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

No Profit on the Mary Kay Hamster Wheel

Written by BrainwashedNoMore

I want to thank you so much for setting up this website and maintaining it over the years. I’m writing this story in order to help others understand their experience better. That’s what Pink Truth has been doing for me over the last few years. It helped me get out in 2016. I wish it was around when I started in 2006. Maybe it was but I didn’t think of looking it up. I trusted this friend in letting her into my house and eventually recruiting with her.

Years ago in 2006, I was newly married and working full time. We were considering buying a house at the time. The year before, my friend became a MK consultant. So, when she asked me to invite a few friends over and play with makeup, it sounded like fun. I held a few parties for her. A year later when her recruiter came over, I signed up. I thought I’d make extra money and it would be fun.

Their director came to my house and we had a discussion about inventory. I was told that I couldn’t sell from an empty wagon. I had a supportive husband and i came in with full inventory at $3,600 wholesale because I wanted the free products. I had a first party and I had a lot of friends come and had good sales. I can’t remember but I think the sales were over $400. I then had to reorder the products that they bought. I was a recruiter’s dream but I took good customers from her.

What was a hobby was soon turning into more time away from my job and husband. I spent my lunch half hour calling leads and weekends and weeknights on the phone. I went to my weekly meetings and seminars and every other “opportunity” I had. I was a star consultant every quarter that I was in. I bought $600 wholesale of products every 3 months. I was always motivated by these cute prizes. I wouldn’t have bought them but I liked “earning” them.

This went on for years. I’d go to the meetings, seminars, etc. I was even one of the top 20 in consultant sales 3 years in a row. I even walked across stage and had my picture taken.

However, all along, I felt like I was not enough because I wasn’t a director yet. I would go to meetings where the director, my recruiter and previous friend, would say how she got information about products ahead of time because she was a director. And we talked about the new products there. When she became director, she couldn’t share a room with me at seminar because I wasn’t a director. Then, years later, she was upset with me because a woman she tried connecting with wanted to hear more about MK from me. She may have even wanted to recruit with me and not her.

It was horrible that MK was more important than our friendship. I almost left MK then and eventually we reconnected but things weren’t the same. She was angry with me about nothing. But to her, it was everything. Our “friendship” crumbled because of this possible recruit for her.

The years went by and I would hear crazy stories. It started right away. One woman would tell me that her director convinced her to buy too much product. Then my director told me how a director she knew was making up orders, using fake people to make the orders. Fake social security numbers were used as well. And she told MK corp but they didn’t do much. They were nervous, she told me, about being sued like they were with the one director that sued them. They didn’t stop the unethical activity for awhile. When her director found out, my director was yelled at because she told on a fellow director (and it affected her commission).

The hamster wheel was difficult. I would go out and meet lots of women, follow up and call them. I had to call them more than once is how I was taught. Call them 3 times over over a period of a few weeks or couple of months. Many I booked. I even had over 200 customers at some point.

But, over the years, my darling husband, an accountant, would do our taxes. There were so many expenses that I didn’t see a profit. My customers would want birthday discounts when they got the birthday postcard that I sent giving them 15% off on their birthday month. I actually mailed them these cards that I bought. I spent a lot on nonsense.

We were told not to share our hardships with our husbands. Talk up to your director about your issues, don’t tell your husband. Don’t tell your husband about your zero classes, etc. But, my husband saw that my “business” wasn’t profitable. He was kind enough not to make me feel bad. But, I did. I was one of the top consultants for sales and yet it wasn’t showing us the profit it needed to show after so many years.

In terms of recruiting, I didn’t recruit so much. I did at the beginning. I had a team and I was on target for my car. I was in DIQ for a few months but didn’t make it. It was so difficult and looking back, I’m glad I didn’t make it. However, it seemed like this special club to which I didn’t belong. Directors sat there with their peers. They had separate hotel rooms. They seemed a group to emulate. The nationals, even more so.

With my youngest child’s birth, I got a call from my friend. She wanted me to join her MLM. I said to her that I didn’t want to sell another product and that my profit level was 50% but hers was lower. I went online and started researching and found Pink Truth. After that, I was feeling so much better realizing that this is not a real business and that it is set up for only a few to see a profit. Definitely, not the consultants.

