Is Herbalife a Pyramid Scam? – Or is it a Legit MLM Opportunity?

is herbalife a pyramid scam

Herbalife, a scam or at the very least a pyramid scheme? This is a question that many of my readers have been asking me in the past few months. Having so many projects to work on, I have not had the time to work on this one. But today, I have finally completed my research and compiled my review. So here we are …

First of all I must tell you that my wife and myself have been distributors for Herbalife when we lived in South Africa. That’s a few years ago now, but I think to remember that we effortlessly shifted quite a few pounds (or kilos) while enjoying the products.

During the time that we were distributors in this small farming community in the middle of South Africa, we built up quite an important base of regular customers. So, nothing to complain about it as far as the products and the business opportunity is concerned, back then at least.

But let’s see if things have changed over the years. Did it get better, did it get less attractive? This is what my research is going to answer. The first thing that I discovered during my research is that it is now called “Herbalife Nutrition“.

So, is Herbalife a Scam and / or a Pyramid Scheme?

Taking health supplements has its benefits, and it’s possible you are familiar with Herbalife if you take health supplements or other health products often.

Herbalife has different health products, which they sell via direct marketing. And it’s likely you got to know about these health products they sell through a colleague at work, a family member or friend.

You may have an interest in working for this MLM company as a distributor. In this Herbalife Review, you will get to know how this company works, the Herbalife products, and also the pros and cons. It’s important you get the right information before you consider becoming a distributor.

Herbalife MLM – What it is?

Herbalife, an MLM company with headquarters in Los Angeles, CA, was founded by Mark Hughes in 1980. More than 9,000 people from different parts of the world have been employed by this MLM company. Products offered by Herbalife are available for purchase in more than 95 countries and have more than 4 million distributors and members.

At first, the company sold only products for weight loss. At first, they sold protein shakes to help folks manage a healthy weight. Over time, their products extended into areas like digestive health, fitness, aging, women’s health, and more. Since it was founded, Herbalife has grown and has made millions of dollars.

Herbalife pyramid scam

Cost of Herbalife Products 

Herbalife offers different varieties of products like supplements, protein powders, tea, products for weight management, protein bars, personal health care products, and more.

Herbalife Formula 1 Healthy Meal powder
Herbalife Formula 1 Healthy Meal Powder

Herbalife Formula 1 Healthy Meal powder is one of the core products on offer by Herbalife. This is the one that my wife and myself were using and distributing back then when were in South Africa, about 20 years ago.

This product is prepared with 2 scoops of powder, and the product is supposed to serve as a meal replacement (replace two meals in a day) to help in weight loss. The Herbalife Formula 1 Healthy Meal Powder (26 Ounce) costs about US$40 depending on the location you purchase the item. On the Herbalife site, the product is on sale at $42.85. The price on Amazon is $40, so you can compare the price with other similar products.

The reviews of this product on Amazon are good; a lot of people mentioned losing weight by taking Herbalife shakes. You are to take four scoops every day since each shake consists of 2 scoops. I can also back these reviews without any hesitation.

Let’s do a little math now …

Base on the reviews on Amazon, the 26.4 ounce Herbalife powder can only last for two weeks. If we round up the price of the product to $40, that will be US$1.52 an ounce.

Orgain Organic Protein Powder
Orgain Organic Protein Powder

There is a product similar to that of Herbalife going by the name of Orgain Organic Protein Powder, which is on offer for half the price ($26.99) on Amazon. This product is available in a 2lb container, 0.83 USD per ounce.

Orgain Organic Protein ingredients are vegan, lactose-free, gluten-free, and certified by USDA organic. I did not come across any comparable info for the Herbalife Formula 1 Protein Powder. You can use both products alongside an exercise routine/program to facilitate weight loss.

So is Herbalife products worth their price?  Well, there are other similar products in the market of equal or better quality and price. Thus, Herbalife products could be a tough sell depending on the product you want to buy.

The Herbalife Opportunity 

Herbalife works like a typical MLM program such as: Usana, Jeunesse Global, 10KWealthCode, … just to name a few. To participate, you have to sign up as a member under a Herbalife distributor (who will act as your sponsor) to buy a member package.

You will be put in place under the down line of your sponsor once you sign up, and you can start to sell their products. For any product you sell, your sponsor will receive a commission for it. Distributors located outside the United States can sign up online and send their documents to the Member Services of their country.

Is Herbalife a Pyramid Scam – Cost of Joining Herbalife? 

You will have to buy a “Herbalife Distributor Kit” to sign up. The Distributor Kits are of two types, The International Business Pack that goes for $94.10 and the International Business Pack-Super Starter that goes for $124.10.

Any additional costs are obscure. These costs are not present in your distributor agreement, like your precious time, the amount you will spend on calls, money for fuel to/from potential customers.

