Review of: BeautyCounter
- Simple compensation plan
- Consultants can climb up to the director level without having to recruit
- Relatively inexpensive, compared to other MLMs
- Real quality products
- No inventory requirements
- No instant pressure to get your business running
We Don’t Like
- Compensation plan doesn’t do enough to control consultant to consultant sales
- They ask for your Social Security Number during registration
- Over 90% of consultants make less than $10,000 a year, not including costs
Summary: BeautyCounter has its pros and cons, but they are an honest company that sells decent products. If you want to give yourself the best chance of being successful as a BeautyCounter consultant, you will have to use a different strategy from over 90% of consultants.
This is a long overdue update of our BeautyCounter review.
You likely belong to one of the following categories if you’re here reading this review: folks looking to gain a neutral perspective on the BeautyCounter business opportunity, folks looking to learn whether BeautyCounter products are any good or BeautyCounter Consultants / Affiliates.
It is my hope that everyone that comes across this review derives some value from reading it. With that said, most of this article is geared towards the group of people looking to learn more about the BeautyCounter business opportunity.
If you’re an active BeautyCounter Consultant, you may disagree with some of the things I mention in this review and that’s okay. All I ask is for you to read this review with an open mind and let’s have a healthy conversation in the comments section… like we are already doing :).
If you’re looking to learn about the business opportunity, here’s my commitment to you: this is an objective review that contains all of the information you’ll need to make your own decision on the BeautyCounter business opportunity. You will learn about the compensation plan, all the costs involved with becoming and remaining a consultant, how much BeautyCounter consultants make on average and why averages never tell the full story, how you can be successful as a BeautyCounter consultant, and a whole lot more. You’re in for a treat!
This review contains a lot of official figures and info from the company, along with some commentary. The main aim of this BeautyCounter review is to make you informed enough to ask pressing questions, manage your expectations and, ultimately, make the right decision for yourself — whatever that might be.
If you’re interested in a particular section, jump right ahead:
- What is BeautyCounter?
- How does the BeautyCounter business model work?
- BeautyCounter Compensation Plan
- How much do BeautyCounter Consultants make? (as per BeautyCounter Income Disclosure Statement)
- How to make money as a BeautyCounter Consultant
- Cost to become a BeautyCounter Consultant
- Cost of being / to remain a BeautyCounter Consultant
- How to become a BeautyCounter Consultant
- How to stop being a BeautyCounter Consultant
- Is BeautyCounter a Scam?
- Is BeautyCounter a Pyramid Scheme?
- So should you become a BeautyCounter Consultant?
- My recommendation to you
What is BeautyCounter?
Founded by Gregg Renfrew in 2013, BeautyCounter is a direct sales company that sells beauty-related products.
How does the BeautyCounter business model work?
To keep it simple: you pay the fee to become a consultant, send traffic to BeautyCounter’s website and if they select you as their mentor, you can earn 25-35% on all their purchases.
Alternatively, you could purchase products at a 25% discount rate and keep the profits when you re-sell them. Remember this is only an option and consultants are not obligated to keep inventory.
As is the case with most MLM opportunities, you can also scale your income by recruiting new consultants and earning commissions from their sales and recruitment efforts.
This is the big picture gist of the BeautyCounter business opportunity. The following section delves deeper into the details of the compensation plan.
BeautyCounter Compensation Plan
Full information on the compensation plan can be found in the official BeautyCounter Compensation Plan document.
We can tell you this: MLM companies do not usually make their compensation plans this easy to understand. Kudos to BeautyCounter on being able to compress their compensation plan into a simple-to-understand one-page document.
If you would prefer to watch a video of someone explaining the details of the BeautyCounter compensation plan, here’s a video of a consultant doing just that:
How much do BeautyCounter Consultants make?
The information in this section can be found in the official BeautyCounter Income Disclosure statement for 2017. Read the full document here.
