Why I will never buy Eminence Organics: The truth behind this controversial brand REVEALED

Why I'll never buy Eminence Organic SkincareIf you’ve been wondering whether or not Eminence Organics is a reliable company, read on. You will decide for yourself by the end of this post.

Their labels may look “all natural,” but as you may have started wondering already, many of the ingredients do not match up as “organic.” Of course, you won’t find full disclosure of ingredients on their site either. They claim USDA Organic Certification, Demeter Certification, Leaping Bunny, and other certifications and memberships, as you can see from the screenshots below, yet not one bottle or jar that I saw carries any of them.

This company makes fake organic claims Screen Shot 2016-06-08 at 7.26.05 AM

 

As you can see in the screen shot below, they’re not listed on the USDA Certified Organics site at all, though I did find them on the Leaping Bunny website, which surprisingly—and perhaps erroneously—says they have organic certification. Well, I couldn’t find it! Leaping Bunny guarantees a product to be free of new animal testing, but as they say in their FAQs: “The Leaping Bunny list does not provide information about the composition of ingredients.” That means that if an ingredient contains animal by-products, it can still receive Leaping Bunny certification.

Though they claim to be certified organic, this company certainly is not. Eminence is listed on the Organic Consumer Organization (OCA), but the page also says that the list has not been maintained by the OCA since 2010—and look what happens when you click their link anyway. It takes you to a page that can’t be found. When I searched Eminence on the OCA site, a lot of posts came up about preventing “organics fraud.” Check it out for yourself here and plug in the word “Eminence” in the search box.  (Stephanie Greenwood, founder of Bubble & Bee, wrote an excellent post about how to tell if a product is really organic here.)

Not only that—as if that were not enough—they look a lot like another company marketed as Ilike Organic Skin Care. So what’s the full story? I got it straight from a marketing rep for Ilike, a.k.a. Ilcsi Beautifying Herbs Hungary, as well as from an insider.

“The biggest hurdle for Ilike organic skin care in the US and Canada has been the confusion regarding the two brands,” says Shelly Cellak, a rep for the Burgeon Agency. “Eminence does not distribute Ilcsi (ilike organic skin care) products. Here is the story…” The following is what Shelly disclosed to me and can be found on the company’s website.

Eminence Organic Skin Care Ltd. (Vancouver, Canada) was the distributor for the territory of USA and Canada of Ilcsi Beautifying Herbs  Hungary (www.ilcsi.com) under the brand name Eminence from 2002 until 31st March 2005 only. This distributional contract terminated from March 31, 2005 onward, since then Ilcsi has not supplied any of its products to them. The current Eminence products are no longer associated in any way with the brand’s founder, Aunt Ilcsi Molnár, or her family-owned company. Ilcsi Beautifying Herbs Hungary is taken aback to see, that their former distributor still uses the date of the beginning of Aunt Ilcsi’s work—1958—as the year of their foundation.

Eminence Organic Skin Care trademarked the word “Ilcsi”, which is the international brand and the nickname of the creator of the products they used to distribute from Ilcsi Beautifying Herbs Hungary. For this reason Aunt Ilcsi’s products can not be marketed under her name in the US or Canada, which is why in the US and Canada the brand is called ilike…another nickname for the founder. The ilike organic skin care products are the same as Ilcsi products and not associated in any way with Eminence Organic Skin Care. The US distributor is Szep Elet (szepelet.com).

In Summary:

  • Eminence distributed Ilcsi products from 2002-2005
  • Eminence trademarked the word Ilcsi – so, in the US & Canada, the brand goes by ilike organic skin care (Ilike was another nickname for Aunt Ilcsi)
  • Szep Elet (szepelet.com) is now the exclusive North American distributor of ilike organic skin care products

Here is the logo that Eminence uses today:

Eminence logo bears misleading information

No words.

In digging further for information, Shelly directed me to a comment left on a Green Beauty Team post about greenwashing that also spoke about the plagiarized content and the founder’s loose social habits. It could have been written by a disgruntled employee or former lover, so take what you will from it, but people are not saying these things about Ilike, so take that into consideration too. I’ve pasted it here to save you the time of looking it up.

