Monat Review: Premium Cosmetics or Overpriced Garbage?

Monat Review: Premium Cosmetics or Overpriced Garbage?


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Monat is a multi-level marketing (MLM) company that sells hair, skin and wellness products. The brand describes itself as a "global leader in naturally based, anti-aging haircare, skincare, and wellness innovations."

But do Monat products contain research-backed ingredients for improving hair and skin quality? Do they contain any questionable additives? Why was the company sued? And how do real customers rate and describe the effects of Monat products?

In this article we’ll answer all of these questions and more as we analyze three of the most popular products sold by Monat based on clinical studies, to give our take on whether or not these products are likely to be effective, and whether or not they're healthy. 

We'll review Volumizing Revive Shampoo, Rejuveniqe Oil (a skincare oil) and Sleep Drops (a dietary supplement to support sleep). 

We'll also feature unsponsored customer reviews of the brand, explain why Monat was sued, and discuss allegations of a pyramid scheme.

Monat Shampoo Ingredient Analysis

Monat Volumizing Revive Shampoo ingredients updated

The ingredients in Monat Volumizing Revive Shampoo are shown above.

The brand claims that this product can maintain the moisture of hair, while helping to prevent breakage.

There are some active ingredients in this formulation shown to support hair quality and appearance.

Hydrolyzed rice protein can promote hair growth, according to a meta-study published in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology.

Coconut oil is clinically shown to help prevent hair breakage, as we documented in our Bounce Curl reviews article.

Glycerin was shown in a 2014 clinical trial to have an anti-dandruff effect and to support skin barrier repair, which suggests it can promote optimal scalp health.

While this shampoo contains some research-backed active ingredients, it also contains a large number of inactive ingredients that we consider to be unhealthy.

Fragrance is one of these, and a medical review on fragranced consumer products published in the Air Quality, Atmosphere & Health journal concluded the following: 

“Results of this study provide compelling evidence that everyday fragranced products can impose serious risks to human health, environmental quality, businesses, and society.”

Benzoic acid, sodium benzoate, ethylhexylglycerin, phenoxyethanol are synthetic preservatives. 

Citronellol, limonene, hexyl cinnamal and linalool are additional fragrance ingredients.

Overall, we consider Monat Volumizing Revive Shampoo likely to be effective for protecting and strengthening hair, but we don't currently recommend this product due to the inactive ingredients discussed above.

Why Was Monat Sued?

Monat has been the subject of a number of lawsuits, the most recent of which alleges that the brand's hair products caused "extreme" hair loss and scalp irritation according to ClassAction.org.

Even more damning than the alleged side effects is that the lawsuit alleges that Monat described these side effects as part of a "detox" period, which essentially encourages consumers to continue using products which may be causing them harm.

We consider this to be a red flag about the brand, and we generally recommend that consumers avoid brands that have been sued multiple times in recent years over alleged product safety concerns.

Monat is also infamous for news reports of unsanitary conditions at their manufacturing facility during an FDA inspection. 

There have been hundreds of adverse event reports related to Monat hair products, along with multiple lawsuits.

Customers complained that Monat hair products caused hair loss, itching, scalp irritation and more, as documented in this WRTV investigation:

Monat Skincare Ingredient Analysis

Monat Rejuviniqe Oil ingredients

The ingredients in Monat Rejuveniqe Oil, which appears to be the brand's most popular anti-aging skincare product, are shown above.

Monat claims that "Abyssinian oil was the first ingredient selected for its remarkable rejuvenating properties."

This claim is not cited and we cannot locate any clinical studies suggesting that Abyssinian oil has any anti-aging effects.

Coconut oil is an effective anti-aging ingredient.

A medical review published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences reviewed clinical research on various plant oils and concluded that coconut oil was the most effective, and that it had an anti-aging effect when applied topically.

Carrot seed oil was described as "skin rejuvenating" in a 2019 clinical trial, and the study authors documented that this compound can scavenge for damaging free radicals in skin.

Sunflower seed oil is clinically shown to hydrate the skin, as we discussed in our review of Rare Beauty Blush.

Like Monat's shampoo, this formulation contains some inactive ingredients that we generally recommend avoiding.

Citral, limonene, linalool are fragrance ingredients that may be skin-sensitizing according to one of our board-certified dermatologist medical reviewers.

Overall, we consider Monat Rejuveniqe Oil likely to have an anti-aging effect due to the use of coconut oil and carrot seed oil.

