Facts, opinions, and the real story behind Mary Kay Cosmetics.

Being a Personal Use Consultant Costs How Much?

Written by So Lost In Wisconsin

So, I signed up for Mary Kay. I only wanted to be a “personal use” consultant. What that meant to me was fifty percent off my skin care and cosmetics, and maybe a little Christmas shopping for friends, too. It isn’t that simple, is it? My recruiter says it is!

First of all, it cost a hundred dollars, plus tax and shipping, to get a starter kit. I was told that there was over three hundred dollars in product in that kit! How exciting! For a mere one hundred dollars, I get that much stuff! That’s great!

Oh, but wait a second. It came with some stuff I don’t need. There are two types of Timewise cleansers and moisturizers. If I have oily skin, the normal/dry really doesn’t help me. So there goes $40.00 in stuff I’m not going to use. No big deal. It only cost me a hundred dollars! I am definitely getting my money’s worth.

I also am getting a Day and Night Solution. Amazing! That would have cost me fifty dollars had I bought it at the class I attended. I also got the oil free eye makeup remover, a mascara in black, and a foundation. I am totally money ahead.

Except . . . I have ten foundations I will never use. That is a waste of one hundred forty dollars. But my kit didn’t even cost that, so I’m still money ahead. Aren’t I?

I also got a teeny Satin Hands set. That won’t last me very long, but it says I could use it 30 times. (Well, my first 30 facials, at least, which I would think is 30 uses. Right?) I got some Timewise Powder, too. It’s inconvenient to use, and again I have colors I won’t use, but it doesn’t matter if I toss them. It didn’t cost me much and I’m still money ahead.

Ooh, thirty Look cards!! But darn it, only one look is really made for me. The rest are garbage. Poo. And what am I supposed to do with all this other stuff? For personal use I certainly don’t need trays and mirrors and bags and tickets and success training. But, I got more than $300 in stuff for only $100! Had I bought all of this from the consultant it would have cost me $133 plus tax. Oh. That’s what it cost me with tax and shipping anyway. Not such a great deal after all.

My recruiter knows I am only doing this for personal use. Why does she keep calling me to discuss my “options” for inventory? I’m only going to order when I need it. I don’t need $4,200 in inventory. What does she not get about “personal use?” She said I only need to order once a year to keep my 50% discount and just a $200 order. I have enough from my starter kit to keep me going for a few months, maybe even a year, so what is the urgency?

Time to log onto Mary Kay In Touch and start my order. Four hundred dollars in products only costs me two hundred dollars. My fifty percent discount.

But wait. I only need my skin care, which doesn’t cost that much. But when I input that it won’t give me my discount. So now I need to find friends and family who want to buy stuff, too, because it won’t start to discount my items until I hit FOUR HUNDRED DOLLARS retail. Not two hundred. I will pay two hundred, but I need to get four hundred. That’s a lot of stuff.

Oh, but my recuiter said it has a three year shelf life. Well, I can order more than I need and let it sit. But wait. How will I be able to keep up with my once a year ordering if I have stuff sitting in my closet?

Hmmm. Something just isn’t adding up. The fact is that personal use isn’t really personal when it takes you and a few of your friends to get an order together . . . just to get a discount on a product that is good. Not great.

Knowledge is power. Please understand that personal use costs money as well, and may ultimately not be worth it in the long run. Maybe paying full price for it . . . if you love it that much . . . or finding another product that is comparable are more reasonable alternatives.

My recruiter told me that I can write this off on my taxes as a business expense. Now that I own my own business . . . but it’s now tax time, and I just realized that my starter kit and two hundred dollar order simply aren’t worth the extra paperwork for tax preparation. So it really isn’t a business write off, after all.

Finally, as I sit in my living room amongst the bubble wrap and items that I didn’t really need but got because my order needed to be four hundred dollars, I feel resentful. Used. My recruiter wasn’t interested in me, or in my saving money. I was just another number to her. Another notch closer to her goal.

What about her calling . . . just to see how I am? The little visits she made when I first signed . . . all gone once I stood my ground, stated I was, under no circumstances, going to be buying an entire store. The lies she told me about “keeping in touch” and belonging to a “sisterhood.”

My meager two hunderd dollar order is just a small token to her. Part of a “love check” that illustrates how she touched and changed my life. Actually taking a loss on me. She has enriched nothing, and I have paid the price. But, when my year of inactivity rolls around to no longer being a personal consultant . . . I’d bet my first born she’s once again calling to “see how I am.”

I’m fine, thank you.


  1. Mskatonic78

    I had the same thing happen with Younique. I started “trying” to sell it, and my sponsor was messaging me all the time me, giving me sales tips, which basically said I should send email after email to my friends and relatives about how I just started my own business and needed their support. The interest in the products was basically non existant, except for 2 people who asked questions about the Fiber Lash mascara with no intention to buy. After throwing a few personal parties and an online party with a friend that no one attended, except she and I, I was wondering if anyone would ever make a purchase. I went to a dance studio, an idea from my sponsor, and they told me they had already been pitched by a Younique saleswoman and turned it down. The reason? The prices. I also talked to a part time makeup artist at a friend’s salon, and he pretty much laughed in my face. His kit is stocked with MAC, Ben Nye, MUFE, and other professional brands that actually cost less than Younique. When I relayed this info to my sponsor, she pretty much quit speaking to me. They all think they are going to be like that one super fake chick with pink hair who signed up like 9000 people under her. And again, I signed up without realizing that the whole gimmick/potential for earning is wrapped up in recruiting. I refuse to beg friends and family to buy stuff from me or throw parties, and then to start badgering their friends and family who participated in their party. And I noticed my sponsor offered a lot of free gifts to people who had parties, refered friends, or participated in online party games. I was not going to do that. I was already out the price of a starter kit and my only order. Younique is just another pyramid scheme, like Mary Kay, Tupperware, Jamberry, etc. Overpriced, average/poor quality items that in essence, are just a conduit to the real real purpose: recruiting and down line building. Beware.

  2. Notateamplayer

    I have been a personal use consultant for years. I found PT when I was mad my new eye shadows sucked and typed in the browser “Mary Kay eye shadow sucks.” There is nothing a personal use consultant can do about disappointing products except stop ordering and shop Ulta.

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