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

You Can’t Quit Your Job and Do MK Full-Time

This is one of those sad, sad dreams that Mary Kay directors and recruiters like to build up for you. They tell you how easy it is to “replace your income” with Mary Kay. And it’s nonsense. Because we’ve seen over and over on Pink Truth how almost everyone in MK would be better off working a minimum wage job… they’d make more per hour at minimum wage than they make at MK.

It is next to impossible to build a client base large enough to generate a steady income in Mary Kay. Even women who’ve been in for years and have 100 or 200 customers (impressive sounding, yes?) aren’t doing consistent, significant sales.

The reality is that “good” Mary Kay customers probably buy $50 to $100 of products a year, on average. Sure, you’ll hear a Kaybot talk about the two customers she has that each spend $500 a year. They are the exception to the rule. Many customers spend only $25 a year, but we keep them on our preferred customer list because we think someday they’ll be won over and buy more.

Add to that the fact that once you start building that client base, you’re immediately encouraged to start poaching it for recruits, so you can “move up” and make the “big girl pay.” So even if you can start building a real customer base, before you know it, you’re recruiting some of them.

So how on earth can anyone think this Mary Kay propaganda is possible to achieve for more than about 5 out of 1,000 women? Well, the sad fact is that the recruiters make you believe that women all over the place are doing it. When they know good and well that they’re not aware of anyone who actually did it.

Here’s how they say to do it (my comments in italics):

Write down your yearly salary $_______
Okay, fair enough starting point.
Subtract out daycare expenses for the year $_____
Stop right there. You mean you won’t even have to pay for babysitters? If you’re trying to replace a full-time income, of course you will have to pay for child care!
Subtract out other expenses that you would not need to pay if you were able to stay at home (dry cleaning, gas driving to and from work, eating out for lunch, etc.) $______

Stop again. You probably will spend more on gas racing around to classes, delivering products, warm stalking women, going to unit meetings and guest events.
This new total is what you would need to make in order to replace your income from your job.
Kaybot Example:
$22,000 salary
-$10,000 daycare
-$520 gas, drycleaning
= $11,480 net salary you need to replace

Pink Truth Reality:
$22,000 salary
-$ 0 daycare (If you’re working Mary Kay full-time, you need childcare. If you’re caring for your kids, you’re not working.)
-$0 gas, drycleaning (In fact, you probably need to add money here to cover all the extra gas you’ll use up.)
= $22,000 net salary you need to replace (And this includes no paid days off and no paid benefits. All those are gone once you quit your job.)

Figure out what your average per face is. Take all your sales from facials and skin care classes and add them up. Then add up how many total faces those sales came from. That will be your average per face. Using a company average of $200 per class divided by 3 women is $66 per face.

$200 per class is inflated. You’re lucky if you sell an average of $50 per woman.

Divide your Net Total Salary by your average per face.
This will equal the number faces you would need to see in order to replace your income. $11,480 divided by $66 = 174

And this is where the big difference comes up. Because she started with a low and false salary to replace of $11,480, the numbers are skewed. They should be: $22,000 divided by $50 = 440

Keep in mind that we need to double the amount we just calculated, because you need to reinvest ½ of what you sell to keep your inventory at full inventory. 174 x 2 = 348 faces

440 x 2 = 880 faces
Take your number of faces and divide by 52 weeks. This is how many faces you would need to see per week to replace your income!!! 348 divided by 52 weeks = 6.69 faces per week

880 faces divided by 52 weeks = 16.9 faces per week

In this example you would need to see 7 faces per week in order to replace your take home salary of $11,480. Do you think you could do 7 faces per week and work a total of about 6-8 hours doing so? It really makes you think about how easy it can be to replace your income in a fraction of the hours that you give to your job.

Keep in mind that this formula ONLY takes into consideration new faces. You will also be receiving reorders and recruiting commissions that are not factored in!

If you are worried about your health insurance, I want you to start calling Health Insurance companies and getting quotes for your family. Calculate how many extra faces per month you would need to pay for your insurance! Or better yet, your recruiting commissions could pay for your insurance each month.

