Is Nu Skin A Scam? MLM Giant With Over $40 Million Settlement?

nu skin scam review

Welcome to My Nu Skin Review!

I’ve talked about more than a dozen multi-level marketing (MLM) companies in the past and I can’t believe that I forgot about a networking giant -- Nu Skin. I’ve heard about this brand a few years ago and unlike other network marketing opportunities, their distributors focus more on promoting their products; not on recruitment.

Nu Skin Review Summary

Name: Nu Skin


Founders: Blake Roney, Steve Lund, Sandie Tillotson, and Nedra Roney

Product Type: Multi-Level Marketing

Price: $35 For The Initial Cost + $20 For The Annual Fee + $100+ For The Automatic Delivery Rewards (ADR)


Quick Summary: Nu Skin is an MLM giant known worldwide. It's been operating for more than 30 years and has over $2 billion in revenue in 2018. With over 1.5 million distributors worldwide, should you join this program?

Overall Rating: 5/10

Recommended: Yes... And No

Also, I’ve seen this brand being compared to new and old MLM companies and so far, I’ve seen that it has excelled in many ways. But then there are also negative reviews, saying that it’s a pyramid scheme in disguise.

So what’s the truth?

Is Nu Skin a scam?

What makes it different from other MLM programs?

Is it worth your time?

Let’s find out everything you need to know in this honest Nu Skin review.

What Is Nu Skin About?

As the name suggests, Nu Skin is a multi-level marketing brand that focuses on promoting skincare products and dietary supplements. The Utah-based company was founded in 1984 by Blake Roney, Steve Lund, Sandie Tillotson, and Nedra Roney.

That being said, it’s one of the longest operating MLM brands as of today and is also one of the biggest and most recognized. It’s publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange as NUS. It’s also operating internationally with more than 1.2 million independent distributors.

Now that’s a huge achievement.

Multi-level marketing companies often have a bad impression mainly because of their structure. Other than selling expensive products, you have to recruit other people so you can earn a commission from their sales. While this is a legit business model, some distributors are unethical when it comes to inviting people. 

For instance, based on my personal experience, one MLM distributor from UNO Philippines Networking asked me to borrow my father’s laptop and pretend that I lost it. What would actually happen is this: I will sell the device and use the money to join their brand. 

The distributor said that “I will be earning thousands and that I will be able to replace my father’s laptop with a better model.” I was just in college back then but I was not stupid to believe that. A few years later, UNO’s members turned the company down.

Anyway, that’s just an example of why most people are hesitant about joining this kind of MLM opportunity so it’s impressive to see brands like Nu Skin since it’s not only gaining a huge revenue but also a good reputation from product users and their own distributors.

However, like most MLM companies, such as Cloud 9 Life and Juuva, it’s received several complaints because of unethical practices. Below are some controversies that the brand has got into:

  • In 1992, it was accused of exaggerating their distributors’ income and false advertising.
  • In 1994, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigated Nu Skin due to deceptive claims about its products, which resulted in a $1 million settlement and a signed consent decree.
  • In 1997, another $1.5 million was settled to FTC over unverified promotional claims.
  • In 2014, the brand was tagged as a “suspected illegal pyramid scheme” by a People’s Daily newspaper report.
  • In 2016, the brand was sued by China, which resulted in a $47 million settlement and another $750,000 for bribing.

Typical MLM concerns but still worth considering, especially if you are planning to join this opportunity and earn a regular income from it.

I mean, if there are issues about overstating their distributors’ income and pyramid scheme-lie practices, do you really think that this is worth your time?

However, I’d like to clear something about MLM and pyramid scheme opportunities.

As mentioned above, network marketing is a legit business model. It has tangible products and/or services to promote and make money from. You can also earn by inviting new people to be a part of your team and the company will compensate you from the sales that your downline makes.

A pyramid scheme, on the other hand, will pay you for recruitment and any sales you make from them. It’s illegal and the business model often collapses in a short time, leaving its members unpaid.

That being said, MLM companies like Nu Skin may be legit; however, when a brand is putting too much attention on recruitment, it’s often deemed as a scam. So, you must watch out for this red flag before joining a program no matter how legitimate or established it is.

Nu Skin Product Line

Nu Skin has over 200 skincare and nutritional products. On their website, you’ll see that it's divided into three categories: Nu Skin, Pharmanex, and Anti-Aging.

nu skin product line

Basically, these are the same essentials we see on other MLM brands, such as anti-aging moisturizers and cleansers, soap bars, and toothpaste. They also have cosmetics that include foundations, mascaras, and makeup brushes.

There are nutritional supplements that claim to optimize health and lose weight.

It’s a massive and interesting selection but the question is -- does it work?

