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

Sad Truths About Mary Kay

Written by Raisinberry

Look, I am nobody… I was never one of your Seminar Stars. I was just a trudge-thru-the-murk “Premier Club” director, of which, there are hundreds! Maybe thousands. There is absolutely no reason for you to listen to me, especially since you have already been warned that I was either a 1) Loser, 2) Negative, or 3) Lazy Sales Director.

But, knowing all that, could I ask you to just stay with me for a second? Could I ask you to evaluate your Mary Kay experience against mine, to see if perhaps, you see what is tragic about this experience? Are you willing to embrace the idea that you have not been told the truth?

You think the NSD stories are true, right? It never occurred to you that their I-Stories are false, or embellished. Yet, what do they tell YOU about coming up with your I- Story at skin care classes? Are you not supposed to exaggerate your results and or story? Sell it for its best possible influence? Borrow someone else’s till your story is ready?

That’s what I was told . So you are told to say “I am in my first year” as a consultant… presumably to teach your new potential targets that you are “knowledgeable” and also to set the stage for your recruitment status. After all, nobody wants to recruit in, under a rookie.

This is Mary Kay Ash’s own wisdom.

But when you join, you rationalize that this is okay. You know it is a manipulation of the facts, but the the founder gets a “pass.” She’s a hero! She is an icon! Surely you are just not as business savvy as She was, so stuff your ethical radar and move on.

I have mentioned how little white lies give birth to true deception. You can pretty much believe that any income earnings from your director are hogwash. First, you won’t get any picture of her costs and expenses, PLUS, you wont ever really learn what she has sold, her commissions, and here’s the big one, her DEBT.

No secret on this site, but let me reiterate: Directors add in whatever shortfall for the minimum production ($4,500 per month) your unit did not produce. Not like they want to. It’s more like they HAVE to. To keep their unit! THAT’S why she bugs you monthly for your “order”! She’s tracking to hit the magical number or above. Either YOU pay it, or she has to! And for your lovely unit pride contribution you’ll get a locket or a pencil or a charm.

Up to now, you thought this was all innocent. Sorry to tell you it is not. Mary Kay is a heavily contrived MLM that is the master of sales manipulation and financial abuse. Yes, it masquerades as all sorts of positive women’s movement ideals, but ladies, it is none of them. All the domestic abuse grants will never compensate for the financial abuse of hundreds of thousands of women who trusted Mary Kay to be the support of their businesses, and the remedy of their economic struggle…and in fact, became the worst abuser of them all.

These are the sad truths about Mary Kay.


  1. Cindylu

    Thinking about the book “There’s room at the Top” and all the I stories of Anne Newbury, Barbara Sunden, Darlene White, Dorethy Dingler etc. Then when one of four directors suddenly became an NSD in my area, now that was exciting. Funny thing though her story was silly. A story so irrational that suddenly this MK thing didn’t make sense. She had a husband with a well paid career. Their home was no nicer than mine. They did sell all sorts of motivational tapes. Suddenly this newly minted NSD celebrity was making extra money just to speak to us and keep us hooked. I finally realized that this sweet MK clone was phony. When I left because I became sick, I still was drawn to the MK philosophy. After all MK was there to empower women. I initially regretted returning product. What was I to do? To those reading this return your products and free yourself sooner rather than later. It’s hard to realize that this wonderful, beautiful dream is suddenly flawed. That you’ve been lied to. That there is no honest way to do this MK mlm. There is no shame in quitting a business that includes too much time away from family trying to make a way. Products do not fly off shelves ever and definitely not during COVID. In the end I got back myself. My integrity, my time, my principles, and my life. I went on to a better career with actual pay check, perks and benefits. Thankfully (because I quit MK) I am now debt free and enjoying family and life.

  2. Char

    If you are told to “Fake it ‘til you make it”, you should assume the person telling you that is also faking it. Seriously, just think about it.

    A synonym for “fake” is lie. If you can lie to enough women and get them to place huge orders under the illusion they are starting a business, the real business of MKI will give you a kick-back. Very unethical.

    MKI’s sales and marketing strategy is to convince their women customers they are business owners. It’s both comical and sad. Sash and crown anyone?

    1. raisinberry

      This. This is what gets me to this day. Why did I toss my brain away as if SURELY they weren’t handling ME the way they teaching us to handle others!
      “Tell them you need a face model”
      “Tell them you just need one more”
      Tell them you were challenged by your Director to….
      Tell them you need a guest to win a challenge…

      All words of manipulation…to get over on and get your way at other’s expense. Classy.

  3. MakeupLover

    I remember the first time I realized a director might not have the consultant’s best interest in mind. A DIQ commented cynically to me why her director would be happy for her to fail. I was so shocked until she explained that her failure would mean that her director would inherit all her team members if she didn’t complete the requirements. This would only help her director’s production so if there was some “sabotaging” the DIQ’s efforts, all the better for the director. This is when the Pink Fog started to clear for me. This wasn’t a loving sisterhood as we had been led to believe.

    1. Heather

      Very rarely do directors have good interests and intentions for their unit members. It took me a long time to realize how manipulative and horrible my senior SD was. When I decided to step back, the so-called sisterhood disappeared. I was persona non grata. I could not believe that these women claimed to be my friends and then dropped me like a hot potato.

    2. Ruby Slippers

      My director tried to undermine and sabotage me every time I went into DIQ.
      She was too old to make NSD so there was no benefit for her. She lost money when I made Director. So did I. In hindsight, the whole thing was a lost venture and a huge waste of my time, energy, and my life .

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