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

Dishonesty and Manipulation in Mary Kay

pink-pyramid-selling-scamWritten by Raisinberry

One of the reasons you are kicking yourself for joining Mary Kay is that you knew it was suspicious from the beginning. You had some questions and you felt it in your gut, but you swept that idea aside because you fell for the charisma and sincerity of your “presenter.”

One of reasons you successfully got guests to attend is because you did not tell them the total truth, because if you did they would resist your invitation. You know this. You cheerfully called guest events by any other name besides recruiting meeting. Your first was innocent, being naïve and all, but eventually you figured it out… and bait and switch no longer bothered you.

Mary Kay thrives because of small seemingly insignificant “little white lies.”  Those white lies slowly assault your integrity in a way that you barely notice. We here at Pink Truth are chastised for “not taking responsibility” for our “lack of integrity” and I have to say we do own 50% of that issue.

You knew it was wrong to let our upline influence you to do questionable things in the name of “salesmanship” and “leadership.” You believed their advice, used their scripts, and silenced your negative concerns. We own all of our responses to their influence.

But the company knows exactly how these production numbers are achieved… and what the upline has done to get those numbers… yet looks the other way because the income potential is too great. Mary Kay Inc. bears some responsibility too.

The greatest attribute of a human being in an advertised “godly environment” would be that human’s trust. Ironically, trust turns out to be our greatest weakness. Since some want us to believe that Mary Kay could not be responsible for the deception we have fallen into, I guess we can be thankful that this character defect of “trust” has been made aware to us. We can now be assured that no human entity or organization declaring itself to be a God first, family second, career third proposition should be trusted. So be it. Lesson learned. Thank you Mary Kay.

It still begs the question though, how even from the beginning we understood that full disclosure – (honest communication!) would not create the “success” we were looking for. Some examples:

  • Don’t say “dollars”… just say the number “just 104”
  • Say “practice face” instead of sales appointment, she might not book otherwise.
  • Say, “you plus two,” that seems small and you can add more when coaching your hostess.
  • Call everyone in the fishbowl and tell them they won the free facial.
  • Say, “I was challenged by my Director” even though technically you weren’t, it makes people want to help you.
  • Use “yes answer” questions. They make the prospect agree with you, instead of finding out what they really think.
  • Use a choice between two things instead of asking a yes or no, like, would you want to take home the Miracle Set or the Ultimate Miracle set? Asking a direct question will many times get you a “no.”
  • You’re not “recruiting”, you are building a “team”… business associate is so much better!

Now, at this point, every sales person will object saying, these are just normal sales techniques and help control the presentation. But I ask you, when did sales manipulation become the norm?

Professional salespeople listen and discover where their product will benefit the consumer, not manipulate them with partial information and phony 1960’s sales gimmicks. Feel, Felt, Found is as old as the hills and few consumers have not heard it.

Real honest dialogue with a customer is not taught in Mary Kay because the whole of the sales training program is steeped in manipulation and passed down quips. If Sales Directors were actually out in the field USING the very information they teach, they would have discovered this already. “Would you rather splurge for that extra touch of class that comes from earning the Director’s suit, or would just wearing the red jacket be more of what you had in mind tonight?” Change the quip and the manipulation screams at you, doesn’t it?

What do they really teach? That honest communication will not get results. That faced with the truth in its entirety, their desired objectives will not be met.

  • Mary Kay is NOT a multi-level, when it surely is.
  • Mary Kay does not have downlines, when truly they do.
  • Mary Kay is about selling products to customers, when actually very little of that goes on and MK has no retail figures to back up this claim.
  • Mary Kay is not a pyramid, when an NSD and her organizational structure looks and acts remarkably like a pyramid.

The simple truth is, that from start to finish, sales presentation to meeting invite, orientation to directorship, all Mary Kay consultants are engaged in some form of deception that they have come to accept as “normal” and “acceptable.” This is how deceptive practices begin to escalate. When you aren’t even able to state your business aims directly but must cloak them in “Ladies Night Out,” “Pizza and Possibilities,” “Model Searches”… all designed to suck women in unawares to a “marketing”? No – It is a RECRUITING speech, you are steeped in the deception and dull witted to that truth.

Because those of us here at PinkTruth have shouted, “ENOUGH!”, we have exposed the game and practices that others are still engaging in. Our exposure is their pain, because they think that we are hurting their success and their reputations. They accuse us of a lack of integrity while they still refer to Mary Kay as a dual marketing venture, a number one selling brand, still use bait and switch guest invitations, manipulative sales ploys, and fail to fully disclose to their downlines, all that it really takes to succeed.

They still keep their earnings secret and never reveal that they co-pay for they car. They still stand at guest events telling their “high check,” and they still try and get the highest wholesale order they can from people they know have too much stock on their shelves already. You have to love the hypocrisy.

I imagine those integrity-chocked Directors and beauty consultants who blame us for our “fall,” do things differently than what we were taught to do. I bet when they have a conversation with their consultants, or a guest they are inviting, and she asks them if this is a recruiting event… they always say, “Yes.” I bet they always tell the names from the fishbowl that they all won. I bet they always order only what they sell no matter if the Unit is crashing, or the NSD’s trip is at stake, or their car production has dropped, or the contest, luncheon, name badge ribbon, leadership party or company contest is at stake.

I bet they never use “scripts,” distort facts, repeat exaggerated sales achievements. I bet they don’t use ordering gifts as a ploy for more wholesale at all! Why they probably call the company and put a stop on the orders of consultants who are attempting to finish “star” on their credit cards-not on their sales!

We here at Pink Truth accept the responsibility for continuing on long into the quagmire of deception. We are guilty. We trusted and we denied our own reality. We have started to see how we slipped and fell. And we stopped and we are out, or are getting out. Plus, we don’t want our people “sitting at the feet” of those who continue to deceive. Now, Miss Integrity… how about you?


  1. Shay

    One of reasons you successfully got guests to attend is because you did not tell them the total truth, because if you did they would resist your invitation

    Don’t forget something: when you first sign up you don’t know the whole truth yourself. You are to “share the dream” with others when you sign up.

  2. Char

    And the Idaho News thinks all the lies qualify as success to be reported. The man on the phone said so.

    In so many words, he agreed the two ladies picking up their pink cars were probably deceitful, but nevertheless, they were successful at what they do – deceit. Idaho News felt that was worth recognition! He brought up used cars salesmen. Yep, he thinks MK consultants are like used car salesmen, and they are – but a worse version IMO. At least people know how sleezy they can be.

    He asked if MK was so bad, why hasn’t it been shut down? I agree, but bad things are available to us every day. So, it is up to you to DO THE RIGHT THING.

    Mary Kay Corporate just hasn’t been busted yet. We can wait for the wheels of justice to catch up, or put them out of business by boycotting their products. Enough women banning together have that power. Now that would be empowering to women, shutting down a pyramid scheme; and not some used car sales man persona, getting less than minimum wage, destroying their family, selling crappy make up, playing princess dress up, and looking like a clown. How embarrassing and hardly something to be proud of.

    1. Char

      Just for some fun post, as the holidays are coming. I saw a blow up car in the X-mas section at HD. It got me giggling about the conversation with the Idaho News when he called MLMers like used car salesmen.


      Picture it. In the above video, MK consultant tries to convince new recruit on the new Chromafusion color “metallic pea”. They wanted “Antarctic blue”, but Metallic pea will make you the “Wagon Queen” at seminar.

  3. enorth

    I just listened to a video where the SSD asked the new IBC to share how she managed to have such a “successful” (five guests) party:
    “Well, I invited mostly my close family members and my best friend, and I’m not above guilt-tripping any of them. So, basically, that’s what I did.”

  4. Cindylu

    Heck considering MK herself from day one used deceit, the whole pyramid is based on deception. It is mlm not dual marketing. You can win a car lol. Products fly off the shelf. They actually rot on shelves unless you immediately send them back. Since the products constantly change thanks to Corp not caring one iota about their mostly female sales force, many products end up on eBay. The term facial is a misnomer. MK IBC’s etc. are not certified aestheticians and so they aren’t allowed to apply the skin care etc. directly. How disappointing to offer a make over that the guest has to do herself. People are a company’s greatest asset. Sadly the way the company treats its sales force is like we are all nonessential children. The childish cheap gifts and ribbons. The over the top fake awards nights. The false praise so we’ll over look the hundreds of inconsistent and down right dishonest things within MK. Yes light bulbs went off that my SD and two NSD’s were narcissistic uncaring women. The lies within their I stories. Those highest checks boasted about that were from five years ago. IBC’s and Directors quitting immediately after seminar. In the end my husband and children hated my SD and MK. I got sick. My SD and other MK consultants didn’t care. It was business as usual without me. Sending my products back was the best decision I ever made. I lost money on this recruiting scheme. I bought product and selling MK was nearly impossible in a saturated market. Most women I tried to recruit knew intuitively that MK was fake.

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