Have you been looking into the Beautycounter opportunity? Maybe someone is trying to convince you to sign up? They are telling you it’s a great way to earn money in your spare time, right? But can you make money with Beautycounter?
I understand that it probably is really tempting to join because it seems like you can make a lot of money with them. But I’m glad you’re doing research before hopping on board. I’m going to show you exactly how Beautycounter works and I’ll tell you if you can make money with them or not.
Let’s dive right into it!
What is Beautycounter?
Beautycounter was founded in 2013 by Gregg Renfrew and is based out of California. Beautycounter’s mission is to “get safer products into the hands of everyone”, according to their website. The products that they sell include things like makeup, hair care, sun protection, and skincare.
You can purchase items directly online, through an independent distributor or in certain select retail stores. Because you can become an independent distributor and there’s a compensation plan (which we’ll talk about a little later), Beautycounter is a multi-level marketing (MLM) company.
Let’s take a look at some of the products and their costs and then we’ll compare to other beauty retailers.
- Lip Gloss (7 ML / .24 FL OZ) = $29
- Satin Powder Blush (4.25 G / .15 OZ) = $30
- Dew Skin Tinted Moisturizer (40 ML / 1.35 OZ) = $45
- Countersun Mineral Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30 (3.4 OZ) = $25
- Counterman Smoothing Shave Cream (133 ML / 4.5 FL OZ) = $20
So that gives you an idea of the prices.
Now let’s compare a couple of the prices with other retailers.
From my research (albeit limited), Badger is considered to be a clean sunscreen. It’s 2.4 OZ (slightly less than Beautycounter) and is only $17.99 on Amazon at the time of this writing. Plus free shipping if you have Prime.
This is a tinted moisturizer that’s 1.2 OZ called W3LL PEOPLE.
You can see that it’s $29.99 at the time of this posting. Beautycounter’s tinted moisturizer is a whopping $45!
That just gives you a couple of differences in prices. Keep in mind, if you’re thinking of joining as a distributor, you’re also going to be competing for cheaper alternatives like anything in Target.
These may not have clean ingredients, but most people care more about saving money. It’s just something to keep in mind.
How Much Does it Cost to Join Beautycounter?
In order to join Beautycounter as an independent consultant, you’ll need to purchase an enrollment kit for $98.
From there, you can purchase an optional product kit. While it’s not required, it will likely be highly recommended so that you can experience the products yourself and/or have samples for others to try.
The kits include:
- Sampling Starter Set = $100
- Skin-Care Basics = $325
- Skin-Care Best Sellers = $595
- Deluxe Skin-Care = $735
- Complete Counterman Collection = $132
There is also a $50 Business-Builder fee that you’ll be automatically charged every year on the anniversary of your sign-up date.
In order to get paid as a consultant, you will need to stay qualified. And you do that by bringing in 1200 in QV (Qualifying Volume) every six months. At least 250PV (Personal Volume) has to come from new retail customers or recruited affiliates.
I always like to point out other optional expenses that may come up.
These may include:
- Business cards
- Gas to go to and from home parties and meetings
- Food and drinks for home parties
- Travel expenses for corporate events
- Costs for renting a table or a booth at fairs, festivals and vendor events
- Additional products to have on hand to resell to customers or to use as samples
You’ll see in a little bit that the Income Disclosure shows how much consultants make before expenses. These are the types of expenses they’re referring to.
Beautycounter Compensation Plan
If you’ve been on my site at all, you know I really don’t like compensation plans. They’re confusing. I would venture a guess that most people in MLMs don’t understand the compensation plans they’re working towards.
I know I didn’t when I was in Young Living. There were so many twists and turns and bonuses and qualifications that it was nearly impossible to keep track of it.
Spoiler alert: I also don’t recommend ever joining an MLM, therefore, I don’t feel it’s necessary to understand the compensation plans.
