The Reality of a Mary Kay Husband

The story of a husband deceived by a wife in Mary Kay… This is far too common.

My wife has been in Mary Kay for 4 years. In that time she has lost over $30K. I had to remortgage the house to keep her from going bankrupt, but still she’s back at it. Her credit is going to max again in the next few months. This time I will lose the house. I have a good job, but she’s losing it faster than I can make it.

Every MK event I went to was the same, the few husbands that went were all safely muzzled. We all talked about things unrelated till our wives where out of earshot.

Then we’d ask the question, so how are things going for your wife? Then comes the preprogrammed response ‘she’s holding lots of classes’ or ‘she’s on track for emerald’ or ‘she’s really growing as a person’.

But in that brief moment of eye contact we all know we are liars, in that moment of truth we can all read between the lines.

What we really said was “she’s not selling anything” or “she’s buying her way to the top” or “She’s warm stalking everyone we know or meet.”

After that we are pretty quiet, basking in the shared misery and shame of our lies and loss. We tend to not go very often. We collectively despise ourselves.

None of us are in the fog, but we are completely unable to help the one who sleeps beside us even see that there is a fog.


  1. raisinberry

    At Seminar Area awards night, many many years ago, our “queen of sales” husband, slightly lubricated, leaned over to my ear, and as I clapped for her moment onstage, he said, “She’s bankrupting us.”

    Mary Kay cosmetics is an emotional disease…an addiction, where all the players live in denial and pretense and are desperate to keep the facade going, because the only way they can get out… is by sucking you in.

  2. BestDecision

    If MK was truly a sound, successful business, you’d see EVERY husband on board and not one that’s negative or “unsupportive”. When you’re making money, why on earth would they fight you? And I don’t mean selling $200 today but then only netting $15 at the end of the month due to Fall Retreat costs. Profit makes peace!

  3. pinkpeace

    “Then we’d ask the question, so how are things going for your wife? Then comes the preprogrammed response ‘she’s holding lots of classes’ or ‘she’s on track for emerald’ or ‘she’s really growing as a person’.”

    Straight from the Mary Kay playbook. Had a terrible skin care class? “It was unbelievable!” No new recruits for the month? “The team is coming together!” Have to make car copays? “I’m so privileged to drive a Mary Kay car!”

    Maybe 1% of people in Mary Kay make real money. The danger is in letting anyone else know that you’re failing, because if you are, who would want to do what you do? How will you get recruits? How will you keep a unit? The fantasy has to be promoted at all costs, or the whole thing crumbles.

    If your wife really knew what her director and those above were putting in their bank accounts from Mary Kay – after expenses – the scales would fall from her eyes pretty quickly. That’s why a sales director will flaunt her “top check” (a one-time, long-ago occurrence) and NEVER show you her Schedule C.

  4. morningstar

    OK I am going to be crass, so glad MK husbands are speaking up on this forum. There are four kinds of MK husbands, the ones that give out household money to MK to keep the wives “happy”. The husbands who are lied to about the real situation (money drain). The husbands who are wealthy and goes “meh” to the money drain, and the one I see most often: The wives who are wearing their husbands bal!s as earrings.

    1. MLM Radar

      As the wife of a formerly MLM-addled husband, and BFF of an intermittently MLM-addled friend, I would add that while there may be four kinds of passive/tolerant MK husbands, there is also a fifth kind. The fifth is the husband who sees that something is wrong and stands up against it.

      The fifth may not be fully aware of the details, may not recognize the all-encompassing manipulation, and may even be uninformed enough to still think there really is an opportunity if his wife just sticks to selling the products themselves, but he knows that there is a problem and speaks out.

      I can tell you that speaking out works. I saw my husband get frustrated with his MLM, and my BFF despairing over hers. I got myself educated in both companies, and then took these MLMs on. I helped them both with doing the things the “right way” so that I could show them the “right way” could never work. I asked my husband what sort of results he was promised, then tracked the numbers myself and made sure he knew that I knew those results weren’t happening. I helped my BFF set up reasonable 1-month and 3-month and 6-month goals, then asked her to be accountable to herself and to me if her best efforts fell short of those reasonable goals. I printed out the Income Disclosure statements and made sure they saw the real numbers.

      I read the marketing materials and pointed out the huge flaws. Pre-paid Legal / Legal Shield: You’re supposed to “bump into” people at gas stations, hand them a DVD selling the “opportunity” and collect their name & phone number so you can call them in 2 days, but NOT tell them the name of the company? Really? Really? Doesn’t it strike you that there’s something seriously wrong when you’re told to NOT reveal the name of the company up front?

