False income claims abound in Mary Kay and all MLMs. You hear about “full-time pay for part-time hours” and the “executive level of income” and the “unlimited earnings.” It’s not true. There are a handful of lucky souls who make big money in MK, but there are two important things to remember about this:

  1. You have almost no chance of being one of those people.
  2. The women who do make the big money only do so because thousands of women below them LOSE money.

Mary Kay is not a business. It is a scam that exploits women.

But let’s talk about those women who do make it to the National Sales Director level. There are about 450,000 consultants in the U.S. right now. There is constant turnover of consultants. In other words, the vast majority of the 450,000 have been in for less than one year, and will quit within a year, being replaced by new consultants who will also quit within a year.

Mary Kay doesn’t say exactly how many NSDs there are, but a fair estimate for NSDs in the U.S. is 225. That is 0.05% of the total consultants. Five hundredths of one percent of current consultants. If you add up all the consultants who have come and gone over the last decade, you get an even more pathetic number.

So you have ridiculously terrible odds of getting to NSD. Heck, there have only been 172 directors who have made it to the “million dollar unit club” in the entire history of Mary Kay!!! And even if you get there, you still have less than a 50% chance of becoming an NSD.

And once you get to be an NSD…. the pinnacle of success in MK (allegedly)… you still have a pretty good chance of NOT making “executive income.”


Let’s call income of $120,000 or more to be “executive level.” It is probably a bit too low to truly be considered “executive,” but bear with me. Now remember, if you look at the commission checks, this figure is GROSS income. It’s what they make BEFORE paying any business expenses. You can easily take 20% to 30% off that for the business expenses an NSD will pay, and that will get you to her personal income.

Mary Kay used to post the monthly commission checks  in Applause Magazine for all NSDs until it got embarrassing to show what some of them were making. They changed the process and started post only those making $10,000 or more in a month. I’ve taken 3 random months (shown below) from last year and counted up the number of NSDs listed as making $10,000 per month or more.

The results are stunning.

December 2019 – 100

August 2019 – 79

March 2019 – 132

That’s an average of 104 national sales directors out of 225, or 46% making $10,000 a month or more.

Even in the best month of the year… the month that always has the highest commission checks… June… there were only 149 NSDs who made $10,000 or more. 76 NSDs still made less than that in what should be their best month.

Can you imagine working soooooooooooooo hard to get to NSD. Being one of the very, very, very few who get there. And then still having a great chance of not making executive level income.


  • You have almost no chance of getting to “million dollar director” status
  • If you do become a million dollar director, you have about a 50% chance of becoming an NSD.
  • If you do become an NSD, you have about a 46% chance of making $10,000 a month or more (before business expenses)

What an absolute loser of a “business opportunity.”



  1. The Marykay “Millionaire” club just means that someone purchased $1 million in products, correct?

    • For NSDs, they get a plaque annually if their lifetime commissions total $1 million or more. A Director whose unit has purchased $1 million in retail value products over the year is called a “Million Dollar Director”.

      What’s hilarious is my own Director called herself a millionaire because her commissions have totaled that amount, but what’s most important to realize is HOW LONG SHE HAS BEEN IN MK. $1 million in commissions since 2000 is only $50,000 gross profit/year.

      Far, far away from really being a Millionaire!

      • And also remember that the “$1 million in retail products purchased” also includes many instances of double credit!

  2. I had an epiphany when Pam Shaw and Kathy Helou both said they hesitated to stay in when nearly NSDs. They were at the top of their game, yet they were having doubts. Both considered other careers.

    There are fewer NSDs on target for Inner Circle this year than I’ve ever seen it. Morale has to be low when they’ve watched MK fire people, close distribution centers, and close entire countries. I bet there will be only a handful with $10,000 checks in the June or July issues of Appaluse.

  3. If you look at the numbers they trail off really fast too. Gloria, Lisa, and Pam earning well over $10k and then falls to just over 10k really fast. Then with people like Dacia, Crystal Trojo, and Kim Copeland quietly distancing their social media from MaryKay, it is very questionable that even with what they are making is it even worth it to them. Mary Kay loves to pass their own losses directly to the consultant and NSDs too. I would suspect they could be one change away from making it even more difficult to climb this pyramid.

  4. Wow, one NSD per 2,000 consultants. But with all the churning, the odds against any signee reaching NSD are much, much lower than one in 2,000. How many women sign up each year in the US, about 300,000? How many new NSDs get introduced each year, 10? 20?

    And your reward for beating those ridiculous odds? Congratulations, you’re earning middle-management wages and exploiting the thousands under you. It must feel just great.

  5. I remember when they first dissolved the pearl seminar, and the messaging was that they were trying to get back to just one seminar… you know, for unity, not because they were shrinking. Did they ever meet that weight loss goal?

    To be honest, I never paid much attention to the sharpness of income discrepancy at the NSD level. This is really tragic; it must be really depressing to get there and discover it’s just another mile marker. And you realize you’re going to “have to” reinforce the stories you tell your family again. Assuring them that success is just around the corner, and look at this shiny representation (insert $100 week bracelet, overpriced star consultant prize, ill-fitting red jacket, ugly car, horrid Director suit, etc) that the future is near.

    I feel like the NSDs are going to have such a rough transition when mk goes belly up. Specifically the ones barely scraping 10k and under. Hard to explain, but it seems like they’re barely treading water as is and still trying to smile like they’ve made it (so the smell of decay won’t scare off new recruits).

  6. I have to laugh at this “executive income” schpiel that MK used to tout to me. I seriously don’t know how those who live and breathe pink think and believe they will make 10K a month. For example, I often work as a travel nurse, and lately, I’ve been doing some shorter, crisis nursing contracts. I work about 48 hours a week, and my average gross per week is about $4200. A week. (Other contracts prior to COVID average about $1800-2000 net a week.) Oh and guess what? Work stays at work when I come home. I don’t have to think about the next recruit or making production any more. Plus I get 403B matching, tuition assistance (and I just finished my master’s degree in nursing), and bonuses. Executive income with MK? NOPE. Executive income as a travel nurse? YEP.

    • They definitely lie about their income; but more importantly, we need to look at what people “do” to make any amount – whether it be executive income or sub-minimum wage.

      You are a nurse now and help save lives. Thank you so much Heather. Mary Kay consultomers are endless-chain recruiters selling the opportunity to sell the opportunity while spending their own money. Dream sellers! The way to successfully build a team of dreamers (and hopefully make money) is by lying about the income opportunity. If they told the truth, no one would sign up. It’s a catch 22 and only one of the reasons it’s a scam.

      So while I completely understand your point about comparing the executive income lie (posting the numbers is necessary), I won’t let you sell yourself short. There is NO COMPARISON when it comes to a nurse saving lives and an MLM dream selling scammer. NONE 🙂

      • As a trvel nurse, I get paid WAY better than a staff nurse. I’ve done both, and honestly, “big girl pay” is in travel nursing. With COVID, there are contracts out there where nurses can make a lot of money in a short amount of time. As a staff nurse, if I want “big girl pay,” I need to take extra shifts and hope that I can get overtime approved. It’s a weird scenario honestly.

        My point is even when I was with MK AND a director, I worked harder and made less. I still have no idea how so many continue to peddle and lie about executive income that honestly doesn’t exist at all in MK.

    • Love seeing the results of leaving MK! Nurses are better paid and cared for than ever. Good for you!

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