After my review of Rodan + Fields last month, I polled my readers and asked which company they would like me to review next. Monat won by a landslide. To be quite honest, I had never even heard of Monat. I had no idea what the company was or what they sold. This truly has allowed me to write an unbiased review of Monat.

I actually had to figure out what Monat sold. Was it replacement shakes, like most of my reviews? Was it skincare? Neither – it’s haircare. I read about the company’s history and their culture and I like that they’re a family owned business. I don’t like that I’ve emailed the company numerous times asking for clarification of ingredients and have received no response.

My immediate concerns were seeing fragrance on the ingredient list numerous times, as well as ingredients made with polyethylene glycol (PEGs). I also emailed to further inquire about their use of folic acid (synthetic, linked to cancer) versus folate (naturally occurring) in their hair supplement product. I first emailed them February 27th and as of mid-March have received no response.

Allow me to clarify why I do these reviews. It’s simple: because people deserve to know what they’re spending their hard earned money on, especially if the ingredients in said products are harmful to their health. Most people don’t know that over 1,500 ingredients masquerade under the term “fragrance.” Most people don’t know that there are carcinogens in their shampoo. People deserve to know this information, especially when majority of ingredients on the market have literally not been tested for safety.

I pick these ingredients apart and back up that information with reliable, scientific data. If there is not well established data for an ingredient’s toxicity level, I will not even discuss that ingredient. My reviews are backed by legitimate information. This is not my opinion. This is not personal. This is transparency – because you need to know what you’re applying to your skin (and therefore absorbing into your bloodstream).

There are few things that anger me more than companies that promote their products as safe, healthy and non-toxic with a list of ingredients they don’t use – and then literally use those exact ingredients. See Monat’s list of toxic ingredients they supposedly do not use below:

Oh really?

Because fragrance is on the ingredient label of several Monat products. No pthalates? Pthalates are often hiding under the umbrella term of “fragrance.” No PEGs? Then what about steareth-21 or ceteareth-20? Both are PEGs and both are found in Monat products. 

The fact that this company lists the ingredients as toxins shows they know that they are harmful, but then they go on to have the audacity to use them in their products! This is not okay. It’s flat out dishonesty and women need to know.

Let’s take a look at the ingredients.

Rejuvenique Ingredients:

Water, Cetearyl Alcohol, Isoamyl Laurate, Behentrimonium Chloride, Glycerin, Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, Crambe Abyssinica Seed Oil, Camellia Oleifera Seed Oil, Solanum Lycopersicum (Tomato) Seed Oil, Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Seed Oil, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Peel Oil, Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Oil, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Adansonia Digitata Oil, Mauritia Flexuosa Fruit Oil, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Gardenia Taitensis Flower Extract, Moringa Oleifera Seed Oil, Caryocar Brasiliense Fruit Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Linum Usitatissimum (Linseed) Seed Extract, Salvia Hispanica Seed Extract, Tocopherol, Xanthan Gum, Carrageenan, Algin, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Chitosan, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Coco-Glucoside, Sorbitan Oleate, Fragrance, Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Benzyl Alcohol, Ethylhexylglycerin.

Renew Shampoo:

Water (Aqua), Lauramidopropyl Betaine, Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate, Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate, Sodium Cocoamphoacetate, Cinnamidopropyltrimonium Chloride, Stearyldimoniumhydroxypropyl Decylglucosides Chloride, Fragrance (Parfum), Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Pisum Sativum (Pea) Extract, Acetyl Tetrapeptide-3, Trifolium Pratense (Clover) Flower Extract, Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, Crambe Abyssinica Seed Oil, Camellia Oleifera Seed Oil, Solanum Lycopersicum (Tomato) Seed Oil, Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Seed Oil, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Peel Oil, Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Oil, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Adansonia Digitata Oil, Mauritia Flexuosa Fruit Oil, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Gardenia Tahitensis Flower Extract, Moringa Oleifera Seed Oil, Caryocar Brasiliense Fruit Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Glycerin, Dextran, Citric Acid, Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine, Propanediol, Glycol Distearate, Sodium Hydroxypropylphosphate Decylglucoside Crosspolymer, Lauramide MIPA, Sodium Hydroxypropylphosphate Laurylglucoside Crosspolymer, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Butylene Glycol, Amodimethicone, Trideceth-12, Cetrimonium Chloride, Benzoic Acid, Caprylyl Glycol, Benzyl Alcohol.

