Will Mary Kay Inc. Ever Face the Truth?

Written by Raisinberry

We’ve been at this Pink Truth thing since 2006. Who would have thought we’d still be around? Who would have thought Mary Kay Inc. would still be operating business as usual with no meaningful change in 14 years?

But it’s true. We’re still here talking about the exact same abuses of consultants. The exact same lies. The same way new recruits are frontloaded with large inventory packages. The same way directors put inventory orders on their credit cards in order to make minimum production or finish a goal, knowing full well that they don’t have the money to do so and they have almost no hope of selling those products.

We all know people (including ourselves) who hold to deep beliefs and are adamant about defending them, until they get new information. That’s how Pink Truth works. Women come here adamant to defend Mary Kay, shocked that young and old timers would band together and spill their guts about the inner workings and reality of the world of Mary Kay.

If you read Pink Truth for any length of time, the truth spoken here eventually becomes something you can no longer deny.

Some have asked us why don’t we just move on? Maybe it’s because Mary Kay is a very elaborate money scheme that preys on vulnerable women, leaves them broke, but is disguised as a life affirming “opportunity.”

Despite all our efforts, Mary Kay Inc. has not faced the truth. They have not come “clean.”

Over the last 14 years, the number of consultants and directors has dropped dramatically in the U.S. The company has made up for that with recruiting in huge markets like China. Mary Kay can continue on indefinitely, so long as their international markets continue to perform.

In the U.S., husbands are finding Pink Truth, new possible recruits are finding it, consultants are finding it, NSDs already read it (and warn about it), directors at both high and low ends are questioning the tactics they have used because they are now exposed here, and the company marches merrily along as if this downturn is only temporary. The United States downturn for Mary Kay could have been temporary. Maybe they could have stopped the the bleeding, by simply admitting past mistakes and confirming a commitment to change “the system.” Maybe Mary Kay could have consultants who are truly proud of the company’s integrity in which they once believed, and maybe they could grow again.

But Mary Kay cannot do that. And here is why.

The entire operation depends on NOT facing the truth.

  • How simple would it be to have consultants record their sales tickets online?
  • How simple would it be to have a new recruit list on her application whether she has/had a different consultant than the one who is introducing her to the opportunity?
  • How simple would it be to reward new beauty consultants with free product bonuses after their first 90 days sales come in? Imagine getting $600 in free product because YOU SOLD $3,000 worth?
  • How simple would it be to confirm a reinstatement of a previously terminated consultant by calling the consultant?
  • How simple would it be to check credit card numbers against orders, to see if the name on the credit card matches the name of the ordering consultant?
  • How simple would it be to re-interview every signed consultant and CONFIRM that no erroneous information was given and no false promises made, before she gets too deep into believing a lie?
  • How hard would it be to stop the practice of mentioning a director’s “high check” at guest events, in favor of an “average check” that included chargebacks, and normal expenses – in other words, a TRUE profit picture.
  • How hard would it be to send directors through sales training in EARNEST, so that they could catch up with what they should know about creating a selling unit… not platitude spewing – recruiting/ordering for prizes only unit.
  • How hard would it be to have a yearly unit evaluation where consultants could go online and share on the ability and responsibility the director shows in leading the unit. Only those afraid of feedback would complain.
  • How hard would it be to stop the practice of calling a this a “business” for a consultant, when it clearly is not! Since Mary Kay is concerned about brand purity and image, and will not let a consultant advertise her “business,” sell from a retail location, sell her “business,” pass her “business” on to family, can terminate a consultant and keep all the residual business (profit) ad infinitum. The consultant simply does NOT “own” a business. It is a lie.
  • How hard would it be to have Awards Seminar actually be an event that awards selling activity? With verified sales receipts that have been collected over the entire year, the winners, the Queens, would be legit in all categories. It wouldn’t be a matter of who had access to the most credit card space.

How hard would it be? Devastatingly hard. The entire scam would crumble.

Instead of 400 women in the Court of Sales, you would have 50… maybe. Unit clubs would disintegrate. No million dollar units. No “top director trip” units. No massive recruiting events where 60 women sign up.

The truth would weed out the impulse recruits. The “real” earnings figures for Premier Club and Caddy directors would expose how little “executive” income is made.

Coming down the stairs being helped by tuxedoed gentlemen for creating five maxed credit cards would be a thing of the past. The illusion that anyone can do it would be gone.

The day Mary Kay faces the truth, will be a day of freedom for over 2 million consultants worldwide. It may take Seminar down a peg or two, to more like a local high school sports banquet… but the results would be real. And honorable. And right. And every woman involved could hold her head up and know she deserved her award.

