Is Nu Skin A Pyramid Scheme?☠

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Nu Skin Review

Name: Nu Skin


Price: $25

Owners: Blake M. Roney (Founder)

Overall Rank: 1 out of 5 ツ

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is wealthy affiliate for beginnersNOTE: It is critical for you to know I am not an affiliate of Nu Skin. Rich Artist Starving Artist gives truthful, genuine reviews. My top priority is providing you with quality, entertaining, and informative reviews and I am not influenced by anyone or anything.

Prior to choosing any multi-level marketing opportunity, read this article:

What Is An MLM?

Other Multi-level Marketing Business Opportunity Reviews To Read:

What Is H2O At Home About?

Becoming A Pampered Chef Consultant?

Is Amway A Pyramid Scheme?

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You’re looking for a legitimate online business opportunity, but more often than not you wind up purchasing a scam or a low quality product which is why you find yourself here asking “Is Nu Skin A Pyramid Scheme?” prior to buying into it.  Let’s take a look.

If you’ve investigated any nutritional supplement and/or skin care multi-level marketing company lately, then you might have come across Nu Skin.  The company provides a direct sales multi-level marketing sales model to its distributors aka independent contractors.  Anybody can join to be a distributor by simply completing an online application via Nu Skin’s website.

The Company

Founded in 1984, Nu Skin provides multiple lines of spa products, skin lotions, nutritional supplements and selective foods.  Nu Skin offers over 200 products firmly based on the hypothesis that, by using them, the aging process is delayed or diminished.  This claim is advertised rather heavily in their nutritional supplements and ageLOC skin care lines.

Through the years, Nu Skin has collaborated with and bought health related and scientific companies to broaden their product lines.

Pharmanex, a company that produces nutritional supplements, was added in 1996 to Nu Skin’s portfolio.  This resulted in the initiation of the Pharmanex BioPhotonic Scanner, an instrument professed to measure levels of carotenoid in the skin and notify the user through a Skin Carotenoid Score.   LifeGen Technologies, a company involved in genomics and headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin, was purchased by Nu Skin in 2011.  This allowed Nu Skin to initiate their ageLOC product line.

is nu skin a pyramid scheme

How To Become a Nu Skin Distributor

You can’t buy Nu Skin products in retail stores. Products may be bought online via their website contingent on the customer already knowing their distributor’s ID.  Instead, you can apply to become a Nu Skin distributor to buy and/or sell their products; however, in order to do so, you also are required to have knowledge of a distributor’s ID.

The cost to enroll is a mere $25.  Also, new distributors are not bound to sell a minimum volume of products.  However, in order to begin receiving bonuses and commissions, you are required to buy inventory at the wholesale price and then turn around and sell it to new consumers.  Also, you will be required to recruit your current clientele and non-clientele into the company as Nu Skin distributors.

Wholesale inventory is discounted by 25%.  Therefore, if you purchased and sold three ageLOC Future Serums, you’d first need to pay $492.75 wholesale, resulting in you pocketing $164.25 once customers bought them from you at the full retail price.

is nu skin a pyramid scheme

Nu Skin products are not for the budget-minded.  Fortunately, Nu Skin now has a 30-day refund policy with a 100% money-back guarantee should customers wish to return their products.  Also, Nu Skin compensates customers 90% on products returned after 30 days.

Additionally, Nu Skin distributors may also receive commissions from those distributors they recruited (downline) into the company given that their downline fulfills a set amount of sales.  Therefore, new distributors with a small amount of recruits need to make sure their downline makes at least $200 in sales prior to receiving an added $10 in commission.

Pros And Cons


User-Based Studies – While Nu Skin has been admonished and even sued for its far-out claims regarding product benefits, they do publish studies based on customers using their skin care products as well as other products.  Said studies are founded on user observations after using Nu Skin’s products over a period of time.  On the whole, user opinions on the benefits of the product are good.


Set Sales Minimum – Nu Skin alleges that their distributors are not required to sell a set amount of product.  However, if distributors want to make any kind of bonuses or commissions, they actually have to buy and sell, hopefully, a set volume of product.  Also, they need to make sure that their downline does the same.

Pricey Products – Nu Skin’s products are really pricey.  Pricey products result in probable and even present Nu Skin customers wanting comprehensive proof that the products are indeed good and work the way their alleged to work.  The sales cycle is going to be longer.  Ultimately, some customers will be unreachable because they simply can’t afford to buy such pricey products.

