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

Mary Kay and Personal Relationships

kkaddysWritten by SuzyQ

One of Mary Kay’s selling points to starry-eyed new recruits is the gift of time they can devote to their families and those they hold dear. After all, the priorities are said to be Faith First, Family Second and Career Third, right? Not exactly.

Let’s focus on family and those other relationships that make us who are are. When you start a Mary Kay business, you are told that you will be able to devote more time to your family and they will become your REASON as opposed to your excuse. This means mandatory attendance at the weekly success meeting and any and all opportunities to “move up.” These opportunities include Career Conference, Seminar, retreats, Power Up Days, Muffins and Makeovers, Pizza and Possibilities, Career Breakfasts, Guest Events, Diva Days, banquets and other quarterly, daily, or weekly events.

Now, granted, MK is not child friendly, but as we said, this effort will pay off for your family. You “may” have to make short term sacrifices for long term gains, but really, it WILL be worth it!

So, your kids are spending more time with their father (if you are not a single mom) or their grandparents or aunt or neighbor, but it helps with the development of social skills and bonding, right? Or maybe you have to pay for child care, but again, one class will take care of that expense and it IS a tax deduction, right? They may endear themselves to you by clinging to your legs as you leave, but it WILL be okay, right?

Then there is your spouse or significant other. They are supportive of your efforts and your dream, and quite frankly are pretty pumped about your income potential! Your director has met with them, or they are getting their information from you, and really, what do you have to lose? $100? It’s nothing. And you can be so much more.

There is visible swallowing when the initial inventory is mentioned, but really, it’s not so much considering all of the business expenses that can be deducted and instant delivery makes sense. (After all, OTHER businesses cost tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to start, right?)

The phone time is understandable, too. As are the postage expenses, the training expenses and the time away from home. The new wardrobe makes sense. Manicures and more frequent trips to the beautician make sense too. For a while anyway.

Your husband or significant other will be cheering you on as you bask in your initial sales. (Don’t tell them when your sales are bad, though. Don’t want them to get the wrong impression.) Your friends are kind and help you out (make pity purchases) because they sense your excitement and want to see you succeed. You are on your way.

Ah, your friends. As your director has explained to you..it is so very cool to have your friends on your team! I mean… you OWE it to them to introduce them to this opportunity. You surely can’t be SELFISH and keep this opportunity of a lifetime a secret, can you?

You can help your friends make their dreams come true and as a real “paycheck of the heart,” their activity helps you move closer to your dream! There are some custody disputes over joint friends as customers and potential recruits, but it’s all settled easily. That Go Give Spirit in Mary Kay just about brings tears to your eyes! You are so lucky to be involved in a company that has that sort of integrity and caring.

And then… it’s a new quarter! New products! Some are Limited Edition and you learn that you must order NOW, or you will be out of luck. They sell out. So, you order again. It’s okay because you are building your inventory and the new stuff gives you a reason to call your customers. Good business acumen.

Your sales slow down some… You and your new recruits have tapped out your natural market and some of your friends are just a little upset that you keep calling them and inviting them to event after event. Your spouse or significant other starts asking about your classes and your sales.

You have a hard time booking classes and your sales are really lagging. Even when everyone at a class has had fun, bought products, and seems to love Mary Kay, they aren’t booking their follow-up appointments. What? This wasn’t how it was supposed to be.

You talk to your Sales Director and she presents you with the “Emotional Cycle of Mary Kay.” There is a little relief when you realize you aren’t alone in your “negative” feelings, and it is so ironic that your sales director sends you an email that really talks about how you are feeling… week after week for the first 12. Amazing insight!

It’s another quarter again already. Are you sensing a pattern here? Your supportive spouse or significant other has started being “negative.” You are told to NOT discuss your personal disappointment with him. He doesn’t get it.

Your inventory has grown considerably and although you have started getting the credit card bill out of the mail before the Negative Nellie can see it, you take comfort in the fact that you have a CASH MACHINE with your inventory! Where else can you double your money with each sale? All you have to do is get on the phone. Your best customers are waiting to be recruited and/or they would love to be a hostess for you! And there are sharp women everywhere you look!

Your children ask why you have to be gone so much or they demand your attention when YOU ARE IN YOUR OFFICE WORKING, and sometimes it becomes just too much. So, to help yourself over this slump, you go online and read the “I Stories” of the national sales directors and get inspired again. You check out social media to see all the fabulous things the top directors are doing and buying and you get re-energized and focused.

You are not making any money, but you continue to spend money. After all, you know you have to spend it to earn it. No great business was ever build without INVESTMENT! You can earn that money back and so much more if you are WILLING TO WORK!

