Young Living Scam: Pyramid Scheme or MLM [Review]

Are you curious about Young Living and whether it’s a legit way to make money online or just another pyramid scheme? You might have heard about it from a friend or family member who’s already involved in it. And if you’re like many people, you’re looking for ways to earn some extra cash from home.

As an online entrepreneur, I’ve reviewed countless programs similar to Young Living. And I’m here to give you an honest and unbiased review of it, based on my thorough research.

Now, just to make things clear, I’m not affiliated with Young Living, so you can trust that my review isn’t influenced by any kind of bias or payment.

So, let’s dive in and take a closer look at Young Living! And at the end of this review, I’ll also share with you my personal favorite alternative to Young Living, which has allowed me to earn a full-time passive income online.

What is Young Living?

Young Living is a company that specializes in selling essential oils and other products through multi-level marketing. They claim to be the top provider of high-quality essential oils globally, which can assist with a range of health issues.

Numerous Young Living reviews indicate that customers are satisfied with the company’s products, which include over 500 different types of essential oils. Nevertheless, there have been some concerns about Young Living recently.

For instance, Dr. Pappas, an Indiana University professor, discovered proof that the oils contain synthetic components. Despite this, the company still claims that their products are 100% pure.

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Who Founded Young Living?

Gary Young is the founder and owner of Young Living Oils, but his past is full of controversies. Born in Idaho in 1949, Gary has been in the public eye for the last 30 years. One of the most tragic events in his life was the death of his child during birth in 1982, which occurred in a whirlpool bath.

Gary’s unconventional approach to childbirth, such as immersing the baby in sterile saltwater solution and cutting the umbilical cord, raised questions. An investigation revealed that his child would have survived with regular care, which her mother couldn’t receive due to blood clots.

Gary had a restaurant that was shut down by the police a year later, as he was found guilty of practicing medicine without a license. He also made bold claims of being able to cure cancer and treat lupus 90 percent of the time, which drew skepticism from many.

Despite all these controversies, Gary founded Young Living in 1993. However, the company has also been under scrutiny and faced allegations even after his death in May 2018.

Is Young Living an MLM?

Yes, Young Living is an MLM. MLM stands for multilevel marketing, which is also known as direct sales or network marketing. Unlike traditional business models, MLM companies don’t pay you a salary. Instead, you earn money by recruiting others to join your business and sell products. When your recruits make sales or bring in new recruits, you get paid a commission based on their activity.

This system creates a pyramid-like structure, with the person at the top making the most money and the people at the bottom making the least. In an MLM, the people you recruit are considered your “downline,” and you are their “upline.”

While MLM companies like Young Living offer a range of products, many people prefer to focus on recruiting because they can earn a lifetime passive income from their downline. For example, by recruiting 10 people, you could potentially earn $1100.

The ultimate goal for someone working in an MLM is to have as many people in their downline as possible, allowing them to earn larger amounts of passive income.

So, if you’re thinking about joining Young Living or any other MLM, it’s important to understand the structure of the business and how you’ll be earning money. While it can be a lucrative opportunity for some, it’s not for everyone.

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

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Is Young Living A Pyramid Scheme?

No, Young Living is not a pyramid scheme. Pyramid schemes are unsustainable and frequently fraudulent. These schemes require members to pay a fee to an organization that rewards them for enrolling additional members. The more recruits, the more money the members can potentially earn. 

However, the organization’s directors receive a portion of these payments, and they are the ones who usually profit the most, regardless of whether they do any work or not. The organization’s only source of income is from recruiting new members, and it does not provide any valuable goods or services.

Young Living is not a pyramid scheme because it offers a range of products that members can sell to make money, in addition to earning commissions from recruiting new members. Members can make money without having to solely rely on recruitment, which is not the case with pyramid schemes.

In a pyramid scheme, people at the bottom of the pyramid usually lose money, while those at the top profit the most. On the other hand, members of Young Living can make money by selling products, regardless of their position in the organization.

Watch the short video below to learn more:

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How Much Does it Cost to Join Young Living?

If you’re looking to join Young Living as a seller or recruiter, you’ll need to purchase one of their starter kits. The prices range from $25 to $165, depending on which kit you choose.

For those just starting out, the Standard Beginner Kit at $25 includes Stress Away 5ml, Burglars Mints, a brochure to help you discover your Young Living way of living, an AromaGlide Roller Fitment, 2 NingXia Red 2-oz samples, 10 Burglars Waterless Hand Purifier Sachets (0.1 oz each), and a Necessary Oils At A Look guide.

If you’re looking for more products to sell, the Starter Kit at $165 includes a Desert Haze Diffuser, Peppermint Oil 5ml, Frankincense Oil 5ml, DiGize 5ml, Valiance 5ml, 10 Burglars Waterless Hand Cleanser Sachets (0.1 oz each), a Product Guide and Product Price List, Member Resources, a Costs Crucial Oils Collection, Lemon 5ml, Burglars 5ml, PanAway 5ml, Burglars Spray, Essential Oils Publication, Lavender 5ml, Citrus Fresh 5ml, Raven 5ml, Stress Away 5ml, 2 AromaGlide Roller Fitments, and 2 NingXia Red 2-oz examples.

Once you have your Essential Incentives kit, you can start selling the actual essential oil products at wholesale prices and earn a commission on each sale. Additionally, you can start a multi-level downline and get paid for each sale made by one of your distributors.

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Is Young Living a Scam?

