Disclaimer: These are the personal opinions of distributors and ex-distributors, based on our own experiences. Your experience of SeneGence may be different.
One of the things about cosmetics is find that perfect color for your lips, or eyes, or blush, or skin ... and being able to get that same color for as long as you want it. I know women who have bought the same color from the same brand of lipstick — their favorite — for years. It's their favorite. The color is always the same. That's what they want.
So — consistent color is important. If you love Bella, then you ought to be able to get more of it, and be certain that the color will be the same.
This isn't' just 'a bit annoying'. Distributors have unhappy customers as a result. Here is just one such story:
I signed up in February and I tried to collect all the colors available for testers, and I had over 70 colors. I managed to sell some testers when they dropped the colors down to 36. When I went to a county fair event, I noticed most of my old testers are different than what I was selling, which are the new colors. I refuse to open more new colors for testers when I still have a lot left in my old testers. Now I have a few clients returning what they bought, because it's not the same color.
If you look at the ingredients list for LipSense, you can see that the color components are pretty standard cosmetic pigments:
LipSense® & LinerSense™ Alcohol Denat, Acrylates/Octylacrylamide Copolymer, Isostearyl Alcohol, Silica, PPG-20 Methly Glucose Ether, Parfum, Hydroxypropylcellulose, Butylene Glycol, Aqua, Isodonis Japonicus Leaf/Stalk Extract, Hypericum Perforatum (St. John’s Wort) Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Paeonia Suffruticosa (Tree Peony) Extract, Tilia Cordata (Linden) Extract, Citronellol, Limonene +/– may contain : CI 77163, CI 77891, CI 77499, CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 45410, CI 17200, CI 15850, CI 19140, CI 42090, CI 45370, CI 77007.
All those CI (Color Index) numbers are different cosmetic pigments.
CI 77163 — bismuth oxychloride, a naturally ocurring iridescent mineral CI 77891 — titanium dioxide, a white inorganic compound CI 77499 — black iron oxide, an inorganic colorant CI 77491 — red iron oxide, an iron-based inorganic colorant CI 77492 — yellow iron oxide, an iron-based inorganic colorant CI 45410 — D&C Red 28, synthetically produced from coal tar or petroleum CI 17200 — D&C Red 33, a coal tar derived colorant CI 15850 — D&C Red 6 Lake, a synthetic red disodium salt of an azo dye CI 19140 — FD&C Yellow 5, a synthetic coal tar derivative CI 42090 — FD&C Blue No. 1, an ammonium salt CI 45370 — D&C Orange No. 5, a synthetic xanthene color CI 77007 — Ultramarine, a mineral-derived blue pigment composed of sodium, aluminum, silicate and sulfate
At first glance, it's hard to know whether these dyes and pigments have any sort of a botanical origin, and it's impossible to know, unless we could have access to the chemical data on the exact brands and origins of colorants that SeneGence is using for colouring LipSense. But a lot of them do appear, at first glance, to be synthetic or mineral in origin.
This Medium article gives an interesting discussion about cosmetic colorants.
So anyone who questions these significant color changes gets told:
As you know we do use natural colour pigments so no two batches will ever be exactly the same, just like no two pieces of natural wood are ever the same.
A couple of people have posted about this, I've noticed it too. It's to do with the variation in pigmentation of natural ingredients in the product. No two batches can be the same when dealing with nature!
Because we are made on 98% botanical with batches you may get some variations upon the pigments, it’s not noticeable once on the lips more on the hands.
This gives the lovely impression that the LipSense mixologists are squeezing pretty flowers to get the colors. But the reality of mass cosmetic production is that the dyes and pigments used need to be purified, concentrated, and refined. They are fine powders, concentrated liquids, not petals. They need to be able to be carefully and accurately measured.
It's really hard to know the true cause of the color variations. SeneGence has moved to a new manufacturing plant this year, and things such as the pH and temperature in the factory can affect the final product (including staying power and color). It depends on the form and source of the pigments too — are they using pharmaceutical-grade pigments? How pure are they? Have they changed suppliers of their pigments? Are they using powders, or liquids, or mixtures? Are some of the dyes older than others, and does shelf life have an impact? Have they changed the formulas? Has the manufacturing process changed a bit?
