Is Beautycounter a Pyramid Scheme? – Can You Make Money Selling Skincare and Cosmetic Products? [Honest Review]

Hey, there, and welcome to my other blog post! If you’re on this page, most probably somebody has approached you and invited you to join Beautycounter’s business opportunity. Is this a good opportunity for you, or Is Beautycounter a Pyramid Scheme?

These will be the main questions I will answer in this post. I have made extensive research on Beautycounter company and have gathered all of the details in one single post so you don’t need to endlessly browse the internet trying to get all the pieces of the puzzle together. 

So, without further ado, let’s begin this Beautycounter review right now!


Beautycounter Overview Is Beautycounter a Pyramid Scheme? - The Logo

Full Name: Beautycounter

Type: MLM Business Opportunity

Website: https://www.beautycounter.com/

Founder: Gregg Renfrew

Year of Establishment: 2013

Price to Join: $50

Recommended? No


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What is Beautycounter?

Based in Santa Monica, California, United States, Beautycounter is a relatively new multi-level marketing company.

They are selling skincare and cosmetic products through their extensive network of independent consultants, and unlike many MLMs, they have also opened brick and mortar shops in Manhattan and Denver, Colorado.

It’s interesting that although the company was established in 2013, by 2018 they have managed to gather nearly 40 000 independent consultants.

Is this MLM is that good people are joining it like crazy? Read my review till the end and you’ll find out the answer in a matter of no time!


Who is the Founder?Is Beautycounter a Pyramid Scheme? - The Founder

Gregg Renfrew is an American businesswoman who has founded Beautycounter company.

Prior to the foundation of her own company, Gregg was involved in the development of several businesses.

In fact, business was what Renfrew did since college times, when she started a house cleaning company.

Later on, Gregg Renfrew co-founded a bridesmaid company, Elizabeth Gregg, and also, brought to the United States The Wedding List – a London-based bridal registry company.

She also launched a retail consulting practice and worked with some reputable companies such as J.Crew, Bergdorf Goodman, and Intermix. Renfrew also collaborated with Jessica Alba.

As a result, in 2018, Gregg Renfrew was named on Inc. Magazine’s Female Founders 100 list and was also included on Goldman Sach’s Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs list.


What is BeautyCounter’s Financial Situation?

Since its inception in 2013, Beautycounter relatively quickly came into profits. Already in 2015, they had $50 mln in revenue.

Afterward, in 2016, its revenue doubled, and in 2017, they have managed to increase their revenue by 125%.

In 2018, the growth wasn’t that tremendous but still, the good point is that it continued to grow, and constituted $325 mln. What wasn’t, unfortunately, the case for the year 2019, when Beautycounter’s revenue didn’t grow at all and remained at the level of the previous year.

 

Is Beautycounter a Pyramid Scheme? - Financial Situation

Even so, overall, Beautycounter’s financial situation is not that bad.

The worst I have seen since I’m reviewing MLMs on this website is at Zija International MLM.


What Are Beautycounter Products?

Beautycounter is a skincare and cosmetic company. As of 2018, they have developed 150 products for both men and women.

 

Is Beautycounter a Pyramid Scheme? - The Products

 

Their product categories are as follows:

  • Skincare
  • Makeup
  • Bath and Body
  • Gifts
  • Products Designed Specifically for Men (Shave and Beard, Skincare, Body, Regimens, and Collections, etc.)

Are Beautycounter Products Worth the Price?

Beautycounter works to create safer products for the skin that doesn’t contain harmful ingredients.

They even have put together a list of 1,800 potentially harmful ingredients that the company avoids using in its products, known as the “Never List.”

They are very transparent making it accessible on their official website to anyone interested.

 

Is Beautycounter a Pyramid Scheme? - The Never List

 

While this is a great thing, in essence, I wanted to have a look at what real customers who have actually tried Beautycounter products have to say about them.

After all, this is what matters the most, especially if you are looking to become a sales rep for Beautycounter.

Because, if your customers will be satisfied with their Beautycounter purchases, it means that there are better chances for you to build a successful Beautycounter business.

To be honest, taking into consideration that this company is pretty much popular these days and the fact that they do a lot to change things for the better in the skincare industry, I was surprised to see that customer satisfaction is so low.

According to ConsumerAffairs.com, Beautycounter gets only little over 2 stars out of 5, based on 53 ratings.

 

Is Beautycounter a Pyramid Scheme? - Rating on ConsumerAffairs.com

 

If you look at their official website, you’ll only find reviews of 4 and 5 stars. This looks really suspicious and I have a feeling that these reviews are fake.

Unfortunately, I haven’t found any form on their website where people could leave their honest reviews.

Besides that, there are several things that people complain about Beautycounter products. To name just a few: expensive products, bad customer service, delayed delivery, the abundance of packaging polluting the landfill, and the improper effect of the products.

