Younique Review: Pyramid Scheme Or Legit MLM Worth Trying?

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Younique Review Scam Or Legit

Younique is a multi-level marketing (MLM) company best known for selling beauty and skincare products.

And since you’re reading this Younique review, you’re probably wondering if it’s legit or some kind of scam or pyramid scheme? That's exactly what we're going to find out.

We’ve reviewed many MLMs here on the blog like ZijaNikken, World Ventures and Pink Zebra so let’s see how this makeup MLM fares.

And just so you know: I am not a Younique presenter or sponsor.

I’m just an honest guy on the outside looking in, doing my best to give you truthful and unbiased information on the best ways to make money online when you need it.

Younique Review At A Glance

What Is Younqiue Review

Starter Pack: £67 or $99 plus tax

Owners: Derek Maxfield, Melanie Huscroft


Quick Summary:

The chances are you came across this business opportunity either through a social media post or a friend or family member who recently became a Younique presenter and is trying to sign you up.

If you're into makeup and beauty products and have dreams about running your own successful business then Younique might seem like a good option.

What I'm going to say next might make some people mad but I'm here to give it to you straight so here goes…

Beyond the hype, Younique is fundamentally a pyramid scheme; yes it's a legal product-based pyramid scheme but a pyramid scheme nonetheless.

There's no getting around the fact if you want to reach the higher levels of this company you're going to need to do a lot of recruiting. That's just the way the compensation plan is set up.

This is going to mean harassing your friends and family to try and convince them to buy makeup and spending your days spamming Facebook groups to try and get new recruits.

Watch this eye-opening BBC investigation into Younique to see how it really works:

As for the makeup products, they're way overpriced. There are tons of complaints online about the quality of their mascaras and eyeliners.

If you want to be part of something you can be proud of, Younique isn't it.

If you're looking for a better way to build a successful business by using your passion and expertise to help others then I think you'll like affiliate marketing.

It's where you make money promoting other people's products by building successful websites or blogs around any topic you're interested in and you get people coming to your site daily through search engines like Google.

I've been creating profitable niche websites for 5 years now and I make more than $7,000 a month. It'll take work and determination but it is worth it.

With affiliate marketing there's no direct selling, no makeup parties and no recruiting. The best part? There's online training that will show you how to get started for free.

What Is The Younique Business Opportunity?

what is the younique business opportunity
Younique Co-Founders

Let's take a closer look at the Younique business opportunity and find out what makes them so “younique”.

Younique is a multi-level-marketing, direct sales cosmetic company that specialises in makeup and beauty products.

It was launched in 2012 by brother and sister team Derek Maxfield and Melanie Huscroft.

As of 2020, they have over 500,000 distributors in the UK, US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

For $99 you can purchase a Starter pack and become a Younique presenter.

They have a strong emphasis on using social media and holding ‘digital parties' and every presenter gets a website they can share on social media sites to hopefully generate sales and get new recruits.

The Younique slogan is: “Uplift. Empower. Validate.”

This also ties in with their vision statement:

“Our mission is to uplift, empower, validate, and ultimately build self-esteem in women around the world through high-quality products that encourage both inner and outer beauty and spiritual enlightenment; while also providing opportunities for personal growth and financial reward.”

You'll hear them say things like “Believe in yourself!” and “Work towards your dreams!” when they're trying to get you to sign up, but the reality is odds of succeeding with this are against you.

According to FTC research, 99% of MLM participants lose money.

You're going to have to turn every single conversation you have with family, friends and even complete strangers around to the ‘Younique home business opportunity'.

I think people have had enough with wave after wave of American MLMs and pyramid schemes and I know I always avoid people I know are on the hunt for recruits.

Can You Make Money Selling Younique?

Despite claiming they have the “most beautifully simple compensation plan in the industry”, Younique's compensation structure is incredibly complicated.

You'll find dozens of YouTubers trying desperately to clarify Younique's complex compensation plan:

But let me go ahead and try give you a general overview…

Younique has a colour grading system. Each level has minimum sales requirements and a minimum number of people you have to sign up in order to qualify.

As a new presenter, you start out at the white level, though to fully qualify you'll need to generate $150 in sales for 20% commission.

See the Younique commission chart below, the royalties relate to your downline, i.e. the people who have signed up as business owners under you:

the younique makeup pyramid scheme

Simple right? Not quite…

Because to work out how much money you'll actually get paid you also have to take into account Younique's status requirements:

younique commission chart

The best explanation I've found is on where they say:

“The only requirement you must meet as a white status is to sell $125 in a rolling 3 month period to stay active with the company.

If you divide that up by the 3 months, you are selling a minimum average of $41.67 each month. This makes your commission $8.33 each month.

Here is the math:

$125/3 = $41.666666

$41.66666 x 0.2 = $8.33″

Are you still confused? Me too! Let's move on…

Is Younique A Pyramid Scheme?

Let's address the elephant in the room: is Younique a pyramid scheme?

Some people will flat out deny it and argue with you until they're blue in the face saying Younique is absolutely, definitely not a pyramid scheme.

I know how they work and however they try and present it, the fact remains the same: the commission structures are all set up to sign others up into your downline. No recruitment = no money.

This lady who gets angry and upset when people call Younique a pyramid scheme:

While I love this lady's passion and honestly wish her every success, she's completely deluded. Let's go through and rebuttle a few points she made here.

1. “This Is My Business”

First off, it's not your business. 

I'm really sorry. I know this is hard to accept when your inside the ‘hype bubble' but you don't actually own a business. The only thing you own are the overpriced products you paid for.

