Little White Lies in Mary Kay

Written by Raisinberry

Well I think I may have figured out why many of us lingered too long at the Mary Kay dance before coming to our senses. For well over a year after I left Mary Kay, I couldn’t believe a woman like me, reasonably intelligent, fell for the hype for so many years and never faced or admitted it, even to myself. Then I saw many Pink Truth members saying the same thing.

It has been said that this is a “realization, remorse, repair and resume” sequence akin to cult detox and it just takes time. We were bamboozled. We gave our trust to people who were practicing an art that had its start in the very first garden.

In the end, the thing that kept us languishing in the limbo of “will this work-this doesn’t work” was the showmanship of the NSD’s and their “pet hamsters” giving us all some first class “whitening” training. Mary Kay has some of the best actresses on 5 continents, who can deliver a line with a smile and nod, worthy of an Academy Award.

Mary Kay teaches that success is simply one good “beauty show” away and yes, my friends Mary Kay is “show” business. But not the kind you thought. In show business you recreate stories acting out and selling your part, but knowing the roll isn’t wholly true. You play a part for the benefit of the audience. Mary Kay’s trainers do the same.

One of the main tenets of the Mary Kay creed is to be a woman of integrity. We pat ourselves on the back as “women of excellence” and the MK Motto of “God first” is supposed to set the stage for our godly behavior.

Women of excellence would never lie to you. We were not supposed to tell a lie. But if the direct answer to your question meant that you would hear a negative word, we were instructed to “season” our answer with some PMA so as not to discourage you- you who might be having a moment of negative vulnerability. Lies of omission are not really lies are they?

Mary Kay makes us become masters at not exactly lying but not exactly telling the truth. Right from the beginning, we should have seen the small “little white lies” that would have tipped us off sooner. We were told to “borrow” another’s “I-story” if we needed to, until our own story got polished. We were told to tell customers we were “in our first year” if it was our second or third class because “nobody wants to do business with someone so new”. We were told that “Good News” was good news, and no place to mention obstacles

If our Director was featuring us up front, and said we had worked 2 hours at our last class, then by gum it, we worked 2 hours and 50% of 300.00 was 150 — divided by two! 75 bucks an hour! “Say Yea!”. Standing upfront while “little whites” are being told about you is some acting job. But there was your first instruction in the acting business, and that’s the kind of “show business” Mary Kay is really talking about.

The full story of the upfront consultant, left out that misunderstanding with hostess credit that cost her a ton of giveaway items, the hour drive, the product replacement one guest wanted, and a boatload of Color 101 cards burned up. Oh yea, and the 4.5 hours she was there. Being recognized up front means you wouldn’t want to embarrass that Director with her obvious “little white lie” by correcting her, so now it becomes yours!

Our careers start to show the signs of whitening when we share our “recruiting notebook” with prospects that has all our Star Consultant Prizes for “selling” product.  Even that one weekly summary sheet included in our datebook with $1107.00 in sales doesn’t quite tell the whole picture. We smile and nod as the prospect asks us,” Is that what you made in one week?”

“Yes”, we say! “Can you believe it?” What good would it do to tell her we have additional expenses. It would just bog her down. Just another “little white” for her own good.

At year end awards at Seminar, we wear our beaded gowns and excitedly wait for our names to be called. “Top Ten in Year to Date Retail Sales”…why it’s YOU! You claim your certificate and your rosette and stand for the photo op, looking down at the number blazoned in gold calligraphy.


in “sales”, it says. Only you know what’s on the shelves, in the basement and in your own bathroom. No where in all of Mary Kay is the number 24,619 in retail sales a reality for you. But it is a gala night! What’s one more little white?

When we brought a guest to any event we weren’t supposed to tip her off that the main deal was recruiting. So we told her it was a motivational speaker, or a “ladies morning out”. Our real motive for asking her had to be hidden, or she probably wouldn’t come so we weren’t really “lying”, but we weren’t really telling the truth, either. It was just another “little white”.

At home at the computer it’s the end of the month. Our husbands walk by and say, “Are you ordering again?” “Yes, I need stuff,” we say, getting whiter all the time.

It’s the last days of car qualification and you need two more. Your Director tells you to keep calling but say to your prospects that you only need one more. This, she tells you, will heighten her desire to help you. This is only a white lie and they probably won’t ever tell the story to each other. She was right, it worked! Aren’t those “little whites” so wonderful! You deserve an emmy.