When I saw your website, I learned that I could send my products back and get back 90%. My director told me over the years that you can only return it the first year in MK. So, I never thought of leaving. I even had a class where I sold $1,200 but even there there wasn’t much of a profit. I gave the hostess a discount, and gave away gifts. Over the years, there was so much I was giving away for hostesses to be open to having me over with their friends.

I had a good time meeting people and I learned how to start conversations with women I didn’t know. But, everything was so i could meet them and show them MK. I had a good time. I never thought I was being manipulative. I don’t think I was pushy in selling products either. But, I’m sure I was making mistakes looking back. When I quit Mary Kay, I saw that I could have conversations with strangers without offering them my business card. I was thrown for a loop at first. I was handing out my business card for years asking total strangers for their numbers.

Over time, I saw hints of the manipulations that were done to me. At some point, I saw the messed up system that was MK. But, I was told that if I worked harder, I’d see more success. I was motivated towards the quarterly prizes when we were star consultants. Every person was seen as only their personality and the things that motivated her were used against her to get her to order more or join, etc.

Pink Truth helped me undo the brainwashing that I got about MK. I didn’t realize how it affected me for so many years. I left my job and thought I’d do MK full time. It was before my oldest child that I wanted to do this MK full time because the business had so much potential for us. We could make what our national was making if we worked hard enough. If I wasn’t seeing a profit, it was because of me. If we did do well, it was because MK is awesome. But there were many classes that were $0 in sales and no recruits and no future bookings. We were taught to “book, sell, and recruit” and that if we didn’t book a class, we were leaving money on the table.

As far as my the director who did my first party, she was the one to convince me that I needed a full store. She gave me some training at the beginning of how to call people to book. She also was constantly emailing with all these different promotions that we should do.

When my director needed more orders at the end of the month, she would tell us that she needed to keep her directorship so that her director wouldn’t harrass us. If she failed, her director would become mine. She didn’t really respect her director. Her director seemed not to respect her national director.

Were there positive things that came from joining and my decade in MK? Yes. I learned how to meet new people, warm chatter, and follow up with them. I made some new friends as customers. The new friends from MK no longer speak to me including my recruiter. I learned that I like to be in teaching mode in front of people. But, this is it.

MK took years away from my family time, used lots of expenses towards training, section 2, travel. Lots of expenses after little to no profit equals no profit. They brainwashed me to think that unless i achieve the impossible, I’m less than. So, overall, this was a painful experience. I have to remind myself that I achieved their idea of success as star consultant and queen’s court of sales three times but that it wasn’t really profitable even at that level. When I left I had over 100 customers and yet, no profit. Just lots of lies told about perceived success. I even earned the diamonds, the purses, the jewelry.

And, when I left, I had to send back products. I got some money back. However, I was still left with products that I couldn’t return since I bought them longer than 1 year before. Then, I had to try to sell them on line. And, MK had the audacity to send me a letter that I wasn’t allowed to sell them on line…

So many lessons learned the hard way.


  1. Char

    Aside from the obvious issues with MK in this article, this really caught my attention:

    “When she became director, she couldn’t share a room with me at seminar because I wasn’t a director.”

    Excuse me, but I am an adult woman. 1) Sharing a hotel room and bathroom doesn’t sound attractive, classy, or mature, but I understand if finances are an issue. 2) If I do need to save money, I will share a room that I’M PAYING FOR with whomever I choose. Am I not supposed to be an owner and CEO?! Independent?!

    Are some of you adult ladies really putting up with this stuff? If you can afford it, get your own darn room. I sure as heck would not allow MK to treat me like a child going to summer camp. Or maybe, just maybe, you are being treated as a member of their cult?! A cult that makes MKI tons of money by keeping you brainwashed and on a “need to know” basis. Now that makes sense.

    Speaking of cults, a quote from the article: “The new friends from MK no longer speak to me including my recruiter.” It sure walks and quacks like a duck.

    1. Char

      Upon rereading my post, I want to clarify. I am not directing the “excuse me” to the author. It’s toward MKI’s policies and this business of sharing rooms. I’m not sure if that was clear the way I wrote it, sorry. I’m all for saving money ON YOUR TERMS, and you don’t mind doing it.

