Small companies signs without changing anything, no commitments in action, hiding behind the signed document. Larger companies with good safety testing protocol will not sign it. They should learn the safety testing commitments from us. We have out grown their mini compact commitment years ago.

    Recently, Skin Deep- EWG realized without a toxicology lab, they can not critique products. So they hid behind the European ingredient safety directives proclaiming US ingredients are not safe. Just to have something to say.
    But once the European tested the ingredient and gives it a clean bill of health, Skin Deep-EWG would not change their negative rating on that ingredient. Crying wolf is more important to them than the truth.

    Arbonne offer many choices.

    RE 9 Advanced & FC 5 sunscreens are Oxybenzone free.

    Retinyl palmitate when used is at extremely low level not for the skin but for product protection. We answered similar question about its safety ( ie Vitamin A ) when used during pregnancy in the past. The level is for the antioxidant protection of the product, not at a level for skin treatment like retinol. Therefore even more safe.
    Websites often broadcast sensationalism, may do this, may do that, ‘ MAY “ is not substantiated. We will monitor this concern globally with other Regulatory Agencies EU /Japan etc beyond the FDA.
    Will keep everyone posted.

    And the FDA just mandated all sunscreen must have full spectrum protection UVA/UVB. The high SPF is only good for the UVB allowing the silent killer UVA to damage our skin causing MELANOMA. Effective UVA block is Avobenzone and Oxybenzone.

    Please avoid EWG SKIN DEEP web comments. They have their private agenda.

    FDA just mandated new Regulations to be imposed in June this year requesting full UVA and UVB protection. Product must pass their specified test program.
    Products on the Market today proclaiming not have this, not have that will not pass the test. Government agencies dictates what sunscreen ingredients we can use to be in compliant with the law. These activist websites are doing a dis-service to the community.
    Many products today only provide high level of SPF protection against redness but without UVA deeper DNA damage protection (silent killer) We will continue to provide both protections and with ingredient alternatives.

    Those without this protection will need to post warning on their product. ( Skin cancer alert; Spending time in the sun increases your risk of skin cancer and early skin aging. This product has been shown only to prevent sunburn, not skin cancer or early skin aging.)

    This means esthetically elegant products will have to contain Avobenzone or Oxybenzone, the only two UVA protector recognized by the FDA .

    Here how I and the industry feel about EWG. (See below)

    The Council Responds to EWG Sunscreen Report
    Posted: May 25, 2010
    John Bailey, chief scientist of the Personal Care Products Council, has released a statement in response to the 2010 Environmental Working Group (EWG) Sunscreen Report.
    Bailey finds the report unscientific and unsubstantiated, noting that the American Academy of Dermatology, the Skin Cancer Foundation, the Center for Disease Control, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), physicians and other health care professionals have all emphasized the safety of sunscreen use. Bailey is concerned that the group’s report will needlessly cause consumers to avoid using sunscreens, when that use is critical to prevent skin damage and skin cancer.
    “Sunscreens in the United States are regulated as OTC drugs by the FDA and must undergo pre-market approval that involves rigorous scientific assessment including safety and efficacy substantiation according to FDA standards,” noted Bailey. He furthered, “The FDA testing and regulatory process for sunscreen products is the most rigorous in the world.”
    According to Bailey, EWG did not use the established scientific and regulatory safety assessment process for sunscreen products and ingredients. The following topics are those proposed and questioned in the report.
    Vitamin A: In their report, EWG questioned the safety of vitamin A in sunscreens, referencing the National Toxicology Program’s (NTP) announcement in 2000 that it would study the potential of retinyl palmitate to enhance UV radiation-induced photocarcinogenisity. Bailey noted that the study is ongoing (scheduled for late 2010 or early 2011) but is not designed to study retinyl palmitate in the presence or absence of sunscreen formulations. He notes that retinyl palmitate has been reviewed by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) expert panel and found to be safe in cosmetics.
    Skin cancer: EWG questions the ability of sunscreen to fight skin cancer based on increased skin cancer rates. Bailey maintains that skin cancer rates are the result of excessive unprotected sun exposure from several decades prior and on our ability to better track, monitor and report occurrence of the disease.
    Oxybenzone: In response to the safety of oxybenzone, Bailey notes, “When used as a sunscreen ingredient, oxybenzone, also known as benzophenone-3, protects the skin from harmful UV rays. Oxybenzone is also used to protect cosmetics and personal care products from degradation by absorbing UV rays.” Benzophenone-3 is approved in the United States, Canada and the EU as a safe and effective OTC sunscreen ingredient. In addition, it has been found safe for use as a photostabilizer by the CIR. Finally, Bailey added that there have been no available scientific data supporting a link between UV filter exposure to endocrine-disruptive effects in humans.
    Nanotechnology: Nanoparticles have been found to pose no risk to human health, according to Bailey. In addition, when used to protect against UV damage, nanoparticles are required to go through an extensive FDA pre-market review process to prove they are safe and effective.
    FDA sunscreen monograph: Finally, Bailey added that the FDA is not intentionally delaying the release of the final sunscreen regulations. He noted that establishing sunscreen safety standards is a long and vigorous process, and that the FDA is considering a number of viewpoints before establishing final guidelines.

