I recently had made a post about why I left Melaleuca
. I stated how I still loved their products, but they were too expensive for me to continue on. I did a little research and found a place where I could order natural products at wholesale prices that did not require a membership fee, no minimum order, nothing. It's just like shopping online anywhere else, but really wholesale prices. I was super excited about the move because I was able to get more for our money and still keep our home healthy. Melaleuca gave me that kick start to make the move and I wanted to keep up with it, but at my pace of when I could shop. So when I left them it was because ordering monthly was just too high and I wasn't making any money from them. I know people who make some good money, but I wasn't one of them and the business part simply was not for me. Well since I enjoyed the products, but they're exclusive to Melaleuca and they're a bit expensive for me, I started to try and research to find others who found products in comparison - but more affordable. I was also hoping to dig around and find the products elsewhere. Of course, nothing showed up. Upon my research, though I began finding some negative things about the company. No biggy - mostly people who were getting back up orders due to not canceling or those who didn't cancel properly, etc. So I ignored those things because there are always both good and bad things about ANY company. What made me dig even further was when I noticed on the back of my deodorant that it is MADE IN Canada. Who cares right? Well, it caught my eye because of the fact that they always promoted that they are an "all-natural USA based" company - at least that's what I was told.
Well since I enjoyed the products, but they're exclusive to Melaleuca and they're a bit expensive for me, I started to try and research to find others who found products in comparison - but more affordable. I was also hoping to dig around and find the products elsewhere. Of course, nothing showed up. Upon my research, though I began finding some negative things about the company. No biggy - mostly people who were getting back up orders due to not canceling or those who didn't cancel properly, etc. So I ignored those things because there are always both good and bad things about ANY company. What made me dig even further was when I noticed on the back of my deodorant that it is MADE IN Canada. Who cares right? Well, it caught my eye because of the fact that they always promoted that they are a US Based Manufacturing Wellness Company. Then shouldn't it ALL be made in the USA if that's the case? It made me curious because if they were promoting all their products are made right here in the USA, then I find that out, is there anything else I should be concerned about? I mean the changes I've been working on is to better my family, not just find products that work. The reason I'm bringing all this up? Not to hurt my friends who truly believe in the company, because the last thing I want to do is hurt anyone personally, but because I promoted to you all this company and how great it was when I first joined, I think it's only fair I share my knowledge of what I discovered because the last thing I want someone to do is to join under false pretenses. If you love the company and it's working out for you, that's awesome, but just make sure you know and learn the facts about them is all I'm saying.
Within my research, I discovered some shocking information about the company's products. Remember, they like to promote wellness and how their products are safer - hence the whole purpose of joining them at the time I did. Here's what I discovered:
1. where do their fragrances and perfumes in the products come from?
Many products contain parabens, most of their hair and body line contain dimethicone, a known tumor-causing substance. Nearly all of their scented products (laundry soap, hair soap, body soap, lotions, etc.) contain ‘fragrance’ or ‘perfume’, which we all know can come from ANYWHERE. Melaleuca, being the reputable, “wellness” company they are, does NOT disclose these ingredients right off the bat; even the online melaleuca rep didn’t know where they came from! When talking to the product service reps they kindly informed me of the scents of “lemon, fresh, etc.,” But when trying to understand WHERE these perfumes and fragrances are coming from their response was “it’s a proprietary blend, it can be either natural or synthetic or a blend of both, it’s a proprietary blend so we don’t know that information.” The rep was then asked, "so nobody there knows what’s in these fragrances?" To which she responded, “well, someone does, but we don’t have that information because it’s a proprietary blend”. She said that when the laundry soap (MelaPower) came out, the article in the catalog specified essential oils that were used in it, and she listed those for me, for both the current fragrances of Mountain Fresh and Spring Breeze. But only Heaven knows if those are the only fragrances – as she couldn’t even tell me. Buying from a “wellness company” that won’t reveal where a majority of it’s fragrances and perfumes come from? It is well known that fragrances and perfumes that are vaguely listed can be huge sources of toxins. If Melaleuca isn’t willing to release that information, it makes me suspicious and quite frankly a bit disappointed considering I had invested a good bit of money in the first few months of joining before quitting.
