Mary Kay Lies: Best Selling Brand

You’ve heard this over and over: Mary Kay is America’s Best Selling Brand.

We know Mary Kay isn’t the “best selling brand” and so does Mary Kay. They get away with this charade because they use the wholesale sales to consultants, double the number to suggested retail, and pretend it’s all sold to customers at full retail price. First of all, we know that a very small fraction of Mary Kay products are actually sold to real customers. And second, we know that a lot of discounting goes on, based upon our personal experiences with trying to sell the products at full retail.

This lie has been perpetuated over the years with a variety of publications. Each time some outlet dubs Mary Kay the best “this” or “that,” it supports the claim of being the “best selling brand,” and consultants have new reasons to resurrect the lie. A couple of examples include:

A 2015 study by something called Euromonitor International:

A 2012 survey by Brand Keys:

A November 2007 newsletter, “Direct Selling News”:

You don’t even have to read “America’s Best Selling Brand” proudly displayed on the car. But the designation, earned for 12 of the last 13 years and representing sales in the combined categories of skin care and color cosmetics, demonstrates that Mary Kay is much more than just pretty in pink.

The family-owned company reported record results in 2006, with $2.25 billion in wholesale sales, generated by 1.7 million Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultants in more than 30 markets worldwide. The company is one of the largest sellers of skincare and color cosmetics in the world.

Here’s another fantasy provided by the article:

Holl says that a common thread connects all Mary Kay beauty consultants, no matter where they live.

“It’s their desire to improve things for their families, and they can do that through the economic opportunity that Mary Kay provides,” he says.

If consultants “can” make life better for their families, I wonder if David Holl (Mary Kay executive) would care to explain to the world why over 99% of women in Mary Kay lose money. That’s not making things better for their families.

A Mary Kay executive got one thing right, though:

There’s a huge groundswell of discontent among female consumers about the constant change that cosmetic companies go through,” she says. “When a woman has found a product she likes and the company pulls it out from under her, she gets angry. She has to take the time to search for something else. And what’s the one thing women need more of? Time!”

They know women hate the changes, yet they change their entire line of color cosmetics, foundations, and powders on a regular basis???? Well of course they do. It’s all about selling more to the consultants, and product line changes ensure a new round of ordering by the consultants and directors.



  1. I was cleaning out some bathroom cabinets this weekend and came across some old Mary Kay compacts (the silver ones, I think it was called ‘Mary Kay Signature’?). I was just a customer then, not a consultant. I paid A LOT for those dumb compacts. Now they are useless since the makeup that fits those slots is no longer made.
    A few years ago, my roller derby team had a garage sale. One of the team-members had a relative who unexpectedly passed away. This relative was also a MK consultant. They were desperate to get rid of BOXES and BOXES of makeup that were sitting around her house collecting dust. Just so happened it was the Signature line makeup. That tells me that makeup has sat in that house quite awhile. I had never seen so much MK in once place. I think we sold it for like $1 a piece. Eventually someone made an offer for all the remains of the boxes, maybe like $50 for all of it. No telling how many thousands of dollars that woman spent on product, just to be sold at a garage sale for peanuts. Sad.

  2. Look at the claim: #1 DIRECT SELLING COSMETICS BRAND

    Which immediately drops all the mainstream brands out of the running.

  3. After getting stuck with all the makeup my SD front-loaded onto me, I spent my days worrying about getting back my $$ (I didn’t) and how I can discount a product to unload it. Sheesh! Best selling brand my a$$….

    It’s way too expensive and very small for what you get. $18 for a blush with no applicator? $8 for an eye shadow with no wand?


    • It’s not just the price, which isn’t outrageous compared to many other brands, but it’s the outdated technology and creativity they’re using that makes their whole product line bad. Example, they’re just now releasing a charcoal mask, which has been on the market by other brands for years and years. They’re always so late to the party, which makes the Consultants’ and Directors’ jobs so much harder.

      • EXACTLY! If MK is so ‘on trend’, where is there nude palette? Like Urban Decay has been putting out for a few years now. Oh wait! We’re supposed to put together some shades our director thinks are equivalent to UD Nudes and say that’s our palette. (and no, it’s not even close) Contouring is also very popular. What did MK do? Push two WAAAAY over-priced compacts that were NOT contouring palettes. One color (pink or tan) is not a palette!! I could go on and on. On-Trend? Bahahahahahaha.

        • And only a couple of matte eyeshadows, whereas others have matte, shine, and even sparkle finishes. Matte shadows are WAY on trend and have been for years. I think the reason they don’t do a filled compact with 10 or so shades like the Naked palette is that they know the typical MK customer won’t pay that much nor use it. My customers started to become discount seekers, and they’d balk at $100 Miracle Sets, let alone color that washes down the drain every night.

          Meanwhile, UD, Bobbi Brown, and Tarte are killing it.

      • Agreed! this has been the way it’s been for years, even when I was a consultant in 1980-1984. Never could figure out why MK was so far behind the pack.

  4. MK is a scam. The products are second rate and very expensive. I was conned into becoming a consultant several years ago by a friend. I wasted a lot of time and money before I walked away. As a consultant, you are encouraged to recruit friends and family, as well as prey on people who are desperate to make some extra money. Unfortunately for these victims of the “pink scam” most consultants end up with closets full of products they can’t sell.

    • I was a consultant 2 times and 2 times wasted my money and got no where. They are a lie and u dont get any help when the person ur under is suppose help u get started or suppose to be there when u have a question dont answer ur calls..i was and still am very unhappy with mary kay

  5. They are proud of their overpriced gel lipstick. New trend is liquid lipstick, where is MK’s one? I went to Sephora yesterday and bought Urban Decay Vice liquid lipstick. So happy. No one who loves makeup will buy MK crap.

    • You’ve got to try the Liquid Art Sticks by Bobbi Brown. You’ll love them and the great shade lineup!

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