Is Nu Skin A Pyramid Scheme? Real + Honest + Unbiased Review

Is Nu Skin A Pyramid Scheme? Real + Honest + Unbiased Review

“Is Nu Skin A Pyramid Scheme”

“Are Nu Skin Products Works?”

Such search terms about Nu Skin seems to be “in demand” in public.

I guess that you might be on the same boat with those people who hold a healthy dose of skepticism on Nu Skin, and desperately looking for a real, raw, and unbiased review of the company.

Hey, this is Zac Phua, the owner of Life Goal Finisher. No matter what reason that brings you here, I must thank you for clicking on this page and read my review on the company.

That’s the exact way to avoid scams and find a legitimate way to make money online!

Rest assured, I’m not an associate with Nu Skin (and I never will), so I won’t pitch you to buy any products or even join the company.

Without further ado, let’s get started!

Table of Contents

Company Overview

Is Nu Skin A Pyramid Scheme - Logo of Nu Skin

Company Name: Nu Skin

Business Niche: Skincare MLM Company

Startup Cost: $100~$1495+

Founders: Blake Roney & Sandie N. Tillotson


Direct Competitors: SomadermFarmasiSeacret Direct


1) Well-Established Company
2) High Public Interest

1) Over 98% of MLMers Aren’t Making A Dime
2) Products Might Not Work For You
3) Pyramid Scheme Lawsuit
4) Stockpiling
5) Commission Qualification
6) High Startup Cost
7) Exaggerated Income Claims

Overall SCAM Rating: 10/100 (Legit MLM)

Recommended: Not Really

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What Is Nu Skin?

Nu Skin is not new in the MLM industry. 
Founded since 1984 by Blake Roney and Sandie N. Tillotson, Nu Skin has grown to be a sensational billion-dollar MLM company that peddled skincare products. 
Since the date when they’re launched, they’ve expanded to more than 50 markets worldwide and have over 1 million independent distributors.
“Oh WOW, that’s impressive. But I never heard of them til days before.😂”, you might say. 
Well, that’s ok, you’ll get to know all facts about them in this article, including the untold ones.
Their general motto is that they’ll help you “achieve financial freedom and live your best life” or some generic American Dream-Esque tagline. My guess is this is how they hooked people into their MLM program.

Nu Skin Product Line

Nu Skin markets a wide variety of personal care products and dietary supplements, as shown in the figure below.

Nu Skin markets a wide variety of personal care products and dietary supplements.
Nu Skin markets a wide variety of personal care products and dietary supplements.

The figure only shows a small section of their catalog. There’s much more when you scroll down.

Due to a large number of products, I can’t list them out one by one. 

You can always explore their product catalog by clicking here.

Customer Reviews On Nu Skin


Customer Reviews on Nu Skin, as seen on Trustpilot.

Better Business Bureau (BBB)

Customer Reviews on Nu Skin, as seen on Better Business Bureau (BBB).

Consumer Affairs

Customer Reviews on Nu Skin, as seen on Consumer Affairs.

Facebook Reviews

Customer Reviews on Nu Skin, as seen on Facebook.
As you can see, Nu Skin’s reputation across the internet is not too bad. 
The majority of the commentators are leaving great reviews on the company, praising the quality of the products, and business opportunities provided by Nu Skin.
I’ve no intention to say these are fake as I have no proof to back my claims. 
However, I personally will always take these reviews with a grain of salt, especially when the company is tied to a pyramid selling scheme. 
It’s possible that a portion of the reviews aren’t genuine/organic because the commentators are affiliated with Nu Skin.

How To Join Nu Skin?

To be honest, I struggled to find the exact way to be part of their company on the website.

Upon further research, I’ve found an article that shows how to sign up to be part of the Nu Skin community step by step.

According to, You can join Nu Skin as an individual or a business entity. 

In the article, they stated that:

=> To join as an individual, you’ll need to place an initial order of at least $100

=> To join as a business entity, you’ll need to have a Federal EIN and a startup investment of $1,495This amount includes some products, training supplies, and everything you need to start a Nu Skin business.

Not sure about you, but I think that the price point might be a little bit high for me, and there’s no guarantee of success or something like the salaried position for this MLM program.
From the perspective of a beginner who runs on a tight budget, I don’t think I can afford it.

How To Make Money With Nu Skin?