      Primerica: You’re supposed to enroll in a 3-month insurance licensing course (license is required before you can be paid a commission) but start doing “practice presentations” to your family and friends immediately? Did it not occur to you that your recruiter is only using this tactic to find fresh contacts? How many friends do you think you’ll have left as untapped potential customers by the time you get your license three months later? For that matter, how many friends do you think you’ll still have 3 months later?

      I watched my husband and BFF try out other MLMs with the same pitiful results. I told my BFF that she didn’t fail because she wasn’t “working her business” hard enough. You can’t win at a game when the deck is stacked to make sure you will lose.

      So yes, if you’re a Mary Kay husband, stand up. Tell your wife that there’s a HUGE problem and you won’t take it any more. Get involved. Make her accountable to YOU for her results. If the “opportunity” is truly what she thinks it is, she has nothing to worry about. But if her upline exaggerating the “opportunity”….

      1. 15yrspink

        Yes! Yes! Yes!

        Even though I was in MK forever, I was personal use/hobby level only and made no bones about it. I wouldn’t have recruited anyone else into this for anything and was “onto” the financial realities pretty quickly. Everything was confirmed in living color when I found this site.

        My young-20s son got hooked into Primerica, and I almost came unglued. There were a whole bunch of his high school buddies who got into it at the same time, some of them quitting decent jobs. My son was SO upset with me because I wouldn’t even sit for the spiel. His then-girlfriend’s (now wife’s) uncle sat down with my son and the two-levels-up person, and the guy actually moved his (sizable) retirement funds to these people. As you say, my son got NOTHING–zero–because he didn’t have his licenses yet. (The higher-up promised him a steak dinner which I’m pretty sure never materialized.) My brother had an appointment with them about refinancing his mortgage, but decided not to do it after my husband told him my son would not benefit from it. He received lots and lots of calls from the higher-up, though. Needless to say, my son never made any money from this endeavor. My response was, “why would I take financial advice from a snot-nosed kid with no education and without a dime to his name?” Why would ANYONE? This sad experience ended up with about six huge, burly young adult guys all crashing at the apartment of the ONE guy who has had the great good sense–despite the “advice” of the higher-ups–not to quit his job as a radiology tech. The others weren’t even helping with the rent; they couldn’t afford to. It was incredibly painful to watch. Many of these guys took YEARS to get back on their feet and moving forward in a career.

  5. cindylu

    Thank goodness my husband wrote me a letter about the pros and cons of MK. To this day my husband and children despise MK and get upset when I mention this mlm’s name. I commend any husbands who speak out and who keep their wives from bankrupting the family.

  6. juliegalstar

    While I was still in the “pink fog,” took one of my recruits and her rich husband (he had a good job & so did she) to a director’s debut. At evenings end, his comment: “This is nothing but a mutual-admiration society!” Now, I can laugh at it. Thank goodness, she wasn’t in MK long & didn’t quit her good job.

  7. Shay

    Hi ladies.
    I went out to dinner tonight and met a wonderful woman who is caught in the Mary Kay rabbit hole. I urged to join the message boards and comment, she is petrified too because the NSD’s tell her that MK is building a case against the Pink Truth. I explained that Pink Truth is 10 years old and yes Mk is aware of the website, while MK may have you on a leash, they don’t have former MK’s on a leash because they (everyone here) is doing nothing illegal and mentioned to her a little thing called ” free-speech ” and told her that the women are just telling her that to scare her from commenting.

    This woman is a wonderful person, she is in tears sitting across me as I type this. I would would appreciate any help I can get for her: here is her situation;
    (note: I typed as she talked)

    “I have $8,000 worth of inventory that I can not move. I am so mad at myself for being so stupid by ignoring the red flags.
    A friend of mine feels really bad for me and told me that he can get me a deal on a Kiosk cart at our local mall for a weekend in October and November. I know I have the option of returning the products but want to try this first to see if I can at least break even. Do you think MK would allow me to have the Kiosk? I mean, we are trained to warm chat at malls and everywhere else, so what is the difference if I just happen to have a cart there? I asked my director and could not get a straight answer. She was more upset that other ladies would not have the chance, who cares she made big money off me.