Your website isn't yours either, it's on loan to you from Younique and if they go under, so do you. They can cancel your presenters account at any time without notice. You're just a link in a pyramid chain.

The future doesn't look promising either as Younique sales continue to decline.

2. “Younique Isn't A Pyramid Scheme”

In the video, she says Younique is in no way a pyramid scheme but I have to disagree with her definition:

A pyramid scheme is when you promise somebody that if they sign up to something that they make money by signing for it wthout having a product or service to sell.

This isn't accurate. Most pyramid schemes have products and services. Here's a more accurate Wikipedia definition of what a pyramid scheme is:

“A pyramid scheme is a business model that recruits members via a promise of payments or services for enrolling others into the scheme, rather than supplying investments or sale of products or services.

As recruiting multiplies, recruiting becomes quickly impossible, and most members are unable to profit; as such, pyramid schemes are unsustainable and often illegal.”

While it's true that in order to qualify for the next colour status you have to meet sales targets, you have to meet recruiting targets too. Recruiting others is what drives the whole incentive program.

If it wasn't a pyramid scheme, why recruit others at all? Why not open stores, why not sell directly on Amazon? Why is there such an emphasis on recruiting others if it's not a pyramid scheme?

So any corporation with a CEO, leadership structure and employees is a pyramid scheme?

Not quite…

When an employee applies to work for a company there's an agreement on the salary they'll get in return for the work they do.

My biggest problem with pyramid schemes like this is that they often recruit people with false or unrealistic earning expectations. You can promise unlimited earnings and $1000s but the truth is, a very tiny percentage of people in multi-level-marketing make any serious money at all.

By very definition, a pyramid works with a few people at the top making most of the money and lots of people at the bottom making next to nothing, regardless of how much effort they put in.

is Younique a pyramid scheme

I've been involved with MLMs before so I totally get when you're excited about the opportunity and your goal is to make life-changing amounts of money, it's hard to hear the negatives…

But sometimes it's good just to take a step back and evaluate before you put too much money and energy into it.

The MANY Younique Product Complaints

Before I get onto the quality of the products, there are tons of complaints online about delivery times. Instead of the 3-5 day window they promise, expect to wait more than 4 weeks to receive your order.

The shocking customer service is thanks to items showing as available on the website despite being out of stock and you're only told this after you've placed your order.

Whether you're about to sign up or are looking for another opportunity, my advice to you before signing up to Younique or any other program is: always do your research.

It took me just 2 minutes to find 250+ customer complaints on sites like

Some are quite shocking but all of them are from angry and upset customers who felt the product didn't meet the most basic quality standards.

younique product complaints

Is this really something you want to put your name behind?

Do you really want to sell expensive products like these to your loved ones when you can buy much better quality cosmetic products at places like Target for half the price?

Younique's mascaras, liquid eyeliners and lipsticks all have known issues.

In fact, a woman who made it to elite black status publically quit Younique.


Because the product is crap!

She was doing very well for herself and earned 6-figures earner and planned on working with Younique for the rest of her life.

Here's Kara Newton to tell her story:

Did you hear that?

“Everyone knew the $30 mascara was horrible but they were told to keep quiet.”

Issues with liquid eyeliners, problems with backorders, low-quality lipstick = all crappy products at premium prices.

younique product complaints and reviews

What I Like About Younique

  • It helps people think bigger about their lives, helps them set goals and start to think about working for themselves.
  • Younique is embracing the digital age by giving presenters websites and using social media.

What I Don't Like About Younique

  • You end up becoming a spammer on Facebook (and getting blocked)
  • You become that pushy salesperson people go out of their way to avoid
  • The only make money by selling expensive, low-quality products to your family and friends and destroying your credibility in the process
  • MLMs are really scams
  • You won't get repeat orders thanks to the terrible customer service

Younique Review: Final Verdict

You DO NOT have to join a pyramid scheme to feel empowered or validated.

There are more legitimate, hype-free ways to build an online business for yourself promoting any products you're passionate about without having to deal with shipping, selling, payments or any of that stuff.

So if you're looking to learn how to build a real online business through building profitable and successful websites then check out my number one recommendation.

It’s where I got my start and now I make more than $7,000/month online. Oh, and you can put your credit card away because it’s free to start!

What Do You Think?

Thanks so much for reading my Younique review. As an outsider not getting paid to promote them, I've tried to be as honest and fair as possible.

I'd like to open this up for discussion and whether you agree with me or not, I'd be happy to reply to any comments or questions you have here in the comments section.

1 thought on “Younique Review: Pyramid Scheme Or Legit MLM Worth Trying?”

  1. My opinion is that the moment one needs a starter pack to access an opportunity it immediately makes it a pyramid scheme.

    The funds from product sales are then used to pay others higher up the pyramid.

    The next thing is the moment someone makes you buy their product (so you can sell it) means that they are having some sort of trouble selling the product.

    This points to the product being of poor quality/whose benefits are difficult to quantify.

    So when I see the words ‘starter pack’ or ‘joining fee’, I run.

    • Exactly.

      With most MLMs, recruiting others into the scheme as that is where the bulk of your money is made. Overcharging for products and starter packs is the only way MLMs stay viable. You’re basically paying for the privilege of selling expensive, unsafe and untested products.

      There are many MLMs out there. 1,000’s of them. The reason they will continue to be popular is that ‘some’ people make money with them (mostly the company and a very small handful of people at the top). In reality, Younique’s ‘business opportunity’ has nothing to do with the actual product and more to do with selling people into a scheme so they can do the same to others.


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