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Is Avon An MLM Scam Or A Legit Business? [2020 Review]

Welcome to my Avon Review. If you are thinking about joining Avon read this first. Is Avon an MLM? Is Avon a scam? Is Avon legit? You'll find the answers here.

First of all congratulations on taking the time to do research on the company. Especially if you are planning to use Avon for the business opportunity they offer.

Doing research is imperative to avoid scams and to find the most profitable ways to create your own business.

I want to be completely honest with you. I haven't tried Avon products or network marketing opportunities. This means I'm not affiliated with them in any way.

On the other hand, it means that I'm basing this review on third party information. I want to be completely transparent about this and I'll leave for you to decide if you want to trust my information. I encourage you to be always skeptical about everything you read online.

Now that we are on the same page, let's look at what Avon is about and how it's managed to keep a successful business for well over a century.

Avon Review Summary

Company: Avon

Product Type: Personal care and Cosmetics MLM.

Price: $100 Signup and a Starter kit ranging from $25 to $100.

Recommended to: People who are passionate about skincare and make up and want to make a side income. I don't really recommend MLMs for full-time income.


Avon is one of the oldest, if not the oldest network marketing companies. It's based in the US but operates all over the world. Their products are high quality, legit and the company has worked hard to stop animal cruelty. They focus on selling over recruiting so they definitely aren't a pyramid scheme.

They are an MLM company however. I see nothing wrong with buying their products if you are they are something you are interested in. As a business opportunity I think there are better option. You can find my recommendation below. 

What is Avon

Avon is an American multi-level marketing company that focuses on personal care, beauty and healthcare products.

One could say it is "The" multilevel marketing company. It was part of many American homes well before Tupperware. Most people in the US have at least head about Avon.

They have also operated globally for several decades so people in other countries, especially in the English-speaking world, are fairly familiar with the brand.

Their market share and turnover make them the second-largest MLM company in the world, only losing to Amway.


The company was founded by David H. McDonell who initially sold books door-to-door in New York during the 1880s. In 1886, he decided to start selling perfumes instead of books and this is the start of Avon.

Originally the company was called California Perfume Company but the trademark Avon was registered in 1932.

At this point, the product line had grown to include perfumes, toilet waters, powder, and lipsticks.

Avon entered the Chinese market in the 1990s but their business model had some trouble when direct selling was outlawed in China in 1998. Avon solved this by selling only through physical stores.

In recent history, Avon has had several acquisitions and mergers as well as some financial struggles. The most notable change is that Avon separated US, Canada, and Puerto Rico business into New Avon LLC and the global business into Avon Products.

Avon Products has its headquarters in the UK. The North American New Avon LLC has been apparently purchased by South Korean giant LG Household & Healthcare.

Product Line

In its current product line, Avon focuses on personal health care and beauty products, ranging from makeups to fashion and even health supplements.

At they list their categories as:

  • Makeup
  • Skincare
  • Bath & Body
  • Fragrance
  • Jewelry
  • Fashion
  • Wellness
  • Men's products

So as you can see they cover pretty much everything that helps look, feel and smell nicer. Most of the categories are pretty self-explanatory but under the Welles category, for example, you will find health supplements and vitamins.

While Avon is definitely marketed mainly for women as beauty products and fragrances are their mainstays, they have included products for men.

These are mainly fragrance and grooming products so no fashion and makeup for us gents.

But that's enough about the products. Let's take a look at their business model.

Is Avon An MLM

So if someone you know has been selling you Avon products

Yes. Avon is a multi-level marketing company. Most people in the US know them from the door-to-door business model they've been using for over a century.

If you don't know what an MLM is, let me explain it to you shortly. MLM is short for Multilevel-marketing.

The most important thing to know is that MLM is not the same thing as a pyramid scheme.

Some people use them synonymously, but it's wrong. MLM is a business model and a pyramid scheme is an illegal scam based on the same principles. That still doesn't mean MLM businesses can't be legit.

So here's how an MLM basically works:

  1. An MLM company uses individual sales reps/associates instead of a regular distribution chain like stores.
  2. The individual reps sell or market the products directly to consumers
  3. The reps additionally recruit new sales reps
  4. The reps you have recruited and they have recruited are called your down line
  5. You earn commissions from sales in your down line as well
  6. Since the down line typically grows exponentially it's called a pyramid or a network

In a pyramid scheme the basic idea us the same. What sets them apart is that in a pyramid scheme there either are no products to sell to the customers or they are secondary to recruiting.

