Mary Kay’s Truth as Told by Applause Magazine

Every month Mary Kay’s truth is published in black and white. It’s called Applause Magazine. Mary Kay publishes the top earners and recruiters in the U.S. because the bragging rights help recruit more people and get consultants and directors to order more to get the recognition.

Yet if you dig into the numbers and look at things over time, you see how the business in the United States has been shrinking for more than a decade. Back when Pink Truth started  there were 14,000 directors and 700,000 consultants. Today there are only 9,000 sales directors and we can estimate that there are about 450,000 consultants. (Don’t worry about the health of the company overall, though. China is a huge market that Mary Kay is exploiting for tons of profits.)

The November issue of Applause has the results for July 2019, and the numbers are interesting. BestDecision found these gems for us:

  • Only 87 NSDs had $10,000 or more in gross commissions in July.
  • Only 2 units nationwide added 20 or more new Consultants in July.
  • No one in the entire company had a unit adding 21 or more new unit members.
  • Only 1 person in the entire company finished a Grand Achiever car in July.
  • Included in the Top 500 units for retail production is a unit that only did $24,718.  Without counting in PCP or bonus credits, that’s only about $12,000 wholesale production.
  • Director commissions in the Top 500 of the entire company included $3,940, which means that 8,500 sales directors made less than $3,940 in commissions
  • No Director had gross commissions over $11,354 in July.
  • Leadership Conference attendance has dropped so low they’re only having 1 session with the 4 Seminar divisions and Canada combined.

July is always the lowest month for Mary Kay. Everyone is begging for orders in June to “meet goals” for Seminar, so there is much lower ordering in July. But these numbers are still really anemic.



  1. Ineresting that looking at the bottom of the top ranks does. “Included in the Top 500 units for retail production is a unit that only did $24,718” This means all the other units did WORSE! And 8,500 directors made less than this one, “Director commissions in the Top 500 of the entire company included $3,940.”

  2. They used to tell us “The numbers don’t lie.” Anyone not giving weight to this is in MK as a hobby. Ship is sinking!

    • With numbers cratering like this, I’ll bet the number of consultants dropping out is accelerating. Which means more chargebacks, which means: Yikes, indeed.

      Before I started commenting on this site, I read every post starting from 3 years back, and the Applause Magazine’s increasingly-dismal numbers have been regularly covered. But this…this is ba-a-a-d.

  3. I actually just found Pink Truth after I had an interesting conversation regarding Mary Kay with a friend of my husband’s family the other day when we went to visit him in the Mayberry like small southern town that he lives in. I am currently working on a dual Master of Business Administration/Master of Science in Accounting: my husband’s friend started proudly bragging about a lady in the town who sells Mary Kay and drives a Mary Kay pink Cadillac. He, with the most sincere look in his eyes, told me that I should start a “career” selling Mary Kay after I graduate next year so I can have the “prestige” of driving a pink Cadillac and being “really important”!

    Apparently everyone in the town thinks that this lady is really important because she parades around town dressed really fancy and drives the Cadillac everywhere. My husband’s friend told me that the people at the Baptist church in the town even pray for the woman’s Mary Kay “business”. Her “business” probably isn’t doing very well from what I have read on this site.

    My husband’s friend called me today to offer to get me in touch with the Mary Kay lady so I could do “career preparation” for a potential career in Mary Kay. I can’t believe that he thinks that Mary Kay lady is an appropriate occupation for a woman with an MBA and a MS in Accounting! I know that he is in his mid-50’s and he has some backwards views about women but jeeze!

    I really think that someone needs to go to this town and clear away the pink fog because Mary Kay lady has really got this town fooled. I shudder to think of the women in the town who have tried Mary Kay under her and failed. I watched way too many women get involved in MLM’s when my husband was in the military and it was really sad.

    • Your MBA alone tells us all you’re intelligent. Please don’t fall for the malarkey you’re being sold. A base-performing Cadillac driver only grosses about $48,000/year. And that’s before her expenses and taxes are subtracted. If she has a bad quarter ending Sept. 30, she’s now also making a $900/month car payment from those commissions.

      If a man on the street is dressed as Superman, that doesn’t make him THE Man of Steel.

      • And that is only IF the Cadillac driver is making production. I estimate that about 1/3 of Cadillac drivers don’t make the minimum and therefore make copays.

      • Oh, in no way would I join Mary Kay! I am a very minimal makeup kind of girl. I bought a MAC mascara at the post exchange at Fort Hood last year and I just used the last of it. I also come off as somewhat masculine so I tend to scare Mary Kay ladies. I had one try to warm chat me at Rite Aid one day when we were stationed back east and I told her to f off. I can be pretty blunt and aggressive when I want to. Chalk that up to my previous career as a truck driver.

        This friend of my husband’s also thinks that female sheriff’s deputies are all jail “matrons”. When we lived on the east coast during my husband’s military career we flew him in and after I picked him up from the airport he commented that I must have learned the route to the airport by riding in the car with my ex-husband. I actually knew the route because I had a job picking up cargo from the airport at the time.

        My husband thinks that living in the town the friend lives in has warped the friend’s brain. The town is literally just like Mayberry with narrow minds on the narrow way.

  4. I dug around a bit, and found an article from November 3, 2008:

    The 2008 report was for March commissions instead of July, but still, it’s pretty shocking how bad it has gotten over the course of eleven years. The lowest commission check of the top 500 in March 2008 was $6,728. That would be $8,023 in 2019 dollars (source: Compare with $3,940 for the lowest of the top 500 in July 2019.

    Yes, July is right after Seminar and is a slow month, but a 50.9% drop is one heck of a salary cut. How anyone can look at these latest numbers and think MK Directorship is a viable career move is beyond me.

    • We were lectured over & over how a “real job” was never guaranteed income because we’d work for someone else who could fire us, but the reality is that a Director is working with volunteers who don’t have to do anything they aren’t motivated to do. Our income absolutely depended upon other people, not just ourselves.

      Then, they’d argue that we were to just focus on doing the activity, but that itself was where it was frustrating. I never missed holding a unit meeting. I never missed a company event. I had skin care classes that turned into double facials and interviews that didn’t show up. It’s exhausting to work those high of numbers to get a speck of results.

      Want proof? Look at the Directors who have been in the same position, or backwards, for decades. My own Director hasn’t budged in almost 20 years. And all that time she could pave had solid, predictable income from a real career.


    Hahahahaha! Numbers are not “negative”. They’re real. And I’d love for any NSD to try and spin these numbers in any positive way. Good luck!

    • Edit…I should have started that with “your”, keeping in line with the grammatical skills of the PT critics. Or should “of”. My apologies!

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