Is Nu Skin A Pyramid Scheme?

Is Nu Skin A Pyramid Scheme? – What Do You Think?

Are you thinking about joining the Nu Skin MLM Program? Or are you already a distributor? Read on to find out, “Is Nu Skin A Pyramid Scheme?”

I have researched Nu Skin and would like to share my analysis with you. This overriding question will be answered. Be prepared, because the answer may surprise you.

Nu Skin Business Summary

Here is a summary of Nu Skin Enterprise:

  • Founded: 1984
  • Founders: Blake Roney, Steven J. Lund, Sandy Tillotson, Nedra Roney:
  • HQ: Provo, UTAH
  • Type of Company: MLM Personal Care & Dietary Supplements – Publicly traded company on the NYSE under NUS
  • Operations: Worldwide
  • Revenue: $2.58B in 2020

Nu Skin is a legitimate corporation and operates profitably. As a Multilevel Marketing business, it achieves its sales through an army of distributors.


Is Nu Skin A Pyramid Scheme?

The Nu Skin products fall under two categories:

  1. Personal Care
  2. Dietary Supplements

I’d like to summarize each of these products below and highlight their unique selling proposition.

Personal Care – Nu Skin Brand Name

Is Nu Skin A Pyramid Scheme?

These products are designed to ensure users look and feel their best. Nu Skin accomplishes these through skin cleansers, moisturizers, essential oils, facial creams, and anti-aging serums

Since 1984, Nu Skin has developed a solid reputation in this industry and has won several awards since they have been in business. Still being in business, and profitably so, you can conclude that their products do indeed work.

Are they worth the price? You won’t know until you use the products and feel you’re happy with the results.

For product brand names and details, visit the Nu Skin website.

Dietary Supplements – Pharmanex Brand

Is Nu Skin A Pyramid Scheme?

The main focus of the Pharmanex range of dietary supplements is to maintain optimum health. Specific areas include cardiovascular health, weight loss, anti-aging, cellular rejuvenation, and proprietary green tea-based foods.

Once again, are they worth the price? Only you can tell by trying them out for yourself and experiencing the results. For more information, visit the Nu Skin website.

How To Purchase The Products

The best way is through a Nu Skin distributor. You can find a distributor near you through the Nu Skin website. Or you could go to Amazon using my affiliate link for Nu Skin Personal Care Products, and Pharmanex Dietary Supplements.

Nu Skin policy prohibits its products from being sold on third-party websites. However, the reviews of the products sold on Amazon state that they are in the original Nu Skin sealed packaging and that they work. Someone said that a marketing pipeline has evolved where distributors who have purchased excessive products offload their stock.

The seller of Nu Skin products on Amazon is located in North Carolina in the US. The reviews of the products are extremely positive. Also, Amazon has strict policies about selling counterfeit products that are strictly enforced. Hence, I have no reason to believe that they are fake. I suggest you do your research and come to your own conclusion.

How Do You Get Paid

Like all MLM programs, you can get paid by retailing the products directly to customers and collecting the profit between the retail and wholesale price. It would take you forever to sell sufficient products all by yourself to earn a living wage. There is a way you can do this online, and I will share those secrets with you later.

MLM programs are set up to leverage your sales efforts through building a sales team. And then train your team members to make sales of their own and recruit them to build their own sales teams. Your income is based on a combination of your sales, the sales of your team, and earning bonuses for meeting benchmark requirements set by Nu Skin throughout the year.

It takes a lot of training, hard work, and working with your company leaders to succeed. This is not for everyone since so many give up too early. No matter what your business venture is, you cannot achieve success alone. It takes creating a vibrant team to make the dream work.

Compensation Plan

Compensation Plan

Every MLM company has its own version of the compensation plan that is based on the above marketing principle. They can all be quite complicated to comprehend. When you are a new distributor, I recommend not getting bogged down in the details and focus on three things.

  1. Training
  2. Promoting the productas to make sales
  3. Recruiting a few good team members to work with

There is a fallacy that you need to recruit hundreds of people into the business to make it. Let me ask you this question. Would you rather have 100 people who do nothing and drain you with endless questions and act dumb? Or would you prefer to have three members who are proactive and work the business as hard as you do?

The main reason why distributors are told to focus on recruiting is disingenuous. Recruits end up buying the products that add to the bottom line of the company. In many MLM companies, most of the products are sold to their distributors.