Can You Earn with Herbalife? 

To earn on this platform, you will have to sell Herbalife products and also recruit fresh distributors. Recruiting people and leaving the work for them is not enough.

As a Herbalife distributor, you purchase products from Herbalife at a discount of 25% and sell the products at the retail price; thus, you get to make 25% as commission.

Offering a 25 percent discount to prospective customers if they register as a member on the platform is a nice incentive. Customers will have to make an initial one-time payment that costs 34.99 USD; this money will cover the cost of obtaining the Preferred member pack. Membership renewal for customers cost $15 each year.

Although there are some other ways to earn on this platform, have at the back of your mind that all earnings are via commission; there is no base payment. 

So is Herbalife a pyramid scam even though one can earn on the platform through commissions? Continue reading to know if this MLM is a scam or not.

Pros and Cons of Herbalife


The pros

Work when you please

You will find the direct selling models attractive if you fancy a flexible schedule for work. You can decide to work full-time or part-time (combining it with your normal work).

No minimum purchases per month

Even though there is no minimum purchase each month, as a Herbalife distributor, you need to continue buying products every month if you want to maintain your status as a distributor.

Fully refundable

You can get a refund of the products if you want to terminate your distributorship as long as you have not opened them.

You don’t need any sales tools

When you sign up, you are not under any obligation to purchase any business or sales tools.


The cons

Not approved by the FDA

Products offered are not FDA approved. However, their products have been inspected by the FDA. In one of its 2014 videos, Herbalife mentioned it has FDA approval. The FDA responded quickly to this claim asking them to cease spreading fake information that their products had approval from the FDA.

Pricey Products 

Comparing Herbalife products to similar products in the market, it’s obvious theirs is on the high side. As mentioned above, the price of their protein powder is way costly than similar products on Amazon.

Herbalife SKIN Collagen the Beauty Booster is another product that “promotes healthy skin from within and for visibly a younger-looking skin.” Also, this drink supplement (6-ounce canister) is available in a strawberry / lemonade flavor, and it goes for $49.40.

BBB Complaints

BBB (Better Business Bureau) gave Herbalife an A-rating and 21/4-star rating. The reviews are revealing, even though the reviews are not much. Customers who bought the products provided mixed reviews. Herbalife customers and distributors who wrote reviews were certainly not pleased.

Better Business Bureau customers reviews about is herbalife a pyramid scam

And even more recently …

Better Business Bureau a customer reviews about is herbalife a pyramid scam and their response

Out of the 6 complaints on record on the BBB website, only the one above has a response from Herbalife!


I discovered in the course of my research that several lawsuits have been filed against Herbalife. You will find some of these alerts when you visit the BBB site. The alert shows that Herbalife’s business model misrepresents a direct selling organization in China. 

Herbalife distributors also filed a class-action lawsuit against the company; they complained that the Herbalife misrepresented their earnings. Distributors are told that any individual who attends their events, “Circle of Success,” will become wealthy. Most of the distributors in the lawsuit did not get rich and also lost their hard-earned cash.

Is Herbalife a Pyramid Scam?

You may choose to pass on this opportunity for so many reasons. The lawsuits against Herbalife are enough reasons to be discouraging. Herbalife products are not cheap in comparison to similar products and could be a hard sell to potential customers. I can’t tell for sure if this platform is a scam or not, but there are lots of red flags to be mindful of.

Final Verdict

One of the reasons I’m skeptical about most MLMs is that you earn only by commission, there is no base pay/salary. Before you receive commissions, you need to put in a lot of effort and do plenty of work.

You can go through my #1 recommendation on how to start a business of your own if you’re looking for how to make extra cash with a flexible work schedule.

You will get all the tools and help you need to succeed, including support, a website, hosting, and training materials … and zero products to buy to get going, or to resell!

And, What’s Your Verdict? Is Herbalife a Pyramid Scam, or Not?

I hope that you enjoyed reading through this scam review and that it has clarified you mind about the Herbalife business opportunity being a pyramid scheme or not. Hopefully, you will follow my advise and take this opportunity to learn more about my #1 Recommendation.

John presenting how to improve your seo

If you are looking for an honest way to make a living online, and to start for free, just like I have been doing for years, I recommend that you first learn more about Affiliate Marketing, it will cost you nothing. 

You can even start at your own pace if you don’t have much time to spare. All you have to do is join my FREE Internet Marketing Training by clicking on the banner below …

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  • Hilde

    Herbalife have been in the market a long time. Personally I have never used their products. I know people who make money selling their products and are happy with it. I would rather start my own business online. Not in the MLM business. MLM was popular in the eighties with homeparties. I do not like the income system where you have to buy Autoships to have the right to earn. 

