Is Younique a scam? That’s the question we’ll be answering in this article today. Maybe you’re thinking of joining Younique and you want to know all the ins and outs before you join.
That’s very smart of you, hun, because not all opportunities out there are the same. And Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) companies have unique challenges.
I personally know because I’ve been in a few.
Let’s take a look at Younique and see if it’s a scam and a pyramid scheme, or a legitimately good opportunity to work from home.
Younique is a Multi-Level Marketing (MLM), or direct selling company based out of Utah. It was started by a brother-and-sister team in 2012. Since it’s a direct selling company, people sign up to be independent distributors (Presenters, as they’re called in Younique) and those distributors do the selling for the company. As a distributor, you start at the bottom rank (White) and try to work your way up to the top rank (Black).
I would not recommend anyone joins the Younique “opportunity”. Not unless you enjoy being stuck with a bunch of low-quality makeup that you can’t sell (according to ex-Presenters). Because this is an MLM, it means that the majority of people who are buying the product are the people who have joined the opportunity. If you join the opportunity, YOU are the customer, and the people in your upline are going to pressure you to buy more and more. Because that’s how they make money. And that’s how the people at the bottom lose money. Only about 2% of people in an MLM ever make it to the top ranks.
What Is Younique?
As mentioned above, Younique is a direct selling MLM company that focuses on skincare and makeup. Their product line includes lipsticks, eye shadows, cleansers, masks, makeup brushes and more. Brother-and-sister duo Derek Maxfield and Melanie Huscroft founded Younique in 2012, and they headquarters are located in Utah.
Since Younique is an MLM, they use a direct selling method, which allows them to spend less on advertising. Instead, they have independent distributors sell the products for them.
Every MLM has its own name for its distributors, and Younique’s are called Presenters.
Let’s take a look and see what the Presenters have to do to sell Younique.
How Does Younique Work?
Younique is interesting because they do almost all of their selling via social media. You can set up an online virtual party right through the Younique website and connect it to a Facebook group.
(Pretty convenient, but we’ll talk about why this may be an issue a little later. )
As with all MLM companies, you start at the bottom as a Presenter and move up the ranks as you increase your sales. This is a chart of the qualifications you need to meet to hit each rank. If the chart is too small, you can also view it on Younique’s website.
You start at White status as soon as you order your Presenter’s kit. You’ll make 20% commission on sales. In order to stay active as a White, you’ll need to have a minimum of 125 PRS (Personal Retail Sales) within 3 months. That’s a little over 41 PRS per month.
Most MLMs have a point system like this and most of the time (but not every time), 1 PRS is equivalent to $1.
In other words, you’ll need to sell about $41 worth of product per month to stay active.
What tends to happen to people if they can’t sell that amount is that they end up buying the product themselves. Just keep that in mind…
Once you have $500 in lifetime sales and you keep that minimum of 125 PRS in 3 months, you go to Yellow status. Yellows make a little higher percentage of sales.
You continue from there, hitting goals and moving up the ranks.
How Much Does it Cost to Join Younique?
To join Younique, you will spend $99 for the Starter’s Kit. Of course, that’s not a bad price to start a business. Many offline businesses start in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The $99 Presenter’s Kit is not the issue for most people.
What happens is what I mentioned above. Let’s say you can’t sell $125 worth of products in 3 months. (Believe me, it’s not that easy to sell overpriced MLM products. I’ve tried.)
In order to stay active, you’ll have to buy the products yourself. This is where distributors tend to get into financial trouble in MLMs. You start buying more and more products that you can’t sell. And your upline pushes you to buy more and more. The companies entice you with “free” products and bonuses the more you buy.
Now you have even more products that you can’t get rid of…
It becomes and endless cycle and it’s hard to get out of it.
How Much Money Can You Make with Younique?
Let’s take a look at the compensation plan. This is taken directly from Younique’s website.
As you can see from the chart, as you move up in color rank, you can earn more and more royalties. Black “Exclusive Presenters” get to earn royalties all the way down their downline.
Now, how do you think Younique pays such generous commissions? By increasing the cost of the products. That’s why everything costs way more than what you would pay at any retail store.
Keep this in mind too. We talked about this a little in the Is Arbonne a Scam? article, but MLMs are closed-market systems. That means, the majority of the product sales are coming from the distributors themselves.
If you get to Black level, you could be making a good amount of money.
- You’re making it off of all the people below you. The people at the bottom have to lose money in order for you to make money. That’s how MLMs work.
- Almost no one gets to Black level. In fact, I saw a stat somewhere that says the average amount a Younique Presenter makes is about $14 per month. Let that sink in.
Here’s a video that explains a little more about the different payments that each level gets:
Younique Good Reviews & Complaints
There are some people who are generally happy with Younique and its products, but I saw many more complaints. (To be fair, unhappy people are more willing to spend time complaining online than happy people are willing to write a positive review.)
