Nu Skin is a network marketing company whose specialty is scientific skin care products that fight aging. The company itself is quite old and well-established: It was first founded in 1984 in Utah, and it’s expanded across the globe since then.
As you might guess from a company so old (at least old relative to other MLM endeavors), interest in the company is quite stable, with search engine traffic staying at a constant level over the past several years.
Did I get on board? This explains everything:
This means that the company is fairly well-known, which can be good and bad. Easy to sell products that are more familiar, but also harder to penetrate a saturated market.
As many of the older MLM companies do, Nu Skin has had its fair share of tussles with federal regulators. In the early 1990s, it was investigated for deceptive marketing practices associated with the earnings of its independent distributors: Nu Skin was overstating how much money its distributors earned, painting a rosier picture than the actual reality.
The company settled soon after and agreed to change its sales pitch, but it wasn’t long until Nu Skin landed in hot water again–this time for its product claims.
After a multimillion dollar settlement, Nu Skin changed the marketing procedures for its products and has pledged to refrain from unsubstantiated claims about their skin products’ efficacy.
Today, Nu Skin is in trouble again, but this time with China: its expansion into international markets has run afoul of anti-pyramid scheme regulations, and the company was stung with a nearly $50 million fine in a court judgement for its business structure and for bribery.
Many of Nu Skin’s flagship products focus on anti-aging skin care. Their ageLOC system, for example, consists of a daily cleanser, a sunblock to reduce aging from ultraviolet radiation, a “future serum,” and a night-time facial treatment.
These products, while being tremendously expensive, are supposed to work synergistically to help your skin look and feel younger.
The cleanser consists of several synthetic organic compounds in a glycerin base. It’s hard to evaluate whether the ingredients represent anything special; most facial cleansers contain a similar mix of solvents and foaming agents.
The ingredients are certainly not all-natural–the second ingredient is “cocamidopropyl hydroxysultaine,” so it definitely doesn’t pass the pronunciation test.
But most cosmetic products are like this, given the difficult chemical interplay that exists between efficacy, shelf stability, foaming ability, and water solubility, to name just a few factors. Company literature claims it is gentle enough to work with all skin types, and helps prepare the skin for the other anti-aging products in the ageLOC line.
The future serum, which makes up the bulk of the cost of ageLOC packages, claims to be a clinically tested anti-aging skin solution. It’s tremendously expensive, at over $200 per bottle.
Additionally, the ingredients list is a black box of mysterious, hard-to-pronounce chemicals. Over 200 dollars is a high asking price for your trust. For that cost, it’d better work extraordinarily well to be worth using; this premise will definitely be reflected in your sales numbers. It will be awfully hard to convince a prospective customer to fork over that much cash for something that’s not guaranteed to work.
At least one product in the ageLOC line has some independent science backing its use. The Radiant Day lotion, which has a sun blocking SPF of 22, should help reduce the ultraviolet damage to your skin from the sun.
According to a 1997 scientific article published in the New England Journal of Medicine by Gary J. Fischer and other researchers, ultraviolet light has a profound, independent effect on skin aging.
In the article, the authors describe the difference between aged skin exposed to sunlight and aged skin shielded from it.
While both sun exposed and sun shielded skin become thinner and less elastic as they age, skin that is exposed to the sun is profoundly more wrinkled, has more uneven pigmentation, and has brown splotching. If you protect your skin from the sun, it will still be relatively smooth and unblemished.
So, the question then shifts to whether the other products are worth the investment. The story is similar with other Nu Skin products—they have raving testimonials, but are often rather expensive, and are hard to compare to what’s available from other companies over the counter.
To join, you need to purchase a startup kit for about $30. From there, you’re eligible for wholesale discounts to the tune of 25%, and you can start earning commission on distributors and customers underneath you right away (initial commission is 5%).
In this sense, the compensation plan is fairly simple. There are various higher levels with bonuses and points rewards, but the core structure remains the same: sell products at retail prices and reap the wholesale profit, and earn 5% commission on purchases of distributors and customers in your downline.
Probably as a result of its legal tussling, Nu Skin encourages an auto-ship, but does not require it, nor does it require you to actually purchase any products yourself to be a distributor.
Given the history of this company, the relatively narrow product category that it focuses on, and the extraordinarily high costs for some of their products, it’s going to be a tough sell to make this MLM scheme work for you.
Their income disclosure statement is sobering, even by MLM standards: only 36% of all distributors were termed “active,” and of these active distributors, only 19% earned any money in a given month. So those numbers are pretty bad. If you think you can beat the system, at least do your homework and know what you’re getting yourself into.
Bottom line is, if you’re doing it for the money, there are better ways to kill your day job. You might like our coaching because it shows you the good life without peddling products to your family and friends.