[Update: Comments have been closed due to threats from MLM company representatives. Please see comment policy. For lifestyle & beauty brands we added some additional information. Note: Brands that did not disclose fragrance ingredients were given “bad” rankings regardless of claims if they were not verified by a 3rd party with certification. We are encouraging all brands using fragrance to disclose what that fragrance is. We believe that you have a right to know what you put on your body. Any brand that is willing to publicly disclose fragrances online will be reconsidered. Industry giant Unilever ironically agrees with us and is labeling their fragrance soon. ]
Over 20 million people were involved in direct selling opportunities in 2015. Three-quarters of them were women. People involved in multi-level marketing or direct sales sold over 12 BILLION dollars in wellness products alone that year. MLM companies offer opportunities that empower women to make a living without having to clock into an office. For the modern era, it’s a fantastic opportunity. Women are looking for ways to support their families and add some additional income to the pot to be able to stay home longer with little ones. Some of us have even become consultants to get deals on products we have grown to love.
Although MLM companies are fantastic as an opportunity for women, no one is really rating them based on the safety of their ingredients. Almost every week, someone asks us about our favorite MLM companies, so we thought it was time to independently evaluate their ingredients. Which of these companies are safest for your family based on ingredients? We have no skin in the game so we hope you enjoy our investigation on the most popular MLMs in the industry.
Disclosure: Mamavation does not engage in multi-level marketing, but we support the women who sell through multi-level marketing and this post was not created to bash on that industry. In terms of this post, we are only looking at ingredients to rank MLM companies. The only brand here that we have had any financial ties to is Beautycounter. They are sponsors of ShiftCon Social Media Conference.
Mamavation Looked At Most Popular MLM Companies
We surveyed the Mamavation private Facebook group for the most popular MLM companies in beauty, lifestyle, and food. And then we went searching for their ingredients and what was known about them online. We found good companies, companies that we felt lukewarm about and companies that definitely used unsafe ingredients. For instance, tons of companies in the bad beauty section contained “fragrance”, which is typically an endocrine disruptor called phthalates. But we also found some options that you would feel good using and recommending to your friends and loved ones.
Above all, we valued transparency and the ability to verify what they were saying. If brands certified their own products and we had no way of verifying what they were saying, we brought them down a notch. Saying “made using organic farming methods” isn’t the same as USDA organic.
[Updated image: Moving Lemongrass Spa, Monat, Nikken to “bad” category. They do not disclose fragrance ingredients, which we find important. Don’t you have a right to know what you put on your skin? We think you do, and have left that to the better and best categories. Any company who decides to publicly disclose fragrance ingredients on their website will be reconsidered.]
Direct sales of beauty products began in 1886. 1886 also brought you the Tournament of Roses Parade and an extra jolt of cocaine in your Coca-Cola. That year began a legacy of opportunity for women that still remains today – an opportunity to generate independent income while working from home. But throughout this time, companies have been protected legally from disclosing ingredients. And their lack of transparency is masked as “trade secrets.” As a result, they don’t have to disclose amount of phthalates within their products. But we know they are likely hidden anytime you see “fragrance,” “perfume,” or “parfum.”
Beauty MLMs That Are Bad For Your Health
These brands contain carcinogens, nanoparticles or endocrine disrupting chemicals. They can also contain potentially allergenic ingredients that can make sensitive people react. They use perfumes and fragrances in their ingredients without clear labels communicating what ingredients constitute “fragrance”. They may have something to hide. Phthalates are an ingredient linked to weight gain and a lower IQ in children. In addition, phthalates are also linked to a lack of virility in men. Not too cool if you are wanting children one day.
Rodan + Fields
Monat*[Update: * no public disclosure of fragrance ingredients, but are claiming to use phthalate free fragrance. If these companies decided to label their fragrance ingredients, we would be happy to reconsider their ranking.]
Beauty MLMs That Are Better For Your Health
The ingredients on these next MLMs are safer – scoring well on Environmental Working Group’s “Skin Deep”database. These companies are actively avoiding ingredients like parabens, phthalates & formaldehyde. Brands are also disclosing fragrance ingredients.[Updated: No brands were avoiding parabens, phthalates & formaldehyde while also disclosing fragrance ingredients. Don’t you have a right to know what you are putting on your skin? We think you do. Any brand that decides to publicly disclose fragrance ingredients, we will be happy to reconsider, provided they are still avoiding what is mentioned above.]
Beauty MLMs That Are Best For Your Health
These are the best of the bunch, using many certified organic ingredients. Companies are transparent with their ingredients and offer lists and education about avoided ingredients. These companies are working hard to produce ingredients that are not carcinogenic or endocrine disrupting.