    Skin Deep (Environmental Working Group ) Skin Deep database is intended as a resource for consumers, who can search by ingredient or product when choosing personal care products. However their scientific interpretation is wrong and their references are out dated. Their Product grading scale is also bogus and they often use it to rate companies with obsolete products .
    As an Example:
    In June 2009, EWG updated Skin Deep with a report on chemicals in sunscreen, lip balm and SFP lotions. The report states that 3 out of 5 sunscreen products offer inadequate protection from the sun, or contain ingredients with significant safety concerns. The report identifies only 17% of the products on the market as both safe and effective, blocking both UVA and UVB radiation, remaining stable in sunlight, and containing few if any ingredients with significant known or suspected health hazards.
    Industry representatives call these claims “highly inaccurate.” Personal Care Products Council (PCPC) general council Farah Ahmed stated “It is very clear to me that they have a very low level of understanding of the way sunscreens work and the way they are regulated by the FDA and tested by the industry.” He expressed further concern saying “I would hate to think that there are parents out there not using sunscreen on their kids because of a report like this that is not based on real science.” Representatives from Schering-Plough (Coppertone), Johnson & Johnson (Neutrogena), and Banana Boatalso reiterated their products’ safety and efficacy.

    Statement By John Bailey, Chief Scientist Personal Care Products Council, Response To EWG’s 2009 Sunscreen Report … summer vacation season, the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a Washington-based activist group, issues an unscientific and … of safety and efficacy. “Allegations made in the EWG report about the safety and efficacy of sunscreens conflict with FDA …
    Statement – admin – 2010-04-06 11:44 – 0 comments – 0 attachments Statement by Kathleen Dezio, Spokeswoman, on EWG Report, “Teen Girls’ Body Burden of Hormone-Altering Cosmetic Chemicals”
    … of the law with additional consumer safety measures. EWG has chosen to publish data that support its agenda rather than providing a …
    Statement – admin – 2010-03-29 18:43 – 0 comments – 0 attachments News Room … CHIEF SCIENTIST PERSONAL CARE PRODUCTS COUNCIL RESPONSE TO EWG’S 2009 SUNSCREEN REPORT STATEMENT BY FRANCINE LAMORIELLO, … Statement by Kathleen Dezio, spokeswoman, on EWG Report, “Teen Girls’ Body Burden of Hormone-Altering Cosmetic …
    Article – admin – 2010-01-27 03:37 – 0 comments – 0 attachments Statement by John Bailey, Chief Scientist, Personal Care Products Council, Fragrances Used in Cosmetics and Personal Care Products in the U.S. Are Safe and Regulated By the FDA … On December 2, 2009, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) released the results of a biomonitoring study it commissioned that … umbilical cord blood of 10 American infants. EWG alleges that the test found a number of chemicals in the cord blood of the …
    Statement – admin – 2010-04-06 11:43 – 0 comments – 0 attachments Statement by John Bailey, Chief Scientist The Personal Care Products Council The Importance of Sunscreens … A report by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) targets sunscreens as the summer season begins. This unfortunate attack on … consumers with safe and effective products. We question EWG’s methodology and their data sources. “Sunscreens …

    Expert from PCPC Comments on 2011 EWG Report on Safety & Efficiency of Sunscreen Products SpecialChem – May 31, 2011

