Beautycounter Scam: MLM or Pyramid Scheme? [Review]

If you’re someone who loves trying out new beauty and skincare products, then you’ve probably come across Beautycounter. They’re an MLM (multi-level marketing) company that offers an opportunity to become an independent distributor and work from the comfort of your own home. Sounds interesting, right? However, before you start getting too excited, let’s take a closer look and see if this opportunity is worth it.

As an online entrepreneur, I have reviewed many similar online opportunities over the years. So I can tell you what you need to know.

Just so you know, I’m not associated with Beautycounter in any way, which means that my review is entirely unbiased. At the end of this article, I’ll also be sharing my favorite alternative to Beautycounter that has worked for me.

So, let’s dive in and find out if Beautycounter is the right choice for you!

What is Beautycounter?

Beautycounter is an MLM (multi-level marketing) company that creates and sells beauty and skin care products that are safer for your body. The founder of the company is Gregg Renfrew, and she started it back in 2013 with the goal of providing people with safer options for their daily beauty routine.

What’s impressive about Beautycounter is that they’ve compiled a list of “Never” items. These are ingredients that are harmful to the body but are unfortunately found in many cosmetics and skin care products out there. And guess what? None of these ingredients are included in any of Beautycounter’s products. How cool is that?

If you’re interested in trying out their products, you might want to swing by their headquarters located at 1733 Ocean Avenue, Suite 400, Santa Monica, California 90401, USA. They’ve got quite the selection too – as of 2018, they offered 150 different products! And with over 65,000 independent consultants, you’re bound to find someone who can give you a good recommendation.

Recommendation: Here’s The Best Alternative

Is Beautycounter An MLM?

Yes, Beautycounter is a multi-level marketing (MLM) company, also known as network or direct sales businesses. Unlike traditional jobs, as a Beautycounter consultant, you’ll run your own business and won’t receive a regular salary. But don’t worry, there are many ways to sell Beautycounter products, such as online pop-ups and livestreams. You can also track your business online and answer customer inquiries anytime and anywhere.

However, making a substantial income by selling Beautycounter products alone is unlikely. Like most MLM programs, your success depends on recruiting new members to work under you. Once they start generating results, you’ll earn commissions on their sales and new recruits.

Let’s break it down with a triangle example. In an MLM, your downline refers to the people beneath you, and you are their upline. If the person at the top recruits ten people, and each of these ten recruits ten more, everyone in the triangle is in your direct downline, and you’ll earn commissions from them. If you can bring in just 10 people, you’ll make $1100.

Most people in MLMs prefer earning a lifetime passive income from recruiting others rather than a one-time commission from selling products, even if the MLM offers a wide range of products. Due to the way the money flows, those at the top of the triangle have the most financial success, while those at the base have the least.

To succeed in an MLM company like Beautycounter, having a large number of people in your downline is essential. So, if you’re up for the challenge and enjoy networking and building relationships, Beautycounter might be the right fit for you.

You may also want to read our article on the top MLM companies.

Recommendation: Here’s The Best Alternative

Is Beautycounter A Pyramid Scheme?

No, Beautycounter is not a pyramid scheme. It is a legit multi-level marketing (MLM) company that allows members to earn money by selling their products.

Unlike pyramid schemes, Beautycounter doesn’t rely on recruitment to make money. As a Beautycounter distributor, you can make money without recruiting anyone. The company doesn’t pay its members to recruit new people either. There are no financial incentives for recruitment.

Pyramid schemes are illegal and unsustainable scams that promise participants money or services for recruiting others. Members at the bottom of the pyramid usually end up losing money, while those at the top profit from the money collected from new recruits. Pyramid schemes rely on recruitment to generate revenue and almost never offer valuable goods or services.

Beautycounter, on the other hand, is a company that sells high-quality makeup and skincare products. They pay their members for selling these products, not for recruiting others. In fact, Beautycounter has strict rules against misleading or deceptive recruiting practices.

A pyramid scheme will inevitably fail since it would have to keep growing infinitely to make money for everyone who participates. This is impossible given the finite population of the planet. When there are no new recruits or other sources of income, the scheme fails, and most participants end up losing their money.

A good example of a pyramid scheme is Vemma, a company that produced energy and weight loss drinks. In August 2015, the FTC accused Vemma of operating a pyramid scheme that paid more for recruiting new members than for selling products. Most participants, who were usually college students and young people, lost money, according to the FTC.

You may read our article on the difference between MLM and pyramid schemes here.

Is Beautycounter a Scam?

