More Mary Kay Myths

Written by DupedByPinkFriend

We frequently discuss some of the falsehoods and partial truths in the Mary Kay recruiting spiels that tend to hook women who are only looking to get their products at a discount, or just want to earn a few extra bucks per month, and have loads of fun while they’re at it. There are many other scripts that you may have heard if someone is trying to recruit you, and these are designed to convince women that they can easily become wealthy and attain financial security with a Mary Kay career. Let’s just look at a few of the typical lines you were probably told; those lines that may be tempting you to jump in head first.

“Mary Kay Cosmetics is a ‘Dual Marketing’ company”

You will hear this line right away, with explanations that as a new Independent Beauty Consultant, you will receive the same 50% discount on product purchases that Independent Sales Directors and National Sales Directors enjoy. It will be further explained that because you buy your products directly from the company, and turn around and sell them directly to your customers, there is no “middleman”.

But very quickly, your recruiter may show you something called “Avenues of Income” which describes all of the ways to earn money in your MK business. Some of the ways to earn money are commissions that you would earn on products that your own recruits order from the company. This selling point is sometimes punctuated with “So you can be earning money while you sleep!”

That is pretty exciting to consider, but your recruiter is hoping that you don’t put two and two together and come up with, “Hey, wait a minute! Doesn’t that make me a middleman? And won’t all the levels above me be making money on MY orders?” Since the Career Ladder shows many levels in Mary Kay that you can work towards, and your recruiter and her recruiter and her recruiter all make money from your orders, can we just say it like it is? Multiple levels will make money on your orders. You know, as in “Multi”?

MK really hopes that you won’t make this mental leap and discover that Mary Kay is in fact, a multi-level marketing plan, just like that horrible Amway. It is a barely legal pyramid scam, where the few at the top profit from the many who fail at the bottom. Before you go any further, I would suggest that you google “multi-level marketing” and “pyramid scams” and see if you really think this is something that will likely earn you money.

“You can earn an executive income on part-time hours!”

Stop right there, and analyze that for a second. Can you think of even one example of an entrepreneur or executive who got rich working part time? This is a blatant lie, but one that is dragged out at every recruiting session, and again, there is no proof to back up this statement. If you want big money in Mary Kay, expect to be working at a frenetic level, day in and day out. You won’t have time to be with your family and you will be encouraged to hire a nanny and a maid and an administrative assistant to take care of household duties and keep your business in order. That means you had better be selling a lot of product to cover these new expenses, so you’ll have time to grow your business!

Previously, we touched on some of the expenses that you will encounter as an independent beauty consultant. As we’ve already discussed, there is little profit after expenses in selling the products, so how do these women actually earn money in MK? The money comes from recruiting, and pressuring your recruits to order products. But, you too will need to gloss over the truth when speaking to potential recruits, because very few women really want to earn their money by repeating the lies and half-truths that you told them, and continually try to coerce women to order products that they don’t need and may never sell.

You will need to “sell the opportunity” to a minimum of 24 women if you want to become a sales director. You will be told to “raise your deserve level”, and “find a way, make a way” to make it happen, and when you do, THEN you will be earning the big bucks! What you do not find out until after you become a director, is that your expenses are going to raise exponentially. In addition to the expenses that are associated with selling the products, now add these expenses that come with directorship:

  • You have to schedule a debut to announce your directorship, and you’ll foot the bill for the room or restaurant including the meal or refreshments, tips, and appreciation gifts for your unit members.
  • Travel to and from Dallas to attend the “free” director training. Room, meals, and tips while you’re there for a week
  • Buy the expensive and utterly ugly director’s designer suit that you must wear. Factor in the dry cleaning bills.
  • Rent a room in which you will hold your weekly unit training meetings. In some instances, you’ll also be paying utility bills on the room.
  • Pay someone to put together your unit materials, because you don’t have time to do that! You need to be out recruiting more consultants, because some of your unit members have now wised up and quit. You need those bodies and the production that they bring in!
  • Maintain a social media presence. This is now an important part of recruiting. You have to show the illusion of success and fun and lots of money.
  • Purchase ribbons and prizes for your consultants to keep them motivated to order more products.

