How much money can you earn with MONAT, the new MLM coming to the UK?
Considering joining or using MONAT, the new hair product MLM hitting the UK? Find out how much you can expect to earn with MONAT (and why they’re involved in a scandal in the US).
So, MONAT, the infamous hair product MLM is headed to the UK. Already we’re seeing frantic social media posts from reps attempting to get in at the ‘top’ and build large UK downlines under them.
But how great are MONAT products? And what kind of business opportunity does it represent? We decided to do some investigating to find out.
What is MONAT?
Launched in 2014, MONAT Global is an MLM (multilevel-marketing company) that sells “natural” and “cruelty-free” hair products. It’s currently available in the USA and Canada, and is launching in the UK.
Why has MONAT caused such a scandal in the US?
From what we can gather, this seems to be a common experience of people who complain:
- Customer starts using MONAT for the first time.
- Their scalp becomes itchy and breaks out in small sores.
- They’re told by their MONAT rep this is the ‘detox phase’ and to persevere.
- The sores get worse and their hair becomes brittle and begins to fall out.
- They’re told by their MONAT rep this is still the ‘detox phase’ and to persevere.
- The symptoms continue to worsen and they either stop using MONAT or are recommended to stop using it by an independent third party.
- The rep tells them they gave up too early, or weren’t using the shampoo ‘properly’ (or blame something else).
Some users that we have been in contact with say they are told by their MONAT reps that “the detox can last more than 6 months”. During this time one customer in particular was experiencing significant hair loss and itchy scalp, and says they were told to keep using (and buying) MONAT products – and even to use them more frequently! (Bearing in mind, as we’ll find out later on, these products are extremely expensive.)
Here’s just one example of a MONAT rep telling customers that sores, bumps and scabs are a ‘good thing’ (read on to find out why these symptoms could, in fact, be allergic contact dermatitis):
The FDA is processing scores of complaints against MONAT
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has also apparently “received and is in the process of assessing 187 adverse event reports related to Monat products”. (As you can read below, 576 complaints have also been made to the Better Business Bureau.) Some customers have even launched lawsuits against MONAT (there are as may as nine suits currently filed).
Here are just some of the experiences from MONAT customers on Trustpilot. From Kristi:
“I ordered back in March 2017 their renew line.
The first wash was okay, might I add I followed their instructions with each use. I also used the hair masque.
By the 2nd week, I noticed a lot of my hair beginning to fall out and break. I was told to keep using. By the third week, I had sores developing, a burning scalp, greasy hair at the roots, dandruff like build up, breakage of my hair and bald spots.
Of course I was told to keep using!!
At 4 weeks, I quit using the products all together. A hair product should not cause sores and bald spots!!!!! It needs to be pulled from the market.
I had 6 inches removed from my once beautiful hair. And what hair was left that had contact with monat products is still brittle and frizzy.”
“I used Monat for 4 months and within the first two weeks of using their products I started to have a very itchy scalp with lots of tiny bumps all around my hairline, I was told from my rep that it was detox and my hair follicles were waking up and the itching was from new growth. I wanted to believe that.
The products made my hair dry and frizzy and my scalp very oily, once again this was blamed on detox; I just wanted to get through the detox and have nice hair and scalp again. Things got worse, I started getting bumps/pimples all Down the back of my neck and extending down my back and forehead and chest. My hands started having an eczema breakout ( I haven’t had a flare up in 3 years).
I went to my family dr and he said to stop using those products. I have since done my research into the ingredients listed in their products which claim to be “naturally based” and I am surprised.
This MLM company has deplorable customer service. I was only given a partial refund and I have lost over two hundred dollars in products that I will never use. Hope this can save someone else from my experience.”
MONAT reps are encouraged to flood sites with positive reviews
One issue we have with all MLMs (including MONAT) is that the reps are, in effect, the customers. This makes ‘independent’ review sites and any competition that relies on customer voting naturally skewed.
