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

From Independent Beauty Consultant to Production Cow

Written by Raisinberry

This one is going to be painful. This is one for the “career path” consultant. You are sitting down… that’s good.

This is a recap of your life in Mary Kay. Some of the facts will vary, but the general “technique” should open your eyes fully. Hopefully, today is the day you see how it was done. And then you will have a decision to make.

You just recruited your first recruit and boy are you excited! Your upfront recognition is great and you get to pin her and feel excited for her all at once!

It’s a great thing. Your director nudges you to not rest on your laurels, so now that you’ve got the hang of it, you put your antennae up and go on the hunt. Soon you are in a red jacket and you are moving up in the Marketing Lineup at every guest event.

That Mary Kay Car is so close you can feel it. Head table seating and extra responsibilities fit your new level of enthusiasm. You meet and recruit one more! After orientation with your director, you find out she is doing an $1,800 wholesale! The other 3 recruits you have are doing $1,600. The phone rings! It’s your director!

“I am so excited to tell you, you have $3,400 in production in for the month! And you haven’t even done your own order!! Do you realize that if you find one more woman, who simply does a $600 order, you could go ON TARGET for your MARY KAY CAR if you just put $1,000 in yourself!!! And who knows? Your 5th recruit might do a star order! Who do you know who could make this happen????”

You begin the turbo dialing and find that woman. A quick orientation and guess what… she’s doing a $600. You are a team leader! And look, you could do that $1,000 and you’ll sell it! No problem!

Monday night, the flowers and balloons celebrate your achievement! Everyone is so excited for you! So supportive! You are an “on target!” We are so excited to watch your smoke! A mover and shaker will jump start a unit! Here we go! It’s month two.

$5,000 is a long way away on the 1st of the month. You must book, sell, book, and recruit. Believe and Achieve! Focus on one course of action until successful. Find a way-make a way… is there any reason why you couldn’t listen and give your opinion of our marketing plan?

On the 29th of the month, you are $1,457 short. Your phone rings! It’s your director! She has called your team and there is no more to be had. Are you sure you want to lose all that first month production? Well you know you don’t want to lose any of it, but since going “on target” you have been more into recruiting than classes and you have nothing much to show for it. Well, it’s only $1,457 and it will go toward “STAR,” you rationalize. Plus, you get a good hunk back from a 13% commission check, so what the heck.

Month three is a stressful time. You’re halfway there and no looking back now. You start feeling like a zombie because it is all you can think about. You are tired and excited at the same time. “Gotta find the faces. Everybody is watching me,” you mutter.

When month three closes as a dismal disappointment, with $578 in production, you are stressed and in a panic. You tried everything. Made every suggestion. That newest recruit doesn’t answer her phone, and the other one said she would hunt for some funds. Its 11:50 on the last day. There is no way you can do another couple thousand on any card. Especially not with tax on the retail.

The wake up call on what would have been month 4 is a cross between depression and a panic attack. In two months you just ordered $2,400 plus worth of stuff. You already had some $3,000 on the shelf. Better get booking. You remind yourself that inventory is an investment. Worth double! This month you only order your $225 to stay in the Consistency club.

You are urged to get to Future Director, and so you do! You only need one! After holding a class, you recruit the hostess! She goes to orientation. The phone rings! It’s your director! You’ll never believe it! Your new recruit is doing a Diamond Star order! She’s your 8th active and that means you have $3,000 of production in on your MARY KAY CAR! When an additional $1,000 comes in, you are on target again AND able to submit for DIQ!!! The rest of your team does $570, so you only need to order $430. Your total sales for the month were $875, so that will be okay, forgetting your prior months excessive purchases, you need stuff anyway.

Hoorah! Now with more working people, the Mary Kay Car will be easier! Month two and DIQ!

Your recruits start recruiting and boy that feels good. You are trying to get new appointments, but it’s a slow go. You call all your customers for referrals and get a facial appointment. After the facial, you share with her that you are winning a MARY KAY CAR! She wants to JOIN YOU! Hooray! She’ll just wait to place an order and get it at 50% off! ( *yea~?*) A New recruit! After her orientation, the phone rings. It’s your director! It seems that one of your recruit’s recruit is placing a $1,200… and your new team member is ordering a $600, and she thinks SHE might have a recruit!. That’s $1,800 in for the DIQ team!

Keep moving you don’t want to lose all that production. Now, it’s the 29th of the month. Your personals that make up the MARY KAY CAR production are short by $1,500. Your DIQ totals are short $300. You can place a $300 and lose car and keep DIQ, or place a $1,500 and keep them both! Oh what to do? What should I do? Miss Director?