Here is just one of the reviews I’ve found:

 

Is Beautycounter a Pyramid Scheme? - Improper Effect of the Products

 

If you dig deeper, you can find a lot of reviews of this kind. I understand that there’s unlikely a perfect company in this world.

But when it comes to products that affect your health, I believe instances like these are unacceptable.

This is one of the reasons why I’m hesitant of getting involved in the health and wellness industry, especially if it’s a company that applies an MLM business model.

These products work differently for different people and chances to get unsatisfied customers are high.

One more opinion I would like to bring in here and I think it worths attention, is of a person who says he/she is a pharmacist:

 

Is Beautycounter a Pyramid Scheme? - Pharmacist Opinion


How Much Does it Cost to Join Beautycounter?

MLM companies almost always require you to pay a sign-up fee for the right to join them and sell their products. Beautycounter is not an exception.

They have two options for you, two Starter kits you can choose from: the $50 digital kit or $98 enrollment kit.

Both of these include a personalized website, access to all the selling tools you need to get started, as well as a customized training platform where you are supposed to learn everything related to running a Beautycounter business.

 

Is Beautycounter a Pyramid Scheme? - Enrollment Kits

 

If you are observant enough, you may have noticed that this was just the Step #1. And your investment in Beautycounter business doesn’t stop here.

There is also Step #2, where you are required to purchase one of Beautycounter’s Starter sets. These Starter sets are priced between $285 and $715.

 

Is Beautycounter a Pyramid Scheme? - Purchase a Starter Set

 

Normally, the pricier the Starter set is, the more items it includes.

Of course, it’s only up to you which Starter set to choose but given the fact that this is a network marketing business, it implies that you’ll have to deal a lot with people whom you’ll want to inspire to try out Beautycounter products.

That’s why it’s essential that you get to know very well all the products, maybe even try them yourself so that you know which product to recommend to your customers.

So, either upon signing up with Beautycounter or later on, be prepared to spend that money on products. Otherwise, how could you become the best consultant for your customers? And if you don’t do that, don’t expect good sales and earnings.

According to Beautycounter’s Income Disclosure Statement for 2019, on average, new Consultants spent $440 at the time of enrollment.


How to Make Money With Beautycounter?

To see how Beautycounter consultants are supposed to make money, it helps a lot to have a look at Beautycounter’s Compensation Plan.

Being fitted into one single page, Beautycounter’s Compensation Plan is one of the most concise compensation plans I’ve ever seen. Like with any other MLMs, there are several ways in which you can make money with Beautycounter:

#1. Retail Commissions

These are paid based on PV (personal volume) from Client (25%) and Member (25%) sales. The more sales you can make, the bigger commissions you’ll earn. 

#2. Personal Sales Bonus

If you manage to generate a certain amount of sales, you’re then eligible to earn a Personal Sales Bonus.

The PV required and the amount you can earn are shown below: 

 

Is Beautycounter a Pyramid Scheme? - Personal Sales Bonus

 

#3. Override Commissions

When you start to invite people to join Beautycounter and build a business with them, you are then eligible to earn override commissions. In other words, these are the commissions you can earn from your downline.

Any product your downline order will count as your Business Volume (BV). Also, the amount of commission you can earn will depend on your rank in the Beautycounter system. 

The override commissions and qualifications at each rank are shown below:

 

Is Beautycounter a Pyramid Scheme? - Override Commissions

 

When you sign on as a new consultant, you can earn a 5% override on any orders placed by other consultants you have personally sponsored. It’s important to note here that the commission is paid on the so-called Commissionable Value (CV), which is 75% of PV.

So when they say 5%, you are actually ending up with only 3.75%. This makes the compensation plan a little bit confusing. I’m not sure why they have done this, but it looks like an attempt to make the Beautycounter compensation look better than it really is.

Even after the switch from PV to CV, you can still earn quite a bit of commission once you reach the Director ranks in Beautycounter. While this all looks very generous, to me it is a red flag.

All these commissions are included in the price charged by Beautycounter to consultants. This means that is you are a new consultant, then 22.75% of what you pay to Beautycounter, goes to your upline as commission.

#4. Frontline Business Builder Bonus

If you manage to reach the rank of ‘Director’ with Beautycounter, then you will qualify to earn this additional commission, as shown below:

 

Is Beautycounter a Pyramid Scheme? - Frontline Business Builder Bonus

 

If someone in your downline reaches the level of director, then you no longer will get standard overrides from them. Instead, they become a so-called “generation”, and you earn a flat override from their entire downline volume.

If someone in their downline becomes a director, this becomes your 2nd generation and so on. Director generation overrides are paid on up to 4 generations.