My guess is that the '98% botanicals that vary in color' explanation is the glib response. It would be nice if the company would just be transparent with us, and say “Look, we know the colors are varying a bit, and that you and your customers aren't happy about it. The move to our new manufacturing plant is being a bit challenging.” Or “We have new pigment suppliers and the pigments are a little different. We're doing our best to correct the discrepancies.” These color variations seem to be more pronounced and wide-spread since SeneGence moved manufacturing from Irving ('original' formula) to Foothill Farms ('new' formula). Most distributors prefer stock from Irving.
Fobbing us off with 'stop complaining' and 'because plants' is just annoying. Why can't you tell us the truth?
A few days ago, a sharp-eyed distributor picked up the rather startling similarity between the latest SeneGence flyer advertising their new glittery shimmer eyeliner, and a brochure she picked up from another cosmetic brand, Mahya 🤔
On further digging, we discovered that the photo in question was indeed a stock photo from Shutterstock.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with using stock photos in many circumstances. Beautiful models with flawless skin can advertise many things. It’s an economical and convenient way to get professional photography. But there are definite ethical issues.
For starters, we’re not happy when these photos are representing a product actually in use, or on the model’s face. The clear intimation in this flyer is that THAT is the brush from the EyeSense, and that is their gold eyeliner. It isn’t.
And the best LOL of them all? Look what they did to the image after their ‘Shutterstockiness’ got out there 😂😂😂. (Your Crown is Plastic helped spread the word, thanks girls.)
A dodgy job of duplicating the gold line (and a bit of the brush LOL, geez guys, get someone with some actual Photoshop training &/or skills).
So — rather than admitting, yes, we use stock photos, and here’s why — they alter the image instead to make it look a tiny bit different, more ridiculous, and worse? Seriously, guys?!
We started to dig further, and goodness gracious me. Look what we found …
This is just the tip of the iceberg, too.
So far as we can see, ALL of SeneGence’s promotional material uses stock photos. Apart from the new distributor-designed colours, like First Love (pictured below), which have photos of the distributors who have designed these colours, presumably provided by them.
Stock photos are generally the lazy, cheap or amateur designer’s solution to needing particular photos. A global cosmetics company, that purports to be bringing in ‘billions’, could surely afford to pay a professional photographer to take photos of models actually wearing SeneGence products.
Is that too much to ask? (Apparently it is.)
And even if they are using stock photos, why not pay for exclusive rights so that no-one else can use those images? It is rather disconcerting to see the same images in all sorts of other places.
There are a whole bunch of ethical issues that are raised by this behavior. What is reality? What is advertising? Where do you draw the line?:
“While it is easy to find and purchase high-quality photos, you might alienate readers who think your images are fake or irrelevant if you choose those images poorly.”
YA THINK? Even if the photos have been chosen well, the revelation that they are 'fake' — and NOT any sort of representation of SeneGence products ACTUALLY IN USE — is eroding trust in the company.
Don't try to pass stock photography off as real content. All the filters in the world won't mask that overexposed stock photo feeling.
Don't over photoshop stock imagery. The more photoshopping, the less engagement. If the image is a simple set up, purchase the products and take the image yourself.
Do understand your brand's position. If your client sells food, clothing, or something product-based [LIKE COSMETICS] real content is much more successful.
Customers and distributors alike are seriously pissed off by this. We have been lied to (YET AGAIN) — those photos are NOT of women wearing or using SeneGence products.
We'd be happy to hear SeneGence's explanation for this.
Disclaimer: These are the personal opinions of distributors and ex-distributors, based on our own experiences. Your experience of SeneGence may be different.
*Punked: To get punked is to have a joke played on you, often in a public setting. Ref
SeneGence does love to just give us percentages, instead of round numbers of distributors. And you know, it's really very easy to come up with numbers, given the total number of distributors, and the percentages they provide (2,000 is 1% of 200,000, after all).
So, here's our version of the 'American distributors map' (as of October 2017), with round numbers of distributors, instead of percentages.
