[Red]: Today we’re sharing a LimeLife/LimeLight tale from Claire. Take it away, Claire!
[Claire]: Thank you Red Corvette! I’m very pleased I can share my story here.
So how did I get sucked into the MLM LimeLight? Oops, I mean LimeLife? Yup, they changed their name recently. But anyway, let’s start from the beginning, shall we?
I worked a “real” job at a small pet care company for several years. Until one day in 2014, I faced what no woman should face … sexual harassment from a co-worker. Long story short, I reported it, no one believed me, and my co-worker assaulted me. My boss told me I was liar and fired me. Absurd and unfair? Yes. Yet it happens ALL the time around the world.
This incident changed my life. I had constant nightmares. I became a hermit and did not look for another job. I was terrified of people. I didn’t want the same thing to happen again. Yet during this time, a charming young man asked me to marry him and I said yes. YEEYUH! Time to start a new life. But how? I was broke as a joke. This is how I fell into the trap of MLMs.
LimeLight was not the first company. I tried It Works first. Yeah, those darn wraps. I saw someone peddling it on their Instagram and thought, “Work from home? Be your own boss? No physical human interaction? Sign me up!” I did make some money but the products were mehhh and expensive. Of course, I spent more than I got back. On the other hand, I have loved makeup since high school. I was also looking for a cruelty free brand … as in Leaping Bunny certified. So in my social media travels when I came across LimeLight, I thought, “Sell makeup? Oh I can do that!” Ha ha ha …
I signed up under a girl named Lucinda. I don’t remember how I found her on Facebook especially, since she lived across the country from me, but she seemed genuine. She didn’t have to do much for me to sign up. I asked her some questions, and she told me I’d have no problem selling makeup, and I’d make my money back quickly after buying the starter kit (which, by the way, is almost $200, after tax) So I clicked her link and ordered. Whoopee! I’m now a Beauty Guide. Well, according to LimeLight at least.
I was immediately stuffed into several groups and group chats, and contacted by Lucinda’s upline, Amelia. Amelia was a LimeLight Lead Director, which is a quite a high rank. She asked for a photo of me so she could introduce me to everyone with a nice, sparkling “New Beauty Guide in Training” caption. Now this was different. It Works was not this … interactive. The group chat was buzzing all day with the girls talking about goals, asking questions, cheering each other on, giving tips on finding leads, blah blah blah … happiness that seemed to be fueled by copious amounts of caffeine. This is how I learned about the LimeLight culture.
New recruits had to go through a week-long training program. Basically, you sat there and watched multiple videos of one of the bubbly platinum-haired directors giving you tips on how to start “your” business:
Post everyday. Form your own brand. Go live. BE POSITIVE.
If there was one thing LimeLight drilled into recruits heads from Day 1 of their “adventure” was to never, ever, EVER be negative on social media. Oh, and that LimeLight was not like other MLMs. “We are different, we have to be different,” they said over and over. Well, different sounded good to me because It Works sucked. I was glad I didn’t have to harass anyone anymore to get sales. “That’s not LimeLight” they said. “Our products sell themselves!”
Once my kit arrived, I was encouraged by my group to go live on Facebook and unbox it, which was nerve wracking. Frankly, I’m not sure anyone cared. No one had even heard of LimeLight, as it was a new company. My network already knew I was good with makeup, since I had an Instagram account featuring my makeup looks, which had over a thousand followers. But LimeLight? PFFT. No one had a clue what it was. Now that I had products in my hands, I had to start applying them and taking glamorous selfies.
Meanwhile, in the group chat …
Lucinda (my upline) was growing discouraged. “I got my husband telling me that I’ll never be successful and I’ll fail. I haven’t been selling much lately. I’m so broke I can’t even buy a single eyeshadow,” she lamented.
“It’s OK, Lucinda. It usually takes about two years to see real success in a business,” a girl in the group named Susan said. It turned out that Susan was Lucinda’s upline, which I found out later. They lived practically in the same neighborhood.