Money comes into the system from the recruits, they have to pay to get in (inventory, training, opportunity, etc.).

If you understand even a little bit of math you realize that this is essentially transferring money from the bottom of the pyramid to the top. It's no wonder pyramid schemes are illegal in most parts of the world.

Avon definitely isn't a pyramid scheme, they would have been out of business a long time ago.

But they do use multilevel-marketing as their main business model.

Avon compensation plan

So how does the MLM work in Avon? Here's the summary:

It costs only $10 to become an affiliate. This is a very low few, actually one of the lowest in the business.

You will then have to buy some inventory and marketing material. Ranging from $25 to $100:

  1. Quick Starter Kit ($25): Valued over $80
  2. Advanced Starter Kit ($50): Valued over $140
  3. Premium Starter Kit ($100): Valued over $400

The compensation plan is fairly typical for MLM. You start as a promoter and move the ladder up to Ambassador, Leader and Executive Leader when you get enough recruits and sales.

So you are compensated for both selling products and recruiting people into your down line. Just like any other MLM.

This video helps to explain the basics, keep in mind it's from 2013, so you need to check the current details from Avon if plan on becoming an associate:

Is Avon Legit?

So is Avon legit? Well, it seems Avon is as legit as MLMs come. I would say it's as trustworthy as Primerica and definitely not something like Prosperity Of Life

They are a very well-established organization with almost 150 years of experience in both network marketing and direct sales.

Unlike many other. MLM's Avon also sells directly through its online store to customers. I don't know how they could manage to run a scammy business for over a century while selling directly, through their network and

That said, I'm not personally a fan of the whole multi-level marketing business model. While many people claim it has benefits over regular distribution chains but there's just always something shady feeling about it.

People often mix MLMs with Pyramid Schemes because there have been so many dishonest MLMs.

 Once again I want to make it perfectly clear that MLM doesn't mean a business is a pyramid scheme.

Still, people associate the two and often are skeptical about MLMs. I prefer using a business model that doesn't involve any hard selling.

I just present a solution to people's problems. Check my top recommendation at the end of this article and join my free 7-day course to learn the ropes. 

You can enroll for the 7-day course by submitting your email address into the form below. I will not spam your email and you can unsubscribe anytime. There are no hidden costs during the 7 days. 

Is Avon A Scam?

No, it doesn't seem that Avon is a scam. But you have to keep in mind it's an MLM which makes it susceptible to sales reps that use shady sales tactics.

If you buy directly from Avon there likely is no risk of getting scammed, considering how long the company has been operational.

The same goes if you want to become an Avon sales rep. The company will pay you the commissions you have earned.

Just keep in mind, selling physical products is usually a lot more work than the marketing materials of most MLMs make you think.

Typically, to make a decent income with an MLM business you have to have several recruits in your down line, producing additional income while you keep selling the products yourself as well.

While Avon probably a better bet for making income than lottery or money making Apps like AppNana or Lucky Day, I think you will earn a better income long term with affiliate marketing.

To be honest, if you need to get income fast it might be better to just find a temp job while working on creating an online business. Recruitment agencies like Insight Global are great for finding work fast. 

There are also some signals that Avon is losing sales during the last century and it has closed many national side offices.

"Once the largest direct-selling company in the world, Avon has flailed in recent years, particularly in North America. In 2014, Avon’s North America revenue fell 18% to $1.2 billion, crumbling to barely half of what it took in 2007. And more worryingly for a company that depends entirely on sales reps, the number of Avon Ladies selling its products fell 18% at home. Globally, the size of its sales force fell for the fifth straight year."

Avon has also recently closed branches in France and New Zealand and there been some dispute about communication difficulties between the company and its employees and partners.

"Angry workers in France have accused Avon of keeping them in the dark for months and not acting in line with Avon's publically stated values of being a socially responsible company that upholds values of trust, respect and integrity and a culture of "open and candid communication".

