Is Beautycounter an MLM – An Expert Analysis

By Netbooks Review

Last updated Jan 31, 2022

If you’ve been in the direct sales industry long enough, you know all about network marketing. If you are new to the industry or have no idea what an MLM or direct sales is, don’t panic!

By the time you are finished reading this extensive review of Beautycounter, you will know how it works, whether it’s a scam or not, and how to get started.

Let’s dive right in.

Beautycounter MLM: Overview

Based out of California, Beautycounter is a skincare and makeup company. It was founded in 2013 by Gregg Renfrew who continues to head operations.

Opened with the goal of providing safe and natural skincare and makeup goods, Beautycounter claims to sell clean products that are formulated without over 1,800 common ingredients that are allowed in the US but banned in Europe.

Alongside selling products, they promise another profit-making opportunity to make money.

How so? Beautycounter operates through a direct retail strategy where products are sold through independent sellers known as Beautycounter consultants.

The brand offers the following products:

  • Men’s skincare
  • Bath and body
  • Skincare
  • Makeup

So far, so good. Well, the brand also rewards consultants for recruiting more members to the business.

Who is Gregg Renfrew?

who is Gregg Renfrew?

Gregg Renfrew says she was inspired to create cleaner, less damaging products after watching the movie “An Inconvenient Truth.” Later, in 2011, she discovered that only thirty ingredients are banned in personal care products in the US while the EU has banned over 1,400 chemicals.

She also has a history of advocating for sustainability and a cleaner environment.

 

Gregg Renfrew net worth

What’s Gregg Renfrew’s net worth? We don’t know, there isn’t much information about it on the web, but noting the $1 billion valuation of Beautycounter — the company she founded ten years ago — you won’t be surprised if she’s a billionaire.

You might not know Gregg Renfrew’s name, but you’ve probably seen her products. 

Renfrew is one of few women in the cosmetics industry advocating for safer ingredients, and she is pretty much responsible for bringing the chemical industry’s underhanded ingredient-hiding techniques into the spotlight.

However, it’s not just the safer ingredients that make Beautycounter products so good—it’s also the fun, colorful packaging, making the brand feel almost too good to be true. 

Her passion for making beauty products safer for customers led Beautycounter to grow to a nearly $1 billion company in just 10 years.

 

How can you make money through Beautycounter?

There are two methods through which consultants can make money with the brand.

  • Sell Beautycounter products
  • Recruit new consultants to the brand and earn a commission for each recruitment

At the Beautycounter MLM, recruitment is emphasized more than selling products while its advertising strategy seems to revolve around throwing shade at its competitors for not opting for clean ingredients.

Products are sold exclusively through consultants – this tends to give customers a feeling of exclusivity and is a strong marketing strategy.

The intimate model of selling makes a customer feel they are special and this positive interaction can cause them to continue purchasing Beautycounter products.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Beatycounter aims to provide better and less damaging skin care products. 
  • They have a solid marketing strategy

Cons

  • It’s very difficult to make a full-time income with an MLM like Beautycounter
  • Most of their consultants make less than $50 a month.
  • You’ll have to spend a lot of time and money to make a living out of this business model
  • There isn’t enough information about their compensation plan

What is the cost of joining Beautycounter MLM?

Membership costs double at $98 a month and you will have to purchase your initial inventory.

Can you make money with Beautycounter MLM?

make money beautycounter

The fundamental flaw of Beautycounter MLM is the fact that the majority of members don’t make any money.

Gregg Renfrew, founder and CEO of Beautycounter said that her brand opted for a direct sales strategy in order to empower and create more economic opportunities for women.

However, a closer look at the 2019 income disclosure statement showed that while 10% of all consultants made big bucks, around 82% of consultants made a mere $45 every month. It also meant that 82% of the brand’s consultants wallowed in the lowest ranks.

This amounts to about $552 a year.

The top 25% of consultants in this rank raked in $138 while the bottom 25% made nothing in commissions.

The brand itself has, on multiple occasions, has said that its consultancy program isn’t about making a profit but rather about lobbying for change and creating awareness on the harmful effects of chemicals in skincare and makeup products.

However, read through the website and the same brand refers to its consultancy side of things as a business! Ironic.

These thoughts have not stopped Beautycounter nor its consultants from making outlandish claims in order to lure in new recruitment to the company.

An investigation by TINA.org found over 100 instances of the brand and its consultants lying about the income one can expect.

There is an instance by the Beautycounter founder herself where the brand’s consultancy business was advertised as its biggest and greatest product, noting that it had the ability to replace any income you lost due to the pandemic.

working in pandemic

And you have to keep selling products to remain an active consultant. If you are finding it difficult and are at the end of your six months, you may be coerced into buying products themselves.

This puts you in a paradox where you are buying to make money.

Is Beautycounter a Pyramid Scheme?

In the traditional sense? No.

Since it is possible for consultants to make money through commissions selling products, it is not an outright pyramid scheme. Technically, a pyramid scheme does not sell anything of value – this is why they are illegal in almost every country.

But there are many MLM companies that sell legitimate products and services. Others sell products just so they do not look like a pyramid scheme. In reality, distributors are able to make good money only by recruiting more people to the business.

And since Beautycounter representatives are paid for both recruitment of new members as well as for selling the brand’s products, it is clear that Beautycounter is not a pyramid scheme.

A better question to ask would be…

Is Beautycounter an MLM in disguise?

Even if you look at Beautycounter’s income disclosure, things look shady at first glance. Close to 10% of their active consultants make in excess of $13,500 a month. This is certainly an impressive figure.

However, keep reading and things get a lot less enticing.

For starters, all consultants must sell $1,200 worth of Beautycounter products if they are to remain as “active consultants.”

Moreover, it seems like Beautycounter’s main objective is to keep increasing member recruitment. Consultants are always urged to pay more attention to recruitment rather than selling products.

This puts the brand in a bad position and leads many to assume or designate it as an MLM in disguise.

Experts on the subject generally recommend staying away from businesses like this, regardless of how legitimate they can seem. A company that opens with a pyramid scheme-like strategy is sure to crash down the line.

Final Thoughts: Should you join the Beautycounter MLM?

My question is why would you want to join a company that claims to help you make a lot of money although its own datasheets prove the majority of consultants don’t even make minimum wage?

This approximately $46 you would make a month is hardly worth all the effort. You have to order products, recruit members, find more people to sell them to, travel for marketing purposes and spend money on shipping.

If you are looking for some extra cash flow, it is better to look for something more realistic and proven. You can start your own online business with just a few dollars and never spend one cent again on this type of scheme. Here you have a few options worth checking out.

Hope this review was helpful. If you have any questions about the Beautycounter MLM, or if you know someone who might find them useful, share them in the comment section!

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