Is Nu Skin a Pyramid Scheme – We Reveal the Truth Behind Nu Skin!

Welcome to our Nu Skin Review!

So, chances are that someone has introduced you to the Nu Skin product range and business opportunity.  They claim you can be healthier and earn some money working from home.

But you’re not convinced that Nu Skin is legit, or even worse… Is Nu Skin a Pyramid Scheme?

Let me get straight to the point, Nu Skin isn’t a scam…

But that doesn’t automatically mean that it is the best opportunity for you…

First off, it’s great to see that you’re doing your research before buying into any “seemingly good” product.

That is how you avoid scams and find only legitimate ways to make money online!

To be completely transparent with you, we’re not associated with Nu Skin in any form.

We’re not here to pitch or sell you anything.

Instead our unbiased review, with videos, will show you all you need to know about this company and its business opportunity.  So that you can then make an informed decision about whether or not this opportunity is right for you…

Let’s get started with a quick product overview…

Nu Skin Review Summary

Product Name: Nu Skin

Founder: Blake Roney, Nedra Roney, Steve Lund, and Sandie N. Tillotson in 1984

Product Type: Personal Care MLM company

Price: $35 start-up fee, $20 annual fee, $100 order + monthly autoship of at least $100

Best For: People able to market skincare products, and are good at recruitment

Is Nu Skin a Pyramid Scheme


  • Proven History
  • Positive Product Reviews


  • Too Many Lawsuits
  • Expensive Products
  • Monthly Expenses
  • Is Nu Skin a Pyramid Scheme in Disguise?
  • Low Success Rate
  • Personal Care is a Crowded Market

Summary: Nu Skin is a Personal Care MLM company.  It sells a range of skincare, and health/nutritional supplement products.  It has a proven history, having been incepted in 1984.

But it is the business opportunity that is what concerns us and not the products.  It has had numerous lawsuits put against it for being dishonest.  It also had to settle a claim in China for being a pyramid scheme  and for bribing Chinese officials!

The products are overpriced in a very competitive market, there are also the monthly sales quota which forces their members to continually spend $100 a month to stay active for commissions.  Their own income disclosure statement shows that 98% of their members are losing money.

This isn’t a great business opportunity

Rating: 28/100

Recommended? No

Table of Contents

What is Nu Skin?

Nu Skin is a personal care MLM or Multi-Level Marketing company that markets and sells a range of skincare products, health products, and nutritional supplements.

Nu Skin has been around for what is a really long time in MLM terms, having started up in 1984.  It is also a global company, with representation in 53 markets around the world.

They also offer a chance for everyday people to become a distributor for them and earn a commission for selling these products to their friends and family.

Before we talk more about the company, let’s take you through who is behind Nu Skin…

The Owners of Nu Skin

Blake Roney, Steve Lund, Sandie Tollotson, and Nedra Roney were the ones that founded the company in 1984.

Blake Roney was once the richest person in Utah, with a net worth of $600 million.

He was the CEO and chairman of Nu Skin at one time.  But he then took some leave to become a mission president for the LDS church in France, in 2021.  He earned a degree in Business Finance in 1983, and has clearly got his head around the business world.

Now, their business credentials do look great, however the company has had a number of setbacks over the years.  These include several lawsuits.  We’ll take you through those later in this review.

For now, you can learn a little more about the company in this 3-minute promotional video below…

Now, that video might make the company sound great and all, but you’re clever enough to know that this is just a promotional video.

So, you might still be wondering…

Is Nu Skin a Pyramid Scheme

A lot of people think all MLM’s are a pyramid scheme, when that isn’t strictly the case.  As far as Nu Skin goes… No, It’s not a pyramid scheme.

They sell a range of legitimate products and consultants can make money just from selling these products, without the need to recruit…

However, when you review as many MLMs as we do, you start to realise that there is a better question to ask of an MLM… Is Nu Skin a pyramid scheme in disguise?