Lisa3559 realself.com shared the quoted text in the comments:

“…I was directly involved with Eminence from the beginning, even being a part of coming up with name Eminence. Boldijarre was a scammer from the word go and had no intentions of ever dealing honestly with the trust he was given by the parent company, Ilike. BTW, Ilike is not a nickname or newly conjured name, it is their official Hungarian name and has been forever. Ilike dropped Boldijarre because he was copying the products, which they suspected he would do. Boldijarre was not some unfortunate character who lost his distribution rights and had to find another way. He is a born liar and will say and do anything to get what he wants; just ask one of the thousands of women he’s used to get what he wants. Eminence is NOT made in Hungary, this is stupid obvious; if it was, why don’t you find it being sold there? Duhh…Eminence is made by local manufacturers in Vancouver and always has been. Spas in Vancouver are truly being played the fool, thinking they are buying exotic Hungarian products with Hungarian ingredients, when it’s being made in their own backyard with standard ingredients found in any skincare product! All Eminence has going for them is the continued deception of the public and some ripped-off formulas, created over lifetimes of work by the Ilike family. Way to go Boldijarre, steal someone else’s life work and pretend you did it. Like I said, this guy has no ethics whatsoever and should be avoided like the plague along with his phony company.” By Beets /(transcribed verbatim except for some needed punctuation).

“Eminence products are wrongly aligned with the 50 yr. old ‘Ilcsi, Beautifying Herbs of Hungary.’ It’s not made in Hungary, it’s made in Richmond B.C. by a company called Vitelle Labs. They use numerous preservatives and non-organic ingredients. If their ingredients were ever tested to compare against the ingredient list, they would be sued.

“And last but not least, Eminence Organic Skin Care, [Boldijarre], trademarked the word ‘Ilcsi,’ which is the international brand and the nickname of the creator of the products he/they used to distribute from Ilcsi Beautifying Herbs Hungary until the spring of 2005. For this reason Aunt Ilcsi’s products can not be marketed under her name in the U.S. or Canada and are now called ilike, which is another nickname for her. The ilike organic skin care products are the same Ilcsi products and are not associated in any way with Eminence Organic Skin Care.”

You’ll find more evidence against Eminence on this discussion about the brand’s tomato cream here too.

Where does that leave us? Well, if you ask me, Eminence is about as remote from an eminent company as they come. Meanwhile, I’ve been using a few products from Ilike that I’m enjoying thoroughly—the sour cherry mask has also been independently recommended to me by one of my favorite estheticians, Cecilia Wong.

FYI, ilike currently does not share their ingredients list either, even though every product I received displays the INCI on the box. When I asked them about that, they shared this in an email from the company:

“The answer to her question is very simple and sad. We don’t publish our full ingredient list all over the internet because there have been attempts to copy our products and while this doesn’t stop it, we would like to do everything to make it difficult. All of our partners receive the full ingredient list for reference, and it is also on all of our retail boxes as it is required by the FDA.”

Based on my urgent recommendation, they are in the process of updating their website. Until then, I’m holding off on recommending them because transparency is absolutely essential to a green brand today. There is a greater call for full disclosure and using accurate terminology than ever before. Natural simply does not hold up anymore for the conscious consumer as a viable marketing term.

Have you used Eminence products? What are your thoughts about this controversy?

Advertisements

31 thoughts on “Why I will never buy Eminence Organics: The truth behind this controversial brand REVEALED

  1. This is really saddening as I have been a fan of Eminence for years! 😦 I will now be looking into Ilike and ditching Eminence for good. Thanks for bringing this to light, Sarita! We honestly shouldn’t have to do “Nancy Drewing” to find out if a brand is trustworthy or not…so frustrating!

    xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is upsetting, for sure, Sabrina. And I do feel like I’ve got to whip out my trusty magnifying glass a lot more lately, but that’s a byproduct of awareness and discernment, so I guess we take the good with the bad. Thanks for commenting. If you love Eminence, you will love the original company even more. 🙂 XOXO

