Women Are Taught to Lie In Mary Kay

mlm-liesThis is the story of a former Mary Kay director who was taught to deceive women in order to get the numbers to move up. When her directorship finally ended, she and her husband were forced to put their dreams on hold while they recovered from near financial ruin.

Here is the truth and nothing but the truth. I have always tried to be straight forward and honest, but sometimes we lie to ourselves.  Well over the last few months I have come to see clearly some things I have lied to myself and others about.

I signed up for Mary Kay 2 ½ years ago just to get my product at cost, since I was using plenty of it anyway.  Well after doing some reading I found it was much more profitable than the MLM I was doing for 1 year before Mary Kay.  It also offered a lot more as far as support and training.

I went to a meeting and I was hooked.  I was told I could make as much as my husband was making in corporate America in a short amount of time.  We had been looking for a way for him to quit his job for years and I thought this is IT!  So I immediately decided I was going to be a Director and went home to convince my family.  I had to be a Director because that is where they tell you the ‘real money’ is.  Also it is supposed to be a position where your life is devoted to helping women achieve happiness by putting God first, family second, career third.  Something I was completely in favor of.

Well I did everything I was ‘supposed’ to do (eventually).  At first I had a very hard time leaving my family for meetings, parties, facials, seminars, etc.  Then when I was home I had to be on the phone trying to get more business or I was on a conference call.  If I was not doing that I was stressed out because I wasn’t where I thought I should be (wasn’t making the money I expected, hadn’t recruited the amount of people the numbers told me I would, etc.). So I was never spending quality time with my family. The main reason I decided to be a consultant was to have a career where my family could come first, and so that my husband could put his family first as well.

So I thought once I am a director I will have ‘made it’ and paid my dues, then everything would fall into place.  So my husband quit the job he hated when I signed up, so he could take care of his mom whose Parkinson’s was advancing. In order to survive, since Mary Kay was not paying our bills, we refinanced our house, twice.

Of course I told everyone that we were living off of MK because the more you believe, the more your beliefs will become reality. I really wanted MK to pay our bills and if I was successful more people would want to jump on the bandwagon. I am so sorry to those that I deceived; in my defense I was deceived myself.  No one on my team has lost more money or more time with their family than I have, and I feel like such an idiot.

Which I guess brings me to the subject of lying.  In MK you are taught to lie… shame on me for falling into it.  In the beginning I would be asked questions like what I would do with $1,000 if I had it.  I would say pay off credit cards or something of that sort.  I was ridiculed and told to think of something better than that, like going shopping or take a vacation, or something frivolous. I was told I wasn’t dreaming enough, I had forgotten how to dream, and I will never get to where I want to be if I didn’t have a big goal to work towards, something tangible and showy.  So little by little I did what they said to the detriment of my family and our finances.

There is so much I could go into.  It is hard to tell other people how you can become brain-washed and go against so much that you hold dear.  But it is just like boiling a frog, little by little, and before you know it you are a different person with different values.  I have recently read so many stories of other people this has happened to and I relate so much.

I do not think that MK has always been bad, but it has turned that way.  I know there are plenty of great consultants out there who have others best interest at heart.  The problem is with corporate, Sales Directors, and National Sales Directors.  As soon as I became a director everything changed and I was given a healthy (or unhealthy) dose of MK medicine.  That is when the truth poured from the lips of other directors and corporate themselves.  No longer did anyone try to hide what their true purpose was, basically recruit as many as you can as fast as you can, and get their inventory order before they know what hit them.

Sell the dream of having everything you ever wanted (or will be taught to want) and for those who fall for it, get them to want to be a director so bad they can not think of anything else.  Make them long for it by not allowing consultants to hang out, participate, or even talk to the directors.  Make them think that what directors have is something so special and mysterious that they just have to have it too.