Eventually Lucinda’s unfortunate issues were deemed as “Too negative”, and the group chat was deleted. Poof! Just like that. This legit scared me even more into throwing up only nauseatingly happy posts. I didn’t want anyone to cut me off like they did to her. They did it so darn easily too. 😳
It didn’t take long for Lucinda’s website to be deactivated because she couldn’t even afford the monthly website fee of $9.95. Which also meant she was bumped off from being a Beauty Guide and I was rolled up to Susan’s upline, Madeline. Why? Because apparently you have to make at least $300 in personal sales a month to qualify as active. If you didn’t, you didn’t make your rank. Susan didn’t make her rank. From my understanding, this is why I was rolled up to Madeline instead of Susan. And this is when Susan became the bane of my existence.
She presented herself as a sweet, mild girl in the group chat — but suddenly she popped up in my inbox…
“Hey girl,” she wrote. “I know you were put under Madeline, but I think you should be under me, lol. Madeline is never around and totally unhelpful whenever I had questions, lol. I think you’ll get a lot more help with me, lol. Do you think you can write to compliance and request to be put under me, lol?”
Now I’m sure those of you who know the MLM game know exactly what she was doing. But little ole me, always trying to see the good in people, thought she was trying to help. So I did what she said and got placed under her. As her team grew, she created her own little group chat, and this is where it got even weirder.
Susan was a shady, gossipy ditz. And when I say ditz, I mean like Paris Hilton from The Simple Life dumb. Jessica Simpson dumb. Just plain dumb-dumb. She was a complete airhead who almost always ended her sentences with “lol”, even if she was saying something evil. What made it worse was that she attracted people all over the airhead spectrum, and they kept getting added into the chat. Now that she had a team, the group chat turned into her bashing chat. She would screenshot pictures of Facebook friends (and people in competing MLMs) who had terrible makeup skills, and post it in the chat to make fun of them. Ugh. So leader-like.
While trying to perfect my hand at applying LimeLight makeup, especially the Botanical foundation, I watched other Beauty Guides’ lives to see how they acted. Many of them had no flipping idea what they were doing. Keep in mind I had already been studying makeup on my own for years by reading books by the late artist Kevin Aucoin and watching Lisa Eldridge videos, while doing other research. Susan’s lives were simply cringe inducing. She did the same exact look every single time, only using different color variations. She would apply so little eyeshadow, it was barely noticeable. Her eyeliner looked like someone attacked her eyes with a Sharpie and her lipstick was swimming outside her lip line. Yet the comments read: “So nice!” “You look great!” “Awesome job!” from her network. I was beyond puzzled. I was beyond confused. I was confuzzled. How could someone so awful at makeup make fun of other people for the same thing? It blew my mind.
One of the things LimeLight loves to rave about is their Botanical foundation, which I mentioned earlier. It’s a wax-based foundation made by RCMA, a company that has been around for decades. (Most of the makeup LimeLight sells is made by various other companies, the skincare they make themselves.) The foundation is a thick, highly pigmented cream, and has a learning curve when it comes to applying. Put too much on, and it looks cakey. Put too little, and you have no coverage for those pesky acne spots. You have to warm the waxy cream up first with your finger to make it easier to apply. Mind you, the foundation (when applied correctly) photographs beautifully. However, no matter how well I prepped my skin, after an hour of wearing the foundation, my face would turn into a grease ball. I KID YOU NOT it was like I had slathered Vitalis hair tonic onto my face. I tried every trick in the book that I knew to control this. Not only that, after a while the foundation seemed to settle into my pores and break apart from the oil, causing it to transfer onto my clothes.
Apparently I wasn’t the only one with this issue. In the LimeLight team groups, Beauty Guides were asking the same question: Why is my face getting so oily after putting the foundation on? This prompted one of the directors to make several videos with tips on how to prevent this. Now that’s just fine and dandy, but it seemed like everytime someone had a complaint about a product the answer was, “These are professional products. They’re the best of the best. You’re doing it wrong!”