      1. pinkpeace

        I understand your point, Char. As new directors, we were told to never share a hotel room with a consultant, because we had to maintain the “mystique” of directorship. No one “below” us was supposed to see us without makeup, with bed hair, in our sleep shirt, etc. In our national area, the only exception was for a DIQ who was just about to become a director. You could buddy up with her because you’d be sharing all the great secrets of the exalted position of director.

        As far as getting a hotel room on your own, not even directors could afford that tab for Seminar, at least in the hotels our National expected us to stay at. So very few consultants or directors have any extra money at all. That’s why you’ll find consultants and directors three or four to a room.

        Looking back, it really WAS ridiculous. But when you’re indoctrinated into a cult like Mary Kay, it all just seems normal.

          1. pinkpeace

            YOU HAVE NO IDEA.

            Thank God that, after a couple of years, I roomed with my offspring director whom I actually loved.

            Before then? I never packed enough alcohol.

            1. Destiny Angel

              Even as the lowest grade in the last company I worked in, be it internal or external training courses or attending various conferences, I never had to share a room with another staff member.

              The last time I shared a hotel room was a 2 bedroom/double bed adjoining suite my husband earned with hs frequent flier points. It was us with a queen and cot , queen for our 2 daughters and the adjoining double was for my parent in laws

  2. Ruby Slippers

    I wish I had sent my product back. It’s too late and I’m stuck with old TW Miracle sets, perfume I was planning to sell for holidays, and all the non Chromafusion shadows …several thousand worth.
    Not selling on EBay too much hassles & using it myself. It is being (unfortunately) dumped into the trash a little every week. Going into a landfill. Wasted $$$ over 20 years of my life. Yes I had a few good years of sales, but it’s time to jump off the hamster wheel and rid my life of a “pipe dream”
    If anyone on here can send product back, I advise doing so while you can .
    Ps. MK Corp claims zero waste, zero landfill .
    Maybe they should go into basements and closets of their consultants…. it’s a landfill, for sure!!!

  3. Ruby Slippers

    I wish I had sent my product back. It’s too late and I’m stuck with old TW Miracle sets, perfume I was planning to sell for holidays, and all the non Chromafusion shadows …several thousand worth.
    Not selling on EBay too much hassles & using it myself. It is being (unfortunately) dumped into the trash a little every week. Going into a landfill. Wasted $$$ over 20 years of my life. Yes I had a few good years of sales, but it’s time to jump off the hamster wheel and rid my life of a “pipe dream”
    If anyone on here can send product back, I advise doing so while you can .
    Ps. MK Corp claims zero waste, zero landfill .
    Maybe they should go into basements and closets of their consultants.

    1. Love the pink truth

      haha best decision your comments are always so fun to read as are everyone elses!

      I was never in mary kay but I love reading this blog because it helps keep me away from them! I LOVE THE UPDATES ON JAMIE AS WELL . I wonder if she will make nsd any idea how much time she has before they change her current rules to become one?

      Sorry I don’t know the may kay lingo like DIQ and such but anyways stay mary-kay-free ladies love your truth’s on here!

    2. Heather

      YES!!! All of this! It’s Monday night, I changed into my jammies after getting home from work (although, scrubs are kind of like jammies), ditched the bra, and washed my face already.

      Did I mention that I also have a nice glass of wine next to me (hard to type and drink at the same time) and the fireplace is going?

      1. BestDecision

        Nor do I miss Saturday mornings dressed up for MK and timing family vacations due to month-end or company events.

        Or schlepping cases full of product in the cold to a stranger’s house and missing out on what the rest of my friends and family are doing.

        Freedom isn’t in MK. It’s out here.

