Wednesday, December 14, 2011

REVIEW: Are your beauty products safe?

I have been slowly but surely switching over my beauty and hygiene products to non-toxic brands. This is an expensive process so I figured I would share my thoughts with you guys so you don't have to waste money on crappy products. Arbonne is a Swiss company that does not use any of the following in its products:
  • Animal products or animal by-products
  • Parabens: preservative
  • Formaldehyde-donating preservatives
  • Petroleum-based ingredients
  • Benzene: a solvent most used in nail polish remover. Harmful amounts can be absorbed by the skin
  • Mineral Oil: derived from petroleum
  • Petrolatum: derived from petroleum
  • Phthalates: chemical compounds used in the production of plastics, cosmetics, and pesticides that is thought to be mutagenic, cancer causing, and adversely affects male sperm
  • Toluene: used as a solvent, obtained from petroleum, can cause liver damage and is irritating to the skin and respiratory tract
  • PABA: an acid found in the Vitamin B complex, used in sunscreens to prevent skin damage, however it can cause allergic eczema and sensitivity to light

I have been using the body wash, shampoo and conditioner now for about 2 weeks and love them except for a few things: 

FC 5 Body Wash: I checked the ingredient list on the box (the full ingredient lists were not available on the website) and the second ingredient is Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate. This is supposedly a less harsh sulfate, but a sulfate all the same. Sulfates are a cheap lathering detergent used in many shampoos, however  this body wash doesn't lather like drug-store brands so I'm a little confused. I like it though, and since I ran out of face wash I have been using this instead and it is light enough for my sensitive acne-prone skin!

FC 5 Shampoo: Same sneaky sulfate found in ingredient list. Also, I have so much hair that I have to use quite a bit of the shampoo to get full coverage. I realize that I have an unusual amount of hair on my head (and it's long) so many of you may not have this problem at all. 

FC 5 Conditioner: I love this conditioner, checked the ingredient passed! It's not too heavy and leaves my hair silky and shiny. 

I just found a blog called Killer Strands that talks about all things hair. One of her posts, Sulfate-Free Shampoo & Why All the Uproar??, talks about this very topic. Another blog named Savy Skin writes about Shampoo Ingredients to Avoid.

Shampoo Cleansing Ingredients To Avoid:
(source: Savy Skin Blog)
Extremely common
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
  • Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate
  • Ammonium Laureth Sulfate
  • Ammonium Xylene Sulfonate
  • TEA Lauryl Sulfate
  • Sulfur (in dandruff shampoos)
  • Selenium Sulfide (in dandruff shampoos)
Less common
  • Magnesium Sulfate
  • Sodium Thiosulfate
  • Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate
  • Alkyl Sodium Sulfate
  • Alkyl Benzene Sulfonate
  • TEA-Dodecylbenzene
  • Sodium C12-15 Alkyl Sulfate
  • Sodium Dodecyl Sulfonate
According to a NY Times Article, Sulfate-Free Brands Have Some in a Lather, there is one drug store brand that is boasting sulfate free: Loreal Paris' EverPure and EverStrong. I am not sure of the rest of the ingredients, however I am going to check them out because I am positive they are cheaper than Arbonne. Aveda is another company that does not include sulfates in their products. On the flip side, stylists are saying that some of their clients are seeing lackluster hair because they are using sulfate-free shampoos.

The VERDICT: For how expensive Arbonne's products are, some of them still have a form of sulfate in them. The conditioner is the only one that I would DEFINITELY buy again. As for the use of sulfates, the verdict is out. I am getting yays and nays so it is up to you to make the decision for yourself. I am not convinced that they are aweful enough for me to throw away everything with sulfates in them (like I did with everything containing soy ingredients). I am still going to use Arbonne as I really do love the way my hair looks and feels. 

Do you have any opinions on sulfates? Are you more confused than you were before? Do you even care about this issue?

*I am not being paid at this point to promote anything by Arbonne. The three products listed above are the only products I have reviewed from Arbonne, therefore I do not have an opinion on any of their other products.

If you are interested in buying Arbonne products or have any questions about them please contact


  1. Oh wow, I thank you for putting these all information. Honestly, I don't have any idea of the components of my beauty products not until now. Thanks again.

    1. No problem! I didn't either until recently. Thanks for reading!


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