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Mary Kay on the 20/20 “Not So Pretty In Pink” Story

little pink liesMary Kay Cosmetics was hoping that ABC’s 20/20 would share their version of the story: that lots of products are sold, lots of money is made, and Mary Kay enriches women’s lives. Unfortunately for them, Rebecca Jarvis dug into the other side... the ugly truth about Mary Kay. The company runs an elaborate scam that takes hundreds of millions of dollars out of households each year, while enriching a very small minority of participants.

The sad truth is that more than 99% of people involved with multi-level marketing will lose money. It is nearly impossible to make a consistent income (no matter how small or large)  just selling the overpriced products. The data that proves that almost no one is making money from actually selling Mary Kay products to customers. And even at the top of the Mary Kay pyramid, not a whole lot of money is being made.

Here is Mary Kay’s official response to the segment:

Important Message from U.S. President, Darrell Overcash
Published 10.3.15

To all Independent Sales Directors,

As you know, from time to time we will have people try to discredit what Mary Kay has built. In the face of adversity, please remember, Mary Kay has been in business for a long time – – our 52 year history of continued success demonstrates that Mary Kay is one of America’s best and strongest companies and beauty brands. Mary Kay products have achieved top 10 beauty brand status globally and we continue to top consumer loyalty lists.

Millions of women have started Mary Kay businesses and met their financial goals. We have been successful by building and running a good company and doing business the right way. We know that every major consumer brand has its critics, but our success speaks for itself and has stood the test of time. We are confident in our company and our strong reputation.

You and I know the truth about what you do to provide golden rule customer service to your customers, how you are able to balance the priorities in your life through this business opportunity, and the good that we do around the world through our collective efforts. With that knowledge, when face with questions from customers or potential new team members, please refer to “Myth Busting: Fact vs. Fiction”, or if you are contacted by a media outlet, please contact our media relations department directly at 972-687-5332.

As Mary Kay said, “It is important to have a firm conviction that it is not what happens to us that is important – – it’s the way we react to what happened to us. We can’t always control the events in our lives, but we can control our reactions to those events.”

I believe in you!

Darrell Overcash
President, Mary Kay U.S.

The last time the media exposed Mary Kay’s scam, the company also went into damage control mode. You will hear many of the same talking points over and over. None of those talking points include hard numbers or real facts, only anecdotes about the fact that there are some successful women in Mary Kay. In the coming weeks, we will review the 20/20 piece in detail and talk more about the Mary Kay smoke and mirrors. What fun we will have!



  1. I love this! MK Corp should have ignored the whole thing. So, preach to the choir Darrell, and we will just count the hits on the PT site. I am waving at you because I know you are reading. This is going to grow and grow.

    And you might consider asking the directors you use to spout the pink poison that a question about money is likely to be asked by an investigative reporter and the answer is NOT “I don’t know” or “We can ramp up or ramp down” WTH does that even mean? Or “I ask myself if I love my life” Wow. Good job ladies!

    • I could NOT stop laughing when they were talking to the directors about their income! That one woman who said “I ask myself if I love my life” could not keep her eyes from moving all over the place. You KNOW a person is lying when they can’t make and hold eye contact. None of them could!

      • I was embarrassed for her, she looked ridiculous, they all did. “Oh I would have to check how much I made” “Mary Kay teaches People not profit” well next month when my mortgage is due again I’m going to send in a person instead of a payment and see how that works for me. Smh.

    • I wonder if they’re sorry they agreed to appear. They were incapable of giving any answer except a MK script or “I’d have to go check.” Huh? Don’t they treat their business like a real business?

      Well, this is what happens when you track “activities” instead of P&L. (That means Profit & Loss, not People & Love.) Just today, I saw an activity sheet where consultants are told to complete the activities over the next month and color in the little boxes, then forward it to their director to get a “special prize.” Just like kindergarten.

  2. I hope I heard the numbers right – $4 billion wholesale, 3.5 million reps worldwide = $1333 each?

  3. I considered sharing the 20/20 segment on FB, but I fear my sister’s SD is capable of harming me,my family, home…these are not sane reasonable people. I am quite pleased with the honest reporting of Rebecca Jarvis and Pink Truth!