Once again, the amount paid is based on CV, so when they say 3%, it’s actually 2.25% of PV. Even so, these commissions can still add up to an extra 9% in trailing commissions. This means that for new consultants 31.75% of what you pay to Beautycounter, goes to your upline as commission.


Does Beautycounter Allow You to Use the Internet to Build Your Business?

In short, yes, they do.

As I have already mentioned earlier, upon registration, you pay a sign-up fee that covers your own personalized website, which you can further use to drive attention to your Beautycounter business through email or social media.

But let me tell you here one thing. This personalized website does not really reflect your real personality.

Let’s face it, who would set and create for you a website that is unique to you? Could Beautycounter do that for its nearly 40 000 consultants? The answer is obvious.

These so-called “personalized” websites are created automatically, and the only thing that differs, let’s say, Mathew’s website from John’s is a little snippet of code that you can see in your browser. And that’s basically it. While visually, these websites look just the same.

Now, I want you to think about how your website is going to stand out from the rest of Beautycounter consultants who’ve signed up before you? Why people should purchase from you, and not from Mathew or John?

They try to get you excited about the opportunity of having your own website that sells cosmetic products but in reality, these websites don’t sell themselves on their own.

You’ll need to constantly drive traffic to your website, either manually, or through paid advertisements (that could cost you an arm and a leg if you don’t know how to do it right).

And if you want to create your own website yourself, you are prohibited to do that, according to Beautycounter’s Policies and Procedures:

 

Is Beautycounter a Pyramid Scheme? - Prohibition to Create Your Own Website

 

I don’t know why they don’t want you to promote their products through a source other than their own system.

To me, that is a limitation that could possibly lead to more contacts, more sales, and more revenue.


Is Beautycounter Legitimate?

Even though MLMs closely resemble pyramid schemes, they are not illegal.

That is the case of Beautycounter too. As long as they have real products/services to sell, they remain a legitimate business. 

However, let’s not forget that being legal doesn’t make it ethical.

Now, that you know that less than 1% of people had a chance of generating a real income, will you feel comfortable recruiting new consultants?


How Much Money Can You Make With Beautycounter?

Or, do Beautycounter consultants earn any money at all? If yes, how much are they making on what ranks?

To answer all of these questions, I took a look at Beautycounter’s Income Disclosure Statement for 2019 (thankfully, it was at least available because, from my experience, there are MLM companies that even do not disclose this type of information).

According to the document which is publicly available on their official website, the majority of Beautycounter consultants (82,2%) earned very little commission of $46 for the entire year 2019.

 

Is Beautycounter a Pyramid Scheme? - 2019 Income Disclosure Statement

Is Beautycounter a Pyramid Scheme? - 2019 Income Disclosure Statement

 

If you are observant enough, you can see that the higher is the rank, the more money is earned on those ranks.

Therefore, only the higher 3 levels are bringing a full-time income, and Beautycounter thus is another MLM company that confirms the trend in the MLM industry which says that less than 1% of people are managing to make money with network marketing business model. 


The Good and The Bad

PROs

#1. They Care About Creating Cleaner Products

Perhaps, one of the things that set Beautycounter apart from other cosmetic companies is that Beautycounter doesn’t use dangerous chemicals that can be harmful to the health of its consumers.

They lobby in Washington to get certain ingredients banned from conventional skincare/beauty products and are trying to increase regulation.

In 2019, Gregg Renfrew testified as an expert witness in a Congressional hearing on cosmetic reform:

 

 

Let’s face it, not a lot of companies can bluster that they use ingredients that aren’t toxic. You can check all the ingredients that have been banned by the company on their official website.

However, I have found different opinions over the internet which say that Beautycounter products aren’t the most natural out there. For example, here’s what a green beauty lover and wellness blogger, Davida, is saying in her Beautycounter review:

 

Is Beautycounter a Pyramid Scheme? - Not Chemical Free

 

#2. No Success Is Guaranteed

I find it positive that Beautycounter doesn’t guarantee you any level of success.

What you can or cannot achieve with Beautycounter depends solely on you, your efforts, your skills as a salesperson, the amount of work, and time you are ready to invest in this business. 

#3. The Selection of Products is Vast

Beautycounter’s product line includes pretty much everything you need to take good care of yourself no matter you are a man or woman.

So, it’s awesome that you can get all of that in one place for the whole family, especially for those who don’t like to spend a ton of time shopping. 


CONs

#1. Most People Failed to Build a Full-time Income

As we have already seen earlier in this post, only a small percentage of Beautycounter consultants are managing to make a full-time income, while the majority are earning pennies and therefore can’t rely on this source of income.

#2. Expensive Products

People are complaining, among other things, that Beautycounter products are expensive. These are priced between $20 and $120, depending on the product, and a set of products may cost a few hundreds of dollars. 

