August 1


Is LimeLife a Pyramid Scheme? – Nasty Truth Behind Promising Beauty

Just like any other ladies who need  some extra cash, you tried joining a multi-level marketing (MLM) company called LimeLife by Alcone through your good friend, Shiela, who recruited you and told you how good the products were. So, you, being a trusting friend, tried to sell it to your friends and relatives and especially to your old spinster Aunt Gertrude who had always been trying to restore her youth. You just think that she could be the best choice for the product. However, after weeks of using the beauty products, Aunt Gertrude came pounding on your door yelling: “WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO MY BEAUTIFUL FACE YOU PIECE OF SH************T?!!!” Her face was red as an apple from skin reaction. Then you realized you got fooled by Sheila. And you fooled the poor Aunt Gertrude. And most of all, you were all fooled. So, really, is LimeLife by Alcone a pyramid scheme?

The Basics

  • Name: LimeLife by Alcone
  • Owners: L’Occitane en Provence, Michele Mallardi Gay, and Madison Mallardi
  • Products: Makeup and Skincare Products
  • Price to join: $99 or $169 Starter Kit, $9.95 a Month for Replicated Website and $75 Annual Renewal Fee
  • Website:

It is said that a legit MLM company proves itself through the years of its existence. Well, if that’s the case, LimeLife by Alcone must have already proven its genuine identity.

The company was founded in 1952 by Alvin Cohen and has been running for 68 years now. It was originally intended to sell make-up products to actors in New York City’s theatrical productions. It was then bought by the Mallardi family in the 1980s. With the leadership of aunt and niece, Michele Mallardi Gay and Madison Mallardi, the company continues to grow.

The company was rebranded multiple times. In 1996, it evolved into Alcone at Home where in Beauty\Tech, a collection of their top-selling makeup products and shades, was created.

In 2013, Alcone for Everyone started which made it possible for beauty enthusiasts to sell makeup products to people across the country. Various luxury skincare products were added to the company’s existing beauty line in 2015 and LimeLight by Alcone was founded.

The company partnered with L’Occitane en Provence, an international beauty retailer, in 2017 after L’Occitane Chairman CEO Reinold Geiger contacted Gay in 2016. It was then revealed in 2018 by L’Occitane that it has gained 60.48 percent of Alcone worldwide. Geiger stated:

“The increase in stake enables us to gain greater control over LimeLife, which fits into our strategy of building a leading portfolio of cosmetics brands based on natural ingredients, while also speeding up our expansion into the promising colour cosmetics sector.”

Furthermore, L’Occitane stated that they would help the company cultivate a distribution model outside of the country through the production of a global brand and product offering under the brand called LimeLife. L’Occitane also promised to provide operational support for LimeLife’s current and future subsidiaries and local sales forces across the world despite the changes made.

That same year, the company was rebranded to LimeLife by Alcone for international trademark compliance after LimeLight by Alcone was founded in 2015.

With its long history, the company made a secured spot in the industry. However, due to a series of changes made in the company, LimeLife by Alcone was just accredited by Better Business Bureau (BBB) on January 30, 2020. Currently, the company has four out of five stars rating with 12 customer complaints.

Nevertheless, LimeLife by Alcone received tons of complaints in other review websites including Reddit. I heard Aunt Gertrude’s leading the complaints. We’ll see that just after a few more reads.

The Products

This is the part where Aunt Gertrude grits her teeth. But chill your wrinkles, Gerts, let us first see the products that LimeLife by Alcone offers.

The company offers a wide variety of skincare and cosmetic products. As a matter of fact, the company made quite a mark that as of 2020, it reached the markets of Canada, France, Italy, Brazil, Germany, Ireland, Spain, the United Kingdom and Australia with more than 22,000 active Beauty Guides worldwide.

Just like other MLM companies focusing in the beauty industry like Rodan + Fields, LimeLife by Alcone also used various personalities to further influence the fame of its products. Some of them include Lottie “Lotstar” Stanard, a social media famed International Makeup Artist; Danessa Myricks, another professional makeup artist known for her cosmetic shades fit to a wide complexion range; and Aly Raisman, a gold medalist gymnast who got featured for her line called the FIERCE by Aly collection.

LimeLife by Alcone currently brags its place at Top 100 Direct Sales Companies List brought by more than $100 million in annual sales since it started. The company also currently holds a record of over 14 Million sales of its products worldwide. Aunt Gertrude would probably say, “That’s a lot of red faces worldwide then!” Well, I hate to break it to you, Gerts, but LimeLife by Alcone is actually a Leaping Bunny-certified company that produces “cruelty-free, organic, and chemical-free” products.

