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Seint Makeup Controversy Explained – July 2024 News Breakdown

7 min read

Many influencers worry that their years spent working with the multi-level marketing company (MLM) Seint Beauty will be for nothing after the implementation of changes behind-the-scenes.

Seint Beauty, until recent changes announced in July 2024, was an MLM that sold makeup products.

An MLM is not always necessarily to be confused with an illegal pyramid scheme, though overlap between the two concepts is common.

At Seint, its sales representatives tend to be influencers, who label themselves Artists. For simplicity’s sake, in this article, all individuals participating in MLMs or pyramid schemes will be called Artists unless otherwise specified.

On the surface level, Artists from MLMs make money by selling a given product to others. The more product an Artist sells, the more money they get.

However, both MLMs and pyramid schemes encourage Artists to recruit others, as any sales made by those new distributors mean more money for the Artist who recruited them.

  • Artist A sells Product to Person B → Artist A makes money
  • Artist A recruits Person B, making them now Artist B
    • Artist B sells Product to Person C → Artist B makes money, and Artist A makes some money because they recruited Artist B
    • Artist B recruits Person C, making them now Artist C
      • Artist C sells Product to Person D → Artist C makes money, Artist B makes some money because they recruited Artist C, and Artist A does too because they recruited Artist B.

This may sound like a pyramid scheme, and it is extremely similar. However, in a pyramid scheme there is less focus on selling the product, and more on selling the chance to sell the product.

The Federal Trade Commission defines the difference as follows:

“If the MLM is not a pyramid scheme, it will pay you based on your sales to retail customers, without having to recruit new distributors.”

Once the recruitment of others into the model becomes a requirement, then it is a pyramid scheme.

What Happened to Seint Makeup?

Seint Makeup products
Seint

In early July 2024, the makeup line Seint announced it would no longer operate using the standard MLM model, shifting “to an enhanced affiliate program” in October.

Whereas a pyramid scheme is an MLM with theoretical pay not having anything to do with actual sales, an affiliate model is the opposite.

According to a July 2 Instagram post from Seint, there will be no more “compensation for recruiting or team building efforts.” Seint wants to encourage the actual sales of the product, rather than relying on pyramid-scheme-like distribution models:

“Artists will no longer receive compensation for recruiting or team building efforts; instead, they will be exclusively rewarded through our affiliate program based on their dedication to sales and exceptional customer service.”

As the post points out, this will not change much for many Artists. With the recruitment element of Seint’s former MLM model being optional, many Artists chose to not worry about that part at all, focusing only on sales.

The new announcement now removes the option to participate in both pieces entirely, operating only based on an individual’s sales:

“Most of our Artists currently only sell to Customers without building teams of their own. For this group the overall changes will be minimal but are expected to provide even greater rewards for their efforts right away.”

For those who did utilize the recruitment element, Seint is offering time to make the transition to focus only on sales:

“To support this transition, Seint is providing a three-month period for Artists to align their business strategies towards maximizing sales opportunities.”

Why Is the Seint Change Controversial?

In large part, though not exclusively, the negative reaction many Artists have had to these changes in Seint’s business model seems to be due to a misunderstanding of exactly what is changing.

Some of this seems to be the result of an email sent to Artists last night which, according to Artist Kimi Beasley on Facebook, used language that at first glance makes it sound like people are losing their jobs:

“Here’s what happened: late last night Artists received an email from corporate stating that in 90 days our entire company was restructuring to an Affiliate Program and our Leadership ranks at Seint would diminish. (Scary!)”

Of course, that is not the case, as Beasley later explained:

“What we know now is: Each month, Artist are to work independently for their own personal sales ‘rank’.  Essentially, there is no longer a MLM structured rank to gain benefit from a downline. Artist rank solely on their own sales each month.”

Artist Savanah Poulsen said in a Facebook video (both in text on top of the footage, and through tears aloud in the video itself) that she feels like “everything I have poured my soul into with Seint the past eight years is dissolving.”

She plans to continue to sell products for the company, but wrote about how she will be seeking opportunities to lead and mentor a team elsewhere:

“You are still able to order Seint makeup through me but I will no longer be able to mentor and lead a team there. I will be leading and mentoring elsewhere because it’s part of my soul. Let’s talk if you want to join me. Love you all.”

If mentoring others is part of what Poulsen loves about Seint, she can certainly continue to do that. The idea, though, is that mentorship will no longer result in additional financial compensation beyond her own sales of products.

Katie Blanchard is angry at Seint, saying her “heart hurts for [former team leaders] with the change corporate is choosing.” She posted this to Facebook alongside two quotes about grief:

“[To] all my Seint makeup leaders I had the privilege to get to know, encouraged everyone and was always amazing at helping me transition into social selling when my health took a dive and couldn’t be full time behind the chair. I had the privilege to know one of the best for 5 years in Jaimie S. My heart hurts for you with the change corporate is choosing. I’m so deeply sorry and know you are so loved and wonderful leaders in general despite the product or company you represent!!”

Christina Watts shared her own anger on Facebook, questioning how Seint could “do that to [the] people that have invested their heart and souls into [the] company:”

“How do you do that to your people that have invested their heart and souls into your company. Just leave them high and dry.

If I were them, I wouldn’t stay. That’s just sickening.

I do understand the fact that affiliate marketing is where it’s at. I’ve been doing it for eight years. It’s where the money is at. However, pay your people that have invested their time and soul into your company something to keep them going.

I couldn’t imagine waking up to this news.”

Meanwhile, some are excited about the changes. They are steps being taken to allow Seint to thrive without risk of it becoming (or even being perceived as) a pyramid scheme.

Kaylee Chodkowski said on Facebook that she “love[s] the new model,” and “100% agree[s] with” keeping things sales-oriented:

“For those with questions about Seint- you can still get Seint makeup from me.

The only thing that changed is the company no longer allows people to build teams or “recruit” people, which I 100% agree with. I love the new model and that it’s primarily based on product sales!”

Tracel Callahan reminded her Facebook followers — including those who purchase from her — not to panic, and that “for you as the customer, it’s business as usual:”

“As you’re on social media today, you may be hearing things about Seint, the makeup company and wonder what in the world is going on. But I’m here to tell you, you don’t need to panic. If you’re a customer of mine or anybody else’s, you can still purchase that makeup you love, so don’t worry. For you as the customer, it’s business as usual. Just keep wearing that makeup that you and I both love.”

Lisa Hutchinson balances both ends of this fairly equally, acknowledging on Facebook her own sadness at the loss of the teams “above” and “below her,” but still reassuring her followers that she “will help as much as [she] can:”

“Our Artist Program with the MLM structure will no longer be. Teams are moving into Sale Focused Model. If you join, you will become an Affiliate and not associated to me. Although, I will help as much as I can.

This is the part that kinda makes me sad for all the leaders in this business including myself as I have a team above me and a team underneath me and so many Seint sisters beside me but we will continue as a sisterhood side by side with encouragement and confidence as we have always done with these changes.”


Seint will make the full switch to the affiliate model on October 1.

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