Is Young Living A Pyramid Scheme? Here're The 10+ Facts You Need To Know

Is Young Living A Pyramid Scheme? Here’re The 10+ Facts You Need To Know

Holla Holla ~ Zac Phua here, the owner of Life Goal Finisher, and I welcome you to my unbiased Young Living review!

You’re most likely come across the Young Living compensation plan introduced by their MLMers, and it seems lucrative to you.

However, whenever a thing sounds too good to be true, it often leads to a tragic ending.

I guess that’s why you want to do your due diligence to research the company background before joining their MLM program to avoid making a regretful decision, am I right?

If so, you’re in the right place! And that’s the exact way to avoid scams and find a legitimate way to make money from home!

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

I spent over 10 hours writing this review based on my research and information available on Google. So you don’t need to.

That said, any recommendation and conclusions are only opinions and may not apply to all persons or situations.

Without further ado, let’s get started!

Table of Contents

Company Overview

Is Young Living A Pyramid Scheme - Young Living Logo

Company Name: Young Living

Business Niche: Essential Oils MLM Company

Startup Cost: $40~$160 one-time fee + Hundreds of dollars monthly recurring fee

Founder: D. Gary Young & Mary Young


Direct Competitors: Melaleuca, Total Life Changes, DoTERRA


1) Well-Established Company
2) High Public Interest
3) Product Quality Is Guaranteed

1) Low Income Potential
2) Pyramid Scheme Lawsuits

Overall SCAM Rating: 10/100 (Legit MLM)

Recommended: Not Really

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What Is Young Living?

Based in Utah, United States, Young Living is a billion-dollar Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) company founded by a husband and wife team – D. Gary Young and Mary Young in 1993.
This MLM company belongs to the health and wellness niche that focuses on manufacturing the most authentic Essential Oils.
The only way you can get their products is by buying through their Independent Business Owner (IBO), a.k.a their associates.

Young Living Product Line

Young Living Essential Oils
Young Living Essential Oils
Even though Young Living has a wide range of products that include healthy food & beverage and personal care products, their flagship products remain their 100% pure essential oils.
The Essential Oils on the market are categorized into 3 different grades.

1) Perfume Grade

Synthetic Essential Oils made up of 100% humanmade chemicals to mimic the aroma of pure Essential Oils. There are no therapeutic benefits to the body.

2) Food Grade

Essential Oils that fall in this category are contained synthetics, pesticides, fertilizers, chemical/synthetic extenders, or carrier oils. They’re low-cost Essential Oils as they only have 50% pureness.

3) 100% Authentic Grade

As the name said, they are 100% made from organically grown plants. They’re definitely more expensive, but they’ve got many therapeutic benefits to our body, and natural Essential Oils will never expire.


Literally, Young Living’s Essential Oils are all classified as 100% authentic grade that is genuine, free of synthetic chemicals, and pure. 
The ones with a lavender, orange, and peppermint aroma are the most popular among their Essential Oils.

Customer Reviews On Young Living

Customer reviews on Young Living, as seen on BBB and Trustpilot.

As you can see from the figure above, Young Living has mixed reviews, and their reputation is not that great.

After briefly going through the recent reviews filed on both platforms, I found that most of the negative reviews focus on 3 areas:

  • Bad customer services
  • Long Shipping Time
  • Overpriced products

Somehow, these 3 areas seem to be co-related.

Many people complained that they couldn’t get immediate support from Young Living whenever they’re asking for a refund, or their orders haven’t been processed after a long time.

There aren’t many customers complaining about their products. 

Not sure about you, but I think it’s great as this can prove that the quality of products is guaranteed. But they might be pricey for some people.

How Do You Join Young Living & Make Money?

The figure below shows you the simplified process of how you can join an MLM company and make money out of it.

How you can make money with MLM

By sticking to the step-by-step process above, let me illustrate further how you can actually join Young Living’s MLM program and start earning commissions.

1) Paying The Joining Fee

To be an associate of Young Living, what they called Independent Business Owner (IBO), you’ll need to buy their started kit that ranges in price from $40 to $160.