    • My sister started up MK AGAIN this month. She spent two hours trying to recruit me. She refused to sell me MK products at cost for me just to try and she made a huge hairy deal about it (hello, um I’m your sister!)… I told her what sense does it make to buy retail when I can get the crap at cost on eBay!? It still would help her quarterly sales so I didn’t see the problem. Anyway, that turned me off itself. I refused to invest even $300 in products just based on samples… but she insisted. I told her I’d buy the start up kit if she’d just STFU (I haven’t). Anyway… I posted this site to my Facebook page yesterday and she no longer wants anything to do with me. She claims I’m negative, unsupportive, argumentative, toxic and a bully. Seriously!? I’m still in shock.

      • You’re fine. She’s the one who is negative, unsupportive, argumentative, toxic, and a bully.

        She also has a big G for Gullible on her forehead.

        Don’t buy the kit.

  4. I agree SuzyQ!!! Give me a break EVERYONE knows their numbers because they like to brag about them and if you say you don’t its because your embarassed to say how little you made!!!!

    Those directors looked like puppets on a carefully pulled MK string!!! I feel sorry for them that they were used that way and hope they wake up soon!!!

  5. You know, I re-watched the segment with the hidden camera footage and the corporate response. If they were so surprised to hear that people were doing things like making false income claims and calling the cars “free,” then the response today should have been telling the sales directors that they are not allowed to do that. But they don’t want to be responsible, and it’s all a bunch of lies.

    • I think we should all email her specifically with proof of the things she says doesn’t happen. Say we want to follow up because she was so sure that that was just a couple bad apples. Flood her e-mail with proof.

  6. It is a great thing, that women who formerly ran Units, are coming out after seeing this piece. Notice that Darryl mentions nothing about the lies filmed in secret, proving the claims our members have shared. Darryl makes no mention of warehoused products that he is fully aware of. They all like to pretend that Units are selling when what is happening is that Directors are front loading the Star Consultant program, using free product bonuses and prizes. And then further, pressing unit members for consistency programs and orders to stay active, keep recruits, stop terminations, or otherwise qualify for some recognition in the area. This is their system, and sales do happen… just enough to keep women in the game… getting their stuff at cost and making pin money from time to time. Unfortunately, the consultants who are under future director or Diq level have no idea that this is so, and that most sales are hit and miss, and in no way represent consistent earnings one could live on. None of those realities matter to Darryl… and that is what we object to. The “pink bubble” is a product based pyramid scheme and those at the top NEED you to believe, or you wont play. This Darryl calls, “adversity”.

  7. “Millions of women have started Mary Kay businesses and met their financial goals.”

    Really, Darryl? How would you know? Millions of women have started in Mary Kay, but who knows what their goals are and who knows how many have made any money at all?

    Since the only accounting tracked by MK is how much product is sold to consultants, there is no possible way to ascertain whether the product is sold to an end-use customer, much less at what price.

    Yes, many have started, but a minuscule percentage has ever made any decent money. The financial goal of the vast majority of the sales force is to crawl out of the debt that Mary Kay put them in.

    • The October 2015 issue of Allure Magazine has an article called “The Social Networkers” on page 142 about the Rodan+Fields consultants. As I was reading it, I started swapping Rodan+Fields with Mary Kay and got the same horrible outcome.

  8. The 20/20 segment was eye-opening. Mary Kay sounds a lot like Amway. There will always be a few super-success stories, that’s how recruits get lured in. It’ kind of like gambling. The house can’t win EVERY time, then everyone would know it’s rigged, but, they DO win MOST of the time. Mary Kay and Amway are both nothing but MLM scams. There are a few major successes, but those are only a small fraction of those who get into the business. For most, it’s a money-LOSING, not a money-MAKING venture.

  9. I was very happy to see that they filmed excess product that a former sales director still had. Sad thing is, she didn’t have as much as many do. I know I had more than 3 times what they showed when I left and I never made it to a sales director position. I also know that my situation was not unusual. There are many, many women who have basements or garages full of product that they cannot sell. It’s a very sad situation.

    So grateful that 20/20 did an HONEST piece on the horrible company that is Mary Kay Cosmetics. They made their point without being ugly. I think it will change a lot of minds.

  10. The information he refers to, Myth Busting: Fact vs. Fiction”, has a LIE in the first paragraph. I didn’t check any further,

    It says you get commissions based on the product SALES of your recruits. It’s based on the orders placed by your recruits, and they don’t give a rat’s derrière whether you sell it or not.

