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

For the Pink Truth Critics

Written by Happy and Free

To all of our critics… We were once you. We know it seems hard to believe that we could ever say anything against Mary Kay. We know your director, your Sr. Director, your National Sales Director tells you this website is for losers, to block out the negative, and that we failed because we didn’t work. We know that you think our failure was our own fault. We thought the same thing about pinktruth.com… and then our pink bubble popped.

Don’t believe us?

  • We were your star consultants every quarter, because that $25 prize was worth it (it wasn’t).
  • We were your DIQs, because we believed when our director told us we were called to leadership (they say this to everyone).

  • We were your free car drivers (until the co-pays start rolling in and the $200 insurance payment… They do not pay 80% of your insurance like so many of us were told).
  • We were your directors, living the “dream” in the “big girls club” (and then our hours increased, our stress increased, and our integrity began to falter).
  • We were your Cadillac drivers, because that is the pinnacle of success (only to realize it your empire was still fragile).
  • We were the ones who walked the stage, won the bumblebees and the coveted diamond rings (only we realized that these numbers aren’t based on what you sell, but what you order; and directors can order for recruits and have it sent to themselves… we didn’t think it was true either, until we saw it done over, and over, and over. And yes, we did it because we were told that this is what you do.)
  • We believed our NSDs and our Directors would never do anything or ask us to do anything that would affect us negatively.
  • We believed that Mary Kay is run only with the highest integrity and that Profit and Loss should mean People and Love.
  • We believed that we could get where we wanted to go if only we worked harder and took God as our business partner.
  • We did everything right, and it still didn’t work.
  • We worked more than the 20hrs a week we were told it took, and it still didn’t work.
  • We won the cars, the rings, the bees, and still the money wasn’t flowing.
  • We bought the inventory, the limited edition, the Christmas products, and our sales barely broke even or led to significant debt.
  • We believed our Sr. Director when she said, just invest in one more month and everything will turn around, and then it all still crumbled.

Please hear us when we tell you, we know why you think we’re crazy. We know why you think Mary Kay is your safe place. We know some of you stay in simply because you feel trapped. But there is a way out, you can start over. It is hard and painful, like surgery (or a car crash if you just jump off the Mary Kay train) but it is possible.

And if you still don’t believe us, do your own taxes (a practice that is discouraged because you’ll see the money isn’t there). Check out your schedule C from last year, or calculate it this year. And remember, we don’t get paid for this… But when you do what you director tells you is best, she most definitely does.

Just be honest with yourself… And know that there is life after Mary Kay. And that life is abundantly swe


  1. BestDecision

    Amen! There’s a reason why so many goals are met late at night on the last day. If it were a legit and prosperous business, it wouldn’t need a calculator and phone calls at 11pm.

    1. onelessSD

      Bingo! The last day of the month/year would be just like every other day… no rush or craziness would ensue, just normal work habits. Also- you wouldn’t be exhausted on that 1st day of the new month (or feel the weight of hopelessness – due to having to start all over again to meet those quotas!)

  2. Ruby Slippers

    Excellent article! The insurance on the car was such a lie!!! $95 for a Chevy Cruze when you could lease one at the time for $99. I had no Copays for about a year then Copays happened and paying $187 + $95 was an absolute rip off. I’m so glad I’m out.

    I know 2-3 new Directors within this past year and I don’t think any have cars yet…actually a blessing really. I’m waiting to see how long it takes them to come out of the pink fog.
    I think 2-2.5 years for a Director to realize it’s not working.

    One Posted a pic of all her empty inventory boxes (large ones) saying how busy she was.
    Large boxes = @ $1000 wholesale now. Small boxes $250 wholesale.
    20+ years ago all boxes were huge even for a minimum order with all the packing peanuts. Now it’s condensed so as to not look like a large amount of product.
    Especially when husbands see it rolling in and start to question.

    You could practically count the empty boxes on her post and calculate the amount of inventory she bought at end of month to keep her Director Status. I highly doubt she’s selling that much. I was really good at sales and still averaged about 2,000- 3,000 retail a month only.

  3. Char

    It’s not only these wonderful bullet points, but it’s also the fact that everyone believed they were something they were not!