OK, yes … Alcone created LimeLight. Alcone is a company that has been around for decades selling pro makeup exclusively to pro makeup artists, so that is CORRECT. However! No foundation in the world suits EVERYONE’S skin. To tell someone it’s their fault the product wasn’t working the way they wanted it to is ridiculous. Many of these woman knew absolutely nothing about makeup, so they assumed it was their fault. The fact that the director even made the videos seemed to be a red flag for me of sorts. I tried her tips too and none of them worked either.
Meanwhile in group chat bash land, Susan’s team had grown bigger. Three new girls named Agatha, Mindy, and Melanie joined the group. Lazy Agatha was as big as an airhead as Susan if not bigger. Mindy had a new complaint about her personal life every day. Melanie was actually cool and we got along. She immediately took to disliking Susan’s bullying as much as I did. Nobody else seemed to notice though. We all continued our posting, and doing lives. To my surprise, I had a decent audience who tuned in to watch me apply my makeup. On average I had 200–300 views per live. That was more than some of the Directors in my upline. So why wasn’t anyone buying anything from me?
Our Directors went live on a regular basis. They constantly told us to keep going live to make more sales. OK! To do that, I needed more products to show off. I ordered more, sent out samples (that I had packaged myself) to people who wanted to give it a try, and dropped brochures around the city. Barely any interest. People used the samples and never responded back. Some pretended to never even get them so I could send them more free stuff. LimeLight eventually set up a trip to Mexico as an incentive. Sell this much, recruit this many people, and you get to go! Everyone jumped into a frenzy. Sell, sell, sell! Promote, promote, promote! You want to be rich, don’t you? Do you want to be stuck in that 9–5 job forever? You better WORK!!!
Somewhere during this period is where the out of stock crisis hit and certain foundations were out of stock for months. Fortunately nobody was buying jack from me so I was secretly relieved. But of course, even if I bought a couple of lipsticks for myself, Susan would immediately announce on Facebook that I made a sale. Say what? Yes … apparently that’s what they call “fake it until you make it.” I started to wonder, “Who else is lying about their sales?” Come to find out … pretty much everyone. The numbers they were throwing up about how much they had sold seemed to be based on how much they had spent out of their pocket, because LimeLight would add it to their PRV (Personal Retail Value.) Deceiving isn’t it?
I’m sure the Mexico trip was supposed to be plenty of fun for those who earned it, except rumor had it that while they were partying like animals at the resort late at night, a disgruntled native who was tired of all the noise verbally accosted one of the Directors which resulted in an argument. Shortly afterwards, an email was sent to all us Beauty Guides from the CEO that the Director was fired for dishonest practices such as encouraging her downline to create fake accounts and order from her. What the HECK? I could not figure out what in tarnation I had read. The Director’s name was included in the email. I had no idea who she was but WOW. She was labeled as sly, manipulative and deceiving. The whole thing seemed so odd … like something was just off.
Then BAM! Amelia left. One day she was gushing with LimeLight love, then the next she made a live saying a tearful goodbye. Rumor had it that she was fired for the same shady practices as the other Director. This meant the entire team had to be bounced over to Amelia’s downline, a Director named Missy. Susan had plenty to say about that.
“I can’t believe Amelia! How could she do that?? She was even poaching my own recruits and bribing them by buying their kits for them! We should all block her!……………………Omg, look at this girl’s eyebrows, lol!”
I could feel Melanie’s eyes rolling back into her head.
“I can’t stand Susan,” she messaged me. “So childish! I can’t take her bullying anymore.”
So I finally found a way to shut Susan up. Curtains. Everytime she said something nasty about someone in the chat, I would post a picture of curtains.