The average annual revenue of BeautyCounter consultants that received any earnings in 2017 was $2,607. However, like most averages, this average does not tell the full story. More on this in a moment…
On the face of it, here’s what we can tell from the document:
- These numbers account for only consultants based in the U.S.
- BeautyCounter had 33,408 US-based consultants in 2017
- Of these consultants, 29,000 (87%) received at least one commission payment from the company during the year. These are considered active consultants.
- That would mean only 4,400 (13%) consultants didn’t receive any earnings
- The figures that are shown in the table factor in only the 87% that received earnings
- Based on the figures on the above chart, 85% of all active consultants earn an average of less than $4,000 per year (less than $333 per month)
- It’s not until the rank of Director that we get to $25,000 average annual income, but only 5.3% of active consultants make it there.
- This does not reflect any possible expenses incurred by the consultant
It is almost unheard of for an MLM company to have over 85% of consultants earn anything in a given year. This is beyond impressive and what this gives prospective consultants is the confidence that they can join the business and at least make some money. This is a sharp contrast to Arbonne, another company within the beauty space that operates using the MLM model, where only 12% of consultants make any money.
Having said all that, it is not until we get to the Senior Director level that we start to see an average annual income of around $50,000 — and only 1.9% of all active consultants make it to this level.
I’m not sure how the person trying to talk you into this opportunity is promoting it, but there’s a good chance they are not yet living their dream life and are still struggling to make decent money with BeautyCounter. That’s not to say you should not consider it. I’m only suggesting that you’ll need to ask hard questions of them and of yourself.
Remember averages are only supposed to give you a rough idea of what other people are doing but they never really tell the full story. For example, the averages don’t tell you what percentage of people are in the opportunity full-time vs. those that only want to make some money on the side. If most people become BeautyCounter consultants part-time, isn’t $25,000 a decent amount of additional income to make on the side for only a few hours of work?
Another thing to know about averages is that outliers skew the results. Look at the table above and you’ll notice that the average monthly income is much closer to the lowest income for each title. This means that most of the participants in each title earn closer to the lowest income than they do to the highest one.
Averages are averages and they should not decide your future as a BeautyCounter consultant. The low numbers are part of a broader systemic failure in which misfits are recruited into the business but don’t think for one second that it has to affect your chances of being successful as a consultant. I know for a fact that you can beat the averages if you’re very well informed about the opportunity and you have a plan of attack — two things you can expect to get out of this review.
How to make money as a BeautyCounter Consultant
In the previous section, you can see that even though 87% of all consultants receive at least one commission payment, over 90% of those consultants receive less than $8,000 a year.
If you want to become a successful BeautyCounter consultant, you’re going to have to do something different than what over 90% of current consultants are doing. This section is probably the most important section for any aspiring consultant or current consultants looking for success.
Educate people about the products
Before we get deep into things: take a minute to ask yourself this question: Why do I want to promote BeautyCounter products?
Don’t try to come up with a perfect answer. Just think about it and don’t proceed until you have answered that question honestly.
If your answer was “I want to build a successful business” or “I think the products are great” or something along those lines, while those are certainly true statements to you, they are about you and your products but they don’t say anything about your customer.
A good answer would be something like “A lot of people are not aware of this but most skincare products contain toxic substances; BeautyCounter goes the extra mile to ensure that they make quality products that are completely safe to use.”
Most people you will run into will have no idea why they need to invest so much into personal care products. They have no idea about the risks associated with cheap products. Having this mentality of telling people about their problems, and subsequently providing a solution, is the only way to go about selling a product that isn’t very common. This isn’t specific to BeautyCounter alone. It’s a principle that applies to just about any kind of business.
I remember when I first learned I could build an online business. I went through the training, but disregarded most of the things that were taught in the training. I created a website about men’s sneakers, a niche I was neither very knowledgeable about nor passionate about, and all I did was “spam” people. I would create articles with pictures of sneakers, write a short description of each one, and include affiliate links. My mentality was simple: I want to build a business where people will visit my site, click on affiliate links and I’ll make a commission. I never stopped to ask myself why they would click on those links and make a purchase in the first place.