Restore Leave In Conditioner Ingredients:

Water, Cetearyl Alcohol, Quaternium-91, Cinnamidopropyltrimonium Chloride,Pisum Sativum (Pea) Extract, Acetyl Tetrapeptide-3, Trifolium Pratense (Clover) Flower Extract, Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, Crambe Abyssinica Seed Oil, Camellia Oleifera Seed Oil, Solanum Lycopersicum (Tomato) Seed Oil, Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Seed Oil, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Peel Oil, Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Oil, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Adansonia
Digitata Oil, Mauritia Flexuosa Fruit Oil, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Gardenia Tahitensis Flower Extract, Moringa Oleifera Seed Oil, Caryocar Brasiliense Fruit Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Glycerin, Dextran, Tocopherol, Citric Acid, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Myristyl Myristate, Behentrimonium Chloride, Propanediol, Fragrance, Butylene Glycol, Amodimethicone, Trideceth-12, Cetrimonium Chloride, Phenethyl Alcohol, Undecyl Alcohol, Benzyl Alcohol.

Intense Repair Shampoo:

Water, Sodium Lauroyl Methyl Isethionate, Lauramidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Polyquaternium-7, Glycol Distearate, Glycereth-26, Cetearyl Alcohol, Pisum Sativum (Pea) Extract, Acetyl Tetrapeptide-3, Trifolium Pratense (Clover) Flower Extract, Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, Crambe Abyssinica Seed Oil, Camellia Oleifera Seed Oil, Solanum Lycopersicum (Tomato) Seed Oil, Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Seed Oil, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Peel Oil, Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Oil, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Adansonia Digitata Oil, Mauritia Flexuosa Fruit Oil, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Gardenia Taitensis Flower Extract, Moringa Oleifera Seed Oil, Caryocar Brasiliense Fruit Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil, Glycerin, Cinnamidopropyltrimonium Chloride, Dextran, Butylene Glycol, Citric Acid, Vanillyl Butyl Ether, Polyquaternium-10, Disodium EDTA, Benzyl Alcohol, Caprylyl Glycol, Benzoic Acid.

Restyle Instant Sculpting Taffy:

INGREDIENTS LISTING: Water (Aqua), Maltodextrin/VP Copolymer, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Cetyl Alcohol, Heptyl Undecylenate, Propanediol, Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Copernica Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Hydroxyethylcellulose, Steareth-21, Glycerin, Trifolium Prantense (Clover) Flower Extract, Pisum Sativum (Pea) Extract, Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, Crambe Abyssinica Seed Oil, Camellia Oleifera Seed Oil, Solanum Lycopersicum (Tomato) Seed Oil, Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Seed Oil, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Peel Oil, Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Oil, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Adansonia Digitata Oil, Mauritia Flexuosa Fruit Oil, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Gardenia Tahitensis Flower Extract, Moringa Oleifera Seed Oil, Caryocar Brasiliense Fruit Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Tocopherol, Wheat Amino Acids, Soy Amino Acids, Arginine HCL, Serine, Threonine, Acetyl Tetrapeptide-3, Cinnamidopropyltrimonium Chloride, Dextran, Ceteareth-20, Polyquaternium-10, Fragrance (Parfum), Butylene Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Benzyl Alcohol.

Monat Junior Shampoo:

Water, Sodium Laurylglucosides Hydroxypropylsulfonate, Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine, Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate, Sodium Bis-Hydroxyethylglycinate Coco-Glucosides Crosspolymer, Cocamidopropyl PG-Dimonium Chloride Phosphate, Caprylyl/Capryl Glucoside, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Polyglyceryl-5 Oleate, Glyceryl Caprylate, Citric Acid, Fragrance, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate.