    I obtained the goods legally, I registered my so called “business” with my state, I am still active (not for long) but I can’t move the product, I was pressured in to buying a massive amount of products. Do you think I should ask MK or just do it? Please help. “

    1. Shay

      I should also mention, when she went to her director and NSD about concerns and told the truth where she her concerns were validated, she was scolded to never read this website and they got very angry with her. Every time they would go to a meeting, her Directer would say to other ladies, “guess what website this one was on”
      I never thought adults could be bullied, these ladies are bullying her. It’s is sickening.

    2. Lazy Gardens

      I urged to join the message boards and comment, she is petrified too because the NSD’s tell her that MK is building a case against the Pink Truth.

      If we were lying about Mary Kay, I’d worry. But most of the material on this site is either personal experience OR taken right from Mary Kay corporate’s own documents, Mary Kay’s own books, the books and materials published by the NDSs, and the websites run by various units. We are using their own words!

      Tell her this: If it ever went to the point of Mary Kay Corporate or any NSD filing a lawsuit, the woman who runs this website is a forensic accountant – the sort of accountant that looks for people who are keeping dishonest financial records and who knows what to ask about. And in the phase of a lawsuit called “discovery”, they would have to let that forensic accountant ask for data: ask how many consultants got burned through (and who was the recruiter and upline), what the REAL director commissions are, how many cars have co-pays and how many are repossessed, what the fancy trips really cost, how much the products really cost …. all that dirty laundry would be out flapping in the courtroom breeze.

      It’s a very large can of worms they don’t dare open, because there’s no putting those worms back in the can.

      “I have $8,000 worth of inventory that I can not move. I am so mad at myself for being so stupid by ignoring the red flags.”
      I obtained the goods legally, I registered my so called “business” with my state, I am still active (not for long) but I can’t move the product, I was pressured in to buying a massive amount of products. Do you think I should ask MK or just do it? Please help. “

      They will NOT let her have a kiosk.

      What she should do is immediately call Mary Kay’s main phone number and ask for Product Repurchase: (972) 687-6300

      Ship as much as possible back for the 90% PLUS all the sales tax, and get out. Sell the rest at a flea market or something, but get out as fast as possible.

      By trying to break even she will lose the chance at the refund. Better to just take the loss and get it over with. Stop the financial bleeding ASAP.

    3. BestDecision

      They won’t allow her to have a kiosk in a retail setting. Tell her a former Cadillac Director advises her to call (800) 272-9333 and ask for the Repurchase Department. They’ll guide her on getting a refund on her inventory. If she has $8,000 retail/$4,000 wholesale on hand, she’ll get $3,600 back. If it truly is $8,000 wholesale she has, though, she’ll get back $7,200. (MKI will refund her 90% of the value of what she returns.). It takes just a couple of weeks to get that much more money in her hands than what she could ever sell anywhere else.

      In the meantime, tell her Directors and NSDs have known about this site for about 10 years, and they’ve no case against it. It is not illegal to voice real life testimonies to others, and I’m betting her NSD or Director is scared of what she’ll see on here and is using a fear factor to steer her clear.

      Tell her also that I resigned as a Cadillac Director and also sent all of my inventory back. I had Offspring Directors, and I was in no jeopardy or danger of losing them, my Cadillac, or my unit. My net profit at that level was less than I could’ve ever made even working a part-time job somewhere, and the cheating around me was unreal. MK has just launched “Deluxe Minis” for $2-5 each. Does she really think MK cares for its sales force by selling such an outrageous price for 1 single item? NSD incomes are down over last year, which is down from when I resigned. Tell her to get out before she has a bigger mess to deal with.

    4. MLM Radar

      Independent Beauty Consultant Agreement
      General Terms and Conditions

      1. To promote and sell Mary Kay® products only to ultimate consumers and not to resellers, and only in quantities generally purchased by an ultimate consumer for personal use. I understand that I may not sell or display Mary Kay® products in retail sales or service establishments.

      In other words, no shopping mall kiosks allowed.

      If she tries anyway, the first MK Director to walk into that mall will see her, contact MK Corporate immediately, and take steps to shut her down. So she’ll have no product sales, and on top of that she’ll still owe the mall the rent for the kiosk.

      Tell her to send it back for the 90%. She’ll also get back 100% of the double-whammy sales tax she paid based on “suggested retail price.”

  8. onelessSD

    Shay, I don’t believe she can do an actual kiosk… it may not be worth her time either. Is she eligible to return product? any product? That’s what I would do in her situation – cut bait and quick. What horrible women her SD and NSD must be to bully her like that. I thought they were supposed to be professionals… but when they see the cash cow wise up… and their income is directly affected- they will do just about anything to keep her from returning anything.