The general New England region seems to be a bit more immune to SeneGence than other areas, which is intriguing. 🤔
Other numbers, for the record: Australia has just tipped over to 6,000 distributors.
What we would really love to know, however, is what's the churn rate? How many distributors are leaving, as well as the number who are joining, and totals? I doubt we will ever know.
There are a host of bad science graphics that do the rounds of LipSense circles periodically. Even when we question our ‘higher ups’ about these, and point out the logical fallacies, and just plain old incorrect biology, they say things like “It’s product knowledge shared from SeneGence headquarters.” Which means it must be absolutely true. Apparently.
But they’re saying things like:
• New skin cells are rushed to the surface of the skin! (Umm) • Wax builds up on the lips from chapsticks and other lipsticks! (Nooo) • Bags under the eyes are caused by the tear ducts pooling (Huh?) • Dark circles under the eyes are caused by blood leaking out from weak capillaries (WTF)
These things are obviously complete rubbish. I won’t even dignify them with refuting them. Although, if you want to know what causes dark circles under the eyes (spoiler alert, it ain't 'leaking capillaries') — visit this page. The sciency gals over at Nerdy for my SeneSisters do a great job of debunking these claims, and we take our Crownless hats off to them.
But it beggars belief when you point out to a Crown Princess that maybe the graphic she’s just posted in her group is not true, and the instant response is “It’s from SeneGence.” And that’s the end of the conversation.
Here’s a tip: you’re only making yourself look incredibly stupid by putting out these sorts of graphics, having blind faith that the people at headquarters know what they’re talking about.
I just wanted to offer up my story of fighting the evil empire and winning... sort of.
I had about $600 in SeneBucks credited to me during the out of stock (OOS) dramas. I was already seeing through the company and was never going to order again. My sponsor is a friend of mine since birth and I tried to be very quiet about my distain, so I just stopped ordering around the middle of summer.
About a month ago, I began selling off my stock though the Buy/Sell/ Trade groups on Facebook, to be done.
Photo: Gerd Altmann, ISO Republic
Then Hurricane Harvey hit, and I’m a Texas Native. So I put a post out to distributors, saying that if you were affected, let me know and I would help (by selling to them at wholesale cost price) — and I did. These women, who had lost everything in the hurricane, including all their SeneGence stock, had been told 'too bad' by SeneGence.
Shortly after, I got nasty emails from the SeneGence Compliance department, as I was selling for a greater than 15% discount (which is all the company allows). I blasted them back, asking just exactly what it was that they had done to help the distributors who had lost everything, aside from having Crown Princesses tell them that September is the perfect time to “start fresh” with Jump Start with a 300pv order. Are you effing kidding me!?
So. I told them I wanted my $600 in SeneBucks returned in REAL MONEY.
I heard crickets.
I emailed again and again.
I heard crickets.
Then I got serious, and involved my state’s Attorney General, the Better Business Bureau, and the Federal Trade Commission.
Two days later my Quick Pay account was credited for $300.00.
Seems as if you know “what” to say, they listen.
Oh, as I’m sure you could probably tell, along with my refund, I was also booted from the company.
During the final days of the month of August 2017, I apparently made a mistake and screwed-up manufacturing of the LipSense colors Nutmeg and Plumeria. At least, it must be my fault, as I am the one left carrying all the baggage that comes with making the mistake of leaving the color-mixing balls OUT of the tubes of color that were made on a certain date or days.
On August 24, 2017, I placed an order for 4 tubes of Plumeria as I thought the color was pretty (a good color for the end of the summer/early fall and perhaps even upcoming holidays), I had already reached my 50% discount for the rest of the month, and, basically, I just felt like it. Seeing as I had never had any issues with colors received from them (except for the colors that I received that were horribly ugly or nothing like the photos or dye lots I had seen before), I saw nothing wrong with my actions. But, I made a mistake this time. I trusted SeneGence with fulfilling their business of providing me with a product I could sell without looking like a total jackass.
I received the package on the morning of September 1, 2017, but hadn't yet opened it when an email arrived that evening from SeneGence International. I found the following in my SG only inbox:
I was ASTONISHED!! How could a corporation like SeneGence, a company that charges a small fortune for a tube of lip color have literally “dropped the ball” so badly. But, sadly, the worst was yet to come...
