My Favorite Mary Kay Lies

mkliesI thought it would be fun to tell you about some of my favorite lies told in Mary Kay. Lies? Lies, you say? But you thought Mary Kay was a “Christian” company!

Wrong! It’s a company that exploits Christianity for monetary gain. By spouting things about Christianity, they get women off their guard. Their defenses are lowered, and they’re more likely to believe the lies they’re told.

So here are a few of my favorites..

  • Just one bad apple in the bunch – Sorry, but if you look at Mary Kay recruiters in general, the vast majority of them tell lies to recruit. Many of the lies are lies of omission… They don’t tell the potential recruit how low their sales really are, the true quotas that are required to move up, and the fact that an estimated 99% of women actually lose money with Mary Kay.
  • It’s not Mary Kay’s fault! – Mary Kay Inc. frequently falls back on the “independent contractor” argument to show that they’re not responsible for the lies of recruiters and sales directors. The reality is that the company knows all about the untruths and the manipulations, and little to no action is taken. Why? Because Mary Kay Cosmetics directly benefits from the lies. Every time a new recruit believes the lies and is swindled into buying an inventory package, Mary Kay makes money. Why would the company want to stop that?
  • Mary Kay is all about helping women – It is possible that in the very beginning, Mary Kay Ash wanted to help women with an opportunity to earn an income. But somewhere along the way, the company got lost. Mary Kay enjoys a very positive public perception, with the general public believing that the company does enrich women’s lives. The truth is that 99% of people lose money in multi-level marketing, and Mary Kay is no different. That’s not helping women. That is preying on their desires and insecurities to make a buck while leaving women poorer than when they started MK.
  • Mary Kay products sell themselves – Anyone who has ever done Mary Kay knows what a total lie this is. Of course, there will occasionally be a customer who is hunting for a consultant. That’s rare. One in a while you’ll find an excited hostess who has a bunch of spendy friends at her party. That’s rare too. What we know is that the actual market for Mary Kay products is very small. There is a very tiny pool of women who are legitimate customers buying the products. There are certainly not enough of them to allow many women to turn a profit selling the products.
  • Do you have a few hours a week to devote to Mary Kay? – This one is a simple con. Who doesn’t have two or three hours a week that they waste on nonsense and could devote to something productive? Probably all of us. The problem is that Mary Kay doesn’t just require a couple of hours a week. Especially not if you’re interested in making more than $25 a week. The truth is that developing a legitimate customer base takes many hours per week. You have to find prospects, talk them into hosting parties, preparing for the parties, holding the parties, wrapping up loose ends after the parties, and then do it all over again. Then there are all the meetings and “training” events that you’re coerced to attend. Quite simply, there is a lot of time involved in Mary Kay, and anyone who tells you that you can do it in a couple of hours a week is lying.
  • Mary Kay is not multi-level marketing – Mary Kay Inc. invented the phrase “dual marketing” to support their claim that the company is not multi-level marketing. Companies avoid the MLM tag at all costs, because they understand the negative associations so many people have with that title. But check out this definition of multi-level marketing, and there is no doubt that MK is indeed MLM. Even a more “neutral” definition of MLM indicates Mary Kay is MLM.
  • Any statistic about success in Mary Kay (more women making six figures, more women millionaires, etc.)  – Recruiters use these made up statistics to entice women into Mary Kay. None of them are true. Mary Kay is not the “best selling brand.” But for a few select individuals, women in Mary Kay aren’t making anything close to an executive income. Women aren’t “promoting themselves” when they’re ready… they’re just trying to tread water and hope they don’t lose their teams and units. Did you ever wonder why no one presents any proof for these statistics or claims? It’s because the proof doesn’t exist and these claims are completely fabricated, but repeated with vigor by those attempting to recruit you.
  • Executive income for part time hours – Just as it’s a lie that you can do Mary Kay in a few hours a week, it’s an even bigger lie that you can make an executive income in Mary Kay with part-time hours. Almost no one makes an executive income in Mary Kay to begin with . And those who do are easily working 50 to 60 hours a week, most of that during what many would call prime “family time”… nights and weekends when the spouse and kids are not at work or school and would love to see mom.
  • No one put a gun to your head! – Maybe the biggest fallacy of all in Mary Kay is this statement by the pro-Mary Kay crowd as a defense for any of the wrongs that happen. They contend that women should have said “no” to anything they didn’t want to do. They had free will and should have exercised it. The truth is that Mary Kay trains women on mind games used to exploit needs and weaknesses in women, and they train women to not accept “no” as an answer. No is “a request for more information” in the Mary Kay world and they will stop at nothing to get you to change that no into a yes. So while there may be no physical gun to your head in Mary Kay, the emotional torture that you will be put through is just as scary and effective.

