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

Mary Kay Myth: The Company Always Has Your Best Interest At Heart.

Written by SuzyQ

And that’s why they change all of the cosmetics on a routine basis?  Okay, if we believe that Mary Kay is trying to be cutting edge and on trend and that colors and things related to make-up are trendy and must change to reflect the seasonal changes, maybe.  But a total change?

Many of you may not have been around to remember this, but several years ago Mary Kay made the decision to wipe out the entire platinum cosmetic line and replace it with black packaging. That was a huge change that hurt many. And since then, MK has been making routine changes to all its products and/or packaging that forces consultants to buy more.

The black compacts weren’t even that great. After a bit of use, they quickly look worn. This on-trend Black compact matches Chanel and Avon.  There goes the product identification… confusion reigns.  I challenge you to ask a consumer of make-up to NOT be able to identify Clinque’s signature color, or the colors used in the tube of Maybelline Great Lash mascara. ( P.S.  My new Rimmel mascara is in a black tube.)

Talc.  The mineral line contains too much talc.  It flies all over the place.  The foundation reminds many of the old loose powder, only smaller.  You do get props for not having the foundation be so yellow. Come to think of it, some of the loose powder shades weren’t so yellow, either.

Colors.  Teeny, tiny, not as hyper-pigmented as you would have us believe.  Smeary.  Many consumers do not appreciate the colors contaminating each other, even when we are very very careful with the new compact.  And did you notice?  In the olden days, if eye color dust appeared under the eye during application, it was simply brushed off.  Now it smears, and requires a whole ‘nother set of skills. The colors look pretty until they are applied…

And there’s the allergy/reaction thing. Note to Mary Kay: Glitter is not the same as shimmer.  And shimmer needs some matte as a contrast.  Simply put: shimmer=good, glitter= bad.

Help consultants sell this stuff!  There are many customers who purchased the platinum compacts and cannot get refills any more. They are not happy.  (Except of course on when ex-consultants who couldn’t sell the thousands of dollars of inventory they were loaded with turn to eBay. Then the people with platinum compacts are happy.)  They feel betrayed, and tend to become a little snippy with their consultants.  And bless their hearts, the consultants are trying to put the best spin they can on this massive change, and then you go and change the mascara tube to black?  How is this helpful?

I digress.  I complained about the new line.  There was nothing wrong with the old line.  We may have been bored with it (just a little) but our customers weren’t. Same play, different audience. What would have been wrong with introducing the mineral line as a Limited Edition?  Or another separate line?  (Please don’t tell us the story about burdening consultants with a whole new line IN ADDITION to the regular line thing.  Remember the TimeWise debacle?  Ewwww.  ) Maybe give people a chance? A choice?  See how it went?  Check to see if it would help or hurt consultants?  It was nice of you to let people know ahead of time, even though that was out of your control because Pink Truth leaked it many months prior to the “Announcement.”  (What ever became of that whole “don’t believe unreliable third parties” thing? Seemed awfully reliable to me, even back then…)

How do you expect your directors to spin all of the constant issues with product changes?  This may come as a shock to you, but your sales force is not stupid.  They are smart and savvy and scared.  They see the bribes for ordering, they know sales are not tracked, they suspect that there is a bit of exporting being done, they are learning that MK is MLM, and all they wanted was a piece of the American dream.  You promised that.

Oh, heck, I know the NSDs are the standard bearers, and you and I both know that what they promise isn’t exactly true for 99.99% of the sales force, and you have no control over what they say, Independent Contractors and all, but just between you and me, I don’t think you have the best interest of the sales force in mind when you make decisions, I’m just sayin’.


  1. Iescaped

    Great article SuzyQ!!

    The drastic product changes would never be done by a company that considered customers (not IBCs) as the end user!

    In any manufacturing, it takes a long time to implement product changes. I would bet money that only the NSDs are aware when MKorpse decides to revamp the products. We can be sure that MKorpse was not stuck with any of the old products.

    The constant changing does a few things in my opinion.
    1) Anyone who is still trying to make a go of MK and has built up a “full store” collecting dust, is now forced into ordering. Think larger base production for a few months while consultants bring in the new and “give away” the old. Just adding some new products would not do this, only a total revamp would.

    2) Any former IBC who didn’t catch on to the scam the first time around can be lured back in by a good SD letting them know that the “new products” really will fly off the shelves because Corporate listened to what women really wanted!

    3) A complete revamped cosmetic line makes it possible for the IBC, SD or NSD to reach out to their “No’s” and see if they can get them into the “yes” column!!

    All of this means sales for MKorpse, but not sales to any legitimate customers.

    1. Lazy Gardens

      And any customer who found a product they liked will be angered because they can’t get their favorite color or texture.