What’s a Pyramid Scheme?

A pyramid scheme is a company that promise payment in return for you recruiting new members.  They have no products or services to speak of, so the only way you earn money is through recruiting people.  

The problem with that business model is that, it’s not sustainable and not everyone in a model like that can earn an income.  That is why they have been made illegal in most of the world.  This diagram from Wikipedia shows you they are not sustainable…

pyramid scheme

Now, Nu Skin have a legit product line.  So, their consultants don’t technically need to recruit.  They can just sell these products.

But many MLM use these products as a way of hiding their true intentions, which is the fact that the only way consultants can make a decent income is by recruiting new members into their downline.

Expensive Products and a Sales Quota are just two red flags that an MLM is operating more like one of these pyramid schemes in disguise…  We’ll get into whether or not Nu SKin could be one, later…

For now, you may find this 5-minute video useful in being able to spot these pyramid schemes in disguise…

Success is Rare at Nu Skin

Success isn’t just rare at Nu Skin, but with all MLM opportunities…

Did you know that between 72% and 99% of all MLM members lose money?

When you take a look at their income disclosure statement for 2020, it shows that only 19% of their 84,000 members earned a commission.  Those who did earn an income earned on average, $160 a month before expenses.

That is an average annual income of $1,920 for the year.

Their income disclosure makes it quite clear that your only real chance of earning a decent income is through recruiting a downline team.  Which is true of most MLM opportunities, and makes it even more clear that it could be a pyramid scheme in disguise…

How Does Nu Skin Work?

Nu Skin sells a range of personal care products.

They also offer the opportunity for everyday people to sell these products in return for a commission.

This saves the company millions of dollars on advertising campaigns, and sounds like a good deal for both parties.

But it’s not as easy as they make out.

If you want to know more about their business opportunity, this 15-minute video will give you the details…

Let’s take a look at their product line…

Nu Skin Product Line

If you’re serious about joining an MLM opportunity, it’s always a good idea to get to know their product line.


Nu Skin has over 200 products in both the Personal Care and Nutritional supplements categories.

The main categories are:

  • Skincare products (anti-ageing serums, moisturisers, and scrubs, etc.)
  • Makeup (lipsticks, foundation, eye makeup, etc.)
  • Hygiene Products (shampoo, body-wash, etc.)
  • Nutritional supplements
  • Weight Management products
  • Accessories

They pretty much sell anything you might think of, from a typical pharmacy…  But you should know that there are thousands of other MLM companies that offer a very similar product line…  You will also be competing with distributors from these other MLMs, like:

Is there anything that helps put Nu SKin above the rest?

Nu Skin Flagship Product – ageLOC ME

Their flagship product is their anti-ageing serum.  But it isn’t really anything that makes them any different to the hundreds, if not thousands of other anti-ageing products that are on the market.

You can take a look at their full product line here

Haven't Made Your First $1 Yet?

Studies have shown that more than 70% of the people who want to make money online have not made their first dollar yet. So, you’re not alone!

Can You Make Money with Nu Skin?

Yes, it is possible.  But it’s not going to be as easy as those promotional videos might have you thinking…

The harsh reality of MLM is that you often end up spending a lot more than you make, and the only way of avoiding have to keep on buying products is to start recruiting people.  This then pushes that problem onto them, which isn’t exactly ethical…

Their income disclosure statement shows that the majority of their members are not even earning enough to cover their costs and expenses. Which means they are losing money…

How To Make Money with Nu Skin?

Nu Skin is your typical MLM company.  Which means there are the 2 usual ways for you to make money from their compensation plan.  These are:

    1. Sell their products for a retail commission
    2. Recruit members in to your downline and earn bonuses from their sales

Please note, you don’t acutally earn from recruiting people.  That would make it an outright pyramid scheme.

You only earn bonuses and commissions based on their sales, so it’s as much about how you train and support your downline team to sell their products

Getting Started with Nu Skin

Getting started with Nu SKin requires you to pay 2 initial fees.  These are a $35 start-up fee and then a $20 annual members fee.