#3. The Requirement to Sell a Certain Amount of Products Within a Period of 6 Months or Pay to be Reinstituted

Although it’s not on a monthly basis like in many MLM companies out there, still, in order to keep your status as a Beautycounter consultant active, they require you to sell a certain amount within 6 months (1,200 in QV every 6 months) or pay to be reinstituted.


My Final Opinion About Beautycounter + A Better Alternative

To conclude all I have said in this post, I believe the problem is not that much about Beautycounter company, but about the business model, it applies.

And this problem is not unique to Beautycounter.

Many MLM companies require their representatives to purchase a minimum amount of products to maintain their status active.

Most of the time, people don’t even need that amount of products, and this way, they end up having full clipboards with products, just for the sake of achieving that time and financial freedom they were promised. 

Another issue is that MLM companies are often proud of the fact that they exclude the middleman from the business equation and that is why they are able to pay those commissions to their distributors.

But the pricing for their products is usually too high in comparison to their competitors on the market.

Therefore, the majority of people who join any of the MLMs out there are likely to rather lose money, than earn. That’s why I can’t recommend joining Beautycounter business opportunity.

If you’re open to other options, I’d suggest looking into blogging and affiliate marketing

It’s a proven path to passive income, without having to convince your friends and family to join your business opportunity. 

This is what I do and I simply love it for so many things! If you’d like to do the same but don’t know where to start, don’t worry as you have me right by your side ready to help you.

This entire website was created with you in mind to help you learn how to make passive income online and escape the 9 to 5 job if this is what you are eventually looking for. 

To be honest, it’s indeed difficult to figure it all out on your own, and you don’t have to!

There’s an awesome affiliate marketing training program I have followed where I learned everything I know today about online business.

Inside, you’ll find everything you need to build a profitable affiliate marketing business: 24/7 support from affiliate marketing veterans, a keyword research tool, an affiliate program research tool, and even website hosting is included.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this article, and now, you’ve got your answer to the question: Is Beautycounter a Pyramid Scheme?

If you have any more questions, please leave them in the comments sections down below. Or, if you have any thoughts you’d like to share, I’d love to hear from you!

Otherwise, I’ll talk to you within my next post very soon!

Best Wishes,

Natalie

Beautycounter MLM

$50
5.7

Product

8.0/10

Support

6.0/10

Opportunity

3.0/10

Pros

  • They Care About Creating Cleaner Products
  • No Success Is Guaranteed
  • The Selection of Products is Vast

Cons

  • Most People Failed to Build a Full-time Income
  • Expensive Products
  • The Requirement to Sell a Certain Amount of Products Within a Period of 6 Months or Pay to be Reinstituted

4 thoughts on “Is Beautycounter a Pyramid Scheme? – Can You Make Money Selling Skincare and Cosmetic Products? [Honest Review]”

  1. Awesome review of Beautycounter MLM company. After going through your review, I have got a lot of mixed thoughts about it.

    Sure, it’s not a pyramid scheme or anything illegal and there’s a chance to earn money.

    On the other hand, low success rates and expensive starter kits are a turnoff.

    In my opinion, these companies are the best for the owners. There are much better alternatives out there if you want to start your own business. Your #1 recommendation being one of them.

    Thanks for sharing this review!

    Reply
    • Hi, Ivan,

      Thank you for dropping by.

      Most of the time, MLMs operate under the law simply because they have real products/services to offer.

      But the problem is their business model which, if you put it on the paper, has a shape of a pyramid, where only the top of it is making a decent amount of money.

      Cheers,

      Natalie

      Reply
  2. Hi Natalie,

    Thanks for this article of Beautycounter, I think it’s comprehensive and useful. I like the way they try hard to keep the harmful ingredients out of their products, so the quality of the products is something we can expect.

    But for the business opportunity, I don’t think it’s as good as the product quality. We all know that the future of any business is on the internet, but they are not allowing all the associates to create their own websites to promote the products.

    The search engines don’t like the replicate websites in the same format, so using the same website won’t bring you much traffic in the long run. This probably explains the reason why less than 20% of its members make more than $46 in 2019, right?

    Anyway, your article does provide helpful information for me, and I think people will agree with me on this.

    Thanks for sharing,
    Matt

    Reply
  3. Hi Natalie,

    This is a very informative and insightful review. However, when I read that this is a Multi Level Marketing opportunity, it just gave me the chills. I have tried a few MLM opportunities and I have not had a good experience with any of them, and I have lost a lot of money through them. I’m not saying that this isn’t legit, but because of those experiences I have vowed to myself to not go anywhere near any MLM businesses again. Sorry for being so negative.

    It was really good to learn about this opportunity and I hope that the people who do try it out make a success of it. Thank you for sharing and keep up the great work.

    All the best,

    Tom

    Reply

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