Skincare and I have a slightly odd relationship (a bit like me and high heels, but that’s a story for another day).
I am relentlessly drawn to it and its rows of little multicoloured boxes and pencils and tubs and powders and creams, each representing a little bit of you-time, a little bit of feel-good.
The problem is, I’ve never really understood it. I am never going to look perfect anyway, so why bother with the potions and the lotions (and especially, the time, the effort, and the money)?
I had heard of Arbonne – a sort of natural, plant-based Avon-type company – since the protein shakes on their stall had caught my eye at VegFest last year. So when Anna-Louise, an Arbonne consultant, reached out to me to review their products, I was looking forward to trying their nutrition products. (According to my VegFest post, I did try a sample of the protein… But I can’t remember it!)
Unfortunately, Anna-Louise was only able to send me samples of (some of) the extensive skincare range, but I was happy to try them out anyway – maybe I would discover what I had been missing out on all this time!
I received 3ml (0.1 fl. oz.) samples of the RE9 Advanced anti-ageing range. Being 24 (OK, almost 25), and looking about 16 years old, it is worth noting that any benefits were probably lost on me.
It took me a few days to get around to actually using the full battery of products as directed, as it seemed too much of a time commitment (therein lies my issue, really), and because I was wary of putting a load of unfamiliar products on my face before heading out for a day of work where I wouldn’t get the opportunity to remove them, should anything go awry.
So first off, I applied some of the RE9 Advanced Night Repair Crème to get started. My face did feel slightly irritated for a few minutes after it had been rubbed in, but maybe that’s because it has been so long since I put anything on my face other than oil.
A few days later, I had a chance to test the whole lot. There were elements I liked (Renewal Serum! Renewal Serum!), and others I didn’t so much (sorry, Restorative Day Crème) – so on subsequent applications, I left some products out and felt much better for it.
- RE9 Advanced Smoothing Facial Cleanser: This was a very effective cleanser. It built up a very delicate lather, and left my skin feeling incredibly clean and refreshed. If I wasn’t so sold on the evening-time oil-cleansing method, this would be a top contender for cleanser of choice.
- RE9 Advanced Regenerating Toner: I just don’t really like toners much in general. They are effective at tightening up the pores and waking your face up (I need all the help I can get), but they also result in an artificial tightness that I find unpleasant.
- RE9 Advanced Intensive Renewal Serum: A thin, watery cream that was lapped up immediately by my skin, which felt highly necessary after the toner. This is one that I subsequently used without using the toner, and it felt just as pleasant. It reminded me of a Biotone product I used in pre-“lifestyle vegan” days, which was frankly wonderful.
- RE9 Advanced Corrective Eye Crème: A clever little thing. Like the Intensive Renewal Serum, but with some sneaky mica and titanium – and, I suspect, a touch of tint – to brighten the eye area and make it subtly sparkly. I’d appreciate not being tricked into thinking my eyes were being brightened and awakened, but ultimately is is a highly effective product. This will be perfect for the dark winter mornings coming up!
- RE9 Advanced Restorative Day Crème SPF 20: I really didn’t enjoy this product at all. It felt heavy and greasy, and left a film on my skin that rubbed off in little pellets. I didn’t use it again. My mum tried it too, as she has much drier (and older – heh heh – sorry Mum!) skin than me, and agreed that it was a bit on the greasy side.
- Unfortunately, after my experience with the Restorative Day Crème, I had no desire to use the RE9 Advanced Extra Moisture Restorative Day Crème SPF 20. Sorry!
I was also given a couple of samples from the Pure Vibrance hair care range: Lustre Fortifying Shampoo and Fortifying Crème Conditioner. My hair never gets much love so I was more excited by these, though unfortunately I used them when I came to France where the water is much harder, so I may not have gotten the full effect. Besides, my hair is in such awful condition at the moment that it will take more than a bit of conditioner, however potent, to repair it. Although it was a little hard to get enough shampoo to really lather up my hair fully – as my hair currently reaches the middle of my back – it did do the job. The conditioner felt very creamy indeed and though, again, I struggled to get it through all of my hair, it does all feel much silkier than I would expect from hair that hasn’t been cut in almost a year and has been washed in excessively hard water.
Two things that all the products had in common: a smell which, personally, I didn’t like – quite plasticky and chemically; and long lists of foreign ingredients which, although Arbonne emphasise that they do not use “PABA, animal products or by-products, formaldehyde-donating preservatives, parabens, or petroleum based ingredients (benzene, mineral oil, petrolatum, phthalates, toluene)”, are always a bit off-putting to someone who likes knowing exactly what it going into and onto their body. Many of the other key ingredients are listed and explained on their website though, which is handy.
Lastly, Anna-Louise added some samples of their Makeup Primer and ABC Baby Care Set. As I don’t use foundations or blushers, I had no use for the primer so I gave that to a client. And as I don’t have a baby, I have given the baby products to Ben for his brand new little nephew. I will update this when I get their feedback.
My overall impressions of Arbonne
+ All vegan-certified
+ Free from parabens, phthalates and other nasties
+ Great product range
+ Appealing packaging
– Long lists of ingredients
– Expensive (but a 20% discount is available – read on!)
To be honest, it is hard for me to compare Arbonne skincare with similar products, as I haven’t used many of these sorts of products before. However, they have an impressively extensive range of products for all different needs and skin types, and their minimalist chic packaging does look appealing. It is great to see an all-vegan company thriving and competing with the huge names that dominate the skincare and cosmetics industry.
The products are fairly pricey; about £40 for 30ml. My 3ml samples lasted about 3-4 generous applications, so you would get about a month’s supply per bottle. Of course, it all depends on where your spending priorities lie – and I can’t help but think that these products would make great gifts.
If you want to try the products out for yourself, Anna-Louise is offering you a 20% discount! Go to the Arbonne website, where you will need to set up an online profile by clicking on “Join Arbonne” at the top of the page. Click “Client” to pay the normal cost, or click “Preferred Client” to receive the 20% discount (you will need to pay £15, but this is valid for a full year). As part of filling out your details, you will just need to type in Anna-Louise’s ID number: 440014401.
Full disclosure: I was offered the samples for free in return for a review, but as always, all opinions are my own. Photos were provided by Arbonne via Anna-Louise Marshall.