But that doesn’t get you any products for you to try or sell.  So, you’ll be encouraged to buy a product pack.  These range from the cheapest at $100 to the most expensive being $1,519!

But that isn’t where the costs end, I’m afraid…

Nu Skin Monthly Costs

Many MLMs hide this fact from you.  But you are required to be signed up to an Automatic Delivery Rewards (ADR) program to remain active and therefore eligible for commissions.

Simply put, you are required to sign up to a monthly subscription for products to remain active.  Their cheapest program is $100 a month.

The stats show that 85% of distributors don’t make any money and yet you are signing up to pay $100 a month off the bat.  You also need to have sold 80% of your monthly allocation to qualify for commissions.

Here is a quote straight from the Nu Skin compensation plan:


In English, this means you have make around $200 – 350 in sales each and every month, to qualify as an “active distributor” and earn commission and sales bonuses.

The bottom line:

  • Set up a $100 monthly standing order
  • Sell $200-$350 of products each month

Let’s take you through the costs for just the first year in business…

  • $35
  • $20
  • $100-$1,519
  • $100 x 12 ($1,200)

Minimum Costs for First Year with Nu Skin = $1,355 – $2,774

That is before you factor in any other expenses you’ll come across running a business like this, like training, marketing, travel, food, etc.

P.S. This program enabled us to Create a 4-Figure Monthly Passive Income Stream.  It’s Free to get started and costs only $49/month to go full-time!

Nu Skin Compensation Plan

If you’ve ever looked at an MLM compensation plan before, you’ll know that they are as complicated as they can be…  I don’t really know why, other than you confuse you into not looking into too much detail…

But what it really is aimed at doing is to hide the fact that recruitment is the best way of making money with them…

Here are the main ways you can get paid with their compensation plan…

  • Commission on sales (up to 30%)
  • 5% bonus on purchases your downline team make
  • Executive bonus – earn a percentage of your group sales when you make over 2,000 GSV (Group Sales Volume)
  • Leadership Loyalty Bonus (on your “breakaway executives)
  • Extra Executive Bonus
  • Volume Maximiser
  • Depth Maximiser
  • Incentive Trips

I know, that doesn’t really make it any clearer really… But there is just two ways for you to earn money:

  • Sell their products
  • Recruit more members into the MLM

And notice how all but one of the ways revolves around recruitment?

If you want to take a look at their full compensation plan, here’s the link.

Or you can watch any of the videos below, which will give you a good idea of what it’s all about…

Is Nu Skin a Scam?

No, Nu Skin isn’t a scam.  They provide a legitimate range of personal care products, and they pay their members on time just like they say they do.

So, why do many members call it out as a scam?  Well, that is mainly down to the fact they weren’t told the whole truth before they joined, and never realised they would be paying out a lot of money on a monthly basis in the hope that they would be earning some money.

The rest of our review will help you get all of the information you still need to know to make an informed decision about whether this opportunity is right for you…

Just to be completely transparent with you, I’m not a distributor of Nu Skin, nor do I endorse Nu Skin in any way.  I have researched the website, testimonials, and information available on the internet to get the details about what this program genuinely does.    I do this, as I have been caught out by a scam in the past, and am trying to help others avoid a similar fate…

Tired of MLMs? Check How We Make Money Online Here!

What We Liked About Nu Skin

Here’s what we liked about Nu Skin:

#1 Proven History

Did you know that 1 in 3 MLMs don’t get past the 10 year mark?  Well, the fact that Nu Skin has been around for over 30 years proves they are doing something right.

It also shows that they are not a scam and that the FTC isn’t sniffing around them considering them as one too.

#2 Positive Product Reviews

There are many reviews online from people claiming to be happy with the products that are on offer at Nu Skin.