    Despite the extensive body of credible scientific research that demonstrates the safety, efficacy, and public health benefits of sunscreen products, the Washington, DC-based activist group, the Environmental Working Group (EWG), has again questioned the safety and efficacy of sunscreens in another unscientific and unsubstantiated report released just in time for Memorial Day. EWG’s assertions about the safety and efficacy of sunscreen products and ingredients lack the rigor and reliability of formal, expert evaluation, are not peer-reviewed, and confuse and alarm consumers.
    In its 2011 sunscreen report, EWG once again challenges the scientific community’s consensus that sunscreen products are safe and effective. The group’s allegations are in direct conflict with established scientific safety assessments of sunscreen products and their ingredients and the assessments of regulatory authorities in the U.S., European Union, Canada, and several other countries. Ignoring the established scientific and regulatory safety assessment process for sunscreen products and ingredients, EWG invents its own sunscreen product rating system not based on credible scientific methodology. In fact, EWG’s methodology for calculating SPF values has been proven to be inaccurate and unreliable by sunscreen experts, both in the U.S. and abroad.
    Compounding this lack of scientific objectivity is the fact that sunscreen products ranked highly by EWG are promoted for sale on the group’s Web site via their partnership with, generating revenue for EWG and demonstrating a clear and inappropriate commercial interest.
    Consumers can be confident that the sunscreen products they rely on for protection against the harmful effects of the sun are both safe and effective. Sunscreen products have been thoroughly studied and tested by qualified scientists and regulatory authorities throughout the world. In the U.S., sunscreens are regulated as over-the-counter (OTC) drugs by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and are subject to rigorous scientific assessment, including safety and efficacy substantiation according to FDA standards that are among the most rigorous in the world.
    In addition to FDA, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), the Skin Cancer Foundation, physicians and other health care professionals also emphasize the safety of sunscreens and the importance of their use as part of a safe sun regimen.
    The dangers of the sun are clear and widely recognized by sunscreen experts and dermatologists. A National Institutes of Health “Report on Carcinogens” identifies solar UV radiation as a “known human carcinogen.” Further, a single bad burn as a child is known to increase the skin’s susceptibility to damage and skin cancer throughout life. In light of this scientifically sound and somber evidence of the dangers of the sun, it is alarming that EWG’s “annual report” could cause some consumers to avoid using sunscreens on themselves and their children.
    EWG’s report is fraught with unsubstantiated assertions, contradictions, and distorted facts. Some examples include:
    1. Skin Cancer
    EWG’s report cites increasing skin cancer rates and questions sunscreen efficacy in fighting this dangerous disease. EWG fails to consider that the higher skin cancer rates of today are the result of excessive unprotected sun exposure from several previous decades as well as the ability to better track, monitor, and report occurrence of the disease.
    It is important to understand that approximately 90 percent of nonmelanoma skin cancers are associated with exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun. Each year there are more new cases of skin cancer than the combined incidence of cancers of the breast, prostate, lung and colon. Further, up to 90 percent of the visible changes commonly attributed to aging are caused by the sun. EWG’s assertions are contrary to the body of scientific and medical data that recognizes the use of sunscreens as part of an overall program of sun safety to help protect against skin cancer and other forms of damage caused by the sun.
    2. Vitamin A in Sunscreen
    Retinyl palmitate, commonly known as Vitamin A, has been used safely in various cosmetic and cosmetic/OTC drug preparations, including sunscreen products, for many years. In its latest sunscreen report, EWG once again questions the safety of Vitamin A in sunscreens. Vitamin A, an important vitamin in humans, is made up of a family of compounds called retinoids. Retinoid esters, including retinyl palmitate, account for more than 70 percent of Vitamin A. Retinyl palmitate is approved by FDA as a food additive. Retinyl palmitate has been reviewed by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) twice and found to be safe for use in cosmetics. CIR is an independent panel of renowned scientific and medical experts that assesses the safety of cosmetic ingredients used in the U.S.
    There is no compelling evidence that retinyl palmitate in sunscreen products presents any human health risk to consumers. In 2000, the National Toxicology Program (NTP) published a notice stating that it would study the potential of retinyl palmitate to enhance UV radiation-induced photocarcinogenicity. The NTP issued a report for this study in 2011, conducting a peer review in January 2011. The Personal Care Products Council filed extensive and detailed comments highlighting the serious methodological flaws associated with this study. In spite of these flaws, the NTP Peer Review Panel nevertheless concluded there was an effect above the control cream (cream without retinyl palmitate) used in the test. Unfortunately, the control cream, which in all toxicological tests should not cause any effect on the test animals, was improperly formulated for this test and caused a significant response that all but obscured the ability to detect any affect arising from retinyl palmitate. In fact, the flaws are so significant that the results of the study cannot be used for a science-based assessment of risk. It should be noted that there is a large body of evidence that in humans, retinoids have anti-cancer effects, in contrast to the effects sometimes seen in mouse models.
    Unfortunately, EWG has inappropriately used these findings to alarm consumers by telling them that products containing retinyl palmitate, including sunscreens, may not be safe. Their position is simply not supported by the available scientific data.
    3. Safety of Oxybenzone
    In its latest sunscreen report, EWG again questions the safety of an FDA-approved active ingredient in some sunscreens called oxybenzone. When used as a sunscreen ingredient, oxybenzone, also known as Benzophenone-3, protects the skin from harmful UV rays.
    FDA and regulatory authorities in Canada and the European Union have approved the use of oxybenzone as a safe and effective OTC sunscreen ingredient. The safety of oxybenzone has also been reviewed and confirmed by the CIR expert panel CIR has confirmed that oxybenzone is safe for use as a photo stabilizer (to protect the formulation) in cosmetic products. EWG also alleges a connection between UV filters found in sunscreens and hormone or endocrine disruption, but to date, available scientific data does not support a link between UV filter exposure and endocrine-disruptive effects in humans.
    4. Sunscreen and Free Radicals
    It is well known that UV light can produce free radicals in the surface of the skin and that this leads to the damage associated with excessive exposure to sunlight, most often observed as redness or sunburn. The skin produces natural barriers that absorb the UV light to protect against damage. The interaction of solar UV with these natural barriers can produce free radicals.
    The application of a sunscreen supplements the natural UV absorbers and protects against free radical formation and the associated damage that can occur. Even if sunscreens were to form free radicals, this would occur on the surface of the skin and would not affect the underlying structures.
    Every sunscreen is tested in an SPF test to establish the level of protection provided by the product. These tests confirm that the level of damage in sunscreen-protected skin is well below what occurs in the absence of sunscreen application since there is no ‘redness’ produced. Moreover, even with doses of UV light, which do produce free radicals and redness, the presence of sunscreens blocks such reactions.
    By virtue of their ability to absorb UV radiation before it can interact with skin, sunscreens provide significant protection against UV-induced free radical formation within skin compared with unprotected skin. Studies have documented the protective effects of individual sunscreen actives as well as commercial sunscreen products for their ability to protect against UV-induced free radical formation within skin compared with untreated or bare skin.
    5. Vitamin D
    EWG outlines the benefits of vitamin D, but then creates confusion and mischaracterizes the role of sunscreens in cases of alleged Vitamin D deficiency. AAD notes that getting Vitamin D primarily from sun exposure is not advisable. While UV radiation is one source of Vitamin D, it is not the best source because the benefits of obtaining Vitamin D through UV exposure cannot be separated from an increased risk of skin cancer. Instead, the AAD recommends that ‘??n adequate amount of vitamin D be obtained from a healthy diet that includes foods naturally rich in Vitamin D (e.g., dairy products and fish), foods/beverages fortified with Vitamin D (e.g., fortified milk and fortified cereals), and/or Vitamin D supplements.’
    6. Nanotechnology
    EWG also questioned the safety of the inclusion of nanoparticles in sunscreen products, despite the fact that the general scientific consensus is that nano-sized titanium dioxide and zinc oxide in personal care products pose no risk to human health. Sunscreen active ingredients, some of which utilize sun-protecting nanoparticles, go through an extensive FDA review process to demonstrate they are safe and effective.
    7. Stability
    The 2011 EWG report also claims that many sunscreen ingredients break down significantly when exposed to sunlight and quickly stop working. This is simply not true. Sunscreen formulators take into account the physical and chemical properties of the active ingredients to ensure they perform effectively and meet all established FDA requirements, including chemical stability. FDA also requires that sunscreens meet strict stability testing requirements to ensure they are effective when purchased by consumers.
    8. FDA Sunscreen Monograph
    EWG asserts that FDA has intentionally delayed issuing the final sunscreen regulations. We are not aware of any evidence to support this assertion. We support FDA’s commitment to making decisions based on sound science. Finalizing sunscreen safety standards is a highly complex regulatory undertaking that requires the careful application of scientific principles and consideration of the evolving science and thousands of data submissions received by FDA. The Council has submitted extensive technical and scientific comments as part of FDA’s public and transparent OTC rulemaking process. We understand that FDA is considering these comments, along with thousands of others that have been submitted, and will publish their conclusions after their review is complete. It is critical that FDA has a sound scientific basis for ensuring that sunscreens provide consumers with the protection they need.
    The Personal Care Products Council joins with the American Academy of Dermatology, the Skin Cancer Foundation, Centers for Disease Control, FDA and other health professionals in urging consumers to minimize their sun exposure as part of an overall safe sun strategy. This includes all of the following: limiting outdoor activities or seeking shade between 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. when exposure to UVA/UVB rays is the highest, wearing protective clothing, and using sunscreen.”
    About Personal Care Products Council
    Based in Washington, D.C., the Personal Care Products Council is the leading national trade association representing the global cosmetic and personal care products industry. Founded in 1894, the Council’s more than 600 member companies manufacture, distribute, and supply the vast majority of finished personal care products marketed in the U.S. As the makers of a diverse range of products millions of consumers rely on every day, from sunscreens, toothpaste and shampoo to moisturizer, lipstick and fragrance, personal care products companies are global leaders committed to product safety, quality and innovation.