Black Aftershave Moisturizer:

Water, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Heptyl Undecylenate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Disodium Lauriminodipropionate Tocopheryl Phosphates, Cetearyl Glucoside, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Spirulina Platensis Extract, Macrocystis Pyrifera (Kelp) Extract, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Tocopherol, Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, Crambe Abyssinica Seed Oil, Camellia Oleifera Seed Oil, Solanum Lycopersicum (Tomato) Seed Oil, Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Seed Oil, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Peel Oil, Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Oil, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Adansonia Digitata Oil, Mauritia Flexuosa Fruit Oil, Gardenia Tahitensis Flower Extract, Moringa Oleifera Seed Oil, Caryocar Brasiliense Fruit Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Fragrance, Benzyl Alcohol, Ethyhexylglycerin.

Now let’s pick these ingredients apart and get down to the science behind them. This is not my opinion. This is strictly the scientific information behind these products.

Fragrance

EWG rating: 8

Seems harmless, right? Just a lil’ frangrance to make the products smell better. Couldn’t be too dangerous, could it?

Fragrance is actually one of the most dangerous, harmful ingredients in the cosmetics industry. Companies can hide thousands of harmful ingredients in this one label: fragrance. In fact, almost 4,000 chemicals, many of the harmful, can be labeled as “fragrance.”

Roughly 95% of all synthetic fragrance is derived from petroleum, crude oil. Not only is this environmentally harmful, this process produces carcinogens like benzene and endocrine disruptors like phthalates. Phthalates don’t just disrupt the hormones, they have also been linked to autism and birth defects.

A study from Mount Sinai Children’s Environmental Health Center found that,

“Prenatal exposure to phthalates and delays in learning, including a recent study that shows children exposed to phthalates in the womb are more likely to display autisticlike behaviors.”

“Baby boys are more likely to experience changes in their genitals if their mothers were exposed to phthalates during pregnancy (Environmental Health Perspectives paper of the year, 2005).”

This is why phthalates were banned in children’s toys in 2008.

CONSIDER THIS: FRAGRANCE HAS BEEN LINKED TO CANCER, HORMONAL IMBALANCES AND EVEN BIRTH DEFECTS – AND IT’S IN SEVERAL MONAT PRODUCTS.

Now, I’m not saying Monat definitely uses harmful, carcinogenic fragrances in their products. But without transparency, there’s no way to know. I reached out to them numerous times to ask what they use in their fragrance and they never once got back to me. They did however reach out to ask which email I used to contact them – though offered no clarification on anything in this article; not their use of fragrance, PEGs, etc.

I would think that if they didn’t use harmful fragrance or PEGs, they’d be happy to reach out to me to set the record straight. That has not happened. Their label says fragrance and they are unwilling to share what exactly that does or does not include.

Steareth-21 and Cetereath-20, also known as Polyethylene Glycol (PEGs)

While Monat says they do not use PEGs in their products – it’s clearly a falsehood. Steareth-21 and Cetereath-20 are both on the ingredient list and made of polyethylene glycol, aka PEGs.

Steareth-20 is a synthetic polymer composed of PEG (polyethylene glycol) and stearyl alcohol. Due to the presence of PEG, this ingredient may contain potentially toxic manufacturing impurities such as 1,4-dioxane.Source

Ceteareth-20 is the polyethylene glycol ether of cetearyl alcohol; may contain potentially toxic impurities such as 1,4-dioxane. Source

The issue with PEGs isn’t so much the PEGs themselves (although some studies have implicated certain PEGs as genotoxic), but PEGs allow other toxic chemicals to more easily penetrate the skin – like fragrance, which allows them to more quickly and efficiently enter the bloodstream.

PEGs are often contaminated with chemicals like ethylene oxide, a known human carcinogen and 1,4-dioxane – a possible human carcinogen (source).

PEGs are banned in Europe and rated a 3 on the EWG scale, though the ingredients they are often contaminated with – ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane are rated a 10 and 8 respectively (source).

Behentrimonium Chloride

Behentrimonium chloride is an ammonium salt and while I found reports stating that it causes tissue death – I wasn’t able to find any studies to substantiate this claim. However, if you or your child have skin issues like eczema or psoriasis, it is best to avoid a harsh ingredient like this.

Behentrimonium chloride is only safe in concentration under 0.1% – as I was unable to reach Monat, I am unsure of what percentage they use in their products.

It is rated a 3 on the EWG scale and its use is limited in Europe.