With that mentality, it took me around eight months to fluke my first $9 commission. I’m not sure how long after that it took but it required a complete paradigm shift from “I want to build a business” to “I want to build a business educating people about men’s sneakers” to get that website to start to generate consistent revenue. I wrote in-depth product reviews that acknowledged the strong and weak points of different sneakers and also wrote comprehensive guides explaining what factors to look for in a pair of sneakers and so on.
Remember I said I wasn’t very passionate about this niche. Writing long-form content started to feel like a chore, so I eventually sold the site. I have used this principle of “educate first” to build several other successful online businesses, including this one, since.
Did I work hard when I was producing “low-grade” articles on my sneakers’ site? Yes, I did…I had actually published a good number of those articles and it took me a lot of time to research products. My point is don’t listen when people say there is massive MLM failure because people don’t work hard. It’s very possible to work hard and not be successful when you have the wrong mindset. And having the right mindset does not substitute working hard. They need to go together.
So, educating people is a must but there are two methods to reach potential customers — the people you need to educate. These methods are called outbound and inbound sales.
If you’ve ever received those sales emails or phone calls from people you don’t know from Adam or you’ve opened the door to the gentleman trying to sell you a vacuum cleaner, then you’ve experienced a version of outbound sales.
Outbound methods involve going out to connect with people — some of whom may not be familiar with you or your brand — with the hopes that you will land a few sales. One recurring outbound theme with MLMs is hosting “parties”, where you invite friends, family, coworkers, neighbours and so on to a venue to talk to them about your products.
You’ll need to be aware that most people will be snobbish to you using this method. I mean, it’s an expected reaction from people who, for the most part, do not know who you are or what products you’re selling. Think about your reaction the last time you answered that cold call or received that “salesy” email. Did your mood light up when you heard a knock at the door and found out it was a salesman? Not everyone will be receptive and that’s okay.
One thing you must do and continue to do in sales, regardless of your level of experience, is to keep learning. This certainly requires some time investment and could sometimes cost you money. Read books, blogs, watch videos, find a mentor, do whatever you have to do to improve yourself. Look within your team for successful people you can learn from.
Ideally, in order to save time and energy, you would want to go out and talk only to people who are interested in what you have to say. The best way to accomplish this is by pairing this method along with the inbound method.
Inbound is the opposite of outbound; your customers come to you. Granted, sometimes you’ll need to lure them in but they come to you by their own free will.
Think about it this way and I hope you read this as innocently as I mean it. Have you met me before? Definitely not. Have you heard about this site before? Probably not. How come you have read this article up to this point? How did you even learn about this website?
Chances are you did a Google search to learn something related to BeautyCounter. You were presented with several options, one of which was this site. You chose to come to this one and you only made it to this section because you’re curious to learn more about the BeautyCounter opportunity.
That is the power of inbound. I wrote the content explaining the BeautyCounter opportunity, and people like yourself looking for this kind of content found it because it was positioned somewhere you could find it at the point of your need. I didn’t specifically come out to get you. I just made sure I was available to provide you with value at the right time.
Thousands of people specifically interested in BeautyCounter come to read this article every month. A similar tactic is what you’ll have to use to make sure you only invest your time and resources on people that are interested in what you have to say.
Who is your target audience and what are their pain points? Whether it’s the gentleman in his late twenties that already invests in expensive personal care products by another brand or the middle-aged lady who is looking for a safe lotion for her teenage daughter, these people already know what problem they are trying to solve and all you need to do is be there for them with a solution.
Think about this for a moment. Who is more likely to convert into a paying customer: the bloke that lives a few blocks away that uses cheap products and has never heard about you or your products or the lady that knows what her problem is and finds that you have a solution?
This is probably oversimplifying the process and, yes, there is a learning curve, but it’s only a fragment of the possibilities that exist in inbound sales. Who do you think is more likely to convert into a paying customer: the gentleman on the street that has never met you or heard about your product or the lady that knows her problem and finds you with the solution?
