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

Mary Kay Top Director Income

mary kay top director incomeMany recruits are snared into Mary Kay Cosmetics with the lure of executive earnings. They are told that the sky’s the limit, and the earnings are unlimited, if only you are willing to work hard enough. Sales directors tout their “highest checks” without ever mentioning all the business expenses that must be paid out of those checks, or that those are a one-time deal and don’t represent their normal commission checks.

The hard workers are the ones who make it big in Mary Kay, right? Wrong. One has to look no further than superstar Allison LaMarr, who was the fastest woman ever to make it to Mary Kay National Sales Director. Yet all of that hard work resulted in a downward spiral that culminated in Allison becoming the fastest quitter in Mary Kay history. She flailed for a few years, attempting to be a personal coach, a failed participant in multi-level marketing company MLM Bellamora, a former “executive” for multi-level marketer Seacret Direct, and then spent time spinning her wheels trying to build a downline as a distributor for Seacret. All that came to an end when she married the owner of Seacret and disappeared Allison in favor of her new persona, Chaya Mushka Ben-Shabat. No need to shill for an MLM when you ARE the MLM.

Time and again, a critical analysis of the numbers shows that almost everyone who participates in MLM will lose money, regardless of their effort. Even those who reach the top 2% of Mary Kay – – the sales directors – – aren’t making a whole lot of money. Even the most successful directors – – those in the pink Cadillac – – are making around $40,000 per year, if they’re lucky (and that’s only with 40 to 60 hour work weeks). Even with repeated hard work, sales directors are regularly failing to move up – – and are very often moving down – – while telling recruits that they can make as much money as they want and promote themselves whenever they feel like it.

But if you work hard enough and get lucky enough and make it to “top director,” you’re set with that executive income, right? Wrong again.

I was provided with the Income Advisory Statement for a top director in Mary Kay. This woman is in the top 25 directors in Mary Kay in the United States. She is in the Circle of Excellence, and goes on the Mary Kay Top Director Trip. She has a number of rings and prizes that she has won. While the number for total income, including commissions and prizes of $150,000 looks impressive, a closer look reveals a different truth:

  • Prizes totaled $50,000. While this sounds wonderful, the truth is that the value of many of the items appears inflated. And taxes must be paid on all of these prizes, at the inflated value.
  • The commissions totaled $100,000. This is the actual cash in hand for the director, out of which all business expenses and income taxes must be paid. Remember that the taxes are at higher rate than if she had a real job, since self-employment taxes must be paid in addition to regular income taxes.
  • The monthly commissions ranged from $4,000 to $12,000. Seven months showed commissions under $10,000. Three months showed commissions under $5,000. Even as a top director, there is no stability in earnings.
  • Some months were so bad that this director owed a copay on her pink Cadillac. So much for the free car!
  • After factoring in business expenses (including the office staff!) and taxes due on the net income (including prizes), this director had about $34,000 cash left over from commissions to support her family.

Let me repeat that: A top director in Mary Kay – – in the top 25 nationwide – – has about $34,000 left over from that big income advisory statement figure of $150,000.

This director ordered about $35,000 wholesale value of products from Mary Kay last year. Being generous, she may have profited $28,000 if she sold all of those products and sold most of them at full retail value. Taxes on the profit from product sales will eat up $8,000, leaving $20,000 cash from product sales to support her family.

So the big “executive” income for a director at the very top of the company leaves her with $54,000 cash to support her family, but only if she sold all those products and sold them at full retail prices.

Women will read this, and will say that they would be thrilled to earn $54,000. And while that may be a fine income for many people, the point is that this is the money in hand for a woman at the top of Mary Kay directorship. The top! And almost no one will reach this top 25 status. Sadly, in multi-level marketing, your success is not determined by how hard you work. There are 14,000 directors in the United States, and I’ve just shown you what one of the top 25 is making.

And make no mistake that this woman is working 60 hours per week or more. Mary Kay is not the “work from home” opportunity it’s pitched as. It’s a ton of hours, most of them outside your home and away from your family. To work this hard and get this high in the company, only to make middle management wages, is nothing short of disappointing. It’s the hard reality of Mary Kay.


  1. Char

    “And make no mistake that this woman is working 60 hours per week or more. Mary Kay is not the “work from home” opportunity it’s pitched as. It’s a ton of hours, most of them outside your home and away from your family.”

    And here’s the kicker. Taking this director who is working 60 hours and making 54k, (which was generous because no way or rarely is one individual MLMer finding enough people to cough up and buy $6,000 “retail” worth of Mary Kay crap each and every month), so HOW DID SHE GET THERE even if she is satisfied with that lower amount?

    Did she approach her recruits and say this (the truth) to get them to sign up:

    Work 60 hours a week, no benefits, need to find enough people YOU KNOW to spend $6k every month on product without using a commercial retail outlet, and attempt to recruit anyone all the time, put Mary Kay first and sacrifice all others, buy only MK even though you love Ulta, and prepare to be ostracized by friends and family?