Now comes the most exciting part: How do you make money with Nu Skin?
But it’s also the most complicated part. Do you know why? It’s because here’s when the Nu Skin’s insanely convoluted compensation plan starts to kick in.
The compensation plans of most MLM companies are sophisticated. Making it looks like there’re numerous ways to earn lucrative commissions. And Nu Skin has no different here.
I literally spent a couple of hours figuring out how they work and summarizing it for your better understanding.
All in all, here’s a graphic showing the entire process. And my explanation will stick to it.
How you can make money with MLM

1) Paying Joining Fee

Paying a joining fee or buy the enrolment package before you can be an associate of an MLM company is like a norm in the industry.

At Nu Skin, this is basically asking you to be a business entity that could cost you $1,495 or even higher, as I mentioned in the previous section.

2) Ways To Earn Commissions

Make money in MLM is actually a simple process IF we’re not talking about the different tiers/leaderboard rankings and any complex MLM stuff that could “crack your head into half”.

Nu Skin’s compensation is really complicated, and I don’t want to overwhelm you with those confusing terms that’ll surely bore you.

All you need to know is that a typical MLM will only require you to do 2 things to make money:

1) Sell the company’s products and earn retail profits.

2) Introduce this business opportunity to any other people, “recruit” them into the system, and train them to do the same.

The second one might hurt your nerve as it sounds like a pyramid scheme, am I right?

Indeed, multi-level marketing falls into the grey area between direct sales and pyramid schemes. 

Although the advertising model of MLM and the Ponzi Scheme is similar, the Ponzi Scheme is illegal.

The best way to differentiate the MLM and Ponzi Scheme is:-

MLM does provide their member with a real and legit product/service to sell and allow them to recruit new members at the same time. 

But Ponzi Scheme doesn’t have such a proper system.

The only way for someone to make money in the Ponzi Scheme is by recruiting more new members.

Hence, the Ponzi Scheme is scamming people’s hard-earned money.

You can watch the animated video below to learn more about how to spot a pyramid scheme.

3) Leverage Your Downline Team

The ideal way to succeed in MLM is to leverage your downline team that branch out your circle and maximize your earning potential.

Nobody within an MLM structure is making good money solely on selling the products. 

The high achievers in MLM often have downlines signed up in the layers below them.

I know this sounds unethical, but it’s an inevitable fact in MLM.

I believe this is the main reason why MLM often has a bad name in public. 

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1) Well-Established Company

Nu Skin is a well-respected publicly-traded company that has been in the business for over 35 years (since 1984).

There must be a reason for a company to stay that long in such a competitive industry, and I believe one of them is because of their excellent reputation in public.

They have a web page that records all of the awards and recognitions they have gotten in the past.

This can further prove the solid business foundation of the company.

Nu Skin's Awards and Recognitions.
Nu Skin's Awards and Recognitions.

2) High Public Interest

As I mentioned in the very beginning, Nu Skin is one of the MLM “heavyweights” when it comes to beauty and cosmetics niche.

After searching Nu Skin on Google Trend, like what I’ve already expected, the public interests toward the company are quite stable over the past five years, and the trend ever skyrocketed to an all-time high from 17~23 May 2020.

Checking public interests toward Nu Skin on Google Trend.


1) Over 98% of MLMers Aren’t Making Enough Money

Most Nu Skin distributors aren’t making enough money to cover their investment in the first year. This can easily tell in their 2019 income disclosure.

50 Income Disclosure p1
2019 Nu Skin Income Disclosure (Part 1)
2019 Nu Skin Income Disclosure (Part 2)
2019 Nu Skin Income Disclosure (Part 2)

Let me list the key points of the income disclosure.

(i) In 2019, the Company paid approximately $118,044,893 in sales compensation to Brand Affiliates residing in the United States. 

(ii) The Company had an average of 79,983 Active Brand Affiliates during 2019. 

(iii) An average of 17.85% of U.S. Active Brand Affiliates earned a sales compensation payment.

(iv) Simple math applied here, 100% – 17.85% = 82.15%. That means 82.15% of Nu Skin Affiliates earned no commission each month.

Additionally, I’ve checked how much is the USA minimum wage on Google, and the number I get is $1,256.70.