If your heart and bank balance tell you it is not a good decision to go to an event, you are told that is EXACTLY the reason you NEED to go. If you explain this to your spouse or significant other, they look at you as though you have lost your mind, so you decide to put on your “big girl panties” and announce that you ARE going. Grown women are NOT told what they can and cannot do.

It occurs to you that you are NOT making money, your friends avoid you (and frankly, if they aren’t good customers or potential recruits, they really are no good to you… plus, they start rolling their eyes when you mention Mary Kay and you just don’t need that kind of negativity in your life anyway) and your time with your beloved is on hold as you pursue your dream.

And the kids. Well, kids are resilient and when they get older, they will appreciate what you have done. Plus you get to spend time with them when you use child labor to unpack and organize your boxes and boxes of inventory each month.

Not only that, they are watching you and the lessons that are caught, rather than taught, have more of an impact. They will see you setting and reaching goals, or at least working until the very last minute, and persistence is a great quality, as is patience. Mary Kay kids are the best, and Mary Kay marriages are the strongest.

Except, that Mary Kay kids get pregnant, start using drugs, develop eating disorders, have ADHD and high levels of depression, just like the rest of the world. The difference is that the Mary Kay moms tend to miss the signs because they aren’t around to notice. And Mary Kay marriages are plagued with mistrust and anger because it’s hard to be in a marriage or any other intimate relationship alone. And the secrets that are kept about Mary Kay… well…. shhhhhhh…..

But it’s all worth it. Really.


  1. cindylu

    Lies. Lies and more lies. Work part time and voila be marching across that stage in no time. I used to think did I imagine it. Did I just envision this MK utopia where if I simply work really hard that ta-da the classes, team, red jacket, pink car and stage walk will appear. Sadly to new recruits it didn’t happen that way for MK herself. She worked at Stanley’s Home Products and spent tons of time away from her children. Everything about MK has been fabricated. Some giant fairy tale that barely worked in the 1960’s (when there was barely any competition). The first Directors worked their butts off for MK and made her successful. They worked full time hours and then some. Today working part time and expecting an executive salary is laughable. It’s just something that’s said to coax you into making an initial product purchase or recruiting commitment. If they lie about the initial information. Why the heck would the final solution be any different? This mlm is a gussied up show piece designed to lead you down the garden path. A path that has you questioning your own senses. Is training free? Can you actually win a pink car? Does MK actually follow the faith, family, career motto? Will you actually have time for your family? Do the products fly off the shelves? NO to all of it. You pay for training. You pay for gas to get to your class that cancels. Cars have co pays. Seminars are costly with lousy food and shared rooms. Finally when you add up the lugging of unsellable products, the face clothes, the Christmas display items and the risky neighborhoods, it just isn’t worth it. All those Directors having to embellish about high checks and 40 years past days of supposed glory is just sad. Sadder is the waste of time, the debt, the family lies, the loss of time with children and a company that changes product so its really costumers the consultants and Directors are forced to buy unsellable products.

    1. Char

      To piggyback off what Cindylu said, yes they are telling lies.

      Take the quote, “part time work for full time pay”. But what does that exactly mean? The simple lie would be that it’s more than part time. They are lying about the amount of hours, right? All true, but delve further:

      Since MK operates on lies as shown by Cindylu, the “work” itself is telling all those lies. To me, this is the more egregious lie that escapes most. One must understand what Mary Kay’s definition of “work” truly is, and not what your brain traditionally thinks of as “work”. So MK may use the word “work”, but it is up to you to find the true definition.

      “Fake it ‘til you make it” they say. Here’s the definition of fake:

      not genuine; counterfeit.
      synonyms: forgery, counterfeit, copy, sham, fraud, hoax, imitation, mock-up, dummy, reproduction, lookalike, likeness; More

      a thing that is not genuine; a forgery or sham.
      synonyms: forgery, counterfeit, copy, sham, fraud, hoax, imitation, mock-up, dummy, reproduction, lookalike, likeness; More

      forge or counterfeit (something).
      synonyms: forge, counterfeit, falsify, sham, feign, mock up, copy, reproduce, replicate; More

      When something is inherently flawed like MLM, it is impossible to succeed honestly.

  2. enorth

    “company that changes product”

    The new Timewise 3D Foundation is $25 retail. You will want to use the new blending tool/brush, which is $16 retail. The rep I watched said she loves it and it is life-changing.

    In a different video comment-section, people who tried the new brush are complaining it’s hard to clean.

    1. MLM Radar

      “You are not making any money, but you continue to spend money. After all, you know you have to spend it to earn it. No great business was ever build without INVESTMENT! You can earn that money back and so much more if you are WILLING TO WORK!”

