Beauty Counter Review: Toxin-free personal care products
Beauty Counter was launched in 2013 and are based out of California in the US.
The company operates in the personal care MLM niche and is headed up by Founder and CEO, Gregg Renfrew (below right).
As per Renfrew’s Beauty Counter corporate bio;
Like many of you, I’m a wife and mom—and like many of you, I didn’t know what I didn’t know.
As I applied sunscreen, lotion, and any number of beauty products on myself and my kids, I never thought for a second they might not be safe: After all, I thought, we live in a country that regulates everything.
So imagine my surprise when I learned that when it comes to the personal care industry, that’s simply not the case.
Companies are allowed to use known toxins—ingredients that have been linked to cancer, reproductive issues, hormone disruption—without telling us.
As I learned more—1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women in the US will be diagnosed with cancer—I had to do something. So I started Beautycounter, a company devoted to progress.
Beauty Counter appears to be Renfrew’s first MLM venture. Her previous roles include managing The Wedding List (a bridal registry) and CEO of Best & Co. (children’s clothing retailer).
Read on for a full review of the Beauty Counter MLM business opportunity.
The Beauty Counter Product Line
Beauty Counter market a range of toxic-free personal care products.
To that end the company markets heavily on unknowns about chemicals currently used in the personal care industry.
There are more than 80,000 chemicals on the market today. Many don’t have any safety data. This is particularly true of those used in the skin care and beauty industry.
Only about 10% of the 10,000 chemicals commonly found in personal care products have safety data.
What’s worse is the Food and Drug Administration (the agency that regulates cosmetics) allows companies to use chemicals known to be extremely harmful (lead, formaldehyde, and phthalates) in the products we put on our bodies and on our kids every single day, day after day.
The United States has not passed a federal law to regulate the ingredients used in personal care products since 1938.
WE DESERVE BETTER, AND WE’RE DOING SOMETHING ABOUT IT.
Beauty Counter claim to have banned 1500 ingredients from their products, whilst ‘ensuring our products perform, and that they’re as indulgent as any luxe shampoo, lipstick or oil in the market.‘
There are close to a hundred products listed on the Beauty Counter website, spanning the categories skin care, makeup, bath & body and family.
A full product catalog and retail pricing is available on the Beauty Counter website.
The Beauty Counter Compensation Plan
The Beauty Counter compensation plan pays up to 35% retail commissions on the sale of products to retail customers.
Residual commissions are paid out via a unilevel compensation structure, which also incorporates a four generation deep bonus.
Beauty Counter Affiliate Ranks
There are eight affiliate ranks in the Beauty Counter compensation plan.
Along with their respective qualification criteria, they are as follows:
- Consultant – generate $300 BV a month
- Senior Consultant – generate $1250 BV a month
- Manager – generate $2500 BV a month
- Senior Manager – generate $5000 BV a month
- Director – generate $10,000 BV a month
- Senior Director – generate $25,000 BV a month
- Executive Director – generate $50,000 BV a month
- Managing Director – generate $100,000 BV a month
BV stands for “Business Volume” and is sales volume generated by an affiliate’s downline (including their own sales volume).
Note that no more than 50% of required monthly BV can be sourced from any one unilevel leg.
All Beauty Counter affiliates are subject to a six month minimum $1200 PV requirement, $250 must be from new retail customers and/or recruited affiliates.
PV stands for “Personal Volume” and is sales volume generated by sales to retail customers and an affiliate’s own product purchases.
A base 25% retail commission is payable on Beauty Counter products sold to retail customers (non-affiliates).
This retail commission is increased by up to 10%, based on a Beauty Counter affiliate’s total monthly retail sales volume:
- generate between $500 to $999 in retail sales = 5% bonus (30% retail commission)
- generate between $1000 and $1999 in retail sales = 7% bonus (32% retail commission)
- generate $2000 or more in retail sales = 10% bonus (35% retail commission)
Residual commissions in Beauty Counter are paid out via a unilevel compensation structure.
A unilevel compensation structure places an affiliate at the top of a unilevel team, with every personally recruited affiliate placed directly under them (level 1):
If any level 1 affiliates go on to recruit new affiliates of their own, they are placed on level 2 of the original affiliate’s unilevel team.
If any level 2 affiliates recruit new affiliates, they are placed on level 3 and so on and so forth down a theoretical infinite number of levels.
Beauty Counter cap payable unilevel levels at four, with commissions paid out as a percentage of sales volume generated across these four levels.
How much of a percentage is paid out is determined by which level of the unilevel team sales volume is generated on, as well as a Beauty Counter affiliate’s rank:
- Consultant – 5% on level 1
- Senior Consultant – 7% on level 1 and 5% on level 2
- Manager – 9% on level 1, 7% on level 2 and 5% on level 3
- Senior Manager – 9% on levels 1 and 2, 7% on level 3 and 5% on level 4
- Director – 9% on levels 1 to 3 and 7% on level 4
The Generational Bonus allows a Beauty Counter affiliate to earn beyond the initial four levels of their unilevel team.
The Generational Bonus pays out on “generations” within a unilevel team, with a generation defined when a Director ranked affiliate is found in a unilevel leg.