Susan: This girl doesn’t know how to blend her eyeshadow, omg so ugly! Lol
Susan: She said I don’t know how to do makeup. She’s just jealous because she looks like a hooker! Lol
Susan: Who puts that much highlighter on anyway?? Lol
Me: *curtains, curtains, curtains*
Susan: Those curtains are cute, lol
Now that our team was under Missy, some adjustments had to be done, such as … actually selling something. Sure, I had some people buy a few lipsticks, a concealer, a foundation, and a mascara. But was I a millionaire yet? *Sarcasm* Of course not. Our Platinum Director (very high rank) in my eyes seemed almost obsessed with rising to the top. I’ve never in my life been a materialistic person, and maybe this is why the more this ridiculous adventure went along, the more it turned me off. But when this woman finally became a millionaire with LimeLight, she made sure to post it on her Facebook profile bio, not once but twice. Right under her name. Millionaire. No, I’m serious.
Accomplish what you want in life, but I need not know about how you bought a new Mercedes, bought a new house and hired housekeepers. I believe it’s called humble bragging, and it’s used to lure in new recruits with the promise that they can be successful too. But what are the chances of that happening?? I was now a newlywed with no furniture, only a bed and a desk. I had makeup skills and was doing lives, and was getting nowhere. I had made enough money to only buy a box of donuts (which I happily inhaled, by the way) and a few groceries. I had distant relatives who lived out of state who were wealthy and not even they told anyone they were millionaires. In the grand scheme of things, money can’t save you from your dishonest deeds. Yet here they were, offering incentives and setting up competitions to make us want to sell and recruit more. We were the actual customers.
With all these thoughts swirling in my head, I felt myself slowly withdrawing from the scene. Oh, and then Missy left, surprise surprise! Our team was bounced to under yet another Director named Ava. Not only that, we were all shoved into another group chat that was so yippy, I had to mute it. Sometime during all this I managed to find a real job which required little human interaction, YES! An actual paycheck every two weeks. None of this constantly checking my Facebook and wondering if anyone had shown any interest or ordered from me.
You might wonder why so many Directors were leaving and where the rumors were coming from. Some were coming from an ex-Director herself that I made friends with during a month of LimeLight Bootcamp (yes, you read that right), and in some cases I actually got to speak to the Directors themselves. The story was always similar: the higher ups were mistreating them and backstabbing them until they broke down. Everything they did was criticized and the competition was so cut throat that many were turning on each other and making up stories to get each other terminated, and take over their teams. Amelia herself was paying for starter kits for new recruits, even though this was strictly against compliance. Susan confirmed this in the chat and berated Amelia for it. Melanie then confided in me that Susan had gotten her to join by doing the same thing. The hypocrisy was real!
It seemed like the higher the rank, the more they could get away with. These women were bringing in the most money, so the CEO turned a blind eye to it. I couldn’t really justify any of it anymore. This company was all consuming for these people. They lived and breathed it, like it could do no wrong and it was fulfilling their dreams. Meanwhile I’m here with my donuts and growing debt.
Then one day Susan went live again and I for some reason actually decided to tune in. While she was attempting to talk about LimeLight and how awesome of a company it is (with her eyes shifting around like crazy, clear sign of lying mind you) a noise erupted in the background. One of her kids ran in screaming, fighting with her sibling. Susan, being not too bright, growled at them “Get the f**k out” in a low voice. Now it seemed like she had reached a whole new level of stupid. Clearly in her empty head, saying something in a lower voice meant her audience couldn’t hear her. By the way, these kids were between 2–5 years old, so of course they continued their ear piercing racket. This made Susan get up and disappear off out of the frame. “SHUT THE F**K UP,” she snapped in the background. “I am LIVE. Get the F**K OUT OF HERE. GET THE F**K OUT!!” A few seconds later she came back and finished the video like nothing had happened.
