Nu Skin Scam: Pyramid Scheme or MLM? [Review]

If you’re searching for a way to earn money online, you might have come across Nu Skin. But you might be skeptical if it’s legit or just another scammy pyramid scheme. Don’t worry; I got your back.

Chances are, you heard about Nu Skin from a friend or family member who’s already involved with the program. That’s how most people get into it. However, before you make any decisions, it’s crucial to learn more about it.

As an online entrepreneur, I’ve reviewed hundreds of programs similar to Nu Skin. And now, I’m here to give you the lowdown on it.

Firstly, let me clarify that I’m not affiliated with Nu Skin in any way. I’m not getting paid to write this review, so you can expect an honest and unbiased assessment from me.

So, without further ado, let’s dive into what Nu Skin is all about and whether it’s worth your time and money.

What is Nu Skin?

Nu Skin is a personal care company that was started by three visionaries in 1984, Blake Roney, Sandie Tillotson, and Steve Lund, in Provo, Utah. The company began with a mission to create innovative personal care products that contained only active ingredients that were “all good and none bad.” Today, Nu Skin has become a global brand with representatives in 53 countries worldwide.

Nu Skin’s product line includes beauty devices, body care products, face care products, and nutritional products. The company’s commitment to creating high-quality products that are safe and effective has been the driving force behind its success for nearly 40 years.

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What Products Does Nu Skin Offer?

Nu Skin is a company that offers a wide range of beauty products to help you look your best. Their standard skincare line includes top-quality products like anti-aging creams, UV protection, skin haze, cell rejuvenation, AHA facial peels, and neutralizer. In fact, they have over 200 personal care products, including cleansers, toners, and anti-aging skincare products, available worldwide.

If you’re looking for products that work, then you might want to try the ageLOC Future Product and the ageLOC Edition Galvanic Spa System. These two products have been proven to be effective. Besides skincare, Nu Skin also sells perfumes, hair products, mouthwash, essential oils, and diffusers.

Nu Skin’s products are marketed and sold through its global network of independent distributors, sales associates, and clients. The company is supported by Nu Skin’s Anti-Aging Scientific Board, which comprises industry experts like skin doctors and leading scientists from various fields who conduct collaborative research studies.

However, it’s worth noting that Nu Skin’s products can be quite expensive. You can often find these items at lower prices on Amazon than if you bought them directly from the company’s website.

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Is Nu Skin an MLM?

Yes, Nu Skin is an MLM company. But what exactly is an MLM? In a nutshell, an MLM or multi-level marketing company is a direct sales company that pays its distributors or representatives through a commission-based compensation plan. This means that instead of earning a fixed salary, MLM distributors can earn money by recruiting other people to join the company, and from the sales generated by those recruits and their own downline.

Here’s how it works: when you join an MLM company like Nu Skin, you become a distributor or representative. You are then encouraged to recruit others to join the company, and you earn a commission on the sales and recruits that your downline generates. This commission can range from a few percent to as much as 40% of the total sales volume.

One of the main attractions of MLM is the opportunity to earn passive income. If you successfully recruit a large downline, you can earn a percentage of their sales volume even if you don’t directly sell any products yourself. This is why many people are drawn to MLM – it offers the potential for financial freedom and the chance to build your own business without a huge investment.

However, it’s worth noting that MLM can be a controversial business model. Critics argue that it’s akin to a pyramid scheme, where only those at the top of the pyramid make significant profits, while those at the bottom struggle to make ends meet. In contrast, supporters of MLM argue that it’s a legitimate business model that rewards hard work and dedication.

In any case, if you’re considering joining an MLM company like Nu Skin, it’s important to do your research and fully understand the compensation plan and business model before making any commitments.

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

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Is Nu Skin A Pyramid Scheme?

No, Nu Skin is not a pyramid scheme. Unlike pyramid schemes, Nu Skin does not promise easy money to its members in exchange for recruiting others. Instead, members of the company can make money by selling their products.

Pyramid schemes are unsustainable and often fraudulent, as they rely on recruiting new members to generate income, rather than selling products or services. The majority of participants in a pyramid scheme will lose money, as the profits are only generated by those at the top of the pyramid.

In contrast, Nu Skin offers its members a genuine opportunity to earn money by selling a range of personal care and nutritional products. Members can also recruit others to become part of the company, but this is not the only way to earn money.

While MLM companies like Nu Skin may have similarities to pyramid schemes, they are fundamentally different. In an MLM company, members can earn money by both selling products and recruiting others. The focus is on building a sustainable business by promoting and selling products that are valued by consumers.