2. There are ONLY positive reviews of products on some products, and other products don’t have any reviews at all
If this company has really been around since 1985 (and it has), surely more products would have reviewed and there really should be some negative reviews if as many people, as they say, are trying their products. I mean, not everyone is going to love the product; let's be honest. I’m a frequent shopper on Amazon (more like an addict) and I make it a point to read reviews before I buy anything there. So I was very surprised to find that products like Melaleuca’s Renew Lotion, baby soap, KoalaPals, etc. didn’t have any reviews and neither did a lot of other products. I decided to post a few reviews on my experiences with products to say how much I loved them, the changes I saw, how they worked, etc. When you submit a review, before it can be approved, you have to check a box that you have accepted the terms and conditions. They cover all their bases so that they can choose to only keep positive reviews. THEY COVER ALL THEIR BASES SO THAT THEY CAN CHOOSE TO ONLY KEEP POSITIVE REVIEWS. So Melaleuca is nicely saying that they WON’T post reviews they don’t like. I checked the next month when I was fixing to make my next order and NONE of my reviews got posted. Melaleuca has that right, and if people are going to shop there, they choose to be uninformed. Seems like a very dishonest thing for such a “good” company to be doing.
3. They claim there are no distributors
Melaleuca claims they're nothing like Amway or other MLM companies, but tell me if this doesn’t sound like a classic MLM: It’s true that there aren’t distributors called distributors, per se, only customers. Everyone pays the same amount to join, whether you plan to build a business or not. Which IS a nice fact, I admit. BUT, if you decide you want to build a business, you work with your enroller to build it. Once you enroll enough customers you become a “Director”, and there are “Director” levels 1 – 9. Then you become a Senior Director levels 1-9, then Executive Director levels 1-9, then Corporate Director levels 1-9. Personally, I thought this was a little odd… “director” vs. “distributor” like most MLM’s use… oh well. Not my personal favorite, I would just call people “distributors” to spare them the confusion, but that doesn’t matter. So you can see, they are an MLM like the typical MLM’s, it's just if you want to build a business, you don’t have to pay that extra distributor fee, and you’re not called a “distributor”, you’re called a “Director”. Odd? I think so. Just another way they get people to join.
4. Safer For Your Home and the Environment (listed in the presentation flip chart)
When we signed up for Melaleuca, we were told that there are phosphates in laundry soap and dish soap, etc, and that to avoid them, we needed to get Melaleucas. I was even informed how Cascade is banned in 16 US states - I was in shock and convinced I really needed to make a change to better our household. We have 2 children and pets so of course, if we could have a home that's clean, but not giving out the toxins - you bet we were all for it! As soon as I got home I checked and that info was true so I felt secure about my decision to join them. I can say that there are fewer ingredients and they are mostly identifiable in the Melaleuca cleaning products, so as far as cleaning products go, this wasn’t a big issue for me. I do like the cleaning products. They are what the company developed around, after all, so it appears that they are quite good quality. So like I said, I HAVE found this to be true, at least as far as their unscented laundry soap and other cleaning products go. However, their scented laundry products and the majority of scented body products (softener, laundry soap, dryer sheets, perfumes, lotions, etc.) contain ‘parfum’ or ‘fragrance’, which if you research it, is vague. Companies are not required to list what is in it, and it is typically toxic. Even Melaleuca staff won’t tell consumers where these come from and that was surprising to me. I would think that a “wellness company” would be upfront about admitting where their fragrances come from and what they are – but apparently, they have something to hide. Where I find this claim to be somewhat false is in their food and body products (lotions, shampoos, makeup, sunscreen, etc.) The ingredients in these products is not necessarily safer like Melaleuca claims. And, unfortunately, it appears that because people see that the cleaning chemicals are legit, they just assume that all the other products are and Melaleuca seems to have made bank off it.
Another thing I should note, I was told multiple times and it's promoted that if you were to ingest any of the Melaleuca products (obviously referring to those you shouldn't ingest), you simply need to wash it down with a glass of water and it's fine - no need to call poison control. You may get an upset tummy, but that's the worst of it. Look at the photo I posted to the top of this post - it's of the back of my Melaleuca Sheer Deodorant... it says to contact poison control right away if ingested. Why the label if it's really not necessary? It's just something else to ponder.
5. After the chemical portion of the introductory Melaleuca presentation, you’re quickly thrown a whole bunch of information about other products, but not specifically WHY Melaleuca’s are any better.
You’re simply informed that in addition to the healthier chemicals, Melaleuca has all these other products, and it appears that they want you to assume that their other products are healthier than their mainstream counterparts. Which my husband and I did until we actually checked out ingredient lists. Let it be said, Melaleuca does put melaleuca oil in basically all their products. Some of the products are exactly the same as their mainstream counterparts, except that they have melaleuca oil in them. I’m sure that this at least improves the quality somewhat, but it sure doesn’t make the products less toxic. For example, see ingredient lists in their antiperspirant deodorant, sunscreen, lip balm, etc.)
