MLMs I Avoid

We all know them… and while some are amazing, sadly, for the most part, multi-level marketing companies are not the best choice when it comes to both food and beauty products. Most of the food companies like Shakeology and Isagenix are loaded with non-Organic ingredients, sugar, natural flavors, inflammatory fillers, processed ingredients, and vitamins made in a lab instead of from real food. Many reps also falsely represent these brands, labeling them Organic, yet so many times, there will not be a single Organic ingredient in the product. The truth is, navigating the MLM world is HARD, so I wanted to generate some responses for those of you that want to avoid these products but are not sure how to explain it to your friends!

Instead of going in too deep on why I avoid these brands, this blog is designed to serve as a tool for responses. I will apologize in advance for anyone this blog hurts, as I am sure many reps will come here upset but I hope it will encourage you to consider signing up for one of the better MLMs out there. Please also remember, we all have varying standards, and mine happens to be pretty extreme as I avoid things many other clean brands allow like lake dyes, perfumes & phenoxyethanol.

When it comes to food, my friend Food Babe has already done a pretty great breakdown of the MLM shakes on her blog so I will link you there for the food portion in hopes that it helps! When it comes to shakes and the healthy foods, you are consuming daily, what’s inside really counts! Head here for Food Babe’s shake breakdown.

Now, my turn- Beauty! I would say 90% of my inbox is full of DMs asking me to review a handful of the same brands over and over again so this will serve as my quick response on why I personally will not use these brands and hopefully it will give you more of a starting point to research if you would like to continue using the items or not.

Please note- the below ingredients are just some, of the reasons I avoid these products. There are so many synthetic ingredients in each of these lines, it would take me months to review each one. This blog is also not for in-depth data or research, it is more so the ingredients I personally avoid, designed to help you make the best choices possible.

How to Respond to MLM-

We all have gotten them, the texts, emails, or DMs asking us if we’d like to learn more about a new product, and sadly, my answer is NO most of the time. I think what many struggle with is how to firmly but politely let your friends know that you are not interested in the items but, at the same time, educating them on why you are not interested to hopefully inspire them to learn more about what they are selling. So, this blog is for you! Of course, you should adjust the dialogue to be yourself, these are really just examples!

MLM Example Message- “Hey Amanda! I was just looking at your dog rescue, wow great job!!! I am so happy to see you doing so well and I love that you are into clean beauty, I am too! I just started my own venture with Arbonne products and I would love to show you more about it sometime!”

My response would be-

Aweee thank you so much for thinking about me and I am so glad you are doing well too! I have actually looked into that brand before and while it looked really nice, there were too many potentially irritating ingredients for me and it’s not truly as clean as they say they are. My skin is really sensitive so I can’t stray from my current routine but thank you!

If they push back and ask for more info try to keep it cordial, there is no point arguing or wasting time tit for tatting. They will most likely respond back upset as you are now telling them their method of income is not as great as they may have thought. Have compassion for them the best you can and predict this type of response so you can respond with kindness. They usually say, oh really? Which ingredients do you feel are irritating or unsafe? So, below are each MLM and the ingredients I avoid and why. If an argument continues, I would wrap it up with something like this-

You asked me to share why I avoid this line so I shared my reasons. I don’t feel I need to defend my stance and neither do you if it’s something you enjoy. Good luck with it all!

MLM’s I Avoid-

Arbonne- They claim to be healthy to the mind, body, and skin and good for the planet, however, they are not. They also claim they collaborate with holistic experts and have “high clean standards” but that is not reflected, in my opinion, in their current offerings. They go on and on and on about their high standards but really, their products are mediocre. They are not Organic, they are not 100% Natural and they use many synthetic ingredients with links to hormone disruption, allergic reactions, endocrine disruption, and more.

  • Retinyl Palmitate- Tested on animals finding it may speed the development of skin tumors and lesions.
  • Phenoxyethanol- Often made from carcinogens. Contact allergen with links to endocrine disruption.
  • Butylene Glycol- Often from petroleum with links to skin irritations and dermatitis.
  • Polysorbates- An ethoxylated compound with possible ethylene oxide contamination.
  • Disodium EDTA- Penetration enhancer, an environmental pollutant, toxicity in mammals.
  • Fragrance- Links to allergic reactions, headaches, hormone disruption + nausea.
  • Lake Dyes- Derived from coal tar with links to asthma, allergic reactions, and dermatitis.
  • Ppg-26-Buteth-26- Concern with organ system toxicity, known skin irritant.
  • PEG-40 Castor Oil- Castor oil mixed with ethylene oxide, a known carcinogen.

