Advice From a Former Mary Kay Sales Director

quit-mary-kayThis is the advice of a former Mary Kay director who quit, sent back tens of thousands of dollars of inventory and sent back her “free” car.

It has been almost 3 years since I returned my product, returned my “free” car and began my humbling journey of becoming normal again.  All those friend Directors?  Haven’t heard a word from anyone, even in my darkest times.  (With friends like that, yada, yada)

I see there are many newbies on here who are confused, considering and I hope that my post sheds some light on what I have come to realize about my 20 years in the business as a Director and help you with your own confusion…..

1. We Directors (past and present) live/lived a lie.  And it takes a long time to forgive yourself.

Unless you are ordering and moving up the way WE want you to, we really do not care.  Our focus is only production and being on stage with the other liars.  We stretched the truth, lied, misled you about our checks, our sales, our lives.  We presented to you what we wanted to be true but our actual career/lives were very far from it.

2. We Directors (past and present) are/were in debt.  PERIOD.  Our actual take home pay would have made you vomit.

We had a maxed out credit card (or several).  We bought our production to keep our cars, our units, our time on stage.  I had over 400 regular customers, I held classes every week, I managed my money, and I was in debt.

3. The MK family is not a family at all.

Have something happen (living proof here!), decide to take a break.  I guarantee you within 30 days, your family will disappear. If you’re not ordering, we’re moving on.

4. We prey on your insecurities about being a loser if you talk of quitting.

No one wants to be a loser.  No one wants to feel that they have failed.  And we know it.  And we are armed with the words to change your mind direct from the higher-up in Dallas.  DON’T LISTEN.

5. You can start without inventory but after your first order, get ready for a full-court press to order more and move up.

Sure, it is your choice.  But beware…….we’re trained.  You’ll get sucked in.

6. And finally, there is life afterwards.  A glorious life that is not shrouded in a cloud of lies, anxiety, pressure, and feelings of inadequacy.

You are not a loser – you are a winner – because you got out.  It will take a while to realize this but the realization is worth the wait.

In closing, I have absolutely nothing to gain by posting anything but the truth.  I just hope that my reflection helps that one person out there who is considering, who has had the false image presented to them and think they could do it too, that it makes you think outside the pink bubble and consider those of us who, by God’s grace, had the courage to quit the sham on others and most of all, ourselves.

Note from Tracy: Current Mary Kay sales directors and executives will tell you this woman was “one bad apple” who didn’t work Mary Kay the “right” way. They will say she is the exception, and that she obviously ran her business unethically, and that by and large women in Mary Kay do things honestly. They are lying. This woman’s experience and advice is the rule. The Mary Kay scam thrives because of deep-rooted deception from within the upper members of the sales force.


  1. raisinberry

    I think it is wise to remember that no one starts out trying to intentionally lie. And the longer you are in, the more you believe the ones that were told to you and now, tell to others. Most Directors are not lying overtly, IMHO. They are withholding the full story, focusing on the positive, and avoiding the negative, for their own needs and goals. This fudging of the facts, like that Director on the 20/20 video did, regarding winning a car, or making money, is the lying we are talking about. Standing upfront and telling “your highest check” is along the same lines. You want the guests to believe that you make near that every month, and make no mention of expenses, to help them get a true picture. No Mary Kay Director will ever show her profit and loss statement, (largely because it denies the “image” of “executive level income” that they are trying to play off) and how juvenile it is to rename them” people and love”, in order to hide the real condition your “business” is in.

    The lies serve the Corporation and the NSD Salaries, and can not be adjusted towards the truth, or the Family Security Program will severely suffer. They are stuck in the con. And the only thing that can possibly prevent the next generation from falling prey….is us.

    1. BestDecision

      The lying and boasting was one of the reasons I’d had enough. To stand in line at Seminar for a Unit Circle and hear ladies behind me talking about how much they ordered to hit it and, worse, to see people standing tall at events like Director meetings whom I knew were not even near making Top Trip production. It got sickening. I felt so bad for my Offspring who kept working so hard to get so little after leaving those meetings, thinking “If I just…a little more…” It’s just sick, and that’s why I’m so glad my schedule isn’t full of those people anymore.

