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

An Experience in the Mary Kay Cult

Written by Cindylu

Thank you for creating this site and telling it like it is. This outdated, materialistic and phony MLM system has been broken for decades and gotten away with it because  of a good sounding fairy tale and a good PR and corporate operation that avoids realizing what a monstrosity this has become. It has brought out the worst of the worst in many  many females. Worst is the use of the spiritual manipulation Faith First, Family Second and Career third. Those who have no family might be able to be all business, cold hearted,  have few boundaries and double standards but I shuddered at what I saw.

I believed in caring and practicing my faith. Even decades ago the word MK Cult came to mind after a few meetings. Unfortunately my personal experience saw  the manipulation of women who lost their grocery money over this pyramid scheme.

I couldn’t sell to a woman who could barely sustain her family. Offering them the opportunity turned out to be a cruel mistake. I was okay with a husband, pension  and savings. When I read MK’s book, I saw a tremendous potential for good and a tremendous potential for evil.

Initially I trusted my recruiter a hard working former supervisor. I also trusted her Red Jacket who also was a caring person. Both went on  to simply buying product for themselves. Many lives ruined as women were treated as numbers and discarded. I did not like my Director ever (Very Cold) . I bought $600, sold most of that, bought $1800 (did not want to keep customers waiting or borrow. Before MK, I had an excellent career with great pay but I was “retiring” to be home with 2 children.

Attended 2 seminars. Saw MK at one where she chastised a NSD on stage. I don’t think MK was too happy with some of her nationals. Believe that the market was saturated years ago. The only ones able to succeed started MK 1972 and were given the opportunity to open  Canada, Mexico etc. Eventually the market did get saturated and worst the reputation of the  early directors preceded them and when I started years ago most already knew to avoid MK  like the plague. Perhaps this company that began during the era of door to door selling, during  the conservative 50’s was okay initially. Once women had real careers like: lawyers, doctors,  dentist, journalist, CEO’s of companies, pilots, etc. then this MK ruined opportunity only indulged a few who began this hurtful mlm scheme.

When I got to go to a meeting and met my NSD,  I was appalled at what a cold unfriendly condescending person she was. When I met the newest upcoming NSD in my area, my home was nicer than hers. It just didn’t add up.

It was embarrassing to try and book skin care classes and barely sell anything. The costs for gas, prize give aways, 2 seminars, 2 retreats and discounts meant in the 2 ½ years I was in MK were an embarrassing money pit. I also am not motivated by trinkets, pins, or worst opulence. I have been able to have a real career where I paid off a beautiful home, various cars, travel (including paying  for children & family) have a great pension, have dental & medical care and what I need. We also saved enough to put our children through College/University. My husband got really worried about me because he saw how this cult was manipulating me and convincing me to spend money  from my hard earned savings and this fake business going no where.

Also there was no real training because my director began her career early in the pyramid scheme and divded up an entire city with 2 other consultants. She began with thousands and barely kept being a director  because she was so cold hearted. Early on with no training I booked an entire bridal party. No way would I ruin a young woman’s day. I demanded my Director show up. (Too bad she did as I would have  quit that day) rather than ruin my life & family and other women for 2 ½ more tortuous years.

In the end my health failed due to the frustration MK became and the constant trying to avoid the lies. I was hospitalized with young children. Not one MK person visited or acknowledged that. I went to corporate to see about changing directors. They did not care. In the end I sent back product.

It took years to come out of that MK cult haze. My husband had written me a letter at one point trying to convince me to break free. Years later I am thankful for that awful illness that gave me back my  freedom and allowed me to eventually find meaningful well paid employment which also allowed  me to be there for my children. For 2 ½ years my young children lost me and also during my  illness too. All those evenings and weekends away from them. All that wasted time on MK and most women know to avoid. (So it won’t work anymore).

I recently asked my grown daughter about those MK years and she cringed. She had attended one of our idiotic meetings where the  woman being praised ran a little store and got away with it. One foolish director boasted about  a once earned check of $5000 and I knew immediately it was the only time she’d ever made a  decent pay and for years afterward barely got by. To those new consultants I would say, if I could  not make it years ago before the internet and when parties were still okay, why would anyone join an antiquated company with a horrid reputation and known to be a cult? Also I worked but did not want to hurt other women and absolutely no one in MK was there when I
was hospitalized. Not my director, nor any other consultant.


  1. Char

    I’d invite everyone to look closely at the picture above.

    “WELCOME TO MARY KAY. UNTOLD RICHES AND PINK THINGS WILL BE YOURS” – Her prominent face above crowds of people with an audience of hallelujah hands idolizing her.

    Is this what your religion teaches you? To idolize people other than God, and to want untold riches and pink THINGS? What about the message to help needy people and to give selflessly? Can you imagine a legitimate pastor opening with, “getting untold riches, and pink things for yourself”?

    Ask yourself if you are giving to the needy when you join and recruit for Mary Kay? Or, are you requiring money from them to indulge yourself? And then, do you teach them to do the same?

    Are you helping the needy to survive with food, or are you having them buy ridiculous amounts of stupid makeup that you benefit from? Where is the righteousness in that?

    I’m not saying that capitalism can’t meld with religious people. I asking you to review the type of activity you are involved with. In MLM, 99% lose for the sake of the top liars. Many of the 99% are in need. That is not a righteous form of capitalism – especially lying or repeating a lie. Are you doing that? Have you bothered asking for proof? Have you done due diligence before involving others by repeating rumor? Are you being true to yourself?

    To the current consultants: Time for some serious soul searching IF you are the religious person you pretend to be. Look again at the picture.

    Lovely, raw article Cindylu. That’s telling it like it is. And this says it all, “absolutely no one in MK was there when I was hospitalized. Not my director, nor any other consultant.”

  2. ww1971

    I was just watching a youtube video from Cleta, such a liar, saying she has so many customers for her luminous foundation and her downline should stock up on the old formula so they wont run out before the new one comes. Ive never heard such lies outside of MK.

  3. cindylu

    The NSD was chastised for blowing her first earned MK million. MK indicated that the NSD should be much more careful when earning her next MK million. (This NSD was one of the first ones who retired well.) She will supposedly earn millions till she is 80. It pays to begin within an mlm during the first few years. During one conference this NSD mentioned being in therapy, losing entire units and several pink cars while going through hundreds of women. Women were simply numbers. I also got the impression that there had been very little time for family. I believe Anne Newbury was also at seminar shouting out that this needed to be done the right way. Not sure why MK was disappointed in this NSD but even decades ago there seemed to be some kind of commotion surrounding some directors and NSD’s. (Not doing this the right way). The reality is that after the 1970’s, very few directors were truly able to make it.

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