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Monat Review: Can It Reverse Aging?


Article edited for scientific accuracy by Illuminate Labs Blog Editor Taylor Graber MD

Monat is a multi-level marketing (MLM) company that sells hair, skin and wellness products. Generally we see it as a red flag when a health company is an MLM, because so many of these companies are unethical and produce low-quality products (see our Plexus and Herbalife reviews). We have yet to review an MLM that makes well-formulated health products.

In this article we’ll review Monat hair products, Monat skin products and Monat wellness products, and conclude whether we believe this is a company that’s worth buying from.

Monat Hair Products Review

Monat is unfortunately infamous for their hair products after news reports of unsanitary conditions at their manufacturing facility during an FDA inspection.

This alone would lead us to recommend avoiding this brand’s hair products, but there’s more bad news. There have been hundreds of adverse event reports (based on the news reporting linked above) related to Monat hair products, along with multiple lawsuits, which is incredibly high for an externally applied product. Typically adverse reactions are reported to the FDA for ingestible products like supplements.

Consumers complained that Monat hair products caused hair loss, itching, scalp irritation and more.

For hundreds of people to take the time to file formal complaints to the FDA, we can assume this company’s hair products contain harmful ingredients regardless of what they claim or what’s on their label. 

We strongly recommend that consumers avoid Monat hair products. Even if there’s a change they have made since the FDA inspection, there’s no reason to trust that a company which has behaved this recklessly in the past will start doing the right thing. There are plenty of safer and healthier hair alternatives and shampoos and no need to take the risk.

Monat Skin Products Review

Monat sells a variety of skin care products like cleansers, moisturizers and sunscreen.

Their skin care is Leaping Bunny approved, which is a certification guaranteeing cruelty-free products and a lack of animal testing.

The cleansers Monat sells mostly include safe botanical ingredients which are non-toxic, which is a good thing because a large amount of cosmetic companies contain potentially harmful ingredients. The one ingredient we take issue with in their cleansers is “fragrance”, which is a vague term that can include harmful materials based on medical research.

We would recommend avoiding skin products containing fragrance because without knowing the chemicals comprising the fragrance you can’t determine whether it’s safe or not.

Monat’s moisturizers also contain fragrance, and we would recommend avoiding them for that reason. All of the other ingredients in the moisturizers we reviewed seemed to be non-toxic and comprised mostly of botanical ingredients, similar to the cleanser formulations.

Surprisingly, Monat’s sunscreen also contains fragrance which is unfortunate since it’s one of the best-formulated sunscreens we’ve reviewed in terms of safe ingredients. We’re unsure why a sunscreen needs fragrance in the first place.

As we detailed in our Elta MD review of one of the most popular sunscreen brands in the world, many companies (Elta MD included) use chemicals which are potentially hormone-blocking in their sunscreen formulations like octinoxate. Monat contains none of these ingredients and just uses the very safe and well-studied zinc oxide as the primary sun blocking chemical. 

We believe that the risk of potentially hormone-disrupting active ingredients in sunscreen is higher than the risk of fragrance (which is much lower in dose), so we would still favor this formulation over Elta MD although we don’t recommend either.

Overall we believe Monat’s skincare products are relatively safe and well-formulated compared to many companies in the industry.

It’s worth noting that Monat claims their fragrances only use ingredients approved as safe by the International Fragrance Association, however this doesn’t change our stance of not recommending products without being able to determine every ingredient.

Monat Supplements Review

Monat sells several supplements in the Wellness section of their site. Their Total Greens product contains a large list of botanical ingredients. We have no issues with this product other than its cost. For wealthy consumers, this may be a convenient way to achieve a good dose of micronutrients daily.

For the average consumer, paying nearly $60 for 30 servings of a powdered green blend probably doesn’t make sense, because it’s not targeted to any specific health outcome. It would be cheaper and probably just as healthy to spend half the money buying local greens at a farmer’s market.

Monat sells a wellness product called “Collagen Key” which contains no collagen. This is one of the strangest marketing decisions we’ve seen. The product claims to “support the body’s natural production of collagen”, but that’s an unproven claim and is unnecessary regardless because we know from medical research that collagen is well-absorbed orally.

If your goal is improving collagen status in the body, it makes more sense to take a collagen supplement than to take a supplement which claims to naturally improve collagen but contains no collagen. We recommend unflavored collagen powder with no added ingredients or sweeteners.

Monat’s sleep supplement, called Sleep Drops, contains ingredients which are proven to be effective in inducing relaxation like chamomile and l-theanine. However the most effective ingredient is almost certainly melatonin at 1 mg.

Melatonin is the most well-studied sleep supplement, and we would recommend trying melatonin alone before trying an overly complex sleep formula which costs $69 if cost is at all a concern because melatonin is very cheap. That being said, this appears to be an effective formulation for sleep.

Monat also sells a probiotic supplement named Balance, which provides 5 billion colony forming units (CFU) of various probiotic strains, along with 87 mg of prebiotic fiber and herbs. 

The prebiotic dosage seems so low as to be ineffective based on medical research. Probiotics can be healthy and are generally well tolerated, but there are issues with shelf stable probiotics like what Monat sells, because these are live ingredients and they can die in storage. Monat doesn’t publish any research proving their probiotics are shelf stable so we will assume they’re not.

Balance also contains food colorings, and all U.S.approved food dyes have been associated with health concerns in medical studies. 

We find it strange that Monat products follow a pattern of decently formulated active ingredients and totally unnecessary, potentially harmful inactive ingredients. Just lose the food dye! Probiotics don’t need to be a certain color.

Conclusion

We don’t recommend any Monat products due to the significant product quality issues with their hair lines. That being said, their skin care products and supplements appear to be decently formulated for the most part, and are superior to other health supplements sold by MLM companies like Herbalife and Plexus.

Nearly every product Monat sells is very expensive, and the active ingredients can be found in cheaper formulations.

Monat products tend to use inactive filler ingredients we find harmful like fragrance and food dye. 

Save yourself the money and avoid this brand. 




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