What’s your favorite Mary Kay lie?


  1. Iescaped

    Anything to do with the Mary Kay cars are lies and deceptions.

    One, they are not “free”.

    Two, if your upline uses the phrase “earned the use of a Mary Kay car”, they conveniently forget to mention that you must continue to EARN that privilege every single month or face a rather large co-pay!

    And the third one is my all time favorite… “Stars drive cars”. No they don’t, they are paying for their SD to drive HER car!

  2. gotheart

    ‘What you buy for 1. you sell for 2.’ Rena Tarbet explained.
    At the time I didn’t even know people lied and didn’t know about lying by omission.

    I had been told all my life I wasn’t college material, but wasn’t pointed in the direction I was material for, so my pump was primed perfectly for the mk scam .
    I was 28 years old, breast feeding my 10 month old.
    My husband was a seasonal carpenter.

    When I was told by Rena Tarbet how I could sell the basic set for 60. and earn 30. an hour.
    Well you can imagine how badly I wanted to believe her.

    For the next 27 years I wanted to believe Rena and all the other Rena’s.
    It wasn’t until my youngest son’s last week in college (At the age of 3 I started telling both my sons how wonderful they’d be in college.) did he learn his mom had been lied to and was lying to other as a scam director in this horrid company we’d believed in, using cosmetics to manufacturer their lie.

    Another horrid lie I was told was by Joan Brunner.
    Like Rena she was what this young woman who never had a mother to love and guide her would want as a mom. Or so I thought.
    Among the lies she perpetuated was her shoe story.
    ‘What you do is take your prospect recruit with you and try on shoes. You try on a pair of $500. shoes, giving the impression you can afford them because of your career in Mary Kay. However you say the shoes are the wrong color or are too tight and then you thank the shoe sales man.’

    I couldn’t do that but I didn’t fault this god fearing scam director for doing it.

    What I hated the most after my thoughts on my 27 years of wanting to believe, is how my own recruiter, scam director Bobbie Meader leant me her car when my car died. How incredibly thoughtful of her. While I was driving her secondhand me down car, the battery died. I felt it was only right to purchase her a new battery since she was so kind to let me used her car.

    It wasn’t long after that her pink Buick Regal was towed back to where it came from and she moved to Utah, opened up a retail dress shop. Well that’s what I heard through the grapevine. She didn’t even say goodbye. I kept track of her through my IBM printout, showing she kept her active status so she’d collect my 4% commission. So I knew she was collecting 4% on all her other personals too. For years I wondered why she quit never saying good bye. I know now.

    I was emotionally earth quake shaken to my bones when my son revealed to me what I had done. I lost 20 pounds from not being able to eat, then when I tried, couldn’t digest it.

    The first thing I thought of was the lie I told for 27 years. My head still swims from just typing this sentence. I did my best to get in touch with everyone I could starting with my current members. I actually called mk corp. and asked if they knew they were lying to everyone. They told me I wasn’t a very good director and I should quit mk. Then I called my senior scam director, Pam Rowe, she just listened and said thanks. I never heard from her again either. She is still in mk and after 40 years she is still a scam director to this date. Only a scam director, after forty years of lying. I can’t help but think she was like me wanting to believe the lies because she had invested so many years of her life to wanting to believe. She believed mk was the only thing she could do. That was the lie I believe about myself. But therapy and Pink Truth have helped me to see no matters how much I want to believe I must first find out if it is fact or fiction.

    1. Joy

      Thank you Cindy
      I’ve been in for 7 months and the thing that bothers me most is if you are doing nothing because you don’t quite know what to do the director dumps you like a hot potato and doesn’t bother with you. my recruiter was supposed to be my second daughter and when she realized I was inactive and not producing there was not one phone call offering me help. I’m done.

      1. enorth

        “if you are doing nothing because you don’t quite know what to do the director dumps you like a hot potato”

        If you’re not ordering, they’re taught to ignore you. Any “blame” will be put on you.

        When you make the call to MK to return your inventory, they will immediately notify your director. She will almost certainly contact you in a frenzy to try and convince you to change your mind. Why? Because she’ll have to pay back the commission she earned when you ordered. Don’t answer her calls or texts.

        (tee-hee…wait until your director is at Fall Advance to make the call to MK.)