First and foremost, I did NOT get $10 retail in $eneBucks credited to my account. Instead, I got only $8. The month had changed, my discount level had changed back from 50% to 20%, therefore for some unknown reason $10 of credit turned into only $8. I've never quite understood this and I do NOT intend to call or email customer service for an explanation because I already know what I am going to get: A RUNAROUND. This is exactly why I decided NOT to return my 4 “Ball-Less” Plumeria colors to SG: because I already know that I will NOT get $100 in $eneBucks. No matter what, I am losing money for something that is not my fault (well, at least it feels like it because I trusted them with delivering to me a quality, sale-worthy product). Instead, I decided to wait for the infamous balls. It's not like my business is booming and the kind of people I sell to trust me and wouldn't care about dropping a little ball into their color.
So, I waited, and I waited. While waiting, I checked all other Nutmeg and Plumeria tubes I already had on hand to make sure they weren't being overlooked. Luckily, the problem seemed to be isolated to just those 4 Plumeria tubes that I ordered on August 24th. Finally, September 11, 2017 arrived and I checked my post to find a shoddy, ripped, and basically demolished paper envelope from my “good friends” at SeneGence. The damage to the letter was so shocking that I took pictures:
First and foremost, the rips and tears of the envelope itself allowed one of the mixing balls to escape, so sadly I have only 3 balls, not the 4 that I require. Secondly, the little zip-top bags that the balls were put in were of such poor quality that every single one of them had holes in them so none of the balls are sterile, let alone clean. And thirdly, it seems that the price I paid for those stupid little balls were much higher than that of SeneGence since their postage for the mailing of these balls was only $.46. I paid $50, plus shipping, handling, and sales tax for those 4 Plumeria tubes and SeneGence shelled-out less than $.50 to fix their end of the mistake. Therefore, I hold myself responsible for the whole debacle. I should've never ordered from them in the first place. And they will be lucky to get an order out of me again if this is how they treat the sales representatives that make the Royalty of the company rich (and bitchy, but time enough for that later). I guess this time SeneGence got me by the balls, but next time, I intend the reverse to happen.
Pissed off Aussie distributor here. I’ve done the calculations, and most of the SeneGence prices translate kind of accurately between the American prices to the Australian prices. For example, LipSense is US $25, and AU $34 ($31 + ~$3 GST (10% Goods and Services Tax).
But, ShadowSense — what the hell guys? In America, it sells for US $22. No wonder we can’t shift the stuff here, it’s $10 more expensive than it should be! It should be AU $27 + $2.70 GST (so roughly $30), not $40! Talk about gouging 😡.
So, yes, I sell it at more than 15% off, and make a loss. And I will not be ordering any more. Ever.
Get your bloody maths right 🙄.
You may get a bit of a shock if you look at how the actual math works in your LipSense business.
300pv orders, for 40% discount
(PV = Points Value)
MONTH 1 Your first month in business!
SeneGence Sign up — $66.25 305 pv order costs us (in PA with 6% sales tax + $15.50 S&H) — $415.43 Selling 14 color and 13 gloss at full retail = $646.60 – $66.25 Profit = $164.92
BUT YOU HAVE TO DO ANOTHER 300 PV order next month.
MONTH 2 So, adding in your profit from last month, this will cost you $250.51.
You are $250.51 in the hole now, even after selling all of that for them in the first month, because you had to front load and buy more stock.
Sell it all, and your profit is $396.09 ... but wait, you need to buy more stock ...
MONTH 3 Use your profit again to place 305 pv, that costs you $415.43, you are finally up a whopping $19.34 cents!
Sell it ALL, and you are profiting $665.94 for three months of hard work. That is $55.49 a week.
And that is ONLY if you are managing to sell 14 colors and 13 glosses every single month (or the equivalent). But you don’t have that profit do you? Because you have to buy more stock ...
