Career LadderSales Directors

Just the Mary Kay Facts

Mary Kay Sucks
Mary Kay Sucks

Written by JTA

If you are considering ‘moving up into management’ in Mary Kay, ‘promoting yourself to Director’,  or even just getting started in the business, here are some facts that you might not be aware of.

Fact 1: The majority of Sales Directors make very little money.

To check this fact, you can do a couple of things.  One real eye opener is to ask the Directors you admire to provide their 1099s for the last few years.  They can easily access these from Intouch.  Some may argue that this does not provide a true picture of income since it does not show expenses.  However, even without deducting expenses you will be surprised at how low this number is.

Another easy way to check this is to take a look at the Applause magazine.  The lowest Directors (and Nationals for that matter) are not making very much, and remember that the majority of Directors that make less than this.

Fact 2:  The expenses are huge for all involved, especially Sales Directors.

There is already plenty written on this site that goes into more detail on this.  If you take the income and subtract the huge expenses there is barely anything left, and I’ve seen many consultants and even Sales Directors that actually spend more than they make.  Expenses start at the consultant level with meeting fees, conferences, travel, cotton balls, etc. and go up as a Director to the $400 suit, the additional travel, meeting space, etc.

Don’t be fooled by the ‘tax advantage’ line.  Money is money, and if you are spending it on expenses, deductible or not, that is money you don’t have.  And don’t be fooled by the ‘you have to spend money to make money’ line because it never stops.  That applies perhaps to a new business where at some point you turn a real profit, but with Mary Kay you’ll never get there.

Fact 3: Directors and Nationals exaggerate income and downplay the work involved.

I have yet to see one that is honest.  None will be straight with you on Facts 1 and 2.  They will either exaggerate their personal income, or if they do make decent money, as I did, they will not tell you that they are working 24/7 to have this type of income.

Recently my husband encountered a beauty consultant at business networking event.  She was a recruit of one of my former offspring. She announced to all that her Director made $80k per year and she was going to quit her job and do the same.  Sadly I know for a fact that Director has never even broken $30k, but she is an adept speaker and has persuaded this poor woman that she makes this ‘executive income’.  Be VERY wary of any Director who states that she makes a good income, see #1.  I have written before about my offspring who at most made approx $30k but at the least made less than $10k before expenses.  Sadly, this is the norm but you would never know it seeing them speak at meetings or at interviews.  THE DECEPTION IS HUGE!

Some do make great money, as I did, as several of my friends did.  However, we worked around the clock.  We had huge expenses.  In this case, if you happen to know one of these, ask to see her full tax return.  The expenses for big money Directors will knock your socks off.  And the per hour income once you break it down is pathetic.

Fact 4: You do not own your own business

This is huge.  Take it from someone who invested over a decade and ended up with nothing.  You own some product and that is it.  You can build it huge, as I did, but in the end if you do not stay with it, you walk away with zero.

With a business that you own, you can sell it and have something to show for it.  With this, be warned if you do not want to do it for the rest of your life, you leave with NOTHING when you decide to do something different or just ‘retire’.  All the 100s of people that I had in my future area, all the personal recruits, all of the offspring, they all went into the abyss.  I stopped getting commission, period.  All of the customers were turned over to someone else and I stopped getting the profit from the sales, period.  All I got was some money for my leftover inventory.

You own NOTHING.  You are simply an independent contractor that hawks products and pushes the same ‘opportunity’ for a big corporation.  That’s it, don’t be fooled.

Think about it, your involvement with MK makes no sense at all, and there is no future in it. You are being used and lied to (and dare I say ‘brainwashed).

I’d love for any lurkers to dispute any of these facts, but sadly they are indisputable.  By the way I was an Executive Senior Cadillac director tracking NSD, so your theory that I was lazy or didn’t do it right doesn’t fly. I was the one you saw speak at all the events, the one you listened to on CDs and whose training you followed, the one you admired.



  1. All of this information hits the nail on the head!! It’s TRUTH! I was one of those Cadillac Directors working around the clock 24/7 to make it to NSD. I walked away and left it all behind…..There was nothing left except left over inventory. My so called “friends” we’re also gone as well as my so called “best friend” Sr. Sales Director. She actually hasn’t spoken to me since I stepped down. I guess she realized I was done and wouldn’t be brainwashed anymore. Needless to say, I’m so happy I’m OUT!!!! Don’t waste your time on MK. Thank you for confirming nothing but the truth about MK….. Once again!!

    • That’s sad to hear….I went to my friend’s events to support her new job but I wasn’t planning to work for them. I’m fine buying products but I’m just not a people person who can sell stuff.