  2. Emily

    Hahahaha this is such absolute crap. Just cause you sucked at it and couldn’t manage your own money or business doesn’t mean the Mary Kay company as a whole is dishonest. I feel so bad for you, you’re clearly miserable in your own life. There is a reason the company has been around for 52 years and has the reputation it has. You need to be sued.

    A current Mary Kay sales director/car driver

    1. TRACY

      Oh Emily, I am sorry to hear that you’re still not at the point where you’re ready to admit what a complete FAIL the MK “business” is. You might want to brush up on the legal system before you declare that someone should be sued. You just look silly. (Yes, we still feel sorry for you even though you’re obnoxious.)

      1. pinkfreesince2015


        Since you are a director and said we can’t manage our money, you wouldn’t mind sharing your TRUE schedule C would you? We would love to learn from someone who is obviously better than we are. You have so much to teach us! Can you teach us to how lie to someones face and tell them that MK products are actually marketable. Can you teach us how to get customers to buy such a “quality” product? Can you teach us how to comfortably front load women? Can you teach us how to lie to our husbands? Bless your heart, we know you are doing the best you can.

        I will pray for you.

        1. SuzyQ

          It was just a matter of time before a true believer posted. Emily, bless your heart, and hear mine… you are on a wild ride and it will not end well. It never does. We will be here when you figure it out.

    2. Still Breaking The Basic

      How much credit card debt do you currently have?

      How much unsold inventory do you have that was purchase twelve (12) months ago or longer?

      Is your MK car truly free or do you have a co-pay?

      How much have you been hit with chargebacks?

      1. Iescaped

        Emily, thank you for having the courage to come on this “negative” site and post. But please don’t tell any sister SDs or your NSD that you did. You will not be showered with praise for trying to show all us “negative, lazy losers” we are wrong. You will more than likely be scolded in some way, probably stay away from evil as it may envelope your soul BS.

        Sorry that you are still thinking that MK is a viable source of income. I don’t need to see your schedule C, but would you be truly brave and honest to show your warehoused inventory? We all know any successful SD has boxes of unopened MK available to her team members to “borrow”.

        BTW, we will always be here for you. Unlike your sister SDs.

    3. BestDecision

      When you’re out handing out business cards, I’ll be relaxing with my family. When you need health insurance, I’ll have mine. Plus the dental, vision, disability, 401K that is matched by my employer, and paid time off. Emily, I am not a quitter. I’m a Cadillac Director with Offspring that just had enough of the lies and cheating. I left doing very well, actually. Are you a Director yet? Have you had to pay for a suit yet? Have you had chargebacks hit your commission check yet? Have you been shown net profits by Nationals and top people? Have you given up your weekends to hold debuts for hundreds of new unit members, only to have them bail on you, go back on their word, and/or quit?

      I believe your answers to those are “no”. In that case, you have no argument in this ring.

      1. ExSalesDirector

        Amen!!!! Turned in my car and sent it ALL back. Friends have turned into crickets. I love the life lessons I learned but I refused to see my schedule C be next to $0. My SD $ spent on running my unit of 150+ women was just ridiculous. I was DONE sitting with people, pouring my time into them for them to QUI . So yes goodybye to cars and diamond . Goodbye to my bees.

    4. MLM Radar

      There is a reason the company has been around for 52 years and has the reputation it has.

      OK, I’ll give you the 52 years part. But you’d better take another look at that reputation:

      Most people, when they hear the words “Mary Kay,” do one of several things: laugh, run, change the subject, sneer, hang up the phone, block phone numbers, unfriend followers, and send emails to spam. What they don’t do is ask to host a party.

      No one wants to pay “full retail price” and no one has to either. Between eBay, CraigsList, Personal Use consultants, “going out of business” sales, and discounts from consultants desperate to sell anything to anyone, you don’t have a change of succeeding by just selling product.

      Between those two facts, it’s nearly impossible for any consultant to make a profit selling the products. So they quit.

      THe only thing left for a DIrector is endless recruiting, inventory frontloading, distracting practices to keep them from catching onto the fact that they’re losing money, and deceptive tactics to stall that inventory return until it’s too late.

