Calm Soothing Facial Serum
This water-based serum is supposed to be best for sensitive skin, and it does contain some very good soothing plant extracts; however, it also contains a high amount of chicory root extract, a plant that's known to cause contact dermatitis, despite also being a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory when consumed orally (Sources: www.naturaldatabase.com; and Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, November 2013, ePublication).
Although there's a good deal of compelling research on the benefits of consuming chicory root (it's a common ingredient in New Orleans–inspired coffee blends), its benefit for skin, especially sensitive skin, is questionable. As such, this fragrance-free serum isn't recommended.
A word about the non-comedogenic claim: As this claim has no regulatory standards governing its use, any product can state that it won't clog pores. This thin-textured serum is unlikely to clog pores due to the nature of its ingredients, but, admittedly, many of us have used products with the non-comedogenic claim and found that they did, in fact, cause or worsen clogged pores.
- Contains some effective plant-based anti-irritants.
- Lightweight, thin texture works for all skin types, whether used with or without moisturizer.
- The amount of chicory root extract is potentially irritating, and this plant has no established benefit for the skin.
- Formula contains a low amount of barrier-repair ingredients, but truly sensitive skin needs an abundance of these important ingredients.
This lightweight serum, with a moisture barrier soothing complex, quickly penetrates, cools and soothes the skin, locking in moisture and leaving the skin feeling hydrated and supple. This non-irritating, non-comedogenic serum is the ideal product for improving the texture and appearance of the skin.
Strengths:A small selection of basic but effective cleansers and masks; good brush set; lip balm with reliable sun protection.
Weaknesses: Consistent and pervasive use of volatile fragrant oils that are irritating, allergenic, and/or photosensitizing for skin; disappointing toners and masks; no effective AHA or BHA products; no skin-lightening or effective anti-acne products; several sun-care products contain problematic ingredients.
Founded in 1975 with the goal of providing skin-care products with "unparalleled quality and effectiveness," Arbonne International is a direct-sales line many of my readers have an intense curiosity about. There must be lots of assertive Arbonne salespeople out there, because no other line with this type of business structure has generated the amount of email we receive, all asking if Arbonne products are worth it and whether or not many of the company's outlandish claims are true. More than many other lines, Arbonne is big on playing up the alleged evil of many benign cosmetic ingredients. Topping this list is mineral oil, which the company maintains interferes with skin functions and delivery systems. Cosmetics-grade mineral oil is not a problem for skin and is in fact one of the mildest and most effective ingredients for making dry skin look and feel better. It doesn't have the best texture or finish, but its effectiveness is indisputable (Sources: Journal of Burn Care Research, May-June 2006, pages 345351; Contact Dermatitis, June 2003, pages 293299; Cosmetics & Toiletries, January 2001, page 79; Cosmetic Dermatology, September 2000, pages 4446; and Dermatitis, September 2004, pages 109116).
We have also been asked about whether it is true that all mascaras except Arbonne's contain bat excrement. Yes, you read that correctly. It seems many Arbonne salespeople are telling potential customers that all mascaras (except for Arbonne's, of course) contain this substance. We also found that many of the Arbonne representatives we spoke to love sharing the false rumor about lipsticks containing road-kill remnants (except for Arbonne's, of course). We wouldn't mention these tall tales if these were a few isolated incidents, but dozens upon dozens of women have contacted us asking for the truth behind these ludicrous claims. Just to be clear, cosmetic chemists are not venturing into dark caves to collect bat excrement or picking up carcasses of animals on the side of the road all in an effort to save money and create harmful cosmetics. And you have to wonder: If Arbonne products are so wonderfully effective, why do they need to sell themselves using scare tactics about what every other company's products supposedly contain?
Arbonne also advertises the fact that their products don't contain chemical fragrances because of their potential for causing allergic contact dermatitis. We agree with that stance, but it would give Arbonne more credibility if they didn't replace "chemical" fragrances with a slew of irritating plant extracts and volatile oils, several of which are well-known for their potential to cause skin problems. It is their overreliance on such ingredients that makes a disproportionate number of their products impossible to recommend.
we could go on, but to sum it up, despite my reservations, Arbonne has some good products to consider. However, the rather misleading marketing language is not convincing. None of the natural-sounding ingredients in the world can keep you from reacting to an irritating preservative or fragrance, or from breaking out due to cosmetic waxes such as stearic acid or myristyl myristate.
For more information about Arbonne International, call (800) 272-6663 or visit www.arbonne.com.
Arbonne's makeup is known is divided into two main groups, About Face and Virtual Illusion, and in contrast to its skin-care products, the claims are somewhat tempered. The color palette presented is divided into warms, cools, and neutrals. Although we don't agree with all of Arbonne's classifications, this system can be helpful for making your selection. Regrettably, this collection has seen very little change over the years. Instead, Arbonne focuses heavily on skin care while their latest makeup fails to approach the benchmark standards being set by dozens upon dozens of other companies. The average to poor products are particularly distressing because, for the most part, Arbonne's makeup is overpriced.
Despite this, there is some good news. The makeup categories to focus are blush, eyeshadow, lipstick, gloss, and brushes. You should know that contacting an Arbonne representative to purchase makeup (you cannot purchase it via the company's Web site without having being assigned a representative) will result in more than just a monetary transaction. The Arbonne representatives we encountered were on a mission to recruit anyone who buys (or expresses interest in) their products. Dealing with this company demands patience or a strong resolve. You will need to refute not only the employees' fervent belief that Arbonne products and philosophies are superior to all others, but also the assertion that joining the company is a life-altering experience on par with the most profound spiritual journey you can imagine. Speaking as a consumer, this sort of selling is not appealing, but we are sure there are others looking for just the financial opportunity and lifestyle change Arbonne offers. Those who agree with me should know that the About Face and Virtual Illusion collections include nothing that cant be found elsewhere, from companies that make it much easier to obtain products than Arbonne does. One more point: Returning products to Arbonne is incredibly frustrating. You must contact your consultant to obtain her information, and then call the company to obtain a return merchandise authorization number. If your consultant doesn't step up, you're stuck with the products unless you want to deal with the company directly, which is about as pleasant as a root canal.
About the Experts
The Beautypedia team consists of skin care and makeup experts personally trained by the original Cosmetics Cop and best-selling beauty author, Paula Begoun. We’re fascinated by skin care and makeup products and thrilled when they meet or exceed our expectations, but we’re also disappointed when they fail to perform as claimed, are wildly overpriced, or contain ingredients scientific research has proven can hurt skin.
Our mission has always been to help you find the best products for your skin, no matter your budget or preferences. Beautypedia’s thorough and insightful reviews cut through the hype and provide reliable recommendations for all ages, skin types, and skin tones.