I put together this post around becoming a Beautycounter Consultant FAQ soon after I published My Beautycounter Story because so many people are always wondering, “Is Beautycounter an MLM?”

I’ve sent so many informational emails already. To save time plus have all the information in one place, I decided to put together this comprehensive post so you can read through it all and learn at your own pace.

Is Beautycounter an MLM (Updated 2023, Scam or Real?)

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Is Beautycounter an MLM (Updated 2023, Scam or Real) agutsygirl.com #beautycounter #skincare

Because I have so many potential new consultants coming my way and wondering all about the idea that Beautycounter is just “another MLM company,” I’m going to address that first in this massive FAQ on Beautycounter as a whole.

What Exactly are MLM Companies?

MLM stands for Multi-Level Marketing.

It is a business model where products or services are sold directly to consumers through a network of distributors. 

MLM companies recruit individuals as distributors to sell their products or services and also encourage those distributors to recruit others to become part of their sales network. 

Distributors earn commissions not only from their direct sales but also from the sales made by the distributors they recruit and the distributors those recruits bring in, forming a multi-level compensation structure.

Is a Multi-Level Marketing Company the Same as a Pyramid Scheme?

They are not the same, but they can share similar qualities.

Here’s a breakdown of the main differences between MLM companies and pyramid schemes

  1. Source of Revenue:
    • MLM Companies: MLM companies generate revenue from the sales of legitimate products or services to end consumers. Distributors earn commissions based on their personal sales and the sales made by their downline (recruited distributors). The focus is on selling products to customers.
    • Pyramid Schemes: Pyramid schemes, on the other hand, make money primarily through the recruitment of new participants into the scheme. These schemes often require participants to pay an upfront fee or buy inventory to join. The emphasis is on recruiting new members rather than selling products or services to customers.
  2. Sustainability:
    • MLM Companies: A legitimate MLM company can be sustainable over time if it focuses on actual product sales and provides value to its customers. Distributors can make money through the sales of products, and the company’s success depends on the market demand for its offerings.
    • Pyramid Schemes: Pyramid schemes are inherently unsustainable because they rely on constantly recruiting new participants to pay into the scheme. As the pyramid grows larger, it becomes mathematically impossible to recruit enough new members to sustain the scheme, and the majority of participants inevitably lose money.
  3. Legality:
    • MLM Companies: MLM companies can be legal as long as their business practices comply with the laws and regulations of the countries they operate in. However, some MLM companies may face legal challenges if their practices are deemed deceptive or resemble a pyramid scheme.
    • Pyramid Schemes: Pyramid schemes are illegal in many countries because they are fraudulent and ultimately lead to financial harm for the majority of participants.

How is Beautycounter different from an MLM?

Remember from above that the hallmark of an MLM is that in order to make money you must recruit individuals as distributors to sell products or services and also encourage those distributors to recruit others to become part of their sales network. 

So, let’s chat about that from a Beautycounter perspective: You don’t HAVE to recruit a team to make money with Beautycounter. (Full transparency – I’m making money currently and it’s just me – in other words active consultants can earn money on their own, similar to any affiliate program. I personally relate the way I go about my Beautycounter business the same way as other affiliate marketing. Essentially, it’s just sharing about products I love and buy already, and if someone wants to purchase through my link, we all win. There is zero scam in that.) 

Beautycounter also sells via multiple channels, which was a huge selling point for me and helped legitimize the brand as more than an MLM (we prefer direct sales companies).

Beautycounter has done partnerships with Target, Goop, and Rachel Zoe’s brand. They also do a pop-up shop for retail sales in Nantucket where consultants can host socials! Within these partnerships, they created a way to funnel direct purchasers back to a local consultant. 

They’re really committed to the business opportunity they provide their team members – aka independent consultants – aka you + me.

Is Beautycounter an MLM (Updated 2023, Scam or Real) agutsygirl.com #mlm #beautycounter

Get Rich Quick Scam

Tell me how annoyed you are when scrolling through social media and see,

I’m a millionaire, I’m going on vacation, I’m buying a second home, etc., etc. now won’t you join me?!

THIS is the way a lot of people go about their MLM programs because they know that the only way to hit the top of the pyramid and/or make a quick buck is by selling that life. 

But the truth is that those are few and far between – people actually living the super high good MLM life. 

And, in fact, unless I create a blog post with valuable information, you won’t find me posting about Beautycounter. And if I choose to do so in the future, it’s 100% copy crafted by me, for me, and with an objective other than to be the peak of a triangle with hundreds of people under me.

To each his own, but I’ve learned a million and five things about building online communities and having a comfortable financial life these past several years and none of those learnings have been about any sort of MLM. 

By the way, while you can earn a ton, almost no one is making millions. I’m certainly not. Please don’t ever be fooled by the hundreds of people saying they are.

Is there a “start-up” fee?