It’s all culminating tonight, your last recruit needs to activate. She wants to wait till next month to order when she gets her business credit card. That decision just won’t do. You inform her that you forgot to tell her that all new recruits who activate before the end of the month get a starter kit enhancement package of a micro-magic-super-duper-anti-aging-repair-renew kit (you know.. whatever is the latest and greatest set in MK)! Who knew that the benefits of a little whitening are increased quick thinking and salesmanship!

As your new recruits sit like little foggy-eyed hamster babies at the National’s guest event, their excitement is palpable. Can we all reach our dreams? Is Mary Kay too good to be true? To cement all the “show biz” we rip out our Applause magazine and show the commissions in the back. “Look at all these top salaries” we say!” Our new team members glaze over.

“These are paychecks of the heart. They reflect how many women these ladies have helped.”

Could anything be farther from the truth? But now the “whitening” has taken hold and “little whites” roll off the tongue without any discernment at all. That’s how we lost our way. The way back to truthfulness takes honest discernment of everything we say…every self-serving thing we say… everything we were taught to say. It takes 100% authenticity and checking every word, “Is that really true? Am I sharing this correctly?” to fight the intoxicating effects of “whitening.”

“NSD is where we are all going to end up if we never quit” they told us. “Believe and achieve! Show up to go up. Do what your Director says! Nobody gets anywhere in Mary Kay without helping others succeed!” and not once did anyone acknowledge the monthly churn thru of thousands of consultants that were told little white lies and lies of omission. “No? Next!” applies to you too! It’s a brand new crop, fresh from the guest event.

Just like professional actors, the NSD’s give their academy award performances and use their Director understudy’s to do “ i-story” validation. They line up stage right for their photo sessions with their newbie fans, who stare starry eyed waiting for her personal words of wisdom, having no idea how scripted and rehearsed the whole night has been.

“I believe in you!” says the National, having no earthly idea who the newbie is.

What’s another little white lie while you take your bow?


  1. Freefrmpink

    Wow Raisenberry! You hit it out of the park with this one! Ditto everything you’ve said. Thanks! I’m nearing four years in recovery and their is still fog left to lift. But with articles like this, the fog continues thinning.

    I’m still amazed that I was bamboozled for so long & even worst I participated in bamboozling others. I just didn’t see it.

    Thanks again for sharing!

  2. raisinberry

    Thanks freefrmpink. I think this is a common frailty of humanity. People pleasing stops us from directly addressing lies told on our behalf… as in correcting false info the Director tells the Unit or our guests. Then, our honest ways cause us to struggle, while the SD’s “salesmanship” gets results, so we shift to her way of doing things… and fail to notice the slippery slope we are perched upon.

    Do that enough times and have your activities awarded/rewarded, and you become caught up in denial. Family and friends can see it- but you can’t. They watch you turn on “Connie consultant” at restaurants, shopping malls, baseball games, etc. With your antennae up, and hardly recognize you.

    If they challenge you, well they’re “negative”… right? Life devolves into nothing more that contrived scripts. This is how any cult achieves compliance… and staying plugged in keeps you blind. I have found the only defense against this method of manipulation is intuition. When you “feel” that something ain’t right… it ain’t. Go with it.

  3. QueenOfTheTanned

    Oh, yes! A very Christian company, obviously, as you can’t drink at MaryKay events! BUT..lying is encouraged and perpetuated–openly and/or tacitly. I guess the ‘Thou shall not bear false witness’ thing was just stealing someone’s dream…and ‘little lady, thou shalt not sip a glass of moscato’ was right there…somewhere. I must not have the Queen MK Version of the Bible. Just because you toss around the word ‘God’ and don’t allow alcohol at functions DOES NOT give you the validation to call yourself a ‘Christian’ corporation, especially if you can’t even get the basic tenets right.
    It’s bad enough when you know one hypocritical person like that. It’s downright noxious when it’s a legion of kaybots doing it.

    1. Still Breaking The Basic

      Not only is lying encouraged, but theft is too. Directors place orders for their downline using their credit cards without their knowledge or consent under the pretense of “rather than assigning last-minute orders to me, I can save you the time by placing the order for you.”

  4. Matt

    Thanks Rainsberry – I could add many more white lies to your list, but I think you’re point is very well made as is.

    As a husband who is married to a Pink Cadillac Sales director who is number 3 in her state….I am at a loss how to approach this with her.

    I can’t write as eloquently as you, but here are a couple more, that may be even more sad….

    My wife was/is always so busy working her “business” that she rarely has family time. We have 3 children (2 girls and a boy). I work full time as an engineer – so I’m gone Mon-Fri 8am-5pm, but otherwise home in the evening and on weekends.

