The beauty industry has always been a powerful way to make money. Women (and men) will go to great lengths to improve their appearance, often spending a considerable amount of money to do so. Cosmetics are just one side of the beauty industry but they do offer considerable potential.
One of the key advantages is that cosmetics are evergreen. Customers always buy the products, even in times of economic hardship. There’s simply something powerful in feeling good about yourself, and cosmetics are often a way to achieve that goal.
The products are also consumable and are never quite the same. For example, two eyeshadows from different companies may feel and apply different, even if the colors are identical. These aspects promote sales. They also mean you don’t need to be selling the absolute best cosmetics available. You just need to find ones that are appealing, at a reasonable price.
This list highlights the most significant cosmetics network companies that you can choose from. Some of these specialize in cosmetics entirely. But most have cosmetics as just one of their product lines. But, they all offer ways to make money (in theory, anyway).
I’m not a distributor for any of them. Instead, I’m offering a quick summary of what the companies have to offer and how they compare to one another.
You can also promote your company of choice alongside affiliate programs. Check out my post on makeup affiliate niche research to see what “niche” you can establish yourself in, rather than just going for a broader “skin care” website. The more focused you are on a specific audience, the more likely your content will resonate with them and keep them looking to you as an authority.
Cosmetics Network Marketing Companies
- Motives Cosmetics
- Mary Kay
- Focus: Natural cosmetics and skincare
- Minimum Cost: $98 (for a starter kit with two products and some business tools)
Product Overview: BeautyCounter has a strong emphasis on cosmetic and beauty products that are good for you. This includes having a list of 1,500 ‘harmful or questionable’ ingredients that they avoid, though they don't go so far as to say they are organic products. The company is also involved in advocacy and is transparent about many of their processes.
These aspects all help BeautyCounter to stand out. That’s critical in an industry as crowded as this one.
The products themselves are exactly what you’d expect from a cosmetics company. That includes foundation, concealer, eyeshadow, mascara and lipstick. One nice aspect is the selection. There is a decent range to choose from and many of the products come in multiple colors or styles.
Most of the products fall in the middle of the range for cosmetics. For example, their One-Step Makeup Remover Wipes are $20, a Powder Brush is $39 and Sheer Lipstick is $32. The pricing is reasonable enough that many people could afford the products but not so low that the cosmetics feel cheap and nasty.
Commission Quick View: BeautyCounter has a base commission rate of 25%. You can also earn 5%, 7% or 10% as a sales bonus, if you can reach certain sales targets.
You also need to be active. This involves hitting a 1,200 QV (qualifying volume) every six months. 250 of that must come from new clients. BeautyCounter doesn’t specify but the QV is likely to be at least $1,200, probably more. That’s a high goal. Thankfully, you only have to hit it every six months, which isn’t so bad.
As always, the other aspect is earning from your team, which follows a unilevel design. This starts out at 5% from your Level 1 at the very first rank (with no additional requirements. To earn more, you need to go through the standard ranks, with requirements increasing as you go along.
One of these is the qualifying volume, which is 250 QV for most ranks. This is a monthly goal, so you’d need to make consistent sales each month. You also need 250 in new volume at most ranks. Thankfully, there are no structure requirements for your team. You don’t need to worry about getting your team members promoted or anything like that.
The amount you earn from your team is decent. Or, at least, it’s better than normal. It goes up to 9% from your first three ranks and 4% from your fourth rank. After this, there are generational bonuses.
Final Thoughts: BeautyCounter is a well-rounded company. They have decent products, a reasonable compensation plan and even an unusual marketing angle that can help promote sales.
- Focus: Cosmetics and related products
- Minimum Cost: $149.95 + tax (for a starter kit with various products)
Product Overview: Motives Cosmetics goes to lengths to make their products and site look amazing. And honestly, they succeed. The marketing is very effective. The company also manages to create a focus on the outcomes of using their makeup, rather than the products themselves.
Another cool aspect is the sheer number of products. Motives Cosmetics has a considerable range, covering many product types and prices. Many of the items are visually appealing and this is going to help promote sales.
Most of the products are reasonably-priced, like $39.95 for a set of 10 eyeshadows. Many other companies will have cheaper products (especially non-MLM ones), but Motives Cosmetics seems to have struck a good balance between price and quality.
A related aspect is the model. Motives Cosmetics uses a party approach for earning money. As part of this, distributors are meant to teach their guests various things, like application techniques and ways to make makeup look better. This can be a great way to make sales easier.
After all, that type of service is something that physical stores simply don’t offer.
Commission Quick View: Motives Cosmetics offers members around 30% commission on all sales. It’s not clear whether this is through a buying and reselling model or not. But, either way, you shouldn’t have to buy anything for any sales you make online.