    Peter Matravers PharmD
    Senior Vice President Product Development

    • Hi Amy,

      I’ve tried to email you so I wouldn’t have to approve your lengthy comment. It didn’t work.

      Here are my questions:

      1) Is Dr. Peter employed by Arbonne? His title says “senior vice president product development”

      2) We trust the EWG a lot more than both the sources Dr. Peter gave you. accepts money from the very cosmetic companies they protect. The cosmetic ingredient review is even worse.

      Dr. Peter says that there isn’t conclusive evidence to prove certain ingredients are harmful.
      There isn’t conclusive (non biased, peer-reviewed) evidence to prove they are 100% safe.

      And we all know what the FDA allows and doesn’t allow. We have chosen not to use this as a way to assess which products and ingredients our family allows into our home :)

      Our intention was to list the ingredient for the thousands of consumers out there who simply aren’t aware of hem.
      Our readers know that they can decide for themselves which products are right for them.

      Thanks so much for your concern and your message,

    • My concern with the RE9 and FC5 sunscreen creams is that citrus oils which are photo toxic are in the ingredients list. Why? I don’t want any more skin discoloration than what I already have. I’ve used the two products and recently noticed it looks like I’ve gotten freckles all over my face. Please let me know why citrus oils which are photo toxic are in a sunscreen. It doesn’t make sense-who is creating these formulations with such a long, long list of ingredients in all the products?

    • Hi Amy,

      I read your entire comment, and don’t have enough time to address the many problems that exist there.
      But you certainly lost credibility when you said that dairy is naturally rich in Vitamin D…did you research that at all? It is true that RAW milk has trace amounts of vitamin D in the milk fat, but pasteurized milk is fortified with vitamin D, and unfortunately it is all too often fortified with Vitamin D2, a synthetic and inferior form. And keep in mind that even though milk is fortified, you don’t get that vitamin d from ice cream, cheeses, and yogurt.
      I work as a nurse at a family practice, and I hear people all the time shocked that their Vitamin D is low…they always say, “but I drink so much milk!”…this is such a huge misconception that milk is supplying our vitamin D needs.

      Foods naturally containing Vitamin D are egg yolks and fatty fish, but it is a small amount, so we should be supplementing with Vitamin D3 to keep our level between 60-100. Not only does this support bone health, but it helps prevent chronic illness and autoimmune disease.

  3. Thank you so much for this review. I recently became an arbonne consultant and was having regrets and rethinking the company since I wasn’t 100% sold on what they are telling everyone and plus my upline was sooooo pushy and annoying. Now I have decided I will no longer be selling or promoting these products. Also researching other sites have helped me decide as well.

  4. Hey this is really interesting but from what i understand (always open to learning!) , with everything in life, doesn’t it all depend on the amounts used, the type of exposure and how ingredients mix with other components/ their structures etc?
    There isn’t conclusive proof that Oxybenzone is bad- I have done so much of my own research as like i say i find it all so interesting but i cannot see that is it black and white.
    So what would you suggest as a suncream that blocks both UVA nd UVB rays?

    • Hello Hannah,

      Oxybnezone received a score of 8, with the following warning:
      – Enhanced skin absorption,
      – Biochemical or cellular level changes,
      – Developmental/reproductive toxicity,
      – Endocrine disruption,
      – Allergies/immunotoxicity,
      – Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive),
      – Persistence and bioaccumulation,
      – Use restrictions.
      That ingredient isn’t our only concern. The Arbonne Baby Care Sunscreen (yes, the one for babies) also has Retinyl Palmitate (also a score of 8). This ingredient has been shown to be sensitive when exposed to UV light…here are it’s warnings:
      – Biochemical or cellular level changes,
      – Cancer ******
      – Developmental/reproductive toxicity,
      – Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive),
      – Use restrictions
      Sunscreen is advertised as a product to use to prevent cancer from sun damage. There should not be any ingredients in it that cause cancer.
      Here is the exact link for your information:

      This product has an overall score of 7. Which, to our surprise, was even worse than Arbonne’s adult sunscreen with a score of 4.