The primary difference between the various Starter Kits offered is the range of products bundled in each kit and the $20 recruitment commission payable when a Premium Starter Kit is purchased.

Please note, you also have to pay extra hundreds of dollars every month to stay active.

2) Ways To Earn Commissions

Don’t be fooled by the title above…

For some reason, most MLM companies have very sophisticated compensation plans. Making it looks like there’re numerous ways to earn decent commissions.

Young Living has no different here…

Hence, there’s no point in going into every detail of the Young Living’s compensation plan, as that’ll definitely bore you.

For your better understanding, I’ll only briefly explain the 5 main ways you can make money with the company.

i. Retail Commission

You will get a 24% commission whenever you make sales by selling products to a retail customer (non-associate).

ii. Recruitment Commissions

Whenever your downline signs up with Young Living MLM program by purchasing the Premium Starter Kit that priced $160, you get $25 in commission.

iii. Fast Start Bonus

You can earn a 25% commission on your new, personally recruited downline’s product order for the first 3 months, up to $200 each.

When your first level downline recruits a new member, you earn a 10% commission from the new second-level downline’s order for the same time period, up to $80 each.

iv) Unilevel Commissions

This commission is paid out using a unilevel compensation structure, as shown in the figure below.

Unilevel Compensation Structure
The figure above only shown until the second level, but the unilevel structure in real life can be up to 7 levels deep.
How much unilevel commission you can earn depends on your ranking on the Young Living MLM leaderboard.
There’re 10 different ranking levels in Young Living. The higher you ranked, the more commissions you’ll be eligible to earn.
v) Other Bonuses

You get extra bonuses when you hit certain goals in Young Living.

3) Leverage Your Downline Team

Recruiting downlines who can help you to branch out your circle and maximize your earning potential is the ideal way to succeed in any MLM program.

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

If you think that this is unethical because it sounds like a pyramid scheme, you’re not alone, fella…

Indeed, MLM falls in the grey area between direct selling and pyramid scheme. I guess that’s why MLM often has a bad name in public.

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1) Well-Established Company

Young Living is in the business for almost 30 years (since 1993). There must be a reason for a company to stay that long.

In fact, Young Living has dominated the field for a very long time until another big player – doTERRA comes into play in 2008.

doTERRA is an Essential Oils MLM “heavyweight” that has experienced a similar growth pattern but at almost double the rate. 

2) High Public Interest

Nope…I am not talking about the interest rate of the company or any stock investment kind of stuff.

I am saying the data from the Google Trend shows public interest toward Young Living and Essential Oils from 2004 till the present time.

And here’re the results that I obtained:

Researching public interest toward Young Living using Google Trend
Researching public interest in Essential Oils using Google Trend
Apparently, the public interest toward Young Living and Essential Oils is increasing exponentially from 2004 until today.
I believe this is a good sign for IBOs as this means that there’s still a high demand for the products in the market, and it might be an easy sell for them.

3) Product Quality Is Guaranteed

Young Living has global farms worldwide, including North America, South America, Asia, Europe, and Australia.

Many competitors out there don’t even have their own farms, simply because they’re manufacturing synthetic Essential Oils without containing natural plant essences.

By having their own farms, Young Living can maintain a high standard of quality control on their products from time to time.

Young Living Lavender Farm
Young Living's Lavender Farm


1) As Always…Low Income Potential

The reason why I say “as always” is because if you read my other MLM company reviews, you will notice one thing:

Every one of them has MEAGER EARNING POTENTIAL. That said, the success rate is rare in the MLM industry.

Let’s take a look at Young Living 2019 income disclosure below.

Young Living 2019 Income Disclosure

To save you minutes on understanding the table, let me tells you “the core highlight” of it in a few sentences:

In 2019, Young Living had 3 million IBOs worldwide. 99.6% of IBOs are making less than $10,000 in 2019, with far majority of them only earn $3.

For sure, there’re still have people getting massive success with Young Living. 

