Mary Kay Top Director Income

mary kay top director incomeMany recruits are snared into Mary Kay Cosmetics with the lure of executive earnings. They are told that the sky’s the limit, and the earnings are unlimited, if only you are willing to work hard enough. Sales directors tout their “highest checks” without ever mentioning all the business expenses that must be paid out of those checks, or that those are a one-time deal and don’t represent their normal commission checks.

The hard workers are the ones who make it big in Mary Kay, right? Wrong. One has to look no further than superstar Allison LaMarr, who was the fastest woman ever to make it to Mary Kay National Sales Director. Yet all of that hard work resulted in a downward spiral that culminated in Allison becoming the fastest quitter in Mary Kay history. She has flailed for a few years, attempting to be a personal coach, a failed participant  in multi-level marketing company MLM Bellamora, a former “executive” for multi-level marketer Seacret Direct, and then spent time spinning her wheels trying to build a downline as a distributor for Seacret. All that came to an end when she married the owner of Seacret and disappeared Allison in favor of her new persona, Chaya Mushka Ben-Shabat. No need to shill for an MLM when you ARE the MLM.

Time and again, a critical analysis of the numbers shows that almost everyone who participates in MLM will lose money, regardless of their effort. Even those who reach the top 2% of Mary Kay – – the sales directors – – aren’t making a whole lot of money. Even the most successful directors – – those in the pink Cadillac – – are making around $40,000 per year, if they’re lucky (and that’s only with 40 to 60 hour work weeks).  Even with repeated hard work, sales directors are regularly failing to move up – – and are very often moving down – – while telling recruits that they can make as much money as they want and promote themselves whenever they feel like it.

But if you work hard enough and get lucky enough and make it to “top director,” you’re set with that executive income, right? Wrong again.

I was recently provided the Income Advisory Statement for a top director in Mary Kay. This woman is in the top 25 directors in Mary Kay in the United States. She is in the Circle of Excellence, and goes on the Mary Kay Top Director Trip. She has a number of rings and prizes that she has won. While the number for total income, including commissions and prizes of $150,000 looks impressive, a closer look reveals a different truth:

  • Prizes totaled $50,000. While this sounds wonderful, the truth is that the value of many of the items appears inflated. And taxes must be paid on all of these prizes, at the inflated value.
  • The commissions totaled $100,000. This is the actual cash in hand for the director, out of which all business expenses and income taxes must be paid. Remember that the taxes are at higher rate than if she had a real job, since self-employment taxes must be paid in addition to regular income taxes.
  • The monthly commissions ranged from $4,000 to $12,000. Seven months showed commissions under $10,000. Three months showed commissions under $5,000. Even as a top director, there is no stability in earnings.
  • Some months were so bad that this director owed a copay on her pink Cadillac. So much for the free car!
  • After factoring in business expenses (including the office staff!)  and taxes due on the net income (including prizes), this director had about $34,000 cash left over from commissions to support her family.

Let me repeat that: A top director in Mary Kay – – in the top 25 nationwide – – has about $34,000 left over from that big income advisory statement figure of $150,000.

This director ordered about $35,000 wholesale value of products from Mary Kay last year.  Being generous, she may have profited $28,000 if she sold all of those products and sold most of them at full retail value. Taxes on the profit from product sales will eat up $8,000, leaving $20,000 cash from product sales to support her family.

So the big “executive” income for a director at the very top of the company leaves her with $54,000 cash to support her family, but only if she sold all those products and sold them at full retail prices.

Women will read this, and will say that they would be thrilled to earn $54,000. And while that may be a fine income for many people, the point is that this is the money in hand for a woman at the top of Mary Kay directorship. The top! And almost no one will reach this top 25 status. Sadly, in multi-level marketing, your success is not determined by how hard you work. There are 14,000 directors in the United States, and I’ve just shown you what one of the top 25 is making.

And make no mistake that this woman is working 60 hours per week or more. Mary Kay is not the “work from home” opportunity it’s pitched as. It’s a ton of hours, most of them outside your home and away from your family. To work this hard and get this high in the company, only to make middle management wages, is nothing short of disappointing. It’s the hard reality of Mary Kay.


  1. BestDecision

    This is the only article anyone ever needs to read on here. Directorship stinks of lies. We lied about our checks. We lied about our expenses. We lied about our hours. And then we couldn’t dare discuss those fears, worries, or concerns with other Directors because it was labeled “negative”.

    Time has passed since I resigned, and my Offspring Directors are in the same place they were then. Same cars. My Senior hasn’t made it any closer to NSD, yet she still calls it her “Future Area”. My Consultants still haven’t made it past or even to Red Jacket.

    No longer do I wonder or calculate what my monthly checks are going to be because I have legit employment. My income doesn’t vary, and I get raises consistently. I’m paid vacation and sick days, and it’s not up to just me to show up to a guest event when I’m sick with a cold or whatever. I have amazing health insurance, dental insurance, eye exam coverage, and retirement growing every month. I don’t think about whether I’ll lose it all if I don’t make it to a high level by my 65th birthday. I won’t have to do menial tasks even if I did make it to that high, prestigious position like NSDs are having to do now just to maintain their status.

