How to Know if Ingredients in MLM Products Are Toxic


I’m thinking that the only time that the word “toxic” is even remotely a good thing is as it relates to Britney—and of course that depends entirely on your taste in music. But when it comes to products that you put on or in your body, the concept of toxicity takes on a whole new meaning. So why are we talking about how to know if ingredients in MLM products are toxic? Well, for starters, they—MLM products that is—are everywhere, and many of us use them every single day, on our faces, on our skin, and in our diets.

Consider for a moment some common household names of MLM products. Are you a Rodan + Fields product line devotee (or sales rep)? How about Herbalife, LipSense, Mary Kay, Scentsy, Shakelee, or Younique? Do those products have a place in your life? What about Arbonne, Beachbody, Monat, DoTerra, EVER Skincare, or YoungLiving? Or what about products from Beautycounter, Lemongrass Spa, Max and Madeleine, or NYR Organic?

All of these products are sold by way of a multi-level marketing (MLM) sales strategy, and we most often come into contact with them by way of a friend or family member who reps the product line. But what do you really know about the product line and what, for that matter, does your friend who sells it? Chances are good that the topic of how to know if ingredients in MLM product are toxic don’t often come up for discussion. Unless, of course, you’re buying from an MLM product line that has built its reputation on the premise of being non-toxic, and then, chances are good you are well aware of that.

Enter Stage Left: The Mamavation Team

My friend Leah Segedie, founder of the Mamavation website and community, and author of the book Green Enough: Eat Better, Live Cleaner, Be Healthy, is more than a little passionate about living a toxin free life. Even better? She’s just as passionate about digging in and doing the hard work that the rest of us far too often don’t do. That means getting to the heart of the things that are in our everyday world and lives that might not be the healthiest for us and for our families, and she’s equally as passionate about helping find alternatives for those things. Leah’s goal is a simple one, and a noble one, and that’s to make the journey of living healthier lives less complicated and less intimidating for all. She’s also not afraid to take on big brands when that’s necessary, and she’s definitely not one to back down from a confrontation. Ask any brand who has tried to intimidate her—it’s really not a great idea.

More About Leah Segedie and Mamavation

What I love about Leah is that she is an ordinary, average woman with an extraordinary zest for life, for learning, for effecting change, and for helping people. I met Leah years ago when I was speaking at a blogger conference. I no sooner walked into the room when this redheaded dervish made her way across the crowded room in the blink of an eye and enveloped me in a gigantic hug—making the leap from online friends to IRL friends in no time—and I’ve followed her amazing career trajectory ever since.

Like most of us, Leah has had her own health and wellness issues and she’s also had to navigate the journey of exploring her children’s health issues over time as well. Those experiences ultimately led her down the path of learning about the dangers of hormone-disrupting chemicals and how they are linked to most of the chronic illnesses we humans experience and spurred a passion for activism that grows on a daily basis. Leah and her team have investigated baby care products, the toxicity of store receipts that contain chemicals, haircare products and, most recently products sold by popular MLM companies that many of you have either heard of, use, or even sell. Speaking of those popular MLM companies and their products, let’s take a deeper die into what’s good and what’s perhaps not-so-good about them, shall we?

How to Know if Ingredients in MLM Products Are Toxic

Do you read labels on the food products you buy? What about the labels on the beauty care or weight loss products you buy? If the answer to the latter is no, why not? Anything you put on your skin, in your hair, or ingest in some way (like weight loss products), gets into your system. So whether you’re buying products from the drug store, a department store, online, or from a friend selling an MLM product, it’s pretty important to read the labels. When buying from a friend, it’s easy to skip this step, because you generally like and trust your friends, but don’t make the mistake of thinking they know the toxicity level of the products they are selling, and chances are good they might also not really care. And don’t you want to know if ingredients in MLM products are toxic — especially ones that you might be using? I know I do!

The MLM Product Toxicity Investigation — The Details

What the team at Mamavation did with their investigation into ingredients in MLM products and their toxicity was complicated. In their words:

“We did the work to verify mountains of information, using our expertise to categorize each brand based on a number of important factors including ingredient and label examination, ease of access to get that ingredients information and overall company quality. Above all, we valued transparency and the ability to verify claims. For instance, “made using organic farming methods” isn’t the same as USDA organic and is unverifiable, so brands asking us to “trust us!” were demoted. It’s important to understand that. We have no way of verifying the information. But brands that disclose 100% of their ingredients, have 3rd party certifications and avoid hormone-disrupting chemicals fared very well.”

They broke down the top ten ingredients to avoid and categorized MLM brands into three categories. Their Best category includes brains that use none of those top ten ingredients to avoid, the Better category includes brands that use small amounts of the less seriously bad for you products, and the Bad category includes either brands that aren’t transparent at all about their ingredients, or who use ingredients classified as toxic.

What MLM Brands Do You Use — Where Do They Fall on the Toxicity Scale?

So, what MLM products do you use? If your go-to products include things from the Rodan + Fields, Younique, Herbalife, Isagenix, or Shakelee product lines, you absolutely need to read this report and explore the ingredients used by these and other brands that might be of concern to you. Also, ask your friend or family member who’s repping these MLM products about the toxin levels in the products they’re selling and get their feedback on that. If they brush off your concerns with an unsatisfactory explanation, it might be all you need to know to make a change in how and what you’re purchasing, especially as it relates to skincare items.

If you’re like me, you’re going to pay a lot of attention to the Better and Best brand lists complied by the Mamavation team and pay a lot more attention to reading labels moving forward. I am a fan of Monat’s all natural haircare products, which have helped me deal with hair loss (aack!) and was glad to see them on the Better list as a result of their publicly-stated phthalate-free fragrance. I’d love to see them disclose fragrance ingredient details and embrace 100 percent transparency, and hopefully coverage like the investigation by Mamavation will encourage them and other brands to do just that. Want to know more about hair loss while you’re here? Check out: Hair Loss in Women—It’s More Common Than You Think. 

Here’s also a nod to my many friends who are advocates, sellers, and users of the Beautycontrol product line—there’s every reason to be a fan of that brand, as well as the others on the Best list.

Want to see the full list? I hope so!! You can access the Mamavation team’s full investigation here:

The Ultimate Non-Toxic Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) Investigation

In closing, I’ll mention that if this topic is of interest, buying Leah’s book is a logical next step. I’m reading it, and learning something new with every chapter and am ever grateful for my smart friends.

Green Enough: Eat Better, Live Greener, Be Happier Book

You can grab it on Amazon here.

Other Resources from Mamavation You Might Find of Interest:

Dangerous Shampoo & Conditioner Chemicals: What Brands to Avoid and Our Must Use List

Oat Cereal & Granola Bar Product Investigation: Glyphosate Pesticide Levels in Popular Foods

Non-toxic Baby Care: Disposable Diaper and Baby Wipes Investigation

Tell Target to Drop Dangerous Receipt Chemicals to the Curb!