How Do Women Get Sucked Into Mary Kay? Why Do They Stay?

Written by SuzyQ

OK, so here’s the thing…

So many people ask the question…  how do women get sucked into MK and why do they stay?

Easy.  Most of us do not get the recognition we crave in our everyday lives.  No one applauds when we clean out the fridge, clean and folded clothes are magically delivered into drawers by the clothes fairy, and food and shelter are provided respectively by the food and shelter fairies.

So, we go to a meeting and we are applauded because we are new… we get applause when we have a “good skin care class” and make “$125/hr… the applause continues as we start to recruit, go to events and get standing “O’s” for “sales” or recruiting.  The women who fuss over us are over-dressed with too much make-up, BUT they fuss over us and make us feel good.  We want what they seem to have.  The directors seem poised and well-off, the people in the red jackets seem happy and kind and we just want that.

We want what they appear to have.

I mean really, I could not remember the last time a room full of women clapped for me— had a room full of women EVER clapped for me?  I have been a nurse and/or therapist all of my professional life.  The only praise from supervisors I ever received was praise by omission, meaning that if I wasn’t being “counseled” or “talked to, “ I was doing OK.  No one had ever praised me for doing well. And these women are lovin’ on me like I was the second coming.  Heady stuff.

The process of getting into MK is slow and seductive.  The saying goes something to the effect that you get into MK and then MK gets into you.  This is accurate.  We are very carefully and very slowly taught that MK is the way and anything to the contrary is to be avoided.  I am not a stupid woman.  I have several advanced degrees and years of real world experience under my belt.  But I fell for the bullshit.  Hook, line and sinker.  Were there red flags and areas of concern?  Absolutely!  Did I question things?  Of course.   And were they answered appropriately?  No.  I was told to avoid negativity and let nothing mess up my dream.  Oh, and to take God as my business partner.

Know why this whole thing works??? It’s not rocket science.  It’s a little faux Christianity thrown in with a whole lot of guilt, self doubt and blame, coupled with recognition and rewards.  We are taught to believe those who perform at seminar with their last minute miracles are telling the truth.  Really?  Recruits at midnight on June 30th?  Really? Orders at midnight on June 30th?  People wait until midnight to order?  I am in bed at midnight, but maybe that’s just me. I didn’t believe enough.  I didn’t work hard enough.  My deserve level wasn’t high enough.  Whatever the reason, it’s obviously my fault.

It has taken me years to come to terms to what happened to me in MK.  And what I did to others as a director.  The lies about the necessity of having product on the shelf, the ability to make an executive income with part time hours, the ability to sell the product, trying to spin the product changes as a good thing, and the idiotic statement that “The product on your shelf is your ATM and recruits are your retirement.”

I suppose the bottom line is the need for all of us to support each of us so that the stupid recognition that MK gives is no longer necessary…  The price MK recognition extracts is too great and is false.  Anyone can buy whatever it is they think they need… Have you heard the one about nsd’s achieving their goals because they helped so many others achieve their goals?  You know that’s not true don’t you?  YOU, the “downline” are making the house payments on their McMansions every time you order.  Dual marketing?  Seriously?  It is called multi-level marketing with up and down lines and golly gee, you are in the thick of it.  You do not own your business, you can not sell your business; you are not a “business woman.”  You ARE an independent contractor and as such, have no rights.  Really.  You are on a treadmill that will devastate your soul and your financial security and your self esteem.

Mary Kay is not the answer.  I think it’s ironic that kaybots call this site satanic when the reality is that MK is the demonic one.  PT is restorative.  MK kills the soul slowly and methodically with smoke and sequins. Smart women get sucked in because we have credit and need validation.  The validation from MK is false, and will cost you more than you can bee-lieve.  Unless you exploit other women, you will never succeed in MK.  Is this what you want as your legacy?

One more thing… how DO the nationals sleep at night?  Denial?


  1. Susie

    I absolutely see how someone who feels unappreciated at home can get sucked into MK. It’s happened to a friend of mine. She is a beautiful, intelligent woman with a degree and career, married to a very nice man and 2 children in college and she’s into it hook, line and sinker. I couldn’t imagine at first why or how she fell into MK and then I recalled how many times she’d mention that she always felt that nobody appreciated her at home, no thanks for dinner, no thanks for keeping house clean, laundry up, etc. I always told her I know her family loves her and appreciates her, even though mine don’t say it I know they appreciate and love me but yeah, I guess it would be nice to hear every now and again, and I’d just kind of laugh it off. And now she talks about how great her MK family is, how energizing it is to be with them because they are all sooooo positive and when she meets certain goals she is rewarded for it. I want to ask though-at what cost?