Below is an example of what their customers have to say…

If you can see more of their reviews on their Consumer Affairs page…

What We Didn't Like About Nu Skin

Here’s what we liked about Nu Skin:

#1 Many Lawsuits

However, Nu Skin has had its share of controversy over the years and it has had to settle a few lawsuits.  These were mainly around overstating income expectations and deceptive advertising which can be described for most MLM schemes to be honest.

Here is a quick run-through of those lawsuits:

  • 1992 Lawsuit – Nu Skin reached a settlement with 5 states relating to overstating income for new distributors and their deceptive advertising.

Clearly not learning their lesson, they were done again in 1994:

  • 1994 Lawsuit – Nu Skin had to pay $1 million to the FTC for deceptive marketing based around their products and again making unproven income claims

You would have thought they would have changed it up, but…

  • 1997 Lawsuit – Another fine to pay to the FTC, this time for $1.5m for “unsubstantiated promotional claims”
  • 2014 Lawsuit – More recently, China charged Nu Skin for being an illegal Pyramid Scheme and it was sued by China because of this.

In 2014, Nu Skin settled $47m with China.  It also had to pay $750k for bribing Chinese officials!!

This clearly shows that Nu Skin has had its issues over the years, but that it has also not learned from its mistakes.  This makes it very hard to actually trust Nu Skin on a number of factors.

There are also reports showing that many vulnerable people have been duped by Nu Skin and ended up with nothing…

The lawsuits are staggering, but the fact they didn’t do anything to change after these lawsuits is worrying.  There is also evidence that Nedra Rony was deleted from the website to try and hide that she is a co-founder as she was involved in a number of lawsuits too.  She pleaded guilty to prescription-drug fraud in 1996.

#2 Expensive Products

MLM products are really overpriced.  It’s part of a sign that it could be a pyramid scheme in disguise…

A highly rated toner that is comparable to the one sold by Nu SKin is selling for $.063/ Fl Oz and $2.55/ Fl Oz.

Yet the one sold by Nu Skin is selling for $27.02/Fl Oz.

That is a markup of 1,000% for a very similar product.


This is always a concern when checking out an MLM.  It shows they are not operating particularly ethical.

They mark up their prices so high, typically as they make their new “recruits” need to buy products.

This means that every new distributor the company recruits puts more money into the company.

If you have an MLM that offers reasonably priced products, it shows they are more interested in selling their products.  If an MLM has overpriced products, it shows they are more focused on recruiting – which could be a sign they are operating like a pyramid scheme.

#3 Monthly Costs

The second sign that they could be operating like a pyramid scheme in disguise, with a focus on recruiting is that they have a monthly sales quota.

If you aren’t able to sell enough products each month, you have to buy the products yourself.  Which is inevitable for new members.

The only way you can get away from having to do this is to recruit a huge team of downline members who can sell or buy the products instead.

Both of these concerns lead us to believe it could be a pyramid scheme in disguise…

#4 Is Nu Skin a Pyramid Scheme in Disguise?

When you have an MLM with overpriced products and a monthly sales quota, it is a clear sign that they are operating like a pyramid scheme in disguise, as they are more focused on recruiting members into the business.

The main reason is that they gain guaranteed customers who keep on buying products in the hope that they eventually get a business where they can work from home.

But the problem is that this diagram below show you what this typically means…


Only those that are at the top of this structure that are those that are earning a good income, and it’s usual at the expenses of people they recruit.

#5 Low Success Rate

The success rate of Nu Skin Distributors is not something that makes for easy reading…


THose income figures might look ok, but you have to remember these figures are from before you factor in those expenses we talked about earlier.

57.06% of their members earned $7,392 (average) for the year.  But they would have needed to have spent $100 per month, so that drops it to less that $7K.

18.94% were able to earn $14,184 again before prices.

But they would have also needed to do a lot of recruitment when it comes.

But then this statement gives you what you need to know…

The headlines are that the average sales compensation paid to their Active Brand Affiliates is $160.05 a month.