      Like

  2. Wow! I have never used Eminence but have used ilike and have really like them – their eye cream is amazing! I did always think it was odd how close they looked to each other but didn’t think any further of it. Thank you for doing all of this work and sharing what you found!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. wow that is SO shady! I knew they had to be kind of a shady brand considering I never saw them mentioned among too many of my green beauty friends and when I saw them mentioned, it all seemed very murky where ingredient lists and disclosure were concerned. Thanks so much for letting us know about this! what a trip!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve never use Eminence before, but I’ve seen it included in Yuzen box, which is how I come to know about this brand. Funny thing is that I never thought of trying those samples myself. I am quite surprise by the lack of integrity of this company and how it market itself. It’s a good thing that I’ve familiar enough with green beauty, and I guess my gut is telling me not to use it the first time.

    Like

  5. While it saddens me to read and hear about such situations it is so refreshing to read a blog post about another side of business that isn’t always so positively gushy but one of the truth of the lesser known sides of what it is to run a business in general, but espescially in the real beauty industry. Thank you for your bravery and enlightenment.

    Like

  6. Oh my gosh, thanks SO much for this post. I had been interested in the sour cherry Eminence stuff on dermstore because sour cherries are my favorite, but I am so relieved to know the whole story before handing my money over to a con artist. I will also be sending your article to Dermstore in the hopes that they reconsider stocking them in their “natural” (lol) section!

    Off to go peruse the REAL cherry products at ilike. *Edit, I don’t see how to actually purchase anything there? advice?*

    Like

  7. I’m a professional solo esthetician using Eminence Organics for years. I’m sad to see you cast doubts on the company in this way. When you do so, it appears to cast doubts on my integrity as well. I have been using their products since 2009. Although I know that some of the earlier products look similar or have similar names to ilike’s, I had asked the ilike reps before committing to Eminence, and ilike claimed theirs was a different product even though products like Sour Cherry had the same name; that their production and extraction methods were different. I had heard there was some falling out at some point before I started using the product, but I’ve never found the company to be dishonest with me. They provide lots of education, great customer service and my clients love the product results. In addition, there are a great number of products that bear no resemblance to ilike’s at all, so how could the formulas be stolen if ilike doesn’t offer such products? Please look at the Age Corrective, Biodynamic, Youth Shield, Organic Beauty and Arctic Berry lines to name a few. I also am not sure how the alleged love life of the owner is of use. May I suggest you talk directly to management at ilike and to Eminence? I’d love to hear the outcome. Thanks.

    Humbly yours,

    joanna tringali
    calm: massage & skincare for women
    Brooklyn, NY

    Like

    1. Thank you for your message, Joanna. I’m happy that you have had a good experience with this company. I, however, could never endorse a company that makes false claims. Even if nothing else is false, the fact that they say they are from Hungary and that the company started in 1958 is enough to cast doubts on their integrity. They may be very nice, but their roots are not honest and that calls into question how else they are deceiving people. I hope that the spa industry expands enough that you will have other, more credible companies to choose from going forward. Of course, I do not fault anyone for their use of this product line. It is ultimately a personal decision. I am clear that it does not align with my ethics. I wish you well. Thank you for your comment and for being kind.

      Like

  8. This is so saddening!!! I used to use Eminence back when I lived in Nashville – around 2009/2012 or so! But then, before the wedding this past March I went to an Eminence Spa and got the whole skincare Blue Diamond Microdermabrasion done. It was wonderful…but I allllllways wondered about them. Goodness. I won’t be using their products anymore! I want to try Ilike!

    Like

    1. Sammie, it’s really upsetting, I agree! It’s simply unfathomable that this brand has gotten away with stealing formulas and using the identity of the original company without any recourse, and spas unknowingly endorse them. I don’t say what anyone should do with the information, as that’s not up to me, but I do know where I stand on it. Company ethics and integrity totally matter. Thanks for sharing on FB, lovely! XO

      Like

    1. Hi Kara, in the discussion at the bottom of the “tomato” post that I linked, there seems to be a general consensus that the celebrity endorsements of Eminence are not authentic. However, I’ve never paid too much attention to celebrity endorsements, since they do not mean much. Firstly, a celebrity may notnecessarily be an educated consumer, and secondly, they are likely paid to endorse the product which means it’s a job.