Think about it, if you sell a product it’s in your interest to vote for that product in a competition and to ensure that websites like Trustpilot and the Better Business Bureau are overwhelmed with positive reviews. Especially if your company starts to get a poor rating due to unfavourable reviews from genuine end users.
So what do you do if you’re an MLM rep? Easy, you ask your network to write a positive review to counterbalance the negative ones. Like this MONAT rep:
And she wasn’t the only one to post the exact same message:
This is why, in our opinion, you can’t trust positive reviews of MLMs on sites like Trustpilot. Because they’re not genuine reviews from people you assume are unbiased customers like you. They’re quite possibly fake reviews written by an army of desperate reps who want to boost their company’s ranking so it’s easier for them to sell.
Indeed, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) was so suspicious about the amount of positive reviews it received about MONAT in a short period that it suspended any new reviews:
You can read more about MONAT, and the scandal surrounding it in this article by The Anti-MLM Coalition.
What’s the MONAT business opportunity?
Products aside, what can you look forward to if you join MONAT as a rep? The cheapest way of getting started is with a Starter Kit at a cost of £99. As you can see from the image below, you don’t get much for your money:
That’s right. For £99 you don’t even get any actual bottles of product! Instead, all you get are some sample sachets (like the ones you get free in magazines), and some marketing literature. Here’s a full list of the contents:
- Assorted product samples
- Jelly bag
- SMART Start Roadmap
- SMART Start Workbook
- VIP Customer Programme brochures
- Product magazines
If you want to actually get your hands on bottles of products, you’ll need to spend at least £199 on a Business Product Pack. And even then you only get eight products, making them, in effect, over £24 each at cost.
How much money can you earn with MONAT in the UK?
And what happens once you do start selling? How much money can you expect to earn with MONAT? Like all MLM companies, MONAT use confusing levels of ranking and terms like PV in their compensation plan, and don’t openly publish how much their reps are being paid (nor how much they’re spending to build their ‘business’).
Here’s their qualification table for their most junior ranks (there are another six ranks above these!):
And here are the commission levels for these ranks:
A ‘typical’ MONAT participant earns between Cdn $22 and $1,188 a year
It’s only at the very end of MONAT’s compensation plan guide that the real truth emerges. In what looks like small print, they admit that “A Typical Participant in the Plan earns between Cdn $22 and $1,188 annualized”:
Yes, that’s ANNUAL earnings, and it doesn’t take into account expenses (including your initial investment to join – a minimum of Canadian $125) and taxes.
Read here how a MONAT rep was apparently caught stealing a hair stylist’s photo and falsely insinuating the results were achieved using MONAT products. (Their response when caught out is shocking!)
How much do MONAT products cost?
As we’ve heard, there’s an increasingly vocal group of women in the US who are claiming that MONAT products have damaged their hair. So how much do these products cost? And how easy would they be to sell?
As an example, let’s take their Revitalize Conditioner. This retails at £45 for 178ml:
We compared the price to products available for sale online at Boots. Their most expensive conditioner is £39.99 for one litre. And Superdrug’s most expensive conditioner is £16 for 300ml. This makes MONAT’s conditioner outrageously expensive by comparison.
MONAT’s pricing even puts Aveda in the shade – their Pure Abundance Volumising Clay Conditioner is just £17.65 for 200ml. Luxury haircare brand Kerastase, meanwhile, sells their Fondant Densite (lifting, bodifying care fondant) conditioner for a mere £22.90 for 200ml.
Given the high pricing of MONAT’s products (it’s nearly three times more expensive than Aveda) we’d imagine it’s not going to be easy to convince people to buy. Even less so when you factor in that it’s an as yet an unknown brand in the UK, and has an increasingly easily-searchable amount of negative reviews (this shocking article came up as the second search result on page one of a search for ‘MONAT’).
“I wish I’d had the sense to read the reviews before purchasing”
The price of MONAT seems even less attractive when you consider the alleged experience (product and customer service) of UK users like this, taken from Trustpilot:
Become a MONAT ‘VIP’
You may have noticed that the MONAT conditioner has two more prices: £31 for MP (we presume this means Market Partner and is the cost to MONAT reps) and £38 for VIP.