      And if they have to find a new product, they might go to the local drugstore, or Sephora or Ulta or even Walmart. Because they don’t want to invest time in finding the “new” Mary Kay product that will vanish in a couple of years. Better stick with Cover Girl, or Revlon or L’Oreal because they have very stable product lines.

  2. MLM Radar

    From a makeup customer’s perspective I like consistency in the products I buy. It’s very expensive to jump into a new product line, because I don’t know how the colors would look on my skin and it usually takes trying a few shades to find the right one. No color card is ever going substitute for actually sampling the products.

    I also like my purchase to be as painless and confusion-free as possible. That means I don’t want to take the time to schedule a party so I can sit around with a bunch of other women for two hours trying out the new line and listening to a “business opportunity” pitch. I just want to walk in to the store, pick up my items, and go.

    Oh, yes, I hear you. I could just call the consultant and place my order, right? Did you read the part about making sure it was the right shade first? Can’t exactly just place an order if the product lines changed again, now can I? Oh no, I have to sit through another “party” each time the products change.

    Add all that hassle to the fact that Mary Kay product quality was never that good in the first place, and keeps getting worse.

    Sorry, I’m a former customer now, and won’t be returning.

    1. “No color card is ever going substitute for actually sampling the products”

      Agreed! I only very recently purchased for the first time ever some foundations and it was only after checking out multiple samples of colors and brands because I’m a hard shade to shop for and I needed to know which range of colors worked best for me. No color card would have sufficed for that purpose.

  3. sally A

    The quality went from decent to garbage with the change. My relationship with MK ended with the chsnge as I have a severe talc allergy, just like many other customers and consultants. And the vanilla essence they added to the lipsticks? Why?

    Great lash mascara has had the same pink packaging for how long? Clinique has been green since day one. There was only one reason to change the entire product line, and that was to generate orders from consultants.

  4. gotheart

    Your are right LG.
    ‘And any customer who found a product they liked will be angered because they can’t get their favorite color or texture.’

    As you know their real customer is the IBC.
    The frustration with the change, especially when a new IBC just placed her initial order was cruel.
    I remember being so mad at my SD for not telling us. This was when I was an IBC who’d honestly helped my new recruit figure out her order and mail it off to the MKC. (Before internet)

    The abuse of trust the new IBC feels from this change from the get go is heart breaking.
    Not a good way to start a business.

    MKC doesn’t care if their “customer” is angry.
    They change the products on purpose to entice the new prospect. Everything they do is catered to the prospect.

    They know how many IBC they will run through including what affect changing the products will have on the IBC. MKC knows how to work their legally rigged fraud.

    Mary Kay Consultant turnover rate

    A 68.6% per annum turnover figure has been calculated based upon information supplied by Mary Kay (USA) to the Federal Trade Commission.[47]

    An 85% per annum turnover figure has been calculated, based upon the data supplied by Mary Kay (Canada).[48] That document excludes individuals who earn a commission and are in the company for less than one year. It also excludes individuals who are in the company for more than one year, but do not earn a commission check.

  5. Kelly Walker

    I have never been a MK consultant, but I used to be a customer. It was a product change that finally drove me away (well, that and the fact that my consultant, who never pressured me to become a consultant, moved away). First they did away with pressed powder, forcing me to use loose powder. After a few years, they eliminated all of the loose powder colors for one “translucent” that anyone can wear. That was it for me. I figured if I was going to buy my foundation and powder elsewhere, I should also consider skincare and color cosmetics. Well, I like Lancome much, much better than MK. Oh, and no other makeup line has done away with its various shades of powder. Looks more like MK was cutting costs than cutting edge.

  6. One of the big red flags that went up for me with regards to MK was when the IBC who showed up at my job refused to let me take a swatch of the eyeshadows she had on display. If a company’s makeup is so good as MK claims theirs is, why not have some samplers available for public analysis?

    I’m so glad I didn’t buy anything from or sign on with that IBC to join MK. I’ll stick to my drugstore brands and Sephora if I want cosmetics that work for me

    1. MLM Radar

      You point out something important. With every product change Mary Kay makes money on more than just inventory sales.

      The consultants also have to buy the Section 2 products that go with the new inventory, to keep from spoiling their new full size products as samples. So more money goes to buy new color charts, KA-CHING! new samplers, KA-CHING! new Look Books, KA-CHING! new whatever else…. KA-CHING!

      And none of that Section 2 stuff is returnable. KA-CHING!! KA-CHING!!

  7. DivaDove

    When MK made the big switch to black from silver, they ultimately did me a huge favor, as that was what pushed me (and probably lots of others) to finally quit that circus.

  8. DivaDove

    When MK made the big switch to black from silver, they ultimately did me a huge favor, as that was what pushed me (and probably lots of others) to finally quit that circus.

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