Legally speaking, Young Living is not a scam. But, can you actually make money selling Young Living products? Well, the truth is that the majority of Young Living representatives do not earn any money. However, there are a few people who do make money, but it takes a lot of effort and hard work. The main way they earn a lot of money is by aggressively recruiting new members.

It’s worth mentioning that Young Living has made some disingenuous and irresponsible marketing claims in the past to recruit new members. Because of this, some people do consider Young Living to be a scam.

Overall, while Young Living is not technically a scam, it’s important to do your own research and make informed decisions before joining any MLM company.

Reasons Why I Don’t Recommend Joining Young Living

Biased Reviews from Affiliates

Most of the positive reviews of Young Living are written by affiliates who will receive a commission if you join via their links. Their words may be biased and not entirely trustworthy. It’s better to read reviews written by non-affiliates to get a more unbiased view.

Difficult to Make Money

Success is hard to achieve with an MLM company like Young Living. Most MLM members lose money, and they are required to meet sales quotas in order to remain eligible for commissions. Many people lose a significant amount of money before even recruiting one person into the company.

False Claims of Investment

Young Living uplines often frame financial losses as ‘investments’ in their business to keep their reps in the MLM scheme. The reality is that these are not investments, and it’s unlikely that you will get your money back.

Cult-like Company Culture

MLMs like Young Living have a cult-like company culture. Critical thinking is discouraged, and MLM representatives are isolated when they ask questions that deviate from the company’s mindset. Those who leave the MLM are labeled as failures or bad influences, and reps are not allowed to contact them. MLMs expect their reps to prioritize their events and business over their personal lives, which can lead to isolation from family and friends.

You May Need to Purchase Products Yourself

If you don’t have a large network of friends, family, neighbors, and so on, you may have to buy Young Living products yourself each month, which can be a losing proposition.

Overpriced Products

Young Living products are overpriced compared to other brands that offer similar products at lower prices. It can be challenging to sell Young Living products because your prospects can buy the same product elsewhere at a much cheaper price.

Bad Reputation

Young Living’s MLM business model has a bad reputation because the distribution of commissions is skewed toward the top. The majority of those in the top tier make the most money, while those at the bottom will not even break even after a few months.

Exaggerated Claims of Income

Young Living makes exaggerated income claims, but in reality, very few people make a good living by promoting Young Living. Less than 41% of its distributors are active, and over 99% of Young Living distributors never make a profit.

Recruiting is Required to Succeed

Eight out of ten ways to earn money with Young Living require recruiting. If you don’t recruit, you’re likely to lose money.

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Pros and Cons of Joining Young Living


  • Young Living has a long-standing reputation as a successful business.
  • Their essential oils have a large and dedicated following, making it easier to sell products.


  • The company has faced several lawsuits and FDA warnings in the past, which may concern potential members.
  • Young Living’s products can be expensive, and some customers have reported poor customer service experiences.
  • Some users have given negative feedback on the effectiveness of the products.
  • Young Living’s business model heavily emphasizes recruiting new members, which may not be for everyone.

Ultimately, the decision to join Young Living is a personal one, and depends on your individual goals and priorities. It’s important to carefully research the company and its products, and to consider the potential benefits and drawbacks before making a commitment.

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Final Verdict

If you’re thinking about joining Young Living to earn some extra cash, I have some advice for you: don’t. It’s not worth the time or effort.

The biggest hurdle you’ll face when trying to make money with Young Living is finding people to join your team. You’ll be pressured to recruit friends and family members, which can be awkward and uncomfortable. Even if you manage to build a decent downline, the odds are against you – according to a study by the FTC, 99% of MLM participants break even or lose money.

But don’t worry, there are better ways to make money online. If you want to be your own boss and have the freedom to promote whatever products you choose, consider starting your own online business. It’s easier than you might think, and it’s a sustainable way to earn passive income.

In the next section, I’ll share my own experience building an online business from scratch. It’s been a game-changer for me, allowing me to quit my day job and work from anywhere in the world. And the best part? It’s 100% legit and sustainable, with no pressure to recruit or buy unnecessary business materials. Stay tuned!

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Is There a Better Way to Make Money Online?

If you’re just starting out with your online business journey, you might be wondering which programme to use. Well, I’m here to tell you that Young Living might not be the best option for you. Instead, I highly recommend trying out Wealthy Affiliate.

Wealthy Affiliate is an all-in-one platform designed for building your affiliate marketing business from scratch. Once you join, you’ll have access to top-notch web hosting, keyword research tools, community support, comprehensive training, writing tools, and other software to help you build an online business step-by-step.

The best part? You can register for a free account with Wealthy Affiliate and start your affiliate marketing journey without spending a dime. If you end up liking the platform, you can then upgrade to the premium membership to access everything on the platform without any upsells later on.

Now, you might be wondering how much money you can actually make with Wealthy Affiliate. Well, let me tell you about a 21-year old student who was able to earn an impressive $7,395 in just one week! That’s more than $1k a day, all by applying the skills taught inside Wealthy Affiliate.

You can read our full review of Wealthy Affiliate here.

Wealthy Affiliate Testimonial

Compared to other programmes like Authority Hacker, Wealthy Affiliate has a much longer history and has been established for 15 years with many success stories in the past decade. In fact, Wealthy Affiliate has over a million members to date, so you can see just how popular and successful this platform is.

So, if you’re ready to get started with Wealthy Affiliate, the pricing is straightforward. You can sign up for a free starter membership with no credit card required, and 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 of this without paying a penny.

If you’re serious about starting your online business journey, I highly recommend giving Wealthy Affiliate a try. Register for a free account and see for yourself!

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