      I feel like my friend should get out and now definitely after reading the truth with what goes on behind the scenes. I mean she’s been distant before the job and now she seems like she’s only catching up to recruit me. And I feel like it’s putting a strain on our friendship.

      How do I get her director to not be so pushy to get me to sign up?? I mean some of the people seem nice but I keep trying to them school is my priority and I’m broke…Seems ridiculous to have to pay for a freaking kit just to start

      • Chantel, it’s NOT a job. A job has a steady paycheck, benefits, etc. She has some products to sell that she already paid for. The only way to help your friend and stay out of the director’s crosshairs is to stop purchasing any product, and recommend to both they look at Pink Truth. Trust me, the director will drop you like a hot potato – can’t have any negativity! Lastly, a true friend would catch up just to spend time with you, not to recruit you. She will not be able to be a true friend until she gets out of this scam.

        • @nomoremlm4me I know she hasn’t been acting like a true friend late like before her ‘job’ but I thought we’d catch up and bond by me going to the events but mostly it’s us separated so they can teach/lecture her and other workers while me and other guests basically wait…she wants me to go later tonight for another one of their events but idk how to decline nicely. last time I went to their ‘facials’ and ended up late for class the next day!
          My friend said she googled before joining and didn’t find anything. My mom says i should stay out of it so it doesn’t wreck our friendship. I agree but I hate to see a bad investment when it could have been prevented.

          Maybe she will make $ but I don’t want that kind of job so I hope she won’t be mad that i’m not joining and helping her became a red jacket. she loves the pins so I try to be supportive.

          • “she loves the pins so I try to be supportive.”

            LOL “Pins” won’t pay her bills. Don’t “help” her become a red jacket. Don’t buy anything and don’t sign up. She’s using you.

          • You cannot help someone get their Red Jacket! That’s the oldest recruiting trick in the book! That’s how I came in the 2nd time, to “help” someone! (Lol) She had NOBODY! And she had a TON of “stuff” (product) to move along with one of those Ladder Of Success pins which simply showed how much she purchased. When I left MKC, I was a Sr with two active Consultants. “All I needed” was one more right? I even picked my music for my Debut! I looked under EVERY rock and tree and could not find that elusive third person. I left and moved on to “greener”(vs pinker) pastures!

            • Glad you got out, green is definitely more economical for ur wallet haha

              And my “friend” stopped trying to talk to me when she realized that I wasn’t gonna sign up or buy anything. Now she’s doing some shop for people job but she suggests that we ‘catch up’ while I help her study for her entrance exam for school because I’m good in math. Feels like I’m being used ugh which makes no sense since she was never like this before.

      • Just keep telling them you are poor and broke….. Eventually they will realize they won’t be making money off you and don’t fall for the pitch, “If you are broke, then you need Mary Kay!”….. You don’t need MK. They need you…. To make their numbers.

        • Good point y’all, I was gonna buy something but it kind of irks me to know that she gets it for $5 while I pay her $10! I mean ya you gotta make profit but can’t I just pay $5 too?

          And the sad thing is she didn’t even give me a magazine, I had to ask for it even though she gave one to our other friend.

          If she’s just using me then I want to keep her at a distance as an acquaintance… Caz it’s not cool that I put half $ in for food at her party (only 2 ppl showed up) and I only got ¼ portion of food. It’s not my party so I shouldn’t have to pay an extra share.

  2. I think the last point, about not owning the business, is critical for women in MLMs to understand. My husband is selling a successful business that he can no longer keep up with for various reasons, and he will make a profit because not only does he own all components of the business but those components also are of real value to someone else and cannot be easily obtained elsewhere. When all you “own” is a bunch of product, most of which is discontinued, you cannot even give it away let alone sell it for a profit. If your MLM closes overnight, no matter what you have “built”, it all goes away with the MLM: the products have no value, your downline has no obligation to you, your upline has no obligation to you, and your only profit stream no longer exists. The fact that you have no choice over whether the MLM closes or not should tell you everything you need to know about your “ownership” of it.

    • How right you are mstar1125! I’ve been with at least 3 businesses that shut down almost as fast as I joined them! The company owners decided to “pack it up”, sent out email announcements and everything was over and done with (snap a finger) just like that! You leave clients, hostesses, and recruits “hanging”! Then you have to start from scratch…no fun, believe me when I tell you!

  3. Glad I only wasted about 6 months of my life on this. I didn’t lose out as much as some people have. This site is very therapeutic!

