Multi Level Marketing Skincare. Also known as MLM. These are the products you keep hearing about (over and over and over again). Your news feed is saturated with social media posts detailing yet another product that can transform Shrek into Cinderella in a matter of days. Bippity Boppity Boo! Before you hand over your credit card, eyes glazed over at the promise of a miracle, take a moment to read on to be sure you haven’t been misinformed.
Unlicensed, Untrained “Specialists”
To become a partner, representative, or distributor for a multi-level, direct, or network skin care company, no skin care training is required or given. Company training for these companies involves mostly sales and business training, not skin care.
Knowing how the product actually works, what it does to the skin, what ingredients it contains, and what skin type it’s best for, is far more important than how many dollars you can make for signing up as many people as possible, or what kind of car you could win. There are dozens of these companies: Mary Kay, Arbonne, Nerium and Rodan & Fields being some of the most common. Obviously, not every company is the same and not every representative is the same. There are dedicated, educated, licensed salespeople in the mix, but they are a minority.
The majority of Licensed Estheticians and Cosmetologists have a very real disdain for these companies. Many of these representatives hound licensed professionals, especially Estheticians, to join their companies with their referral, providing them with a very large second level client base. Getting new representatives “under” you in the pyramid is the most effective way to build income in multi-level marketing companies. Estheticians and Cosmetologists with established, loyal client bases are tempting targets. I’ve experienced harassment myself from representatives that want me to sell for them, and heard many stories from licensed professionals who have “friends” who will stop at nothing to convince them to sign up.
Fake Before and After Photos
One of the most frustrating parts of these products it that the representatives have no problem using makeup, lighting, Photoshop, and camera tricks to fake their results and lure customers in with false promises. To the trained eye of the professional, this is really infuriating because it’s totally obvious when filters have been used on the before picture to make the after picture amazing.
You MUST know that there is NO WAY to non-surgically achieve the result depicted below in 6 weeks with just skincare products and a mini derma-roller (which is against the law for Estheticians to use on clients in California because of the potential permanent damage it can cause). The manufacturer is off the hook for any liability because the consumer assumes the risk. I know. I shake my head too!
I kid you not – I get these right off Facebook….It’s no wonder that by the time a client comes to the licensed professional, they are very skeptical of anything helping them. The picture below is REALLY deceptive. The subject is actually a professional photographer (who has great photoshopping software!). The same before and after pictures are used by every MLM Skincare Representative in each line….where are their actual client’s results? That is a big tip-off that something just isn’t kosher.
Licensed professionals spend a long time in school studying the health, physiology, diseases and care of the hair, skin, or nails. Passing a State Board exam and practical is required to obtain a license. Most states require continued education to maintain this license. This knowledge and experience is crucial to knowing which products to recommend. We also must have liability insurance – in the (rare) event something goes wrong and a client is injured. Not so with your mail order skincare. You are on your own – and on the doctor’s table.
These skin care lines are generally very one-size-fits-all. The basic training these representatives get is which product lines are for dry, oily, combination, acneic, or mature skin. There are generally given very basic information on these skin types, relying on the client knowing which skin type they have. There are many conditions and diseases that these representatives simply aren’t trained to recognize.
Dry vs Dehydrated
There’s a huge difference between dry skin, which lacks oil, and dehydrated skin, which lacks water. It takes a proper skin analysis to tell the difference, something these representatives are not trained or licensed to do.
Not all acne is created equal. Recognizing the difference between pustular acne, cystic acne, hormonal, stress and diet acne is crucial in recommending treatment options. The wrong kind of acne treatment can make existing acne far worse and can cause permanent scarring and discoloration.
Understanding what sequential steps need to be taken to reduce inflammation and repair scarring and how to hydrate and moisturize skin without causing further clogging is what professionals are trained to know.
Sensitive, Reactive and Rosacea Skin
Delicate skin needs delicate care. Knowing specific ingredients and how they affect sensitive skin is crucial. The phrase “safe for sensitive skin” has no legal requirements. Just because it is fragrance free (which is literally the only difference between a bar of Dove soap and a bar of Sensitive Dove soap) does not mean it’s proper skin care for sensitive or reactive skin.
Knowing the difference between for sensitive/reactive skin, rosacea/eczema will drastically change the ideal treatment options.
Pregnant women’s skin requires very specific attention. Using certain ingredients, for example peppermint, sage, or Salicylic Acid, are dangerous for pregnant women. Dealing with melasma, or pregnancy mask, requires training and knowledge.
Contraindications and Allergies
Dealing with contraindications and ingredient allergies, especially with reactive skin, is essential to being an effective skin care specialist. Knowing that an aspirin allergy contraindicates salicylic acid is just one example of crucial knowledge that is not taught to these representatives.
Product Strength and Efficacy
These product lines very often contain the same ingredients and same strengths of drugstore skin care, but for much higher price tags. (After all, the money to pay for these cars and vacations has to come from somewhere.)
Professional skin care is made from much higher quality ingredients, at higher concentrations and higher strengths. The companies that create these products want them to be used by people who know how to use and recommend these products correctly. These products are only sold to licensed professionals because their misuse can create a higher risk of adverse reactions.
Test Their Knowledge & Do Your Homework!
If you’re considering purchasing or joining one of these companies, make sure to do extensive research. If a representative has approached you, ask them exactly how their product works and what it does to the cells of the skin. If they can’t explain it without reciting the company’s words, or simply giving you a pre-made pamphlet, be wary. Consult a licensed professional you know and trust about that particular company. Research reviews online. There are quite a few lawsuits underway for fraud. That’s a red flag for sure! Another warning sign – any company that mandates you pay every month for auto-shipment of products should be avoided at all costs!
Representatives: Get Licensed
Of course not every product recommendation is going to cause adverse effects. Not every representative is just in it for the money or independence.
If you’re a representative, and you truly have a passion for skin care, and not just sales, become a legitimate skin care specialist and get an Esthetician license. Not only will you learn about the skin, but you will gain a level of expertise that will help you in your business, if you choose to keep selling a multi-level marketing skin care line once you’ve used and learned more about professional strength products.
For MLM Skincare Survivors
If you’ve had a bad experience using a MLM Skincare product and have problems like irritation, redness, dryness, breakouts or what you’ve been using doesn’t seem to be living up to all it promised to be, seek out a Licensed Esthetician so she can determine how to get your skin back on track. Understand that many times your skin’s barrier has been compromised due to overexposure of harsh chemicals and that it make take some time to reverse the damage caused. Your skincare professional should be able to explain the process so you know what to expect. Remember: although we all want instant results, but your skin wasn’t damaged overnight and it wont be repaired overnight either.
This guest blog was submitted by Lani Williams of Skin Solutions by Lani. The original post can be found here.