You can also earn through a team. Motives Cosmetics uses a binary model, which is fairly unusual for a cosmetics company. This approach requires you to build two teams under you, one is your left and the other your right. In this case, you earn when both teams are selling 5,000 Business Volume (which is likely to be $5,000 or more).
When they do so within a certain time frame (a week, two weeks or a month), you earn $1,500. That can add up fast but it’s a pretty high goal to achieve.
There may be more to the plan, but Motives Cosmetics doesn’t go into it in any depth. Instead, they just skim over the requirements and processes, which is never very encouraging.
That being said, there is one cool aspect about how you earn. Motives Cosmetics allows for sales online and in physical parties, which is typical. But, they also facilitate sales through Facebook, using a clever system. This aspect gives you an edge over most other companies in the field. It’s particularly relevant these days, when so many people use social media daily.
Final Thoughts: Without more details on the compensation plan, it’s hard to recommend Motives Cosmetics. But, at least they have multiple approaches for making sales, that’s better than many other companies.
- Focus: Skincare and cosmetics
- Minimum Cost: $30 (a joining fee, no products are provided)
Product Overview: Acti-Labs focuses on two distinct areas – skincare and cosmetics. For this post, we’re mostly focusing on the latter selection. They also have a French angle. That includes using the Eiffel Tower throughout their branding and making it clear that the products are created in France.
Their range of cosmetics is decent, providing some items in most of the key areas, such as eyes, face and lips. There is also some mineral makeup.
The products tend to be relatively inexpensive for the field. For example, they have a Creme Eyeshadow Palette for $17, which contains eight individual eyeshadows. At the time of writing, they also had a combo containing one mascara and one gel pencil eyeliner for $18.90.
These prices would work well for an audience on a budget. The marketing of Acti-Labs also makes the products appear reliable and high-quality, despite the low price tag.
Acti-Labs also extends beyond just skincare and cosmetics. They have some other products that they emphasize less, including their categories of hair, teeth, dieting, nutraceutical supplements and daily essentials. This pattern means that Acti-Labs has a broader selection than most other cosmetic MLMs. That type of range is important for making sales.
Commission Quick View: Acti-Labs provides a base commission rate of 20% per sale. With bonuses, this can increase to 25%. The company calls it a generous commission rate but it’s simply average for the industry. Sales seem to be made via customer orders and there’s no need to purchase products and then resell them.
The team aspect follows a unilevel plan, one that places people at various levels based on who recruited them. At the later levels, you can earn 3% from your first generation 4% from your second generation – all the way up to 7% from your fifth generation. Of course, the lower ranks don’t get access to as many generations.
The overall style is the reverse of normal. Most companies provide higher commission rates for the early generations and lower ones for the later generations. The style Acti-Labs offers is great if you can build a large enough team. If you can do so, then those latter generations should have more people in them.
But, for people with small teams, the model is less appealing. It means you earn much less from your initial recruits and their recruits. Realistically, most people don’t get beyond that in their team.
Acti-Labs doesn’t specifically talk about ongoing sales goals. But, there probably are some.
Final Thoughts: The products and prices from Acti-Labs are both pretty appealing. Earning 20% on sales isn’t too bad either. Just make sure you check into the ongoing requirements first. These can sometimes be the deciding factor in whether you actually make money.
- Focus: A wide range of products
- Minimum Cost: $25 (for a starter kit that contains some samples and a few products)
Product Overview: Avon is well-known for its product range. The company offers many different types of products, including a considerable lineup of cosmetics.
The variety of options is one of their biggest advantages. Not only does Avon have many individual items but they also have various product lines. Some of these are more expensive and high quality, while others are cheaper but still appealing. There are also regular discounts, such as savings of ‘up to 35% on lip color’. There are even clearance catalogs from time-to-time.
These aspects make Avon a great company if your audience is on a budget. Distributors can also purchase samples to help get potential customers interested.
Still, be aware of your competition. Avon has been in this industry for a long time and there are countless other distributors out there. Many people will already know a distributor to purchase from. This can make sales more difficult. It also means recruitment may be all but impossible.
If nothing else, consider your local area. Are there many Avon reps currently? Would people be interested in the products?
Commission Quick View: The compensation plan for Avon is pretty typical, with one unusual quirk. This is the way commission changes based on product type. For fashion and home products, reps earn 20% on sales. For beauty and jewelry products, the rate is up to 40%. But, the tiers of commission aren’t clear and Avon doesn’t explain what you need to do to hit the top level.