You are told that to find those three perfect team members, you have to recruit a lot. Wouldn’t you rather be more selective in who you add to your team and treat those others who say they want to join the business as customers only? Most MLM companies want it both ways.

Check Our This Compensation Plan Video

Rather than explaining the Nu Skin compensation pan myself, here is a short video by Blake who does it better than I could. Let me know what you think.

I got to be honest with you. I have tried MLM several times. Even though I had some success, I didn’t care much for the methods to build my business the company and its leaders advocated.

There is a better way for those who feel like me to build an MLM business that I will share later. It doesn’t involve attending meetings, recruiting your family and friends, and buying a ton of products to sell retail. Stay tuned till the end.

Nu Skin Pros and Cons

Every company has features and benefits that were really good. As well as having aspects of the business that can be a problem. Here are just a few of the pros and cons of Nu Skin that resonated with me.


  • Nu Skin has been successful in its business since 1984. It has a proven track record.
  • Clear mission to imnprove the lives of others through looking and feeling their best.
  • Innoivative product evolution over time to meet the needs of its cutomers and distributors


  • Products are not exclusively sold by distributors. You can buy them on Amazon for less!
  • Very competitive field. Hard to define the Nu Skin unique selling propositon.
  • Typical MLM pattern – Very few make money. HIgh distributor attrition rate. Constant need to recruit.

Please share the pros and cons of your own in the comments section below.

Is Nu Skin A Pyramid Scheme?

It boils down to how you define Pyramid Scheme. The method the MLM model uses to generate sales depends on each new distributor recruiting others. The revenue generated is indeed through the sale of products. And that keeps it legal.

In illegal pyramid schemes, profit is made only through the exchange of money. A scheme is set up where recruits pay money that goes to their upline. Often, this is made to appear legal by selling products that are grossly overpriced to achieve the same ends.

The one fact that is common to MLM and illegal pyramid schemes is recruiting is constantly needed for the business model to survive and grow. MLM companies can do this by gradually expanding to markets in different countries.

In the early days of MLM, new distributors had to pay a fee to join. This was disguised as funds to pay for business supplies. The FCC clamped down on this practice as the flow of these funds went upwards to mingled as commissions for upline active distributors.

Today, we see a modification of this approach. Instead of paying these entry fees, distributors must qualify for commissions by guaranteeing a minimum amount of sales each month. These sales can be achieved either through personal purchases or through sales to retail customers.

Hence, to me, an MLM can be considered a legal Pyramid Scheme. What do you think?

Can You Succeed In MLM Differently?

The evolution of technology today enables entrepreneurs to reach thousands of customers through Internet Marketing. There is a business model called Affiliate Marketing. Simply stated, most companies enlist the efforts of individuals called “affiliates” who they authorize to direct customers to their online stores using affiliate links. The most common methods are to share product reviews and comparisons with those searching for information with the intention of buying.

Affiliate marketers learn skills to use the Internet to find these customers and channel them to the companies they are affiliates of. When a sale is made, the company will pay the affiliate a commission. This is usually a percentage of the product price.

I wrote an article explaining in detail how this works that you can access via this link: MLM Online Secrets – Your Upline Doesn’t Want You To Know! In this article, I share with you my recommendation to create an online business where you will not have to bug your family and friends to generate an income, 24/7.

To learn more about how to use the Internet to build your MLM business click this link: MLM Online

Free Offer

Since you have stayed with me all to the end, I have a valuable free gift for you. It is an eBook called Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. This is the genesis of all self-development books that have been written to share strategies to change your life for the better. There is a secret it shares that will help you to truly succeed in whatever goal you set for yourself.

To access this free book, fill in your name and Email address in the form below. You will be directed to a place where you can download this book electronically and store it on your computer or mobile device. This is a simple read that I am sure will help you a lot. If you have already read this book, now is your opportunity to own it electronically for easy reading. When it is on your mobile device, you can use an app to vocally read it to you. Why not do this instead of listening to the radio while driving?

Please share any comments or questions in the comments section below.

I wish you much success in whatever you do to create a better life for yourself or your family.


Edwin Bernard

18 thoughts on “Is Nu Skin A Pyramid Scheme? – What Do You Think?”