USA minimum wage
USA minimum wage
Looking at the average monthly compensation, we see that only the top 1.19% (Lapis Partner and higher) earn more than the minimum wage. 
These commissions don’t include the expenses yet, meaning that they aren’t pure profits earned by those distributors. So the percentage of people who make more than the minimum wage would be lower.
In other words, over 98% of Brand Affiliates aren’t make enough moeny.

2) Products Might Not Work For You

There’re quite a number of customers complaining Nu Skin products don’t work for them on the major reviewing platforms like Trustpilot and Consumer Affairs.

Here are some of the relevant reviews I captured on these platforms.

Customer complaining Nu Skin products don't work for them.
Customer complaining Nu Skin products don't work for them.
Customer complaining Nu Skin products don't work for them.

Thus, I reckon the results that people get from any personal care products or programs are all boils down to one main factor: the human factor.

Here’re 2 reasons why do I say so:

1) You can create the best beauty products in the world. But in the end, it’ll still have people not be able to get results simply because they were not disciplined enough to follow the given instruction;

2) Or, their bodies can’t get used to the products because it worked differently for them.

3) Pyramid Scheme Lawsuit

According to BBC News,  Nu Skin was fined $540k by China regulators in 2016 for didn’t fully disclose some business troubles in their China division, which then accused them of being a pyramid scheme.

Nu Skin Pyramid Scheme Lawsuit
Nu Skin Pyramid Scheme Lawsuit
The firm said that six of its employees in China were also fined $241,000 for “unauthorized promotional activities”.
Not sure about you, but this makes me wonder about the company’s business operation. 
Their set-up in China is nothing different from anywhere else in the world. Such a lawsuit can happen again anytime.

4) Stockpiling

This is something I really need you to avoid.

Nu Skin still requires their associates to purchase as many products as possible and then keep those inventory at their homes.

This way, they can then resell these products to retail customers.

To be honest, this is an outdated strategy.

If you need to stockpile your inventory, many people will run into the trouble of having “dead stocks”, which means extra products that you didn’t manage to sell.

What many companies are doing now is that all you need to do is ask your customers to order online, and the company will handle all the shipping/delivery stuff.

Some companies do provide the local pick-up to the customers so that they can collect their orders themselves.

All these will make associates’ lives a lot easier because they won’t keep any inventory, and there’s no “deadstock” issue.

5) Commission Qualification

Nu Skin state that:

“An Executive is required to meet monthly Executive Maintenance Requirements of minimum 100 PSV and minimum 2,000 GSV to maintain Executive position and receive the Executive bonuses.”

In layman terms, it might cost you extra hundreds of expenditures to stay active and get qualified to earn commissions.

6) High Startup Cost

$1000+ of joining fee is just the “surface stuff”.

This fee does not include other necessary expenditures like stockpiling and promotion campaigns that you need to promote the products and MLM opportunity.

If adding up all the fees, I believe it could easily go up to a couple of thousands of dollars in your first year with Nu Skin, which I don’t think many people could afford.

7) Exaggerated Income Claims

I’ve found a Nu Skin’s video promo on their business opportunity.

The short video below shows you “how promising” is Nu Skin’s MLM business opportunity.

In the video, they’ve made a lot of bold claims like:

  • “Nu Skin has the greatest compensation plan in the history of network marketing.”
  • “Nu Skin is making a new millionaire every six days.”
  • “In five years, you watch, every day, this compensation plan will generate a new millionaire.”
  • “You can earn $750k a year in two years with Nu Skin.”

This video was shot in 2014, and we’re in 2020 right now. Six years went by. Did they fulfill their big manifesto promises? Of course, NO! This can easily be proven with their income disclosure.

So, Is Nu Skin A Pyramid Scheme?

Don’t you dare lie to me GIF

Now to the most crucial verdict: Is Nu Skin A Pyramid Scheme?

My answer is Nu Skin is not a pyramid scheme, nor a scam.

If they’re a pyramid scheme, they should be shut down by FTC a long time ago, and they shouldn’t be on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).

Like I said earlier, a pyramid scheme doesn’t have a proper system that allows someone to sell products for retail profits and recruit new members for more commissions. 

But a Nu Skin does have these 2 essential components in place, they’ve award-winning products for you to sell, and they also list out every detail of their compensation plan for your reference.

Even though I claimed that they’re a legit MLM, it doesn’t mean they’re the best business opportunity to recommend to anyone.

