Nu Skin Debunked

Disclaimer: Everything in this post, save for the photos and price list, constitute my own personal opinion and should in no way be taken to be fact.

Nu Skin. Supposedly the "miracle cure" to your acne or anti-ageing woes. So says your distributor / MLM agent who is trying to sell you the product so they can make a quick buck.
"It really works! I used to be so depressed because I suffered from XXX skin condition and nothing worked. I didn't believe it myself when I first heard of it, but after trying it, I've become a convert and I really want to share this with you since you're my friend!"

I should know. I got duped by this before, many many years ago when I was still young and was a troubled teenager plagued by puberty acne in 2006 - 2008. I was desperate to clear my skin, and get rid of the left behind pimple scars that made me want to cry whenever I looked into the mirror. 

So when someone I trusted (young trust is cheap) told me about Nu Skin, I bought in pretty quick. Saving up weeks of my pocket money to buy this expensive product, I was so hopeful when I finally had enough to get it.

But it did not work.

I really wanted to share this (and it is only the beginning of many posts) because I've had a lot of readers email me about how I save despite having to spend on my skincare regime (guys and girls included!). Hopefully you guys can learn from my mistakes money wasted.

Problem #1: Nu Skin's business operating model

Most of you are probably aware that Nu Skin operates on an MLM (multi-level marketing) basis. Members and distributors invest money to buy Nu Skin's products, and then sell it back to consumers at highly marked-up prices that are controlled by Nu Skin themselves. These people then profit from the sale. This means that if you were selling Nu Skin's products, you have to first put in an initial deposit or investment to purchase the products. And of course, the more you buy, the cheaper it gets. The longer you don't sell, the longer the product sits in your storage. Wouldn't you want to sell it off quickly so you can get the money?

Red Flags in Nu Skin's MLM model:
(Credits here)
  • 1.Recruitment of participants is unlimited in an endless chain of empowered and motivated recruiters recruiting recruiters.  YES
  • 2. Advancement in a hierarchy of multiple levels of participants is achieved by recruitment, rather than by appointment.YES
  • 3. Significant requirements that participants "pay to play" the game via product purchases. Thus, new recruits are the primary customers. YES
  • 4. MLM company pays commissions and/or bonuses to at least 5 levels of participants, creating great "leverage" at the top. (Nu Skin uses a breakaway compensation system, with six levels of whole groups of participants, making it a mega-pyramid with one of the most extreme or highly leveraged compensation plans in existence. This is great for those at the top, but the pits for hundreds of thousands beneath them, who become its victims.) YES
  • 5. Most of the payout goes to the upline, rather than to the person selling products, creating excessive incentive to recruit and inadequate incentive to sell products (except to new recruits) – and an extreme concentration of income at the top of a hierarchy (pyramid) of participants. YES

Problem #2: Nu Skin's expensive prices

Nu Skin products are dreadfully expensive, in Budget Babe's personal opinion. You can look at the price list below (look for the differences!) and see how much profit someone selling these products can earn.

I bought the 180 Face Wash previously, and my "friend" earned $35 from that quick sale.

PSV below refers to Personal Sales Volume i.e. the minimum quantity someone has to sell in order to get discounted pricing.

Problem #3: Nu Skin's ingredients

Now, I'm not a skincare expert, but having battled skincare woes myself I do know quite a bit about certain ingredients and how they work. Common ingredients in acne products will include salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, sulfur, AHAs and tea tree. The active ingredient in Nu Skin's Epoch Blemish Treatment is 2% salicylic acid. You'll find the same percentage in drugstore brand Neutrogena Acne Eliminating Spot Gel for only one-third of the price.

Budget Babe's Review of Nu Skin Products

I didn't try all their products obviously, so I can only comment on the few I've purchased and personally tried before. Take my opinions with a pinch of salt, and decide on your own whether the product is really worth your money.

Review: Epoch Blemish Treatment
Nu Skin's claim: Calms redness and helps clear up troubled complexions.