But when some simple calculations applied here:

100% – 99.6% = 0.4%

3,000,000 x 0.4% = 12,000

We can see that, among those 3,000,000 distributors, only 12,000 are making enough money in 2019. And I am sure those are folks who joined the program 10 or even 20 years earlier than you.

2) Pyramid Scheme Lawsuits

According to, a class-action lawsuit was filed in April 2019 against Young Living. 

Here’re some of the key points described in the 30+ pages lawsuit:

  • Young Living is alleged to be designated as a Pyramid Scheme by having a complex compensation structure that focused on recruitment.
  • IBOs are Young Living “biggest customer base”, which means that the IBOs spend more than they sell.
  • Over 96% of Young Living’s IBOs ended up losing money.

If you’re familiar with MLM, you’ll know that such pyramid scheme lawsuits are quite normal in the industry.

MLM is legit but unethical. That’s why I said it has a terrible reputation in public. Most people just hate it.

So, Is Young Living A Pyramid Scheme?

Don’t you dare lie to me GIF

Now to the most crucial verdict: Is Young Living A Pyramid Scheme.

Technically no, they aren’t a scam, nor a Pyramid Scheme.

Unlike Pyramid Scheme that only allows someone to make money through recruiting, a legit MLM will have actual products for their members to sell for retail profits while enabling them to make recruitments at the same time.

Obviously, Young Living has these 2 important elements in place. They have great retail products. Whilst, they also list out every detail of their compensation plan for your reference.

I recommend their products, but not their MLM opportunity because of the low success rate. I can’t introduce an opportunity that most people lose money, isn’t it?

Even if I say so, the choice is still yours. 

I am just here trying my very best to give you an unbiased review of the company as a third party, and you’re the one who decides whether that business opportunity is worth your time and money or not.

I hope I am authentic enough throughout this review, and I also hope that it can provide you values by keeping you fully informed about the company.

You Deserve A Better Opportunity

Kudos to you! You’ve just read 2200+ 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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6 thoughts on “Is Young Living A Pyramid Scheme? Here’re The 10+ Facts You Need To Know”

  1. Hi, thank you for sharing such a great and well-researched article about Young living opportunities to create an online income. I was quite shocked by the number of 96% of people who end up costing money after choosing to give MLM ago. 

    I would expect the numbers of people losing money through MLM would me much, but 96% is insane. Even though it is legit, as you mentioned it doesn’t sound very ethical though. You pretty much should sell it with a disclaimer that the change the investment is going to cost you money is 96%, not sure how many people would still try?

    Thank you for doing this thorough review for us, I appreciate it a lot and I am sure many others do too.

    Ps, I have joined a MLM years ago, and it has cost me a lot of money too. Since December I have joined an educational platform called Wealthy Affiliate to build my online business with a niche I feel passionate about. 

    Like in any business, you have to put the hard work in, but I am excited for my journey ahead and never looked back starting this education and joining this amazing community with like-minded people.

    Have a great week.


    1. Wow, Jude, thanks for your honest comment! I am pretty sure other people will get values from your experience with MLM.

      I am also glad that you’re a member of Wealthy Affiliate, which is also my first choice when it comes to learning affiliate marketing!

  2. Hello there,For me, they are a definite pyramid scheme I have used them and I must say they are one of the worst and most unlawful. I don’t advice anyone to associate with them as they are the worst among all…thanks a lot for sharing this awesome article with us

  3. I have seen some promotional videos of this company that you have shared here and they have some really good rooduvts too because I am a very big fan of essential boils but I did not think that I was ever going to do the whole business thing at all. I’m really happy you can show how they actually use the networking strategy that looks like a pyramid to market their products.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Payton.

      Indeed, MLM is also not my first choice when it comes to making money from home.

      It’s not because it’s illegal or not profitable, but because of all the restrictions and the expensive costs involved.

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

      I already stated the benefits of it clearly in the article.

      If you’re interested in getting started with Affiliate Marketing, I suggest you give Wealthy Affiliate a try.

      To me, they’re the best learning platform for affiliate marketing.

      I hope this helps, peace.

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