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

The Price of Success in Mary Kay

 Die-hard Mary Kay supporters fancy themselves wise philosophers, and like to hand out all sorts of drivel on goals, achievements, and success. We often hear that in Mary Kay, you should be willing to make a short-term sacrifice for a long term gain. Or that those who succeed in MK are willing to do what others won’t.

Those sound innocent enough and they fit in with achieving goals, right? You just have to work hard and be dedicated!

Except during the recruiting spiel, no one ever mentions the sacrifice that you’ll be asked to make. They never tell you that if you want to move up and get those high checks and become an nsd, you’ll have to:

  • Give up family time for MK time
  • Stalk potential victims on a regular basis
  • Continually hound people to become recruits (otherwise known as layering)
  • Constantly seek out “new blood” to recruit
  • Ignore your morals and conveniently leave out pertinent information in the recruiting spiel
  • Set aside your ethics and ask women to “invest” thousands of dollars in inventory you know they’ll likely never sell

The list goes on and on. What aggravates me even more than the sales directors and national sales directors on their high horses, is their HUSBANDS on the high horses. They have all sorts of wisdom to impart on MK consultants, even though they’ve never had to recruit, push inventory, or give up their families for the pink dream.

Nonetheless, the husbands think they’re so smart. Some, like nsd Kathy Helou’s husband Dan, think they’re part of the MK royalty. I bow before him as he shares his “wisdom” with us.

The Price of Admission Vs. the Price of Success
By Dan Helou

Countless people will express interest in something that can be as life changing as a Mary Kay Career. They will be intrigued, curious, and tempted to say yes to your offer of helping them get what they want out of life But in the final moment, they will decline active involvement.

What is it that will keep them out of the Winner’s Circle? It will not be the price of the showcase, but the price of success.

They love the idea of growing a business, being independently wealthy, having money to give away, etc. But while they love to think of these things, they gag on the effort required to make them happen. The thought of missing their favorite TV show, a bunko party, or some other social gathering is unthinkable to them. So they cling to the routine and minor events of their lives and casually let go of their dreams.

It occurs so subtly that they never realize what they have done. For example, millions of people literally planned their weekly schedules around shows like Frazier, Seinfeld, or The Practice. This scheduling creates the illusion of structure, focus and purpose in their lives. It never dawns on the viewers that the actors they are watching are living out their own dreams. But the price of watching the actors live their dreams is the neglect of the viewers dreams!

These same people will have some faint regrets when they see the Mary Kay opportunity begin to change your life and not theirs. But they will quickly dismiss their remorse and conclude that you really got lucky.

It will not occur to them that your business worked for you because you worked your business. You decided what you wanted and then you decided what you were willing to give up or reschedule in order to get what you wanted.

These first two ingredients for success; (1) Determine what you want, and (2) What you are willing to reschedule or give up in order to get what you want, are extremely important.

Dreams create hope. Goals create focus. And focus creates fuel that propels us to action.

Why did you get involved with Mary Kay? Where do you want it to take you? What do you want out of it? How would you like your life to be different because of it? And what are you willing to do to make what you want become a reality?

Sometimes we hold the answers to our prayers in our own hands.


  1. MaryPatShelby

    “But while they love to think of these things, they gag on the effort required to make them happen. The thought of missing their favorite TV show, a bunko party, or some other social gathering is unthinkable to them. So they cling to the routine and minor events of their lives and casually let go of their dreams.”

    How incredibly insulting. a) Wasn’t the cool part of MK supposed to be you can work “part-time hours”? Part-time seems to me to create plenty of time for TV, cards, and/or social gatherings. b) If someone is casually letting go of their dreams, maybe it wasn’t that big of a dream to begin with – maybe they were manipulated into it by the sugar sharp lady they met for coffee. And when they realized it meant giving up all their non-MK friends…well, they continued living the life they wanted to live.

    And none of that has anything to do with gagging over hard work. I’ll say it again: Incredibly Insulting.