      Like

  9. Great post. My only experince with Eminence is a sample from a subscription box so I can’t speak to their line or business practices. However, I can speak to the deception that goes on in the “clean, green, natural” product industry. I have made the mistake of buying products marketed under these terms and in the “right” section at Target without fully reading every ingredient (I blame the toddler) only to get home to find SLS in everything I bought!
    So I guess as disheartening as this info about Eminence is it does not surprise me. Isn’t that sad? Now I see a “clean, natural, green” label and I say, “Oh, no you don’t! Prove it to me that you are what you claim to be!”.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And on the positive, congrats on being a confirmed savvy green consumer! I’ve been there too, by the way. Picking up a product on the fly thinking it was all good (considering it was from Whole Foods or something) and getting home and being surprised by the ingredients. Le sigh! Oh, and I totally would blame it on a screaming toddler moment. LOL 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I think if we as people can look beyond the words “natural” and “organic” we will uncover the truth much, much sooner. Unfortunately, we have to understand that many companies say what sells, after all, they’re seeing the bottom line. The best step that we must do as consumers is read and understand the ingredient list. It matters. Further, when it comes to ilike not listing their ingredient decks on their website, that’s a problem and should be considered before purchasing. If a company wanted to copy the product, they could simply pay for reverse engineering or buy the product. There is no excuse. Keeping their ingredient decks hidden may be putting your
    healthy, happy skin at risk.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I did intensive amount of research on several organic brands before committing to Eminence products. I did see the accusations of brand identity and ingredient theft but I decided to separate the product from the company and its practices and l have continued purchasing these products since 2013. I thought that despite the shady dealings of the owner, the products were improved on, with the product line being continually expanded and new products being added to work together synergistically forming a very comprehensive product line, so much so that the Eminence brand far exceeded the capacity of Ilike products in the aspects of quality, quantity and ease of accessibility. I do know they have some problematic ingredients such as octinoxate in their sunscreens, but I did trust that they were otherwise truly Organic, free from synthetic preservatives and their ingredient list on each product corresponded to what was actually in it. This article does seem like an opinion and ethics piece, so I am not sure whether to believe in its claims about the ingredients. I mean considering that its very very illegal to put anything in a product that is not mentioned on the label and the strict laws in Canada and the distribution of this brand through major spas. But I am worried that this might be true. Would there be a way for to verify the ingredients and check if this is truly the case?

    Like

    1. Hi Utsav, I appreciate your dilemma and also your desire to learn more about the company you put your faith in. I think the only way to verify ingredients is to have the products third-party tested at your expense. That’s what individuals are doing with Young Living essential oils, another company marred by a shady background, and unfortunately, the oils are coming up adulterated. As for ingredients being as they say on the box, that I do not know. What I do question is the misleading list of certifications that may or may not exist. Certainly their organic claim does not, and that in itself is unethical. When a company is not upholding truth in marketing, how do we know it will uphold truth in other ways? That is what I would question. I hope you find your answers! All I can say is that I would not purchase this line. Something seems “off,” and too many people are confirming it.

      Like

      1. I know people can be turned of by the dishonest actions of a company but I prefer to focus more on the product. Recently there has been news about Tricia Trimble of Suntegrity and her dealings with a former employee who posts regularly on youtube about his mistreatment. But it is undeniable that the products are great and there seems to be no brand focusing on spf lip colour products in the organic space. I feel that we must be critical of companies and people on social media just as much as we are of ingredients so as to contribute to improving the green beauty space and to demand justice for any infractions. But on the other hand we still do not have enough companies and products to choose from and I don’t know if we should be boycotting the ones we do have. That being said I will look into your suggestion of having the products third-party tested. Please let us all know if you learn anything new about this brand, its ingredients or its certifications.