Sales themselves can be made through a website or in-person. The in-person aspect often involves using physical catalogs. You do need to purchase these, along with any samples you plan to provide. The prices are often pretty low. But, the extra expenses can still add up.
The team aspect is straightforward. Avon follows a basic unilevel plan – one with 12 total ranks. Moving through the ranks gives you access to more commissions and bonuses from your team. Of course, the requirements increase too (as they always do).
All ranks have a personal sales requirement. This is just $50 per month for the first two ranks. But, if you’re serious about earning from your team, you’ll need to be in the higher ranks and these have a $200 per month sales requirement.
Final Thoughts: Honestly, the commission plan from Avon isn’t too bad. The products continue to have a good reputation and they would sell. The biggest problem is competition, especially if there are other Avon reps in your area.
- Focus: Many different product areas
- Minimum Cost: $62/year (for membership, although the fee may have changed)
Product Overview: Amway is another company that focuses on many different types of products. One of their categories is beauty, which includes various cosmetics.
But, their selection isn’t nearly as good as Avon or other large companies. At the time of writing, there were just 33 products in the makeup category. The most common sub-categories were foundations, lips, eyes and accessories. However, many do come in multiple colors, so there is more variation than the product number suggests.
The products are reasonably priced and probably work just fine. The biggest problem is just the lack of selection. There probably aren’t enough options for any makeup enthusiasts.
Still, the way Amway focuses on many types of products could be a good thing. This may let you attract a wider audience. In contrast, a cosmetic-only company will just appeal to people already interested in makeup. That’s not always a good thing.
Commission Quick View: Like many companies, Amway tends to change its compensation plan over time. But, the general pattern is that you purchase products at cost and then resell them. Amway has a set of recommended retail prices that you can sell at, or you can set your own.
There is also a performance bonus, which ranges from 3% to 25% of your business volume (BV). This volume refers to the sales that you make, products you purchase and sales from your team.
Of course, there is also a team-based system for earning. This heavily relies on bonuses rather than a single system. There are multiple ranks to progress through and new ranks open up extra opportunities to earn.
Beyond this, Amway does have a unilevel plan that offers monthly bonuses based on your team performance. They use approaches like rolling up to ensure that people earn even when there are some non-performers in their team. But, the various processes also make it more difficult to optimize income.
Final Thoughts: Amway is decent enough in terms of products and their compensation plan. Still, make sure you weigh up the pros and cons carefully. Their products aren’t that exciting and the amount of competition is significant.
- Focus: Cosmetics
- Minimum Cost: $99 (for a starter kit with products)
Product Overview: Younique has made a name for itself in the cosmetics field. It’s one of the few cosmetic MLMs that has global distributors, including many located in the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Hong Kong, France and Germany.
The types of products are similar to other companies, including items for the eyes, lips, face and skin. The only significant variation is that they sell a few fragrances as well.
The product selection is also relatively small. For example, the eyeshadows come in various colors and packs but most of them are the same type of eyeshadow (Moonstruck Pressed Shadow). The same happens with other product areas too.
The prices aren’t extremely high. But, they’re significant enough that some people might be put off. For example, a single eyeshadow refill costs $14, while their lipstick costs $25.
At present, many of the items seem to be on backorder, which is frustrating. This might just be a once-off thing. But, if it happens regularly, it could make it more difficult for customers to get the products that they want.
One final thing is the reviews. It’s hard to find accurate reviews on makeup, but Younique is more well-known than most brands. The reviews I have found suggest that some people think the products are wonderful, while others consider them to be low-quality. That variation means it’s best to try the products out for yourself, see how you find them.
Commission Quick View: Younique has a base compensation rate of 20%. This increases to 25% once you hit $125 in total sales – which most people could do. It is possible to get the commission rate as high as 30% if you get into the higher ranks, although those do require more work.
The team building aspect seems to run off a unilevel plan, but a simpler one than normal. Distributors just earn from three generations below then, along with their Circle (it isn’t clear what the Circle actually is). The percentages earned aren’t great either, not compared to other companies.
Surprisingly, there are few bonuses outside of this team structure. The main one I noticed was their Fast Start Bonus, which gives you $250 for hitting $2,000 in sales within 90 days. But, that bonus doesn’t even pay in cash, you just get credit with the company.
The one advantage is that progressing through the company is comparatively easy as well. You still need to hit team sales and structure goals but I’ve seen many worse examples.
Final Thoughts: Younique ends up being simpler than other MLMs. Building a team is less confusing and complicated but the income potential is lower too. It could still work if you just wanted sales or if you wanted some side income from the company.
- Focus: A wide range of products
- Minimum Cost: Free (no joining cost)
Product Overview: Unlike many of the other companies on this list, Oriflame doesn’t operate in the United States. However, they do have an opportunity for many other parts of the world, including the United Kingdom. They do also plan to move into the American market at a later date.