6. Products Melaleuca has that are NOT necessarily better than their mainstream counterparts.
WHY? Let me first say, typically, Melaleuca’s products are less toxic than the mainstream ones. I don’t believe they are much less toxic, but in comparing ingredients (as you will see below), it appears that the ones they substitute are at least slightly less toxic. For example, they take sodium laureth sulfate, a foaming agent derived from coconut oil but processed poorly, that is a carcinogen and causes organ and reproductive toxicity, out of the soaps and replace it with sodium lauryl sulfoacetate, which is derived from coconut and palm oils, and is much more skin-friendly (and less toxic, obviously).
Shampoos/conditioners/lotions/soaps: they contain untraceable fragrances, perfumes, and PARABENS. The safety of these is highly debatable, so I won’t go into it here. I was shocked that a “Wellness Company” would have parabens in their “wellness” products.
SPF 30 sunscreen: For starters, the ingredient list on the website leaves out one of the 3 active ingredients that are actually listed on the bottle. These 3 ingredients are zinc oxide, octisalate, and octocrylene. Zinc oxide is one of the two safest sunscreen ingredients available – but the octisalate and octocrylene have a high absorption rate through the skin. Octisalate is classified by the EWG (environmental working group) as a relatively low toxin, but again, not much is known about it at this point. Octocrylene, on the other hand, is considered safe, but is an emerging photoallergin – also highly absorbed into the skin.
Koala Pals Kids Bath Soap/Shampoo: When I learned how toxic Aveeno and Johnson and Johnson were, I was thrilled to switch to Melaleuca’s baby soap. But there are enough toxins in it that are known to actually cause rashes. Personally, we didn't have the issue, thank goodness, but I read a few stories along my research to see that it did. Want a toxin-free baby shampoo that is truly toxin-free, not just “fewer toxins” or “different” toxins like Melaleuca? Go to earth mama angel baby’s website or join me on my Frontier Coop and get wholesale prices on natural products.
Skin Care, Cosmetics, and Hair Care: Melaleuca offers an entire line of anti-aging skincare, luxury hair and shower products, and cosmetics, containing parabens, etc. These products still have toxins in them, but they do have melaleuca essential oil added. Whether that’s worth it for people isn’t my place to say – but if I’m going to buy “wellness products”, I don’t want to buy the same products that I can get at Walmart with just essential oils added in.
Melaleuca Pharmacy: They offer the exact same medicines than common drugstores offer, except with different names, and they seem to be cheaper. Check the ingredients list and you will find the SAME active ingredients, same concentrations as their mainstream counterparts. The only difference is that the Melaleuca ones don’t have food coloring in them, which is a plus. So if you’re still wanting to take over the counter meds, go with the Melaleuca ones, because they at least have eliminated the food coloring toxin. But that’s it. Otherwise, the drugs are the same.
Oligo Technology Supplements: Melaleuca has patented the Oligo technology. I think it’s interesting that they patented it – they’re not the first company to try to imitate whole foods in supplements to aid digestion. There are other companies who have supplements that are whole food formulated as well – but it’s sure a good marketing tool. I’m sure the supplements are great – but it doesn’t mean that they work better than other supplement companies. They challenge new customers to take a 90-day challenge on their supplement package the Vitality Pack, and if after 90 days you don’t feel a difference, they will refund you. No doubt if any adult starts taking a good vitamin (and no I’m not talking a store brand or Centrum brand – you WON’T feel better taking those), they’ll start feeling better. I’m confident Melaleuaca’s supplements are great, but I’m not convinced that they’re any better than a quality one bought at a vitamin store.
Exceed Sugarless Gum: I can’t even begin to tell you how disappointed I was to learn that this still contains aspartame despite the company’s claim “aspartame free!” It contains sucralose and acefulsame potassium. Acefulsame potassium is the same as aspartame – just more stabilized. Does it make it less toxic? Maybe, but not much, and certainly not enough for me to justify buying it. Very disappointing. It does contain aspartame, and “The Wellness Company” is selling ANOTHER product that doesn’t promote wellness, and marketing it under a sneaky lie.
Zero Calorie Drinks: They have a line of Splash H2O zero-calorie drink powder. We were excited to try this as well, but boy am I glad we checked ingredients first. It contains sucralose and acefulsame potassium as well. Another sly ploy by the company. At least it has fewer toxins than mainstream brands – they use natural food coloring in it. I still felt deceived by the company – to me, just taking the food coloring out and keeping the toxic artificial sweeteners don’t make it a “wellness” product, and they’re still selling toxins to their customers.
Anti-perspiring deodorant: Without going into detail, I was surprised that a “wellness company” would sell anti perspiring deodorant. They added melaleuca oil to it, that’s the only thing that’s different. “Wellness product”? I don’t think so.
7. Many products online don’t have ingredient lists, just nutritional information.
Like the kids toothpaste and some of the kid's nutrition shakes and the adult ones. The sneaky move of the company, or careless web designer? I don’t know, but enough of the products that do have ingredient lists on the website have toxins that I won’t buy in them that I won’t buy these other products without knowing what’s in them.