We don't currently recommend this product due to the use of three different fragrance compounds, but we consider this to be a much healthier formulation than Monat's shampoo reviewed above.

Annie Mak Vitamin C Serum is our top anti-aging serum.

It contains hyaluronic acid which was described as a "skin-rejuvenating biomedicine" in a medical review due to its ability to reduce wrinkles and signs of facial aging.

Real People Try Monat

A YouTube creator and biochemist named Kenna Whitnell reviews a large number of Monat products (including cleansers, essential oils, creams and moisturizer) in a video with over 80,000 views:

A YouTube creator named Cassandra Lebron shared her experience after seven months of using various Monat products:

Monat Sleep Drops Ingredient Analysis

Monat Sleep Drops ingredients

The ingredients in Monat Sleep Drops, which is a dietary supplement used to promote optimal sleep quality and duration, are shown above.

Melatonin is included at a dose of 1 milligram (mg), and is one of the most well-studied sleep supplements.

A 2013 meta-study analyzed data from 19 clinical trials on melatonin involving over 1,600 trial participants, and the researchers found that melatonin supplementation decreases time-to-sleep, increases overall sleep time and improves overall sleep quality.

Chamomile powder is another effectively-dosed ingredient at 400 mg.

This plant is typically consumed in tea, but has been shown in clinical studies to support relaxation and sleep at a similar dose to that in Monat Sleep Drops, as we documented in our Relaxium ingredients article.

L-theanine at a dose of 200 mg may indirectly improve sleep quality because this amino acid induces relaxation.

L-theanine stimulates alpha brain wave activity (similar to what occurs during meditation), and therefore we consider it to be a reasonable active ingredient for a sleep supplement.

We consider this supplement to be well-formulated from an efficacy perspective, but it contains some inactive ingredients we consider to be unhealthy.

Citric acid may cause whole-body inflammation in a some individuals according to a medical review published in the Toxicology Reports journal.

Sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate are synthetic preservatives, the latter of which was shown to be toxic to human cells in a 2010 clinical trial.

Overall, we consider Monat Sleep Drops likely to improve sleep quality and duration. However, we don't currently recommend this product due to the inclusion of the inactive ingredients described above.

Beam Dream Capsules is our top sleep supplement.

These multi-action capsules provide melatonin, magnesium, THC-free hemp and Reishi mushroom which is clinically described as possessing an "anti-insomnia mechanism."

Most importantly, the supplement contains no questionable additive ingredients like flavoring agents or preservatives.

Is Monat a Pyramid Scheme?

Monat is an MLM business, which means that entrepreneurs can sign up as business partners and promote Monat products as an income stream.

A YouTube creator named CC Suarez has a video with some fascinating data on the breakdown of Monat's sales to retail customers versus Monat's sales to distributors and VIP customers that explains why she considers the business a pyramid scheme:

Pros and Cons of Monat

Here are the pros and cons of Monat in our opinion:

Pros:

  • Volumizing Revive Shampoo should thicken hair
  • Rejuveniqe Oil should have anti-aging effects
  • Sleep Drops should promote better sleep
  • Great branding/packaging

Cons:

  • Company sued over alleged side effects related to hair products
  • Products are expensive
  • Volumizing Revive Shampoo contains fragrance
  • Volumizing Revive Shampoo contains four synthetic preservatives
  • Rejuveniqe Oil contains fragrance ingredients
  • Sleep Drops contains citric acid, natural flavors and three synthetic preservatives
  • Products don't appear to be clinically tested
  • Allegations of pyramid scheme business model
Stay up-to-date on our research reviews

Conclusion

In this article we analyzed the formulation of three popular Monat products, and we don't currently recommend any of them.

Volumizing Revive Shampoo has research-backed active ingredients and should be effective for improving hair appearance, but also has eight inactive ingredients that we consider to be questionable from a health perspective.

Rejuveniqe Oil is the best formulation of the three, because it contains active ingredients that are clinically shown to have an anti-aging effect, and only contains three fragrance ingredients.

Sleep Drops should support optimal sleep quality and duration based on its active ingredients, but contains additive ingredients like citric acid and potassium sorbate that we recommend avoiding in oral supplements.

Monat has been sued over allegations that some of the brand's hair products caused damage to hair, and the company has also faced allegations of running a pyramid scheme from at least one popular health influencer.

Monat products are more expensive than most health products in similar categories that we've reviewed to date on Illuminate Health.