Dimethylamine

Dimethylamine was not an ingredient I was immediately familiar with. Upon digging further, I’m shocked it’s in haircare products at all. The CDC lists dimethylamine as extremely flammable, hazardous to inhale as it can cause a burning sensation, headaches, difficulty breathing and shortness of breath (source).

They go on to state,

The substance is severely irritating to the eyes and the respiratory tract . Inhalation of the substance at high levels may cause lung oedema (see Notes). The effects may be delayed.

From PubChem, National Institute of Health’s open chemistry database,

As a pure chemical substance Dimethylamine is used as dehairing agent in tanning, in dyes, in rubber accelerators, in soaps and cleaning compounds and as an agricultural fungicide… Long-term inhalation of low concentrations or short-term inhalation of low concentrations has adverse health effects. Source

This is likely with direct exposure to dimethylamine, but still fairly shocking. It is a known human lung and skin irritant as well as a known toxic substance. It is listed as a 6-7 on the EWG scale.

Benzyl Alcohol

Benzyl alcohol is both naturally occurring as well as synthetic. It is used as a solvent and preservative and has been associated with contact allergy.

Studies have shown that high doses of benzyl alcohol may pose serious risks,

In a primary irritation study 10% benzyl alcohol applied in a 24-hour occlusive patch to the back of eight male albino rabbits did not cause irritation. Undiluted benzyl alcohol was moderately irritating when applied to the depilated skin of guinea pigs for 24 hr. Acute intravenous toxicity of benzyl alcohol was determined in mice. Clinical signs were convulsion, dyspnea and reduced motility in all strains for 24 hours. The slight decrease in body weight in the first week following treatment returned to normal in the second week. Microscopic examination revealed local nerve degeneration when 5% benzyl alcohol was injected into the side of a cat’s face; at 10% local anesthesia was produced. In another experiment, rats were given oral doses of 50, 100, 200, 400, and 800 mg/kg for 13 weeks. The high dose produced clinical signs indicative of neurotoxicity including staggering, respiratory difficulty, and lethargy. Reduction in weight gain was noted in males at 800 mg/kg and females at equal to or greater than 200 mg/kg. Source

It is rated a 5 on the EWG scale.

Trifolium Pratense (Clover) Flower Extract

While trifolium pratense, or red clover flower extract is listed as a 1 on the EWG scale, I felt the need to probe further after learning that red clover, despite being a natural ingredient, has estrogenic effects (source). Just because something is natural does not necessarily mean it is healthy, or even safe. For example, soy is high in estrogens, which is one reason I avoid it.

This ingredient may be of concern to anyone at risk for estrogenic cancers, like breast and ovarian, or those with the BRCA genes. If you suffer from PCOS, hormonal imbalance, difficult, painful or abnormal periods – you should be aware of this ingredient.

Red clover extract is often used as a dietary supplement for menopausal women (to replace estrogen).

Cetrimonium Chloride

Centrimonium chloride is an ammonium salt used as a preservative. At low doses, it is a skin irritant (source). At high doses, it can potentially be embryotoxic (cause death, growth retardation and/or abnormal development) and teratogenic (disturb the development of the fetus). Again, this is only at high doses, not low doses (source). I just thought you may want to be aware.

It is listed at a 3 on the EWG scale.

In conclusion.

This is not a full of list of every harmful ingredient or ingredient linked to serious issues; that review would simply be too long. I chose certain ingredients that have well established information regarding toxicity and have been effectively studied. Many of these ingredients are well known toxins in the cosmetics industry. This is not groundbreaking information. These ingredients are knowingly harmful.

It’s completely unacceptable that Monat states that they don’t use fragrance, PEGs or phtalathes when they are literally on their ingredient lists. In a time when one in two men and one in three women get preventable cancers, cancers that development due to lifestyle choices like diet, exercise and toxin exposure – it’s more important than ever to be mindful of what you’re putting on your skin. What is applied to the skin is absorbed by the body. There are over 80,000 untested chemicals in cosmetics. Always be aware of what is in the products you’re using.

 

1 Comment

  1. Hi there. Just a note- it’s Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine,not dimethylamine, that is in Monat. They are two different things.

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