  2. Trinh Yong


    I recently found this site, and I wanted to thank you for trying to help others see the Mary Kay consultant program for what it is.

    I joined as a consultant in January (2017). Initially I joined because the woman I met, although decked out in Mary Kay gear, came off to me as very genuine (and still does). Usually when I look at job options I research it heavily, but making the decision to “start a business” had a lot to do with stepping out of my comfort zone for the first time ever, so rather than second-guessing myself and giving me the time to convince myself to stay where I was I just jumped in and put in the 100$.

    Some red flags went up when she said, “Before our next meeting, I want you to find 5 people who may be interested in receiving a free facial, and may be interested in joining”. I didn’t understand. Why would I be looking for 5 people to “build my team” when I’m just starting out? My Director and her unit is the team I’m in, right? Why would I want to build my own when I’m not acquainted with hers? It didn’t make any business sense to me. It’s like being a first-time owner, opening up a store nobody knows about, and then deciding to make it into a 5-store chain.

    The second red flag was the first huge decision they want you to make. They want you to dish in $600 or more for inventory. I didn’t want to, and tried instead to buy some other things from the store so I could get to know their products and be able to better talk about it (considering everything they put in the starter kit doesn’t even let you test a full face, it’s just Timewise and foundation – most women go out with more than just foundation). I was redirected to the “deal” they had, and I realized they were going to force the “investment” for inventory on me much as they could.

    This article in particular draws me, because it applies to me, too. I think of myself as a very level-headed person. I’ve always been the most composed, calm person I know. You will never hear me yell. You will always see me over-analyze things to death. I can’t take quizzes, because if you provide me a question that question can mean 4 things and “Yes” and “No” is different depending on the version of said question you mean. I found myself wanting to scrape together even $600, since my Director had mentioned it, she was proud of me for taking the first step to being a consultant despite my fears and all, and she was happy, and positive, and I didn’t want to disappoint her. I thought I destroyed the people-pleaser who was scared of not meeting everybody’s expectations but her own years ago, and yet I found her resurfacing in no time at all ever since I thought, “I’ll give Mary Kay a chance”, and when I realized that, it was scary. Am I that weak? Are they that good? I don’t know, but I do know I’m not going to pursue this idea any further, thanks to Pink Truth, and various other sources I’ve looked through.

    I feel like the Director I met truly has good intentions, but she’s been brainwashed and thinks of Mary Kay as Cloud 9. I’m worried about her and don’t know how to confront her about the darker side of the company.

    So I have 2 questions. Do you have any recommendations on how to confront my Director about all of this?

    Also, it was mentioned that “You don’t own your business, you cannot sell your business”, does that mean, if I bought the starter kit but never bought anything more and never will, I am not legally a business owner?

    Thank you for everything.

    1. BestDecision

      I was a Director, and I can tell you you’re wasting time if you attempt to talk to her about this. We were taught to perceive questions like yours as negativity, and we’d then stop working with you. Ironically, my Director started to do the same maneuvers when I was brand new, too. It was all about recruiting people even though I didn’t have a customer base yet.

      If you are no longer an active Consultant, you will no longer be in business. Not that it’s a real business, anyway.

    2. MLM Radar

      No, you are not legally a business owner. Per your Mary Kay contract, you’re not the owner of any business assets that you can sell to another would-be consultant. You don’t own any rights that you can sell to anyone else. You just own a bunch of product, and per your contract with MK they control everything about where, when, and how you will sell that product.

      You may have been working for yourself, which is why you’d put revenue and expenses on a tax form Schedule C, but you don’t own a real business.

    3. Lazy Gardens

      Am I that weak? Are they that good?

      Anyone has moments where they are vulnerable, especially if it’s an old mindset resurfacing.

      And yes, they ARE that good – CIA interrogator good. They have scripts that have been tested and they are very good at reading body language.

        1. MLM Radar

          Yes there is a very important reason why:

          It’s because there’s NOTHING about your proposal that requires an answer from me today. Or even next week. That makes me really wonder why you’re pressuring me for an answer right now. Why ARE you pressuring me???

          If this offer is as good as you say it is, I’m sure you won’t mind me giving you an answer next week.