Here is exactly how you would sign up to become a Beautycounter consultant / advocate:

  1. Enroll for $20. Their digital enrollment kit has everything you need to hit the ground running.
  2. Select a mentor. Your Mentor will help you build your clean beauty business. Don’t have a Mentor in mind? No worries, I am here for that, in case you want to join the mission.
  3. Shop (OPTIONAL). You will also get a limited-time savings on their Starter Kits or shop anytime with your 25% discount on your own purchases for any and all safer products (= that’s all of them!).

This is so much different than a traditional MLM because most of those require so much money just to get started.

You don’t with Beautycounter because this is NOT an MLM and your initial investment is literally only what you want to try out for yourself and / or invest in.

Honestly, I barely bought anything when I first started because I, too, was skeptical. And then, over time, due to the insanely quality of the products, I began purchasing almost all of my skin care products and cosmetic products through the company.

It just made sense.


So, the good news is that it’s just literally $20 to enroll – and no huge personal volume to start. 

AND, you also get all of this with enrollment:

  1. Personal website – your own Beautycounter website so customers can easily learn about Beautycounter products and purchase directly from you
  2. Training platform
  3. Business tools
  4. Mobile app
  5. Support – you’ll have an instant community of other like-minded health enthusiasts to bounce ideas off of and share information with

Is there a monthly sales quota?

You don’t have any sales requirements or quotas, and you don’t have to spend ‘x’ amount every month to get your commission check. You’ll be paid no matter what. 

Technically, you could become a consultant having never tried a single product (of course, I wouldn’t recommend that!). 

It’s really “choose your own adventure!”

However, if you don’t make $1200 in sales (your purchases + any sales referred) within 6 months, they deactivate your consultant status. It’s not a punishment or anything. And I wouldn’t call it a quota since you still get paid no matter what. 

Really, it’s just their way of ensuring that people actually “work their business” vs. just becoming a consultant for the 25% discount. $1200 in 6 months is $200 per month. It’s nothing.

How do I make money as a consultant?

You can run an online Beautycounter business (like I do) or have an offline one where you’re doing parties, socials, etc – or even a combination of both.

Unless you REALLY want to process your own customers’ orders (some consultants like to do this at socials so they don’t leave anything up to chance) the end-user/customer experience at Beautycounter.com is exactly the same whether shopping WITH a consultant or without.

There’s no “give us your social security number, gateway-to-buying” situation. Once you refer people to a product or the home page, their shopping experience is just like any other online retailer. 

Because commissions on every product are between 25-35% (the difference is the 10% bonus as your volume increases), your own sales could comprise the entirety of your earnings. If you do end up signing people up (and that really happens organically) you get between 5-9% of their sales. 

Some people love mentoring and prefer to help others sell while focusing less on their own volume (I can see myself there at some point).

There are a few extra layers built in to the comp plan. These include things like: rank, which earns you extra % points on your downline (an incentive assuming you’re spending time coaching your team vs. making your own sales) and also up to 10% personal sales bonus on your own sales as your volume grows (an incentive for people who are rocking their own businesses vs. coaching a team).

If you’re interested in seeing their income disclosure statement you’ll find that HERE.

Are there autoship or purchase requirements?

There are NO autoship or required purchases, for consultants or for customers…but there IS a loyalty program, Band of Beauty, where frequent shoppers can pay a yearly $20 fee – usually with a free item as a signup gift – and receive 15% back from all purchases as product credit (example: spend $100, get a $15 product credit for your next purchase).

If you are a Band of Beauty member, you will also receive free shipping on orders over $100.

What kind of training does Beautycounter provide?

I am on an amazing team (which you would then be as well), and my immediate mentor, Liz Wolfe, helped me with every last question I had (and continues to do so).

Upon joining, I was immediately added to two private Facebook groups, and I receive emails from both Arsy (yes, Rubies & Radishes) and Beautycounter that have been extremely helpful!

Additionally, Liz created a small quickstart training booklet for anyone to use. You can also distribute the booklet to your own team, if desired. Yes, you have the freedom of building your own team!

I’ve never waited very long for an answer to anything. 

There is also a digital kit for new consultants to help you get started immediately.

What else can you do with the company?

You can be a part of something bigger than selling incredible products and networking with amazing people.

There’s the political advocacy for more health-protective laws at the state and federal level.

Gregg Renfrew, Beautycounter founder stated,

Today, the beauty industry still has very little regulation, and the supply chain is complex. Much of our product development and advocacy work has been challenging, and at times even daunting. But this hard work comes with a big reward: It is helping us get safer products into the hands of everyone. I hope you find just as much fulfillment in this movement as I do, and I thank you for joining our team.

If you care about the safety of personal care products in the United States, this is a huge platform and mission you can stand with and behind.

What’s your favorite part of the mission?

Honestly? For me, it all came down to how the products are made and, more importantly, what they are not made with (there is no SLS, SLES or ALS in any of Beautycounter’s products).