That is $1,920.60 over the year. 

Considering the costs that are involved with getting started here, that isn’t a great return.

Haven't Made Your First $1 Yet?

Studies have shown that more than 70% of the people who want to make money online have not made their first dollar yet. So, you’re not alone!

My Nu Skin Review - Final Conclusion

Nu Skin does offer a good product line, albeit a really expensive one.

But as for their business opportunity, that is where our concerns lie.

There are a few people making good money here, but mostly down to them being really good sales managers and recruiters.

If you’re a top salesperson or a recruiter, you may find success with an MLM.  But most of us are no outgoing people who are willing to ruin relationships to friends and family by constantly bombarding them with requires to join…

How We Make Money Online

We are not a fan of MLM, not because it is illegal or that it isn’t profitable, but because it is really restrictive, and the expensive costs involved.

That is why we recommend Affiliate Marketing.  It is our top recommended business model for anyone wanting to make money online.

The reasons are simple…

  • You don’t have to recruit anyone to make money
  • You have the freedom to promote any products or services you want and not get restricted by only promoting products from one MLM company
  • NO face-to-face Selling is involved
  • It is FREE to get started

In fact, with affiliate marketing we are close to earning a 4-figure monthly passive income stream.  With the right help and guidance, you can too.  Click below to find out about our top recommended training platform for learning affiliate marketing:

Thanks for checking out our Nu Skin Review!  If you still have any questions or have comments you want to add, then please write them in the comments section below. 😉

Sharing is Caring…

Nu Skin


Overall Rating



  • Long History
  • Good Products
  • 25% Commission Rate


  • Too Many Lawsuits
  • Tough & Crowded Market
  • Low Success Rate
  • You have to Spend to Earn

8 thoughts on “Is Nu Skin a Pyramid Scheme – We Reveal the Truth Behind Nu Skin!”

  1. It’s interesting that this MLM has managed to stay in business after so many years, and been in trouble so many times! You talked about 85% of distributors didn’t make any money, but what about retention rate? Do you know what the retention rate is for the customers of the company?

    • Hey Josie,

      thanks for checking out our review.  That is a hard figure to get hold of, but people feel tied down to an MLM because they try desperately to make their money back.  Either way, I wouldn’t recommend it



  2. The price tojoin this programme is a first put of for me coupled with the fact that I am not a big fan of joining MLM schemes. I don’t think I would want to give myself away to it again after my experience. Like you have explained here, not so many people can be successful at it plus nu skin has too many controversies sprung from all those lawsuits. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone just like you. Great review here. Keep it up!

    • Hey Henderson,

      thanks for checking out our review.  Yep, the red flags just kept coming for Nu Skin.

      Wouldn’t advise anyone getting involved with it


  3. To br a company in such a huge line of market, having so much lawsuits filed against them would only reduce the chances of being credible to anyone.NuSkin is not worthy of my trial at all. Firstly, it is an mlm model which makes it much more difficult to make profit coupled with the kind of product line they sell which has very strong competitors that are well established. I’m not sure that joining a platform as this is really worth it at all. Thanks for unveiling all these information about them, John.

    • Hey Roger,

      thanks for checking out our review.  It beggars belief that they got away with just paying fines.  Definitely a dodgy scheme to me.



  4. Hello John, Thanks for sharing this wonderful post. I have heard quite a bit about this company and the testimonies have not been really balanced, there by making me anxious about this business. However reading through this post have given me a better understanding about its and I must admit I’m quite disappointed and an MLM program haven’t been a really nice choice of business for me and I wouldn’t want to use my money to make money, rather effort to make money. Nice being here.

    • Hey Dane,

      MLM tends to lead to a pay to play mentality when it comes to making money.  You need to buy stock to sell it, you might as well start your own amazon business and have less outlay.

      MLM isn’t for us, and with such a poor success rate I wonder why so many people decide to delve into it…



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