With the actual products themselves, these are the complaints that I saw:
- The mascara flakes into your eyes
- The bronzer makes you look orange
- The lipsticks go on splotchy
- The packaging is cheap and breaks easily
The one thing I saw quite a few people complain about (including ex-Presenters) is that the foundation color palette is extremely limited, especially for darker skin.
There are only 2 shades for people for darker skin, and one makes you look orange, and the other has a strong purple undertone.
What I really want to focus on though is the business opportunity and what people said about that. Here are a couple of interesting complaints I found on ConsumerAffairs.com.
Here’s a former Presenter who explains all the reasons why she quit Younique:
Of course there are happy people in Younique too:
Is Younique a Scam or Legit?
I can’t say that Younique is a scam as they would have been shut down long ago if they were. In fact, they have an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. But, as you can see in the graphic, they also don’t have great reviews.
Let’s discuss some pros and cons of this business opportunity.
- $99 for the Starter Kit is fairly inexpensive
- Almost all the selling is done online (can be a con – see below)
- It’s almost impossible to make a profit
- You will have to spend much more money on products than the initial $99
- Closed-market system (The Presenters are the customer who are doing most of the buying)
- Overpriced products
- Recruiting people into the business is hard
- Selling people overpriced makeup is even harder
- Shady set up of charities
The Social Media Issue
While it seems cool that Younique does all of it’s selling on social media, what happens when you recruit someone in your social circle? Who are they going to try to recruit? They’re going to try to recruit the same people as you! Can you see how this could become a problem?
Then you’ll need to go out and find a different group to market to. But it’s not easy trying to promote a product and business opportunity to people who have no idea who you are or what you’re about.
These people have no reason to trust you and when you start messaging them out of the blue, they’re spammy senses are going to be up. (Been there, done that.) You’ll have to really think outside of the box as to how you’re going to get people on board with you.
The Younique Foundation
I feel that it’s important to bring up The Younique Foundation, which supposedly was set up to help survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Younique gets a lot of flack for this organization because of some very interesting things.
We’ll get back to that in a sec.
Supposedly a portion of Younique’s sales go toward this foundation. The foundation runs a 4-day retreat a few times a month called The Haven Retreat. It takes a small group of sexual abuse survivors to this retreat for yoga, group activities, etc.
The thing is, in order to go, you have to pay your own way. And if you don’t live in Utah (or Georgia as there’s a retreat there too), that’s not going to be cheap. That’s strike 1 against this charity.
Strike 2 is, from my research, very little of Younique’s profits actually go to this charity. Some Presenters say 10% of the profits are donated. I’ve seen that as little as 1-2% is actually donated.
Strike 3 is the fact that the founder of Younique, Derek is also the founder of this charity. They also have another charity that they support called Defend Innocence. Guess who founded that one too? Derek. It’s not a bad thing to start a charity, but there are already so many wonderful charities out there that need donations.
It makes people very suspicious that this foundation is nothing than a tax benefit to Younique. You can come to your own conclusions about that.
An Alternative to Younique
If you love the idea of working from home and having complete freedom over your work schedule, then I have an alternative for you.
When I was in my MLM, I started to realize what a huge money-suck it was and I decided to stop. However, my desire to work for myself from the comfort of my home didn’t die.
What I did was move to affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing is promoting other people’s stuff for a commission. Sounds like an MLM, but it’s vastly different.
With affiliate marketing, you’re creating content around keywords that people are searching for online. (It’s easy to find these once you know how.) Then, based on that content, you can promote related items within your content. When someone clicks on your link and purchases from you, you earn a commission.
Let’s say you want to stay with the topic of makeup. Using a keyword tool, you can see what kinds of things people are looking for regarding makeup. I just did a quick search on “Best mascaras 2019” and came up with this:
You could write an article on the “Best Mascara for 2019” or the “Top 10 Best Mascaras for 2019” and link to those products in your article.
Through a special link, anytime someone clicks on your link in the article and makes a purchase, that purchase is tracked and shows that you get a commission. (Unlike with MLMs, the customer doesn’t pay any more when they use your link.)
What’s great about this is that you can write this article once, and keep collecting on commissions over and over and over again. (This is passive income.)
And there’s no recruiting (your friends and family don’t ever have to know what you’re doing if you don’t want to tell them), no need to buy inventory, no parties and no hard sales.
Instead, you attract people to your site via keywords, provide them useful information and let them decide what they like.
If this sounds like something you’d like to learn about, you can check out my #1 recommendation to learn affiliate marketing. You can even start your own website at no cost.
So is Younique a scam? No, it’s not due to the fact that there are actual physical products being sold. It’s so borderline to being a pyramid scheme though because the way you make money is more through recruiting people into the business versus actual product sales.
Whether you join Younique or not is your choice, but I hope you take time to consider all the information I’ve laid out for you here. The biggest thing that you should know is that something like 99% of people lose money in MLMs. And it’s a LOT of work on top of it.
If you’re looking for a way to earn money that’s a bit more laid back and easier to manage, I recommend affiliate marketing. This is the affiliate training platform that can teach you how to earn a consistent income online, step-by-step. Get all the training, tools and support you need. And you can join free – no credit card required!