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

Watch the short video below to learn more:

How to Make Money With Nu Skin?

NU Skin offers two ways to earn money as a brand associate: retail markups and sales commission.

Retail Markups

As a brand associate, you can purchase NU Skin products directly from the company at a discount. You can then set your own price for these products when you sell them to your customers. The difference between the discounted price you paid and the price you sell the products for is your retail markup. There are no set prices for NU Skin products, so you have the flexibility to set your own prices.

Sales Commission

In addition to retail markups, you can also earn money through sales commission. As a brand associate, you can sell NU Skin products individually or as part of a group in 53 markets (excluding mainland China). Your earnings as a brand associate will vary depending on your goals, time commitment, skills, and ambition. However, it’s important to note that you only earn commission on products that you personally sell – recruiting new brand associates does not entitle you to a commission.

To succeed as a brand associate with NU Skin, you’ll need to put in time and effort. However, the potential to earn money through retail markups and sales commission can be a great motivator for those who are willing to put in the work.

Nu Skin’s Compensation Plan

If you’re considering becoming a Nu Skin brand associate, you might be curious about how much money you can earn through their compensation plan. Well, according to their 2020 settlement plan, the total sales settlement earned by brand associates in the United States was an impressive $161,333,653!

On average, a brand name associate in the United States sold $160.05 worth of products every month. And here’s the good news: 19.04 percent of active brand associates in the United States received sales compensation, which means you have a solid chance of earning money as a Nu Skin brand associate.

In fact, 43.56 percent of brand affiliates received sales compensation in 2020. And for active brand affiliates, 11 percent earned an average of $384 per year. That’s not bad for a little extra income on the side!

If you’re interested in becoming a Brand Rep, who account for 3% of brand name affiliates, you can expect to earn an average of $7,392 per year. And if you really excel and become a Diamond Director, which only 0.12% of representatives achieve, you could earn an average of $112,932 per year. Now we’re talking!

But if you’re really ambitious and want to aim for the top, the top 0.2 percent of the company earned an average of $449,688 in 2020. 

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How Much Does It Cost To Join Nu Skin?

If you’re interested in joining Nu Skin, the process is easy and straightforward. All you need is a sponsor, which can be a friend who sells Nu Skin products or someone you find online.

The best part? There’s no fee to sign up. This is a great perk that attracts many people to the company. However, it’s important to note that you won’t receive any products to give away. If you want to start selling Nu Skin products, you’ll need to purchase a starter package separately.

The cost of the starter packages ranges from $475 to $1,519 USD, depending on which one you choose. This is an essential expense to consider if you want to become a Nu Skin distributor.

Once you’ve signed up, you’ll be encouraged to join the Automatic Distribution Reward program (ADR). This program requires a standing order of $100 per month to remain an active distributor. You’ll also need to earn between $200 and $350 in sales per month to stay active.

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Is Nu Skin a Scam?

No, Nu Skin is not a scam. However, some people do consider it a scam due to its aggressive recruitment tactics and disingenuous marketing claims.

While it is possible to make money selling Nu Skin products, the reality is that the majority of Nu Skin representatives don’t earn any money. Only a few people make money, and usually, it requires a lot of effort and aggressive recruitment tactics.

Reasons Why I Don’t Recommend Nu Skin

Nu Skin is a multi-level marketing (MLM) company that offers personal care and nutritional products. While some people have benefited financially from joining MLMs like Nu Skin, there are several issues that you should consider before joining.

Good Reviews are Written by Nu Skin’s Affiliates

Many of the positive reviews you may find about Nu Skin are written by the company’s affiliates. These reviewers are often biased and may not provide you with a truthful account of the challenges and hidden costs associated with joining Nu Skin. To get a more balanced perspective, it is advisable to read reviews written by non-affiliates.

Few People Make Money with Nu Skin

Statistics suggest that most people who join MLMs like Nu Skin end up losing money. This is because MLMs have sales quotas that require members to sell products to remain active and eligible for commissions. If they fail to meet these quotas, they will not get paid. As a result, many people end up losing money before even recruiting one person into the company.

Losses from Nu Skin are Reframed as Investments

Nu Skin uplines often reframe their financial losses as ‘investments’ in their business. However, this is often a way to keep their reps in an MLM scheme, as the return on “investment” is negative in most cases.

Nu Skin is Like a Cult

MLMs like Nu Skin are known for having cult-like company cultures that discourage critical thinking and encourage isolation from anyone who questions your involvement. Those who leave an MLM are often labeled as failures or bad influences, and reps are not allowed to contact them. This can lead to devastating losses for former MLM representatives.