  4. Cindylu

    The sharing of rooms definitely was the worst. Four women fighting over one washroom. I always got up really early with an escape plan. I was lucky enough to send back product once I realized MK was not working. Sadly I went through some kind of withdrawal symptoms. I missed some of the women I thought were my friends. My way of thinking had been altered. It was only when I left the insulated environment of MK, that I was able to realize the lies. It took a while to return to my pre MK self. It’s hard to admit we’ve been duped by something we thought was designed to empower women. It helps when we return product, get some money back, find an actual well paying career, do the travelling on our own, have the time back with our family and have actual savings. It’s great to have time with my family and to have no MK products to sell or worry will become obsolete. I don’t miss those silly Monday night meetings or Conferences. PT is doing a great job in clearly defining the many ways MK is dishonest. It’s definitely nice to enjoy a glass of wine without ever again having to do cold calling or conning women into a money pit.

  5. Keisha

    Seriously, the big red flag of marykay really hit a nerve by using death as a sales ploy. I had an issue with that and morally its really disgusting to use that! My director, a good director, told me that just because someone lost their husband member, it may “give her a beacon of light” in her time of dread to “keep busy”, because a National “needed” to “stay busy” in her time of dread when there was no light”!?!?!?!? First, trying to use someones dread and death is sick and I would never try to put someone into a financial bind putting together a funeral, on during a very vulnerable time in someones life!? What kind of “advice” is that? Who in the right mind preys on people that do that?!?! although my number popped in on a group phone msg by accident, i offered weeks after that issue!! Not DURING!!
    Looking at my last 16 years of using MK, yeah, product works great, no, it wasnt worth a loan of 2000.00 hte first time just to “qualify” right before career conference, being suckered into what i call a “glorified self-improvement” “business” where women that bought their way and very few, worked the way up. Especially the ones that have very rich husbands, who probably dont mind shelling put the cash: happy wife: happy life?!?!

    I see now, women that buy the inventory, have the inventory, and USE ALL THE INVENTORY, and it barely scratches earnings that are necessary to have “earnings”. Yes, pandemic, yes, more “available” but busting out 225.00 plus tax every other month to “stay active” isnt worth it. I live in a poverty stricken area, and the facts that Marykay does NOT make public is the real income of every woman “making millions” i dont buy it anymore. It sound like crap if your recruiting the women you know, and know the same people. Every “workshop”, “career online” and “everything sounding so easy” its NOT!!! nOT IF I HAVE TO LIVE A CERTAIN WAY by changing myself, “recommended” to keep” that marykay spirit!!!!” Alive in the “business”. I remember myself, as a salesperson, and in the end, its not about the customer, it really is about a passive income and what people can afford and trust in. Granted the makeup and prodoucts are pretty… its not cutting it anymore. Its not ahead, running the game, above the rest, its boring, its basic, its pushing that “business attire” that Corporate America ENFORCES INDIGENOUS AND PEOPLE OF COLOR ARE NOT:::::That blonde corporate cookie cutter as expected woman that has to be a certain way to be successful!!! Not individually, but “grouped together”. As ive seen, its not worth risking my money, my time, my expenses as a “marykay consultant” to “stay in the loop” because its a joke!!! the Workshops that are available at “convenient times” are the times when you realize that you are being ripped off!!! its “just enough time” to realize to quit, and then something “free training” amazingly “pops up” on a Saturday when your actually tired, and continue your “mary kay way” on the dumbass trail of putting women in debt, using thier profits, and continuing to :recruit” to continue your income. Basically, that is what is said, you earn off the backs of the poor to be the rich, using the 100 dollar starter kit, because getting in is easy, but getting into debt is easier if your being “INSIPIRED” TO, AND IT FEELS LIKE YOUR MAKING DECISIONS!!!!! It really is the slick talk of ‘show ant tell” thats all you have to do””””””but its not all, you have to be active, recruit, for others to do the same as you, and they get into that debt if they don’t sell, then you have to continue the circle of putting others in debt while your profiting and promoting a business that does the same, all the way up. Its not that i haven’t made good money off inventory, its the issue of being regulated as an independent beauty consultant while profiting off of the poor as an opportunity. I have an issue with tath AND getting advice to recruit a money decision for someone that just had the husband die?!?!?! Who does that?!?!?!
    PLus, making sure your family and friends are the main objects of your sales?!?!?! Yeah, way to go, knowing they are as broke as you, needing money, and paying to go broke from having inventory ” an empty basket” bullcrap. ugh!! Im taking that step for business for myself. Not one that makes money that way. good bye mlm!!!

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