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

“Layering” in Mary Kay

In Mary Kay Cosmetics, the term “layering” is an innocent-sounding word that means “keep pestering her until she says yes or gets a restraining order against you.” A common teaching in Mary Kay is that no doesn’t really mean no… It’s just a request for more information. So really, everyone wants to join Mary Kay and they know it deep down in their hearts, it just takes a lot of layering to make that truth come out.

How does a consultant “layer” a Mary Kay customer? She keeps mentioning all the “benefits” of being in Mary Kay, occasionally sends her something in the mail about the MK opportunity because “I thought you might be interested in this,” and generally keeps offering up recruiting tidbits to hopefully entice the woman into MK.

Mary Kay offers this guidance on the DISC personality types and how to effectively layer them. Identify the biggest fear that each personality type has, and then use as much emotional manipulation as possible related to that fear.

D (Dominant)
Biggest fear: being taken advantage of

Ask the recruit: Which of your qualities or experiences would make you successful at Mary Kay? Can you see yourself working a plan where you are the boss?

Layering tools: Applause magazine, checks, Income Projection Brief (including director figures), personal note respecting her position, “Consider the Possibilites” video

I (Influencing)
Biggest fear: loss of social recognition or status

Ask the recruit: Can you see yourself holding parties, earning prizes and driving a company car? Do you like working with women?

Layering tools: Applause articles from Seminar, Career Conference, Mary Kay events, Look Book, show her the star brochure, seminar recap video

S (Steady)
Biggest fear: creating relationship turmoil

Ask the recruit: How do you feel about a company that asks people to keep faith first, family second and career third? Can you see yourself investing time in a program where you could get what your family needs while keeping what you value?

Layering tools: Income Projection Brief, Mary Kay events, show her pictures of you with your Mary Kay family at events, “12 blessings of a MK business.”

C (Compliant)
Biggest fear: inability to follow the rules

Ask the recruit: Are you teachable and trainable and can you work a proven system? Do you like having control over your time, work habits and income?

Layering tools: Applause product articles, Income Projection Brief, talk about 90% guarantee, “Consider the Possibilities” video, “12 blessings of a MK business.”

Layering tools for every personality:

  • A three-way call with your sales director
  • Have her check out the Mary Kay website or your personal web site
  • A personal note detailing some of the above benefits with emphasis on why she would be successful in Mary Kay
  • Linda Toupin’s “Choices” tape
  • A specific story that matches hers from www.marykay.com., and finally,
  • GREAT customer service is one of the best layering tools you can use. Keep booking classes with her and show her your successful business.

How do you feel about these recommendations? I understand sales techniques and finding a way to fulfill a person’s needs with what you’re selling. But the Mary Kay tactics often seem to move beyond a simple sales technique and  into manipulation of women.


  1. Cindylu

    It’s difficult to promote a business where there is no where to advertise, where women avoid you at trade shows, when your director steals the recruits of their DIQ’s rather than help them (The same SD who hasn’t moved forward in decades), and where directors lie about their highest check.

    1. Jamming Berry

      The part about nowhere to advertise…. That is what makes MK so difficult. This drove me batty — I had nowhere to get new customers, since every sale was a pity sale and no one would want to host an event and I wasn’t willing to solicit at Riteaid and Target like my recruiter and SD kept telling me. AURGH!!!

      1. Daniel

        Now that’s interesting Jamming, I am a new consultant to be completely honest, and I’m kinda in-between in terms of what to believe, but my director never, ever told me to solicit at stores, in fact she said it was tacky and a way to upset people while getting banned from my favorite stores! I guess it depends on the person and the business strategy people want to use

        1. BestDecision

          But, that’s the reputation you’ll have to battle! So many have ruined Mk’s reputation, no matter if you’re going to do the same or not. Without warm chatting women in stores like that, it’s impossible to build a solid customer base. You’ll run out of friends & family quickly.

          I’ll also add it’s really impossible ANY way to build a lot of customers that will sustain your business. After over a decade in, I got sick of the hamster wheel. My senior hasn’t gotten any farther since, either.

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