The Never List and Beautycounter’s commitment to it fit like a glove with my overall health and wellness mission and goals for making skin and body care products as much a focus and priority as food has been.

How can I get started?

To sign up as a consultant –> You just go to my PWS – http://www.beautycounter.com/sarahhoffman, click “become a consultant,” and sign up! Just make sure I’m listed as your mentor.

You’ll pay a small enrollment fee. Then, you’ll decide if you want a starter set. Remember: you do NOT have to.

Finally, you’ll be ready to generate your unique tracking links within a few hours.

From there, I get you plugged into our team resources. We keep in touch as much as you need as you onboard (yay! Emails between you and me all the time!), and you’re on your way.

Top 6 Reasons to Join A Gutsy Girl Beautycounter Team

If you need more reasons for why I think you’ll love joining the mission, I have put together 6.

1. Non-Toxic MLM

As I’ve shared throughout this entire article, it never feels like an MLM because in so many ways it differs from the traditional (I know, too, because I took on both Creative Memories and Mary Kay at one point in life – ha). 

But at the end of the day, it is an MLM (multi-level marketing company). 

That said, it’s a non-toxic, studied and approved by many, company. Mamavation recently released research through an article titled, “The Ultimate Non-Toxic Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) Investigation.” 

They researched 60 MLM’s and gave them good (green), yellow (better), and bad (red) zone rankings. Nothing on the list surprised me except for one in the red zone. 

Completely not surprising was that Beautycounter was in the green zone. When you join Beautycounter, you’ll at least be able to feel confident that the products you’re using and selling to family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, and other clients do not contain things like synthetic fragrance, toxic preservatives, endocrine disrupting chemicals, pesticides and carcinogens. 

2. We can Work Together

Maybe you care about this and maybe not, but obviously when you join the A Gutsy Girl Beautycounter team, we will work together. 

Does this mean that I am available to chat 24/7 and always at your convenience via phone? Absolutely not. In fact, do you know that I have never once spoken on the phone with my mentor, Liz Wolfe? And that’s totally fine with me. Sometimes, it takes her several days to get back to me. Do I sweat about it? No way. She always respond and I always get what I need. You will, too. 

I am almost always available via email and text, and we have a larger group to bounce questions off of and get ideas from constantly. 

3. Run Your Own Business

Want to dip your toes into the entrepreneurship (and/or mompreneurship) world? Then do not let fear stand in your way. I am going to repeat this one. Do NOT let fear stand in your way. 

If I had been fearful years ago about going out on my own, I would never have the things I do today. 

No, Beautycounter is not my only business, but it’s a part of it. It can be a part (or all) of yours, too. And it’s 100% yours. You do with it whatever and however you wish. 

No one will tell you when to hustle or when to go to your kid’s holiday program. 

Like everything else in life, the more you put in, the more you’ll get out. If you need more motivation on this one, read —>The Time is Now.

4. Save on the Things You Already Buy

Let’s do something super basic. Everyone buys mascara. The Volumizing Mascara is $30, but you, as a consultant, will get it for $22.50. You get 25% off anything and everything. 

This is one of the reasons it was so easy for me to justify the price of the Cleansing Balm – because I got it for much less. 

There is no denying that these are somewhat more expensive products than their traditional counterparts, but like with anything in life — you get what you pay for.

Now I’m addicted and I would happily pay full price if I needed to. You will get these benefits, too.

5. Build Your Own Team

You know it, you’ve seen it, and you want in on it — #GirlBoss. If you want, you can build your own team. 

Some of you are crazy awesome leaders and networkers. You can use that to your advantage by building a team of awesome women just like you and ultimately having the opportunity to make even more money. 

My little team is “A Gutsy Girl’ – obviously – but you’ll get to call yours whatever you want or nothing at all. 

Again, your business, your terms. 

6. Stand for Something

When you join Beautycounter, you get to stand for something. 

This something is that safer products should be available to everyone. 

You’ll never have to worry about the negative ramifications most “beauty” companies leave their customers. In every single piece of my business – whether it’s specific gut-focused or lifestyle gut-healing focused, I never, ever think, “Will my work negatively impact someone’s health and well-being?”

Where can I learn more about the company, founders, products, and mission?

I have linked to a ton of articles and videos in My Beautycounter Story

Do you have more questions? I will add them to this post as they come in, but for now, feel free to email them to me by clicking HERE.

p.s. Interested in learning more about Safer Beauty first? Join my 12 Days of Safer Beauty journey for FREE by clicking HERE.

If you liked this post, you might also enjoy:

  1. In Case My Daily Routine Interests You (Episode 85, Bites #26)
  2. Toxic Beauty
  3. Rosacea vs Seborrheic Dermatitis (+ other gut-skin issues): Podcast Episode 48


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  1. How old do you have to be to be a consultant? I am 20 and passionate about this, but I am not sure if BC would require you to be 18 or 21 to be a consultant.

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