    Life is so much sweeter enjoying Christmas once it’s actually Christmastime and not plotting out my Open House or packaging ideas in July. I’m now living in the NOW. I’m off the hamster wheel of starting over every 1st of the month with uncertainty, dread, or the blast of excitement that comes from one of the “good months” in the Seminar year. December-February aren’t stagnant or aren’t months where I’m running myself to death trying to make sleeping unit member wake up and perform. Nor is it filled with the guilt of hearing at Leadership Conference what I should be doing differently.

    So glad I’m done with the suit!

  2. coralrose

    I recently met an attorney-attorney!-who joined MK so she could hopefully replace her income and be home with her young kids more. Not likely to happen. I hope she didn’t place a big initial inventory order.

    1. MLM Radar

      Don’t be upset for the attorney. Becoming an attorney meant she had enough intelligence, education, and logical thinking skills to know better.

      But being short-sighted enough to swallow the “dream” without vetting it carefully means that her former legal clients are probably better off without her.

  3. raisinberry

    If the Directors heading up the guest events were actually telling the full story of building a Unit, there would be ZERO recruits signing on. If A Director at her Unit meeting, was telling the full story to those in attendance, there would be no one on the “career path” to brag about to bait the others.

    Sadly, the Suited Hamsters on the Wheel are responsible for carrying on the lying tradition of the Directors that went before them. Since it will not work any other way, what choice do they have? Buried in debt, the only way to get out is to make more money and they can not make more money if YOU do not sign up or go up the career path.

    It is a pink bear trap and seriously you’d be wiser to chew your foot off and take the hit now, than work for ten more years trapping others.

  4. Lazy Gardens

    $34,000 left over from that big income advisory statement figure of $150,000.

    This director ordered about $35,000 wholesale value of products from Mary Kay last year. Being generous, she may have profited $28,000 if she sold all of those products and sold most of them at full retail value.

    So the big “executive” income for a director at the very top of the company leaves her with $54,000 cash to support her family, but only if she sold all those products and sold them at full retail prices.

    More realistically, she probably spent part of the money from the commission checks on product and sold very little of it at full retail … leaving her with less than $54,000 for the family.

    1. MLM Radar

      Read: $34,000 left after subtracting expenses, and she handed EVERY PENNY back to Mary Kay, plus more, in exchange for products that her experience said she would never sell.

      But she was thinking “no negativity… no negativity… no negativity…”

  5. Kimberly Charlier

    Not only they lose money but they lose a lot of friends too…I tried selling twice..1st time in the early 80s 2nd early 2000 and the same crap… directors that was having a bad month will take their consultant customers from them and under sell to grab them and add them to their list. A fantastic product that I admit they have but they lie way too much., I have so much inventory that I’ll never have to buy maje up again…

    1. MLM Radar

      Wow. Out of MK for 15 years and you still have more MK makeup on hand than you’ll ever use. And I’m guessing that’s after you threw away everything that was not your color, or dried out, or spoiled due to age. Wow. Just wow.

      Ladies, this is why we say “send it back for the 90%.” Don’t fall for the claims of “you’ll sell it” or that she’s losing money on chargebacks. You won’t and she isn’t.

  6. Yeah, been there, done that! Fortunately, I bought the minimum requirement to get started. My recruiter gave me a song and dance that I had the perfect personality for Mary K’s
    marketing plan. A few hours a week, and I’d be rolling in dough.
    She didn’t take into account the fact that I had not even one con artist bone in my body. When I finally analyzed the structure of the sales plan, I realized that I was being taken by a con artist. So I closed the door on that little experiment in MLM. The posts here are a good insight into the treatment of recruits and the hype pitched to them.

  7. lynne

    I’m almost on my way out from Mary Kay after being in two times–once in the 90’s–was a team leader. Then back in in 2012. Just sell the products but so frustrated hearing the million dollar messages from daughters of NSD’s. It’s not the reality of many of us IBCs.

  8. Ashels

    I was told it’s a Christian based company that believes in God 1st, Family 2nd, business 3rd. If that’s true it so sad that a “Christian” company is built on lies…or maybe that consultant lied about that too? Never bought their lies!

    1. MLM Radar

      Christian-BASED maybe, very loosely Christian-based, but definitely not Christian. MK is led by false prophets seeking false profits. And their goddess is Mary Kay Ash.

      Various Directors have even been heard to put a “motivating” guilt-trip on their consultants by telling them that they’ll see Mary Kay standing next to Jesus on Judgment Day, so they’d better be able to say they worked their Mary Kay business the Mary Kay way.

      For some reason I just can’t picture that. Maybe it’s because of the biblical passages telling how Jesus threw the merchants out of the temple.

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