    I could explain, but let Mary Kay do it for you in their own words:

    “A company that believes in its people takes care of them with truly exceptional benefits that help employees at work, at home, and in retirement. It starts with a generously supported and comprehensive health and welfare plan which includes medical, dental, and vision. We also invest in our people by providing a 401(k) plan and, as a privately-held company, Mary Kay offers a very generous profit-sharing program to all employee levels. And most people at Mary Kay have access to on-site fitness and health centers. As part of our commitment to employee wellness, we even provide on-site mammograms and flu shots.

    Medical/Dental/Vision Coverage
    Short- and Long-Term Disability
    Flexible Spending Accounts (Health Care and Dependent Care)
    Life Insurance/Accidental Death and Dismemberment
    Tuition Assistance
    On-Site Training Opportunities
    Holiday Bonus
    Product Discounts
    Pink illustration of heart and heart monitor symbol.
    FREE On-Site Fitness Center (Corporate and Manufacturing)
    FREE On-Site Health Clinic (Corporate and Manufacturing)
    On-Site Mammograms, Flu Vaccinations and Health Screenings
    Mother’s Room
    Tobacco-Free Campus
    Pink pie chart broken into three pieces.
    Profit Sharing
    401(k) Plan
    Illustration of pink hourglass with dollar sign.
    Vacation Time
    Floating Holidays
    Parental Leave
    Personal Time

    There are so many beautiful things about a career with Mary Kay, starting with our mission of enriching the lives of women and their families around the world. And that’s a career you can love.“


    But wait, you didn’t receive any of that, did you? How strange. Might you have been a bunch of women playing dress up princess, going on MK shopping sprees, getting recognition for being a VIP shopper and recruiting others?

    And now you hopefully understand that you were just a person ordering THEIR products to keep their business functioning. You should be angry, as you were used and tricked. Think of all the time spent away from family and all that credit card spending.

    It wasn’t all for naught though. Your Mary Kay patronage has provided it’s employees and the founding family with wonderful benefits, and you helped them become a billion dollar debt-free company.

  4. J

    Great post!

    To those of you who read and don’t post, please really think about why you’re here. Obviously it’s not to spew hatred towards this community, so why are you here?

    For me, initially, I was just a curious red jacket. What on earth could anyone have to say negative about mk? An abusive director? Wow that sucks, glad mine’s not like that; I guess I don’t need to worry.

    Maybe a few months pass and you return to look again. Why? For me, we had an adoptee who was a faux queen of sales. Basically she could claim whatever number of sales/parties she needed to ‘win that week’ and my director was none the wiser, though everyone was deeply suspicious. This consultant would stand during the hype of “stand up if you sold $100 this week. Stay standing if you sold $200, $300? $400?!” She’d just wait until she was the last one, every single week. She was a walking red flag. I knew she was lying, but what could I do? Why should I care? Hmm, pink truth talks about how we don’t truly track sales… interesting. Well back into the fog, maybe I’ll be back.

    A year later, I’m broke. I want to go back to school, and I’ve grown embarrassed of the mk window decal on my car. I bought the most expensive one. It looked great when my car was newer, but now my car is old and in need of heavy servicing that I really can’t afford. I’m ashamed to represent mk in such an embarrassing car, so I remove it. I’m feeling guilty about the tiny bit of relief I feel. The relief of not having to keep up with that part of the facade. Now, no one will know I’m in mk unless I tell them. So if I look as broke as I am, it’s okay. I don’t have a sticker saying “I’m rich” on my car. I return to pink truth, and they’re talking about the ugly side of fall retreat, career conference, and seminar. I feel more relief. I’m not the only one feeling completely overwhelmed about scraping up the money to go.

    I get the second job, and see two $25 charges on my pro pay account for not keeping my account active. I’m furious, and I cancel it. I realize the security I’m feeling having a job with steady pay and it terrifies me. Am I giving up, dreaming small!? Walking away from the career of a lifetime? Then my sister places a $115 order. Perfect, extra cash! Oh but, I’m not active. I’m due for another activating order. That’s okay, I need stuff anyways. But now I’m spending money after receiving an order, and that just doesn’t feel right. Back to pink truth. Ah, not alone again. It’s difficult to turn a profit with only 50% margins. Those are actually quite low, and shipping, gifts, discounts, gas and time all eat into that profit.