  11. This is what was sent in a message last night, my sister shared with me I am so glad she is seeing through this MK crap and moving on like I did… can we say BRAINWASHING CULT?

    “From NSD Dawn Owen Sweeny (in her exact words and spelling):

    The companys asking that we do not watch it so that we dnt increase ratings. They r unsure of direction 20/20 will take. Please pray. The lady that runs pink truth has been involved. WE DO NOT WANT THE MK SALES FORCE watching which is LARGER THEN 20/20 audience usually is.”


    My husband was totally freaked out by that.. he was like “what are we supposed to be praying for, it’s freaking Mary Kay for goodness sakes”.


      They say they don’t want the sales force to increase 20/20 ratings???? BULL!

      What they really wanted was to not expose the sales force to the TRUTH!!!

      It seems they lost that battle.

      You know, when you think about it, that teaser which seemed so pro-MK, “what does it take to get the caddy?” probably drew in MORE of the sales force than any other teaser would. All dutiful IBCs are always looking for a better-stronger-faster way to succeed. Instead they got a big bucketful of Pink Truth dumped on them.

      Lurkers, if you’re one of those dutiful IBCs, welcome and please keep reading. 20/20 only touched the tip of the iceberg.

  12. “The companys asking that we do not watch it so that we dnt increase ratings. They r unsure of direction 20/20 will take. Please pray. The lady that runs pink truth has been involved. WE DO NOT WANT THE MK SALES FORCE watching which is LARGER THEN 20/20 audience usually is.”

    Wait what? A major news show like 20/20 gets <600,000 viewers? That's probably what Wayne's World would have gotten if it were, ya know, a real show instead of a classic SNL Sketch. And Mary Kay didn't come up with the last quote that Darrell Overcash cited. Viktor Frankl did.

    • Her comments just showed her level of ignorance and we are supposed to believe someone like her is successful in business. Mary Kay is infamous for quoting stats etc but they never have any backing to those statistics, just a bunch of rubbish.

  13. “The companys asking that we do not watch it so that we dnt increase ratings. WE DO NOT WANT THE MK SALES FORCE watching which is LARGER THEN 20/20 audience usually is.”

    Just another peek inside their bizzaro world.

  14. Wow!

    I have been out of the loop for a while. I left MK I’m 2005, and aside from the ultra- manipulative behavior & preying on women who just want to be validated, have a sense of belonging, and sense of achievement, I think I’m just as appalled that they are using the same stale sales techniques. Maybe that’s because no energy is invested I’m how actual end consumers are buying cosmetics I’m 2015. ?

  15. The company asked that no one watch? Can you even imagine being told to avoid a News Story about something you are actively involved in?As if your little mind couldn’t handle the input? There can only be one reason…they fear damaging consequences when their techniques and manipulation are exposed…and they can’t control how your head is being filled…and that is proof positive that “positive-ity” is the very mind control that keeps the rank and file in darkness, wondering why it is, that they joined to make money and now they are in more debt than ever. Hey Nationals…why not ASK your Directors about their financials?? Ask your DIQ’s. And then ask yourself why you need them to pretend they make more than they do, in front of their Units?

    • Yup –

      “You know, Debbie Director, I’m not quite sure why those Mary Kay ladies on 20/20 didn’t know how much money they made, but I’m sure YOU do! What was your final income from last year – minus expenses?”

      “Oh that’s okay if you don’t have an exact figure tonight. Just bring in your Schedule C from last year to the next unit meeting!”

      kthxbai . . .

  16. Is Darrell the Wizard of Oz saying, “Nevermind that man behind the curtain, look over here at the smoke and screen!” Or, is this North Korea or China that limits what their people watch?

    If corporate had nothing to hide, they’d encourage their entire sales force to watch. They’d want higher ratings so they can brag about it to their customers.

    This is the most obvious sign you could ask for. It’s appalling.