No, Beautycounter is not a scam. According to the Oxford Living Dictionary, a scam is “a dishonest scheme; a fraud,” and that’s not what Beautycounter is about.

Now, you may be curious about whether you can make money selling Beautycounter products. While it’s true that the majority of Beautycounter representatives don’t earn any money, there are still some who do. However, it takes a lot of hard work and effort to succeed, and those who make a lot of money usually do so by recruiting aggressively.

Unfortunately, Beautycounter’s marketing claims have been criticized as disingenuous and irresponsible by some, which has led to accusations that it’s an MLM (multi-level marketing) scam. Despite this, there are still those who believe in the company’s products and mission.

Recommendation: Here’s The Best Alternative

Beautycounter Compensation Plan

Are you interested in becoming a Beautycounter consultant and making some extra cash? Well, the good news is that there are several ways you can earn money through their multi-level marketing (MLM) compensation plan. Here’s a breakdown:

  1. Commissions on retail sales: This one’s pretty straightforward – you earn a commission on any products you sell through your personal website or in-person.
  2. Individual Sales Bonus: If you meet certain sales requirements, you can earn bonuses on top of your regular commissions.
  3. Commission Override: As you build a team and recruit new members, you can earn a commission on their sales too.
  4. Frontline Business Builder Bonus: If you reach high ranks within the company, you can earn additional bonuses.

Speaking of ranks, Beautycounter has a total of eight levels within their MLM program. They are:

  1. Consultant
  2. Sr. Consultant
  3. Manager
  4. Sr. Manager
  5. Director
  6. Sr. Director
  7. Executive Director
  8. Managing Director

Recommendation: Here’s The Best Alternative

Joining Beautycounter MLM Program: How Much Does It Cost?

Thinking of joining Beautycounter’s MLM program? Well, it’s actually quite simple! All you need to do is fill out a form with your personal information. If you don’t have a sponsor yet, don’t worry – their website can assist you in finding one.

But, how much does it cost to join? Here are the available starter packs:

  • Skin Care Basics – $285
  • Skin Care Best Sellers – $535
  • Deluxe Skin Care – $715
  • Complete Counterman Collection – $132
  • Counter+ Booster – $157
  • Flawless in Five – $135

Pros and Cons of Becoming a Beautycounter Consultant


  • Genuine product advantages: Beautycounter sells products that are exactly what you see, and they come with known benefits. For example, their essential oils are high quality, even if there is no scientific evidence supporting their efficacy.
  • 30-day money-back guarantee: All of the Beautycounter’s products come with a money-back guarantee, making it easier for you to sell to customers without fear of complaints.
  • No inventory needed: As a Beautycounter consultant, you can order products directly from the website and have them delivered straight to your customers.


  • Expensive products: The high price of Beautycounter’s products may make it difficult to sell them to others, especially when associates have purchased them with the intention of reselling.
  • Low likelihood of profit: Although the commission rate is high, it may still be challenging to make a decent living or start recruiting due to the unrealistic number of products you need to sell.
  • Mandatory purchases: To maintain your commissions, you need to purchase a certain number of products each month, and the more you rank up, the more products you need to buy.

Recommendation: Here’s The Best Alternative

Why I Don’t Recommend Beautycounter MLM Program

The Good Reviews are Written by Beautycounter’s Affiliates

Sure, you’ve probably come across glowing reviews of Beautycounter, but beware – many of these reviews are written by affiliates who are being paid to promote the company. These biased reviews don’t always give you the full picture, including hidden costs and difficulties involved in making money. If you want a more balanced view, check out reviews written by non-affiliates.

Very Few People Can Make Money With Beautycounter

The stats speak for themselves – 72.5% to 99.9% of MLM members lose money. This is because MLMs often have sales quotas that members have to meet in order to remain eligible for commissions. Many MLM members end up losing a lot of money before even recruiting one person into the company.

Losses From Beautycounter MLM Are Reframed As Investments

Beautycounter MLM uplines may try to convince you that your financial losses are actually investments in your business. But the reality is that you’re unlikely to make your money back, and in most cases, the return on investment is negative. So don’t be fooled into thinking that you’re making a smart financial move by joining Beautycounter MLM.

Cult-Like Company Culture

It’s not uncommon for MLMs to have a cult-like company culture, and Beautycounter is no exception. Representatives are discouraged from questioning the company’s practices, and those who do are often ostracized. Leaving the company can also be difficult, as former reps may be labeled as failures or bad influences, and reps are not allowed to contact them.