Beautycounter- While I appreciate Beautycounter’s commitment to lobbying for cleaner cosmetics, I personally think they could improve their offerings a bit more. Yes, they do better than most and they do have some decent options but, there are brands doing it better which is why it’s not one I have the need to reach for. If they removed the below two red flags, I would consider using the line at that time.

  • Phenoxyethanol- Often made from carcinogens. Contact allergen with links to endocrine disruption.
  • Lake Dyes- Derived from coal tar with links to asthma, allergic reactions, and dermatitis.

Monat- Ohhhh Monat, yes, you do have some ok options but you also leave a lot unknown. Perhaps one of my biggest issues with them, besides the surplus of people blaming them for their hair loss, is their use of fragrance in both their hair and skincare items. I found a few different breakdowns of their fragrance but none of which showed me that it was a 100% Natural scent. Their website does the typical “our fragrances are safe” dance without really answering what it is which is a deal-breaker for me. The truth is, it is not an all-natural scent so that is an automatic no from me. They also use perfumes and Tetrasodium EDTA in their pet line which is made from formaldehyde, a known carcinogen. They also make a pet deodorizer with fragrance being third on their ingredient list.

  • Fragrance- Links to allergic reactions, headaches, hormone disruption + nausea.
  • Butylene Glycol- Often from petroleum with links to skin irritations and dermatitis.
  • Behentrimonium Chloride- Links to skin and eye irritations.
  • Benzyl Alcohol- Known human allergen deemed dangerous for the environment.
  • Tetrasodium EDTA- Made from formaldehyde a known carcinogen. Penetration enhancer.

Rodan & Fields- Ugh, perhaps the one I avoid the most, R&F. Known for their lawsuits due to allergic reactions and drooping eyelids. It shows a lot about them as a brand to know that many women are suffering from horrible reactions from their products and yet, they refuse to reformulate the most problematic products. When I went to see if their Lash Boost still contained Isopropyl Cloprostenate, I used copy and paste to see if those words were on the page. They were not. I quickly noticed that those ingredients were pasted as a graphic making it impossible for me to search for the words “Isopropyl Cloprostenate” yet their other product ingredients are not listed in graphic form? Seems a bit sketchy…

They also are one of the few MLMs left to continue paraben use with some of their items containing up to FIVE parabens. They then use lake dyes in their skincare which is utterly pointless and just adds to the risks. Another thing really concerning about this line is the amount of penetration enhancing ingredients they use, that means, certain ingredients are designed to increase penetration which allows other toxic ingredients to potentially enter your bloodstream. What makes me sad is how many women may be pregnant or immune-compromised using this line as this line truly comes with elevated risks that can lead to toxin accumulation that stays inside of us for years even after stopping use.

  • Isopropyl Cloprostenate- Glaucoma drug with links to eye irritations, blurred vision & swelling.
  • Hydroquinone- Bleaching agent banned in many countries, classified as a skin toxicant and allergen.
  • Chlorphenesin- Known muscle relaxant with links to allergic reactions.
  • Octisalate- Penetrates the skin, links to allergies, and sperm cell disruption.
  • Octocrylene- Chemical in SPF with links to contact dermatitis and allergies.
  • Propylene Glycol- Another penetration enhancer suspected to be a reproductive and skin toxin.
  • Butylene Glycol- Often from petroleum with links to skin irritations and dermatitis.
  • Polysorbates- An ethoxylated compound with possible ethylene oxide contamination.
  • Fragrance- Links to allergic reactions, headaches, hormone disruption + nausea.
  • Phenoxyethanol- Often made from carcinogens. Contact allergen with links to endocrine disruption.
  • Lake Dyes- Derived from coal tar with links to asthma, allergic reactions, and dermatitis.
  • DMDM Hydantoin- Formaldehyde releasing agent. Links to skin, eye, and lung irritations.
  • PEGs- Links to irritations and redness with contamination concerns.
  • Parabens- Links to reproductive health and endocrine disruptions. Estrogen mimicking.