The simplest way to describe Oriflame is to say that the company is much like Avon. Their products fall into many different categories and each of those contains a large number of items.
In this case, we’re focusing on their cosmetics. The makeup section contains 223 items, at the time of writing. That’s pretty impressive. Many of these are inexpensive – like the EverLasting Precision Concealer, which currently converts to around $6 USD.
This style is great for sales. It’s always easier to sell products that are competitively priced, compared to those that are more expensive than the industry average. This type of pricing structure and product selection is a key reason that Avon has remained successful for so long.
If it does ever hit the US, Oriflame has one significant advantage – they’re less well-known. Avon has been in the field for a long time and there are already many distributors out there. At least Oriflame is something a little different and their products haven’t saturated the market.
Commission Quick View: Oriflame starts out at 23% commission on sales. But, you can earn as much as 35% if you can hit sales targets. Those targets are high but not excessively so. For example, the 35% commission requires more than £520 in sales per month (around $720 USD right now). This is still a ton of sales – but many MLMs have higher requirements.
But, there is one limitation. The compensation plan talks about commission and about earning up to 35% discount. The phrasing suggests that you’re buying and then reselling products. If that’s the case, earning money would be difficult indeed. The resale approach to income is always harder and requires more investment on your part.
Still, it’s not clear whether the model is actually purchase-first. Oriflame may simply offer a discount if you want to order products for yourself.
If you don’t want to just focus on sales, you can also earn from your team. Oriflame doesn’t seem to use a traditional model here. Instead, they have various ranks and each of these has distinct bonuses and income opportunities. As always, there are various targets to meet to move through those ranks.
Oriflame uses some unusual bonuses and groups, making it hard to compare the income opportunity to other companies. There might be more income potential or there might be less. But, either way, optimizing income would be tough – and that’s never a good start.
Final Thoughts: The product selection from Oriflame works well. But, the compensation plan simply doesn’t. And honestly, there are just too many details missing.
- Focus: Beauty
- Minimum Cost: $100 (for a starter kit that contains products)
Product Overview: Mary Kay has a long history in the beauty industry, including an emphasis on empowering women. Their wide product selection contains a decent makeup range, with many different types of products.
The products are all Mary Kay branded and most are expensive. For example, their Purple Smoke Palette (an eyeshadow palette with six colors) costs $65. The pricing isn’t exceptionally unusual in this industry. But, it is significant enough to limit your audience.
In fact, Mary Kay is well-known for having quality products that are on the pricey side. Many people do love the items and buy them regularly. But others can’t justify the prices. After all, other companies in this list had similar products and the prices were often much more reasonable.
To make money from Mary Kay, you’d need to sell the products regularly. How achievable this is would depend on your audience. The items do remain popular, so there is some sales potential. But, you’d need to find an audience willing to pay these prices for makeup. You’d also need people that don’t already have access to a Mary Kay distributor.
Commission Quick View: Mary Kay doesn’t offer many details about compensation. Instead, the marketing tends to be vague and makes various promises without providing details.
But, the general idea is that you can make up to 50% commission. There’s a catch though. This commission comes from buying the products yourself (at a discount) and reselling at retail. If you can achieve that, the profit margin is decent.
With so much competition out there (not to mention the expensive products), you might find that you need to lower prices to make sales. That cuts into your profit.
The team aspect involves building a downline and going up through the ranks. To do this, you need to make consistent sales yourself, as do the members of your team. This is where it starts to get tricky. In many cases, team members compete against each other, making sales more difficult for everyone.
Despite their reputation, Mary Kay isn’t a very good company. Many distributors have tried and failed to make money, sometimes ending up in debt as a consequence. Even if you manage to make sales, your team needs to do likewise for you to be successful. This isn’t realistic – especially as there are already so many Mary Kay distributors out there.
Final Thoughts: The biggest advantages of Mary Kay are the products and the company’s reputation. But, the reputation is a two-edged sword and can make it more difficult to earn too. The sheer amount of competition would make this company a poor choice for most people wanting to join a cosmetics MLM.
There aren’t as many cosmetic MLMs as I would have expected, which is good news if you’re trying to make sales. All of these companies would work for income, as long as you found customers willing to make regular purchases.
The one with the most potential is probably BeautyCounter. The company has an appealing selection of products that are both reasonably priced and appealing. Their transparency focus is good for sales as well. That’s an angle that most other companies don’t have.
Their compensation plan is reasonable too, especially as you can increase commissions with sales alone. The biggest limitation is the high qualification requirement. But, you just have to hit that goal every six months.