MONTH 4 Use your profit again to place 305 pv, that costs you $415.43, so that $665.94 profit? Well it’s not profit, because you need to buy more stock. After you do that you are left with $250.51, and if you sell it all again, you’re now at $897.11 ... but Month 5, you need another $415.43,
MONTH 5 $897.11 – $415.43 = $481.68 Sell it all for $646.60, and you are up to $1,128.28
MONTH 6 $1,128.28 – $415.43 =$712.85 Sell it all and you are now at $1,359.45.
IF YOU QUIT NOW, AFTER 6 MONTHS OF HARD WORK YOU’LL HAVE MADE THE EQUIVALENT OF $226.58 A MONTH, OR $52.29 A WEEK.
750pv orders, for 50% discount
SO, you say, that is silly, the smartest way is to do the 750pv order (rather than only aiming for 300 pv), and get your 50% off? OK, let’s do it that way.
MONTH 1 Senegence Sign up — $66.25 750 pv order (33 colors, 33 glosses for sake of simplicity, and purchasing SG best sellers) with tax and shipping — $1,003.95
(S&H is 22.50 and 6% sales tax is $90.45)
You are $1,070.20 in debt, right off the bat. Now you have to sell a color and a gloss, at FULL RETAIL PRICE, every day this month plus tax. If you do that, you will have $1,574.10.
$1,574.10 in sales minus the $1070.20 investment = $503.90 for that month for your profit.
If you bought packaging, mailers, business cards, color holder displays, you need to subtract that amount from the $503.90.
How many hours did you spend selling a color and gloss every day? Probably at least 30 hours that month, if not more.
But that’s not even your money, because you have to do it again Month 2! So hopefully, you’ve sold ALL of that and paid your credit card off, otherwise, remember to deduct the $30 a month interest from your CC balance as well.
MONTH 2: Put the $503.90 towards your 2nd 750 pv order. That means $500.05 in debt now ($1,003.95 – $503.90).
NOW all your customers from last month, do they need another color and gloss? Maybe, but probably not. At least they don’t need a second gloss right now. Better find 33 new customers! Where are you getting them from? You’ve probably exhausted your warm market (friends and family), so now you have to work even harder.
Where you maybe put in an hour or two a day last month on this business (on Facebook, mailing colors, delivering, meeting ladies etc ), NOW you have to work 4 hours a day and the stress is building because you’re not selling the stock fast enough and a new month is approaching! IF you don’t do another order, how will your upline get paid? She’ll get mad at you. So even though you didn’t sell much, you place another 750pv order in Month 3, because it makes no sense to place a smaller order and not get that 50% discount, right?
SO another $1,003.95 goes on your credit card. If you weren’t able to pay off your last month’s bill and only sold half your stock, add your credit card interest fees.
You’re still in debt a GRAND for this new order, and now have almost double to sell. Are you seeing the pattern here? Who is making money from all your hard work, because it SURE ISN’T YOU! The company is, that’s who. Your Crown Princess, that’s who.
Are you hearing “Businesses take hard work and investment, and no one makes money in the beginning”? That is false. I was in SeneGence for 4 months and got out when I really sat down and did all the math. These numbers I just gave you? I was being conservative and giving you a best case scenario. You will never be a Crown Princess. Momentum is over. Ground floor is over. There are more going out of business sites for LipSense online now than there are for LuLaRoe! It’s over.
This is math, and math is not subjective. It’s not an opinion. It’s cold, hard truth. You can keep doing the formula, to see exactly how long it will take you to make a tiny bit of profit selling this product, and when you realize you can make MORE at one day shift at McDonalds than you can in two months of selling and busting your butt for SeneGence, that should be a big wake up call for you. If it’s not, then I can’t help you.
If you ARE awake, I want you to understand that not all Direct Sales operate this way. Some treat their independent distributors very well. SeneGence is just not one of them.
I am not here to deflate your self-esteem. You may be very good at sales. But as you can see, even selling 33 colors and 33 glosses your first month will not earn you a single penny. The company is not structured to help you make money. It is built to make the CEO and her high-ups money, on the backs of each of you. Stepping on each other instead of building each other up. That is not a “sisterhood.” That is the exact opposite . So if you like Direct Sales, and really wanted this to work, get smart about it! Go research a company, ask questions, DO YOUR MATH. I guarantee there is a better one out there for you.