    DID SHE TELL THE TRUTH in order to get them to sign up and thus make her that 54k – the top level in this so called “opportunity”? I think not!

    Did she lie, omit information, or repeat a lie, in order to get to that not so impressive place? I know she did and said:

    “ the sky’s the limit, and the earnings are unlimited, if only you are willing to “work” hard enough.”

    The “work” is lying about the opportunity – that isn’t.

    If you are religious, do they teach lying in your church so you can profit financially? Time for some soul searching I’d say.

    And then, the kind and selfless thing to do would be to warn others, right? Welcome to PinkTruth.

    1. BestDecision

      That girl is crazy. It’s like she doesn’t know what she wants to be when she grows up—an NSD, a business consultant, a writer, or a nutritionist. When I met her before she left MK, I got a strong, weird vibe from her. So sad!

      1. Mountaineer95

        I read through a lot on the website for her new “school”. It almost sounds cult-like. Even if she truly cares about education, you know she is driven most by profit and praise. I do wonder if all of the info in her “bio” on the site is factual. Like did she really choose to leave grad school to just go straight to work and making money, or was it not really a choice (grades, tuition money ran out, etc?). I believe you about the weird vibe. Just watching some of the videos here, the puppet hands alone weirded me out.

  2. Mountaineer95

    From the website for the “revolutionary” Jewish private school she created is this bio about Allison:

    “Chaya Mushka’s story:

    Chaya grew up in Texas with no connection to Judaism and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing. After a few years in corporate banking, she was accepted to a prestigious private school in Dallas and started her post-graduate studies. But driven by a hunger to rise above the status quo, she began to examine other possibilities. She realized that if she could overcome the peer pressure of conformity, she could actually take control of her life and shape her own destiny. So, despite criticism and peer pressure, Chaya left her MBA program halfway through completion to pursue life as an entrepreneur.

    In the few years that followed, she built a successful business of her own in sales and marketing and began to coach other female entrepreneurs to do the same. She held workshops and seminars throughout North America, produced personal and professional coaching resources, and wrote a weekly eColumn to over 12,000 personal clients. But as her professional life took off, her personal life began to crumble. Her 11-year marriage ended, and she became a single mother to her then three-year old son. At the same time, she was led on a roller coaster journey to the Lubavitcher Rebbe, where she discovered her Jewish roots.

    In the few years following, she turned her life completely upside down to become a Torah-observant Jew amidst rebuilding her personal and professional life from the ground up. This season of life forced her to really hone the skills of positive thinking, abundance mentality, creative problem-solving, resilience, and refusing to settle for anything less than your ultimate life vision. Chaya then remarried and spent several years traveling the world with her husband and son to help run a global family skin care business. She has extensive experience in marketing, sales training, communications, branding, leadership, professional development, and strategic planning.

    Amidst her travels and business ventures, Chaya Mushka began devoting a good portion of her own time to teaching, coaching, and mentoring young women around the world in personal development. She helps them to learn and master the critically important, yet often grossly underestimated life skills that are required to thrive in today’s environment. Time management, emotional management, communication skills, goal setting, nutrition, and long-term planning are just a few of the topics she teaches.

    Chaya first became involved in grade-school education while trying to find solutions for her own son who was quickly labeled as an “out of the box” learner. She began digging in to the global educational landscape and was appalled at the extreme disaster that is modern-day schooling. After six years of searching for solutions, researching the industry, and trying her best to stay comfortably on the sidelines, she realized she could no longer remain a bystander. She feels it is her basic moral obligation to help revolutionize education for all children, simply by bringing together a global tribe of like-minded people who insist on excellence for the next generation. Chaya says that the inner dimensions of Torah still change her life daily, and she is passionate about empowering others to shine their own special light.”

    So there you go.

    1. MSgtK

      Thank for the synopsis! I noticed how MK, NSD, etc. was omitted. LoL! Smart on her part, that way people won’t see her quick fall from grace 😉 It seems several NSD’s are weird :0

      1. BestDecision

        Pam Shaw and Cindy Williams have had outrageous amounts of work done to their faces, and Pam has body image issues. The poor woman is fanatical about diet and exercise, and she has magazine cutouts of fitness models posted in places that are her goals of what she wants to look like.

        There’s a new video of Cindy Williams putting really dark CC cream onto her legs. Go watch it. Those are the people we used to learn from, and it’s embarassing.

    2. Lazy Gardens

      She learned one thing from her time in Mary Kay – how to LIE by omission.

      Nothing about he Mary Kay time, nothing about Bellamora … just blurred out into “a successful business of her own in sales and marketing” … nothing about marrying a rich guy with his own business …

  3. Juliet

    lololol Char, you sure are outstanding at stating the bottom line cold, hard truth! I just wish you were a daily newsletter to the befogged, that they somehow could not avoid processing. Others may have the talent to speak so plainly but it also takes guts and integrity which I am sure is why we hear from so few in this world.

    Mountaineer95, thank you for providing the bio excerpt although it makes me ill. That woman is some piece of work, and I shudder to think of the harm she will inflict in so many different ways going forward.

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