Pretending Mary Kay is Prestigious

Every so often, my former area in Mary Kay would get on this kick about pretending Mary Kay was a prestigious product and that the consultant’s time at a skin care class was a rare and valuable thing. We were supposed to make women WANT to have a party or buy products or become a recruit by pretending this was such a special chance for them!

I don’t disagree that my time is valuable, but I’m not interested in pretending that it’s a big privilege to be around me. Especially if the way you get to be with me is if you agree to listen to me blather about Mary Kay. I’d rather not pretend that I have only two openings next week (when I really have the entire week free) so that I can sound busy and ask you which is better for you.

Yes, women do like to be around successful people, but if you have to pretend to be successful and in-demand for MK skin care classes, what’s the point? You’re going to pretend to be busy so that she perceives this is a wonderful opportunity and books an appointment with you?

On a daily basis, women also pretend that Mary Kay has the same level of quality as department store brands. Some women even refer to them as “prestige” brands. This perception of quality is necessary, because without it, the products would never be sold. (Not that a whole lot is sold to begin with, but you get my drift.)

I’ve long held the belief that Mary Kay is on par with products bought at Walgreen’s, Target, or Wal-Mart. If women like the products and they work, that’s just fine. But they’re simply not of the same level of quality as the more expensive brands. Yet they’re priced like they are.

Why are the products priced at a higher level if the quality doesn’t merit it? Because Mary Kay has to pay commissions to so many levels of the pyramid. The only way to do it is by inflating the price of the products. And along with that, you must inflate the image of the product.

Why do I bring this all up? Because it’s just one more part of the massive shell game that Mary Kay plays. Each day, women in Mary Kay pretend they’re successful, pretend they’re master recruiters, pretend they’re actually supporting their families with MK, pretend they’re “on target” for a goal, and pretend that they didn’t have to recruit their dog to make it through DIQ.

Mary Kay is based upon numerous deceptions, and sites like Pink Truth are the only way to expose these deceptions to the general public and help prevent women from getting involved with the company


  1. BestDecision

    The key word throughout this is “pretend”. We pretended to be successful, happy, and profitable. If we didn’t, we failed or were shunned and scolded by our peers for having a bad attitude. In every other career I can think of, it’s a violation of some sort for pretending to be something you’re not. For example, a nurse, no matter her years of experience, can’t pretend to be a doctor.

    It’s all lies and more lies. I grew exhausted faking it, and it feels so much better living authentically.

  2. BestDecision

    GET THIS: People have to be registered for Seminar to receive some of their prizes. Others have to PAY for shipping of them. Can you believe it??

    Tracy, are you seeing this? They’ve created a visual for all of it.

      1. BestDecision

        Please tell us you’re posting the Seminar awards doc. Paying for their own prize’s shipping! Not getting an earned prize if not registered for Seminar. It’s awful! Anyone who stands firmly in favor of MK after seeing that is truly brainwashed.

  3. MLM Radar

    As a long time user of beauty products from Target and WalMart (Revlon, Maybelline and Cover Girl) I can confidently say that Mary Kay products don’t hold a candle to the “drug store” products.

    The “drug store” cleansers don’t burn my skin. The “drug store” lipsticks don’t melt off at body temperature leaving me with zombie lips (all the color clumped under dry skin patches). The “drug store” eyeshadows color In one stroke, and don’t have to be caked on to be seen. The “drug store” foundations cover blemishes smoothly without inflaming them. And “drug store” products don’t easily melt all over my car seat on a warm day, leaving an oily pink-sparkle stain nearly impossible to remove.

    In my opinion, the closest thing comparable to Mary Kay are the no-brand makeup sets packaged in cheap holiday gift baskets for pre-teens.

  4. morningstar

    I will comment that I got results from the basic line when I was younger. Clinique took that spot many moons ago.

    Today it is FULL of irritating herbs and chemicals, the ingredient labels are in their own zipcode they are so long. the question is why?

      1. BestDecision

        I remember that! I sent Tracy a visual MK created of their Seminar awards. Some can’t get theirs if they don’t register for Seminar, and some will have to pay shipping for them! Trip Directors and Elites can’t get their prizes if they don’t register for Seminar. What a slap in the face!

  5. Cindylu

    It reminds me of a conference I went to with our NSD. The NSD definitely put on airs. The old sitting at the feet of some sort of Diva. The way our NSD’s prance around, you would think they were royalty or billionaires. It’s all about image or pretending to be important.