That about sums up my whole SeneGence experience. I should have run like the wind, when I joined and saw the amount of colors that were out of stock. I didn't, though. I didn't know any better. I was quickly told that colors come in, and to buy them as they do. I placed my first 300pv order like it was what I was supposed to do, no questions asked. As more colors went out of stock, less came in. I kept buying because I NEEDED to have multiples of all the colors. After all, SeneGence is just hitting their peak, and the LipSense sells itself, right?
Soon after I joined, it was announced that the colors were getting cut down to 36. I was disappointed, but would get onboard if it meant more of the remaining colors would be availble. That wasn't the case. The colors were cut, and still to the day I quit this month, there was never 100% in stock. Colors came in and often went right back out. To resolve this, we were encouraged to buy colors that were in stock, and trade them for colors we needed. That only worked if someone was willing to trade for what you had, and if you wanted to immediatley lose money off your profit margin, because now you not only had to pay for SeneGence to ship your colors to you, you now had to put money out to ship trades.
Somehow, despite the crazy out of stock issues, I pressed on. I found myself purchasing way more then I was selling, because I had foolishly convinced myself that this was going to get better. I told myself I would come out on top with a good stock, and would make all my money back and then some. I convinced my husband that these purchases were a sound business investment, and that he shouldn't worry. I even had three ladies who joined under me (two of which are now also considering quitting), and I would explain things like the out of stock as growing pains, and that it would all be worth it in the end.
It wasn't until a few months had passed that I realized this wasn't all it was cracked up to be. I started realizing my upline wasn't helpful at all. With SeneGence, you are supposed to be involved with your first five uplines, as they are the ones who benefit from your purchases. My 1st and 2nd upline were almost non-exisitent, and rarely reached out to see how things were going, or if they could help me in any way. My 3rd upline was out to make herself successful at your expesne, to say the least. She would always push the 300pv, front loading, buying to trade, and became very defensive and offended if anyone said something negative about SeneGence, no matter how true it was. She and my 4th upline did have a little better communication with us girls than 1 or 2, but they gave pointless trainings that were of no benefit to running a successful business, and often lacked the knowledge to answer simple questions anyhow. My 5th upline, who literally became a Crown Princess the week before I quit, and never reached out to us lower lines.
It wasn't til mid-July that I started to see all of these things in a bigger picture or maybe that's just when I woke up, and knew that I had made a bad decsion. I had been buying more and more stock up to this point, for no logical reason, and realized I needed to do something. At this point it was too late, and I was in too deep. I started trying to get my on-hand stock down to a manageable amount, but the product just wasn't moving. No one wanted to buy at full retail because there were so many distributors offering it at a discount, including myself. I took the time to go back through my invoices, and saw that 90% of my sales were from when I ran a discount. Very few were actually purchased at retail. Desperate to get rid of the product, but not break compliance, because I still somehow hoped things would somehow turn around, I offered a sale again. 5%, then 10%, then 15%, but very few sales were made. I started waiving my tax, offering free shipping, which moved a little more stock, but nowhere near manageable. I decided to have a secret sale of 25% off in my closed customer group. I trusted these girls, and most of them had become loyal to me, so I figured I owed it to them to give them first crack at my stock, at such a high discount. The sale was a success for moving product, and I had a small glimmer of hope.
I somehow thought I could still make things work, but as soon as the sale was over, no one was buying. Everyone had gotten so use to me discounting that they didn't want to buy at retail, or with free shipping. They wanted full blown blow-out sales, and I can't blame them. I'd be doing the same thing as a customer, as we all want the most for our money. That was when I finally realized I couldn't continue on with this business. Never would I be truly successful, because this product that sold itself, and was worth $25 retail, didn't and wasn't.
If you choose to join, please do your research. Don't let them convice you the you can start your business for just $55. The $55 is an annual fee, and you have to buy stock. There is absolutely no way to be successful if you just order as people buy colors. To get 50% off you need to order 750 pv, if you order less then that, your discount will be less. So many things that if I had been told back in February, I would have NEVER joined.
I have now sold through almost all of my stock, at 25 to 40% discount. I have lost money. I have lost family time. I have failed. Don't be like me.