    2. Nanette Williams

      I sold MK for 2 or 3 years. I sold Cookie Lee Jewelry for 7 or 8 years, and I incurred thousands and thousands of dollars in debt. I sold Tupperware, and other products. I finally realized that Cookie Lee Jewelry was totally a scam company. It never occurred to me that these other companies were scams as well. I just want to thank you and other people who are brave enough to tel your story. I don’t feel that I am alone anymore.

  3. cindylu

    Little by little we begin to hear the lies. The exaggerated director check for that one time earning. That the training is free. First of all there isn’t any real training and everything in MK costs money. The lies of omission: costs for suits, accessories, seminar, career conference, gas, etc. Also just how dangerous it is going into a strangers home. Absolutely no where to advertise. Not sure how 50 years later they can convince anyone to join such a has been company.

    1. juliegalstar

      AMEN! One lie I hated, (used cause there was no training): “Fake It ’til you make it.” — And I’ll name a National Director here, Miss Pat Fortenberry, Sr.’s always telling me “It’s just a matter of time, Julie, until you’ll be a Director,”, i.e., it’s just a matter of time between me and her! Well, time passed and I fell down the ladder and off the ladder. Thank goodness a move to another State caused me to drop out of MK.

      1. BestDecision

        Pat Fortenberry has one of the worst reputations in the company. Look at all her NSDs. Most are barely hanging on, according to their YTD scoreboards and commissions.

        1. juliegalstar

          THANKS for that info. I was “adopted” by Pat at time when she was in Nevada.
          When my own director/recruiter finally debuted, one day Ann told me “We all can’t be Pat F.”

  4. Something that gets touted at weekly meetings round these parts is Pam Shawe’s $7 million dollar commission check; fact or fiction? My favorite head-shaking whopper is the worksheet that tells a new consultant how much inventory she needs. What a grotesque misrepresentation!!!

    1. Joy

      Yes Freedom Lover and then it sits there just staring at you and feeding the guilt that you spent all that money on it. I so totally dislike this whole mess. I’m retired and need extra money. This seemed so good – 50% kick back. I’d never worn makeup in my life except a bit of eye makeup and mascara. But what irritated me the most was the fact that not one tiny negative comment was tolerated. hey we all have a few negatives in life.

      1. MLM Radar

        A real business owner embraces the bad news and takes steps to mitigate trouble before it becomes a disaster. Real business owners want to know the bad news right away so they can turn unhappy customers into happy ones and make better decisions that will keep them profitable.

        Mary Kay “business” owners (it’s not a real business) chant “no negativity” mantras. They try to hold onto the mythical “law of attraction” that says thinking negative thoughts will attract problems but thinking positive thoughts will bring you happy customers and financial success. It’s religious gobbledy-goop.

        1. MLM Radar

          I’m watching Hurricane Matthew bear down on Florida. There’s no amount of “no negativity” chanting that will stop this storm. Sandbags and window boards will make a difference, but first you have to acknowledge that something really bad is approaching.

          The same thing applies to building a successful business. You have to look for the negativity and cope with it. Wishful thinking will just leave you bankrupt.

          1. Deflated Pink Bubble

            I am experiencing Hurricane Matthew head on right now. I’m in Palm Beach County. Something bad is really happening. If I were still in Mary Kay I’d probably would have been told to have a Hurricane Sale!

    2. Lazy Gardens

      Her collective units in her “are” may have ORDERED 7 million bucks worth, but she certainly didn’t get that as a commission check!

      It’s a lie, at least for 2016. She’s not even in the top 10. These are the commissions, and as far as I know, it’s BEFORE chargebacks and other deductions (which can take a huge hunk of your check).

      Seminar 2016 Top 10 NSDs Nationwide
      #1 NSD Gloria Mayfield Banks $600,000 Inner Circle Emerald Seminar
      #2 NSD Carol Anton $550,000 Inner Circle Ruby Seminar
      #3 NSD Kathy Helou $550,000 Inner Circle Sapphire Seminar
      #4 NSD Gloria Castaño $500,000 Inner Circle Diamond Seminar
      #5 NSD Lisa Madson $500,000 Inner Circle Diamond Seminar
      #6 NSD Patricia Turker $450,000 Inner Circle Emerald Seminar
      #7 NSD Sonia Páez $400,000 Inner Circle Emerald Seminar
      #8 NSD Lupita Ceballos $400,000 Inner Circle Sapphire Seminar
      #9 NSD Debi Moore $350,000 Inner Circle Sapphire Seminar
      #10 NSD Stacy James $350,000 Inner Circle Ruby Seminar

      Any time anyone starts bragging and waving a commission check, do two things:
      * CHECK THE DATE … you are probably seeing the highest-ever check from several years ago.
      * ASK FOR THE TAX DOCUMENTS … the “Form 1099” is what independent contractors get. It will show the actual taxable income. The checks that get waved around are before any deductions.