  6. Neverpink

    I must confess, whenever I see Mary Kay products, I immediately think of older women. Like grandmothers. Not that there’s anything wrong with getting older (we all get there), I just don’t associate MK with anything resembling “prestige”.

    MK = old lady makeup in my mind, and the minds of many of my millennial peers.

    More “fake it til you make it” nonsense, I suppose.

    1. Destiny Angel

      If it makes you feel any better my 50+ year old self always throws it in with being “my grandmothers era make-up.”

      I would spend my week-ends scouring Boots and Woolies for their own brands rather than sit through an Avon, Oriflame or MK presentation.

  7. Mountaineer95

    The cluelessness that many Kaybots display about how companies determine their prices and how they make profits would be laughable if it weren’t so sad. Whatever price that MK charges their consultants is the amount from which all of the company’s profit is derived. MK doesn’t sell to consumers, so as a company they make nothing on any retail sales. ALL OF THE COMPANY’S PROFIT IS MADE OFF THE ORDERS OF CONSULTANTS. Thus the cost of the product has to include all of the company’s costs of making the product (raw materials, manufacturing, packaging, corporate employee payroll, etc) PLUS whatever commissions are paid to the upline. It’s amazing the number of Kaybots that don’t believe that the costs they pay include the commissions (where the hell else would they get the money to pay them?).

    When talking about prestige products, their use of better (and more expensive) ingredients is important. And it’s not like MK has some incredible super-top-secret network of raw materials providers selling them ingredients so much cheaper than any other cosmetics and skin care brands.

    So, as an example (and I’m just guessing at percentages here), lets say MK sells x product to an IBC for $20 “cost”. Kaybots then mistakenly treat this item as a $40 retail product, and compare it to other $40 retail products on the market, including those made by companies that aren’t MLM. Even if that $20 MK product is sold by the IBC for $40, none of that profit goes to MK, so MK must already have every bit of profit they need in that $20. Let’s say $8 of that goes towards upline commissions (this is where I’m guessing, feel free to plug in more accurate numbers), $4 goes to MK corporate payroll, and $6 goes to manufacturing/cost of raw materials/packaging. Now, the costs involved with corporate payroll and costs of making the product are things that all non-MLM companies need to include. What they don’t is that large number associated with the upline commissions.

    The prestige brands that don’t pay MLM commissions can instead spend that same amount on better ingredients (or packaging, or R and D, usually a combination of those) than MK can for the same “cost”.

    MK is not paying commissions out of some invisible pot of gold that’s completely unrelated to the costs they’re charging the IBCs. It’s just not possible.

  8. J

    I’ve always wondered about the extra emollient night cream. I know as kaybots we were fed a very glossy story of its origins, but I’ve always wondered if there was something more. Seemed fishy, anyone know about it?

        1. PurpleH

          If you can get a copy of Jackie Brown’s “Ask ME about Mary Kay” it goes into detail of that story. It’s been a while since I read it, but there was quite a lot of manipulation there. And didn’t Jackie go on to co-found BeautiControl or some other competitor?

        2. BestDecision

          I remember that she went to a chemist after noticing the man’s hands looking so youthful, and I think the formulas were all hers to begin with. I could be wrong.

          Does anyone else remember that story?

          1. Lazy Gardens

            One version of the “hide tanner” story is here:


            “Mary Kay had met a woman, Ova Heath Spoonemore, who was selling homemade skin-care products out of her home. They were made from formulas that the woman’s father, an Arkansas tanner named J.W. Heath (no relation to Dick or Jinger), had created back in the early thirties.”

            She bought the recipes.

            It also has a bit about Jackie Brown.

  9. jenny

    “On a daily basis, women also pretend that Mary Kay has the same level of quality as department store brands.”

    “I’ve long held the belief that Mary Kay is on par with products bought at Walgreen’s, Target, or Wal-Mart.”

    When I was a kid I grew up thinking “department store” meant places like Caldor’s/Ames/etc. more it meant Macy’s/Filene’s/etc. Maybe that’s what they still think “department store makeup” means?

    1. BestDecision

      I used to have to constantly convert Bare Minerals’ users, which was extremely hard. Their biggest threats right now are still Clinique and Bare Minerals. Beautycounter is hitting the market hard, but it’ll fizzle out like Argonne did.

      I spent over a decade of my life convincing people to change their minds on everything. Exhausting! So glad I now only worry about my own choices and am no longer overcoming objections!

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