        Like

      2. There are more and more honest companies to choose from. I’d rather support the ones that I have looked into as being transparent, than one that’s not founded on honesty. That is just me. I know and have worked with many effective, truly organic or natural companies. It is not the same climate as it was even five years ago. There are better brands to support. That said, it is entirely a personal decision. And you are right that people will talk about other brands. However, what is being said about Eminence takes it to another level. One poor employee experience is hardly grounds to stop using a product line. Lack of full transparency and duping the consumer is, IMHO.

        Like

      3. The reason why I want to try and look into this matter is because I really love the Eminence products and would hope everything works out and I can continue using them. They have a very extensive and comprehensive product line with high end ingredients that work together synergistically. In my research I haven’t found a brand which covers all the products that Eminence provides. If there is an alternative high end brand other than Ilsci or Ilike that you could recommend which provides such a comprehensive product line, that would be great.

        Like

  12. One can use the EWG website to get the ratings on many skin care products. Eminence does come up. This site lists ingredients and what their affects are. I personally use Intelligent Nutrients.

    Like

    1. Thanks. I’d rather support a company like Intelligent Nutrients. As far as ingredients disclosure, I’d be interested to see if the ones listed on EWG are the same as the ingredients the company is using now. I do not know, but I’m curious. That said, I’d appreciate full disclosure of ingredients on the website and I’ve recommended the same to Ilike as well. Consumers like us have a right to know what we are using. Thank you for your comment. XO

      Like

  13. Wow – We had spoken with the USDA Organic Certifying body and they told us their label is falsely used A LOT! Always check with them first before assuming that label is correct. There is a directory of the certifying bodies under their umbrella- and that is a good way to double check. Here is a link: https://apps.ams.usda.gov/integrity/ Notice that one of our most treasured brands – HollyBeth Organics comes up in the database – but nothing for Eminence!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I have been using Ilcsi Beautifying Herbs products since my teens. Started using them when I lived in Hungary 25 years ago. At that time they were and already established and popular brand of natural cosmetics over there. In fact, they advocated for natural products long before it became a popular thing to do. The company was founded by Aunt Ilcsi, in the 1950s.
    The first time I encountered Eminence Cosmetics was in the early 2000s, as this was the name Ilcsi Beautifying Herbs used to market their products under in the US. I have used these products for a few years back then. It is all sadly true about how things went down. After the initial years establishing a successful distribution network, the owners of Eminence started making their own counterfeit products to increase their profits. They not only stole whatever recipes they could but also all the background information and have blatantly plagiarized Aunt Ilcsi and her compelling story.
    A couple of years ago I was having a facial at a spa in Santa Fe (a mistake it turned out, as the Japanese bee honey or whatever based product line caused my face -used only to Ilike Organic products- to break out badly) and the very nice aesthetician told me how they used to use Eminence products at this high-end spa, but according to her ” had to discontinue their use because the quality of the product has declined dramatically.” I told her about the counterfeiting and she said it finally made sense to her how a previously excellent product could have changed so much for the worse.
    I have never met anyone affiliated with Eminence but have visited the laboratory in Hungary where Ilcsi Beautifying Herbs products are made. I wrote a blog post about this visit a few years ago. It is an EU certified organic facility, and as far as I know the EU standards for organic are just as stringent as the USDA’s. If you are ever in Budapest, I am sure they would welcome you to tour their facility as they did to me.
    Nowadays every time I see a spa advertising using Eminence products I feel like walking up to them and telling them ” you are being scammed”, but of course I have never actually done it. Guess I am missing that crusader gene. I was therefore very happy to have found your article and support you wholeheartedly in bringing the truth out to the open. Thank you for being a voice for organic products.

    Like

  15. Hello I have used eminence for over 16yrs and I noticed the product had changed feel, smell, consistency. I wrote the company and feed me a bunch of bull. It was the same
    But I knew it wasn’t! I have used it to long. I found ilike and there was my original products! I’m an ilike user forever now!!!! I love ilike!

    Like

Your comments keep things interesting. Let's chat!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s