  1. Hi Edwin! Than you for this comprehensive review on Nu skin. Though few people make money promoting it, I personally don’t think it is a pyramid scheme because this is an actual product that benefits people. I’ve seen many pyramid schemes out there, where the only way you benefit from the product is to recruit others into the scheme and make money off their investments. At least Nu skin is a real product that serves to help others have better skin rather than solely focusing on recruitment 

    1. Hi Julian,

      Thanks for your helpful comments. I totally agree with you that Nu Skin is not a Pyramid Scheme in the traditional illegal sense. In my post, I was trying to make a point that MLM in general uses tactics akin to illegal pyramid schemes to move products. I decided to categorize MLM programs as LEGAL pyramid schemes. 

      I appreciate why you do not agree with that assessment and I am fine with that. If more people made money in MLM this would not be an issue with me. It is a fact that the vast majority of MLM distributors do not make any decent income worth their time and effort. Instead, they become a source of consistent sales to the company. 

      The argument that you got to become a product of the product resonates with most new distributors. Until they figure out they are not even able to recoup the money they spend to buy the products to qualify for overrides I find this heartbreaking. And that is the main reason why I judge most MLM companies harshly. 

      If you want to respond to my perspective, I’d welcome it. However, I feel. we are in agreement other than how I use the phrase pyramid scheme. 

      I wish you all the best.


  2. Hi Edwin
    Thank you for a great review of NuSkin. The one major benefit of NuSkin is that their products are really great – I have tried them and truly had a great experience. Currently, my daughter and I are saving to buy a Lumispa – which brings me to the second point, they are not inexpensive.
    Like you, I don’t believe that MLM is the best way to go, particularly not when the products are also available on Amazon! Wow, my heart goes out to the distributors – it is a lot of hard work only to be competing against a mega player like Amazon.

    1. Hi Louise,

      Thanks so much for your comments regarding my Nu Skin post. I was approached by a colleague at my place of work in the mid-1980s who told me about this company called Nu Skin and its revolutionary products. I was not familiar with MLM companies at the time and didn’t know Nu Skin was one. I never gave my colleague the opportunity to tell me more as I didn’t express interest. To me, it sounded like a cosmetics company and I wasn’t into cosmetics. In retrospect, I should have been receptive since that was about when Nu Skin was founded.

      The prices of the Nu Skin products sold on Amazon cost less. Have you checked that out? I included a link in my post.

      I also wrote a review on other Health, Wellness, and Beauty MLM companies. You can find them using the pull-down menu on Reviews at the top.

      All the best to you.


  3. There are not that many pymarid schemes out there that are legit, I have been a part of a few of them and wasted a lot of time but it is good to know that this program is for real. One issue that I have with these kinds of programs is having to go to group meetings and motivating your team to push because if they don’t push you can not build your team then no one makes money. But with affiliate marketing, is different because you can make a good living with just you pushing the business and not having to depend on a group of persons to help you along the way. thanks so much for sharing.

    1. Hello Norman,

      You expressed my sentiments exactly. In this NU Skin article, I included a link to another in-depth article I wrote on MLM in general and recommended that MLM distributors use affiliate marketing techniques in their business building program. Here is the link if you are interested:

      If you have the time I’d love your insights into other MLM reviews I did. You can find them using the Reviews Pull-Down menu. I will be checking out your website as I love gardening. Up to a point lol.

      All the best to you.


  4. I like how you have described and explained the NU Skin scheme. Quite comprehensive and good to know knowledge. I personally don’t think is a pyramid scheme but everything is possible in this century isn’t it?. Thank you for this article.

    1. Hi Ariana,

      Thanks so much for your comments. I hope you noticed I concluded that Nu Skin was a legal entity and not operating as an illegal pyramid scheme. However, I am not into the MLM business as I found it very challenging to train enough recruits to help me grow my business. WIth affiliate marketing, I have more flexibility and can market whatever I want.

      If you have the time, can you check out other articles in my website and leave some of your really fine comments?



  5. Hi Edwin. Thank you for very interesting article. I was reading before a bit about Nu Skin program and to be fair opinions were quite mixed. But looking on your review its clear for me that its not something I would invest time and money into. IM not big fan of MLM in general, and fact that products are not exclusively sold make its very difficult (or impossible) to be really profitable. There are better options online to earn some money.

    1. Right on with your sentiment. I didn’t expect Nu Skin to be sod on Amazon until I did my research. I wonder if the same applies to other MLM products. Definitely takes the rug out from under the distributors. 

      Thanks for your comments.