    • John

      Quite right Hilde, MLM is a thing of the past which I suspect will finally disappear as it is so time and money consuming for the distributor who, in fact becomes its own best customer as he / she struggles to keep up with the monthly quota imposed to remain onboard. I have since a very long time gone into Affiliate Marketing where everyone wins: the consumer, the product or service provider, and the distributor or affiliate, and not only the few at the top.

      I wish you the very best Hilde. Stay safe and healthy,


  • ChrisQueen

    Well your site certainly grabs attention.  Herbalife never appealed to me.  Did Amway when I was twenty, 50 Bucks for your first truckload of soap.  The content is very good.  I believe I know more about Herbalife than I ever did before.  

    I was later a Pearl in TheTaxPeople(defunct, founder in federal prison for income tax fraud)  and a friend was making 43,000 per month within a year.  I was on track to get there and more, then the goofball who started it got himself in trouble with Kansas Attorney General, Carla Stovall leading to trouble with the IRS.  Done with any sort of MLM.  

    I’ll trust the good character of Kyle and Carson of Wealthy Affiliate.  We have a great opportunity here to stand independent of anyone.  If something happened to Wealthy Affiliate I’d walk away able to take care of myself with the knowledge gained here.  

    I think your will do well with this type of comparison.  Your site packs punch, is well organized, and I registered to find out about your free Internet Marketing course offered on the post.  Thank you.  Chris.

    • John

      I know the feeling Chris, I’ve done Amway too, in 3 different countries, and ended up with a garage full of extremely expensive empty spray bottles, cartons of disgusting noodles and enough washing powder to supply the  laundry room of a 64 stories condo in Palm Beach, Florida for a year, and never made a cent. 

      So yes, MLM is definitely not for me. Although I know of a few people who have really done well in it, but guess what? They got in early and are now profiting on the backs of all those (millions) who are coming in under them. 

      There is no secret, Affiliate Marketing is where everyone wins, no matter how soon or late they come in.

      Thanks for sharing your background and experience Chris. Yes, I have seen that you have registered for my free Internet Marketing classes and I am sure that your will enjoy them.

      Best wishes for your online projects!


  • godspowerbrown992

    Hallo there! This is an awesome review you’ve got here. Though is my first time hearing about herbalife and with what I read so far about it Is really impressive, at first I thought it was a scam like others making money online so I was little discouraging at first but with your explanation with what I read my mind is fully ready to start up .

    Thank a lot for sharing this with me

    • John

      Thanks for taking the time to read my review on Herbalife my friend. Although Herbalife was one of the best MLMs I have been in, to me it is still an MLM for which reason I am keeping well away from since I have discovered Affiliate Marketing thanks to Wealthy Affiliate.

      I wish you the very best with your businesses.

      Take care!


  • edahnewton1

    Hey nice review you have about Herbalife. A lot of thought has been running through my mind either or not to invest in Herbalife, going through this article, I now have a clearer picture of how it operates including it’s cons. Honestly I don’t think Herbalife is worth investing on, considering it’s product not being registered FDA and the different lawsuits against them, with all these issues, it will be very difficult for one to recruit others before they can earn.

    • John

      Thanks for sharing your views on the matter of whether Herbalife is a pyramid scam or not Edah. I’m glad that my review helped you make your decision on this company or any MLM business model. Yes, there is no better form of business model than Affiliate Marketing.

      I wish you the very best for whatever online or offline projects you might be looking into.

      Take care,


  • Awinikistevie

    Hello there, Herbalife MLM It is neither scam nor a pyramid scheme. It offers different varieties of products like supplements, protein powders, tea, products for weight management, protein bars, personal health care products, and more. however, to earn on this platform, you will have to sell Herbalife products and also recruit fresh distributors. Thanks

    • John

      That’s right, as you have read in my program / product review, Herbalife is far from being a pyramid scheme or a scam platform. As I am saying, it is probably one of the best MLM business models that I have been associated with. However, it is still an MLM business, which for me has zero appeal, and if you look around you will find out that all these MLM companies are slowing offering some sort of affiliation and I have the feeling that in time they will have to follow the affiliate business model, or go burst!

      I wish you the very best. Take care, stay safe and healthy.


  • Philebur

    Hello there thanks for this review on this platform. It was really helpful I must say. This is actually my first time hearing of this platform and judging from your review it is really worth the try. I really cant say if this platform is a scam or not but then I think you have just covered my doubt on the platform

    • John

      Thanks for your comment Philebur. Yes, if you are attracted to the MLM business model, I can recommend that Herbalife is one honest platform where you can get your feet wet in, but be prepared to invest a lot of your time, and much more money than what you are told by their website and distributors than you might wish to spend before you make a red cent.

      If you do make the attempt to join Herbalife, you will find plenty of distributors who will be happy to welcome you in their downline. And please come back here and share your experience and results, okay?

      Best wishes,



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