Estelle Croissant, an Avon employee responsible for supporting the direct selling representatives, told the BBC that a workers' council representing Avon staff in France was challenging the company for not following the correct redundancy process."

Is Avon Cruelty-Free?

Avon has been criticized in the past for selling products that have been tested on animals, causing unnecessary suffering to animals aka animal cruelty.

In the past decades, they have worked very hard to stop testing on animals all around the world. Especially China has been a challenge because they have/had regulations for certain products to be tested on animals (Apparently Avon has stopped animal testing for China).

The good news is that Avon has been working hard with PETA to achieve cruelty-free recognition and they are now officially added to the "Working On Regulatory Change" list.

So they are not completely cruelty-free just yet, but they are getting there.

"Things keep getting better! After working closely with PETA for nearly two years to end tests on animals and demonstrating significant contributions to global efforts to stop tests on animals, Avon Products, Inc., has officially been added to PETA’s “Working for Regulatory Change” list."


Avon has also partnered with FRAME (Fund for the Replacement of Animals in Medical Experiments) in Europe for 30 years. So they definitely seem willing to stop animal cruelty.

Is Avon Vegan

Something I don't often share about myself is that I eat mostly plant-based and believe it's a necessity for our future. I'm not a Vegan but I understand the motives of people who are.

In case you are not familiar with the vegan philosophy you might wonder what personal care products have to do with being a vegan. It's not just about eating plan based. It includes not using any animal products, including leather belts, etc.

Many cosmetic products contain animal products, so vegans will be interested if Avon makeup is Vegan.

The answer is that not all Avon products are Vegan but they have a Vegan line of products:

"Alongside ending animal testing across all our brands, we’re working hard to incorporate more plant, natural and synthetic based ingredients into our products without having a negative impact on our precious planet and its resources. Our recently launched Distillery range comprises vegan-friendly products composed of concentrates crafted through a rich distillery process, housed in environmentally conscious packaging."


What I like About Avon

1. It's a very well-established company

They've been around for over 100 years so they must be doing something right. You simply can't run a pyramid scheme or otherwise questionable business model for over a century.

The fact that they've survived several recessions, World Wars, and the digital revolution tells something about the agility of the company.

2. They focus on customer satisfaction and selling their products

Many scammy MLMs and pyramid schemes focus on recruiting people into the system and require you to either pay for memberships, training or a starting inventory.

As far as I can tell, Avon does none of these. They actually focus on creating sustainable customer relationships, don't require you to buy expensive inventory and offer actual valuable products.

"Meh. Kinda. My mom is an Avon lady, and the focus isn’t on recruiting others to work under her, but to connect and have customers that can count on her. Plus, the products aren’t gimmicky pills and wraps, it’s just normal makeup. However, it could fit into the MLM model because you CAN recruit people under you and you typically order through members. It just has a nice, warm non malicious vibe tbh."


3. They offer quality products with good value

Unlike many other MLMs, it seems Avon has actually stayed in business by offering products that offer superior quality and value in the marketplace.

It's an unfortunate reality that many network marketing businesses are created for the sole purpose of bringing money to the creators through recruiting sales agents.

The intention isn't to sell overpriced products to the marketplace and bringing in money through recruiting people who pay for either inventory or training. Pyramid schemes take this to the extreme.

Avon definitely doesn't do this.

4. They do charity

Avon actually uses some of its funds for the good of people. They actually have The Avon Foundation for Women and they donate towards breast cancer and care.

"Beginning in the early 1990s, Avon also began donating towards breast cancer research and care, through the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade and the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, a series of U.S.-based charity walks.[39] Before 2003, the Walk was a function of Pallotta Teamworks, with Avon being the beneficiary. Since 2003, the charity reports that more than 180,000 Walk participants have raised $472 million for the cause.[40][41] "

What I don't like about Avon

Few things I don't like about Avon.

1. It's an MLM

Like we established, Avon does use network marketing as it's the main business model. While it's definitely one of the more ethical and trustworthy MLMs, I personally don't like the business model.

This is because as long as there is the incentive of extra earnings from recruiting people, some reps will shamelessly use aggressive, or dishonest sales tactics and pressure people into joining the system.

I know Avon doesn't encourage or accept this kind of operation, but you have to keep in mind it doesn't matter how ethical the mother company is. In MLMs, the individual sales reps can range a lot from person to person.