    With our two older girls – we noticed early that they seems to prefer their dad in everything. “Who do you want to put you do bed”….”DADDY!”, when they would scrape their knee, who would they run to? Daddy. When they wanted to talk to someone about their friend who was mean to them, who did they want to talk to? …Daddy of course. When they would wake up at 6am, and sneak into our room, and climb in bed with us, who’s side of the bed did they come to and with whom did they want to cuddle? Daddy of course….

    This wasn’t just for the 4-5 examples I gave above, it was literally for EVERYTHING. The fact was, that when I wasn’t at work it spent my time (mostly) with my kids.

    Our younger girl – just as an example – if she woke up in the middle of the night crying, if I would go to her room and comfort her she would quite down instantly and usually go back to sleep. If my wife tried…she would scream incessantly that “she wanted DADDY!” until I had to come in anyway to calm her down. No exaggeration…this happened probably 20-30 times. Eventually I was the only parent getting up in the middle of the night, since I was the only one our kids wanted to comfort them.

    My wife on the other hand spent 60-80 hours a week (this is NOT an exaggeration) on the phone telling other women how if they did Mary Kay they could have their dream life, with flexible work hours and plenty of time for 1) God first, 2) Family second and 3) Career third….

    Unfortunately she simply couldn’t see the connection between her children’s preference for their daddy and her working excessive hours, and neglecting her family.

    Time went by…

    My wife lamented that the girls always preferred their daddy for everything. She really felt/feels hurt. Not knowing what else to say, I always assured here that it was just that girls were “Daddy’s girls” and boys were “Momma’s boys”. Don’t worry, as soon as we have a boy, he will be all yours….

    This was my white lie that deep down inside….I knew, or at least suspected that I was lying…. I knew that if…when we had a boy, he would end up preferring his dad, than his mom, who was always, literally, always absent working her Mary Kay business.

    I had no idea how to tell her that her business was consuming her….all of her, and there was nothing left for her children or husband.

    We had a boy in October 2013. What a sweet little boy! His sisters, mom and dad all love him.

    But wouldn’t you know it….starting at about a year old when he stopped nursing…can you guess who he started to show a preference for? DADDY.

    She is heart broken. All of her kids prefer their daddy now, even her little boy, who was supposed to be her “Momma’s boy”.

    Motherhood, while children are young, is probably the most precious time in any women’s life….how, please tell me, how do I tell her that Mary Kay is ruining her motherhood?

    1. MLM Radar

      Good Lord, how can you afford to support her habit? She may be #3 in her state, but only at the cost of nearly wiping you out financially! Supporting a Cadillac director is very. very. expensive.

      She is obviously numb to the kids. You need to go from a different angle. Start with the credit reports. Pull yours and hers, then pull reports for the kids to make sure she isn’t hiding her spending habit behind them.

      Chances are, you just filed your tax return. If you filed an extension instead, get on that return as quickly as you can. Then arm yourself with the Schedule C in one hand, the credit reports in the other, and tell her: ENOUGH!

      1. Lazy Gardens

        “then pull reports for the kids to make sure she isn’t hiding her spending habit behind them.”

        OMG! Yes, she could do that, and then they reach college age and want a student loan to find they have a totally trashed credit rating!

    2. BestDecision

      I was a Cadillac Director facing a lot of the same things you’ve already realized. I would quote her on what she tells people about her business including the hours, how she’s “always” with the kids, how she gets to live “God first, family second”, but then calmly show her examples of how she’s actually NOT living or working that way. Tell her the money is worthless to you and your kids if there are no good relationships and memories formed.

      Be prepared that she’s going to fight this new thought and come back with the typical “you’re not supportive” arguments. Calmly show her your tax form and what her bottom line net income was after all her expenses last year and then ask her if that amount is worth the memories and relationships with your kids.

      Unfortunately, she has to reach a place of being sick & tired that no one can force her to reach. Ask her to test your theory and listen for how other Directors live and work. Are they missing out on life by being consumed with their careers? Are they rushing off their kids and hoping they’re one of the VERY FEW that make it to National? (And at that level, there’s no guarantee her income won’t drop and she now can lose that title under the new NSDqualifications.)

      I’m sorry this is happening to you, but you’re not alone. I know A LOT of other Cadillac and Top Trip directors who have moved on.

    3. Lazy Gardens

      “Motherhood, while children are young, is probably the most precious time in any women’s life….how, please tell me, how do I tell her that Mary Kay is ruining her motherhood?”