      ~ Margaux

  5. Thanks so much for your response..Im still confused though!
    Taking Retinyl Palmitate for example i found the following:
    The Environmental Working Group and New York Senator Chuck Schumer have called attention to the fact that high doses of topical retinyl palmitate were shown to accelerate cancer in lab animals,[2] fueling the sunscreen controversy in the popular press.[3] Although concerns about other sunscreen ingredients remain, toxicological analysis has determined that “there is no convincing evidence to support the notion that [retinyl palmitate] in sunscreens is carcinogenic”.[4]

    It says ‘high doses’, so as i said before surely much like anything too much of something is of course going to be harmful to you, as is the same with natural things too? Surely the amounts of things in products are regulated and tested on to ensure the correct amounts are used so they provide what is needed without being harmful?

    Also i am really against animal testing and believe tests needed for humans should be conducted on humans! But so far there is no medical evidence that the ingredients you are talking about have caused what has been said they do when it comes to us as humans?

    Sorry if I am playing devil’s advocate I am merely trying to get my head around 2 different arguments and have realised a long time ago things are never black and white and that there are always 2 sides to the coin…Much like the article i saw on how to bleach your teeth white naturally with lemon juice and bicarbonate of first thought was ‘but lemon juice is so bad for your teeth because of the citric acid!’ If you see what i mean!

    Also again, please do you have a recommendation for a sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays?

    Thanks again, I guess maybe this topic will never be resolved as everybody has their own opinion and that’s the way the world spins

  6. Thank you so much for this article. I have never used their products, mostly because my husband has always been educated about ingredients and when I went t
    o my first party the rep couldn’t tell me if there were parabens in their baby line, so I avoided it all together. It is crazy to think of all the people who take labels at face value and put their trust in these companies. I still have so much to learn but am trying to make informed choices! I appreciate the information!

    • You are so welcome, Tracy. I think it’s important to get the right information out so that people can decide either way. I appreciate you being here!

      ~ Margaux

  7. Ok but do you not gather info from other sources aswell as the EWG? When i looked on their website it didn’t seem to take into account like i said before the amounts of an ingredient being used, what it was being used with, etc etc?

    Also, I just have to point out that Bob Wright from the anti cancer institute DOES still support and advocate Arbonne products. He has been quoted to say:

    “Someone gave me some bad information. Yes, I still advocate and support Arbonne and their products. Please spread the word!”

    I just feel that is necessary to let people know about as it is not fair to damage somebodies livelyhood on false information.



    • This is not false information, until you can prove otherwise, then we stand behind this article. We got a personal message from Dr. Wright himself. I will be updating shortly. EWG is one of the best sources we have. I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree and see what the future holds for these ingredients. As for me and my family, we prefer to err on the side of caution, especially with our health. We are MUCH happier this way and will continue to seek out products that contain ingredients we are more comfortable with.

  8. Hi Margaux,
    This is the corporate communications and PR department at Arbonne International, in Irvine, California.
    We’ve reviewed your website content and would like the opportunity to share some information with you directly.
    Would you please contact me?

  9. Hannah, I just wanted to add that endocrine disruptors, even in extremely low doses, have been shown to cause significant adverse effects on human health. We tend to think that the dosage is directly linked to the severity of the impact but we now know that isn’t always the case.

  10. Are you serious right now? WHAT CLAIM do you have to back up what you saying here HELLO! People DO NOT believe anything you read here, obviously this person is NOT educated on the Arbonne products/sciene. You want the real answer and claims behind the AMAZING Arbonne products then go to directly and email the company, they will give you the correct information.

    • Again, another loyal and passionate rep/consultant. Wow, ok. First, El, please see my above comment.
      You provide us with a company link and talk about “real answers and claims”? Sorry, that won’t cut it.
      Try to see past your loyalty and understand that these ingredients ARE in the product line. No matter what anyone says, they are suspected (and some proven) to be dangerous.

      A link to the company isn’t enough for me to change anything. The truth, is the truth.


    • I believe this article because when I found it after I had already researched the arbonne ingredients, before using or buying them. I don’t like take anyone’s word for it and I like to know truth not be blind! I am glad I did my homework in looking at what arbonne is made of. If u fell for it too badddd! “Amazing product full of toxic chemicals”, heck no, I wasn’t gonna do that. I almost did ignore the ingredients for the sake of believing how amazing these products work, but I’d rather be healthy and safe. I use a made-in-U.S product now after being a non-user of anything but toxic store bought stuff, its newer and I actually have good skin as everyone tells me. Arbonne people have caked-up old people skin lol. What’s under all that make-up? Get real turn your darn bottle of arbonne or whatever and read the fine print ingredients. Same with your contract fine print which I bet you didn’t read or understand. It flat out tells you the number one reason people join Arbonne, which says so you can buy your own products at the discount. That was a major turn-off after the bad ingredients. WAKE UP, READ the INGREDIENTS, its logic! DENIAL is UNHEALTHY!

  11. Interesting article. However, although everyone is entitled to “their own opinion” which is clearly what this article is all about, it is very scary and disappointing that someone would actually write one of this nature to “inform” others with out using absolute credible sources. Anyone with a research background would not attempt to create such confusion and chaos without being certain that the information is in fact resourceful…..I am only writing this message to make sure that people do their OWN research, do their OWN digging about matters such as this. I am happy to say I have done my OWN intense research on ALL Arbonne products, before using them on myself, my son and sharing them with others. I am also happy to report that the formulations of these ingredients are SAFE and as a 33 year old SWISS based Company Arbonne makes certain of this. Believe me I have looked into that. It is clear to me that this article was also made as a form of advertising of their own products. Advertising their deodorant etc. Arbonne is a competition and likely one would try to be better than the competition. Again, Arbonne is a 33 year old company that has been following the SAME Swiss based ingredient policy for the course of its existence…so if someone can explain how a company can continue to thrive for 33 years using the highest ingredient safety standards in the world, but is still toxic…I would like to hear it. Thanks though Margaux for your information! Its important people hear both sides and then do the digging for themselves:) I will share with you Dr. Matravers ingredient policy safety research article if you wish. It clarifies a lot of misunderstanding presented in this article.