Isolation and Sacrifices

Beautycounter may encourage representatives to isolate themselves from anyone who questions their involvement, and they may be expected to prioritize company events over their personal lives. This can create a divide between reps and their family and friends, which can be hard to repair.

Personal Product Purchases

If you don’t have a large network to sell to, you may have to purchase products yourself each month. This can be expensive, and it may not be worth it in the long run.

Overpriced Products

Beautycounter products are often overpriced, which can make them difficult to sell. Many other brands offer similar products at lower prices, which means potential customers may not see the value in purchasing Beautycounter products.

Skewed Commission Distribution

Like many MLMs, Beautycounter’s commission structure is heavily skewed towards those at the top. This means that while a select few may make good money, most people won’t even break even after a few months.

Exaggerated Income Claims

Beautycounter, like other MLMs, likes to make exaggerated income claims to lure in potential distributors. However, the reality is that very few people make a good living by promoting Beautycounter, with less than 41% of distributors being active.

Recruiting is Required to Succeed

If you want to succeed in Beautycounter, recruiting is essential. Eight out of ten ways to earn money with Beautycounter require you to recruit others. This can be off-putting for those who just want to sell products they believe in.

Overall, if you’re looking for a legitimate business opportunity with a good chance of success, Beautycounter’s MLM model may not be the best choice for you. 

Recommendation: Here’s The Best Alternative

Final Verdict

After conducting a thorough review of Beautycounter MLM, I’m here to share my conclusion. In all honesty, I wouldn’t recommend joining this MLM if you’re looking to make a substantial income.

From my personal experience, it can be tough to kick off your journey with Beautycounter. Initially, you’ll have a hard time finding recruits and expanding your Beautycounter commission. To add to that, you may have to approach your loved ones to join your Beautycounter business opportunity, which can be quite an uncomfortable ask.

Furthermore, your upline will continuously reach out to you, asking you to buy more Business Support Material, even if you’re still trying to gather people for your downline. The odds are high that you’ll end up losing more money than you’ll earn, and this is backed by statistics. According to a case study on the FTC’s website, 99% of people who join an MLM break even or lose money.

Many people who join MLM businesses feel immense pressure to succeed, which often leads them to quit. Therefore, why not explore starting your own online business if you’re looking to earn a flexible income?

When you run your online business, you can choose what you want to promote instead of someone else telling you what you should sell. 

In the next section, I’ll tell you how to create an online business legitimately to earn passive income online. This approach has allowed me to earn a full-time income in a year. Unlike MLM models, it’s entirely legit and sustainable.

Recommendation: Here’s The Best Alternative

Is There a Better Way to Make Money Online?

If you’re looking to kickstart your online business journey, let me tell you about a program that’s much better than the Beautycounter MLM program. It’s called Wealthy Affiliate, and it’s my #1 recommended platform.

Wealthy Affiliate is an all-in-one platform that can help you build your affiliate marketing business from scratch. When you join Wealthy Affiliate, you’ll get access to top-notch web hosting services, keyword research tools, community support, comprehensive training, writing tools, and other software that can guide you step-by-step as you build your online business.

Here’s the best part: you can sign up for a free account and start affiliate marketing right away without paying anything. And if you like what you see, you can upgrade to a premium membership to get access to everything the platform has to offer. And the best part is, there are no upsells afterwards.

You may read our article about the difference between MLM and affiliate marketing.

But let’s get to the point. How much can you earn with Wealthy Affiliate? Well, let me tell you about a 21-year old student who was able to make $7,395 in just one week using the techniques taught inside Wealthy Affiliate. That’s over $1k a day, folks!

You can read our full review of Wealthy Affiliate here.

Wealthy Affiliate Testimonial

Compared to other platforms like Authority Hacker, Wealthy Affiliate has a much longer history, having been established for 15 years with countless success stories from the past decade. In fact, Wealthy Affiliate has over a million members, so you know it’s a popular platform.

Still not convinced? Here are some inspiring success stories from other Wealthy Affiliate members.

Now, let’s talk pricing. Wealthy Affiliate has a simple pricing scheme with a free and premium membership. The premium membership costs only $49 per month or $395 per year. And if you’re still on the fence, you can sign up for the free starter membership with no credit card required. As a starter member, you’ll get instant access to the community, live chat, over 500 training modules, 2 classrooms, networking, commenting, 1 free website, and access to the keyword tool – all without paying a penny!

So, if you’re serious about starting your online business journey, I strongly recommend you register for a free account with Wealthy Affiliate and see for yourself how it can help you achieve your goals.

Recommendation: Here’s The Best Alternative

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