Ingredients: Active: Salicylic Acid 2%
Other: Water (Aqua), PEG-32, PVM/MA Decadiene Crosspolymer, Alpha-Glucan Oligosaccharide, Job's Tears (Coix Lacryma-Jobi) Extract, Burdock (Arctium Lappa) Extract, Yarrow (Achillea Millefolium) Extract, Chamomile (Anthemis Nobilis) Extract, Vanilla Planifolia Extract, Sweet Violet (Viola Odorata) Extract, Sandalwood (Santalum Album) Oil, Rose Extract, Tangerine (Citrus Tangerina) Extract, Patchouli (Pogostemon Cablin) Oil, Oakmoss (Evernia Prunastri) Extract, Black Currant (Ribes Nigrum) Extract, Black Pepper (Piper Nigrum) Extract, Sodium Hydroxide, PPG-26-Buteth-26, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil.

  • Calm redness? No.
  • Clear up troubled complexions? No.

Terrible for me. I had 2 pimples and applied this on one, Oxy on another. Within 2 days, the one where I used Epoch on was no better, and had pus coming out. Oxy, on the other hand, helped to subdue the size of my pimple.

Verdict: Not worth it. If you're for salicylic acid, you'll be better off substituting other drugstore brands who use this ingredient as well.

(I just bought this cheap a few months ago off my friend who didn't want hers anymore to give a more updated review on this item)

Review: Nu Skin 180 Cleanser
Nu Skin's claim: Targets age spots, discoloration, and helps diminish wrinkles with 10% active vitamin C.
Ingredients: Glycerin, Ascorbic Acid, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract, Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Stearyl Glycyrrhetinate, Phospholipids, Butylene Glycol, Carbomer, Silica, Fragrance (Parfum), Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891). Covered by U.S. Patents 5,409,706; 5,254,334.

The cleanser has a very strong fruity, vitamin-like smell. Makes me feel healthy using it, and I'm reluctant to wash it off! But it did nothing for my skin. Anti-ageing? Nope. Softer skin? Yes, but my other cleansers does the same job for less as well. Reduced discoloration? Not at all.

Also note that active Vitamin C (also known as ascorbic acid) does not last long. It is very difficult to manufacture this in product-form and keep it fresh. I don't know for sure if Nu Skin has discovered a miracle process to maintain the purity and freshness of this, but I highly doubt it, because ascorbic acid is very susceptible to oxidation. 

Verdict: For the smell alone, I MIGHT repurchase once in a very long while. But because Budget Babe is all about budget, this is highly unlikely.

Review: Nu Skin 180 Cell Renewal Fluid

Nu Skin's claim: Helps to accelerate cell renewal to reveal more youthful looking skin.
Water (Aqua), Gluconolactone, Sodium Gluconate, Butylene Glycol, Arginine, Soy Isoflavones, Salicylic Acid, Tetrahydrodiferuloylmethane, Allantoin, Panthenol, Xanthan Gum, PEG/PPG-14/4 Dimethicone, Tetrasodium EDTA.

Cell renewal should also help in reducing spot scarring, but nope, this did nothing for me. A complete wash of my money.

Review: Epoch Glacial Marine Mud
Nu Skin's Claim: Extracts impurities, removes dead skin cells, and rejuvenates damaged skin.

Ingredients: Epoch® Glacial Marine Mud (Maris Limus), Water (Aqua), Algae Extract, Propylene Glycol, Diazolidinyl Urea, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, 2-Bromo-2-Nitropropane-1, 3-Diol.

Methylparaben is a harmful chemical ingredient that can aggravate breakouts. This product was only so-so for me. There are better (and cheaper) mud masks out there. 

Review: Nu Skin Clear Action System

The biggest lie for acne. This did absolutely nothing for me, and is one of the most expensive acne-clearing system out there in the market. Don't bother wasting your money.

Overall Verdict:

Budget Babe personally finds Nu Skin overrated, oversold and over-marketed by these distributors and agents who are promised big earnings by the company if they join. The products are too marked-up, and does not consist of any "miraculous" ingredients or effects that we are persuaded to believe. Don't bother wasting your money on this.

Stay tuned for more reviews - I will share more on what skincare products are not worth buying and what are! All are my personal opinion only.

Are you a Nu Skin user? Leave a comment below! 


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