Multi-Level Marketing Scams: Beauty Products and Pyramid Schemes

Surely you’ve been in a Wal-Mart or Sam’s Club and seen the person hawking some magical wrinkle-removing cream. They’re insistent, aggressive, and really want you to buy their beauty products. Odds are good this person has gotten suckered into working for a Multi-Level Marketing “company,” also known as an MLM. Here’s the thing: every MLM is a scam.

Beauty Products and Pyramid Schemes

Not Every MLM, Right?

Most MLMs sell some kind of beauty product, or maybe nutritional shakes. No matter what they’re selling, they’re a scam. An MLM can be spotted based on the business model. They’re all direct-sales-based, though they put an emphasis on “employees” selling enough units to “become their own boss.”

When someone gets roped into an MLM, they have a direct superior who gets a cut of their sales. Likewise, the person that recruited their boss gets a cut of everything their boss gets. It’s called a “down-line,” and MLMs will tell you that they’re totally not pyramid in shape. They are. MLMs are pyramid schemes with more steps.

How is This Legal?

So, MLMs are technically legal. No one is forcing anyone to be a part of an MLM, and you can leave whenever. However, these “companies” operate like cults, making their members feel like happiness, wealth and success are just a few more sales away. They sell the dream that you will one day have a huge, profitable downline and never have to work another day in your life.

This is a myth. The only people profiting like that off of their downline are the few executives that started the company. Math becomes the enemy here: there aren’t enough people on earth to support MLM expansion rhetoric. Once you’ve been told to recruit five people who recruit five people, the math starts getting ludicrous.


As it turns out, MLMs have pretty well-funded lobbies. See, the CEOs and executives of these “companies” really like their easy, cushy jobs where they make a ton of money for doing nothing. For them, the dream is real. So, they pour a lot of their substantial fortunes into lobbying to make sure their activities remain legal.

So, the next time someone approaches you in the store to hawk some beauty product, remember to take it easy on them. They’ve been roped into a scam, and only time will tell how long it’ll take for them to take the blinders off and walk away.