Forbidden Phrases in Mary Kay

Written by So Lost In Wisconsin

No matter what they tell you, you’re not independent in Mary Kay. Not at all. You must follow the company line all the way.

Mary Kay Ash once said, “People like to be able to live their lives as they feel they should. So we employ the Golden Rule, and we do all those things that make our company great.” . . . And it’s my great pleasure to tell them, “If you treat people like you want to be treated, your company will succeed.”

Take a minute. Really read that. Absorb each and every delicious lie. Never in my entire life was I more censored than I was working in Mary Kay.

I was never much of a skirt, pantyhose, closed toe shoe kinda gal, but when Mary Kay Ash kindly requested that ladies look like ladies . . . and be professional about it . . . I happily obliged. I didn’t like it. But I did it. Each and every meeting. Every class I went to. I didn’t have to decide what to wear. It was already there–hanging in my closet. Ready to be worn.

But that isn’t who I am. I am a jeans and t-shirt kind of gal. Dress up time? Khakis and a sweater. My first step into living the lie. My first bleep.

Two tattoos. I was told, “You have got to hide those! Professional women like us don’t let that kind of thing show. We are a reflection of Mary Kay, and would she have tattoos showing, or extra piercings? No!”

So I took all my earrings out, except for the first hole. I was careful to hide and disguise each and every tattoo. “Bleep.”

I was becoming less of who I was . Didn’t Mary Kay say I could live my life the way I felt I should? Hmmm. This isn’t going the way I planned.

Back when I first started, I was a smoker. I wasn’t ashamed of it, and I certainly was not going to quit. Its a filthy habit, but it was something I enjoyed (at that point.)

At Career Conference during break times I would go and get a smoke. People would look at us through the glass with stares and leers . . . as though we were attacking animals out on the terrace. Hate filled their eyes. Little comments were made once we returned indoors. “Bleep.”

I felt small and foolish in my black leather shoes and my black suit with the white shirt and the little gold Mary Kay button with the Team Leader enhancer.

Then there was a meeting I attended where I was given a list of words and phrases that were never to be uttered. “Bleep.”

Upline. “Bleep.”

Instead, say Director or National.

Recruits. “Bleep.”

Say team members. Or people whose lives I changed. I’m not kidding.

Can’t. “Bleep.”

You might as well have just sworn. Can’t in any context was taboo. Well, I can’t believe I can’t say “can’t.” But, I didn’t.

Win a car. “Bleep.”

No, that would be “earning the use of a career car.”

Management. “Bleep.”

Moving up the career path.

Salary. “Bleep.”


Job. “Bleep.”

Oh, my goodness. We CAN’T say JOB! What we can say is “Mary Kay Business” or . . . and this is my personal favorite . . . “opportunity.” Are they kidding?

Training. “Bleep.”

This one is good, too. We have to say, “education.” Well, if by educating us you mean steal every ounce of who we are to fit into tightly packed little molds that completely change who we are so at some point we no longer recognize ourselves, then yes. I guess that would be “education.” Or deprogramming. Or reprogramming.

Pay raises. “Bleep.”

This is one I never personally used. I guess I wasn’t on the “recruiting path” long enough. But, the correct way to say it is “give yourself a raise.” OK. Well, I’ll get right on that. I think I have enough room left on my credit card for one more “raise.”

We were told not to judge people. Not to have preset notions about them. BUT, we were to only bring the sharpest women to meetings.

We were told not to leave the house without our Mary Kay faces on. Or to not represent Mary Kay if we didn’t look our best. Basically it was mandatory to eat, sleep, and breathe Mary Kay, or we were not taking this opportunity seriously.

I was “bleeped” so much I had no clue what real life was like anymore. One day I woke up, put all my earrings in again. I smiled.

A few weeks later I put ripped jeans on . . . no makeup . . . and left the house. I laughed.

The more I let go of all the little “bleeps” along the way, the better I felt. Normal. Real. Not a robot or a limited edition “Red Jacket” Barbie doll.

I let my hair grow out. I hated doing it every day anyway. And I hated the sassy little do I had that made me look like everyone else.

Last year I got another tattoo. This year I got my cartilage in my ear pierced. It feels good being me, and I love not hearing the little “bleep” inside my head.



  1. I hope this isn’t too snotty, but only bringing the “sharpest” women to meetings is not a plan for success in this scam! They’re sure to see through it immediately.

  2. Well said, love. I have multiple tattoos and piercings and you would think I had murdered someone the way these women looked at me when I entered a room.

    I enjoy being me. Jeans, tattoos and flip flops. 🙂

    (And Mary Kay frrreeee)

  3. This is all so true. I grew up in a home that covered messy things with smiles and ignoring the elephants in the room. I joined after getting married to my wonderful husband who is striving to break down those dysfunctions… But MK preyed on them. I am so thankful to be out and to feel like myself again. Long hair I cut once a year, flannels, no makeup, and yes a couple tattoos too.
    And I love that my husband has been so loving while I am finding my way back to myself.

  4. Ugh, I just got roped in to doing Mary Kay. I’m just going to try and make my money back on the “cheap” $800 kit I bought. I have tattoos and in a skirt, the koi on my lower leg can’t be hidden. I’m going to my first “education” tomorrow. I’m afraid they’re going to say something but part of me wants to go off on the brain-washed women. I have a mouth worse than a sailor and can only fake smile for so long. Can’t wait to be out of this.

    • Why waste your time by going? If you’re already feeling this way, why subject yourself to more pressure, more fake attitudes, and more of what you instinctively know to be a problem?

    • Don’t try to sell it to make your money back; you will probably have to sell it for less than wholesale (maybe only pennies on the dollar) to get rid of it all. Minimize your loss and save a bunch of time: Send it back for the 90% refund. Money in your pocket, and MKult out of your life ASAP!

  5. “Send it back for the 90% refund”

    And by sending it back, you’ll also be sending a strong message to your upline.

    “I’m going to my first “education” tomorrow.”

    How much are they charging you? $5? $8? $10? They tell you the education is free, but you have to attend the weekly meeting to get the education, and there is likely a fee to attend the meeting. Your upline has to charge for the meetings to pay for the hotel meeting room. (She’s not making any money in MK either!)

Comments are closed.

Related Posts