    • Jen,

      It sounds like you are a very loyal and hard working rep. The company is lucky to have you.
      This is not opinion, it’s exactly what’s in the product. If YOU can provide 3rd party (non-industry) sources to back up your claims, I’d love to read them. I have not found any. All sources any Arbonne rep has ever provided has either been from the company (I don’t need to read Dr. Matravers policy again). Biased information from the company is NOT credible information. Also, the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Board ( and Personal Care Products Council: both accept money from cosmetic companies to do reviews, and have interests in the industry. It’s definitely biased information. I stand behind this article 100%. I will be reviewing other companies, Arbonne isn’t the only one I will review.


  12. Margaux,

    As you stated in your article, you are not a chemist. I’m disappointed in the sources you have used. Sometimes you can have opinions, but you are basically accusing a company of lying without understanding science. Please do some more scientific research and get information from both sides. Your research is purely one sided besides the ingredient list. There is a SERIOUS lack of information and for uninformed “scientists” (most of us) this is not helpful. This just looks like an attack on all networking marketing with a specific grudge agains Arbonne. Although an interesting point of view, as an educator you will never have me believe a word of what you are writing until there are arguments from both sides, from reputable scientists, explaining why they are saying what they believe.

    • DH,
      First of all, we’ve been very disappointed in all of the sources any Arbonne rep has sent us, trying to prove their point.
      We do not have a ‘grudge’ against Arbonne, as you said. We have a grudge against customers who aren’t aware of the real ingredients in any given product line. This article was simply to highlight those ingredients, as we have done. There IS scientific research being done on any of those I have highlighted. (Esp ones like retinyl palmitate, oxybenzone, etc). If I had written this in 5 years, none of this would be questioned. I am almost certain that Arbonne will be removing these ingredients, as they’ve done with parabens, SLSs, etc. This, to us, is also proof that they aren’t benign.
      Check some of the sources we have provided. The research is starting to happen.


  13. Christa Phillips

    Hi Margaux,
    I’m sure with all the research you do, you most likely have read this article in regards to the validity of EWG already. I know some of your research in regards to arbonne’s baby care products are based on their results. It’s hard to really know which sources one can trust and I definitely don’t claim to know. Just wanted to share.

    • Hey Christa,

      Yes, I have read it. Honestly, we have very little faith in an organization that is funded by the very companies it’s protecting. The Personal Care Council has a large interest in keeping cosmetic companies in business. Also, what the FDA approves or doesn’t approve isn’t really important to us. There is not enough space to write all the ingredients and products they have approved in the past that have now been taken off the shelves or deemed harmful.
      Only about 5% of all the chemicals used in cosmetics and skin care have been adequately tested for safety in humans, and oxybenzone is not one of those. The FDA has also deemed tobacco safe in the past. For the first time in history, some tobacco products cannot claim “approved by FDA”. It only took a couple of years (ha!).

      The nano particles in oxybenzone enter the skin and have been shown to reach different organs and systems in the body (see here:

      The FDA has yet to finalize regulations for sunscreens, this has been the case since 1978. Oxybenzone is under investigation by the FDA itself…but how long will it take?
      And I didn’t even mention the other ingredients in my article (such as retinyl palmate/palmitate, etc). Until we can prove, without a doubt, that oxybenzone, retinyl palmatate and other such ingredients are totally safe/not harmful, we choose to avoid them. Everyone is different and can make these decisions for themselves and their families. THank you for sharing this with me.


  14. hi..
    i actually do my own arbonne buying but have been doing searching b/c of a variety of reasons and so was googling arbonne safety. I ask this NOT to question you but i Looked up the ingredients for the baby stuff online (b/c i have access) and it doens’t match above. So I am wondering how does one sort thru all this? Is what i am looking at online not truthful? did you get the list from an arbonne person? AGain I am just really sorting thru if I will stop buying (although I have so much stocked up…) And also trying to do no..less.. soy on skin (so if you have any advice there.. let me know..)
    feel free to email me off the blog. you should be able to see my email. if not comment back and i can put it in a comment.

  15. Thank you for posting this Margaux!

    When my first child was born, I was gifted some products from the ABC line from a family member that was excited to give me a “safe and natural” product for baby. I found it odd that I could not find any of the ingredients written on the bottles so I went back to the original package and was stunned to see the list of ingredients (which is the same that you have listed above). I have been trying to inform people around me about safe ingredients and alternative products that are not only safer for us but to our environment as well. It is refreshing to see that there are others who are doing the same!

    • It’s wonderful to read that other moms, just like you Liz, are looking into product like this and not being easily duped by marketing. I salut you.


  16. I have been doing a lot of research on Arbonne recently. I think it is great that everyone is so interested in the safety & purity etc of products I just wish the “scientific” research shown against these ingredients were officially credible. The EWG reports completely conflict with the FDA assessments. Some of the EWG reports are based on some 20 year old lab rat & mice tests and do not state the actual percentage at which these ingredients become dangerous. There are plenty of natural, pure elements in the world that we wouldn’t use in copious amounts but are actually beneficial in small amounts- penicillin springs to mind. I think if you are going to give a fair opinion you need to use more than one source and make sure it is accredited by the correct organizations.

