Arbonne Skincare Review and Interview with Sheila Touchstone
I've always had sensitive skin - we're talking cycstic acne prone, oily, pockmarked skin that breaks out after using 99% of all the sensitive skin formulae on the market. To make matters worse, I used to spend a lot of time in the sun for competitive sports, and the ol' wrinkles are starting to crop up like crazy - you can imagine how hard it is to deal with wrinkles when you have sensitive skin. So when I met Sheila Touchstone, noticed her excellent complexion, and found out that she is an Independent Consultant for a line of gluten-free, vegan, botanically-based, allergy-tested skincare, my ears perked up big time.
Arbonne's mission is to "continually challenge [their] ingredient policy; and to innovate, ideate and introduce new collections that remain at the cutting-edge of industry excellence." Perusing their website, I was pleased to see ingredient lists on par with those of brands like Aveda - essential oils, natural extracts, that kind of thing. Even more impressive is the literature that Sheila provided me with. My favorite quote from the packet states that "skin is highly permeable, allowing what you apply to your skin access to your bloodstream (and thereby to the rest of your body)."
The packet also provided tons of information on the names, effects, and secret names of harmful-yet-common beauty product ingredients. They also have an ingredients index online.
Probably most impressive, though, is what Sheila herself had to say about the relationships between skincare, image, style, and above all a fulfilling life.
Because I'm in my 50s, I think that if you can feel healthy in your body, in your mind, and in your spirit, then it will give you the drive and the energy... if we don't feel well, I think it's hard to go through the day and be productive and to feel good about what you're giving back. And I think that's a big one for me: If I'm not healthy, then I'm no good to anyone.
As a stylist, I believe that grooming, makeup, clothing, accessories, and personality come together to become what we think of as "style." I asked Sheila what she thinks of this idea and how her experience working with skincare has affected her own style.
I think it's influenced me in a really positive way in the sense that I get a little bit more excited about putting on something wonderful for my skin and having wonderful colors - and then, it makes me pay attention and say, "Oh my gosh, instead of wearing those raggedy old pants, maybe I'll put on something nicer." What you say and how you treat people says a lot about who you are inside - and I think the same is true if you put on a vibrant jacket or bright shoes or a pretty dress. If it makes you feel pretty, then you are.
Still, it can be easier said than done to know exactly how to keep your skin healthy and radiant. Arbonne cites both intrinsic (biological) and actinic (environmental) factors as contributors to visual signs of aging. Sheila was kind enough to share her own difficulties adjusting to climates on the East Coast, West Coast, and the South:
I used to think I could go to the beach and play like I was 20 years old, and now I have to make sure that I have sunscreen on or I'll get spots - I never used to get those! I thought I was invincible in the sun with this Brazilian skin... suddenly I realize I have to be more careful. Also out in California, it's drier than it is in the South. I need to use more moisturizers, and I go back to reading the labels and making sure that what I put on is good for me.
With my own clients, I have found that certain habits are tough to break, and that narrowing a broad change down to one simple action can be a powerful way to train ourselves in new behaviors - starting to wearing just one non-black item per day might be one example. For Sheila, the single most powerful change you can make still comes back to skincare.
There's so much out there, and it's so overwhelming. I'd say just be careful of your ingredients and be more thorough with reading labels. There seems to be more attention put to the things being put in our food and products. Everyone wants the gluten free, soy free, non-GMOs - and they want these things for a reason.
And the most common mistake she sees in her line of work?
I would say it's just cleansing - I don't know why. Maybe people are just used to using baby oil or Vaseline because it's just so common and accessible. People just want what's easy - and I get that - but if you just pay a little bit more attention, I think you'd be happier in the long run.
After speaking with Sheila and reading the info packet she provided, I was ready to test out the products for myself and take Arbonne's 3 Day RE9 Trial. RE9 is Arbonne's Anti-Aging line, "powered by age-defying botanicals and scientific ingredients." I was able to test six products.
RE9 Smoothing Facial Cleanser
I am used to oil cleansing, so this was an atypical experience for me. I really enjoyed the light, fresh, not-quite citrus scent and the nice later from the cleanser. The suggested "pea size" amount was more than enough for my face and neck. My skin felt soft and did not feel dry after use (as I have experienced with some cleansers).
RE9 Regenerating Toner
This toner is supposed to bring skin to optimal pH levels. Directions say to spritz onto a gauze square and wipe over face. I didn't have any gauze, so I used facial tissue. The scent reminded me a bit of witch hazel. It was nice to have a toner not smell like alcohol.
RE9 Intensive Renewal Serum
This serum felt silky and light, not greasy or sticky. The scent was similar to the cleanser. I enjoyed using it, although the recommended "one pump" wasn't quite enough for me to "gently massage face and neck."
RE9 Corrective Eye Cream
Eye creams can be tricky on me, sometimes feeling much too greasy and gradually working themselves into my eyes, stinging and itching. This one felt nice and light going on, and once applied I forgot it was there. The suggested pin head sized amount was perfect.
RE9 Restorative Day Cream SPF 20
This product was honestly my least favorite of the line, but I always have issues with sunscreen. The weight and texture reminded me a lot of Neutrogena or Cera Ve sunscreens, which work really well for my husband but leave me feeling covered in paste, as if the product is sitting on top of my skin. I also prefer to get my sunscreen in my makeup, which offers me SPF 30 as opposed to Arbonne's SPF 20. Aside from that, it did not feel oily, it did not cause me to break out, and it did not creep into my eyes. This would probably be a fantastic sunscreen for most people.
RE9 Nightly Repair Cream
As with most night creams, this one was probably too heavy for my oily skin at this point in my life. It will probably feel great later on, though, because it felt really moisturizing without being greasy. It spread and absorbed well, and my skin felt noticeably softer in the morning.
Overall, I think the Anti-Aging line was a tiny bit too much for me right now, but my skin felt noticeably softer throughout the day and upon waking. It was also very easy to use, and all the pumps dispensed the proper amount of product so I wasn't likely to waste any. The essential-oil-based fragrances were really pleasant to use without being overpowering, and I felt great about the company's commitment to avoiding harsh fragrances. Due to my skin type, I didn't notice much change in firmness or reduction of wrinkles, but I do think that normal to dry skin would benefit much better based on my skin's improved softness and elasticity.
Most importantly, I'm really impressed with Arbonne and its ability to stand toe-to-toe with many of the popular skincare lines out there, while still maintaining a gluten-free, vegan, safe, healthy ingredient list. Sheila noted that most of us stick to unhealthy habits because it's easy - and I'm here to say it's 100% equally easy to switch to a safe, healthy routine instead.
For more information on Arbonne, please feel free to reach out to Sheila on her Arbonne site.