“Well, if you don’t stay in DIQ, you will lose Suzi’s recruit, and the other new recruit who hasn’t ordered yet. Both will stay in the parent unit. So you have to do the $300. There’s a lot at stake. But for $1,200 more, you are halfway done…. But it’s up to you…You will feel so happy to get it finished…but it’s up to you”


Are you breathing heavily yet? A little sweaty? I watched this scenario happen over and over and over with not just my unit members but almost all DIQs I know. It’s always the same. In 3 to 6 short months of trying and failing and trying again, the “career path” consultant finds herself up to her earrings in inventory debt, trying to stay in car or DIQ or keep “2nd line” recruits that belong to someone else, as part of her team.

She will be selling throughout, but never enough to offset the production she needs, unless all her recruits come in qualified ($600 wholesale) or as Stars ($1,800 plus). She rationalizes that her commission check will offset some of the charges. Sooner or later it all comes to a screeching halt. If she stops the cycle, all that production is lost, and she has to start over.

Can you imagine the pressure applied to “finish” what’s needed by yourself? And a Mary Kay Director doesn’t really have to apply it. All she has to do, is tell you your pros and cons, and if you are “Director material”… you will make the correct move. If you do not keep it going, the only ones who benefited were your director and your NSD.

Without the dangled “prize” she would have never “stretched” to add all that production. Under the old rules, the women recruited by your recruits were lost if you fell out of DIQ. So you were placed in a position where you must finish. And so she “buys” her “free” car. She turns back over to Mary Kay Cosmetics, the very 13% or 9% commission check they issued to her. Month-end becomes a mathematical juggling act to see how much the commission will offset the order.

She rationalizes that she is winning, because in her mind, Mary Kay is partly paying for her product. This is the beginning of director training in earnest. Evaluate what you need, rationalize the damage, consider the rebated commission, and fake it till you make it. You think you are “winning,” but in reality, the house always wins. As a director, month end will involve this same mental “discussion” of whether you should put it in or let it go.

Some months there will be plenty of production, and you will get a little breathing room, maybe even be able to pay down your credit card debt. But then when your DIQ or On Target get discouraged and pull back, you are on the hunt again for someone else to move up… someone else to take over the job of struggling with making production, so you can breathe a little. When they tell you the career path prepares you for the job of Directorship, they aren’t kidding. Only no one knows that this is the real job.

The fact that the Mary Kay Career Path requires you to attempt to recruit your customers means they do NOT care about your retail sales, but rather, their wholesale one. On paper it looks like it could be doable, but it never works out that way. On the career path, with deadlines and the clock ticking, everyone turns into a recruiting maniac, rather than a selling one. That leaves very little in the account for legit ordering.

Once you are on the wheel (directorship), and you have come through phase one of that production training, be prepared to use at least 3 to 5 credit cards. You are told that directors recruit directors, and the reason for this is you need someone else to start the move up the Career path to start the cycle over again.

A director will simply exhaust herself adding the production. She needs one, two, hopefully 3 at a minimum, working the career path. Three women in cars is $15,000 in production, and that’s when the Director “believes” in the dream more fully. Her pressure is gone, but it has just started for those Grand “achievers.”

The sad reality of Mary Kay is you are “moving up” and gaining more commission, on the backs of women who are going through the same debt load that you did. You do not fully inform them, however, of this “strategy”. Once they are in the middle of it, you know they will rationalize as you did, to save face, acquire the goal, or be recognized. The cycle repeats all the way up to National Sales Director, a select group of women who have had their consciences sufficiently seared.

Why? Because they know this article is utterly true, and they will never admit it in public or private.

The “win” will happen only if you can race (fast is best, we’re told) up the career path so fast you can’t see the wreckage you are leaving in your wake. I can assure you that NSDs never look at their long list of terminated consultants and directors with anything more than a, “oh well, they didn’t catch the vision.” Summarily dismissed, with no further thought to how they will ever pay down their debt, the NSD shows up in your town to woo the next group of production cows into formation.

She will use you, Miss Director, to sell her credibility, as you tell your 30 second “I-story” to the unsuspecting. You’ll be asked to tell your highest check, what you did before and how many cars you “earned.” As you prepare to “con” the innocent, by telling the gang how great it all is, omitting the truthful information about your glut of inventory, your month end stress, the marital strain you feel, the trap you are in, the crippling debt you have and the positive mental attitude game you must play to dig a way out, it is my hope that this article will urge you to call upon whatever seed of truth remains within you, and for the first time in a long time, you will love these listening women as you should have loved yourself.

STOP the madness. Stop the cycle of abuse. Stop being a perpetrator for your NSD’s almighty dollar. You can only be a production cow if you live in denial and love “appearances.” Take off your faux jewelry and wash your face. Look in the mirror. She is still in there. We, here at Pink Truth, can’t wait to meet the real you.