    Tell her- that her identify is safe here… and there is nothing that corporate can do to this site- it is free speech, and we aren’t making any money off of any advice we give.. .nor do we give legal or tax advice. Give her a hug from me!

  9. enorth

    “I obtained the goods legally, I registered my so called “business” with my state, I am still active (not for long) but I can’t move the product, I was pressured in to buying a massive amount of products”

    Join the club. It’s you and thousands of others like you.

    You’ll pay dearly for a kiosk or table, but your MK agreement prohibits you from selling. All you’re permitted to do is collect names to contact later. (Hint: they won’t answer the phone.)

    Forget eBay. As of now, there are 68,015 listings on eBay for Mary Kay products.

    You’re losing money as each minute goes by. To break even, you’d have to be lucky. Impossibly lucky.

    1. Shay

      I looked at eBay today and couldn’t believe the amounts being sold.

      I see a ton of samples being sold also. How much does a consultant pay for the time wise samples?

  10. Shay

    Thank you ladies.
    I think she has $8,000 wholesale which would be $16k retail. Her husband has the cc bills to prove. She has past up “promotions” which is smart imho.

    I agree, returning (re purchase) is her best option. Malls have Sephora, Ulta, Mac (my fav) and a gazillion make up counters. Plus drug store make up is getting better.

    I really feel bad for her.

    1. Lazy Gardens

      Yes … send as much back as fast as possible, pay off as much of the CC bills as you can.

      AND, she can apply for a refund on the tax she pre-paid on the stuff they won’t take back that she can’t legally sell, which would be a few hundred more dollars back. The form is somewhere on Mary Kay’s InTouch site.

      She also needs to download all her InTouch ordering records, as far back as possible.

      1. Shay

        Oh wow on the taxes.

        Thank you all so much.

        You know what’s weird? The people who I just happen to meet were affiliated with Mary Kay since I started reading this site.

  11. P

    I was an IBC for only a year. One of my best friends called and wanted me to attend her debut party. I was shocked, because I didn’t know she had become involved in MK. Of course, I got suckered into buying the starter kit “with everything you need to start your business.” BAHAHAHA! That evening I started listening to all of the required phone recordings made by my SD. Then my SD called, and started the whole inventory lecture. She knew I would make the right decision since I was such a “smart, sharp woman”.. But aren’t we all? 😉 My SD started blowing up my phone, calling multiple times daily while I was at work…knowing I work with the Fed Court system, and that I couldn’t take calls.
    I placed a $600 order and made the decision to start making business a priority. After being shamed for missing weekly meetings (the same night my Bible study group met), I gave up ladies Bible study group and did as I was told.. Because you know that it is GOD first.
    After about 7 months I realized my heart was just not in the business at all….I was seeing red flags, and was going through a hard time personally. SD called to inquire why I hadn’t signed up for any of the retreats, blah, blah, blah.
    I told her I had recently learned I had cancer and an upcoming surgery scheduled…her response. “Aww, but what a great opportunity!! Being out of work for 6 weeks, will REALLY GIVE YOU TIME TO WORK YOUR BUSINESS”.
    I hung up on her and haven’t heard from her since.
    The funny part is, I left all of the products I had purchased out on a table at work.. $1.00 per item. Nothing sold! I then put up a sign that said FREE. A few item disappeared, but I couldn’t give the stuff away.
    SD has been an SD (or FND) as she refers to herself, for 10 years.
    Even though she was in the top 4 at seminar this year, she just can’t seem to make ND. After finding this site I know why.
    … And the fate of the friend who got me involved… She quit a federal job making 60k, so she could work full time to empower women and become SD. Two years later, she still hasn’t made DIQ, but she knows that she WILL be by September 30th. 😕
    All of the women I have met on Pink Truth are Smart, educated women… so how does this happen? Simple.. Those who choose the career path are intelligent women who believe that hard work and perseverance leads to success. Failure is not an option! Unfortunately, we dream big, only to realize the “dream” was all a scam.

    1. Pinkiu

      Thank you for sharing your story. It is so unfortunate that so many of us share such similar stories. Isn’t it just like an mlm to not be able to give it away? If you have any left, think about donating to a women’s shelter.

    2. ran4fun

      “I told her I had recently learned I had cancer and an upcoming surgery scheduled…her response. “Aww, but what a great opportunity!! Being out of work for 6 weeks, will REALLY GIVE YOU TIME TO WORK YOUR BUSINESS”.”

      Seriously??? This is how she responded to you? I hope and pray you are better now. (((hugs)))

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