          1. MLM Radar

            You’re being very self-righteous today.

            I don’t have to have been specifically a Mary Kay consultant to know the game. I’ve already been: (1) A consultant in another MLM until I figured out the scam, (2) the wife of a husband who was a series of MLMs for several years, and still bee-lieves but had to quit because he went bankrupt, (3) the former best friend of a lady who has been in MLMs for over 15 years, who is convinced that MLM is a vehicle for “ministry” and that she fails because she doesn’t “work her business” hard enough, (4) the co-worker of several women who DID join Mary Kay, and who listened and talked to them regularly as their “businesses” failed, and (5) the mother of a daughter whose roommate let an MLM-addled friend take over their apartment’s common living area, rent free, eat all their food, and watched him play the big-shot MLM executive until she finally got the chance to throw his junk in the dumpster and lock him out.

            But it appears none of that life experience counts to you because I wasn’t specifically a Mary Kay consultant. So be it. I’m not going away.

          2. Lazy Gardens

            MLM Radar … It has nothing to do with your having been or not been an IBC. It was just an inside joke.

            “Is there any reason why…?” is such a cliché, catchphrase and overused approach in the Mary Kay scripts, used as a way to get the target to state an objection which the “Overcoming Objections” scripts can bat down.

            Target hesitates, Kaybot breaks out the “Is there any reason why you
            —– ” Can’t give me a post dated check, hold the skin care party in your office, leave yout husband and newborn home while you change your life as Seminar … endless permutations.

            Apparently the only thing that get them to back off is saying “I don’t want to.” Because there is nothing in the scripts that deals with that.

            I’m sure Amway, herbalife and all the others have their own overused saying.

          3. MLM Radar

            Please accept my apology for the self-righteousness of my own response.

            I get that it’s an inside joke. For me, the joke just stopped being funny a long time ago.

            “Is there any reason why” has been used to manipulate, to hurt, too many people in my life.

      1. Trinh Yong

        Over the days I’ve been learning to be easier on myself about that. I know plenty of intelligent strong-willed women who have had moments where they falter a little, but I never think of them as weak for it, not even a little bit, so it doesn’t make any sense to look at it with more criticism when it comes to me, either. Everybody has their vulnerable moments, you’re right. Being on watch 24/7 would drive people crazy. You have to let your guard down sometimes and de-stress yourself, and just hope nobody was looking forward to it, and if they take advantage of it, that you’re fast to react. Thank you for your time and response.

  3. enorth

    “she was proud of me for taking the first step to being a consultant despite my fears”
    No, she was proud of herself for reeling you in.

    “I think of myself as a very level-headed”
    If you mention Pink truth, she’ll shut you down immediately by saying the people here are “lazy losers who didn’t work their business.” Instead, dazzle her with your level-headed thinking and business logic. She won’t be able to handle it.

    1. BestDecision

      My Director’s head nearly exploded when I asked her how much her net profit was for the year. It was like I’d asked her to regurgitate what the full numeric value of pi is. They just don’t know how to talk REAL business, do they?

      1. coralrose

        yes! not just MK but other MLMs, too. I once was tried to be recruited by a former friend and she was very animated when talking about dreams, how wonderful the company is, the benefits of owning your own business, how successful she was. But when I asked *really* basic questions about how much the products retail for, where they find customers, how much comission they get, she broke eye contact, looked uncomfortable, answered my questions briefly but kept trying to get back to talking about dreams, etc. Red flags!
        I was done after hearing their company motto also was “God First, family second, career third.” it’s creepy how similar they all are.

  4. enorth

    “They just don’t know how to talk REAL business,”

    These are the same people telling you to:
    –Cut pictures from magazines, glue them on goal posters and hang them around your home
    –Color in “coloring-book” images of lipsticks to track your progress
    –Write your dreams on a pillow-case with glitter
    –Post a photo of yourself kissing the grill of a Cadillac

  5. Doris Fromage

    All that attention that is lavished on the targets has a name: “love-bombing”. It was the Moonie cult that first coined that, but ALL the cults use it to reel in new blood. And whether you want to hear it or not, all these MLMs are cults. There is an interesting study of MLMs below, and by talking to accountants about client tax returns (in general, not specific private stuff), found that many more people reported winnings from gambling on their taxes than gains from any MLMs. So do yourself a favor – just go lose some money at a casino and forget all about these parasitic predator MLMs just waiting for your permission to suck you dry.

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