Product Review: Arbonne RE9 range.

I had coffee with a contact of mine yesterday, and she’s a rep for Arbonne. I’d never actually heard of the brand before, but turns out it’s like Avon, as in it’s one of those ‘buy from a rep’ brands.

My contact kindly gave me samples of the RE9 range to try:


The packaging is really pretty, isn’t it? The boxes felt really luxurious and the bottles are quite fancy as well, the leaf design of the boxes repeated on the bottles.

I was a little hesitant to use this brand, because I don’t normally do too well with ‘natural’ brands, and Arbonne says it’s all natural. I’m skeptical about this claim, but then I’m a cynic of anything that claims to be ‘pure’ and ‘natural’ anyway – the only thing that is totally pure and natural when it comes to skincare is water (and even that has contaminants in it), but let’s not dwell on semantics.

I’ve mentioned before that I tend to stick with brands I know, but I’m always up for trying something new, so I cracked open the Restorative Cream and squeezed a bit on my hand.

I would just like to say at this point that I’m paranoid beyond paranoid about putting stuff I don’t know on my face, and everything I currently use has been tested on my hand before it goes anywhere near my face. I’m allergic to a myriad of things, and the skin on the back of my hand is a pretty good indicator of how my face will react to something, so all face products get the back of the hand test.

I will say that for a brand that claims to be ‘natural’, I’ve never smelled something quite as artificial. It almost made me gag – not a good start. It smelled plastic, a similar smell to the travel size Sanctuary face wash I reviewed earlier in the year. The smell of oranges was the main odour, and I don’t like that smell much anyway, but it wasn’t ‘real’ oranges, it was fake oranges – think air freshener.

So I smeared the product around on my hand, and left it for a few minutes. If I’m going to react, it’s never instant, it’s always after two or three minutes as the product gets absorbed.

My hand started to itch.

Really, really itch.


Oh dear.

My hand started turning red (that’s a terribly-lit photo, but you can see the redness), and the itching got worse, so I washed my hands quickly and applied hand cream and anti-histamine cream to the skin. Thankfully the redness went down, but the itching lingered until I’d applied a second round of anti-histamine cream and taken an allergy tablet.

Long story short, I am allergic to Arbonne. Which is a little odd, as I can’t find anything in the ingredients that I’d obviously be allergic to. I know my allergy triggers when it comes to skin products, and not a single one of them was listed on that packet. So I’m a bit baffled, unless there’s some derivative of or relation to silver birch pollen that’s in there that I can’t identify.

I did some Googling around and it seems I’m not the only person who has suffered an allergic reaction to this brand. A lot of the people who have reacted didn’t test on their hands before putting the stuff on their face so they suffered really bad reactions – and I mean really bad, to the point of needing steroidal treatment and more to fix it. I’m really glad I tried it on my hand. I dread to think what would have happened to my face if I had just gone ‘YAY NEW THINGS’ and plastered it on.

It’s a mystery, then, why my hand started itching if there’s no listed ingredients that I’m allergic to. I appreciate that it’s only one product from the range, but I’m hesitant to try anything else from the sample pack in case I have the same reaction. I might drip some of the serum onto my hand to see, but the skin on my hand feels really dry this morning, just on the patch where I put the Arbonne cream, so I don’t want to mess it up further by using another product on it. I have dry skin anyway, but the patch test area hasn’t softened even after I’ve used my usual routine on it. Strange.

Half of me is wondering if there’s an unlisted ingredient somewhere in the cream that I am allergic to, but I assume that it’s illegal to not list an ingredient – I don’t know if it is, but that’s horrible practice if it isn’t illegal. And after some further Googling, there’s a lot of negativity towards the brand, not only for the allergic reactions but the price and the actual scheme itself. If you search for ‘arbonne reviews’ in Google, the amount of venom towards the brand is incredible. There are positive experiences there too, but there’s a lot of bile.

I’m not going to go off on a rant about the brand because it made my hand itch, but I will say be careful of Arbonne products if you’ve got any allergy to anything, and even if you haven’t, still tread carefully. Test everything on your hand first (you should do this anyway with any new product) and even then when you move a product to your face, just put it on a small part to check it’s okay for you to use. And leave it for a while, the effects might not show up until later on, or even overnight.

I think I’m going to put some more hand cream on and see if I can soften the bit that went itchy. It’s weird that it’s even drier than normal!

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