I am not entirely sure why some asked me about this one, as they make no real clear promise of anything being natural or organic from my quick glance but I will add it briefly. Their main goal seems to be a less is more approach to makeup, however, their ingredients are also less than desirable so this is not a brand I would suggest. I can see how women may be tricked into thinking this was some simple and clean line based on their nature-based design concept, however, they are not. It is my opinion that the ingredients are very low quality and overpriced considering there is nothing of high value in most of the products despite them advertising the brand as containing “very high-quality ingredients” check those out below!

  • Liquid Paraffin- This is refined mineral oil made from Petroleum.
  • Petrolatum- Another petroleum-derived ingredient with carcinogenic contamination concerns.
  • Phenoxyethanol- Often made from carcinogens. Contact allergen with links to endocrine disruption.
  • Talc- Possible carcinogen and skin irritation.
  • Polybutene- Binding agent with links to skin irritations.
  • Lake Dyes- Derived from coal tar with links to asthma, allergic reactions, and dermatitis.
  • Fragrance- Links to allergic reactions, headaches, hormone disruption + nausea.

Have an MLM I left off? Shoot me a comment to have me add it below!

56 thoughts on “MLMs I Avoid

  1. Crunchi is AMAZING, so happy to have found a skin care and cosmetics line that is truly toxin free!!!

    1. Please check plexus too, Besides supplements they now have a skin care line (joyome).
      Thank you for this research!!

  2. Amway!

    1. Yes I’d love to know your thoughts on maskera

  3. Have you looked at Pure Haven products? I use some of them and I think they are quite clean. I would love for you to look into them and let me know your opinion. Thanks!

    1. I’d like to know what you think of Pure Haven too. Crunchi is a top fav for me as well 🙂

  4. Ugh. Love you so much for your consistency in this matter! Everyone has to fiiiiinally start reading labels right. 👁
    It’s all on the back, not in the front.🤷🏼‍♀️🙏🏼✌🏻

  5. This is amazing and so helpful!
    Another company I’ve seen a lot more of recently is Herbal Life for shakes, supplements, and skincare. That would be a great one to add to this great list! Thanks for all your knowledge sharing!

  6. What do you think of Young Living?!

  7. Don’t forget to look into Motives Makeup by Loren Ridinger! Thank you for all your research Amanda!

  8. Love that you put together this blog! I agree that I would try Beauty Counter products if they removed those ingredients. I’ve ALMOST purchased some skincare items from them after reading about others’ great results, but being a breastfeeding mom now made me resist. My knowledge of ingredients to avoid is in large part to finding you on IG years ago, so thank you!

  9. What do you think of Lemongrass spa?

  10. Navy (they claim it‘a clean)

    1. I believe Navy uses plastics in their products. Poly-quateriums and phenoxyethanol. It’s been a bit since I last checked though.

  11. Can you look into Pure Haven please?

  12. Nuskin

  13. This I great! I’ve been looking for something that is concise like this to give my friends who ask me about clean beauty and are approached by MLMs.
    Do you think you’ll ever do one on popular clean beauty brands (non MLM) like Jane Iredale, Etc? Or is it considered rude for you to do that?

  14. How about Tori Belle magnetic lashes. That just sounds scary! Younique! No way they’re clean.

  15. You can add LimeLife by Alcone to list of no’s

  16. Young Livinh – Savvy Minerals and their other body products?

  17. Thank you for sharing!! Dying to know what your opinion on Limelife by Alcone? I’ve been trained to think they’re amazing and clean but I honestly question so much now….

  18. What about Tula? They have been popping up everywhere in my feeds!! Thank you for all you do!!!

  19. I love this blog post so much! Lots of good info! Thank you so much for writing this up so we can also reference back when we’re in this situation. I don’t get a whole lot of people trying to sell me things anymore, the only one I get occasionally is Young Living. I see they’re making makeup and supplements now! I personally buy make up mostly from Crunchi or Well People but I’m also curious about YL because it’s such a popular brand. I’d love to hear your views on them!