      This is what my DH snarled at me when I questioned his nonstop spending on his favorite MLMs: Amway, Pre-paid Legal, and Primerica.

      Boxes of demo kits and samples piled up in the garage so he could be ready for those appointments. Mailing lists with preprinted labels arrived, and of course he needed to print letters, and buy envelopes and postage. He bought email lists and mass-emailed until he got flagged as a spammer. He bought the DVDs and the how-to books, in quantity so that he could have them ready for his recruits.

      He had some early sales, but then his bank account got emptied by the MLM corporate office when the subscription cancellations and commission chargebacks hit him. At $35+ per overdraft, that got expensive fast. And no, cancelling the bank account didn’t make a difference. The MLM had made direct deposits to his bank account, and they could reverse those deposits even when his account had a negative balance.

      He got a few “personal use” level recruits who didn’t last. Then he got a hot-shot recruit with lots of friends. He watched his downline grow every day. “See! You didn’t believe me but here’s the proof MLMs work!” There was just one problem. He didn’t have enough first level recruits, so none of those grandchild recruits belonged to him.

      Not long after that the hotshot recruit moved up a level, but because DH couldn’t keep up he discovered that hotshot wasn’t in his downline any more. You can’t have a Director beneath a basic distributor or consultant. No one had mentioned that.

      He worked the phones. Those who answered didn’t buy. No one called back. He did get some appointments, but few people showed up to the presentations and even fewer bought anything.

      He bought more mailing lists. The only replies he got were piles of undeliverable letters returned by the post office. He bought a bulk mail permit. That reduced his per piece mailing cost… but the low price meter mark flagged his mail as junk.

      After a while DH was so depressed that he took to drinking and spending days in bed. But if I questioned anything he blamed me for being unsupportive and contributing to his depression. What was really required of me was unrestrained enthusiasm, and I should show it by editing that new mailing list so that he could send more letters out.

      It took a long time, and me moving out of the house, for DH to give up the dream.

      1. JanRD

        MLM Radar, thank you for sharing your challenges. May people read this and benefit from your experience. My husband and I were approached by Amway fanatics on numerous occasions and decided it sounded too good to be true.

        1. MLM Radar

          The Amway idiot who recruited him tried to recruit me too:
          “You’ll make a lot of money just selling to yourself!”

          Ummm… what?

          No one makes money selling to themselves. It’s not possible. Getting a discount on overpriced merchandise is not the same thing as earning money.

          He was trying to convince me to quit a $4,000 a month job to do Amway full time. I wasn’t taking the bait.

          I asked him how long he’d been with Amway: “Six months.”

          I asked him how much he earned selling Amway last month: “$800.”

          I said, “We’re done here.” I walked away and never looked back.

            1. BestDecision

              I did! I left a LOT behind to pursue Directorship, and it makes me sick to think how much I lost in those years. Yes, we had my husband’s healthcare benefits, but we had nothing when he was laid off. MK didn’t offer us supplements or anything to help in cases like ours. I couldn’t count on a solid estimate of my income every single month, and neither can anyone in MK. People quit, disappoint you, and changed their minds, which affects production and commission.

              Now, back to my guaranteed—I put in the work, I get the money—income, benefits, professional colleagues, and happiness!

              1. JanRD

                “I couldn’t count on a solid estimate of my income every single month, and neither can anyone in MK.” And that’s a serious problem with expenses that are about the same month after month. I’ll take a steady income over a wildly fluctuating one any time. Glad that you and so many others are sharing your “life after MK” success stories!

  3. Shay

    I can’t get rid of Mary Kay.
    I sold a bunch of makeup on the Mercari app. And it keeps offering me a gift.. what do you know.. out of thousands of brands fricking Mary Kay comes up.
    No, I am not self promoting — none of you know my store name. So there Kaybots. Don’t even try it.
    Note: Kaybots, you are better off joining Ulta, big stuff when you get 10x points etc and then save your points. Not to mention Sephora sales too. Heck go your own pace too. I do this on the side and actually make money. I don’t buy a crap load, I budget what I spend. I make makeup bundles. The customer not only gets a deal but you do too. For every $100 I earn approx $28 — this after taxes, expenses etc. This does not include when I cash my points in.
    There is life outside of the bubble.

    1. Shay

      Mary Kay makeup sucks. Some of their skin care stuff is just ok.
      The best example I can think of is Color Street MLM. In reality they are using Incoco. Yeah, the stuff they sell at Ulta, Walgreens, CVS, etc for half the price. Go to Incoco website, they even say they supply Color Street. So why would I want to pay a “consultant” $15 for nail strips when I can get them for $4-$8 from somewhere else?
      Same thing with Mary Kay. I would compare Mary Kay to Revlon. Maybe even Wet & Wild.
      The makeup sucks.
      I bought a bunch of samples of eBay that weren’t expired. I also bought some foundation that wasn’t expired and heavily discounted. The foundation despite me using setting powder — didn’t last even 5 hours. I only bought the makeup because I was curious.
      Sorry for the all the comments Tracy.
      I love this website. Thanks for putting up with me. And thank you for helping me get people out of Mary Kay.