To become a MONAT VIP you must pay an upfront cost of £18. This entitles you to 15% discount on products (this is the VIP price shown in the image above) and free shipping.
However, as a VIP you must commit to three ‘Flexship’ orders of at least £60. The first order will ship automatically 30 days after you enrol, and the second two can be pushed back for a maximum of 60 days (if you don’t place an order by then one will be shipped to you and you will be charged):
“By joining as a VIP Customer, you must place an initial Flexship order of £60 (a Qualifying Flexship Order) and two more Qualifying Flexship Orders after you enrol. You schedule your first Flexship during enrolment, which by default will ship approximately 30 days after you enrol. These two additional orders can be pushed out up to 60 days at a time, and there is no set deadline on when you must complete your three orders. If you do not push out your order, your order will be shipped and you will be billed.”
This means within a maximum of seven months you are committing to spend £180 on products, plus £18 membership.
An average of 99.6% of MLM reps actually LOSE money
When you see the real average earnings of reps like MONAT, and Stella&Dot (according to Stella&Dot themselves, “The typical stylist (including inactives) during 2015 earned between $0 to $100…”) you understand why MLMs have such a high turnover of reps.
Because, when expenses are taken into account, an average of 99.6% of MLM reps lose money in their ‘business opportunity’. They pile debt onto their credit cards and fake smiles in their Facebook live videos, hoping enough people will buy their lies and help them out of their hole… and on track to the work-from-home dream they were sold.
“Contaminated with filth”
Given the high cost of MONAT products, you’d expect them not only to be of a high quality, but prepared and packed in a sterile environment. But that’s not allegedly what the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found in a surprise inspection of MONAT’s Florida manufacturing plant in March 2018.
MONAT’s take on the FDA inspection results were bullish, stating in a post ‘setting the record straight’ that:
“…the FDA representatives informed the Company that they found no violations or other matters of significant concern. They left a list of five minor observations, none relating to formulas or product ingredients.”
But the truth appears to be quite different. Here’s an apparent excerpt from the FDA report (you can see the full report here):
Other observations the FDA apparently made are:
- On 03/12/2018 I observed reactor located in the manufacturing room with an open lid while for Men Shampoo + Conditioner Lot# 18J0308038 was held inside as an in-process product.
- On 03/12/2018 I observed residues of products in the upper part of reactor and in the lid after a cleaning was performed to it on 03/08/2018 and a re-cleaning performed on 03/12/2018. Reactor was ready to process a new batch of hair care product. The lid of reactor was open. Reactors and are located next to each other.
- On 03/12/2018 I observed white hoses used to pump product to the hopper of the filling lines resting on a table near filling line The hoses were already cleaned and sanitized and both ends were without the protective caps that serve as a method to prevent contamination, leaving the interior surfaces exposed to the environment.
- On 03/12/2018 a personal item (employee jacket) was stored in close proximity to filling line while Black Shampoo + Conditioner Lot# 18J0308039 was being processed in this line. The jacket was specifically located next to the air hose used by this filling line and a white hose used to fill the hopper with a product.
- On 03/19/2018 I observed that empty containers of Rejuvabeads (2.4oz) Lot# 18J0305030 were left uncovered and exposed in filling line after the employees finished their working day. The containers have an open end where the product is filled in.
We don’t know about you, but preparing, packing or holding cosmetic product “under insanitary conditions whereby it may have become contaminated with filth” is hardly a minor observation, and we certainly wouldn’t wish to purchase or sell products from a company that viewed it as so.
“I personally would not use this shampoo even if they sent it to me for free”
MONAT’s Revive Shampoo was investigated by Irina Webb from I read labels for you. For all it’s ‘natural’ marketing messages, Irina says: “Monat Revive Shampoo has the longest list of ingredients I have ever seen in my experience reading shampoo ingredients almost daily for the past 5 years.”