Despite being partially horrified at this, I was also giggling inside because I knew what was coming next. Once Ava saw the video, she immediately told Susan to delete it. Poor Susan could not figure out why. When the reason was explained, she threw a tantrum and left the group. Oh how liberating it was to finally have that wench out of there!!! Melanie and I wanted to throw a party.
Susan wasn’t done yet though. She was so disgruntled that she used Agatha as a spy in the chat to screenshot our conversations about her. How could we NOT talk about her? She had cursed out her kids on a live Facebook feed! But of course she was the victim, and twisted the story to whoever would listen. Lazy Agatha ended up leaving as well. No more of Susan’s bullying, bragging about getting her husband drunk to buy her more LimeLight products, and random bigoted comments about Middle Eastern people. Yes, she was that bad.
With Susan gone, Melanie and I had less to talk about. Of course Mindy would pop in the chat talking about how she had every illness known to man, her noisy neighbors, and how her life sucked. Every one else seemed too busy. I was still attempting to make the foundation work by mixing it with LimeLight’s One Drop Wonder (Pomifera oil.) Melanie herself kept asking me for tips on how to deal with the foundation but nothing I suggested seemed to help, and One Drop Wonder was quite pricey.
“I don’t like how it (the foundation) takes so much work to make it ‘work’,” she admitted. But yet she kept advertising it in her posts …
Frankly, the products weren’t bad at all. The foundation didn’t work for me, but for some it did. I still use their concealer, mascara, blushes, and bronzer. The skincare though? That’s a no from me. I saw better results in my skin with Korean skincare, and it was cheaper.
[Red]: I’ll just butt in here for a second, to say that the products in these schemes may sometimes be OK, but you should consider the implications of the business MLM model before you buy any — people are being exploited, prices are higher than necessary, and better, cheaper non-MLM alternatives exist. Back to you, Claire!
[Claire]: Thanks, Red. The problem with LimeLight really was the hustle and drama. I was watching one Director’s live when she brought up an issue with the affordability of the products.
“If your network is poor and can’t afford to buy anything, make friends with people who have money!” she said. Oh HECK NO. I turned her off. I was sick and tired of friending thousands of people in hopes of buying from me and feeling like a fraud. So now I had to friend rich people? GET OUT OF HERE. No matter how hard you worked, if you weren’t selling anything, you were told you weren’t working hard enough. These girls were tired of the pressure and leaving. All that babble about getting rich and quitting your job was happening to very, very few. Most of the girls I knew actually had to get a job because LimeLight wasn’t paying off, and they had to keep up with buying more products.
My one year anniversary with LimeLight was coming up and I could see no reason to renew my membership (which cost $75 for goodness’ sake) I calculated how much I had spent total on LimeLight products and it came to be over a $1000. How much had I made back? About $100. Absolutely pitiful. I quietly left the group chats, and no one bothered to message me and ask why. Not that I cared anyway.
Melanie remained in LimeLight, but we barely spoke anymore. I guess we lost what we had in common. I did however buy from her to help her out. The thing is after a while … it got awkward. She would message me and subtly mention any sales LimeLight was having (which was weird because when I was a Beauty Guide, LimeLight prided itself on never having sales.) One was for a palette of six eyeshadows that cost $66. What the crap? Apparently it came with an eyeliner pen but still … NO. This is when I began to question our friendship. Was I just a dollar sign to her now?
I purged my friend list of all Beauty Guides and MLM peddlers. I was done. I stopped everything and began to erase any trace of network marketing on my Facebook. I sure hope nobody asks me about it either.
I recently started my own business; yup, I own my own LLC. I made back my investments within the first week. I AM MY OWN BOSS. Can you really do that in the MLM world?
[Red:] Thank you, Claire, for kindly sharing your MLM experience. If you have any questions for her, please add them below and we will ensure they reach her.
Further Reading & Support
- Our LimeLife/LimeLight category.
- If you find yourself in Tilly’s position, take a look at this selection from our General Advice category: