Little White Lies in Mary Kay

Written by Raisinberry

Well I think I may have figured out why many of us lingered too long at the Mary Kay dance before coming to our senses. For well over a year after I left Mary Kay, I couldn’t believe a woman like me, reasonably intelligent, fell for the hype for so many years and never faced or admitted it, even to myself. Then I saw many Pink Truth members saying the same thing.

It has been said that this is a “realization, remorse, repair and resume” sequence akin to cult detox and it just takes time. We were bamboozled. We gave our trust to people who were practicing an art that had its start in the very first garden. In the end, the thing that kept us languishing in the limbo of “will this work-this doesn’t work” was the showmanship of the NSDs and their little white lies. Mary Kay has some of the best actresses on 5 continents, who can deliver a line with a smile and nod, worthy of an Academy Award.

Mary Kay teaches that success is simply one good “beauty show” away and yes, my friends Mary Kay is “show” business. But not the kind you thought. In show business you recreate stories acting out and selling your part, but knowing the roll isn’t wholly true. You play a part for the benefit of the audience. Mary Kay’s trainers do the same.

One of the main tenets of the Mary Kay creed is to be a woman of integrity. We pat ourselves on the back as “women of excellence” and the MK Motto of “God first” is supposed to set the stage for our godly behavior.

Women of excellence would never lie to you. We were not supposed to tell a lie. But if the direct answer to your question meant that you would hear a negative word, we were instructed to “season” our answer with some PMA (positive mental attitude) so as not to discourage you…. you who might be having a moment of negative vulnerability. Lies of omission are not really lies are they?

Mary Kay makes us become masters at not exactly lying but not exactly telling the truth. Right from the beginning, we should have seen the small “little white lies” that would have tipped us off sooner. We were told to “borrow” another’s “I-story” if we needed to, until our own story got polished. We were told to tell customers we were “in our first year” if it was our second or third class because “nobody wants to do business with someone so new”. We were told that “Good News” was good news, and no place to mention obstacles

If our Director was featuring us up front, and said we had worked 2 hours at our last class, then by gum it, we worked 2 hours and 50% of 300.00 was 150 — divided by two! 75 bucks an hour! “Say Yea!”. Standing upfront while “little whites” are being told about you is some acting job. But there was your first instruction in the acting business, and that’s the kind of “show business” Mary Kay is really talking about.

The full story of the upfront consultant, left out that misunderstanding with hostess credit that cost her a ton of giveaway items, the hour drive, the product replacement one guest wanted, and a boatload of samples and supplies burned up. Oh yea, and the 4.5 hours she was there. Being recognized up front means you wouldn’t want to embarrass that Director with her obvious “little white lie” by correcting her, so now it becomes yours!

Our careers start to show the signs of whitening when we share our “recruiting notebook” with prospects that has all our Star Consultant Prizes for “selling” product.  Even that one weekly summary sheet included in our datebook with $1,107 in sales doesn’t quite tell the whole picture. We smile and nod as the prospect asks us,” Is that what you made in one week?”

“Yes”, we say! “Can you believe it?” What good would it do to tell her we have additional expenses. It would just bog her down. Just another “little white” for her own good.

At year end awards at Seminar, we wear our beaded gowns and excitedly wait for our names to be called. “Top Ten in Year to Date Retail Sales”…why it’s YOU! You claim your certificate and your rosette and stand for the photo op, looking down at the number blazoned in gold calligraphy.


in “sales”, it says. Only you know what’s on the shelves, in the basement and in your own bathroom. Nowhere in all of Mary Kay is the number $24,619 in retail sales a reality for you. But it is a gala night! What’s one more little white?

When we brought a guest to any event we weren’t supposed to tip her off that the main deal was recruiting. So we told her it was a motivational speaker, or a “ladies morning out”. Our real motive for asking her had to be hidden, or she probably wouldn’t come so we weren’t really “lying”, but we weren’t really telling the truth, either. It was just another “little white”.

At home at the computer it’s the end of the month. Our husbands walk by and say, “Are you ordering again?” “Yes, I need stuff,” we say, getting whiter all the time.

It’s the last days of car qualification and you need two more. Your Director tells you to keep calling but say to your prospects that you only need one more. This, she tells you, will heighten her desire to help you. This is only a white lie and they probably won’t ever tell the story to each other. She was right, it worked! Aren’t those “little whites” so wonderful! You deserve an Emmy.

It’s all culminating tonight, your last recruit needs to activate. She wants to wait till next month to order when she gets her business credit card. That decision just won’t do. You inform her that you forgot to tell her that all new recruits who activate before the end of the month get a starter kit enhancement package of a micro-magic-super-duper-anti-aging-repair-renew kit (you know.. whatever is the latest and greatest set in MK)! Who knew that the benefits of a little whitening are increased quick thinking and salesmanship!

As your new recruits sit like little foggy-eyed hamster babies at the National’s guest event, their excitement is palpable. Can we all reach our dreams? Is Mary Kay too good to be true? To cement all the “show biz” we rip out our Applause magazine and show the commissions in the back. “Look at all these top salaries” we say!” Our new team members glaze over.

“These are paychecks of the heart. They reflect how many women these ladies have helped.”

Could anything be farther from the truth? But now the “whitening” has taken hold and “little whites” roll off the tongue without any discernment at all. That’s how we lost our way. The way back to truthfulness takes honest discernment of everything we say…every self-serving thing we say… everything we were taught to say. It takes 100% authenticity and checking every word, “Is that really true? Am I sharing this correctly?” to fight the intoxicating effects of “whitening.”

“NSD is where we are all going to end up if we never quit” they told us. “Believe and achieve! Show up to go up. Do what your Director says! Nobody gets anywhere in Mary Kay without helping others succeed!” and not once did anyone acknowledge the monthly churn thru of thousands of consultants that were told little white lies and lies of omission. “No? Next!” applies to you too! It’s a brand new crop, fresh from the guest event.

Just like professional actors, the NSD’s give their academy award performances and use their Director understudy’s to do “ i-story” validation. They line up stage right for their photo sessions with their newbie fans, who stare starry eyed waiting for her personal words of wisdom, having no idea how scripted and rehearsed the whole night has been.

“I believe in you!” says the National, having no earthly idea who the newbie is.

What’s another little white lie while you take your bow?


  1. BestDecision

    While every bit of this is true, it’s an absolution of every bit of remorse I’ve had. Being in MK was my WORST decision I’ve ever made. I’m embarrassed I ever did it, that I actually boasted about it to my family, and that I attempted to promote inferior products to my friends.

    I can’t erase my misjudgment, but to know others feel the same way is helpful and the sole reason I ever logged on here.

    1. Judy

      You all are just a bunch of cry babies that didn’t even try, and probably gave up because you didn’t want to get out there and be motivated, grow up, there are no lies and MARY KAY was by far the best decision I ever made, that’s multi level marketing you have to focus and try hard and get off your ass it doesn’t just fall into your lap, Ive been in 10 years and have earned 3 cars and never pressure anyone, you all are probably just having buyers remorse for your starter kits grow the hell up!!!

      1. Formykids

        My wife has “earned” 5 cars, including the caddy, and has paid copays on the last two, including $900 per month on the caddy. What are your copays, Judy? Let’s see your schedule C.

      2. Lazy Gardens

        And can we have some facts to back up those assertions, please.

        The truth will be in your Schedule “C” for the past five years, and the real “love check” stub that shows all the chargebacks and copays that were deducted from your commissions./

        So … how about it?

  2. Kaitlyn

    Still healing after getting out almost 9 months ago. And I can’t believe how true this all is. I still can’t believe that I fell for so many little white lies and the ones I convinced myself that it was okay to tell. I’m thankful to be out… And thankful to be healing.

  3. JanRD

    “I can’t erase my misjudgment, but to know others feel the same way is helpful and the sole reason I ever logged on here.”

    “I still can’t believe that I fell for so many little white lies and the ones I convinced myself that it was okay to tell.”

    We’ve all made decisions we regret (whether or not we have been with MK), but thank goodness for Pink Truth and those who are committed to sharing their stories in the hopes of helping others caught up in little white lies. Former customer and PT has reinforced my decision to never purchase another product from this company.

  4. raisinberry

    It does take a good while to face the consequences of being sucked into the pink vortex. There are women who are now facing thousands of dollars of embarrassing debt that they created through being pressured and manipulated by Corporate and NSD endless phony benchmarks, and they are equally humiliated that their goal was the OPPOSITE! To build a future and have a path to wealth to take care of their families, not financially hurt them. To show up voluntarily, and sit under this kind of indoctrination, and then perpetrate the same on others because you learn that it works, is a character flaw that has to be stuffed under volumes of CD’s, Seminar’s, Career Conferences, Retreats, Monthly trainings, Regional Rally’s or else it will bubble up and remind you what a fraud you are. This is the energy zap of the mary kay sales director…the constant fight. This is why there is a CONSTANT prop-up of emotional investment by the NSD’s. All the phony excitement. DO you honestly believe Gloria is that excited about Vitamin C cream? THAT excited about a STAR-Ter kit?
    Turn off the camera and it all fades away. They can not afford to lose you off the hamster wheel.

    Disconnect Directors. If what you are doing is so noble and just, it will survive disconnecting for One to two months from the professional manipulation you are under. Then see the real state of your Unit and your business. See who and what you have become.

  5. ran4fun

    Despite losing her car, losing her unit, and thousands in cc debt, my very devout Christian loved one, who would under no other circumstances consider telling a lie, has spouted off so many of these “little white lies”. It breaks my heart to know the truth behind these lies, and to know that she must deep down know they are lies, but her love for MK (and the careful mentoring of a seductive NSD) has clouded her otherwise truthful self. There is no other explanation other than brainwashing.