  2. Tia

    Who wrote this, a teenager? Was this supposed to be motivational? I don’t think the women pining over the MK dream are extremely worried they’re going to miss their favorite TV shows while they’re out there making big money…nor would anyone who is serious about making money. People don’t join MK to have a hobby; they want to better their lives. This is again another attempt to tell people they are not working hard enough and STILL focusing on the wrong things.Even though once you are in the pink fog, MK really is all you are focused on.

  3. IfItSoundsTooGoodToBeTrue

    “But while they love to think of these things, they gag on the effort required to make them happen. The thought of missing their favorite TV show, a bunko party, or some other social gathering is unthinkable to them. So they cling to the routine and minor events of their lives and casually let go of their dreams.”

    Not really. What I gagged on was not so minor, King Dan. What I gagged on was the EMBARRASSMENT of trying to peddle MK to people in Target and starbucks, and the instruction (from my directors) to not just hand them a business card and sample but to “EXTRACT” their information back so that I could hound them later (during which of course, none of them answered their phones or emails). Because I live in the internet, online shopping environment of 2015 and not the home party times of 1963, I also gagged on the idea that women need to be harassed in stores or Facebook to book a party in order to learn how to wear makeup and then be provided an opportunity to buy it from their home. Why would anyone need that anymore when they can a.) get a free makeover and try samples out at the mall (i’ve had two at MAC without feeling pressured to buy a thing or being recruited to sell MAC) and b.) purchase items online without having to invite anyone over.

    My director and her senior would have me believe that my common sense was wrong when it told me that warm chatting was bothersome or an outright nuisance to women in the stores. That instead of accepting one non-returned phone call, message, text or email, as a sign of non-interest, I really needed to harass them 5-6 times before moving on, and then follow up again 4-6 weeks later to KEEP trying with the same non-responsive people. They would have me believe that women were too busy to remember to respond that first time, and it was RUDE OF ME to not continually remind them that I wanted them to host a party. This flew in the face of all logic to me, and ultimately, THIS OUT OF TOUCH WITH REALITY mindset of directors and senior directors (etc.) is what I gagged on.

    And thank goodness I did!

    Hate to break it to the “royalty” of MK…but NOBODY in this world knows what you are in MK or CARES unless they are in MK themselves. so, no, you are not celebrities, hate to break it to you. To the outside world, you look like a bunch of grown women desperately trying to grasp a moment of “fame” or feel “popular” and sought after, maybe these were things that they felt deprived of in high school, or maybe they want to re-live high school. Either way, it’s sad, and what saddens me is that they have altogether forgotten humility. Why do you grown women feel the need to walk across a stage and parade in front of people you don’t even know, and that don’t even care? Just don’t get it. Guess i gagged on that too.

  4. DaisyMay

    My dream was to stay home with my kids during the day and be with my husband in the evening, not stalk unsuspecting women all over town or chase them through the mall or spending my evenings shut in a room cold calling leads. With some good planning and decent budgeting, I was able to do that and being in MK had nothing to do with it. For the 5 years I was in, I spent 4 as personal use and was the hook-up for my granny. When I had my son and I took a step back to deal with his health stuff, I was quickly dropped by my MK “sisters”.

    I am so thankful that a few years ago when I was approached by a director that I got online and found PT. While I wasn’t tempted to go back, it just opened my eyes to how deceitful these companies are. I am an honest person and I would assume that others, especially my director who I met at church, would be honest as well.

  5. onelessSD

    Yeah, MK is sooo great, so worthy of all efforts… then why (and please correct me if I’m wrong) that Dan & Kathy Helou are divorcing or already divorced? What happened? If the divorce is true… then he probably got tired of Kathy always gone…. always working… always “on”. I know my husband just craved having me at home with the family, doing family things. He rarely complained… but the day I left directorship and all the craziness… he told me he was thankful to have me back.. the kids were happy I was ‘back’. That spoke volumes to me about how much I was actually missing of my family time… and no job, career or opportunity was worth sacrificing that precious family time. Some MK women would look at my husband and think “what an ogre…. he just wants her around to cook and clean, take care of the kids, etc”… but that’s not it at all… my husband wanted his wife back.. his partner in life back… his sweetheart back. I’m so very thankful to God that he didn’t get frustrated with or tired of me and give up on our marriage… my husband is gold in my book and I’m grateful for him every day. I just don’t see those types of relationships between husbands and wives in MK… it’s more of a working relationship… because the husband tends to work for the wife… and that’s just a wrong scenario in my book.