This first Director affiliate caps off the first generation of that leg, with the second generation capped off when another Director affiliate is found in that leg.
If no Director ranked affiliate exists, the second generation extends down the full length of the unilevel leg.
Note that the first generation Director affiliate must be in one of the initial four levels of an affiliate’s unilevel team.
Commissions are paid out as a percentage of sales volume generated within a generation, with how many generations a Beauty Counter affiliate is able to earn on determined by their rank:
- Director – 3% on the first generation
- Senior Director – 5% on the first generation and 3% on the second
- Executive Director – 5% on the first and second generation and 3% on the third
- Managing Director – 5% on the first to third generations and 3% on the fourth
Beauty Counter affiliates are paid a commission when personally recruited affiliates qualify at the Senior Consultant or higher ranks.
- recruit an affiliate who qualifies as a Senior Consultant = $25 commission
- recruit an affiliate who qualifies as a Manager = $50 commission
- recruit an affiliate who qualifies as a Senior Manager = $100 commission
The above commissions are paid out monthly, as long as recruited affiliates maintain a Senior Consultant or higher rank.
Note that the affiliate receiving the commission must be at the same or higher rank than the recruited affiliate they are earning on.
Joining Beauty Counter
Beauty Counter affiliate membership is $85 and then $50 annually.
Given the apparent unregulated nature of the cosmetics industry, the worry about what’s put into them seems credible.
That’s not to say cosmetic companies are intentionally setting out to harm consumers, just that from time to time corporate responsibility may take a back seat to profits.
In addition to offering up their line of toxic-free personal care products, Beauty Counter appear to be actively involved in calling for stricter regulation in the cosmetics industry.
Of note was Gregg Renfrew’s attendance at a Congressional briefing last November.
An outspoken champion of protecting public health from harmful ingredients found in everyday consumer products, Ms. Renfrew will join other industry experts at a Congressional briefing, on November 17th in the Senate Dirksen Building in Washington D.C where they will show how the current cosmetics industry is broken, from the use of harmful ingredients to lack of transparency in the supply chain.
Additionally, Renfrew will be meeting with Senators asking for their leadership on cosmetic safety reform.
“Nearly every major consumer category has undergone radical change in recent years – from food to entertainment to transportation. But not the beauty industry, where companies are legally allowed to use ingredients linked to breast cancer, infertility, early puberty and other health issues.
Consumers are demanding more transparency and regulation, and I hope to help lead this movement that gets toxic ingredients out of the products that people use on their skin everyday,” said Renfrew.
To what extent Renfrew’s appearance might influence future legislation s unclear, but it’s great to see an MLM CEO actively championing the cause their business was founded on.
Unfortunately on the business model side of things, Beauty Counter is not without its compliance issues.
First and foremost is the glaring PV requirements. The idea here is that retail sales are made to fulfill the required PV quota, but these efforts are undermined with the inclusion of an affiliate’s own purchase of product.
This product could be written off as the acquisition of samples for marketing, however month in and month out if retail sales don’t eventuate, a Beauty Counter affiliate could be looking at some pretty hefty losses.
A secondary danger presents itself if an affiliate builds a downline, which they then earn commissions on.
In order to maintain commissions, why not self-fund monthly PV requirements if the paid out residual commission exceeds the required PV?
Another problematic aspect to this scenario are the recruitment commissions paid out on recruited Senior Consultant or higher affiliates.
If everyone’s qualifying each month with their own purchases (or even a majority), then chain-recruitment presents itself if enough affiliates are earning monthly bonuses on the ranks of recruited affiliates.
It would be nice to assume none of this is happening, but in the absence of retail sales figures versus that of monthly affiliate orders, who knows?
Certainly not helping is Beauty Counter’s own description of signing up as an affiliate, which refers to the process as an “investment”:
Your initial $85 investment includes a Starter Kit containing everything you need to launch your new Beautycounter business.
So I’m signing up with an investment, upon which a further monthly spend on commission qualification is possible, which then qualifies me to earn on monthly spends by recruited affiliates?
There’s a disturbing lack of emphasis on retail in that scenario.
One way to ascertain whether or not that’s taking place is to enquire with a potential upline as to what their monthly retail sales order volume is. Then compare that to what their monthly personally recruited affiliate volume is.
A tilt in favor of recruited affiliate volume is a strong indicator there’s a lack of retail sales activity taking place.
Which would be a shame seeing as the company actively promotes retail by increasing retail commission margins the more retail volume an affiliate generates each month.
One other thing I’ll mention I thought was strange was the implication that preferred customers (“members”) are charged a fee.
Every time a new Member or new Consultant registers, $10 of their Starter Kit fee or Membership fee will be allocated to one of our trusted nonprofits.
Preferred retail customers are retail customers who agree to place a monthly autoship order in exchange for a wholesale discount.
Why Beauty Counter would be charging retail customers a fee is a mystery to me.
All in all Beauty Counter present an interesting product line backed with a notable cause. Unfortunately glaring issues with the Beauty Counter compensation plan however let it down.
Beauty Counter could negate this lack of retail concern by abolishing an affiliate’s own personal purchase of product towards commission qualification, but as at the time of publication, it’s included.
Approach with caution.