And Mary Kay for the first time in decades, could claim in earnest that old motto… ”enriching women’s lives.” Up to now, knowing the fraud that goes on, and doing nothing to curtail it, and in fact doing every thing to encourage it, means the only “enriching” that Mary Kay Cosmetics actually cares about, is its own. That is the blind truth. We have been exposing this truth for years.

Unfortunately, it is the 2+ million consultants and directors worldwide who are blind as well.

And the sad reality is, that Mary Kay will not come clean, because the embarrassment is too much and their culpability is too great. They have presided over and looked the other way on, abuses of the sales force, at the hands of their own NSDs and unmonitored sales directors, because the money generated is just too great! They would be financially liable under any other “system” of employment for this massive fraud.

Hiding behind the safety fence of the independent contractor system, they march merrily along, baiting the new recruit with her “clock is ticking” on the $600 of free products if she orders an inventory package right away… knowing full well she is likely never to sell all of it, and will be tricked by her “warm market” initial sales to order more.

What happens when Mary Kay faces the truth? The same thing that happens to us: humiliation, shame, embarrassment. Disbelief that we could have go on so long in utter denial. Watching our financial house of cards crumble, and having to stuff that truth down and suck others in, just to maintain. Trapped. Needing the money, and unwilling to face what we have become. Which is exactly what Mary Kay is doing in overseas… just “moving on.”

For Mary Kay Cosmetics, the truth is apparently impossible. It would require a level of integrity that risks financial fallout, and a length of time “healing” that is both uncomfortable and time consuming. They must “move on” and replace that production over and over with new recruits and new inventory packages, without taking the time to create a more noble Mary Kay. The company stays in denial because they don’t want to look at the truth. Mary Kay Inc. will not process these words, nor face that the truth, while painful, really does set you free.


  1. Lazy Gardens

    How simple would it be to show all the current consultants on a map, perhaps by zip code, so a potential recruit can gauge her competition? That would be the death of recruiting, because seeing 15 of them in my town of 8000 is a hint that maybe it’s a crowded seller space.

  2. Not a bot

    How simple would it be not to train with scripts and vague lies. No, the product does not sell itself. No, you will probably not recover your money if you make a large inventory order. Yes, you will often have to miss out on family time to work your business. Yes, if you want people to sign up, you will have to lie to and manipulate them.

    How simple would it be to give a potential new recruit honest information instead of ‘selling the sizzle’ or the ‘husband unawareness plan’ to get her to rush into an emotional decision without facts.

  3. NayMKWay

    Mary Kay could and should do all of those things (though they won’t, as I’ll explain below), but they’d still be MLM. As long as recruiting is rewarded, people will recruit. The corporate changes Raisinberry writes about will make recruiting more difficult, but recruiting will still be rewarded. A drug dealer who never cheats his clients or his dealers and always delivers quality product is still profiting off the act of selling dangerous chemicals to addicts. MLM is exploitative no matter how much make-up it wears (pun intended).

    People start a business for various reasons, but most want to a) earn a decent living, maybe even get rich, b) provide a useful product or service to the public, and optionally, c) create local jobs. Anyone starting an MLM business is fundamentally trying to get rich by screwing over other people. Maybe Mary Kay Ash didn’t realize those ramifications when she started Mary Kay. Maybe her intentions were noble. But it was soon clear that her shiny new company was causing a lot of hardship to a lot of women, and she didn’t bat an eye. Keeping a sales force was “Like trying to fill a bathtub with the drain open,” in her words, but she was still making money, so she didn’t care.

    And that’s why Mary Kay Corp will never undertake to clean up their act: they made their choice to play dirty back in 1963. The only way they’ll change is if they’re forced to by the FTC. Sure, that’s a long shot, but the FTC did it to another Texas-based company: AdvoCare. And if you read the FTC’s description of why they went after AdvoCare, the parallels with Mary Kay are difficult to ignore. See for yourself; it’s a quick read:


  4. autumn

    How simple it would be to give a consultant an actual territory?

    To have quality that matched price? I don’t want to pay Lancombe prices for LA Colors quality.

    10-15 years ago Avon prices matched their quality, then the business model collapsed and they did something of a swirley, and stumbled into full on MLM.

    MLM is a ponzi scheme, talented in staying just this side of a line.

  5. morningstar

    They are making money losing money at the moment. That is the truth. They know what they are doing….and going to ride it out until the sunset. They are busy covering all liabilities with consultants’ money. This is a nice topic however it assumes corporate is empathic.

