Getting Sucked into Mary Kay

Written by SuzyQ

Okay, so here’s the thing…

So many people ask the question… how do women get sucked into MK and why do they stay?

Easy. Most of us do not get the recognition we crave in our everyday lives. No one applauds when we clean out the fridge, clean and folded clothes are magically delivered into drawers by the clothes fairy, and food and shelter are provided respectively by the food and shelter fairies.

So, we go to a meeting and we are applauded because we are new… we get applause when we have a “good skin care class” and make “$125/hr… the applause continues as we start to recruit, go to events and get standing “O’s” for “sales” or recruiting. The women who fuss over us are over-dressed with too much make-up, BUT they fuss over us and make us feel good. We want what they seem to have. The directors seem poised and well-off, the people in the red jackets seem happy and kind and we just want that.

We want what they appear to have.

I mean really, I could not remember the last time a room full of women clapped for me— had a room full of women EVER clapped for me? I have been a nurse and/or therapist all of my professional life. The only praise from supervisors I ever received was praise by omission, meaning that if I wasn’t being “counseled” or “talked to, “ I was doing OK. No one had ever praised me for doing well. And these women are lovin’ on me like I was the second coming. Heady stuff.

The process of getting into MK is slow and seductive. The saying goes something to the effect that you get into MK and then MK gets into you. This is accurate. We are very carefully and very slowly taught that MK is the way and anything to the contrary is to be avoided. I am not a stupid woman. I have several advanced degrees and years of real world experience under my belt. But I fell for the bullshit. Hook, line and sinker. Were there red flags and areas of concern? Absolutely! Did I question things? Of course. And were they answered appropriately? No. I was told to avoid negativity and let nothing mess up my dream. Oh, and to take God as my business partner.

Know why this whole thing works??? It’s not rocket science. It’s a little faux Christianity thrown in with a whole lot of guilt, self doubt and blame, coupled with recognition and rewards. We are taught to believe those who perform at seminar with their last minute miracles are telling the truth. Really? Recruits at midnight on June 30th? Really? Orders at midnight on June 30th? People wait until midnight to order? I am in bed at midnight, but maybe that’s just me. I didn’t believe enough. I didn’t work hard enough. My deserve level wasn’t high enough. Whatever the reason, it’s obviously my fault.

It has taken me years to come to terms to what happened to me in MK. And what I did to others as a director. The lies about the necessity of having product on the shelf, the ability to make an executive income with part time hours, the ability to sell the product, trying to spin the product changes as a good thing, and the idiotic statement that “The product on your shelf is your ATM and recruits are your retirement.”

I suppose the bottom line is the need for all of us to support each of us so that the stupid recognition that MK gives is no longer necessary… The price MK recognition extracts is too great and is false. Anyone can buy whatever it is they think they need… Have you heard the one about nsd’s achieving their goals because they helped so many others achieve their goals? You know that’s not true don’t you? YOU, the “downline” are making the house payments on their McMansions every time you order. Dual marketing? Seriously? It is called multi-level marketing with up and down lines and golly gee, you are in the thick of it. You do not own your business, you can not sell your business; you are not a “business woman.” You ARE an independent contractor and as such, have no rights. Really. You are on a treadmill that will devastate your soul and your financial security and your self esteem.

Mary Kay is not the answer. I think it’s ironic that Kaybots call this site satanic when the reality is that MK is the demonic one. PT is restorative. MK kills the soul slowly and methodically with smoke and sequins. Smart women get sucked in because we have credit and need validation. The validation from MK is false, and will cost you more than you can bee-lieve. Unless you exploit other women, you will never succeed in MK. Is this what you want as your legacy?

One more thing… how DO the nationals sleep at night? Denial?


  1. cindylu

    MK herself designed all this praise and recognition stuff. When MK worked for Stanley Products, she set about going after being the best and winning prizes. She trained mostly males who moved ahead of her. In starting her own business she looked at what motivates women. She knew that like crows shiny things, prizes and praise would attract us. All those cheap tin pins on a fake ladder of success, the ribbons and sashes at Seminar. Sadly though we paid for it all. We paid for unsellable and over priced products. We paid for pointless fake meetings. We paid for insignificant and repetitive training. We paid for gas, hotel rooms, food, product giveaways, advertising material and constant unnecessary product changes. So although this pink mlm door to door sales model may have worked in the 1960’s, it is now failing miserably. We want to believe in an ethical, caring, female based company. Women are caregivers. We are helpers. MK used that empathy against us. The many narcissists within MK prey on women in an environment that was originally designed to exploit us.

  2. Char

    It’s wonderful to be admired, isn’t it. So what’s the problem then?

    MK doesn’t say to the recruit, “I want your money. Pay me in exchange for walking across the stage with our clapping hands so you feel loved.”

    Instead, MK presents a false story of a money making opportunity and tricks the recruit into ‘thinking’ she is loved – when it’s really about taking HER money.

    Even if some women are happy to pay for fake admiration, (like when men pay for hookers) chances are she’s so enamored with the brainwashing love fest, she will be blinded and choose to recruit others.

    Imagine a man thinking the hooker actually loves him even though she charges him for her services, and then announcing it to the world how successful in love he is. It also stands to reason that he’ll go back for more if he can find enough money to feed his ego. Cue Mary Kay purchases for recognition.

    *A genuine round of applause for SuzyQ. You got sucked in, but accepted your mistake and got out. Live and learn. Now you write here trying to warn other women from making the same mistake. Bravo.

  3. Roo2

    I went to my favorite yoga spot tonight and there was look book sitting there. It almost bothered me that someone would use that space as a place to peddle this fantasy. I took the look book but before I threw it in the recycling bin thumbed through it. I pity the women even buying the catalog it is not even shoppable. And for the huge foundation launch it just says contact me to get your perfect shade match.. or you could save your self a whole lot of shenanigans and go to Sephora, Ulta, Dillard’s……why even Walgreens is stepping up the cosmetics department game

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