If you plant the seeds of educating your audience, your audience will trust you and, consequently, you will reap the rewards.
We’ve spoken a lot about positioning yourself and you might be wondering “how am I going to do that?”. Well, there are typically four steps involved in creating a successful business using the inbound method.
The first thing is for you to choose a niche. It’s really as simple as filling in the blank: I want to help people that _______. If you’ve decided that you want to promote BeautyCounter, the blank could be “are not aware of the dangers of cheap lotion” or “have skin acne problems”, etc. If you haven’t decided that you want to promote BeautyCounter, you can follow the same process for just about any industry.
The second step is the simplest: build a website. It literally takes around 30 seconds to do. Think of your website as a storefront for your business.
The third step is create content that tackles the pain points of the niche you chose in the first step. Address the difficult topics including, but not limited to, price, misconceptions, common negative feedback about the products you promote and so on. The idea is you stand out and gain credibility when you address the elephant in the room. You don’t have to be an expert writer — you might have noticed that I’m not — and you don’t have to be a technical genius to learn how to get your website found. As you craft quality content consistently, you will become the go-to person in the eyes of your audience and Google.
There is an abundance of resources across the web that teaches you how to create a website, write quality content, improve your website visibility and so on. Just a simple Google search and you’ll find a ton of them. I learned all of these things on one training platform that lines everything up in sequential order and provides community support to answer your questions. You can sign up to this training platform for free.
Whether you use inbound or outbound or both, the same principles apply. Address your potential customers’ concerns before they ask. Be as transparent as possible because it’s all about building trust at the end of the day. Keep learning.
Build a team
In order to make money as a BeautyCounter consultant, you need to master the art of selling products. That is the truth and building a team isn’t a way to escape that. Building a team should only be seen as a way to scale up your already succeeding business.
People that jump into recruiting before nailing down regular product sales do so out of sheer desperation to meet the sales requirements. This might even be the case for the person who might be trying to recruit you to join the BeautyCounter opportunity. Unfortunately, this is a trap most MLM participants fall into and it’s simply not a sustainable way to build a successful business. All you need to do is look at the average income consultants make to discover that there is something not right about the strategy most people use.
Here’s the shocker. You don’t need to obsess over building a team. The process should take place naturally. You’re promoting real quality products that have provided real value to you. The people you sell to should have the same experience of getting great value from the products, so much so that they’ll want to promote it as well.
Mention to your repeat clients or in single client follow-up how they can become a Band of Beauty member and enjoy discounts and other perks for a yearly membership fee of $29 or tell them how they could earn commissions from promoting the products themselves. This might interest a lot of people since they love the products and would be purchasing them anyway. This is a completely ethical way to build your team. Yes, there’s something in it for you but you’re actually providing value to your customers rather than blatantly exploiting them.
Eventually, you will find yourself evolving from the role of a salesperson to that of a mentor. Someone will need to show the people on your team some techniques on how to make consistent sales…and that person would be you. That is how to scale your business to greater heights through recruiting.
The cost to become a BeautyCounter Consultant
The BeautyCounter Enrollment Kit costs $98. This includes a personalized website, “back office” where you can manage your clients’ orders and monitor the progress of your team, brochures and training materials.
Additionally, you have the option to purchase a Starter Set at 40% off. The cheapest Starter Set is $285 with the discount. Although you are not required to purchase a Starter Set to become a consultant, I personally feel it is crucial for consultants to purchase this while enrolling. When pitching a product to potential customers, it’s very important for you to have something in-hand to show to them.
Starter Sets are only available during enrollment and it’s the only opportunity to receive PV points for your own personal order.
Cost of being a BeautyCounter Consultant
The cost to remain an active BeautyCounter consultant is 1200 QV every six months. On one hand, it’s great because it gives you space to learn and build your business without immediate pressure. On the other hand, it still works out to 200 QV per month on average, which is around the same requirement for most MLMs. It doesn’t matter how you get to 1200 QV; whether it’s through sales or purchases or both. All that matters to remain an active consultant is that you accrue 1200 QV every six months. There is a $50 renewal fee every twelve months.