  6. Thanks for your review of NuSkin. Based on the definition of a pyramid NuSkin is not. It is a legit MLM or network marketing company. Although I am not into MLM, I did visit their home office in Provo, UT in the late 1990s when they launched a company called Red Planet to enter the emerging internet marketing field with a phone-like device. I forget all the details but it was an interesting presentation. Not sure how long the company lasted as I chose not to get involved. It was also based on a MLM business model. I prefer more traditional businesses as well as affiliate marketing. All the Best.

    1. Hello Joseph,

      Thank you immensely for commenting on this post. I truly appreciate your insights into Nu Skin as well as that spin-off Red Planet. I had not heard of that company. I used to be an associate of USANA Health Sciences, also based in Utah. I visited their facility in SLC and found it very impressive in the area of using pharmaceutical grade manufacturing systems for nutritional supplements. They also constructed an amphitheater on the outskirts of SLC that they rent out for major events, as well as for their own convention activities. You can find my review of USANA via the Reviews pull-down menu at the top of my website.

      Glad you also are in favor of affiliate marketing. I will be checking out your website. Has a very catchy title. I wish you much success.


  7. I’ve learned, long ago, there’s always a pyramid “scheme” in absolutely everything and no longer regard the term “pyramid scheme” as dirty words!

    The family tree is a pyramid scheme in its own right, so to speak. It’s also called an ancestry tree.

    Businesses, especially credible ones, have an ancestry tree of their own. And, yes, it looks like a pyramid scheme but that’s to be expected.

    There’s always a beginning where the founder takes something that’s inspired them and shares it with others. Now, the difference between a blatant pyramid scheme and something that behaves more like an ancestry tree is how the whole “scheme of things” got started!

    Among the more ethical companies, there’s an actual people before profit mentality. The founder cares more than just the mighty dollar as all that caters to is personal greed and nothing more! Most often, such people who care about people before profit really don’t start a business with affiliate programs in mind! They usually start out with basic necessities.

    The “pyramid” doesn’t officially begin until more people want in on whatever it is that got started. If it’s more customers, then the founder has no choice but to expand his personnel to cover the increased demand. When Amazon first started out they were a simple book store. Look at them now! Like them or not, they too came from humble beginnings and they too didn’t give “pyramid schemes” much thought at the time. But now, as they’ve become the e-commerce giant they are, they’ve literally created what I prefer to call an ancestral tree that has literally opted to become part of their Amazon family.

    And this doesn’t just apply to Amazon! It applies here as well.

    1. Hello Millie,

      I loved your excellent discourse on the topic of the pyramid structure as it relates to corporations and illegal schemes. You may have figured out that I used Pyramid Schemes in my title as it does well in SEO rankings. People also gravitate towards controversial topics.

      You are right in your discussion about this topic. I hope you also noticed that we are in agreement on how this term is used. All organizations are pyramid in structure. It is only the organization that moves money upwards with no exchange for legitimate products that converts the structure into an illegal scheme. I coined the phrases legal and illegal pyramid schemes because I wanted to use the word scheme as a neutral term instead of the more common connotation as an illegal entity.

      If you have the time I would be honored if you checked out my reviews of other MLM companies that you can access using the Reviews pull-down menu at the top.

      Thanks so much for your contribution to my post.

      All the best to you.


  8. I would try their products because they seem to be innovating. But I would not join their business opportunity. They really are a waste of time as all the other MLMs out there. Well, at least form me. There is 1% that sells to their grandmother that is able to have success on these programs.

    1. Hi Ann, 

      I got a chuckle when you said Nu Skin distributors can have success by selling to their grandmothers. Hadn’t thought of it that way. I agree that most MLM only works for a few and therefore not worth the time. 

      Thanks for commenting.


  9. Hi Edwin, thank you for this detailed Nu Skin review, for your honest opinion about this company and its products, and for your free offer in allowing me and your readers to have an electronic copy of Napoleon Hill book. To be honest, I didn’t try Nu Skin products up to now, but, how you say, I will know if they are worth the price after trying one of them. I follow your affiliate link on Amazon and found some of the personal care Nu Skin products attractive in quality and price. 

    thank you again



    1. Hello Alketa,

      Thanks for your kind comments as well as for checking out my Amazon link. I only found out about Nu Skin being sold there, after my research and got very surprised. I’d love to hear what you think of the Nu Skin products. 



Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *