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

Former National Sales Director Says Mary Kay is a Pyramid Scheme

A few years ago, former Mary Kay national sales director Amy Dunlap was sued by Mary Kay Inc. for breaching her agreement with them. It’s interesting how these women such as Amy and Allison LaMarr (now known as Chaya Mushka Ben-Shabat) were so gung ho about Mary Kay… until they weren’t anymore. Mary Kay is the best opportunity on earth. Until it’s not.

I am bringing forth the Amy Dunlap lawsuit again to illustrate the point that many think Mary Kay is a pyramid scheme. Her answer to Mary Kay’s lawsuit was extremely interesting because she alleged that Mary Kay violates the Texas Business and Commerce Code by promoting a pyramid scheme.

The Texas code defines a pyramid scheme:

“Pyramid promotional scheme” means a plan or operation by which a person gives consideration for the opportunity to receive compensation that is derived primarily from a person’s introduction of other persons to participate in the plan or operation rather than from the sale of a product by a person introduced into the plan or operation.

It gets even better. Amy said she spent over $125,000 to purchase products from Mary Kay, and that “… Mary Kay intentionally and grossly deceived [Amy] as to the extent of an actual retail market for the resale of the goods purchased from it at wholesale by [Amy] and the other members of its sales force…”

Yes, Amy said that the ACTUAL RETAIL MARKET for the products is low.

Amy also alleged that Mary Kay lies to recruits when telling them that they will “own their own business”:

By agreeing to acquire her beauty consulting business as an independent contractor, entrepreneur and the owner of her own business as a result of her contracts with Mary Kay, Defendant/Counterclaimant was a consumer of the Plaintiff/Counterdefendant goods and services as that term is defined under §17.45 of the Texas Business and Commerce Code, having relied on the written and oral representations of Plaintiff/Counterdefendant that, as an “independent dealer” she was the “owner of her own business.” Throughout her relationship with Mary Kay, until the very end, she was deceived by the company’s continuous, non-stop, orchestrated campaign through speeches at the annual Seminars, business opportunity meetings, CDs, DVDs, cassette/VCR tapes, brochures, letters and emails, representing to her and the other Consultants in her National Sales Director unit (known as her “Area”), and throughout the company for that matter, that they were being provided by Mary Kay the business opportunity of “owning” their “own business.”

This is awfully funny, because Amy  said this exact thing to women she was recruiting, so her hands are as dirty as Mary Kay’s on this issue.

More on the lack of a retail market for Mary Kay Cosmetics:

Mary Kay intentionally and grossly deceived the Defendant/Counterclaimant as to the non-existence of a viable retail market for the resale of the goods purchased from it at wholesale by Defendant/Counterclaimant and the other members of its sales force, making the sale of “her own business” to Defendant/Counterclaimant, which consisted of the bundle of tangible services and products acquired by her, a sham transaction, of little or no value to the Defendant/Counterclaimant. Since Defendant/Counterclaimant could not retail more than a small percentage of the goods she purchased from Mary Kay at wholesale prices, she was forced to give away most of the goods to prospects, and ultimately, to charitable organizations. Contrary to Mary Kay’s misrepresentations to Defendant/Counterclaim regarding the existence of a strong and viable retail market for its goods, the only real market for its goods is the sale at wholesale prices of same by it directly to new IBCs disguised as “training,” “start-up” and “fast start” packages, wholesale sales by Mary Kay to those IBCs caught in the web spun by Mary Kay manifested by its compensation scheme…

What??? Someone who was so successful that she got to the top position in the pyramid, and she couldn’t actually sell “more than a small percentage” of the products she bought from Mary Kay? And the real market for the products is consultants, and that’s why large inventory packages are pushed?

That is EXACTLY what we’ve been saying at Pink Truth for more than a decade, yet corporate and the NSDs deny that this is the case. Here is someone who made it to the upper ranks, who says we’re right.

And in case you didn’t understand the first time that Amy Dunlap is saying consultants are only able to sell a very small quantity of products:

… when in truth and in fact the vast majority of its sales volume is made up of the wholesale purchases by its own sales force who are then unable to retail what they have bought from the company.This lack of a retail market, which manifests itself in the inability by the Mary Kay sales force to make retail sales of the vast bulk of the items purchased by the sales force at wholesale, is well known to Mary Kay. Mary Kay conveniently hides behind its public position that virtually all of the wholesale sales to its sales force result in retail sales of those products but pleads ignorance to knowing the extent of the actual paucity of retail sales since it does not track retail sales made by its sales force. Mary Kay’s own corporate interests are well served by this dodge, as all the while it is racking up record sales and profits of its own merely by the sale of its items to its own sales force, many of whom are operating under and themselves perpetuating the myth perpetrated by the company that retail sales are what drives it.

If possible, it gets even better. Amy Dunlap admits to cheating to get through NIQ (national in qualification), buying more than $48,000 of products to help the units in her area meet the requirements so Amy could become a national sales director:

During the time she was a National Sales Director in Qualification (NIQ)
Defendant/Counterclaimant and her husband invested more than $48,000.00 in wholesale purchase of products from Mary Kay in order to help eighteen of her Sales Directors meet the stringent $4,000.00 per month minimum qualification for each of their sales units each month for four months, in order for  Defendant/Counterclaimant become an NSD.

And Amy says that “dozens” of others got to the position of nsd in the same way. She claims this cheating is systemic:

Mary Kay supposedly had rules to prevent this kind of “garage qualification” but everybody knew how to go around the rules because they were taught by their trainers how to do it.

We’re always told that any negative experiences we had in Mary Kay were because of “one bad apple,” but Amy clearly admits this isn’t the truth. The deception and cheating run very deep

She reveals the problem with the DIQ (director in qualification) process, and people buying their way up the career ladder:

As a consequence of this Mary Kay scheme, the vast majority of those attempting to qualify in the DIQ and NIQ categories rack up huge purchases of unneeded product from Mary Kay accompanied by crushing, bankruptcy causing, mortgage defaulting, divorce causing debt. If a consultant gives up after putting out the $4,000.00 per month for a month or two, or simply falls short of that amount in the third month, they lose their entire investment, have a garage full of product that they will not be able to sell, and lose all of their second and third line recruits and, by Mary Kay rules of qualification, can never get them back.

Amy outs some of the women who cheated in this way:

As for other examples of Consultants who have fallen into this deceptive trade trap laid by Mary Kay: consultant Gena Gass borrowed tens of thousands of dollars, Michele Sudeth had to obtain a second mortgage on her home, and Donna Meixsell put what she lacked in NIQ on retired Senior National Sales Director Pat  Fortenberry’s credit card.

Yes, at the time Donna Meixsell was going through NIQ, we reported allegations of this cheating on Pink Truth.

Don’t forget that Amy has also revealed in this case how little money she made at the top of the pyramid.

When you roll around with pigs, you should expect to get dirty. Both Amy Dunlap and Mary Kay are pigs in this case. They use dirty, deceptive tactics to recruit women and convince them to buy inventory that they have little hope of being able to sell. Thus, Amy’s outrage at Mary Kay’s practices is ridiculous.


    1. TRACY

      There was a confidential settlement. I suspect it included Amy agreeing not to contact anyone affiliated with MK (including those who were in her area) and to never speak of MK again. Doubtful that money changed hands. It was more about MK sending a message to representatives to not cross them or YOU TOO could be subject to a messy and expensive lawsuit. (Also why they sued liquidators and others selling on eBay.)

      1. Kay N. Cadette-Chan

        Well Im glad I found this group to confirm my “spidey-senses “ that were going off like a fire drill!!! I barely made it through my first quarter…. I eas strapped for cash and I was told that if I “invested” my RENT $$$ ?, I would double it before the end of the month?!?

        Wait WHAT??? Then I was encouraged to get the MK crefit card to get inventory, etc. I guess they all gave up on me because evetything they said or suggested, I had questions!! Game recognize Game!!! Sorry Boo but I remember the playground game about old lady witch and I learned that in Kgn!!
        “Old lady witch
        Sitting on a bench
        Trying to make a dollar out of 15 cents!
        She missed, she missed, she missed like THIS!!
        (That means she didn’t make it happen ??‍♀️BTW)

  1. raisinberry

    This is why I stand by my charge that Mary Kay Corp is a treacherous predator. They KNOW what is going on, and they PRETEND that they are beyond SHOCKED! that such a claim can be made against them! ( Laura Bietler comes to mind.)

    WHO can continue to work for these people? Seriously! Those of you Corporate employees assigned to monitor this site….can you REALLY keep doing this knowing what creepy people are driving this pyramid scheme?? You really want to support them??

  2. MLM Radar

    So Amy bought over $125,000 in inventory in how many years? And it took her that long and that much money to figure out there was no real end-user market for the junk? Mmmm hmmm.

    As high as she rose in the company, that makes her dumber than a box full of rocks, or voluntarily blind, or a co-conspirator. I’m thinking all three.

    However revealing her accusations, and they are extremely revealing, her lengthy participation in perpetuating the scheme also makes those accusations become self-incrimination.

    I guess it was ok for her, as long as she was profiting from the lies.

    1. Jeanette

      I couldn’t AGREE with you more! And I read nothing of her monthly check that she received @ 13% of all orders placed from everyone under her in her “pyramid”. Common Sense has to be used.

      1. K

        The thing about the commission though is it is an incentive provided by the company. In a pyramid scheme, that 13% would come out of the recruit’s profit, but Mary Kay corporate pays all commissions out of their own pocket.

        1. TRACY

          The money MK is paying as commissions is effectively coming out of the recruit’s profit because the recruit sends money for the products, and MK sends commission to the recruiter. Substance over form.

  3. Bethany

    I can see why she pushed so much and racked up so much debt to get to NSD. I could only imagine how much pressure there was and how intense your need would be for self-preservation at that level.

    At a certain point, it’s less scary to keep going and just hope to God you can recoup than to cut your losses and step away losing EVERYTHING you spent years building. That’s the eventual death knell in every MLM….the system itself is like a house built on sand. It will come down, not if but when.

    But yea, still makes her completely complicit and a deplorable predator.

  4. Love MK

    I don’t know how I stumbled upon this ignorant website. Wow! Whoever created this “pinktruth” has obviously never met Mary Kay Ash, nor has any knowledge of how she intended this company to run. Maybe you invested in inventory and then we’re too lazy to sell it?? Or maybe you got a bunch of rejections and quit because you didn’t have the will to move forward. Whatever it is how dare you have the audacity to criticize this company that has stood the test of time for over 50 years. Of course there are going to be people in the organization that screw up and cheat there way through things, but those are NOT the people I know and I’m sad for you that you have come up with this garbage of a website. Your life is based on decisions YOU make! Not everyone else around you. Don’t blame Mary Kay because you did not succeed to your standards.

    1. TRACY

      I don’t have to meet Mary Kay Ash (who is dead, so I can’t meet her) in order to know what a scam this company is. It doesn’t matter what she intended. (Although the truth is that she was a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and knew that she could offer tiny trinkets in order to get women to order products.)

      Being lazy is not my problem. I have a very successful REAL business, and I do better than almost all of the nsds in MK. So dispense with the nonsense that I didn’t know what I was doing.

      This site has almost nothing to do with my personal experience in MK, other than I saw firsthand the deception at the core of all sales directors. Lying and cheating is rampant in the company. You can see it in the materials sales directors use to lure in new recruits. I could go on, but you can browse the site. There are all kinds of articles about the deception.

      I blame Mary Kay for exactly what they should be blamed for: Lying to women to lure them into a fake business opportunity that is nothing more than a pyramid scheme in which almost everyone will lose money.

    2. Formykids

      Another pro MK rant with absolutely no hard facts and numerical data to back it up. Let’s see the schedule C’s of the thousands and thousands of financially successful IBCs and SDs and you can put this entire web site to bed. Wait, what?, other than a small handful of NSDs at the very top of the pyramid, you cannot provide proof of significant earnings for the millions and millions of people that have been churned through MK. MKs own published numbers even point out the scam. 4 billion in annual revenue with 3.5 million IBCs worldwide for a whopping $1143 each per year. Sounds good to me……NOT.

        1. TRACY

          You couldn’t possibly know “many” because there are so few that actually make 6 figures. All you have to do to verify this is take a look at the commission listings in Applause magazine.

    3. Jeanette

      AMEN- … Got to go, on my way to Bless some ladies with fellowship & just make them feel special. Life is not ALL about $$$, but if you do your MK business (like Mary Kay Ashe wanted it done) … You make money .

      1. pinkvictim

        “Bless some ladies with fellowship”


        You mean the prosperity gospel garbage that Kaybots use to enhance the cult mind control?

        “Life is not ALL about $$$”

        Are you familiar with Stacie Bosley? Stacie Bosley, economics professor at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota…? Stacie Bosley who testified as an expert witness on behalf of the Federal Trade Commission, in a lawsuit alleging the Vemma Nutrition Company, a purported multi-level energy-drink seller, was actually pyramid scheme..?

        Yeah, THAT Stacie Bosley. Here’s some advice from an expert:

        “I’m hesitant to suggest it’s advisable for a woman to rationalize her experience through her social returns at the expense of significant financial losses.”


        Are you making money? Post your MKrap Schedule C, then we’ll talk.

        1. QueenOfTheTanned

          “Bless some ladies with fellowship and make them feel special”–if touting MaryKay is the foundation of this ‘blessing’ than this is a hollow blessing. I didn’t realize when “two or three are gathered in Mary Kay’s name, there will I be…” or should is be “there she will be”? Ugh. These people make me ill.

        2. Jeanette

          I’m on Disability due to MS… therefore I use MK as a hobby… NO RECRUITS… I’ll walk on a stage, just a HOBBY… I will not be responding, have better things to do than answer to bitter ppl.

          1. TRACY

            If you are selling the product and making any money, you are required by law to claim the income on your income tax return. To not do so is tax fraud.

            You are likely also committing disability insurance fraud, as I bet you’re not reporting this work or source of income.

            The plot thickens!

            1. Jeanette

              Tracy… I am smart enough to check out the disability laws, social security requirements & tax laws. I did that instead of staying on a bitter website all day. And I’m done wasting time on this one.

      2. BestDecision

        MK Ash actually wanted us to profit from our business. It’s clear you’ve no idea the history of how she got started or why. She didn’t create a sisterhood or sorority but a BUSINESS MODEL.

        Money doesn’t buy happiness, but it sure pays the bills! When Cadillac Directors aren’t even clearing $30,000 for the year, something is very wrong.

        I’m betting you have on a fake bar pin on your shoulder. Or you’re one of those that embarrassed us all at Seminar by wearing your rosettes on your shoulder. Or house slippers. You probably have some huge fake ring that you show off to everyone saying you “won” it in MK.

        Please. Please realize how bad you’re making yourself look by calling MK’s business a “fellowship”.

      3. MLM Radar

        If you “do” your business the way Mary Kay wanted it done you make A Little Bit of money, in occasional bursts, while your Director makes a good bit more off of you and anyone you recruit.

        That’s not fellowshipping. That’s not blessing anyone. Mary Kay and every other MLM are not ministries. They’re financial scams, and you’ve swallowed the bait. Claiming God as your business partner does not change the lies into truths. Quoting “name it and claim it” scripture only sugar-coats the lies.

        If you think multi-level marketing is a form of fellowship, that means you’ve gone beyond self-deception and become a deceiver of others.

        Don’t believe me? Read Matthew 7:21-23. Those are the verses just after “ask and it will be given to you.” Then think about it. Think very, very carefully about it.

    4. onelessSD

      Obviously you haven’t been in MK long.. or haven’t risen in the ranks yet… because as you rise in the ranks- or have been in the company for a length of time- you see the lying, cheating, deceiving- all over the place. When I was in MK – I worked hard. I earned diamond rings, I was a sales director. I did everything I thought was good to do to further my career… that included deceiving people to get where I wanted. I would have been 4 people short of DIQ qualification if I been strictly playing by the rules. I called a local sales director friend- she said “sign up anyone that would do it- purchase their kit and $200 order- just get it done”. So I followed her advice and did just that. Viola = instant sales director. (never felt good about that).

      All of this to say- the deception is rampant- EVERYWHERE. The lying is everywhere. This is a corrupt company and deserves to be shut down. I wasted too many years chasing directorship, trying to keep directorship, then trying to recoup from directorship.

      PinkTruth has it right- MK is a predatory company. Read a little more, dig a little more- you’ll discover the truth for yourself.

      1. BestDecision

        Amen! How many new units don’t have a single fake member in them? How many Directors gave up careers with stability, only to struggle for YEARS after debuting?

    5. BestDecision

      MK corporate is ABSOLUTELY to blame for turning an eye from all the cheating. When recognition is awarded for how many charcoal masks are ordered but not SOLD, it’s a joke. (By the way, MK is severely outdated in just now launching this product. So many other brands have had theirs out for YEARS.)

      Go look at Laura Beitler, an attorney for MK, deny on 20/20 that MKI isn’t aware of the ordering problem. Watch how those Cadillac Directors have no idea how much their net profits were. (And before you lecture me on how “lazy” I was and didn’t apply myself, I drove Cadillacs and had diamond bar pins to prove otherwise. Do you?)

      If you’re not making money, it’s a hobby. Hobbies are fine, but don’t dare promote it as a lucrative, attainable business when people aren’t tracking or making profits.

      Seminar is about to start, and MK is going to make a FORTUNE of people’s hopes and dreams. There’s rampant favoritism (hello, Sean Key and Gloria and Pam and…), and there are more fake winners on that stage than people who did it legitly.

      You’ve clearly not gotten beyond your little Red Jacket to be so naive.

      1. Bethany

        “The KKK has survived the test of time for over 50 years. I’m not sure I get your point.”

        Love MK, maybe you should dig into those boxes of mkcrap sitting around your house and grab some MK After Sun Replenishing Gel because you just got burned.

  5. pinkvictim

    “Whoever created this “pinktruth” has obviously never met Mary Kay Ash…”

    Have you?

    Show us your latest Schedule C for your MKrap “business”, then we can talk.

    1. Jeanette

      I actually just seen all of your wonderful comments & i need to go pick up my son… but I’ll be glad to show the benefits as soon as i can spare some time… & as far as blessing some women… get real with common sense whoever said I was comparing idols I think… no wasting time to look.. Fun… Laughter & the first time i had an elderly lady cried because i spent a couple of hours with her & pampered her… those kind of times mean everything to me… sad that some ppl don’t enjoy them. Be back

        1. Jeanette

          Best Decision-
          One Monday I left work making $55K, went to my Doc on Tuesday morning & found out that I had Multiple Sclerosis & would not be able to work another day in my life & income dropped to $23K (after purchasing our 1st home 3 months prior) … So after working full time during the day & going to school @ night part & full time to get my Bachelor Degree, working my way up from teller to VP…I was extremely depressed… my neurologist told me to find something that I could control & enjoy….. So Yes It is My HOBBY…

          1. BestDecision

            Please hear my sincerity when I say I’m relieved to see you admitting and acknowledging that it’s just a hobby for you. Many, many others won’t, and I think that’s what fires a lot of us up on here. So many people won’t admit their net profits, and they claim to be making an “executive income”. There’s a LOT of cheating going on, and I know a lot of us just want it to be called out and stopped.

            I’m astonished your neurologist made you think you can’t work another day in your life when, just the day before, you were. I understand MS completely, and my family member still works. I know each case is different, but that sounds quite harsh and defeating to tell a patient they just can’t work in any way anymore.

            I sincerely wish you good health and happiness. Should you ever be tempted to start making MK an income for yourself, just be forewarned. Watch the 20/20 episode. Know that I drove Cadillacs, had Offspring Directors, and walked on the stage every year. I am so happy to have resigned and walked away from a brand and sales force that acts like it does.

        1. Jeanette

          Tracy… I don’t recall saying anything about pushing products or even making a sale… As a matter of fact, I didn’t make a sale – I made a friend & a great memory.

          1. TRACY

            Key part of my comment: “and/or”

            Mary Kay is an abusive company. Don’t let your desire to do something nice for an elderly person justify your association with MK.

            1. Jeanette

              Last Comment on This… wasting my time…
              I have BENEFITED from MK … I can run a business to make money, & I feel no need to justify anything I do to anyone on this Earth.

  6. Now Purple

    Anyone remember that Amy was the NSD of Hilari Courtney which cheated through NIQ and “finished” but then wasn’t allowed to and was put on probation then terminated?

  7. Shaye

    Well written and informative. Good work. Whilst I appreciate this site is predominantly about MLM’s I would be interested in reading other work by yourself in the consumer protection/information arena.

  8. Doris Gessner

    It’s obvious to me that many of the posters on here do not understand the meaning of Direct Sales, Multilevel Selling and Network Marketing. Mary Kay is a DIRECT SALES Company, which means there is one purchase by a Consultant or Director from the company (which happens to be at 50% of the retail price of the product) and one sale from the Consultant or Director to the consumer. We are not to advertise, except by word of mouth and with bumper stickers etc. provided by Mary Kay.

    There are no ‘fake’ winners on the Mary Kay Seminar Stage, this company is authentic as you can get. Anyone who thinks differently is simply a bad loser. I’ve been with Mary Kay as a Consultant and as a Director and Senior Director for over 45 years and my original Director, whose group (Unit) I was in was recruited by Rubye Lee when she lived in Dallas. Anyone who is mad at Mary Kay it is because of something they did that was against our corporate image and rules and they have only themselves to blame if they are upset.

    1. TRACY

      Nice try, Doris. While there is a direct sales component to MK, the company is absolutely MLM based on the fact that there is recruiting into multiple levels of the pyramid.

      Here is the simplest evidence of the fake winners: MK has something called Court of Sales. Except you don’t have to actually SELL anything to get on it. All you have to do is order products from the company. No one checks if you ever sell a single product. That is dishonest at the core.

      You shouldn’t be so proud that you’ve spent 45 years with a company and have nothing to show for it. You weren’t able to get past senior director. You don’t have any retirement. What are you going to do now? Probably you should have worked harder so you could have become an NSD. After all, anyone can do it if they’re willing to follow the MK way. (THat was sarcasm, by the way.)

      We’re not “mad at MK” for the things WE did. We’re mad at the lies that are/were told by corporate and its representatives.

    2. BestDecision

      You must not be very sociable to deny there are fake winners onstage. I personally know DOZENS. While you’ve been in since the early 70s, and I admit it might not have been that bad back then, I’m sad that you are at least in your mid-60s, aren’t an NSD, and have no retirement coming to you for your decades of service to MK.

      You’ve never heard someone say they “finished production” themselves?

      You’ve never heard someone say they used a family member to finish a recruiting goal?

      With all due respect, you must be living in a bubble or under a rock. Even at DIT Week, the conversations at lunch were always comparisons with how many people’s Starter Kits and orders the next person paid for, how much production they had to finish themselves to not fall off, etc. This is beyond the DOUBLE CREDIT that MK gives almost yearly now. If someone actually sold so much, they wouldn’t need Double Credit to get their ring or bee.

      Please, open your eyes!

    3. MLM Radar

      Doris, you have an absolutely false idea of what multi-level marketing is. In all the Direct Sales MLM companies my family and friends have tried, the products always came directly from the company to the consultant/distributor.

      A Direct Sales company becomes an MLM when the COMMISSIONS are paid to multiple levels, just like in Mary Kay. When a Mary Kay recruit makes a purchase, half of her product purchase price is turned over to the multiple levels above her: the recruiter gets a commission, the director gets a commission and bonuses, the senior director gets a share, and everyone else up through the NSD also gets a share through unit production bonuses.

      It’s even more obvious when the biggest commissions are paid to people above the recruiter. That is, the people who did the actual work didn’t get paid for it.

      But you go ahead and tell yourself that I’m wrong and you’re right. I don’t care. You’ve been repeating the fogged-up lies to yourself and everyone else for 45 years, so I doubt you’ll change now.

      Just stay AWAY from my friends and family, because every time you and one of your ilk tries to snare someone I know and love, I’m going to be in your face exposing your lies for what they are.

    4. pinkvictim

      I doubt Doris will come back, but for those who follow, Doris is seriously deluded. In fact, I am inclined to think that maintaining that type of delusion for that extended amount of time may actually physically alter the brain. No joke.

      As for that MKult is not multi-level marketing, it’s “dual marketing” lie, please explain why these sources refer to MKult as MLM… AND why MKorpse never asks for a correction:


      Oh yeah, I forgot about the Attorney General of the State of Michigan:


      Lastly, John Oliver and 9,021,862 viewers seem to agree that MKult is a MLM scam:


    5. Jeanette

      Well Said & Thank You Doris…
      Yes, some ppl do not know how to manage direct sales businesses OR brick & mortar businesses.
      Fortunately for those of us who DO know how to manage our Direct Sales Businesses, we get the benefits of being Beauty Consultants for Mary Kay .

      1. TRACY

        “Direct sales” is a phrase that is used to conceal the true nature of the scheme. Mary Kay is an endless chain recruiting scheme. It is also not a business. And in MLM, almost everyone loses money.

      2. pinkvictim

        Jeanette, last 3 years of Schedule C’s please.

        Jeanette and Doris demonstrate one of the key elements to a destructive mind control cult: Blame the victim.

        Doris and Jeanette would tell a woman she should have had her door locked after she was car jacked.

          1. pinkvictim

            Above you said, “I can run a business to make money, & I feel no need to justify anything I do to anyone on this Earth.”

            Yet, you collect disability? You might have to justify that to the SSA investigators.

            It’s amazing how the mind control distorts thinking so much that someone will admit to committing fraud, fail to see that they are admitting fraud, and then excuse it with some kind of ends justify the means claim of “helping others” or “doing God’s work.”

            1. Jeanette

              Wasting my time again BUT… my disability doesn’t allow me to do the job I had to leave when i got diagnosed. Someone on disability is allowed to make so much per year… it’s called “Ticket to work “ … Suggestion- before ranting on internet Board’s & making comments about topics you know nothing about, do research.

              1. TRACY

                But the question is, do you report your income? You already said you don’t report it for tax purposes (even though that’s required by law), so I have to wonder if you report it to the SSA. It’s an interesting program (https://www.ssa.gov/work/overview.html), but I’m curious how you work this one. If you report to one federal agency that you’re working and making money, but you don’t report to another, that seems awfully sketchy.

              2. pinkvictim

                What’s a little tax fraud and disability fraud when you’re already involved in a international product-based pyramid scheme?

                Jeanette, fraud is your existence. I actually wouldn’t be surprised if you’re Doris’ sockpuppet.

          2. BestDecision

            So, to keep your disability, you’re limiting your income potential intentionally, and you said you order less than $5,000. So, your gross profit is $2,500/year. You do realize that is poverty level in the U.S.?

            And I have a family member with MS. Good luck with the stress of MK not causing havoc with your body.

            1. Jeanette

              Thank you for your interest in my life… although I don’t believe it’s for the right reasons. As far as knowing the laws… one of my MK Unit Members works for SS DISABILITY… I believe she is the best source I have as far as what’s required & not required.
              And I do genuinely mean this… I hope your family member is doing well or as well as possible with their MS. It is a miserable disease that most people can’t understand that just small joys in life are a good thing.

              1. TRACY

                My “interest in your life” is solely a result of you coming here to throw shit on us for not knowing how to run a business and being bitter…. all the while you are busy committing tax fraud and maybe lying to the SSA. Don’t hate on me because I pointed out your bad behavior.

                    1. raisinberry

                      Have any of you guys noticed how rampant hypocrisy is these days? How people seem to be incapable of seeing that their own behavior mirrors what they accuse others of, but they are unable to reverse positions and see their own hypocritical behavior? This article is about CHEATING, and deception, no??

              2. BestDecision

                I do understand the small joys in life. That would be one of the reasons I resigned and shipped my product back. Nights at home with my family, benefits, paid time off, not having to think about what’s going on with my business while I’m on vacation or sick, weekends completely free, not having to run on the hamster wheel of gaining and losing customers or unit members.

                And I gladly left a company that charges $2 per cellophane bag and ribbon. The company that has LIED for YEARS about testing on animals. That turns a blind eye on NSDs charging monstrous amounts for training. The same company that weakened us all with DIQ starting at 8 Active, only to circle around and repeat it years after so many struggling Directors are no more.

                While you might not be able to do the exact job you once did, I do hope you seek another avenue than MK to secure a better income than the one you’re making. There’s lots of opportunities out there!

                1. Jeanette

                  I basically have MK as my hobby because my Doctor told me to do something that got me out of the house. I only order what I need to fill orders (& of course what I want lol)… I never plan on recruits or walking on any stage… I can definitely see where some ppl get head over debt (actually seen it ) but I just wanted to shake her & say… are you really selling this much or is “name withheld “ talking you into ordering this much???
                  But I do not have that problem… fortunately I approach it like my Doc wants me to… as a relaxing hobby… no one gonna get mad if their mascara a day late – if they do, I refer them to another consultant without MS LOL

                    1. Jeanette

                      I said i was DONE WITH YOU TRACY… I’m actually having good conversations/debates with the other members. …. You have degraded & cussed me… no one else has been that rude. That’s why I no longer wish to waste time with you.

                    2. Jeanette

                      Ahhh… Mary Kay has nothing on you as far as “bullying “… I guess you speak for everyone on the ENTIRE WEBSITE now basically because you have no better come backs than cussing & silly phrases. …
                      To everyone that believes I’m committing fraud…I’ve looked @ my post, didn’t see actually saying that I made $$$…
                      1. I order products as needed
                      2. I purchase delivery bags from $ store… totally agree with person about not buying $2 plastic bags, now that’s crazy!
                      3. I have a child— don’t want a recruit to be responsible for…
                      4. My Director knows exactly why I signed my MK Contract & is HAPPY with whatever I do… NEVER pushes our unit to buy more than what we sell… Probably why we have lasted so long.
                      5. Let me repeat, I order products I need for me & my clients…
                      6. Do I make $ , after gas, $ store Bags, Give always , Discounts… I seriously doubt it
                      7. Have I went into a sever depression AGAIN (especially after my Mom who never approves of anything me or my child does moved in a year ago) … NO I HAVE NOT… Because I only deal with ppl I want to deal with & my ass is not on the couch thinking of the Career I lost.
                      I don’t know how long I’ll do MK , but I definitely hope I’m not as bitter as Tracy, who has spoken for EVERYONE & told me I’m done on this website & I am done with Tracy but wish you all well in future endeavors & most definitely good health, please don’t take for granted.

                    3. TRACY

                      Jeanette – I was committed to not letting you post here again because you’re just wasting everyone’s time, but you’ve made this so interesting that I had to let one more comment go through. I am very curious that you are saying you “seriously doubt” you make money. Yet 2 days ago, you said you do. Your story keeps changing, and that’s part of how insidious Mary Kay is. It’s the little white lies that turn into bigger lies, that lead to women losing thousands of dollars with this company. Make no mistake, you’re part of the problem.

                      A screenshot of what you said 2 days ago:

              3. Barbie

                This is a good time to point out that close friends are probably the worst people from whom to get financial or legal (including tax) advice. You will be more likely to trust them implicitly, which puts you at risk for acting on bad advice, or worse, becoming a victim of or accomplice to fraud.

  9. Formykids

    You can run from being an MLM, but you can’t hide. As soon as there are commissions coming from the production of people you recruited under you, bam, you are an MLM, period, by definition. Your inability to even own this simple truth makes anything else you say have zero credibility. If you have been in for 45 years you should be one of the great financial successes, so all you have to do is provide proof….schedule Cs please…..and you can put us all in our place. Pretty simple and honest really.

  10. Changeyourthinking

    I like how MK tries to claim they are a “dual market” or “direct sales” simply because consultants buy their product from the company and everyone supposedly pays the same price. Even their faulty promotion of what an MLM is and is not can’t hold water because it’s not even true. Directors make commission off of their own orders! This means they pay less for products than everyone below them!
    And for the record, I don’t think MK would be all that bad IF and this is a big IF commissions were paid out based on actual retail sales!!! Instead, a new recruit comes in with a “star order” and the uplines get paid. Cha-Ching. Their job is done. They can pretend to be ethical and do everything they can to teach you/show you how to sell the product. And if you don’t, you’re a grown woman and the blood is not on their hands. It’s your fault for being lazy, not getting out of your comfort zone, not taking God as your business partner, not having good time management, not investing in “personal growth”, whatever emotional manipulation they feel like using at the moment. When in reality, the market is completely oversaturaded and it’s totally creepy to scope out strangers in malls to “warm chatter” aka stalk them. After four years of mind control, it’ll take me awhile to fully believe my failure is not my fault. But it’s not. And it’s not yours either.

    1. TRACY

      You’re right that it would be better to pay commission on actual sales. That would make it a legitimate business. The problem is that MK would fail because there are not enough retail sale to legitimate customers to prop up the business model. The company knows that tons of products sit in basements and garages. The sales directors and NSDs rely on large inventory orders to keep the money flowing, even though most of that product will never be sold to an actual customer.

    2. Lazy Gardens

      I don’t think MK would be all that bad IF and this is a big IF commissions were paid out based on actual retail sales!

      LuLaRoe switched from bonuses based on downlines orders to bonuses based on sales made through their proprietary ordering system … the uplines are really, really hurting. And angrily shrieking.

      Cash sales, any other payment system sales (PayPal, Square, etc) don’t count toward their bonus checks.

      1. BestDecision

        They also can’t “require” proof of retail sold because it would make us employees. Then we’d actually be taken care of with benefits, etc. but would cost MK a ton more money.

    3. MLM Radar

      After four years of mind control, it’ll take me awhile to fully believe my failure is not my fault. But it’s not. And it’s not yours either.

      But you didn’t fail! Instead, you made a clear, logical decision that successful businesses everywhere make! It took a while, then you realized what you were doing wasn’t profitable, not for you, and not for anyone else you wanted to help. So you made the best decision of all – you cut off the losses and discontinued your participation in MK.

      You only thought you failed because you couldn’t get ahead in the con game. You thought you failed because you were told quitters are losers. You were bullied into accepting that. But they were wrong.

      You didn’t fail. When you quit Mary Kay, you won your life back.


  11. Justbeinhonest

    Hi ladies and gent,
    (I am assuming some guys are following this as well)
    I wanted to say my experiences with MK have not been like what is being described. Perhaps it is because for myself this is not to make large amounts of money or to have it be my full time job/life. For me, it is to be able to put a little bit of $$ aside for a rainy day fund. For me the ladies I have met so far have been great! Positive ladies and caring. None of them have made me feel that if I don’t make a sale or don’t have product that I am failing myself or anything. I am quite sure that like anything in life there is always something bad somewhere. For me my goals with MK are to be able to have a rainy day fund. I want to also make it known that the ladies I joined with didn’t pressure me or make it seem as if I would make “bank” with this company. I was told that there are ups and downs and that it is all in what you make of it.
    For me, that makes sense. I have not spent a lot of money on products. I feel if ladies and gents want to purchase the products I will happily order them. I have a little bit on hand but I refuse to buy lots of product because if someone doesn’t want it why am I going to have lots of it?
    Again, I just want to say that, the ladies in my area haven’t made/said or truly come across as being all about sales or pushing. I have been encouraged to do MK sales how I feel works best for me.
    I wish others had the experince I have. It has been emotionally good for me. I guess I am selfish in joining it because I joined for the friendships and self esteem boost of other ladies.
    Best to you all and may your day be filled with love and good people.

    1. Barbie

      There are people who can join MLMs without ruining themselves financially, but joining one implicitly endorses it as a business model. The people on this site aren’t always talking about their own experiences–sometimes their talking about what they’ve seen happen to others. So, while your experience may not have been bad, the Mary Kay model of recruiting, front-loading, and guilt is predatory.

      When you read about these experiences, try believing them. Try reading their accounts as things that happened to them, not as bitter, biased rants, and then try to reconcile it with what you know. Don’t be afraid if something doesn’t feel right.

      We all have a responsibility to not just look out for ourselves, but for one another. A system that doesn’t hurt you could still hurt other people, and that matters. It matters so, so much.

      1. Justbeinhonest

        And as I had stated there is something bad in almost all business. No matter if it is an MLM or a Doctor’s office. There are negatives. (Absolutely no catty tone in any of this)
        My having said my experiences was only to show positives that are also able to occur. Not at all to take away from the reason of the article. It is quite possible to state a positive as well a negative.
        If I am misunderstanding your reply I do apologize.
        Be well.

        1. Barbie

          What I meant was that the positives don’t outweigh the negatives. Yes, all industries have negatives. As a society, we should be working to correct those, not to defend them. Focusing on the positives is only really a good option when there is literally nothing that can be done about the negatives.

    2. Char

      “For me my goals with MK are to be able to have a rainy day fund.”

      So what you’re saying is you’re not one to rob the teller holding a gun, but willing to drive the get away car for a small cut of the loot.

      “I guess I am selfish in joining it because I joined for the friendships and self esteem boost of other ladies.”

      Remember, you’re only as good as the company you keep. You must be desperate to seek “friendships and self esteem” from a gang of liars disguised in heavy makeup and ugly suits. Sorry to sound so harsh, but it is what it is, and at the very least – nothing to brag about.

      “For me the ladies I have met so far have been great! Positive ladies and caring.”

      Yep. I too have never met a con artist who was unfriendly, mean, and exclaimed they were going to take advantage of me. Enter positive, great, caring, ladies who miraculously become your new best friends – with orders.

      1. Justbeinhonest

        Nope!! But if you would kindly retract your claws. I see that having commented on this thread I should have been prepared for piranhas. Making my words to be more than explaining a positive experience had by one; well that just proves what others have said. Anger! Sheer anger is fueling comments. Forgive me for no longer following any of this. I will be unsubscribing to this blog. I did not make any comments that called for me to be verbally assualted by others. I am truly sorry that MK has ruined parts of peoples lives. I wish only happiness for all.

        If bad mouthing me and tearing my words apart are what are making your anger and resentment feel relieved than please do as you need.
        But know as I am sure all of our children are taught be kind to others, anger follows us off of our cyber lives. Be kind. AND even if your hatred for MK runs deep. Atleast remember the golden rule!! Do unto others you would have done to you.
        I do give back and I do my taxes correctly and I make sure to be honest with my clients..i have not attempted to have anyone else become a mary kay person. Nor do i plan on it. It is possible to do this and not be a bad person.
        Again be well and be blessed. May you always have love and good people in your life.

        1. Char

          It is indeed true that my patience is low for those who support scams, and rightly so. I try to tell it like it is. I’m sorry, but you posted defending con artists, and I take issue with that.

          In your defense, you clearly don’t realize what you are doing, and that your new fake friends only see you as a dollar sign. The reality is, I’m actually in your corner. They are the vultures, not me. I don’t want your money.

          BTW, your context is off. There is no good in the negative act of MLMing just as there is no good in stealing, swindling, or drunk driving. I suppose one ‘could’ say they had a positive experience when stealing a diamond that had a higher value than expected; or I only scratched the car instead of crashing it while driving drunk….and so on.

          This isn’t about being mean, hateful, or angry no more than any advocate against something that harms people is mean or hateful. I think the exploitation of women via the inherently flawed MLMing model and those who perpetuate it should be called out.

          I presume you read the article above, “Former National Sales Director Says Mary Kay is a Pyramid Scheme”.

  12. Juliet

    I am so confused as to how Mary Kay is able to continuing operating in this fashion as it is clear that indeed it has as its only purpose to recruit others, NOT the sales of cosmetics to a retail market via individual consultants. It is based in Texas, there have been lawsuits, is it that the Texas Attorney General chooses to be bought off, term after term, person after person? Can such schemes NOT be shut down by a true investigation by the Attorney General of the state in which they are registered? Mary Kay CLEARLY is a pyramid scheme despite corporate denials, SO WHY IS IT STILL OPERATING? And the same for Herbalife, etc., what is the magic key these bozos have that permits them to continue? IT IS INFURIATING.

    1. Char

      MONEY! Betsy Devos (Amway) sits in the president’s cabinet. The DSA has lobbyists.

      “How lobbying dollars prop up pyramid schemes” – http://www.theverge(dot)com/2014/4/8/5590550/alleged-pyramid-schemes-lobbying-ftc

      It’s such a shady business. This is why it’s up to the people to “Just Say NO” and put them out of business.

  13. Juliet

    so it IS within the scope of the Texas Attorney General’s office to investigate and prosecute and conceivably shut down pyramid schemes, but truly every one of them since the 60s has fallen to corruption – this is actually a question but sounds like a statement, I am just trying to work out the extent of collusion and its length, it is unbelievable but yet I know indeed very much real. Of course I am referencing specifically Mary Kay here.

    1. Lazy Gardens

      Mary Kay – like most MLMs – keeps their corporate part right at the edge of what is allowed.

      They merely don’t discipline any SD or NSD whose claims are over the line – because, after all, those are INDEPENDENT consultants.

      Nice escape hatch.

  14. Mossy

    Wow there are a lot of interesting comments on both sides. I am a consultant but just for myself and my family. I personally love the products. So much that we were spending nearly $1200 a year between my daughter, mother-in-law and myself. Made better sense financially to sign up and save on what we needed and like to have. I sell to others if they ask about. I don’t go out and market the business as I already have a small business that pays the bills well.

    The profit margins are higher than Tupperware. (I buy Tupperware too..there are some awesome gadgets!) I’m sure there are misrepresentations all over the place with MK. In defense of the women who sell MK, many of them work very hard to make a little bit of money doing something they like doing. Many consultants are very nice women.

    Like with Tupperware, there are directors and leaders who pad their sales with out of pocket purchases to increase their position in the company. There is dishonesty all over the place I’m sure. I’m happy I signed as a consultant. I save hundreds of dollars annually on quality products that I and the women in my family consume. My boys also love the Clearproof Acne line so they too reap some benefits.

    1. MKHater

      I feel sure you can find the products you love here:

      or here:


      Acne cream? Dermatologist will prescribe something that will actually clear up the acne and you want have to be on the treadmill of treating the breakouts. There is no one size fits all treatment in acne.

      You save hundreds of dollars? Exactly how? if you are paying wholesale you are paying full price for the product.

      You’re an adult you get to make the decisions you want to live with. I have seen the destruction that Mary Kay has brought onto families.

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