2. They are not cruelty-free. Yet.

As of writing this, Avon is cruelty free, kind of. I don't accept animal suffering of any kind and least of all for vanity purposes like make-up.

Avon has been working hard with PETA to make their products cruelty-free. They have stopped testing on animals everywhere in the world but apparently they still have suppliers that are not absolutely certified as cruelty free.

According to PETA, Avon is putting in systems in place to ensure their suppliers aren't using animals as well.

While this is great information, I don't like how much animal suffering the whole personal care industry is and has caused.

I'm glad Avon is clearly taking action to become cruelty-free and as far as I can tell they are 99,9% there but even the 0.01% is too much in my books.

My recommendation

If you are looking for information on Avon because you want to use their products I can't really recommend you go one way or the other.

They seem like high quality and are almost cruelty-free, so they are probably better than many options out there.

If you are considering becoming an Avon sales rep to get income, I would like to recommend another option for you.

You see, most people who start with MLMs are either fed up with how the regular "9 to 5" works, they are unemployed or they want to become entrepreneurs.

Usually, the driving force is the flexible time, the option to work on your passion, being home-based and the fact that you are your own master so to speak.

Unfortunately, these criteria won't be met with many MLMs. You are always dependent on the company, it usually takes a lot more work than you initially thought to make sales, you have to do a lot of face-to-face selling, etc.

My recommendation is Search Engine Optimization based Affiliate Marketing. You don't think it's an accident you're reading this, do you?

You see, in the modern digital world, it's possible to get all the leads you could ever want through Search Engine Optimization.

The reason why I use affiliate marketing as the way to monetize those leads is simple. Affiliate marketing is totally passive and risk-free to me.

I just present the customers, get a commission and the company does the selling, shipping, etc. complicated and resource-intensive labor.

But of course, there's more to this, otherwise, everyone would be doing it. It's not a get-rich overnight type of deal.

It takes work and in the beginning, you can't expect to make a dime. That's why you should never start this in need of acute income. Think of it as a long term investment.

In all honesty, it's next to impossible to succeed in online marketing without training. I found a training that has helped thousands of people to achieve complete financial freedom.

You can find the training by pressing the button below.


I hope you found this Avon review useful and it answered most of your questions. As you can see, Avon is a well-established company with a very long history.

They sell quality products and focus on selling and creating sustainable customer relationships instead of recruiting, so it's on the ethical side of multi-level network marketing.

That said, it still is an MLM, which means there might be people within the system that use unethical sales tactics to increase their own revenues through recruitment.

While Avon itself is cruelty-free, according to PETA they have no achieved full cruelty-free classification because of their supplier system. The good thing is that Avon seems to be genuinely striving for cruelty-free status.

I don't think Avon is a scam, but I can't really recommend it as a business opportunity either. There are simply better options for a similar time investment.

I think SEO based affiliate marketing is much more profitable in the long run and doesn't require significant investment to get started.

The bonus is that you don't have to sell products to people, you can present them products they are already searching for.

So if you are looking for a way to start a home-based business, that can produce full-time income, affiliate marketing is your best bet.

It also offers incredible freedom, since you can operate almost anywhere in the world. All you need is a laptop and an internet connection.

If you found this article useful, please bookmark my site, subscribe to my newsletter through the 7-day course and help me spread the word by sharing in social media.

See you next time!

16 replies on “Is Avon An MLM Scam Or A Legit Business? [2020 Review]”

Jukkah! Great information you have here on Avon. The information you provide should definitely helps those in search for an answer on whether or not they should join. I Honestly don’t know what an MLM scam is could you help me with that?

Glad you found the content useful Travis! In short, MLM means multi-level marketing, i.e. pyramid selling. You earn money from your own sales and the sales of people you have recruited. And even from the people they have recruited and so on. In MLM scams, i.e. pyramid schemes there is no intention to even get income by selling valuable products. Instead money is introduced into the system by the recruits. There is usually a rather substantial participation fee to get in. It might cover product inventory, training etc. but they are never worth the money. Hope this answers your question! P.S. I want to be clear that I don’t think Avon is a MLM scam.