      The company reputation? It’s been consistently falling. Sales are off, and getting worse every year. It’s a slow but steady decline. Mary Kay is a Titanic of multi-level marketing. The Titanic took a while to sink after it hit the iceberg, but when it finally went down it was fast.

      1. pinkfreesince2015

        This is one of the best responses I have read in sometime. I agree Mary Kay is a laughing stock. The minute any woman tells her friends and family “I started my Mary Kay business” her family and friends will ignore all calls, have excuses on why they can’t get together and block you from all social media. Why? Because they know the hounding for purchases and starting your own business will start.

        One of the proudest moments for me was walking into Dillards and purchasing my new skin care regimen. An added bonus was receiving a ton of free bonus product. I won’t have to purchase a new mascara for years because there is always an offer for a free one. I am so happy to have beautiful skin and flawless makeup now.

        1. BestDecision

          And the dreamy place called Sephora! It felt awesome the first time I used a bottle that had no pink on it. And, my skin is in better shape than it ever was years after wearing only Mary Kay.

    5. MLM Radar

      By the way…

      I just checked the Mary Kay Canada website, where they’re required to publish the earnings representation disclosure statements. Those are the statements where the company reveals how many people are in the sales force, and how much commission they’re earning.

      Mary Kay Canada is still showing the 2013 data; the numbers from the Mary Kay 50th anniversary year. That’s the year when they used every tactic possible to recruit anyone, and sell them initial inventory orders. Mary Kay corporate has never failed to update those earnings representation numbers… until now. 2014 must have really sucked for them. I can’t wait until it’s time for them to release the 2015 numbers.

    6. T

      Bhahahahaha. Oh sister, I will pray you see the light one day. I’ve done MK 3 separate times and ordered inventory, done countless booths, didn’t have one lead, drove over an hour for a party and the woman decided not to let me in, attended every meeting, started to build a team. Yeah, I did my very best and it’s
      Crap. Good luck to you.

    7. Katie


      If your post represents the mindset of the average Mary Kay sales director/car drivers, you are even more of a cautionary tale than the one Tracy has provided. Somewhere between the hyena cackle that begins your nastygram to the sentiment that an ex-representative should be “sued” for sharing her story, I think perhaps you have unwittingly given us a frightening snapshot of the cultish, predatory mentality lurking behind the pretty pink veneer.

      Have a nice day.

  3. Sylver

    I’m a sales cconsultant but I haven’t placed an order since June. No matter how hard I tried, I could never turn up any customers. My upline has been no help and not even the woman who signed me up (and she is a close friend) has helped me try to build my “business” I watch her sink money into her “business” and go nowhere. I gave up and since I didn’t pay for my kit, I lose no money. If someone I know needs something I will get it for them but that’s about it. I am done.

    1. RecoveringMKLady

      Sylver, I am so glad you’re seeing the light! This is a great site to get support as you move away from Mary Kay. I would suggest sending people who just want something to eBay, where there are thousands of products from consultants who are desperate to make some of their money back. Get yourself out completely and be so happy that you saw it when you did.

      Also, welcome to PT. Hope to see you on the boards.

  4. Done girl

    It’s true…. The real truth in Mary Kay is not completely known… Who’d ever join Mary Kay if all the REAL facts about the business were honestly laid out on the table? I got out…. After earning 4 cars my first year (including the pink caddy)…. Which by the way was never “FREE”….Debuting as the number two director nationally in my debuting class and earning all the director bonuses my first year. It’s a mad carousel ride!!! I describe Mary Kay as a drug that sucks you in and takes hold of you, brainwashing your entire being before you even realize it! It’s a shot of heroin for a short time when that new consultant joins or comes in with a big inventory order. You work and work and work…. Forgetting who you are, only to start over at ZERO every month and have to do it all over again. You want to talk about stress??? Join Mary Kay and you’ll feel the stress! It’s not worth loosing yourself, your friends, and especially your family!! I was never that director who paid my own way to stay a director. My unit was strong, but I know way too many directors who are up to their eyeballs in debt!! I know too many stories of “God’s hand at work”…. Really it was those credit cards at work! Let’s get real! It’s all a lie! Let’s remember…. People are people, not numbers!!!!! Get out now before you waste your life away chasing something that won’t happen…. You will have much more peace about your life in the long run!

