2020 Update: Arbonne is now certified gluten-free. Everything about them is as safe as possible. Which of course means it will be added in the GFMG Gluten-Free Makeup List. I’ll also write a new review of them. Stay tuned for that. 😉
Yep folks. This is the company I took off my list. Arbonne has not told us the truth about their “gluten free” products.This whole saga began when an eagle eyed reader contacted me via my contact page:
“Did you realize that several products on Arbonne’s gluten free makeup list have wheat protein as one of the main ingredients?” She sent me the names of the products.
“… Oh my gosh.” She was right.
First off, the history of why I approved them in the first place:
When I first contacted Arbonne, they gave me their list of gluten free products, but had trouble answering my further questions. Frustrated with them, I gave up for a month or two. I eventually tried again and then finally started getting some answers. Only the products on their gluten free list were safe, and those they told me were tested for gluten in order to ensure the purity and lack of cross contamination from their gluten products.
OK, that fits the criteria. I read a few of the ingredient lists and though was surprised at the extreme length of the lists for a single product, I saw nothing of concern. I added them to the list.
Now, to clarify, I don’t usually go through companies lists of products and read all the ingredients. Why? Because gluten can hide in dozens of ingredients, not all of which are always derived from gluten.
Case in point: Tocopheryl acetate. This an extremely common ingredient that is basically vitamin E. Sometimes it’s derived from rice, sometimes from wheat. You can’t tell by reading the ingredients. You have to talk to the company to find out.
So in most cases, reading the ingredients does nothing to help determine if a product is safe or not. But in this case, it most certainly would have.
Because sure enough, upon hunting down the ingredients of the FC5 line, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein stared back up at me from the ingredient list.
So why would Arbonne say that their products are gluten free when they have wheat in them?
In this case, it is exactly the same idea as Mineral Fusion’s gluten free claim. Arbonne subscribes to the theory that removing gluten from wheat protein in the lab can make the wheat safe for gluten sensitive people. The problem with that?
We have one ruling alone in the US about gluten free labeling. It was done by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), of all people. It was a ruling on gluten free beer. The result?
TTB will not allow products made from ingredients that contain gluten to be labeled as “gluten-free.”
Kinda says a lot, doesn’t it? I wrote a whole post on that HERE, if you want to read more of what TTB said.
In short, Arbonne claims that their products are gluten free due to a process so dangerous that the US government has outlawed it for gluten free beer.
If Arbonne has such questionable beliefs on their idea of “gluten free”, how do we know that anything on their gluten free list is safe? Do they actually even use a reliable “test”, if they even test at all?
Because of these doubts, Arbonne has been struck from the Gluten Free Makeup List.