      1. Twinkie

        I think the $7 million may be accumulated earnings over the course of Pam Shaw’s storied Mary Kay career. It’s frightening how someone with a few ounces of charisma can influence so many. Makes my skin crawl.

        1. Well then that is a flat out lie told at meetings in my area. I have heard many times my SD and SSD say to potential new recruits “And Pam Shaw’s biggest commission check ever was for 7 MILLION DOLLARS.” It’s talked of as a single check.

    3. BestDecision

      No, she’s not earned $7 million in a single check, but she’s earned a good bit over the course of her 30 years in MK. Her EGO, however, is pretty big considering all her social media posts of her working out, selfies, etc. Very sad case.

  5. Deflated Pink Bubble

    My favorite lie is definitely that “You need to stock up on all limited edition products because they will sell out quickly and all of your customers will want them!” Bull$hit on that one. In the 4 years that I was active in Mary Kay, there was only ONE limited edition item that I sold a lot of. It was the Canary glitter. I sold a ton of that stuff and when it when on the “Last Chance” section I bought like 30 of them. I had ONE customer that used it a lot and she went thru a ton of it. Then she didn’t anymore…. and I had 25 left. When I sold my product to a liquidator, she didn’t want them. I still have some of those suckers around here somewhere. Has to be at least 15 of them.

    Products fly off the shelves my a$$.

  6. Cyclist

    When my director (now, former director, haha!) told me her unit was producing over 800K, I was very impressed. I was also impressed when she gave kudos to girls who had a “$500 party” and stuff like that. Impressive, indeed. Until you realize these are combined order numbers of “suggested retail”.

    1. enorth

      “Until you realize these are combined order numbers of ‘suggested retail’.”

      My fav is “did” or “had” a _____ week. Chrissy Consultant did $1,200! Chrissy had a $1,200 week!

      So…Chrissy made $1,200? No. Sold $1,200? No. She merely placed a $600 order, which is now shoved under the bed with the rest of the stuff she can’t sell.

      But she did “earn” a cute luggage tag for all of her “hard work.” And she’ll be held up as a leader, a force to be reckoned with, a mover and a shaker, destined for success. I’m tellin’ ya, the sky is the limit for this gal.

  7. BestDecision

    MK tests on animals. End of story. However, they claim they don’t. All you have to know is what countries they sell product in to know that their top market, China, makes animal testing mandatory for any product to be sold there. If a country mandates it, MK tests on animals. In this day and age, it’s not necessary at all to test products that way. Instead of standing true to their Golden Rule philosophy and staying out of markets that do testing, they’re chasing the mighty dollar since the U.S. market is struggling.

    Glad to be using better products from more reputable brands!

  8. Lana

    I’m 60 years old and I’ve been to more home parties in my lifetime than I can count (Mary Kay, Jafra, Avon, Tupperware, and more. I bought jewelry, skin care products, crystal, baskets, candles, dishes, china, pots, pans, toys, coffee, and on and on.

    And now I think it’s been at least 10 years, if not more, that I’ve been to a home party. Same with my sisters and friends. NOBODY has home parties anymore. Not in my world anyway. Am I that unique? Home parties are a thing of the past. How can an entire business be based on something that is out-of-date?


    1. BestDecision

      MK’s business model is ridiculously out of date. Women aren’t into gathering around a coffee table and passing around things to buy, nor are they ditzy enough to believe at first sight that someone driving a Chevy is making an “executive income”. Women have more resources at their fingertips than ever before, so it’s easy to get what we want, when we want it, and to read reviews from the comfort of our smart phone or bed. MK’s products began to be obsolete right after the microdermabrasion set was launched, and they just keep digging and digging trying to keep up with better brands.

      Facial peels? Just now, in 2016? Sorry, but that was years ago at Sephora, Ulta, or from the brands directly.

      And the pink SUV they award now? When I drove Cadillacs, we had choices of models. The CTS was hot, and everybody thought it was stylish. Even the Deville was regal and sleek. No one wants to drive the current crossover, and no one thinks it’s worth drooling over.

      Doesn’t it look suspicious that MK is only awarding 1 model of Cadillac now? Seems like they don’t have the same clout with Cadillac as they used to. Wonder if their fleet is decreasing in size…

      1. enorth

        The “new” MK Cadillacs I see on FB envy-baiting posts look like pink trucks. Ugly.