    1. raisinberry

      Like you, I only had occasion to “help” with production during car…most of the time my Unit was solid…but there were occasions like after offspring where even recruiting side by side, the loss of a production racehorse had it’s cost. And what you said is key. EVERY MONTH it starts all over again…you never really “earn” any position if you can lose it with a few low production months…it’s not like any business promotion in any sense of the word, it is a step onto the hamster wheel, and it is dependent upon OTHER PEOPLE to start pumping, or YOU to pull off recruiting medals! I thought when I decided to go for Director that I was BUILDING something. It was never clear, that i would be constantly REPLACING something.

      Who builds a tower that has an ever crumbling foundation? Aren’t we told to count the cost of building a tower before under taking it? And if all the costs are hidden, or made to look effortless, then whoever is pushing us to build under such conditions, is a deceiver.

      1. BestDecision

        Yes! Every month it did start all over again! You never felt like you could bask in what you’d built because, like you said, it was all about “replacing”. So exhausting! And seeing my Senior take out a loan at the bank or max out her credit cards just to make a goal was incredibly scary. I started to lose respect for people who were achieving things because it was so rampant across states and Areas. Cheating, lying, backstabbing. So glad I don’t deal with that anymore!

    1. Done girl

      Thank you!!!! I love my life again! Back to my true calling of enriching the lives of third graders!! Not to mention… I have weekends off, job security, real benefits, and credibility!!!! Oh…. And I’m at every soccer game on Saturdays for my kids because I’m not holding MK parties!

  5. CardiacRN

    Wow… I could have written this post back in 2008 when I said ENOUGH. What I did not realize at the time was I *could* have sent back thousands of dollars of product. (Just didn’t know that I personally could. Oh well…)

    The author is right. I heard from NO ONE from my original upline after I resigned, even after being diagnosed with breast cancer the following year. Not a single person bothered to contact me and ask if I was okay/doing well/needed prayers or good vibes. What kind of “family” is that??

    1. BestDecision

      Had the same thing happen to me after I resigned. Shocking to see who your real friends are. Not one of those people that I’d invested my time in or had shared years and life struggles with reached out to me, listened to why I was making that choice. This site has helped me realize I wasn’t the only one.

      1. CardiacRN

        What I find interesting about my situation is I am still friends with many of the women from one of my adopted units. (We are military and moved frequently.) Some of my friends are still with MK; some are not. And it was those women who were THE most supportive when I made the decision to resign. For whatever reason, they “got it” and completely respected my decision, making them an exception to the rule.

  6. raisinberry

    Sylver, You didn’t pay for your kit? Your recruiter bought it for you, I’m guessing…and so that cost goes on her credit card. And perhaps she’ll do it again when she needs 5 active…and then 8….and then 14…and then 24. This is how it happens…this is what we are talking about…and All the beloved kaybots turn their heads and act Stunned and shocked when a former Recruiter or Director comes clean and blows the lid off the con.

    It makes no difference where you are on the career path. The day will come when your goal is on the line and the only one left to make the production requirement is you…and you will be “Encouraged” to place those orders yourself. The first time you do it, no biggie…but what you don’t know is it will happen again and again and again…or you will be asking one of your recruits to do it for herself and her car qualifications…and you will pass on the fraud.

  7. I am so glad I came across this tonight! I am a current consultant. Got pulled in by a “friend” who only came around when she needed someone to sell for her. I saw the $ that they were promising and who couldn’t use some extra dollars for the holidays? On top of that, my husband and I are in the process of adoption and extra money would definitely help (while being able to work from home for a bit!) however, every time I turned around it was more and more money.

    Starter bag
    $1800 inventory (plus $300 shipping)
    Business cards
    Pro pay

    All the while, she kept telling me I’d make it all back. Telling me to talk to strangers and compliment them while expecting to get something from them (have them host or become a consultant). I got sucked in for a bit but was literally talking to my husband about it today about how I felt it wasn’t for me.