    • Hello Alex,

      First, we do not trust the FDA. They have approved some pretty funky ingredients and harmful products in the past. I will turn the tables right around here and say ‘ditto’. Your sources (and all the sources any Arbonne rep has provided us thus far) have been driven and directly influenced by either the cosmetic or pharmaceutical industries. We don’t trust one another’s links, how about leave it at that? Oxybenzone, retinyl palmatate and others are just becoming known as harmful ingredients and I can almost guarantee that in the next few years, more and more companies will be removing these things from their products – because consumers will ask for that. Arbonne has removed the parabens already, so, why not more?
      Tide and other companies have pledged to removed 1,4 dioxane and other carcinogens…all of which the EWG spoke about. Thanks,but we’re really satisfied with our sources.


  17. Thank you, I’ve been telling people this for ages. Thank you!

  18. I currently have Arbonne products and their ingredients are NOT listed on ANY of the products I have. Also, they are not on the website. I’m not sure who gave you that information but according to what I have it is not true.

    • Rachel, We got this list both from an Arbonne rep AND the company. And we don’t feel it’s a good thing that customers find it difficult locating the ingredients. Thanks.

  19. Lisa Morgan serenity on the Humber

    Hi, great blog, I see you used some of my info. In the references I don’t see my website listed but I may be missing it. I see that someone came to my blog from yours so I’m wondering where you list as a reference. Thanks, Lisa

    • Hey Lisa!
      Is your blog “serenity on the humber”? I have never been there, but would be glad to list you in the references! Could you please send me the link within your blog to where you think we may have gotten our info from? Thanks!

  20. A friend of mine signed me up for Arbonne (fronted the money) knowing I was looking for work and since then I have heard a couple people “bad mouth” the company product once mentioned. So I am now researching more extensively to get the other side of Arbonne – that is how I came upon your blog.

    All I can say is – I never heard of this “ewg” site until I joined Arbonne to be honest.

    After going to that site and seeing the review for Arbonne’s ABC Baby lotion (just like it was posted here on your blog, looked fairly concerning) and compared it to Johnson & Johnson NATURAL baby lotion (fyi, you spelled the brand name wrong twice in the same sentence you attached a link with the correct spelling) – now, I even chose to go with their “natural” baby lotion to compare.

    Please know, I am a mother, my sister and brother both just had a baby and I surely do not want to push a product on them and tell them how much safer it is than another nor do I want them to continue using something that is affecting situations in their skin either. So please appreciate my efforts for at least learning some facts (if not truths….)

    Truth is – When comparing the two ratings on EWG – Johnson only had a number three there with limited information, are you more willing to accept one floating number than a specific breakdown provided by EWG? as face value? But not only that upon joining the site – you can build your own report of any product you like! That right there told me “ewg” was not necessarily “reliable” but merely “informative”. I continued to read the fine print at the bottom stating they only take information from “literature” and the “government”. Two things that are not very trustworthy at this point in time (2014) (google depopulation) at least in my opinion – as a matter of fact more like the direct enemy.


    JNJ ingredient list – contains only 15 items. 5 of which were on Arbonne’s baby lotion list. 10 of which were not so easily recognized. However, I am definitely not a scientist and barely remember chemistry. My point – Arbonne’s 50 item ingredient list might be a more specific breakdown than what JNJ is willing to share.

    In other words, I saw a lot of comparing items / words but not enough for me, personally to say it was a clear match. Since Arbonne’s list was much more detailed I can’t rule out the possibility that one item might not be the same as 5 listed on Arbonne’s. And bottom line they are two different products.

    I would also like to point out that it did “rub me the wrong way” that JNJ used simple to understand / accept and relatable words like “moisturizing”, “helps maintain”, “absorbs”, “keeps smooth” and “combined” because the word “science” isn’t as comforting or accepted by the world & frankly scares people. I have to say I’m glad Arbonne offers a more clear break down so you can at least check each ingredient as opposed to only offering “the basics” or “need to know” information.

    Now I’m not saying Arbonne is better than any other product out there, because I don’t know that. I’ve only just signed up and only tried a couple of products. Again, I too, am doing my own research and wanted to make this more a fair trial, since I too took the time to do some homework and compare.

    You provided all the wrongs and don’ts for arbonne – but never pointed out any comparison to another “name brand product”. If you were truly trying to help mothers or people out there make better decisions and choices in what they put on their babies and bodies then I would recommend pointing out the things I noted here.

    I feel bad for all the people willing to accept your disguised rant rather than take a few extra minutes to look into like I did. I play fair – all the time.

    Thanks for sharing and your opinion.

    • I have to admit, I have no idea what you are talking about in most of your above comment. I’d love to try to understand, really! I will say that there is no need to compare brands. It’s as simple as LOOKING at the ingredients in question. It’s not just the EWG. Many of Arbonnes ingredients are not proved 100% safe by the FDA itself. Even the Environmental Protection Agency data sheets show chromosomal changes and genetic mutation effects and reproductive damage in mice when testing ingredients like Retinyl Palmitate. Please READ the article. Let me know if I am missing something.

  21. Have you looked into the ingredients list for protein powders I have previously used Vega One as well as a few other vegan brands and recently tried Arbonne. I would like to see your thoughts on these topics of course whole foods are always the best choice however I do find protein powders as my best choice some mornings.

  22. Your blog title is also a type of ‘greenwashing’ drawing readers in.

    • Definition of greenwashing: “disinformation disseminated by an organization so as to present an environmentally responsible public image.” Sorry, it’s moot point.