        As for the party model being outdated, MK is – nevertheless – pushing it hard lately. “Back to the kitchen table!” Besides, what else does it have? After all, it can’t suddenly allow IBCs to sell from store-fronts, or to advertise, etc. The gravy-train would end.

  9. NewlySuckered

    So I was led to this site by a fellow consultant who had just been in a few months and I just a month right now. We met believe it or not just this weekend at the Fall Experience. I hadn’t read any of the testimonies until today as I just returned Sunday but I decided to take a look because I was having misgivings. The Fall Experience which was supposed to boost my MK confidence made me feel uncomfortable. Testimony, after testimony, crying, accolades and the Jesus/God preaching I began to feel like it was more of a cult vibe in worship of their Diamond Circle NSD. But even greater, is as they decried the accolades of each of the top earners, to me it didn’t seem like much, everyone was between 12 – 20 k in commission with one making $32k but I knew that meant this wasn’t an every month occurrence. Then they started talking about how long they were in the business making these checks that set off my antenna, 18-20 years and this was all you were making? You see I joined Mary Kay because I was looking for a passive income vehicle, however, Mary Kay was not on my radar. I was referred by my best friend and when the consultant came to my home to conduct the party I was still a no until she told me my friend had joined. So with that I joined in support of her as I would be her first downline, only unbeknownst to me my friend had already told them that she wasn’t going to begin working the business until the following month and had only purchased the starter kit. Me, I got starter kit, then they came to me about inventory of which I purchased 3k, but then found since my friend wasn’t starting the commission was just sitting out there so they would move me under the consultant who had actually recruited me. I also, didn’t realize I would have to place another order in 2 months whether I sold the $3K or not, had I understood the logistics I would have simply purchased the $600. A few weeks later was the Fall experience and little did they know that is what would turn me cold. I, am not religious, I believe in a higher power but have issues with organized religion and greater issues with religion being used to manipulate and control and that is what it felt like. Second, by them telling me their highest commissions, math is my strong suit, it didn’t seem equitable when you are looking at 20 years in, besides I already make more than that in my current self-employed position but would be working even harder for them. Another thing that made me suspicious is that the function went on and on and on, literally from 8:30 am – 1:30 am. You could tell people were exhausted, yet they all stayed, clapping, dancing, screaming, when directed. Sleep deprivation is a brainwashing technique. It was mentioned earlier by the NSD that someone left MK because they told her they needed her sleep and she ridiculed them little did I know I would find out why. So here’s my issue with that, I am a business woman and as such I have extreme respect for people’s time and needs and I felt this was selfish and disrespectful of mine. As a leader I don’t look for blind obedience, I seek reliable, self-directed and creative individuals. At this point I knew one or two things was going to happen I was never going to another function or I would go and leave when I damn well pleased which would probably have me ostracized. Now reading what I see on this site only confirmed what I was feeling, so I will be returning the inventory and meeting with my friend before she goes down the rabbit hole. I could never in any good conscience lead anyone I loved or cared about to do something that could be financially devastating to them because they trusted me, I couldn’t live with myself. They said I was a leader and that is the one thing they were absolutely right about.

    1. Lazy Gardens

      “You see I joined Mary Kay because I was looking for a passive income vehicle,”

      Despite the claims, anything you have to JOIN is not going to be a true passive income creator – they ALL have recruiting and production requirements for that income and if you aren’t out there pumping and pimping that opportunity and gassing up that vehicle, your downline evaporates and so does your income. And if you die, your heirs get nothing.

      The only truly passive income streams (outside stocks and bonds you buy, or your pensions from work) I can think of are royalties from creative activities: performance and publishing and patents.

      * “Mikey” of the famous “Mikey likes it” cereal commercial made the commercial at age 5 and was still getting checks while he was in college
      * A HS friend’s steady (individually small, but collectively ) royalties from his minor part as a session musician in a lot of recordings
      * My various blogs are bringing me small, but steady ad income. They aren’t entirely “passive”, but I only have to write something once.
      * Books are of the write once, collect as long as interest lasts.

    2. BestDecision

      Those checks they bragged about are likely YEARS ago and the amount BEFORE taxes and expenses were taken out. To clear $100,000/year, you’d have to be an extended Trip Director ($800,000 YTD unit retail production). There’s fewer than 50 Directors nationwide doing that amount. On this recent trip, there were fewer Million Dollar Directors than I’ve ever seen. And, get this…there are NATIONALS making less than $100,000 gross income.

      I drove pink Cadillacs and still have my diamond bar pins, but I have no regrets rEsigning. Glad to be home on these beautiful fall weekends and not at some dumb retreat!

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