What you need to do is master the art of making consistent sales. Easier said than done but once you have managed to master this skill, you won’t need to worry about any sales quota or having to purchase products to remain active. People’s inability to make consistent sales, along with the lurking pressure to make a sales quota, is what forces people into recruiting. A lot of people find it’s a lot easier to sell dreams than it is to sell products, and that could even be the story of the person trying to talk you into joining BeautyCounter right now.
How to become a BeautyCounter Consultant
It’s a very straightforward process to register to become a BeautyCounter consultant. First of all, you will have to accept the terms and conditions. After that, the next step is to fill in your email address. Then you’ll search and choose your mentor–the person that recommended the opportunity to you. If you don’t have a mentor, you can select BeautyCounter as your mentor. Next, they ask you to fill out some personal details like your phone number, birthday and, interestingly, your Social Security Number.
Next is the page where you need to add your enrollment kit to your cart; then you are taken to a page where you could choose to add a Starter Set to your cart.
Once all that is done, check out and you’re all set to go. Wait for you stuff to be mailed to you.
You’re probably not going to have to go through this process yourself if there’s a BeautyCounter consultant already trying to recruit you. Why? Because they’ll be aware you could easily bypass them accidentally (or not) during the enrollment process and they’ll want to make sure they get the credit for it. It’s how I would do it anyway if I were a BeautyCounter consultant.
How to stop being a BeautyCounter Consultant
You’ll need to either send a mail to the headquarters in Santa Monica, California or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, your status will be cancelled if you don’t pay the annual renewal fee.
Is BeautyCounter a Scam?
The answer is no. From the look of things, BeautyCounter is trying to set themselves apart by championing the cause for having only safe products in the beauty marketplace. As a company, they pride themselves in their standards and the quality of their products.
As a company, they seem to be well run and transparent. Take it from someone who has researched and reviewed hundreds of companies using the MLM business model; transparency isn’t usually associated with this industry. So, BeautyCounter definitely wins some points in the transparency department.
Is BeautyCounter a Pyramid Scheme?
The simple answer to this question is no but it’s not as obvious as night and day. According to the FTC, there would be no real products being sold to the public in a naked pyramid scheme — only lower quality products going to other consultants. BeautyCounter has real quality products so that rules out any product-related reasons.
Where we can be critical is with some of the structural details of the compensation plan itself. Does it strongly rule out the possibility of consultants being more focused on recruiting than making sales to the public? I think not and here’s why.
A consultant could actually decide to focus solely on recruiting and still be in compliance with BeautyCounter’s compensation plan. The requirement to being active is 1200 QV within a 6-month window and the only caveat to that is 250 of this must be “New Volume”. New Volume, or NV, is simply QV contributed by regular sales to the public, members, or consultants in your downline when a new account is created and an order is placed within the same month.
I think it’s a systematic flaw, and one of the show-tells of a pyramid scheme, that BeautyCounter consultants benefit from the purchases of the consultants under them. Imagine a scenario where Consultant X is struggling to make regular product sales to the public but is able to recruit Consultants A, B and C and able to persuade all three consultants to purchase a Starter Set; Starter set purchases by Consultants A, B and C contribute to the QV of Consultant X.
Why should Consultant X bother with regular product sales when they could easily focus on recruiting and make just as much, if not more? Consultant X could meet the 1200 QV quota every 6 months without breaking any rules. What if Consultants A, B and C followed the exact same path as Consultant X? Then we would have a system that supports recruiting with products moving among consultants, which is akin to a product-based pyramid scheme.
This is all conjecture, of course, as there’s no evidence to show that this is indeed the case. I’ll leave it up to you to share in the comments section whether the consultant that told you about BeautyCounter promoted the products to you or they tried to get you to become a BeautyCounter consultant.