  23. Article published in 2010 in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology titled ‘Safety of retinyl palmitate in sunscreens: A critical analysis’ states that “In conclusion, based on currently available data from in vitro, animal, and human studies, there is no convincing evidence to support the notion that RP in sunscreens is photocarcinogenic. In fact, clinical observations spanning over decades suggest that retinoids are helpful in skin cancer chemoprevention. Correcting this false impression is an important and necessary step to ensure that the public continues to use sunscreen as a component of photoprotective strategy. More importantly, as dermatologists, we should take advantage of this opportunity and educate our patients about other photoprotection practices, such as avoiding excessive sun exposure, seeking shade, and wearing photoprotective clothing, hats, and sunglasses. These efforts should serve as the primary tactic to reduce skin cancers and minimize photoaging changes associated with UV exposure.”

    Have you looked at the ingredient lists of many ‘natural’ products? Just because something is natural, does not mean you want to put it on your skin. All of the periodic table of elements are naturally found in nature (down in the Earth). Would you want to put arsenic on your skin?

    Shame on you for attacking a specific company. I noticed on Arbonne’s website that they have a scientific advisory board made up of top scientists including one from the Mayo Clinic. At least Arbonne has people regulating what is going into their products and adhere to strong safety and purity standards. I cannot say the same for Johnson and Johnson or any other personal care product manufactured and formulated in the U.S.A. since the FDA does nothing and has only banned ~11 ingredients since 1938.

    • Susan, Thanks for your comment/concerns. A sunscreen does not need RP to be effective. Arbonne claims to be natural (up until this article was written), many of the ingredients Arbonne uses are not natural) J & J and others have extremely toxic ingredients…they just don’t claim to be natural, so it’s not really greenwashing (though some of their products lately are pushing the envelope). We (naturally down to earth) are not asking people to trust all ‘natural’ labels on products. Quite the opposite! As consumers we have to be savy, strong and diligent. Arbonne has given many false claims that the public should be aware of.
      Scientist on advisory boards profit as well. I have zero faith in anything they say or stand behind.

      • Arbonne states they use both science and nature, so I am not sure where you are getting your information from.

        • Susan, every rep we’ve ever talked to still claims Arbonne is ‘all natural’. This article is simply stating that so far (we haven’t seen a new list), all the ingredients are not. Thank you.

          • To say the products are all natural is not compliant in Arbonne, so these consultants are mis-stating.

  24. ARBONNE just came out with new baby products and they don’t contain most of the harmful chemicals that you claim in this post!!!!!!!

  25. Thanks for this article. I wish I could have my sister in law read it and really take it in. She became a rep two years ago. She had just had her 2nd baby and wanted to stay home. A very “lovely” Arbonne rep told her all about the money ($17,000/month) she could make just doing two parties a week AND the benefit of using an ALL NATURAL product (yes all you naysayers – this is exactly the crap Arbonne reps tell people – and no it’s not one or two “misinformed” reps, it’s every single one I’ve ever spoken/emailed with. I’ve seen the crap Arbonne sends in their package. They aim to misform.) Two years later and my sister in law is still working full time and then trying to make marketing calls in the evening and do shows and spends less time with her family then every before. If she raises a concern, the lady she signed up under – who has attached herself to my sister in law and claims it’s “friendship” – is quick to point out that every business has “start up pains” and that you “need to invest more” (aka: purchase more product to give away!) Are you kidding me? When you start selling Arbonne you are NOT running your own company. Please stop believing this lie. I don’t care what it is – Arbonne, Epicure, Avon, whatever — if you are purchasing someone else’s product to sell – you are an employee. You are NOT running your own company. I am tired or reading how Arbonne is safe and natural. It isn’t. It just isn’t. If you still like their product, great. But don’t believe a lie. At the last conference my sister in law attended, they discussed how an official organic rating is actually bogus and how to respond to customers who wanted organic products — apparently “organic” is a made up thing that companies lie about to fool customers and there is no such thing as organic, which is why Arbonne won’t seek “organic” status. THIS is the crap they feed their reps. This Arbonne thing has become very personal for us and it breaks my heart to see people get sucked in to it. It is run like a cult and it’s not something to put your trust or faith in. There are support groups for people who leave Arbonne for crying out loud. You have to ask yourself why that would be necessary…

    • I’m so sorry to hear about all this. As you know, we are not fans of the industry at all. Very, very few people make it. This makes me sad, and I plan to continue my work to speak out. Thank you.

  26. Great article! What disturbs me is that I am seeing Arbonne representatives claim that the Mayo Clinic endorses Arbonne! I am seeing all kinds of postings about this from repes, yet I haven’t found ANY PROOF of this claim and even called the Mayo Clinic to see if this was true. The Mayo Clinic Administration Office wasn’t aware of of any endorsements and seemed extremely concerned that Arbonne reps are making these claims on their Facebook, web pages, blogs, etc…The Mayo Clinic Administration office recommended I contact the Public Affairs and report these claims. So, I would suggest that people call and/or email the Mayo Clinic Administration and Public Affairs office with any links to pages that reference claims that the Mayo Clinic endorses or backs up or has “partnered” with Arbonne. These claims could be very misleading to the public.

  27. Thank you. I am currently an Avon rep. But have been trying to find out more about them, as I’m just learning and trying to grow as a person and leave a better world for my children. But the more questions I’ve been asking, the more I’m realising that avon is an unethical company and I can’t work for them anymore. Microbeads, Palm oil, made in China…it’s all bad.
    I Just went to an arbornne party, the rep made them sound so amazing, so I was thinking of signing up and becoming a rep and transferring all my avon customers to arbornne. I thought i could improve my little bit of the world that way. but my research is showing that, although they are better than avon, it’s still not the best.
    I will not be becoming an arbornne consultant.
    this was a very good article, thank you.

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