      1. onelessSD

        thanks ran4fun… he absolutely is a keeper… has the patience of Job. Our kids are getting older now… and so busy as teenagers… and we have so much fun with them and all that they do… as a family! So grateful!

  6. raisinberry

    Women who decide to stop chasing the hamster wheel have been unable to relentlessly push Unit members for wholesale orders with complete disregard for their financial health. That is the difference between the so called success in Mary Kay, and the so called failure–not watching TV shows! Not enjoying family time!

    You have to recruit and frontload and push, bait and trap women on to the career path, so that they are chained to 4500 in production, like the Director before her. Each clone multiplied makes for a national area.

    S-T-r-e-t-c-h-…….You’ll sell it! And sooner or later you recognize the repeating pattern, as women die off, with thousands of dollars of inventory still in their basements and on credit cards. And if this fact doesn’t bother you a bit, you’ll make a great national.

  7. enorth

    “I really needed to harass them 5-6 times before moving on, and then follow up again 4-6 weeks later to KEEP trying”

    Because the 8th time you call, she will answer the phone and say, “Oh, thank God you kept trying to reach me! I’ve just been so busy. I can’t wait to book a pampering session with you for me and my girlfriends!”

  8. lovemyJ.O.B.

    My husband and I work very hard and it’s nice to sit down with our kids and watch movies and favorite T.V. shows together. We also like to play card games. To me, those are the sweet moments in life, that I look back on with great warmth and fondness. When I think about my years in M.K., I have none of those feelings. Just a sick, embarrassed feeling that I harassed women and thought I was changing the world. PFT!

  9. Dorothyrothchild

    I’ve never been involved in MK but I’m fascinated how this company continues to survive when clearly very few women ever make any real money from it. Especially now that there are so many other options on the internet to buy similar/better products that are way less expensive.

    I guess my question is, are there really that many actual customers who still purchase Mary Kay? Maybe it’s because I live in LA but I just don’t know anyone who uses their products. Is it more of a mid-west/southern thing?

  10. pinkhaze

    It’s not that big in the Midwest as far as I know.
    My niece (who is too kind and easily persuaded) has a friend who is “trying out” MK and has bugged her relentlessly to have a party.

    I told her I can’t in good conscience participate but I’d be glad to take her and her friend out for coffee.

    Sad to see her struggle and be so discouraged.

  11. MLM Radar

    Dan Helou asks a lot of startup mentality motivational questions. These are designed to make you feel G U I L T Y for not trying hard enough. Oohhhh. I’m so unproductive. I need to change my life.

    But… Did you notice the questions he didn’t ask?

    He didn’t ask reality check questions. He deliberately kept the focus on emotional questions and blew right past reality. Questions like:

    How long should I expect it to take before I’m making a consistent profit after expenses?
    How many customers will I need to have to be consistently earning $xx?
    What kind of expenses should I expect to have and does that list have anything to do with my actual expense list so far?
    If I’m calling strangers I “bumped into” at the mall, how many should I really need to call to have three parties which don’t cancel?

    If I’m not able to build a moderate customer base within 4 months, despite following all your instructions… If my family is no longer speaking to me… If I’m considering using my MasterCard cash advance checks to pay my Visa bill… If I’m staring at cartons of unsold products in my closet and wondering what in the world my director was thinking when she said I needed the entire rainbow of foundation colors when most of my friends are black or Hispanic or… Ditto what was she thinking when she told me I absolutely had to have all those about to be discontinued and Limited Edition sets….

    Should I reassess what the heck I’ m doing, shut off Dan Helou’s emotional guilt trips, and GET OUT?????

  12. gotheart

    Dorthy, you are correct, no one buys the stuff. No one except the true customers which are the women recruited into Mary Kay. Women who are lied to from the get go about the executive pay they will earn with PT work.

  13. enorth

    I live in the Northeast and I don’t personally know a single person who uses – or sells – Mary Kay products. I was with a few women one time and someone mentioned Mary Kay…the rest rolled their eyes and said, “Oh, geez.”

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