Bogus Product Claims – Five states have sued Nu Skin for exaggerating the earned income by their distributors and has been named an illegal pyramid scheme by Connecticut’s Attorney General.  It’s also gotten into hot water with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and was required to pay $1 million back in 19994 and then an additional $1.5 million in 1997.  As recently as 2014, the Chinese State Administration for Industry & Commerce fined Nu Skin $540,000 for illegal sales and deceiving consumers.

Overstated Science Claims – Even those who are not scientists such as the FTC have raised eyebrows, when Nu Skin publishes their “scientific proof.”

is nu skin a pyramid scheme

Such a statement as the one given above is so vague as to be utterly useless.  Research in anti-aging has up to now recognized some genes that are age-related.  It has yet to induce them into expressing themselves more youthfully – other than, maybe, calorie restriction according to the National Institute On Aging.  Moreover, the work was not performed on humans rather on rhesus monkeys and mice.  If an event such as this has, in fact, taken place in any other way, the information, that is, journal citations, are not given here.

Now, take a look at this …

is nu skin a pyramid scheme

Scientists researching aging, still are not in agreement on what causes aging and even less on how to target them. Unless LifeGen Technologies discovered a major development in aging research, claims such as this are questionable and deceptive.

Shady Personal And Legal Concerns – Nu Skin’s founders have made an effort to characterize the company as family-oriented and wholesome.  However, the professional and personal lives of its founders has been anything but that.  One of Nu Skin’s founders, Sandie Tillotson, has had tell-all books published by her ex-husbands that marred Nu Skin’s image.  Another founder of Nu Skin, Nedra Roney, was charged with insurance and prescription fraud and her husband, Robert Clark McKell, was accused of perpetrating far worse crimes.

The Final Verdict

So, to answer the question, “Is Nu Skin A Pyramid Scheme?”  Ahhhhhh.  Yes.  The Attorney General for the State of Connecticut calls them that.  Taking this into consideration and the continuous legal problems with Nu Skin and their products, I do not recommend their company or their business opportunity, also, because Nu Skin distributors and executives over-hyped the company’s products.  I find it difficult to believe any of  the proclaimed benefits of the product and its published “scientific” data.  With so many legitimate business opportunities out there, you’d be better off giving scandalous Nu Skin a miss.

Are you presently a distributor for Nu Skin or have you been one in the past?  I’d love to hear about your experiences with the company.  Please leave your comments below.


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  1. CannaGary

    Wow Barb,
    I have not heard of Nu-Skin for a very long time. Back in the early 90’s, I was living in Tampa Bay FL. My girlfriend at the time and I became Nu-Skin distributors.
    I think this was the 2nd MLM opportunity I got involved with. It is no way to make a living. Just like most any MLM, you will see the small % at the top raking in zillions. Meanwhile, you are begging every relative, friend and acquaintance you know to get in on this awesome ground floor opportunity.
    Oh, yeah and buy some product too.

    I still recall the walnut shells crushed into the facial scrub?
    Thanks for the low down, I think most all MLM’s are Scams

    • Hi, CannaGary!

      Yes, Nu Skin has been around a long time and so have their legal problems!

      Personally, I am not a big fan of MLMs. Unless you can sell like a madman/madwoman and recruit just as much, you won’t be very successful. Some people are successful with MLMs, but you really have to have the right personality. You have to like selling, recruiting and managing a team.

      Walnuts? Interesting. LOL

      If you are still interested in starting your very own successful online business. Check out my #1 pick here.

  2. Rosa

    Hi Barb,

    I’ve never heard of Nu Skin before or an MLM opportunity for that matter. Just by learning that a company is an MLM I would avoid it all together. I’ve been involved in an MLM before and never had any amount of success.

    I am disgusted with the fraud and criminal activities among the founders and lying to their distributors and the public. I am also disgusted that they used animals for testing. I love animals and hate that animals are put to suffer just for the sake of money.

    Thank you for sharing this information and for the blunt detail in what is going on from the inside.

    • Barb

      Hi, Rosa!

      I’m glad I was able to help and keep you informed.

      I, too, am not a big fan of MLMs.  You have to be really comfortable with selling, recruiting and managing a team.  You also have to be really careful when it comes to selecting which company to ultimately go with.  Some companies have great products and compensations plans.  Others, such as Nu Skin, do not and have a long list of problems.

      If you truly want a legitimate online business opportunity, check out my top recommendation here.


  3. tom

    Thanks for your insightful review.
    I never heard of Nu Skin before today, now I feel as though I know all the in’s and out’s of what the company is about. It seems like a iffy kind of way to make money online. It is good to know all the details – Thanks, Tom

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