You May Need to Purchase Nu Skin Products Yourself

If you don’t have a large network of friends and family, you may need to purchase Nu Skin products yourself every month. This can be a losing proposition in the long term, as you may end up losing money instead of making it.

Nu Skin Products are Overpriced

Nu Skin offers overpriced products that can be difficult to sell. There are many other brands that offer similar products at lower prices, which can make it challenging to sell Nu Skin products.

Nu Skin’s MLM Business Model Has a Bad Reputation

The distribution of commissions in Nu Skin’s MLM business model is skewed toward the top, with the majority of those at the top making the most money. This has led many people to view Nu Skin’s MLM business model as a fundamentally flawed and illegitimate business opportunity.

Exaggerated Claims of Income

Nu Skin, like other MLM companies, makes exaggerated income claims. However, in reality, very few people make a good living by promoting Nu Skin, and the company’s low retention rate can be discouraging.

Recruiting is Required to Succeed

To succeed in Nu Skin’s MLM business model, you will need to recruit people. If you do not recruit, you are likely to lose money. This can be a turn-off for many people who are not comfortable with the idea of recruiting others.

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Pros and Cons of Joining Nu Skin MLM


  • Nu Skin is a well-established and reputable company with a long history in the health and beauty industry.
  • The quality of their products is generally quite good.
  • You won’t have to pay a fee or buy a starter kit to become a Nu Skin distributor.
  • You can easily close your account at any time by giving written notice.


  • A significant number of Nu Skin distributors fail to make any money, with 85% falling into this category.
  • Joining the MLM requires constant recruitment efforts to build a successful network, which may involve pressuring friends and family to join.
  • To earn any commission, you’ll need to spend more than $100 per month and sell or use at least 80% of your inventory.
  • It takes 2500 points to become an independent distributor, which can be difficult to achieve.
  • The high price point of Nu Skin products can make them a hard sell, which may further impact your ability to make a profit.

In summary, while Nu Skin may be an attractive option for those interested in the health and beauty industry, it’s important to consider both the pros and cons of joining the MLM before making a decision. While the company has a solid reputation and quality products, the financial risk and effort involved in building a successful network may not be worth it for everyone.

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Final Verdict

If you’re considering joining Nu Skin to make some extra cash, let me tell you my final verdict – I don’t recommend it. In my experience, it’s not an easy path to financial success.

At the beginning, it can be challenging to find recruiters to add to your Nu Skin commission. You’ll probably find yourself prospecting a lot, and even asking your friends and family to join. Trust me, it’s not the most fun experience.

To make matters worse, your upline will constantly push you to buy more Business Support Material, even if you’re struggling to get people to join your downline. Unfortunately, the stats don’t lie either – according to a case study on the FTC’s website, 99% of people who join an MLM break even or lose money.

The pressure to succeed in an MLM-type business can be overwhelming, and it’s a big reason why many people end up leaving. Instead of going down that route, have you considered starting your own online business?

This way, you can choose what you want to promote and build a sustainable, legit business model. In the next section, I’ll share my experience with building an online business that has allowed me to make a full-time income in a year – without relying on MLM tactics.

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Is There a Better Way to Make Money Online?

If you’re looking to start an online business, forget about Nu Skin and consider Wealthy Affiliate instead. This platform is my top recommendation for anyone starting their affiliate marketing journey.

Wealthy Affiliate is an all-in-one platform that provides everything you need to build your business from scratch. From first-class web hosting services to keyword research tools, community support, comprehensive training, writing tools, and other software, Wealthy Affiliate guides you through building your business step-by-step.

The best part? You can sign up for a free account and start affiliate marketing right away. If you love the platform, you can upgrade to the premium membership to access everything on the platform, without any annoying upsells.

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

So, how much can you earn with Wealthy Affiliate? Well, a 21-year old student earned $7,395 in just one week by applying what was taught inside Wealthy Affiliate. Amazing, right?

You can read our full review of Wealthy Affiliate here.

Wealthy Affiliate Testimonial

Wealthy Affiliate has a proven track record with over a million members in the past decade. And to inspire you even further, here are some other success stories from members.

Joining Wealthy Affiliate is easy with a simple pricing scheme. You can sign up for a free starter membership and enjoy instant access to the community, live chat, over 500 training modules, two classrooms, networking, commenting, one free website, and access to the keyword tool, all without spending a penny.

If you’re serious about building your online business, I highly recommend signing up for a free account on Wealthy Affiliate and experiencing it for yourself. You won’t regret it!

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