  20. I’d love to hear what you think of Pure Haven and Young Living.

  21. Have you heard of Oriflame? It’sa Swedish company. I have a friend that’s really into it and claims it’s very clean but I don’t think so

  22. Hi!! LOVE your blog! What’re your thoughts on doTERRA and Sakara!? I’ve started using a few doTerra supplements and like them but I need you stamp of approval lol and Sakara! Protein powders, metabolism powder? From what I’ve seen they look pretty good?? Let us know, you’re the best!❤️

  23. What do you think about Lemongrass Spa? They claim to have clean ingredients!

  24. What about purium

  25. I’d love to hear what you think about young livings beauty products and makeup

  26. Have you heard of LimeLife? They market the same way, don’t know if their stuff is actually “clean”!

  27. What do you think of dōTERRA skin care, shampoo, etc?

  28. Pure Romance would be a great one to add in. I use to be a consultant with them and then began using and wanting to use cleaner products for myself and my family and realized working with them was nooot the way to do that.

  29. Thank you so much for taking the time to do this. ✨

  30. What do you think of Younique?

  31. What do you think of Young loving make up. Savvy Minerals?

  32. I’d love to know your opinion on Poofy Organics, ID Life, Pure Haven, any essential oil MLM, color street and Le-vel Thrive. They all claim to be all natural.

  33. I love this blog. I would love feedback about to unique and beach body supplements maybe one day 🙂

  34. Doterra?

  35. Any thoughts about Norwex cleaning supplies or DoTerra (OnGuard, supplements, shake mix). Loving the clean makeup I’ve switched to through your store! I want to keep being mindful about what we’re using.

  36. I’ve seen a lot of advertising lately about the MLM CTFO (Changing the future outcomes). Anyone heard of them and have any experience with their skincare and products? Are they clean?

  37. I’m curious about poofy organics.

  38. Thank you for sharing this information Amanda! It is a great tool.
    I see a lot of the comments are people asking you to review other brands but I think the point of this blog is for people to see how these companies operate and the bad ingredients they use so they can examine the companies they are interested in.
    Thank you for the work you do and teaching me what to look for!

    1. Exactly and all items I approve of are in my store!

  39. Thank you for all the research you do Amanda. I stopped using Mary Kay a long time ago, but never found an acceptable foundation. I searched for several years and tried different alternatives. Finally I stumbled upon a foundation comparison you did and I have never turned back. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  40. I am a really glad that nobody mention or ask about Amway, do you know why? Because Amway is the #1 MLM around the world, with 60 years experience, in more than 110 countries around the world, with products 100% organics, not just naturals. With certificates organics farms. With out competition. Amway has the best inventive program with 16 ways to make money and has the best educative program.

    1. I have never heard of Amway but your representation of it surely sounds incorrect. After one quick look, nothing is Organic in all of the items I viewed. Not only is it NOT Organic even 1%, it is also full of crap. Whey Protein, Milk, Xanthan Gum and their beauty products just as terrible. Soybean Oil, PEGs, perfumes, phenoxyethanol, parabens yuck!

  41. Crunchi Foundation has CHANGED my life for the better! My skin is easily irritated and I breakout way too easily. If I were to leave my makeup on for a full day, I would without a doubt have red, irritated, and broken out skin. Ever since I have started using Crunchi, I can easily wear my makeup all day without any irritation or new breakouts. Organic Bunny products are AMAZING!

  42. Can you link the blog about protein shakes? I don’t see it. I’m sure I’m just missing it. 🤦🏽‍♀️🤦🏽‍♀️😂😂 thank you!!

  43. You guys, she has listed SO many ingredients to avoid on this post. If you’re wanting her to look into something, just look into the product and see if any of the bad ingredients are listed here. We have the capabilities to help ourselves with the information she has already given us!

  44. I used some Crunchi foundation and lipgloss and oh my gosh! To say it was amazing is an understatement. The foundation is so smooth and nourishing and does not dry out and the lipgloss was not sticky and was very nourishing as well! I love it!

  45. Hi

    Thanks for sharing this very useful article. I will definitely recommend others to read. It’s really good to read. Keep sharing more like this in the Future.

  46. I’m so glad I found your blog- I’ve been debating for a few weeks now on if I want to try Beauty Counter products (especially their foundation and mascara) I’ll keep looking for another brand.

    1. I have a ton of clean faves in my store under mascara 🙂

  47. What are your thoughts on DIME Beauty? I’ve seen that one popping up a lot recently. Thank you!

  48. How about these brands/companies:
    Pure Haven
    Alpyn Beauty
    Maya Chia
    True Botanicals

    I just want something clean and trustworthy!

  49. I know this is an old blog post. But MLMs could be selling the holy grail and I would never support them because it’s a pyramid scheme in disguise. The only reason why they are still alive is because of lobbyists who basically buy the government to look the other way.

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