  1. ShatteredPinkCaddyDreams

    The beginning of this post, gave me flashbacks!!! I couldn’t breathe. Omg, whoever wrote this should’ve issued a warning. I can’t believe I did this twice and failed since I didn’t have the credit. Thank goodness for that.
    Please ladies, if you are considering this run! BTW does anyone know why I would be getting stuff from InTouch when I haven’t been active in 2 years?

    1. Lazy Gardens

      ” BTW does anyone know why I would be getting stuff from InTouch when I haven’t been active in 2 years?”

      Did you send product back, or just stop ordering?

      If you didn’t actively do something to cancel your consultant ID, your recruiter may have reactivated you to meet some production goal.

      Can you log onto InTouch?

      1. MLM Radar

        If you don’t take action to cancel your consultant number you become a potential ghost in your Director’s graveyard of inactive consultants.

        That means she can steal your identity. She can reactivate you (using her address and credit card) whenever she needs a team production order to claim a bonus, or fight off a car co-pay, or get 26% instead of 13% commission.

        You can put a stop to the identity theft by calling and mailing the Mary Kay returns department to demand that your Mary Kay consultant number gets cancelled – today! No, you do NOT want to “keep the door open” to restart your MK “business” on a future date.

        They’ll tell you that you can’t ever come back, but that’s a lie too. If you REALLY wanted to reactivate after quitting (why????), all you’d need to do is send them a sob story letter and $25.

  2. Pinkiu

    I could feel an anxiety attack start to real it’s evil wings and had to stop reading. It is so darn truthful about what it feels like to be in the hamster wheel. Praise GOD I am no longer a slave to MK and the almighty SD.

    I let my “business” die a natural death and am so glad I did. I just stopped ordering. I didn’t return my SD phone calls. I had big sales on product I had left. And when I still had unsellable items left, I donated them to a garage sale with proceeds going to a mission trip. Even then…half of remained and it go donated to the Salvation Army. No one really wants it. YOU, the recruit are the end customer to MK, not your family and friends!

    Once you bought, the could not care what you do with it. It could sit on a shelf or in a bin for years. MK got your money already so now it’s your problem. Unless, of course you take advantage of they buy back of products and receive 90% of your $$ from it.

    1. raisinberry

      Sorry to start a panic attack…but those of us who attempted or ran the career path know EXACTLY how the manipulation and debt started…and this article is just flat out true.

  3. coralrose

    This is criminal. It’s ridiculous MLMs are not illegal.
    I’m so glad you former directors are out!
    Thank you former directors and DIQs for sharing what really goes on.

    Another thing this reminded me of is my former SSD was “#1 in our national area” and “so close to a Million” but she had 3 former SD’s and their recruits In her unit. These SD lost their units but unfortunately they stayed in MK, so the SSD is doing really well/ “having our best year yet”. Talk about making money on the backs of other women, right?

      1. raisinberry

        BestDecision, it STILL amazes me how many of my former area is STILL humping it out, after countless offsprings have come and gone, countless Directors, and always THE EXACT SAME THING. The ones with 20 plus years in are loyal to the National, DESPITE what they see with their own eyes…dozens upon dozens of Unit members pushed up the career path and DROWNING in debt, till they fade away. Are they just so afraid to FACE what they have invested in, for DECADES??

  4. BestDecision

    Further proof MK cares more about recruiting than actual sales and profits: They’re now offering a cruise for those that order $3600, add 3 new qualified team members, and build 3 new Red Javkets from within their personal team. Only 1 of the 3 qualifications are tied to sales in any capacity. Recruit, recruit, recruit. The never-ending hamster wheel!

    1. coralrose

      They really seem to be ramping up the push for recruiting and trying to entice consultants to buy products lately. Business must be dwindling for MK Corp. I wonder how much longer the company will last. (I know they still have their foreign markets though.)

    2. NewFreedom

      I can’t believe it took me so long to realize any success I had in Mary Kay, (which was minimal after 10 years) was based on someone else’s work and ‘investment’ into the company. I think deep down, somewhere inside, I knew that success in MK wasn’t ultimately up to me and that’s why I never actively pursued directorship. I’m glad I didn’t. I stepped aside as a senior consultant with 2 active team members.

  5. Kelsey Lofton

    I could have written this WORD for WORD about my experience. Hearing all the stories exactly like
    mine is what finally woke me up. Keep up the good work pink truth!

    1. raisinberry

      Kelsey…anyone who is honest knows exactly what you were put through to “get to the top”…and the truth is, you were just a “No”?…Next! to them.

      We were taught to try and get 5 women in cars. Five women all responsible to get 4500. or 5,000 now per month?? Madam Director can put her feet up and coast as you worker bees grind out the production, win or lose. There simply isn’t a word vile enough for Mary Kay’s so called “marketing plan”.

Comments are closed.