Declaring such claims is truly helpful for companies in the beauty industry since some ingredients can impose harm to some individuals. Even the beauty company Beautycounter, despite having its Never List that bans the use of 1,800 questionable and harmful chemicals on its products, still uses some synthetic ingredients. Nevertheless, the Beautycounter ensures that all synthetic ingredients being used in the products are below one percent while all products are being tested for heavy metals before releasing them in the market. Furthermore, it also claims that it observes the safety standards in using synthetic ingredients.

So, using these synthetic ingredients couldn’t harm you, right? With that, upon checking the products of LimeLife, I discovered that it is also using some of the synthetic ingredients that Beautycounter has been using as well. Some of the synthetic ingredients being used by LimeLife are phenoxyethanol, which can be found in Perfect Balm Sunscreen for Lips; and sodium benzoate being used in Dream Clean cleanser and Power Start exfoliating cleanser.

As we know, phenoxyethanol is a preservative used in place of parabens to control bacteria in products which, in high doses, could cause skin irritation and nervous system toxicity. On the other hand, sodium benzoate can produce benzene (a carcinogen) once combined with Vitamin C. I am no scientist but upon scrutinizing the ingredients of the said products containing sodium benzoate, I found out that some of them also contain citric acid that, though very different, more acidic and stronger than Vitamin C, can be used as a replacement for Vitamin C. So, what could go wrong? Despite those facts stated, I am sure that LimeLife observes proper standards to promote safety among its users. Right, Aunt Gertrude?

As a matter of fact, here's one of the tons of testimonies you would find on the internet.

Compensation Plan

I am sure that the main reason you want to jump into this opportunity is because of the dreamy promises sworn to you by a LimeLife Beauty Guide (consultant) you met. So, before you start in this business, what should you do?

To start your journey, you have to first purchase a LimeLife starter kit which is in two options: the Business Starter Kit that costs $99 or the Silver Business Starter Kit that costs $169. Once you are accepted, you would be given free access to your very own LimeLife replicated website for your first month. Again, for you ‘first month.” After that, your first month, you would then be charged for your replicated website for $9.95 a month. Also, members are required to pay a $75 renewal to fee every year to keep their positions active. With that, you would be able to enjoy the multiple ways LimeLife uses to compensate its Beauty Guides and here they are.

  • 20% Beauty Guide-In-Training or Base Commission

Upon entering the opportunity, you would first start at a 20 percent retail commission on your first $1,000 Personal Retail Value (PRV or the total recommended retail price of all products you purchased or your customers purchased from you). According to the company, this serves as you “Activation Sales.” Hence, you are not considered as a certified Beauty Guide even after your enrollment and your purchase of a starter kit. You are a Beauty Guide “in Training” (BGIT).

Upon reaching your first $1000 PRV, you would then be eligible for the “Enhanced Commissions.” Also you would then be hailed as an “Activated Beauty Guide.” Clever.

After your “activation”, you could start with your Enhanced Commission where you could still receive 20 percent commission even if you are just making $1 to $499 PRV. An additional 5 percent commission would be added in this commission if you would reach $500 to $1,999 PRV, additional 10 percent commission for sales reaching $2,000 to $3,999 PRV ($5,000 Total Group Retail Volume or TGRV which is the total PRV created by you and all your downline Beauty Guide teams) and additional 15 percent commission for sales reaching $4,000 PRV above ($10,000 TGRV). Hence, your retail commission could reach up to 35 percent.

  • Fast Start Bonuses

LimeLife by Arcone “wants to help you.” With that, the company pushes you to earn rewards by meeting “very achievable performance goals” on your first 100 days in the business. The bonuses include 150 Product Points for anyone achieving $1,000 PRV in first 40 days; 50 Product Points and $50 cash for recruiting a BGIT who should be promoted to a Beauty Guide status in first 70 days; 150 Product Points for making $3,000 PRV in first 70 days; 100 Product Points and $100 cash for recruiting 2 BGITs who should be promoted to Beauty Guide status in first 100 days; $100 cash if promoted to Star Beauty Guide rank within first three months; and $200 cash if promoted to Star Beauty Guide rank within first two months.

Enrollers of the recruits could also benefit from this as they would also have matching bonuses that are being earned by their recruits.

It’s a win-win for you and the company; you get a bit of bonuses and the company compensating as well since your achievements and promotions mean more earnings for the company itself. Just guess who’s winning the most.