    Since they are not, this is wishful thinking we have all had, because we wanted to succeed along the MK.

    They will max out and fall over……no worries.

  6. Char

    Another usually great article by Raisenberry, but I got confused in the end. Is she being sarcastic or giving Mary Kay the benefit of the doubt? If it is the latter, here’s my comment. It is not directed at Raisenberry, but just my position on the matter:

    Mary Kay has always been an MLM company, and they KNOW the truth. They operate accordingly. They would only be humiliated and embarrassed for finally getting caught for their scam, and even that’s a big maybe. Again, the getting caught part, not committing the act and building a billion dollar scam company.

    No one is pulling the wool over their eyes, and they are not in denial. MKI is worth billions and debt-free, so what healing (in their eyes) do they need to do? They are quite proud of their accomplishments, and I’m sure they’ll be the first to tell you how they take good care of their employees. I’ve posted the “benefits list” a few times here.

  7. Linda

    There is quite a lot of youtube anti mlm content out there nowadays but not so much about Mary Kay so may I think some youtube videos as an addition to the information on this site could be a good idea. It is interesting to compare experiences in different mlms because they are all so similar. https://youtu.be/OzyAPjZ-UxA

    1. Reckless mermaid

      I have a very small YouTube channel but I just did a video with a larger anti-mlm channel. I was in mk for 5 years, a director for 4.
      I’ve been lurking on this site ALL DAY. I don’t know why it took so long. I knew this site was here, but I guess I wasn’t ready. I still have friends in the business, who swear things are different now and they are no longer frontloading and people are really selling selling like crazy. I wanted to believe it could be true, for the sake of my friends still in mk.

      After reading articles here all day, I feel compelled to be more vocal about my experience in mk. I’m pissed. I no longer want to give the company and my sr and nsd the “benefit of doubt” or honour the way they “poured into me.”
      I want to spill the beans.

      If anyone can advise me on what I can say, legally, that would be much appreciated. And if anyone wants to join me in video format, I have connections.

      1. TRACY

        Legally speaking, you can tell the truth and you can give your opinion. Simple as that!

        I’m happy you found us.

        Sad that they’re lying and saying people are now selling. Wait, does that mean they admit that it was all about frontloading before?

        1. Reckless mermaid

          Thank you. My main concern is talking about frontloading inventory publicly. Technically it’s against the company policy to place orders on others accounts. Could the company come after me if I admit that I did this? And what about the great son of signing up people who don’t exist? I’m not saying that *I* did this personally, but if Someone did, could She face consequences since that definitely is against the company rules?


      2. BestDecision

        I was a Director, too, had offspring, bar pins, and Cadillacs. They absolutely ARE NOT having major success right now. In fact, the opposite. Directors and NSDs are making exit plans in the form of dual careers, side jobs, and coaching services.

        Imagine a unit member coming in for $30. No Beauty Books, samples, or demo tubes. She gets a website and that’s it. How long would you expect her to do well? How big would her first order be? And her second? My Senior is averaging < $400 per new Consultant right now. You and I both know you don’t get cars with that kind of production, nor do you build DIQs.

        One thing I’m sure is going better, though: chargebacks. They can’t send back inventory if they never bought any. I bet they’re way down.

  8. Mountaineer95

    “How hard would it be to stop the practice of mentioning a director’s “high check” at guest events, in favor of an “average check” that included chargebacks, and normal expenses – in other words, a TRUE profit picture.”

    …THIS is important. It’s a good fact to use when trying to explain to a Kaybot that they are not equal to McDonald’s franchisees. Because McD corporate not only truly wants, but NEEDS their franchisees to be successful for a long time.

    So McD Corp, when meeting with a potential franchise owner (and these are multiple, serious “business” meetings rather than someone from McD Corp pitching the entire business to someone they just accosted at Target), provides very factual sales/profit figures so that the potential franchisee understands what is expected. It’s not faked by inflated or flat out ridiculously fictional “potential” earnings. McD Corp doesn’t provide the potential “business owner” with lies about potential earnings.

    Also, the potential franchisee himself is very, very carefully vetted, financially and otherwise, and this is because McD Corp offers protected territories. If they agree to “provide the business opportunity” to someone, they’re doing so while guaranteeing that this someone has the chops (financially and otherwise) to properly serve their particular guaranteed territory of McDonald’s customers.

    …II feel like this is just going to fly over the heads of most MK “business owners”. Because “business” =/= business, and “ownership” =/= ownership.

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