  17. I was sucked into Mary Kay in the early 90s. I was newly Widowed and in my early 20s. I was introduced to the sales director by a friend. The SD was said to be newly Widowed, too that’s how we bonded. (I was also out of work and didn’t have any family nearby.) The SD “took me under her wing”. We had to pay for going to meetings. I remember wondering where that money went. There would be 50 women crowded into her home at $5 each. That was $250 just handed over to the SD. If we reached our goal we received a cheap “gold” pin or a ribbon. She had us so excited over that junk jewelry. I also remember being “forced” to go to the weekend galas at a fancy hotel. We would stuff 5-10 of us in one room because we couldn’t afford our own room. I remember feeling like the SD only cared when I made a bundle of money for her-she drove a huge pink Cadillac. Who ever had the highest sales for the week got a “ride around the block” with her in the Caddy. I remember having to struggle to get orders. I did get to be a Red Jacket. I remember having to order large quantities during a promotional sale. $1 off all foundation-it was prepackaged so I had to purchase all shades even if I didn’t have customers for those shades. I remember when I finally got a job after loosing my house, I didn’t have a lot of time for MK. My director then had no time for me. She wouldn’t let me sell my product back to MK because it would hurt her! Luckily, I didn’t have too much. Later, when I wanted to order personal product for me, she wouldn’t even answer my calls. She used me then tossed me aside when I was no longer good for her. The one thing that I can say is that I did get to meet Mary Kay. We had the biggest sales in the entire country that year. I wonder why? I wonder how many others lost their homes during that time? I no longer use the product….

    • “We had the biggest sales in the entire country that year”

      You had the biggest ORDERS, not sales. Everything is based on how much is ordered.

  18. I was SO happy to see the 20/20 show dive into the direct sales business of MK. I left the company on my own as a Sales Director and had 70 women in my unit. There are so many bad practices going on with the Sales Directors that it is sick. Sales person after sales person have gone through bankruptcy due to over buying to stay up and keep their numbers up. This is a company that, through my experience, encourages the “do anything at any cost to keep your status or to get to the next level” mentality. I did not operate that way and was a bit of an outcast for it. Anyway, buyer beware. If you are at this site and reading the comments, you must have some sort of red flag going off in your head anyway. These comments are from women all over the world and no one has pressured anyone to speak up. Ask yourself, how can this many people have the same experience and repeat so many of the behind the scenes horror stories?

  19. “…when face with questions from customers or potential new team members, please refer to “Myth Busting: Fact vs. Fiction”, or if you are contacted by a media outlet, please contact our media relations department directly at 972-687-5332.”

    Yea, because intelligent people know that ONLY the company with $$$$$ to lose will have the information and unbiased facts about said company. No one with half a brain would think it makes sense to only get your info from sources with money to lose or gain. This was one thing that stood out to me at meetings…we were always told that if a potential recruit had doubts or questions to point her towards MK website for “real information” instead of looking ANYWHERE else. That’s a red flag. But the parroting goes on…..squwak!

  20. My fiance divorced a kaybot. He sees the role he played into feeding money to the MK monster’s mouth for nearly 10 years, he admits he enabled that part of the problem. The cherry on top is that his ex is a compulsive hoarder and shopper, which took matters to a disastrous level. After seeing a video of the inside of the house they used to live in i am surprised nobody called in an anonymous tip to Child Protective Services. I recall seeing boxes on top of more and more boxes of MK crap among thousands of empty soda cans, coupons, old newspapers, clothes, piles of cat feces, you couldn’t tell there was a sink or a dining room in the kitchen, none of the furniture could be seen since it was covered with anything you could ever imagine…add two very endangered toddlers to the mix and a cat to keep rodent pests at bay…their credit cards were constantly maxed out and their joint bank account overdrawn. She didn’t hold gainful employment through most of their marriage. I’ve been told she considered MK her job. She is now 43 and just started “nursing school”. We believe it’s just a ploy to avoid real employment, she is still trying to make it in MK. Mental illness and MK do not mix well. He is still trying to pay off a home equity loan he took to keep things afloat back then. He recently told me the whole story about his previous marriage and he was afraid i’d leave him since he is still financially messed up from that ordeal. I love him and admire that he got out of such a “marriage”. It is sad to see the scope of the damage a scam like MK can bring to families. In this particular case an already precarious situation was aggravated by the con of this pyramid scheme.

  21. I still can not verify this claim – matter in fact I still can not find as in recently (5-10 years) of a magazine calling MK product(s) in the top 10. Someone please prove me wrong.

    Mary Kay products have achieved top 10 beauty brand status globally and we continue to top consumer loyalty lists.

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