You might know that only 2 types of people who could get the most benefits in MLM, viz:

  • The founder who created the MLM program.
  • The TOPPs (Top-of-pyramid) who joined the program way earlier than you.

Considering Nu Skin is an MLM company that already in the business for more than 35 years, it’ll be very challenging to earn a stable income with their MLM program because of 2 main reasons:

  • We aren’t the founders.
  • We aren’t the TOPPs, but BOPPs (Bottom-of-pyramid).

Even if I say so, the choice is still yours. There’s no right or wrong answer for choosing which business you want to get involved.

But, it’s better for you if you can do planning and calculation in advance to see if the business is worth your time and money or not.

You Deserve A Better Opportunity

Kudos to you! You’ve just read 2400+ words and still counting. If you make it this far, I commend your commitment.

Meanwhile, I can also feel how serious you’re when it comes to finding a proper way to make money from home.

MLM is great. 

I am also not saying that people can’t make a decent living with MLM. But it often represents a tiny group of people who joined the program early.

That said, it’s challenging for people who’re BOPs (bottom-of-pyramid) to make some serious dough because they’re running out of people to “recruit”.

MLM Unilevel Compensation Structure

Instead, Affiliate Marketing is my top recommended business model for anyone to make money from home.

The reason is simple…

Advantage 1: No Recruitment Needed

  • You don’t need to “chase” after people and talk them into MLM opportunity where most people lose money.

Advantage 2: Freedom of Choice

  • You can promote any products you love and not be restricted only to promote the products from one MLM company.

Advantage 3: Low Startup Cost

  • Unlike MLM, where you’ll need to pay a pricy introductory fee to join, it takes little to no startup cost to kickstart your entrepreneurial journey in Affiliate Marketing.

You might think I’m biased, but I’m just telling the truths…

If you are sick and tired of MLM and “Biz Opp” Scams, click the “Learn More” button to discover my top recommended learning platform that can help you turn your passion into profits with Affiliate Marketing!

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Zac Phua

Zac Phua

Phua is an internet business enthusiast who loves to talk about online business ideas, affiliate marketing tools, tips, and other sources of income available on the internet. He launched and use it as a resource center where he can share his thoughts and experiences to benefit any newbie who wants to learn more about internet marketing.

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8 thoughts on “Is Nu Skin A Pyramid Scheme? Real + Honest + Unbiased Review”

  1. Thank you for the detailed review about Nu Skin products.I love keeping my skin healthy and glowing, and as such am regularly on the lookout for skin enhancing products. I favour more natural ways to achieve this that have no negative side effects. With this review I can now decide whether Nu Skin products will work for me as a buyer or not.

  2. Thank you so much for this article. I have been a member of WA for just under 3 months now and am always looking out for ways to make money online. However, I know there are a lot of online scams circling like vultures. I haven’t heard of Nu Skin, until now but I thank you for making me aware of all the pros and cons. 

    1. It’s my pleasure to be able to provide you values with my content, my friend! 

      I am glad to hear that you’re part of Wealthy Affiliate, which is also my #1 recommendation for any newbies who want to make money online.

      I believe with all the top-notch tools and resources provided by WA, your success rate will be tripled as you don’t need to go through unnecessary trials and errors.

      Sending my best wishes to your future success, my friend! Let’s meet together at the TOP!

  3. Well, these are just another one of those MLM platforms that in my opinion are pyramid schemes with a product to cover the real deal because at the end of the day,the real money comes not from selling the products but from recruiting other be be a member. The compensation plan is also just another hoax. Just like you,I don’t think I’d recommend this one either.

    1. I might not 100% agree with your points, Payton.

      MLM and pyramid scheme are 2 different models.

      Nu Skin might be emphasizing on recruitment, but they do have products for distributors to sell, that’s why I think they’re legit.

      When it comes to reviewing an MLM company, I will always be very objective and give unbiased judgment on it.

  4. Hmm, I have read mixed reviews concerning Nu Skin. 

    And your post has confirmed several of the concerns I already had about this company. Yes, I had read about the Pyramid Scheme Lawsuit and I had also read about the high percentage of MLMers that aren’t earning money. But I hadn’t considered that above all these things, products might not work.

    I’ll keep away from these guys.

    1. I agreed with what you’ve said, Ann.

      Indeed, although Nu Skin is not a scam, their earning potential is way too low. That’s why I don’t think it’s a great opportunity.

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