    Hmm, maybe I should quite. I do, and I’m flooded with relief along with some really uncomfortable confrontation of debt. Some rehabilitation on being a genuine person, and establishing friendships that don’t have an alternate agenda of party holding/introduction to more people who might have parties. I give my customers my director’s number, but surprisingly they don’t really reorder. Most of them didn’t actually love the products, they were just trying to support me. I feel a bit embarrassed, but relieved that my director won’t know how little people actually ordered from me. I start trying new products, and they’re better than mk. I learn more from Skincare with Hyram than I ever learned in mk. I realize how little I really knew, and I considered myself a great consultant.

    I start a career, and I have benefits. I’m never expected to share a hotel room, my meals are paid for, and I don’t pay for training. I pay off my credit card.

    I go back to Pink Truth and realize that I’m still not alone. Many have the same stories. It’s a transition out of the fog. But no matter what, you’re not alone. You’re not the only consultant struggling secretly, and it’s okay to walk away from mk. I’m glad you’re here; it’s time you get some well deserved rest and remove that terrible burden from your shoulders. You’re not alone. Again, it’s okay to walk away.

        1. NayMKWay

          A well-deserved spot. What a great account. It had me locked in from the first sentence.

          (Be sure to correct where “quite” should be “quit” though.)

  5. Brainwashed no more

    To the lurker… you are enough without meeting your impossible goal. The odds are stacked against you. There is a profit for the heads of the company, not you, the independent contractor. You are the real customer. Even when i sold a lot and was in queens court of sales, I wasn’t seeing a profit. All was a lie, looking back. Lots of “fake it till you make it. ” lots of levels, not profit. “People and love” so that you don’t see there’s no profit, only loss. “The only way you fail is if you quit.” There’s no way you can really make a profit. Quit now and recover your self esteem and authenticity.

  6. Cat Ballou

    “Directors can order for recruits and have it sent to themselves” – wait, what?

    I found this site because I had a friend who was really pushy about trying to recruit me so she could get her car. I mean, I figured that any kind of MLM sales gig was a money-losing proposition. But this?

    1. BestDecision

      Yes, they can. And they do all the time. My Director orders for her daughter and fake recruits so she maxes out her 36% commission on them and hits contests. It happens way more than people let on.

      1. Cat Ballou

        I am sitting here with my mouth hanging open in shock. How is this possible? Does the director open up a line of credit in the recruit’s name? Is the recruit then liable for paying for the products?

        1. MLM Radar

          It’s possible and happens all the time, without MK objecting. There’s one reason in particular why MK doesn’t object:

          The products ordered in someone else’s name will never be returned for the 90% buy-back!

          See, the “legal” owner of the products is the person whose name is on the order. When products are returned a paper check is issued. MK doesn’t send the money back to the credit card account used to purchase the products. MK issues a paper check, and the name on that check is the name used on the purchase order.

          If you order in the name of your dog, a paper refund check gets sent to your dog. Good luck cashing it!

          If you order in the name of your sister, aunt or mother, you have to explain to them why you want to them to endorse the refund check to you. Mmm hmmm.

          If you order in the name of a recruit you reactivated, without her knowledge, that can get really interesting. Let’s not go there, OK?

          No, no, no. Whatever you secretly order in someone else’s name to make your Team Production quota is yours to keep.

        2. BestDecision

          No, Directors use their own credit cards. I know of some that had multiple and rotated them depending on interest rates and time of year they’d use them. However, Consultants aren’t immune because many are taught by their Directors or even figure it out themselves that they can order for others and pay it themselves to reach a new title or contest.

          It’s really scary how much of this goes on. I personally know Directors that have taken second mortgages out on their house or gotten a small loan from the bank to maintain a car or finish the trip.

  7. Mountaineer95

    …”Profit and Loss should mean People and Love”…

    This is NEVER a positive outlook or goal, not even if you’re told that your mission is to : share the dream, propose the opportunity, or use #yourMKlife only to gain friends and acceptance.

    Profit is NECESSARY for you to really perform any of the above listed MK goals. If you can do those things while covering every last one of your costs, then you’re a volunteer; it if that’s what you want, that’s still okay. But the MINUTE you start losing money to do any of those things, the situation is not good for you and you should leave.

    I’ve worked actual sales positions my entire adult career and was properly taught early on that having a good handle on the P and L is what leads to continued success. If your numbers keep coming up deep into the L part of that, year after year, it’s time to leave. It’s beyond time to leave. And any employer would agree. But MK won’t, because YOUR sheets showing chronic losses don’t correspond with their sheets…MK is comfortably in the profit part of that.

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