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The Cult of Arbonne

If anyone ever offers you a bag of Arbonne products to try for a week?

Just. Say. No.

About a week ago, I mentioned that one of my friends had become an Arbonne consultant and loaned out a $266 skin care line for me to sample and return, along with (She hoped! She hoped!) a lengthy, filled-out order form and my credit card number.

I was bemused. I am not a products person. I don’t have a lot of extra cash right now. I spent it all on drink in Atlanta.

However, I tried it. Dubiously. Bemusedly.

And by God, if it didn’t work.

After a day or so, my skin was radiant. Lineless. Smooth as silk. Even then, I was disgusted, certain that the moment I stopped using the Arbonne line, my face would return to its normal dull and dingy state. Yet three Arbonneless days later, I was still glowing like I’d just had mind blowing sex.

So now I was really peeved. I wanted that skin care line. I needed that skin care line. But consarn it, I would not, could not pay $266 for it, not to mention a $29 “consultant fee”. In an Arbonne-induced frenzy, I arrived last Thursday evening at my parents’ house, sample bag in hand, and immediately consulted the world’s most product-friendly woman: My mother. She had stunning news.

“Why honey, I’m an Arbonne consultant,” she said, smiling wickedly.

What? How could this be? My own mother was hiding this skin care line from me and I hadn’t even discerned the shameful secret by looking not only into her eyes, but also at her unnaturally smooth face?

“I don’t sell it to anyone, though,” she said. “I buy it wholesale for myself. I’ve given you a bunch of Arbonne products. Don’t you remember?”

Remember? No. I didn’t. Yet days later, I would return home, open my bathroom closet and find dozens of Arbonne boxes and bottles I had never noticed before. Huh.

Back to my mom.

“I’ve used it for three years and it’s wonderful. But I’ve rotated to another skin care line now, so you can have all my Arbonne if you want. I doubt we’re using the same version, though. I use the age-defying products.”

I couldn’t contain my glee. “That’s what I’m using!” I chortled. “That’s what I’m using!” I rubbed my shaking hands, a helpless addict this close to a score.

Mom went upstairs and came down with a shopping bag full of three of everything. Free. Absolutely free. And all mine.

I returned home and gave the news to my friend when we all met for play group on Tuesday. I promised to buy a consolation face masque from her, if she would waive the consultant fee. Eagerly, she agreed. Then, clutching the returned sample bag, she turned to a shy and retiring mom sitting beside her.

“Why don’t you take this bag for a week, Sarah?” she said. “I mean, have you seen Lucinda’s face? She’s glowing as if she were pregnant!”

“Uh. I don’t know,” Sarah said. “Maybe later.”

“Just take this bag,” Margaret insisted, handing the bag to her. “I can swing by and pick it up from you on Friday.”

“Friday,” Sarah said, thinking fast. “Ohhh, I’m going to be out in East Anderson Friday, and that’s totally across town from you.” She gave the bag back to Margaret.

“That’s okay, I’ll meet you there,” Margaret said, dropping the bag back in Sarah’s lap. The rest of us watched, fascinated, our heads moving back and forth as though we were spectators at Wimbledon.

“That’s not going to work,” Sarah countered steadily, holding the bag out.

“Keep it ’til next Tuesday, then,” Margaret insisted, pushing the bag back into Sarah’s lap.

“I, uh, well, I like to know the exact ingredients of my skin care,” Sarah said, laughing weakly and looking around for some support. “I’m weird that way. I would have to research this a little more before I try it.” She started to hand the bag back to Margaret,who calmly stopped her with one hand.

“I’ll be right back,” Margaret trilled, getting up from off the floor and leaving the room. Quickly, Sarah pushed the bag to one side and turned her back on it. Moments later, Margaret returned with a photocopied list of Arbonne’s ingredients. “It’s all organic,” she purred, handing the list- and the bag- back to Sarah.

Sarah knew she had lost. Desperately, she opened the bag and fumbled through it. “Well, I’ve just invested a bit of money in another skin care line, so maybe I can find something in here that I don’t already have and just try that.”

“No,” Margaret said, steely-eyed. “You have to try the whole thing.”

I would like to say that I intervened on Sarah’s behalf. Instead, I repeated tonelessly after Margaret, “Yes. You have to try the whole thing.”

On my other side, Pam piped up in an uncharacteristically dull voice, “Your skin will be smoother than it’s ever been before.” She, like my mom, was a wholesale buyer and slathered Arbonne over her face two times a day.

Darkly, Sarah stuffed the sample bag into her diaper bag and said her goodbyes.

And yet, I have no doubt in my mind that by next week, Sarah will return to us fresh-faced and Stepford eyed, eager to talk about crossing over to the dark side.

The Arbonne Side.


Jess Riley said…
I think there’s cocaine in the stuff. Myself, I got sucked into the DHC spiral of skincare product addiction. Because you know, as someone of Irish / German heritage, I figure a Japanese skincare regimen only makes sense.

2:31 PM
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