  4. These “shares” are really outstanding, because remember, they have to work SO HARD to dismiss Pinktruth members as “negative, lazy and losers”. What will they say when their Unit members find out we were their teachers at Career Conference, Seminar, Regional Events, Local retreats???

    There is a reason women gather here and admit their involvement, and post their warnings. Having nothing to gain, any intelligent person can see, there is no point in lying. But BOY does MK have a reason to lie. The whole pyramid collapses if women find out what happens behind the fake smiles.

  5. There’s that magic $80k again! Yrs ago, SD C.W. in OH stated she can devote her time to MK because her husband makes $80k. Strange, I thought. A yr later she recruited my sister, and claimed she makes $80k and hubby will retire in his 30s. So tired of these lies.

  6. My sister is a National Sales Director who’s been in Mary Kay for over 30 years. Obviously she didn’t start out a NSD – but, she also didn’t start out as a woman with a huge ego and no problem(s) pushing hard on the people she recruited.

    She even went so far as to push me when I was only nineteen to get a bank loan in order to buy a box. At the time, I was working at two retail jobs and in the front office of a Title Company. As I was preparing to move out of the parents house she practically threatened me or as she would say ‘influence’ me to do the right thing and make lots and lots of money selling cosmetics to my retail clients. The pressure was daily and I had to finally tell her – that Nordstrom wasn’t going to allow a part time employee to sell cosmetics in their department store and I certainly wasn’t going to try and sell cosmetics at my day job –

    I returned the kit to her and demanded my money back. Boy, it’s been twenty years since that happened and I can easily draw up the visual image of her whirling dervish response.

    We were never close, she’s ten years older and left the house to marry her high-school boyfriend at 18. It took her another 10 years and two husbands to find Mary Kay and claw her way to the top – and another two husbands to stay there.

    I saw the tactics from a far and tried to be as supportive as possible, but, we didn’t ever recover. The Mary Kay model doesn’t make sense – except for those at the Top – and the fear and shame tactics are deplorable.

  7. Pink Truth,

    After reading your feedback…. it’s just that…feedback and opinion. Mary Kay operates pretty much like all the rest of the Direct Sales companies out there as far as some of the things you spoke of. Have you researched other direct sales companies? You will find that Mary Kay’s practices mimic a lot of similarities to those of other direct sale companies. You “CAN” make money in any of these direct sales companies if you understand marketing & building rapport with the general public. If people truly rely on just selling to friends, family & aquaintenences, they will hit a rut and fail every time. You have to be a genuine role model and have the know in being an intelligent leader. Researching and knowing your competition is huge. Direct Sales isn’t for everyone, but if you have drive and motivation with some marketing and sales in your background, you should be good to go! Let’s not forget…having true genuine passion for what you do as well. People can tell when you aren’t genuinely passionate about what you do, and they will not gravitate toward you either. You won’t earn business that way.

  8. Your right, you can make some money in DS/MLM……if you only purchase from the company what you sell and nothing more and keep your expenses at a bare minimum, which means no giveaways, no conferences, no purchasing motivational materials from your up line, no meeting fees, etc., etc., then you can turn a small profit, but to make significant money you must claw your way, bleeding others, to the top one tenth of one percent(blood money), which is almost mathematically impossible due to saturation and accelerated churn rate at this point in time.

  9. As long as a business model requires recruiting competitors within your own market, you will never be operating a sustainable business. And just think a minute. How stupid do you have to be to think that adding competitors for a 4%-13% override will be sustainable? Now think that you have all 4 Seminars operating in your city, all recruiting customers turning them ALSO into competition. See a problem with this? Sooner or later, all “targets” will have heard the spiel, been to the guest event, hosted the class or slammed the door in your face. You are NOT in the cosmetics business. “Cosmetics” is your cover story. You are a headhunter, in a saturated marketplace that despises sales manipulation, bait and switch tactics, and false claims. Good luck with that.

  10. “You are a headhunter in a saturated marketplace”

    The US is saturated. Notice how many NSDs are “building their businesses” in Columbia.

  11. Fact 5: Every June 29 involves the calculating of credit card limits available to fund the purchasing of goals the next night. Tonight, there are calculators running like crazy and brains are churning with “How am I gonna do it?”

    I don’t miss that at all.

    • Just saw a video streamed a few days ago where the SD was asking viewers to “help her reach her Sales Queen Court (or whatever it’s called it) goal.” She was holding up products and saying, “I only need to sell X number of mascaras and makeup remover sets”, etc. “You must know a drill team somewhere that needs a lot of makeup.”

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