    Thank you again, Raisinberry, for another very insightful look into this pink trap.

      1. enorth

        “Bet she has had scripture quoted to her”

        I listened to a spiel in a video where God was brought up. Ended with, “You know what to do. If you’re not doing it, you are being disobedient.”

        Although she didn’t say “disobedient to God”, it was inferred.

    1. JanRD

      Yes, fantastic article! As a Christian, I was initially impressed with the “God first” aspect of this company, but never agreed with the MLM approach. Attended a couple classes/makeovers and listened to a motivational tape (“Money doesn’t buy happiness, money buys choices,” etc.), but felt I was better as a consumer than an IBC. Discontinued the use of MK products years ago and have found better quality products at more reasonable prices. I bite my tongue when someone refers to a pink Cadillac driver as “very successful.”

  6. Cindylu

    A great article. For the first few months it felt like some sort of withdrawal from a traumatic event. With MK, there is no accountability from Corp, the Director or the NSD. The blame is always conveniently on the IBC’s. Initially I felt confused, embarrassed, and fearful because of the excess of unsold product and fortunately a minor credit card bill. I felt guilt and disbelief that my Director and the NSD’s had conned me into believing in this fairy tale. Initially I believed that women in MK made executive income. I was in shock that not one MK associate cared when I became ill. Once I sent back the product I was happy. However days later I had self doubt and missed the consultants in my group. I tried to deny that there was a reason to leave. The conflicted feelings I had made me doubt my own gut instinct. Deep down inside I doubted what I was hearing. I also doubted MK herself once I read her books. There was just something troublesome about what she wrote. I began to doubt that she created her company to empower women. I came to believe that MK was a mlm/pyramid scheme with tons of lying for decades. In hiring Jackie the first Director to sell wigs and then convincing her to sell, product, the company was based on illusion from the start.

    1. BestDecision

      The clearest evidence that it’s a flawed business model: Court winners should be catapulting ahead in their business but aren’t. When you do either Court, you should have an influx of growth. There are Double Court winners who aren’t in Director cars or Cadillacs and many without Offspring, and that says either a) they cheated or b) it’s a flawed model.

      If they did do it legitly, think of all that work for nothing. No promotion, no growth. And careers in Corporate America are “bad”??

  7. Shay

    I have to say this to you..
    I read your Sequence Inc website, I watch your videos and even write down (yes, HAND WRITE) down notes on fraud subjects etc.

    After reading your blog and watching you speak in them videos… I think to myself, “how the hell did she last in MK for 18 months? How did she not catch on faster”

    Then I think back to the CULT ways of MK..

    That’s how..


    P.S. I obviously respect Tracy if I take time to read her blogs everyday, hand write notes from her blog.. lately somehow I have ran in to women caught in the pink bubble and refer them here..

    1. TRACY

      Thank you Shay! It’s a very well-crafted con, and when I was in, there weren’t websites where you could find out the truth. I was recruited by a couple of “Christian” women, and I believed what they told me. All fabrications, of course. I really believed that if you did exactly what they told you, you would make money and move up. I did exactly that, and had nothing to show for it at the end.

    1. MLM Radar

      The samples are never free. Mary Kay would never give away a product it could sell.

      The worst part about the samples is that the quality control is far worse than on the regular products.

      A women’s overnight retreat was held at my church, and someone stocked the bathrooms with generous baskets full of MK samples. I opened up a sample botanical cleanser. I was anticipating the fresh fragrance of herbs and meadow grass. What I got was the stench of a corpse flower.

      All I can think is that the samples must have been sitting in her car trunk in the summer sun for a month.

      It took 15 minutes and lots of soap to get the stench off my face.

    2. BestDecision

      $12 for 25 small cello bags and ribbon in the February Applause is an example. I think they’re now up to $2 for each mascara sample. (I posted a list of the price changes and new samples awhile back but don’t recall where.)

      $2 for a cello bag and ribbon is a true, real example of how badly MK is ripping people off. Their cost is probably CENTS on that, yet they steal whatever profits we tried to make everywhere we turned.

      1. ran4fun

        “$2 for each mascara sample”

        I buy ELF mascara for $3 and it works better than the MK mascara that would smudge all under my eyes and cost – what – $12-$15?

      2. MichelleM

        Just when I think I’ve seen everything in terms of being ripped off, something new comes up. Paying $25 for cello bags and ribbon, instead of $2 at the dollar store must take an enormous amount of manipulation and peer pressure. I can just hear someone saying that the MARY KAY cello bags will bring in more business – totally creepy.

  8. enorth

    “emotional investment by the NSD’s. All the phony excitement.”

    A certain NSD used to hold monthly WOW Nights. She just announced they will now be held quarterly. I guess there isn’t that much WOW to celebrate.

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