  • Five Percent Enroller Bonus

Enrolling recruits could apparently give you perks. One of them is the Five Percent Enroller Bonus which lets you receive 5 percent from the personal sales of every person you would enroll. Hence, if your recruits would manage to make a $500 PRV each in their first month, you would receive $25 from each of them. However, to achieve this, you need to be considered as an active Beauty Guide who produces $300 sales a month.

  • Bonus Value Leadership Bonus

Continuous recruitment of members for your downline helps your team to branch out. With this, you could enjoy receiving 3 percent commission from Level 1 to your Level 1. However, in order for you to achieve this, you also need to meet specific criteria.

Level 1 requires you to reach the Paid-as Beauty Guide rank (needs $300 PRV each month to be considered active). Level 2 requires Paid-as Lead Beauty Guide rank (needs to be active and has two lines of active Beauty Guides while maintaining $2,500 TGRV). Level 3 requires Paid-as Star Beauty Guide rank (needs to be active while maintaining three lines of active Beauty Guides and at least one line of Lead Beauty Guide, has completed Star Beauty Guide training, and maintains $5,000 TGRV). Level 4 requires Paid-as Director rank (needs to be active, maintains four lines of active Beauty Guides, at least one line of Lead Beauty Guide, at least one line of Star Beauty Guide and maintains $10,000 TGRV).

  • Certified Mentor Bonus

By reaching the Star Beauty Guide rank and passing the Mentor Certification Program, you would have the opportunity to become a Certified Mentor (CM) for your team. Its role includes providing training, coaching, and encouragement of Beauty Guides coded to him or her.

With that, this extra position could give you a special 2% Bonus Value CM Bonus on the sales of everyone who joins your team.

In any case other individuals from your team are hailed as new CMs, everyone in their team who joined before their certification will remain “coded” to you as the original CM eligible for 2% CM Bonus.

  • Leader Generation Bonus

After enjoying your commissions down to four levels as a Director, you could go further by achieving the Lead Director rank. In order for you to do it, you need to be active, maintain five lines of active Beauty Guides with one line containing a Director, and generate $25,000 TGRV a month.

With that, you qualified for 2 percent Leader Generation Bonus on your personal sales and the sales of your entire downline.

  • Executive Bonuses

You could be eligible for this bonus by continuously growing your team and helping the members be promoted to higher ranks. Executive Bonuses let you turn your 2 percent Leader Generation Bonus turn to 3 percent.

To do this, you need one of the members in your downline to be promoted to Lead Director as well. By doing that, you help them start their own Leader Generation that gives you 3 percent First Generation Bonus on the sales of that newly promoted Lead Director’s entire downline. To further benefit from this bonus, another Lead Director should be produced under that Lead Director you helped to be promoted. This would give you another 3 percent as another Generation would be created. You could be paid 3 percent down to three Generations.

  • Car and Lifestyle Bonus

This bonus starts at the Lead Director rank up to Senior Director rank. Though this bonus clearly includes the word “car”, you have the freedom to choose where to use this cash bonus. Also, this is paid in addition to all other bonuses and commission you would receive given that you maintain the said positions and meet their maintaining requirements.

The Lead Director rank is entitled for a $500 cash bonus monthly, $750 for Star Director rank, and $1,000 for Senior Director rank.

Before reaching this bonus, here are the succession of ranks you need reach.

  • Beauty Guide in Training
  • Beauty Guide
  • Lead Beauty Guide
  • Star Beauty Guide
  • Director
  • Lead Director
  • Star Director
  • Senior Director
  • Lead Platinum Director
  • Star Platinum Director

Income Disclosure Statement

Since you already have the idea on how you would earn, you must be wondering now how effective LimeLife’s compensation plan is. Well, before we judge whether the company’s plan would reflect on its income disclosure statement or not, let me first quote what LimeLife says about its compensation plan. It states:

“LimeLife’s compensation plan is one of the most generous in the direct sales industry. We built this company to help women and men understand their worth and then be paid for it.”

That’s just heartwarming, isn't it? Well, let’s judge whether it is true based on what figures we are going to see on its most recent income disclosure statement available.

The figures above show the monthly average income of each rank in 2018. Looking at the figures above, it is apparent that the given incomes were increasing as the ranks were advancing. With limited ways and opportunities to earn on the BGIT rank, it is clear why the position only received an average amount of $49.49 a month.

Nevertheless, the active Lead Beauty Guide rank which already has a requirement for two active Beauty Guide Lines maintaining $2,500 TGRV every month and eligible for two-level deep downline commission still surprisingly received $445.61 as its average monthly income.