I haven’t tried any of their brands because it’s too expensive. Also, there’s a time when one of its distributors asked me to post their product and that I could earn a small commission if someone purchases it.

What made this approach skeptical is this: the distributor asked me to create a public Facebook post on how their AP-24 Whitening Fluoride Toothpaste made my teeth whiter. Once the post is up, their distributors will like and comment on my post, saying that they’re using it and they like how it works.

That alone made me question their products. I mean, it’s hard to trust a brand that pays people to put positive reviews. If their essentials are good enough, for sure, their consumers will spread the word even without getting paid.

This is just my opinion and if you go online, you can see legit positive and negative Nu Skin product reviews, and I’ve placed a screenshot below:

nu skin product review

How To Make Money With Nu Skin?

The company is well-known and has acquired over a million distributors in many countries, such as Canada, Hong Kong, and the Philippines but like other MLM brands, it almost has the same compensation plan structure.

Basically, there's the retail commission or the commission you get when you sell their products. You can earn around 5% to 25% profit by marketing their products.

You also need to invite people so you can earn from their sales and also, expect them to make their own team. This means that you should train and encourage your downline to recruit more people as this can help you increase your rank and earn more commissions, incentives, and bonuses.

I will not bore you with the details of their compensation plan but if you’re interested, you can watch the video below:

Is Nu Skin A Scam?

Despite the allegations and settlement, Nu Skin is not a scam. It’s publicly traded and after 30 years, it’s still up and operating legally. Yes, there might be issues -- a lot of it -- but it’s far from being a Ponzi scheme or a scam.

If you rely on the Better Business Bureau (BBB), it’s good to know that it’s accredited since 1985 with an A+ rating.


To become a member of Nu Skin, you can sign up with the help of an existing distributor or on their website. You’ll pay $35 for the initial cost and another $20 for the annual fee.

Like most MLM companies, you have to maintain a certain Personal Volume (PV) to keep your account active and be qualified for commissions.

This is why the brand recommends you to subscribe for their Automatic Delivery Rewards (ADR) program so you can receive products automatically. Just a heads up, this means paying over $100 every month.

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Well-Established Brand

Nu Skin has been around for more than 30 years, operating in many countries. It’s publicly traded in the NYSE and it has a revenue of 2.68 billion as of 2018. That being said, it’s well-established and far from being a scam so in case you’ve invested your time and money on it, there’s a lesser chance for it to just dissolve and leave you unpaid.

Of course, you should take this with a grain of salt because MLM opportunities are almost unpredictable. Nonetheless, if you’re questioning their legitimacy, the answer is obvious -- Nu Skin itself is not a scam.


Previous Controversies

Lying about their distributors’ income and product claims are not easy to ignore. You are about to invest your money, time, and effort on a program so it’s good to know if it’s really worth it. 

If the members are earning enough, why the need to exaggerate it? If the products are working as promised, why the need to advertise false claims?

The sad thing is that these are not just issues made. Nu Skin has settled a massive amount of cash and it might only mean that they are guilty about it.

Let’s not forget the pyramid scheme allegations. Even if Nu Skin is a legit brand, the unethical practices of their distributors might mean otherwise and mind you, some programs were shut down because the FTC flagged them as a scam.


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Who Is It For?

This and other legit MLM opportunities are ideal for those who have experience in sales or networking brands. This business model, after all, is extra challenging since you’re not only required to sell products; you should also invite people to join and encourage them to do the same.

Final Opinion/Verdict

Nu Skin is one of the most popular MLM brands today. It’s legit and widely marketed in many countries. It has over a million distributors worldwide; however, it’s also been involved with several controversies, which include misleading product claims, false income disclosure statements, and being an alleged pyramid scheme.

I can’t recommend Nu Skin though because personally, I have a bad impression about the brand because of my experience. There are many good MLM brands to consider, which are not only lucrative but also practice an ethical approach.

What’s Next?

If you don’t want to recruit people, pay for monthly subscriptions, or simply get involved with a controversial company, I suggest that you join my top-recommended program.

There’s no need to worry about buying products every month or create a team and train them one-by-one. Also, when you sign up now, you have access to the following tools and support you need, such as:

Training resources

Webinars to help you start your business online

One-on-one coaching

Comprehensive guide

And many more!

I hope my Nu Skin review has enlightened you and if you have questions or comments, please feel free to share it below.

Thank you!

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Caroline So

I'm a stay-at-home mom always on the lookout for ways on how to make LEGITIMATE money online. I also love to write; when not working as a content writer, I create blogs about skincare, makeup, motherhood, and digital marketing. I joined Vasiliy as a writer for Best Lifetime Income blog.

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