Whew! Now consider the expenses and time commitment for the never ending “MK pow-wows” that you will be expected to attend:

  • Seminar
  • Career Conference
  • Leadership Conference
  • Area Conference
  • Monthly Directors’ Meetings
  • Other Director’s and National’s Debuts
  • Recruiting events: Muffins and Makeovers, Pizza and Possibilities, etc.

There are many other requirements for you to keep your directorship status, including maintaining a minimum unit production each and every month, even though you’ve been told that there are no quotas in Mary Kay. And if you don’t meet the production, you’ll need to personally purchase the necessary amount of products to make up the difference, even though you don’t have time to get out and sell the products anymore!

Your production (and resulting commission check) can take a huge hit when one or more of your recruits quit, and return their inventories to the company. When that happens (and it happens a lot), you will receive a “chargeback”. This means that you have to pay back the commissions that you earned on your recruits orders. You are on the hook for potential chargebacks for a full year after an order is placed by someone in your unit.

“Short term sacrifice for long term gain!”

By now, I hope you are getting a clear picture of the losses that you will be experiencing: more time away from your family, huge credit card debts from trying to make it all work, living with continual immense stress, and a slow erosion of your integrity. Is it any wonder that very few women can tolerate a life such as this, and weather the financial juggling long enough to make it to National Sales Director status?

You will be living with an undercurrent of peer pressure. You need to maintain an image of wealth, happiness, success. Just look around at your sister directors! If they can do it, so can you! And this pressure can never be discussed. You will be labeled “negative” if you let on that all is not well. You must carry that weight alone.

It is also important to note that you will never be living in the moment. You will always be hanging on to the promise of a better life “when I get to the next level…” You may never feel like you have “arrived.” You are missing out on “now.” You can never be really “there” for your children, because that elusive destination has you scurrying to and fro, and if you let up for even a short time, it will all crumble around you. Most importantly, your children may likely “catch how you live.” Your kids might never feel like they have arrived, either.

“You can ‘Achieve Success’ and ‘Earn Rewards’ and enjoy ‘Life on Your Terms’ while you are ‘Enriching Womens Lives’ by ‘Sharing the Opportunity’!”

Goodness! This sounds like the best thing since sliced bread! While all of these claims are “kind of” possible, please understand that the reality is glossed over: This is a very hard business in which to achieve that success. These blanket statements are designed to appeal to your emotions, to get you excited about the possibilities of wealth, glamour, and respect that can be yours if you just want it badly enough. In short, these pretty words are intended to allow your emotions to overcome your rational thought, to make you ACT NOW, to entice you t


  1. NayMKWay

    That post from Carrie Zuberer is such an obvious lie. The last numbers we saw from Mary Kay indicated less than $2000 per year per sales rep, so how is the “average profit” $1000 per month? The FTC has been sending nasty-grams to people who make income claims online; I hope someone turns Zuberer in.

    By the way, Tracy, this article’s last line is partially cut off, ending “…entice you t”.

      1. Shay

        according to one commenter here she said she made about $800 a month and that is only because she has dedicated customers who order all the time. I wish I could find the post but I remember her saying that she refuses to go to meetings and does not recommend people join and she refuses to recruit people.

      2. Shay

        I think she also said she is treated is like shit by her the upper pyramid because she refuses to recruit. i believe her only because she is recommending people not join. i wonder what her expenses are?


    This is why I am here. I HATE the fact that MLM and Mary Kay, market to women of poor self esteem, and they can be women from all economic venues, because we all know by now, that women have been taught that they do not measure up. And that is a lie. Today, after 60 years of civil rights and social rights legislation, the playing field has been leveled…that’s why Gloria, and JoAnne, and countless others are flying high (pre-covid)…CAN WE FINALLY FORGET ABOUT CLASS AND RACE, AND jUST ENJOY HUMANITY AS THEY COME?

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