Some of the ingredients as used in the Renew Body Wash and Koala Pals:
PEG 80 Sorbitan Laurate, is not safe to use on injured or damaged skin. There is also strong evidence of being a human skin toxicant and is a primary skin irritant. Not good for everyday use, only limited use.
Cocamidopropyl Betaine, is a skin sensitizer – an agent that can induce an allergic reaction in the skin or lungs. Again not safe for everyday use, only safe for limited use.
Fragrance, is a known human immune system toxicant. Also has a score of 8 for high hazard.
I could go on and on about the ingredients on these products. How can a “wellness” company sell products like these or How could anyone promote this company? These are two questions I have.
*****I got my ingredients information from the cosmeticsdatabase.com website. Very informational site!! Check it out!!!
8. They sell fluoridated toothpaste.
But at least they sell mostly unfluoridated. Fluoride is bad. Very bad. Ask your dentist about it next time you go if you want to hear the full details!
9. They’re only partly a “Wellness Company”.
At least the company was built around wellness-oriented products, essentially the nontoxic cleaning chemicals, but the more the company grows, the more toxins are in their products, and, at least to me, the more careless they get. So basically, I think the company got way too big, way too fast. Obviously, it sprung up from its healthier cleaning chemical origin – and I think the cleaning chemicals are great.
10. Melaleuca doesn't want you to promote their name
As a blogger and someone who does product reviews - I love sharing good and bad experiences, I thought this was a bit odd, but I did overlook it at the time. When trying to recruit people they don't want you to mention products, buying, or their name. So when I made my first blog post trying to draw up interest, me mentioning their name would have been a violation of their terms and could have ended my account with them. Their claim is they save money by not advertising and the money they save from that goes into their products to provide safer products, etc. That makes sense and all, but if the company is so great, why can't I hop online and make a blog post bragging how great Melaleuca is? Why can't I make a Facebook status to say "Look at what I just got in from Melaleuca!" I mean I don't see any other reputable companies doing that and to me it raises a red flag - why not and what is there to hide? When trying to recruit people to sign up they don't want you to say Melaleuca, but if they insist on knowing about the company they want you to say Melaleuca.com and refer it to being similar to Amazon.com - they're certainly not the same!
11. They test their products on animals!
If you look at PETA's site
you will find that they DO test their products on animals! Now while I am a HUGE animal lover, no denying it, I'm not one of those PETA fanatics that will hunt you down for wearing leather. I will, however, choose to NOT
support a company or their products if they choose to test them on animals. I think it's cruel personally and the fact they claim to be "green", but still choose to test on animals really makes me wonder. If their products are so safe, why harm the poor animals? Just a question.
In 1996, during the course of litigation with a competing company, Melaleuca commissioned a lethal-dose test on the competitor’s product. The test resulted in the agonizing deaths of 10 rats. In 1997, we learned that Melaleuca had commissioned experiments on dogs for its nutritional product Provex CV. It is important to note that Melaleuca used animals for tests while it was included on PETA’s cruelty-free list—after signing our statement of assurance, which indicates that the company will never test on animals, in 1993. Obviously, Melaleuca is willing to make exceptions to its “no animal testing” policy whenever it deems it necessary. In a March 2003 letter, Melaleuca freely admits that it commissioned laboratory tests in which rats and dogs were used, stating, “The rats died a horrible death. … Prior to performing human studies to prove Provex CV’s effectiveness, Melaleuca commissioned that the product be tested on dogs first. … In our quest to save life, we refuse to tell PETA that we will never again test our cardiovascular products on animals.”
While some of their products may be less toxic, they are still quite toxic when you're considering going green. If you’re going for less toxic products OTHER than cleaning products, I wouldn’t recommend shopping at Melaleuca for them – you’re wasting your money. As I said from the beginning if you love the products, that's great, but just be informed of what you're using and that they're not as great as they seem when you're talking about going green. This report is not intended to scare, but to educate you so that you can be more selective in choosing products that you bring into your home. It is YOUR responsibility to replace the products in your home with safer products for the protection of your children. It is YOUR responsibility, as you become more informed, to tell your friends, neighbors, and relatives to stop using products that contain dangerous chemicals that are hazardous to both their health and the environment. We hope that you will take this information as a wake-up call and take the necessary steps to remove the toxins from your home. Your children are at the highest risk. Make your home a safe haven for them by using safe cleaning alternative and teach them to do the same so that future generations will be better informed and at less risk.
Don't take my experience for it, though. Here are other disappointed users of Melaleuca:
- Trust Pilot
- Pissed Consumer
- My Internet Quest
- Complaints Board