What started me seeing the light is shortly after becoming a director (it took me almost 2 years from signing my agreement) I was NOT making the money that was supposed to be so easy to make.  Granted the reason for this is because I was not recruiting 5 people a month to make that happen.  I should have realized that there was no way I was going to make money because in order for me to become a director I had to pay for many of my team member’s starter kits and inventory. They were not going to be worker ‘bees’ on the team, but you are told that you have to ‘make a way or find a way’ and ‘fake it till you make it’, which I always found disturbing, but I bought it because I wanted to be in the shoes of those women who were teaching this.

Back to the last few months.  Last spring my husband decided to become a pastor, which for him meant going to graduate school.  Partially because of this decision my mother-in-law decided to move to an assisted living facility.  I became a director in June, in July I left for Seminar in Dallas, in Aug I went back to Dallas for new director training, and in Sept I traveled to be trained by my adopted National Sales Director.  My husband would and I decided we needed to move closer to his school, so we sold our house and bought something closer to school.  We really felt like we were doing what we were supposed to be doing (and maybe we were, all except the Mary Kay part).

We found that seminary was way more involved than what we realized and Mary Kay still was not paying the bills (go figure with all the traveling I was doing, taking me away from business, making a move, and not having a working team).

So a few months back we decided my husband had to quit school at least for the time being and find a job.  He has now been searching for 4 months and I have been in limbo.  I  lost my directorship as of Jan 1st because we are just not making the $4,000 minimum production requirements. Directorship is such a trap and extremely stressful. My main purpose in telling you this is so that you will not fall for it or any other MLM company (which is truly what MK is).

I have enrolled in a cosmetology program near our house.  Since we do not know where we will be living in the next year (it depends on where my husband gets a job), we feel this is the best option for me at this time, so that I do not up and leave a company as soon as I get trained for the position.

My family is now in the healing process, are learning from our mistakes, and moving on.  My hope and desire from this is that others may not fall into the same trap that my family so sadly did.

By the way, MK is Not taught at Harvard… (I just found this out)… do the lies ever stop?

Please do accept my apology for perpetuating the brainwashing; I am truly sorry if I have caused any of you to be hurt in any way.


  1. Iescaped

    Wow. I am so happy that you told your story. The true “I story” and not the one we are told to make up. The biggest thing that I am taking away from this article is that I feel you just described my area and that I probably know you. The reality is that I’m sure you are not in my area, and that the same thing that happened to you is copied all across the world (remember– no territories). Just sharing the truth will hit home to others that are still caught in the web of lies. Many feel they are the only ones, that this isn’t happening to the other “successful” Directors because we are taught not to speak of negative things and we don’t know who to trust. Thank you for speaking the Truth!

  2. pinkpeace

    Welcome to PT and thank you for sharing your all-too-typical story. As you so clearly pointed out, the lies begin as little exaggerations and “positive thinking” suggestions. Very quickly they escalate to outright deception and fraud, and it’s very difficult to escape from them.

    Directors who are lurking here: It’s NOT just you! The MK system is built on lies and is designed to keep you trapped in them. It’s time to get out and lead an authentic life – you can!

  3. raisinberry

    Well, here it is again. The story is always the same, but Mary Kay wants to pretend that there is nothing wrong with what happens in the field, and that all these decisions are own own. As if we never had any higher up influences, pulling strings. They keep their pristine brand by always shifting blame to the women they have allowed the upline sales force to abuse. It is their bait, but our choice. Mary Kay has always known the incredible debt that many of their Directors and Diq’s carry…and how few skin care classes are actually held, by even the top 2%ers. Yet those orders keep coming in…

    I wonder how that happens?

  4. truthwins

    Lies lead to more lies. An Ohio SD once said she is able to devote so much time to MK because her husband made $80,000/yr. One yr later she said her husband will be able to retire in his thirties because she was earning $80,000…as stated in Applause. There is a Go Fund Me account to help pay her medical bills.

  5. Healing from the Kool-Aide

    This story is so sad. The part that hit me was how directors have this secret little club. I admired the woman who recruited me and wanted to be part of her circle. How naive I was. She was a director, and as soon as I signed up and purchased inventory, she told me we couldn’t be friends anymore because I was “just” a consultant. We had to be “professional” and I had to respect her as my director. I lasted less than a year, and sold my product back.

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