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

Hope is an Obstacle to Your Mary Kay Recovery

One morning, I heard this statement on a television talk show: “One obstacle to recovery is hope.” They went on to discuss how hope plays a part in people recovering from tragedies or moving forward in their lives. In the real world, hope is often helpful in the recovery process. You have hope that things will get better. In other cases, it’s a detriment. Such as when you have the hope that your abuser will change, despite years of abuse. In Mary Kay, hope is a detriment and an obstacle to your recovery.

Raisinberry wrote an article on this very issue. Mary Kay lives and dies by hope. So long as you have the “hope” that you might be one of the big winners in the pyramid scheme, you will continue to pour time and money into this losing proposition.

Here’s the truth: A long time ago, Mary Kay admitted in a letter to the FTC that the company recruited 40,000 new U.S. consultants per month. That was 480,000 women recruited each year at a time when MK was reporting about 700,000 consultants on the books. (i.e. huge turnover each year) There are about 500,000 consultants in the U.S. currently, so recruiting has dropped accordingly. We can estimate that about 28,500 women are still being recruited each month. Yikes!

I’ll be generous and say that Mary Kay has had about 500 women in the U.S. making an “executive income” through Mary Kay over the last 5 years or so. I’m including national sales directors and those very top level sales directors (most likely those doing $750,000 a year or more).

Here are your odds…

500,000 consultants on the books + 1,710,000 new recruits = 2,210,000 women in MK over the last 5 years

Of 2.2 million women in the U.S. who have tried being a Mary Kay consultant over the last 5 years, only 500 have actually achieved an executive income. Your odds are .02%, which is two one-hundredths of one percent.

Oh sure, we’ve got to take into account all those women who never wanted to make a career out of Mary Kay, all those “personal use” recruits signed up by women finishing directorship, and those lazy losers who didn’t try.

Even still, do you like those odds? Do you want to spend hundreds of hours of your family’s time and thousands of dollars of your family’s money trying to achieve that?

I guess so long as that hope is alive, Mary Kay will continue to recruit new women into their pyramid scheme. Everyone is counting on the “hope” that they will be one of those very, very few who make it to the top. It’s time to get real and admit that you have almost no chance of achieving the Mary Kay dream.


  1. Amy Schulte

    Thank you for this post! I love pieces that break down the numbers like this.
    Also, along the lines of the odds…. Are there 500,000 Ulta or Sephora stores in the country? Can the market support 500,000 Ultas? No! Google tells me there were 1,174 Ultas in 2018. Sephora has about 1,100 stores in the Americas. But MK has 500,000 consultants?!! Doesn’t that seem ridiculous?
    There isn’t enough interest in MK products to justify 500,000 consultants, but MK keeps recruiting anyway & telling potential recruits MK is not over-satured, without caring at all if consultants make money or lose it.
    Plus, you have competition from drug stores and Wal-Mart and Target that also sell cosmetics.

    1. TRACY

      But everyone with skin is a potential customer!!!!

      You can build a retail business!!!

      No you can’t. Almost no one does. Without foot traffic like retail establishments, you will have almost no chance of making a living from retail sales.

    2. Char

      It is ridiculous Amy, but not so much when it’s pointed out that consultants are big spending customers. It makes perfect sense then. MK customers recruit more customers by selling them HOPE that the “opportunity” is actually a viable product re-selling business. And as you pointed out, it can’t logically be.

  2. ran4fun

    “Everyone is counting on the “hope” that they will be one of those very, very few who make it to the top.” … and IF what you hope for does become reality, it comes at the cost of the 99.98% who statically never will make it.

    1. J

      Great post! I’d love to know if mk will ever get the bad press it deserves, or legal pressure to fold.

      Amy’s perspective was spot on too. Over saturated barely touches the situation.

      Has mk ruined the word ‘opportunity’ for anyone else? Every time I hear it now, my brain auto-subs with the word scam.

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