Wellness is the number one type of direct sales on the market today, with almost a quarter of multi-level marketing sales done by millennials. Half of millenials with children regularly purchase organic products. Their health is important to them and that is a good thing. Take a look at which MLM companies made the grade when it comes to wellness.
Health Related MLMs That Are Bad For Your Health
Products use gimmicks to yield results that are temporary, or worse, damage your health. Soy and corn are likely genetically engineered. More and more pesticides and herbicides are being applied to GMO crops to combat a growing tolerance to the chemicals. Wheat is typically sprayed with glyphosate to help with the drying process before it’s harvested so it’s likely to test high for glyphosate residue. Companies have ingredients with adverse reactions for some conditions that are not disclosed on product. There can be multiple sources of substances like caffeine and added sugars listed in levels we are not comfortable with.
Health Related MLMs That Are Better For Your Health
These companies are better because their ingredient lists contain many whole food ingredients, making them easy to read and understand. They are free from artificial colors, which can cause hyperactivity in children, and instead use coloring from vegetables and sugars from fruit sources. Companies state some organic or non-GMO ingredients along with grass-fed protein sources. Not all are organic or non-GMO, and consequently they still are potentially contaminated with toxic pesticides. Some have exotic ingredients with health benefits.
Health Related MLM Companies That Are Best For Your Health
Certified organic and non-GMO ingredients. Has supportive and informative website with clear labeling.
You want your whole lifestyle to be as safe as possible. This is why it’s best to avoid harsh chemicals when finding the safest cleaners, hygiene products and supplements for your whole family. Toxins and other junk hide everywhere in cleaning and household products. Watching out for obesogens and other chemicals that can put your health at risk is a priority.
Lifestyle MLMs That Are Bad For Your Health
These companies use plastics or non-stick coatings that have endocrine-disrupting ingredients. Chemicals like PFOA have also poisoned people and waterways. They also have endocrine-disruptors or skin irritants used in household or hygiene products. Supplements have GMO soy or other ingredients including soy protein isolate, which is an endocrine disruptor. Fragrance ingredients are used, which can contain phthalates and other toxins which are not labeled due to allowances for “trade secrets”. Companies may also lack transparency by not labeling ingredients on bottles and only providing upon request. Most noteworthy, some companies have greenwashed their products with claims of ‘natural’ or using green-minded branding in their logos and labels – therefore beware!
Market America (Several brands involved)
Nikken*[Update: * claims to have phthalate free fragrance but does not disclose fragrance ingredients.]
Lifestyle MLMs That Are Better For Your Health
Companies state organic or non-GMO ingredients when applicable, but some still have GMO soy or other ingredients in supplements. This means the products are still potentially contaminated with pesticides. Some consultants and brands making health claims without supporting evidence, i.e. “essential oils cure cancer”. These statements cannot be substantiated by the FDA or the European Union. Brands and consultants recommending unsafe uses for products compared to advice from practicing professionals, resulting in FDA involvement. Companies self-certify their products with their own set of standards. If a company created their own set up standards, that’s not necessarily bad, but we can’t verify it so it went into the “better” category.
Norwex*[Update: *has 3rd party certification proving they don’t carry phthalates]
Lifestyle MLMs That Are Best For Your Health
These companies have many or all organic ingredients or products that are certified, including organic essential oils. They are transparent with ingredients and offer instructions for use and warnings, if applicable, for safety. As a result, they provide a complete toxin-free lifestyle for you.
Finding credible and safe sources to help keep the pantry stocked is a challenge, especially if you have a family. Therefore, MLM food companies need to give you safe choices with transparency. Because healthy choices are always the most delicious and satisfying!
Food Related MLMs That Are Bad for Your Health
This category contains the worst of the worst brands for your health. This list contains companies selling products that contain additives, preservatives, genetically engineered ingredients, endocrine disrupting chemicals and use of toxic, persistent pesticides.
Food Related MLMs That Are Better for Your Health
This list contains companies that state products are not made from genetically engineered ingredients. These brands are not organic, and as a result they can still use toxic, persistent pesticides in production. These toxic, persistent pesticides are still a cancer or endocrine disruption risk.
Food Related MLMs That Are Best For Your Health
This list contains organic certified facilities OR products and ingredients are labeled organic when applicable. Organic products are also by definition non-GMO. Organic products are prohibited from using toxic, persistent pesticides in production. Products are labeled gluten-free and nut-free when applicable.
Which of these MLM companies have you seen the most of? Do your friends sell any of these brands? Has your opinion of these brands changed at all OR did you discover new ones? Share!