      “I had no idea how to tell her that her business was consuming her….all of her, and there was nothing left for her children or husband. ”

      Just this ^^^^ she’s spending all of her time and emotions on Mary Kay and you and the kids are left with the crumbs.
      Kids know there’s a difference between “being in the same house with the kids and ignoring therm” and “being home FOR the kids and paying quality attention to them”.

      The song “Cat’s in the Cradle” by Harry Chapin is relevant … play it for her and ask her how long she thinks her children will wait for her. Her “short term pain” is LONG TERM when you are a child.

      “Cat’s In The Cradle”

      My child arrived just the other day
      He came to the world in the usual way
      But there were planes to catch and bills to pay
      He learned to walk while I was away
      And he was talkin’ ‘fore I knew it, and as he grew
      He’d say “I’m gonna be like you, Dad
      You know I’m gonna be like you”

      And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
      Little boy blue and the man on the moon
      When you comin’ home, Dad
      I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then
      You know we’ll have a good time then

      My son turned ten just the other day
      He said, “Thanks for the ball, Dad, come on let’s play
      can you teach me to throw”, I said “Not today
      I got a lot to do”, he said, “That’s ok
      And he walked away but his smile never dimmed
      And said, “I’m gonna be like him, yeah
      You know I’m gonna be like him”

      And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
      Little boy blue and the man on the moon
      When you comin’ home, Dad
      I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then
      You know we’ll have a good time then

      Well, he came from college just the other day
      So much like a man I just had to say
      “Son, I’m proud of you, can you sit for a while”
      He shook his head and said with a smile
      “What I’d really like, Dad, is to borrow the car keys
      See you later, can I have them please”

      And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
      Little boy blue and the man on the moon
      When you comin’ home son
      I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then, Dad
      You know we’ll have a good time then

      I’ve long since retired, my son’s moved away
      I called him up just the other day
      I said, “I’d like to see you if you don’t mind”
      He said, “I’d love to, Dad, if I can find the time
      You see my new job’s a hassle and kids have the flu
      But it’s sure nice talking to you, Dad
      It’s been sure nice talking to you”

      And as I hung up the phone it occurred to me
      He’d grown up just like me
      My boy was just like me

      And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
      Little boy blue and the man in the moon
      When you comin’ home son
      I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then, Dad
      We’re gonna have a good time then

    4. Lazy Gardens

      Chances are, you just filed your tax return. If you filed an extension instead, get on that return as quickly as you can. Then arm yourself with the Schedule C in one hand, the credit reports in the other, and tell her: ENOUGH!

      Do the figures playing “what if” … WHAT IF you didn’t have her Mary Kay income or expenses? Ignore the big fat business expense deduction** she’s probably proud of, and look at what your ACTUAL household income would be without Mary Kay.

      And I would definitely NOT support her “business” … take over paying all the household expenses (from an account where your pay gets deposited, in your name only) and make her support her habit on her Mary Kay income.

      Run a credit report and shut down ALL cards with your name on them you don’t actually use. She can get her own credit.

  5. Bj

    I almost got sucked into marykay 7 years ago when I was 18.
    I had a tiring job at jack in the box and this women who was our neighbor suggested that I should join marykay since I didnt enjoy fast food.
    It all sounded good and I even bought some product from her.
    I told her I would talk to my mom about it and possibly sign up.
    What followed was my mom saying flat out that it was a scam which I kind of agreed with once she explained her thinking.
    My neighbor did a smoke and mirrors tap dance when I went to decline her offer and even introduced me to a sales director from marykay who brushed off all the concerns my mom mentioned and talked about 50% profit and pink cadilacs.
    Honestly cadilacs are great but a pink Cadillac sound gaudy and pretentious but thats besides the point.
    Anyways that sales director lady might as well having been offering a cure for cancer with how hyped up and smiley she was about it.
    I actually got creeped out by this someone as felt too much pressure to act before I had a chance to think.
    I said I needed time to think and was asked to attend a class I had no intention of going to.
    I went to the class. Somehow she convince me. It was so weird.
    It was held in a small conference room in a hotel. People received wjat looked like dollar store prizes for…who knows what and everyone was dressed like the step straight out of the 50 with skirts and heels and sweater.
    At that moment I said to myself
    My mom was right this is a scam and the way the explained the business set up was illogical.
    And I was pretty sure it might be like a cult…
    I told them I was going to the bathroom. I went to my car and left.
    And just avoid that neighbor lady for awhile until she gave up on getting me to join.

    I dont even know how they convinced me to try the meeting when I went to say no.
    Its like a magician show with smoke and mirrors and body doubles.

    I wondered if I had made a mistake by declining and actually had second thoughts but from what I’ve read hear I dont believe I did.

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