With that being said, I like to make sure you have the information you need to make the best choices for you, so I like to link to other resources that can explain the compensation plans better than I can.
Here’s a video that goes over the basics:
(Please note this is from 2016 so some things may have changed since then.)
I also like to link to Behind MLM when possible because they do a great job of breaking down compensation plans.
Beautycounter Income Disclosure
The Beautycounter income disclosure is pretty straight forward. They mention that the income disclosure includes all consultants, even those that didn’t earn any sales in a given month.
There is a nice chart on the income disclosure page, but I’ll just give you each rank and the average monthly income for each and the percent of people at that rank.
- Consultant – $40 (82.2%)
- Senior Consultant – $336 (10.2%)
- Manager – $672 (2.8%)
- Senior Manager – $1,091 (1.7%)
- Director – $2,143 (1.9%)
- Senior Director – $4,382 (0.5%)
- Executive Director – $8,754 (0.4%)
- Managing Director – $24,371 (0.2%)
In the disclosure, there’s a note that says that the average that all consultants made in a year is $2,060. And remember, this is before expenses.
They also included another interesting note which I haven’t seen in other income disclosures:
In case you can’t read it, it says the average amount new consultants spent at the time of enrollment in 2019 was $440.
If you’re one of the 92.4% of people in this business, that means there’s a great chance you’ve lost money.
Beautycounter Complaints & Positive Reviews
I think the most important thing to do before deciding on signing up for an MLM or buying their products is to check out the reviews first. I’m going to take you through three different review sites so you can get an idea of what people think of this company and its products.
Beautycounter BBB Rating
First, let’s talk about what’s happening at the BBB.
Beautycounter is not accredited with the BBB and they have a disappointing D- grade from them.
A low grade at the BBB usually means a company doesn’t do well responding to complaints.
The positive reviewers said things like:
- This is a great company that is making safer products
- I am happy with everything I received from them
- I have been a happy customer for over a year, so I joined as a consultant
The negative reviews said things like:
- My face started burning and I got a rash from the products
- These are cheap products in fancy packaging
- My product was recalled, but Beautycounter would not issue a refund
- I was double-charged sales tax and I can’t get anyone to listen to me
Beautycounter TrustPilot Reviews
Now let’s take a look at TrustPilot to see what people have to say there.
There are only 5 reviews, so it’s not a great sampling of how people feel.
On the positive side:
- Someone said the products are good for guys too
- Another person said their products really work
As far as Beautycounter complaints go:
- Someone said the products are OK, but overpriced and that customer support is useless
- Another person said there were 20 fraudulent charges on their site using their credit card (we can’t really blame Beautycounter’s for that though)
Beautycounter Consumer Affairs Reviews
While there isn’t too much going on with the BBB and TrustPilot, the ConsumerAffairs website is bursting with Beautycounter reviews. The company gets 2.5 stars overall.
Some of the positive reviews said things like:
- Beautycounter has been the only foundation I can wear without getting any breakouts
- I’ve been using Beautycounter for four years because it’s safe
- I’m obsessed with all things Beautycounter
- My experience has been nothing short of exceptional from day 1
And some of the Beautycounter complaints:
- The product gave me more fine lines under my eyes instead of less
- The packaging is extremely wasteful
- The sunscreen I ordered is TINY and this seems to be another MLM gimmick
- The sunscreen does not absorb into the skin and it doesn’t work
I thought this review summed up a lot of complaints into one nicely:
I honestly was surprised to see such a low rating for Beautycounter on the Consumer Affairs website. It just goes to show that just because a product is more “natural” doesn’t mean it’s better.
- Selling Essential Oils Online [MLM vs Affiliate Marketing]
- MLM vs Affiliate Marketing – Why Affiliate Marketing is 100x Better
- Why I Quit Young Living [Any Why I’m Now Anti-MLM]
Is Beautycounter a Scam or a Pyramid Scheme?