      1. coralrose

        Re: Color Street, A consultant told me that Color Street offers “Limited Edition” products not sold in stores, and they retire products. She said this thinking it was an advantage of Color Street but what I heard was “The company retires products and the consultants are stuck with unsold merchandise. And coming out with new limited edition products ensures income for the company because the consultants buy them.” It sounds pretty predatory, no? Let the consultants take all the risk while Color Street profits. Ick.
        It’s Identical to how MK constantly changes products at the expense of consultants.

  4. Steely

    I started selling MK in feb 2019. Or should I say that rather, I purchased my MK business then. I’m now about $900 in debt, maybe more & trying to clear out my inventory… can’t make any parties happen ( haven’t really tried because of the time it requires) I really don’t know what to do. I do really like the product, but I know I could live without** advise would be very much appreciated ty!!

      1. MLM Radar

        Steely, you THINK the problem is that you haven’t put in enough time to make the parties happen. You think it’s your fault. That’s what you’ve been groomed to believe.

        It’s time to shake off the grooming. You were practically promised that people would line up to attend a party. You love Mary Kay! Everyone else does too! All you have to do is announce that you’re a consultant, and the products will FLY OFF YOUR SHELF!

        Here’s the reality: They lied to you. They took your satisfaction with the products and twisted it so that you would accept that everyone else liked the products too! They probably also mentioned that since Mary Kay isn’t sold in stores your friends would have to come to YOU. Setting up parties would be easy! You just needed a few minutes a day!

        You DID really try. You put in the time they told you was necessary when you signed up, a few minutes a day of your spare time. But nothing happened, because they lied about the time really required.

        So you put in more time, but still nothing happened. It seems to me that you’ve realized selling MK takes a LOT more time than you were led to believe was required.

        Here’s the cold hard truth: You could quit your job, and quit taking care of your husband and kids, and quit taking care of your house, and STILL you wouldn’t have enough time to make money selling Mary Kay.

        You can’t earn money selling a product no one wants. You can’t earn money when the price people are willing to pay is BELOW your cost.

        Look on Craigslist. You’ll find lots of listings from people selling Mary Kay at 50% off or more. That’s below your cost. You can’t compete with that.

        Look on eBay. You’ll find tens of THOUSANDS of listings for Mary Kay products at 50% off with free shipping. That’s below your cost. You can’t compete with that.

        Think back over your unit meetings. Whenever someone wanted to quit the Director told her to have a “going out of business sale” instead of returning products. (That kept the Director from repaying her commission.) You can’t compete with that.

        Shoppers are smart, and they know how to use the internet to get bargain prices. When peope who like Mary Kay are already used to getting the products at a big discount, there’s no way for you to sell at a price high enough to cover your costs.

        That’s why you can’t get parties. It has NOTHING to do with the time you put in.

        BOTTOM LINE: You signed up based on lies you were told. It’s not possible to put in enough hours to succeed. Your Director only got where she is by recruiting people who didn’t realize what they were signing up for, and by recruiting fake recruits to make the recruitment quota. (You can read about that elsewhere on this website.) NO ONE is making money selling the products. Some may think they are, but when they add up their expenses, all their expenses, the few who do earn more than they spend are getting less than minimum wage.

        WHAT TO DO NOW: Cut your losses and get out. Call the MK returns department and sell back as much as you can for the 90% buy-back. Block your Director’s phone number and do NOT fall for the “I’ll help you sell it if you agree to not return it” empty promise.

  5. Former Consultant

    Don’t clear out your inventory. Return it for the 90% buyback that MK offers. This way you will get some of your money back and begin to pay down your debts. I am sure your director will probably ask you ‘why’, and all you have to do is tell them that it was a personal decision and you DON’T have to explain anything to them. There are other products out there for half the price that work so much better. See if you are able to return the starter kit too. I left so long ago, that I can’t remember the process for returning it, but the frequent commenters on here would be able to tell you more- They rock, just like this site!

  6. enorth

    “can’t make any parties happen ”

    Why not? Because it’s 2019. Everyone is wise to “the party” script and no one is interested.
    The general public is sick to death of “network marketing” clowns.

    Even IF you were able to hold parties, there is no guarantee you would sell anything or make money. You’d be lucky to get a pity purchase. You’ll just lose more time and more money. Get out now.

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