Let me make this clear: BeautyCounter does not direct consultants to go out and recruit. We are just pointing out gaps that I’m sure a lot of people have been able to exploit.
You might be wondering why I started this section by saying they are not a pyramid scheme despite all the flaws I have mentioned. Well, it’s because the compensation plan makes it possible to climb up to the position of Director without any recruiting whatsoever and I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt that they have strong enough products for the company to make more from regular sales to the public than they make from purchases by consultants.
Should you become a BeautyCounter Consultant?
I’m sorry to disappoint you if you were expecting a yes/no answer to this; only you can answer this question!
I don’t know what side of the story you’ve been told. Perhaps you’ve been told about how you can be your own boss and live your dream life without hearing about the process to get there. At this point, you should have learned that the only thing standing between you and being a successful BeautyCounter is mastering the art of making consistent sales.
Of course, recruiting is an option as well. But only those who already have a system for making sales are successful with recruiting because they use it as a means to scale their already succeeding business. Those who don’t make consistent sales resort to recruiting out of sheer desperation and nothing else; and they always fail.
If you’re confident you can make sales consistently and potentially build a team that can do likewise, then there’s really nothing stopping you from becoming a successful BeautyCounter consultant one day.
If you’re not certain you can handle that, maybe you should consider something else — something like building your own online business centred around another company/product you’re passionate about. If there’s something you never get bored of talking about, you can build a business around it!
My Recommendation to you
I rate BeautyCounter very highly on the spectrum of MLM companies. There’s a lot to admire about the company’s mission and their business opportunity. However, I still feel there’s a lot to be desired.
BeautyCounter is not a scam. It’s not a pyramid scheme. The products are of real quality. Yes, it appears a large proportion of consultants have received at least one commission payment. Yes, despite all these positive things, I still do not feel comfortable recommending BeautyCounter to you — not as a standalone opportunity, anyway.
Why? 87% of all consultants are considered “active” but what does active really mean? What happens to consultants who purchased the starter set, have not been consultants for up to six months, and have not made any sales? Are they considered active because their starter set purchase counts in their PV? If they are, then the 87% number is very misleading. Also, according to the income disclosure statement, over 90% of active consultants earned less than $8000 per year on average…and this does not include possible expenses.
This page gets a decent amount of traffic each month and I could easily have written an article saying how the BeautyCounter opportunity is the best thing since sliced bread. Doing that would probably make me a successful consultant, but that’s not my approach because I really do not believe the opportunity is great.
I can only recommend what I know. I know of the training that taught me how to produce quality content, gain consistent traffic and, consequently, earn income. The good news is, whether you choose to promote BeautyCounter products or something completely different, the training teaches you how to build a successful online business. Now, the best news is it is FREE to join.
Whether you’re looking to promote BeautyCounter or an entirely different product, or you already have a business and you’re looking to improve results, this training shows you how to position yourself in front of your target audience.
There isn’t a perfect solution for everyone and it’s possible you might not be a huge fan of my top recommendation. If that’s you, here are a few sites that have fed me information for free over the years:
Pretty much everything related to marketing can be found in the blogs above.
This brings us to the end of this BeautyCounter review. Hopefully, we were able to touch on everything you would need to make the best decision for yourself.
We talked about the compensation plan, average earnings, how to separate yourself from the average consultant, costs and so on. The best thing you can do before joining any MLM opportunity — which you have done at this point — is to inform yourself.
BeautyCounter is a decent company. I might not agree with every single detail in the business opportunity but I can’t deny that they are a decent company and if you feel very positive about the products, don’t hesitate to promote them. I have looked into hundreds of MLM companies and I assure you it takes a lot for me to call one of them decent.
I really hope you feel more informed after reading this review. You might agree with some of the things I said, you might disagree with the others. It is also possible that you agree or disagree with every single thing I said. In any case, I’m happy to have a civil conversation with you in the comments. All views are welcome.
Originally published on Feb 24, 2017, updated on February 21, 2019.