According to the US Census Bureau, the median income for US households in 2018 was $5,264 a month or $63,179 a year. Given that fact, an individual must at least reach the Star Director rank to at least earn an average of $7,769.34 and live a decent life. The rank requires an active status, five lines of active Beauty Guides, one Director line, one Lead Director line and $50,000 TGRV. The tough question is this: how long would it take a Beauty Guide to reach this position?

Nonetheless, it is pleasing that the Senior Director rank received $17, 925.17, Lead Platinum Director received $35,540.61 and Star Platinum Director received a whopping $57,246.57 a month. Unfortunately, the percentages of individuals who received such amounts were not mentioned. Do you know why? Because it would bluntly show the reflection of a pyramid structure: countless individuals earning little to nothing making up the wide bottom and those few who are at the pointed top of the structure enjoying huge sums of compensations. And that’s the reality no one can deny in any MLM company.

Is LimeLife a Pyramid Scheme?

I know that you are disappointed to see the facts stated above. It is truly bothersome that not even half of the positions were able to reach the average US income despite the “generous” compensations being offered by LimeLife itself. We also despise the fact that the company has been facing a lot of complaints starting from skin reaction-related problems to the company’s unflattering customer service. Most of all, it is a shame that Aunt Gertrude’s face is all red now. However, despite all of those things, LimeLife is not a pyramid scheme.

The company sure has ample flaws on its compensation plan, income disclosure statement figures and even products. Nevertheless, the company itself is a legal one.

Compared to the pyramid scheme that only relies on the inward flow of investments coming from unknowing recruits to feed its unsteady system, LimeLife thrives through the income being generated through the sales of its products. This makes it a legal MLM opportunity. Nevertheless, can this fact serve as your sole basis in joining the company especially if you are someone looking for a green pasture?

An MLM opportunity, despite being legal, is formed using the same pyramid structure that pyramid scheme is using. It compiles its recruits to make a pyramid structure wherein those at the top of the system benefit from the earnings of those at the bottom. This happens through these so-called “commissions” that actually serve as a burden for those at the bottom of the structure. This is the obvious reason why those at top earn with impressive figures while those at bottom receive little to nothing.

It is true that any MLM opportunity would require you to invest a great deal of time, effort and dedication. However, according to Jon M. Taylor, MBA, Ph.D., in his 15-year study entitled The Case (for and) Against Multi-level Marketing, the MLM system itself is faulty. He stated:

“MLM as a business model – with its endless chain of recruitment of participants as primary customers – is flawed, unfair, and deceptive. Worldwide feedback suggests it is also extremely viral, predatory and harmful to many participants. This conclusion does not apply just to a specific MLM company, but to the entire MLM industry. It is a systemic problem.”

Weighing Things: Pros and Cons

Despite the obvious facts, let us review the things you should consider before jumping into this opportunity.


  1. LimeLife is one of the longest-running companies in the industry. You might want to consider such a company that has already established its mark.
  2. It claims that it uses natural ingredients in the production of its products. Obviously, Aunt Gertrude isn’t buying it.
  3. LimeLife claims to have a “generous” compensation plan. It is for you to judge how reliable it is.


  1. There are lots of complaints being made by a lot of customers who suffered from various skin reactions caused by the use of LimeLife products. Having such problems could affect the decision of your target market.
  2. You have to pay for a renewal fee every year and pay monthly for your replicated website. I really don’t get this. Imagine having 22,000 active Beauty Guides worldwide and charging them $9.95 a month. That’s freaking $218,900 a MONTH for you, Mr. LimeLife!
  3. The compensation plan is obviously a far cry from being generous and attainable. The numbers on the income disclosure statement don’t lie.
  4. It is an MLM opportunity and the world of MLM has a disastrous system. Contest Dr. Taylor’s 15-year study and Aunt Gertrude’s rage.

Conclusion: The Verdict

Despite the years of molding itself, LimeLife still has a lot of things to change to be a favorable opportunity not just for a few numbers of people but for anyone trying to join its crusade. Unfortunately, the company is using a faulty business model that could bring a high possibility of failure, if not inevitable, for everyone under it.

Beyond the company’s legality in nature, you also need an opportunity that could promise you with certainty a fair system and compensation. Unluckily, the entire MLM industry, not just LimeLife, is incapable of doing it regardless of all the promising words and beauty it uses to hide its imperfections.

Thank you for stopping by and reading this article! I hope this article enlightened you with the essential facts and ideas about LimeLife.

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