Thanks for sharing your knowledge! I learned a lot about multilevel-marketing and the pyramid scheme. I’ve heard about the Pyramid Scheme before but I actually didn’t know that it’s illegal in many parts of the world. Being an affiliate marketer myself I completely agree with your recommendation. From reading your article Avon doesn’t seem to be the ‘easiest’ way to get into online marketing. I’m gonna do some more research myself as I’ve never heard of Avon. Cheers!

Glad you found it useful Jonas! Pyramid schemes are illegal in many countries for a good reason. People have been using them to scam money from unsuspecting victims as long as there’s been an economic system. Some people are just so desperate to pay anything for a shortcut to riches. This is exactly what con artists promise in pyramid schemes. Avon definitely isn’t an online marketing opportunity, or I guess you could leverage online business to increase your Avon sales but they are a regular face to face business foremost.

Avon is something that has made many rich. Even so, I agree with your conclusion because affiliate marketing is similar in investment, startup time, and more stable in the long term. I used to have somebody work for Avon and she did make money off of it. The issue is that it was impossible to do unless you went to school for it, which she did. A full-time beautician allowed her to make a living off of Avon for a time. The problem is she needed schooling and she is now retired and cannot use it to support herself anymore. Avon is good but not so for the beginner who wants to make a full-time income online.

Thanks for taking the time to comment David! It’s the same with most MLMs, you usually do need some training and expertise to become good at selling the products. That’s the way it’s supposed to be I think. The great thing about affiliate marketing is that you can turn the knowledge you already have into a profitable business. Most people have enough expertise in something so that they can educate others and provide value. All the best to you!

I have friends who have worked for Avon and they report positive experiences. They enjoyed being able to create their own schedule and having freedom. This was quite some time ago in the UK, not sure if it is the same today or not. Thank you for sharing.

You’re welcome Catherine! I have no doubt people have had positive experiences with Avon and even made a decent buck.

That’s a very detailed of Avon and their recruiting program. I like that you pointed out that pure pyramid schemes are illegal – unell the government run them (pension schemes for example).

But, even though it’s not a pure pyramid scheme, in operation it’s the same, as you point out. Those further up the pyramid make the most money, so getting in early on a program like this is key. Plus, you have to be very good at recruiting effective sales people in your downline.

Sounds too much like a real sales management job. Plus there’s probably a bit of variability in monthly income, depending on how your recruits are performing.

Ha! I’m not sure where you’re from Gary, but I doubt your government is using a multilevel marketing system to run the pension system. That said I have no wonder they have complicated schemes for pensions. In my country you just have to work for 40 years and your set. If you can afford to live with a fraction of your salary that is.

I guess working for most MLMs is a lot like a regular sales job, the income structures is just a bit different like you point out. Anyways I’m glad you found the post useful and took the time to comment! All the best.

Nice post. Very informative and very detailed. You give a lot of information about the company which is very good and you explain definitions very well.

Much appreciated.

Wow, I never realized Avon was MLM, that really doesn’t bother me though since I am not looking to work for them. My mom ordered Avon all her life and it is a well established company. I ordered from them online a few items last year just from their website so I did not order through a rep. Thanks for the great info!!

Hi Karli! Yeah I guess many people don’t realize they are an MLM because they are so well established and known brand. It just goes to show that MLM is not the same as a pyramid scheme or dishonesty. It’s just a business model that can be run ethically as well. Avon definitely is on the ethical side as they have direct sales online as well like you noticed.

If anyone was interested in either just earning extra cash from home or making a serious income through building a team of consultants, I would absolutely recommend Avon. I know people who are living the dream lifestyle all the way down to someone making extra money for the kids dancing lessons through Avon. It’s been around forever and I can’t honestly say I know a woman alive (or dead!) who hasn’t bought their products.

I was in MLM for 10 years (not Avon) and recruited people who went on to build bigger organisations than me and consequently made more money than me. Ironically, it is one of the very few business models that is not a pyramid!

Having said that, I prefer affiliate marketing myself as I don’t want to rely on anyone else for my income.

Keep up the good work.


Thanks for taking the time to comment Jean! You are absolutely right about Avons status. If you want to try MLM, it’s probably one of the safer ones because of the brand recognition. I just recommend everyone to do their research about MLMs before jumping in. It always pays off to educate yourself on business opportunities.

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