    I want to compliment you on your cute outfit or hairstyle because I like it & I genuinely hope my compliment makes your day, not because I want you to sell makeup and make me a commission.

    Reading all this has solidified my feelings that I need to get out and fast. Thank you all so much!

    1. If you can, do send your inventory back to MK. Make them eat the loss. And if the pink beast gets nasty and refuses to send out the return papers, Craigslist and Ebay are great places to offload the excess inventory.

      I remember a few years ago, my friend was approached by a MK recruiter who tried to get her to join. My friend told me how she thought it was a good idea (she liked the flexibility touted by the company because she’s a henna tattooer on the side and usually has events or private appointments to do on weekends or whenever), but she couldn’t afford the $1800 starter set. Having spent some time on this site, I’m so glad she didn’t go into her savings to get sucked into MK.

      Please do get out soon! There is life after Mary Kay!

      1. How do I return my inventory? I saw the post you all had about it..and I’ve been trying to call the number but it keeps stating that it’s “after business hours” even though it’s 1241 EST right now.

        Any advice?

        I want to get off this crazy ride before it costs us anymore money. Again, thank you all for opening my eyes and making me feel like I’m not so crazy for having that “off” gut feeling.

          1. I finally got thru. The lady was very snippy about me asking for the forms to return everything. And also stated “well I hope you understand that once you send these items back your contract is terminated and you can never sell for Mary Kay again.”

            “That is noooooo problem.”

            I see the light at the end of the tunnel!

  8. Katie

    I really appreciate your honesty. I was trying to make a decision about this, and you helped me make up my mind. Thank you for taking the time to write this. I was so very nearly taken in.

    1. Gina

      About returning inventory, and never being a consultant again is BS.I’ve been active with Mary Kay since 1988! I once had a large order that a few people didn’t pay for up front and I was dead set on not using it so I sent that back. Lesson learned I will never make an order without full payment ahead of time. A few months later I needed to make an order I called in and said I was sorry and made a mistake. All I had to do was write a letter of apology to Mary Kay corporate and I was reinstated for $20. I never ever ever got in to sell to make money or be a Mary Kay lady. I was ostracized by the team and lectured on giving away product really what I was doing was my calling my love as an ER nurse . I saw the girls looking through the books and ordering from another nurse at full price I never ordered. So I signed up. And I extended the discount to every single nurse that ordered, family also. so all I ever got was nasty phone calls about how I was ruining it for other people who are trying to build a solid yes solid(!!!) Business LOL so 28 years later, I still maintain my 50% discount although it’s not 50% after tax and shipping as we all know and everybody I know loves their product gets it at a discount. It’s funny though how your sales director is not upset when she calls you not to bitch about upsetting the system but because she needs you to order interesting how priorities change month-to-month. So no I never bought into the pink lie. I just helped my friends not have to pay retail for grocery store Quality make up. My mom has ordered the wooden pencil two a month for 28 years!! There were months that I ordered $1200 with the product retail but it was all paid for upfront with the discount I’m not very popular with other consultants and I’m not invited to sales meetings or the stupid makeovers which is another huge pink lie by the way and I plod a long. Funny I’ve never gotten a call from the company regarding this because no one could ever prove that that’s what I’m doing I mean 28 years and I still send me an order every month or two. So as long as people call me with their list of crap that they want I’ll keep ordering because I love my friends and I would cringe if they had to spend full price ! Plus my family that likes it gets it for Christmas very few items I will put on my own fees. There’s been times also when the sales director puts aside her pissed off edness and tells me you know with ‘x amt’ of recruits you could get a car with your sales and a few people under you. I don’t reply / in all these years I have never and I will never recruit anyone. Anyway I’m babbling but I’m just grateful that I never got caught up and I’m glad for you who briefly dabbled or worse had to dig your way out of the lie are moving on. It’s the biggest joke in MLM… so if anyone asks if I am a Mary Kay lady I say no I’m the bastard child that gives it away. Anyway I love this site and I think it’s great that you have it ❌⭕

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