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

The 50% Profit Lie in Mary Kay

Yes, the Mary Kay ladies are guilty of repeatedly making false earnings claims. The 50% profit lie is probably the most common. And even Mary Kay Inc. is guilty of pushing this lie. (It’s not just those “independent consultants” who are running around saying bad things!)

No, you don’t “make 50% of everything you sell.” No, you don’t make 50% profit on product sales.

If you sold everything at full suggested retail and never discounted or gave away anything, you’d have 50% gross profit. And from that, you have to subtract all your business expenses like shipping, supplies, demo products, training, etc. to get to your net profit. If you’re lucky, you might make 40% of what you sell. More likely, you make 25% of what you sell. (Or if you’re Ali Zornes, you make no profit because you discount everything down to wholesale in an effort to make/keep a pink Cadillac that your unit production doesn’t support.)


  1. MLM Radar

    I was looking at the Mary Kay corporate website yesterday. They appear to have sanitized it, or carefully re-worded it, to get past the FTC. But I still found Mary Kay corporate claiming that consultants have the “opportunity to make up to 50%” on product sales.

    I suppose that’s possible, sort of, if you make zero percent after expenses on all your previous sales. Then, when all your expenses have been covered by previous sales (LOL) you can claim that you made 50% on THIS lipstick and THAT mascara. It’s Mary Kay math!

    Real businesses don’t calculate profits that way. Mary Kay Corporate doesn’t calculate its own profits that way. And neither should we.

  2. Brainwashed no more

    I love the #5 reason where it says 100 customers equal $25,000 profit. Is that assuming $500 per customer per year? Full price? Mk math… This doesn’t make any sense. Of course, no one pays full price. So that could be $700 or more for 100 customers?
    I had more customers than that. People don’t spend that much per year. And to say that she had 100 of those great customers. Lucky if you had 10 customers like that. Many would order their eye liner, eye makeup remover or lipstick.

    1. BestDecision

      February results:
      Only 1 person in the entire country earned a Grand Achiever car.
      The Top 400 Director commissions includes one for $5489.*
      The Top 400 units for production includes a unit that did $33,571, which is about $16,000 wholesale and base Cadillac production.
      Only 80 NSDs made $10,000+ in commissions.
      Only 33 NSDs are on pace to earn $150,000 for the year (executive income).
      Only 6 NSDs are on target for Inner Circle. There’s normally about 13.
      2 of the Go Give award winners have been in for almost 40 years and have 0 and 2 offspring.
      1 of the winners has been in for 20 years and has 0 offspring.

      Some things still haven’t changed. Too many people counting on a miracle and holding on to hope.

      1. BestDecision

        * There are THOUSANDS (the majority) of other Directors making less than that. The majority isn’t making anywhere near that much.

        (Sorry for the additional post. I completely forgot to add in my notation.)

        All the above info can be found in the February issue of Applause on pages 10-17.

      2. Ruby Slippers

        Also if you notice on Mary Kay web pages that reviews for products removed and the director Status level is removed. It only say senior on Web pages when it used to say executive senior.

  3. morningstar

    I really dislike the picture of Rachal Ryan, her pose her dress drape. Go ahead corporate,
    THIS is how they look when they sell your coveted cr$p. It would take her less than 5 min to look decent.

    And Clinque saleswomen are taught to not sit open legged.

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