Here they are:
(Ingredients underlined in green are considered safe by Irina, yellow are of some concern and red are of great concern.)
The results of Irina’s investigation also explain many of the side-effects people claim to experience:
“There are two ingredients – Cocamidopropyl Betaine and Benzyl Alcohol – that are associated with contact allergy. Typical symptoms of a contact allergy (its clinical manifestation is allergic contact dermatitis) includes redness, swelling, itching, and fluid-filled blisters.”
MONAT claim that their ingredients are “naturally-based, safe and sustainable”. However, Irina disagrees, saying “I encourage you not to fall prey to this marketing technique and read what the medical branch of Dermatology has found in its research.”
MONAT’s shampoo contains Cocamidopropyl Betaine (CAPB), which is derived from coconut oil. So far, so good. However, “CAPB is manufactured by reacting coconut fatty acids with 3-dimethylaminoproplylamine (DMAPA) to produce amidoamine, which is then combined with monochloroacetic acid to get to CAPB.”
DMAPA and amidoamine are apparently known skin allergens. In 2004, the American Contact Dermatitis Society even named CAPB the Allergen of the Year. And in the Environment Canada Substance List, CAPB is listed as being toxic to aquatic life.
Two more ingredients (Trideceth-6 and C11-15 Pareth-7) are made with a process called ethoxylation. During this process, ethylene oxide is added, and 1,4-dioxane is created – both of which “can remain in the shampoo.” Which is rather worrying:
“The International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified ethylene oxide as “carcinogenic to humans” and 1,4-dioxane as “probably carcinogenic to humans.” “Probably carcinogenic to humans” is defined by stating that “there is limited evidence of carcinogenicity in humans and sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals.”
Does MONAT even thicken your hair?
But what about the claims that MONAT thickens your hair? (A key reason for it’s outrageous price tag.) According to Irina this isn’t the case.
She has been unable to find a single independent scientific study that proves that shampoo thickens hair. However, she did notice that there are at least seven ingredients in MONAT’s Revive Shampoo that she says can coat the hair and make it look and feel thicker.
And, again, the ingredients involved don’t make reassuring reading:
“I have not seen so many coating agents in one single shampoo including even Acrylates Copolymer that I normally see in nail polish as a film former and in hair sprays as a hair fixer.”
Irina concludes her independent review by stating “I personally would not use this shampoo even if they sent it to me for free.”
MONAT is rated D- by the Better Business Bureau
With 576 complaints (at the time of writing) it’s not much of a surprise to learn that MONAT is rated a D- by the US’ Better Business Bureau (BBB) and is not accredited:
Here are the reasons the BBB gives for its rating:
To give context to this score, other hair care businesses currently score the following with BBB:
- Aveda scores A+
- L’Oreal scores A-
- Schwarzkopf scores C
- Garnier scores A+
- Paul Mitchell scores C+
- Johnson & Johnson scores C
Avoid joining an MLM
Many MLMs deliberately target mothers – we’re often looking for ways to make money working from home and have networks of fellow-mum friends we can sell to and recruit. But the truth, as we’ve just explained, is rarely close to the dream you’re sold.
We would strongly advise you to avoid joining an MLM – or purchasing products from one (they’re often overpriced for their quality). There are far better ways to earn money and avoid debt (and heartache) than investing your time, money and hope in a business model that apparently leads to failure for more than 99% of participants.
Read more about MLMs
If you’d like to learn more about MLMs we recommend reading these articles:
- How can you make money with MLM LuLaRoe? Why the sums don’t add up
- The 10 ugly truths MLMs don’t want you to know
- How much money can you really make working for MLM Arbonne?
- How much money can you really make working for MLM Stella&Dot?
- Thinking of joining an MLM? Read the truth behind the ‘income opportunity’
- How much money can you really make working for MLM Herbalife?
- How much can you earn with MLM Younique? (We calculate it’s probably less than $14 a month)
Photo by Henri Pham