Beautycounter isn’t a scam, and it’s not technically a pyramid scheme. To me, a scam is when you give a product or company your money and they run off with it.
MLMs are almost always really close to being pyramid schemes though.
If you can make more money with retail sales than you can with recruiting, that would be a legit MLM. Beautycounter does focus on retail sales, which is good. But can you make more than you can with recruiting?
There’s very little chance of that.
In fact, there’s over a 99% chance that you will lose money. (source)
- Some people like the products and they work very well for them
- The mission of getting clean products into households is good, and Gregg seems very passionate about this
- The startup cost to join is relatively low
- The reviews of the products are not very favorable overall
- The products are very expensive
- Some people complain that there’s too much packaging, which goes against the “clean and green” mission
- You are extremely likely to lose money
- Even if an MLM isn’t a pyramid scheme, many people think of them that way
- Since the products are expensive, it may be very hard to convince people to buy them
- When you recruit people, they become your competition, making it even harder to sell products
All in all, joining any MLM is super risky, and it’s just not something I would recommend. I have done a lot of research on MLMs (you can see all of them that I’ve looked at here), and I’ve also experienced being in one for over a year.
Can You Make Money with Beautycounter?
So, the big question. Can you make money with Beautycounter? Technically, you can make decent money with Beautycounter if you’re one of the top 1.1% of consultants. Just think about that. You have to claw your way to the top 1.1% in order to make a good income.
I know that consultants try to give you this line like it’s easy work that you can do in your spare time. But not if you want to be in the 1.1%.
Just look at this comment someone made on my Color Street post:
Do you want to work 24/7 to maybe have a chance of being in the top 1.1%? Is it really worth it? There are so many other options available. Why do this to yourself?
I like this note from finance-guy.net:
“MLM is a way for companies to sell products without employing a sales force and without having to spend money on traditional advertising and promotions. Instead, they build a network of loyal believers who are willing to pay unusually high prices for the added hopes and dreams of financial freedom.
The compensation plan may look appealing, but it makes the products more expensive. Even at their wholesale prices, there is a 31.25% price loading to pay the commissions to the MLM.”
This is the perfect explanation of what MLMs are. It’s a network of loyal believers who are willing to spend high prices on products.
An Alternative to Beautycounter
There are many ways to make a living, even ones with flexible times and incomes. My favorite way to earn an income that has flexibility is through blogging.
I mostly use affiliate marketing as my source of income, but there are other ways as well. Affiliate marketing, similar to MLMs is promoting other people’s products for a commission. But it’s vastly different from the way MLMs do things.
For instance, do you see those products I used to compare to Beautycounter at the beginning of this article? The ones that are from Amazon?
I have affiliate links connected to those. If someone clicks on one of those links and buys something from Amazon, I’ll earn a commission.
This is easier than MLMs because I don’t need to worry about recruiting anyone. I don’t need to stress about monthly sales or training new people or pleasing my upline. I don’t need to buy anything or have any inventory. There aren’t any starter packs to purchase.
It does take time and energy, but it’s not stressful like an MLM.
If you’d like to learn more, you can check out my Free Guide to Affiliate Marketing.
Can you make money with Beautycounter? You can, but there’s just a very tiny chance that you will. In fact, this report posted on the FTC’s website says that you’d be better off gambling instead of joining an MLM:
“Failure and loss rates for MLMs are not comparable with legitimate small businesses, which have been found to be profitable for 39% over the lifetime of the business; whereas less than 1% of MLM participants profit. MLM makes even gambling look like a safe bet in comparison.”
If you want an alternative way to earn an income with the flexibility to work when and where you want, then I recommend affiliate marketing instead. This is where I learned how to do everything, step-by-step.
Other related content:
- Best Programs to Make Money Online
- Learn How to Make a Site That Pays You Over and Over Again
- How To: Affiliate Marketing for Beginners (FREE Guide)
- Ultimate Wealthy Affiliate Review