Speak of the Devil: Mary Kay’s Wacky Word Wizardry

Written by The Scribbler

If you’ve walked the earth long enough (or at least as long to have witnessed Prince go through three name changes) you know that one’s choice of words can make or break a given situation.

I’m a Midwestern native – a part of the country where tornado shelters and weather radios are issued to people shortly after they are aspirated and given an Apgar score. This past month our county was branded seven ways from Sunday with tornado watches. One stormy evening I had to figure out where my toddler and I were going to hunker down should the state song start blaring. When it did, we tucked ourselves away – not in a “storm shelter” or a “tornado bunker” – but a “storm hideout.” While referring to our refuge as a “hideout” made it more appealing to my child, I knew the truth. We could have called it the clubhouse, the roadhouse, or Isengard, for that matter – despite the cutsie name, the basement closet was still just a closet.

Mary Kay Cosmetics is no exception – its products receive the same colorful linguistic treatment. Today our free training will cover “Watch Your Language,” a training document courtesy of a senior sales director. Are you ready to be a true conjurer of catchphrases? Read on!

“Believe it or not,” Miss Hatem begins, “I’ve actually heard consultants use words like “greasy,” “grainy,” “watery,” or “harsh” to describe our products!” For starters, everyone knows that TimeWise products aren’t greasy, they’re “full of emollient” or “rich!” I had some Popeyes chicken the other day and sister, let me tell you, those tasty pieces were glistening with emollient, as was the hair of the surly gentleman who cooked it. Love that chicken!

What about “grainy” products? Perish the thought, lass – the correct term is “Using microbeads!” The next time you hit the beach, it would behoove you to remember that you’re walking on one big exfoliating carpet of microbeads, baby – and you’re going be vacuuming plenty of them out of the car before you go back to work on Monday.

Wouldn’t you agree that the ocean is truly a “watery” thing? Not in Mary Kay Land – the ocean is “lightweight” or nothing. And while excessive exposure to sunlight without sunscreen can be considered “harsh,” an IBC will tell you that it’s “strong” or “effective!” Eat that, Mr. Negative Nellie Oncologist – I’m off to slather on some Banana Boat Tanning Lube (SPF -8) and go bake on my south-facing aluminum deck chair between the hours of 10 and 2!

A while back I received a Look Book containing enough Red Tea and Fig Nourishing Body Lotion to moisturize my cat’s nose. I couldn’t get the smell out of my nose for a half-hour. Maybe it would have been better with a little cream and sugar rubbed in, (being red tea-based and all) but as far as I was concerned, the stuff stunk. Had there been an IBC present to witness my reaction, she would have told me that it didn’t stink, it “contained only the natural fragrance of the ingredients.” Since stink is still stink, natural or otherwise, exactly what sort of ingredients are we talking about, here – kimchee? The petals of the Stinking Corpse Flower? A freshly-cut durian? Trust me, I can vouch for that last one.

A durian is a fruit hailing from Southeast Asia. To say that it reeks would be a gross understatement. Signs posted in Singapore’s Mass Rapid Transit system clearly forbid bringing durians on board, along with cigarettes and flammable items. Since the Midwest is generally not known for its abundant durian crop, I hot-footed it down to the local oriental market and bought a package of durian-crème-filled cookies. The second I opened the package I knew something was wrong; I was looking at cookies but smelling onions piled up in some third-world country’s public bathroom. Yes, I ate a cookie. No, I will never get them again. Ever.

Speaking of products burning one’s face, do you have a Mary Kay product burning yours? Uh-uh, girlfriend; you must have “a sensitivity to an ingredient in the product!” even though the same could be said of battery acid when applied to one’s tongue. If a product has done enough damage to your face that your friends lovingly refer to you as “Skeletor,” then for the love of Castle Grayskull, stop using it! Don’t believe your consultant for a second when she insists, “It’s not the product’s fault – we just need to find you the right combination!” We’re not trying to crack a safe, here – how solid can a product be if it requires 3 others to make it work?

To round out our training session, I give you a few phrases that are used to “sell the sizzle” of Mary Kay products!

  • The Time Wise Miracle set is “control top pantyhose for your face!”
  • MK’s hydration products are “the lemonade on the back porch on a hot day.”
  • Oil-free eye-make up remover is like “emptying your eye trash at the end of the day directly into the trash can!”

I like the last one; assuming that the user is using Mary Kay eye shadow, liner, and mascara, it’s nice to know that all that Mary Kay eye trash is being sloughed off at day’s end.

Friends, be wary of products hiding behind layers of flashy adjectives, because chances are, that product either has something to hide or is trying to compensate for its poor quality. When considering whether or not to purchase a product, do your best Mr. Spock impression and leave the emotions at home. Read online reviews, ask a friend, get a second opinion, but for the love of all that is holy, don’t be sold solely on the claim that “Our lip gloss will make your lips feel as if they’d been in a swashbuckling 12-hour smooch session with Captain Jack Sparrow!”

Then again, I bet that’d be the first product to truly sell itself!