I hope this helps you see how easy it can be to replace your income and become a full-time Mary Kay consultant and then Sales Director.
Talk about false earnings claims! This is total fiction. If you use the realistic numbers I calculated above, you’d have to see 17 faces a week at $50 a face to replace your income. That’s 6 skin care classes a week.

To do 6 skin care classes a week, you’ll have to book about 12 to 18 full classes for each week. To do that, you’ll need to get referrals to about 48- 72 women… women you can talk to and ask to have a class. You hope that about 1 in 4 will actually book a class.

Now to hold 6 classes a week, you’ll have to figure about 3 hours class time for each. That’s 18 hours. Plus you’ll probably spend about 1 to 1.5 hours each for coaching the hostess, packing up stuff, filling orders, and doing all sorts of little administrative stuff… follow-up phone calls etc. You’re now up to about 26 hours per week.

Then on top of that, you’ve got the unit meeting and probably another recruiting event (Muffins and Makeovers, etc). You will also want to factor in time spent warm stalking to get those 60-ish names per week that you need to get. And don’t forget general office work and such. I’m thinking you’re now way beyond a 40 hour week.

So we’ve now gone from the recruiting lie of replacing your full-time income with 6 to 8 hours of work per week. And you’ll be home with your child!!!

…. to the reality of… This is a time commitment of more than 40 hours a week to replace your income. And that’s only if you’re able to find those 60 or more names per week to harass into having classes. I’d challenge anyone to do that for a full year…. 60 names a week every week for a year. (Yeah, right.)

Are you as infuriated as I am at these types of completely false examples that set women up to expect something they cannot achieve???


  1. Kristen

    “$200 per class is inflated. You’re lucky if you sell an average of $50 per woman.”

    Oh, how I remember the disappointment when I drove across town and spent an entire evening to sell NOTHING! This was supposed to happen like this, I thought. The reality is so, so different from their sales pitch. Hostess was a friend and I resented her about the party’s failure. Really, she did me a huge favor by wasting a whole evening and that of her guests, so I should’ve been more grateful. Plus, she did me a favor because this helped open my eyes as I saw the reality of what happens when your warm market dries up. Women are doing the CONSULTANT a favor coming to these parties. They do not want to be there. But MK teaches the consultants the opposite, so I waltzed in there with a sense of entitlement. All of this distracted me from realizing the real culprit is the MLM model. Not my hostess or her guests. To some extent, yes. I was terrible at it. But I was dumb enough to believe that if I just did what they told me, it wouldn’t matter that I don’t have a sales-oriented personality.

    1. NayMKWay

      Being “terrible at it” was indeed a blessing in this case, because you saw the light quickly. Think of how many of the “sales machine” types stayed in longer because they were making decent sales, thinking decent sales meant decent income was just around the corner. We’ve read plenty of their stories right here at Pink Truth.

      1. Ruby Slippers

        I was one of them . Decent sales that kept me in for way too long . Not looking at big picture of net income after all extraneous expenses. What a waste of my life !!!

  2. Cindylu

    I simply wanted to be a stay at home mom after retiring from a career with a pension. I was lied to. MK stole time from my precious children for a stupid pink farce. MK does the opposite of empowering women. It has created a dog eat dog atmosphere of women using and hurting each other for decades. I was told by my SD that I could work part time and be successful. That was BS. I cringe at taking my pre schooler to a mall and trying to find a potential person to do a facial on. What a waste of time. All I really wanted was to be with my beautiful children. I thought MK would be workable around my kids. Instead I spent time making phone calls, doing facials (with pity mediocre sales) and evenings away from my kids. Mandatory useless weekly meetings (where women were lied to), expensive conferences and over priced Seminar (very costly and waste of time). Even if you quit your job as I did, MK doesn’t work. It doesn’t work because there are too many products, products are over priced, and this company constantly changes the products with absolutely no concern for consultants or Directors. Profit Profit Profit for a few at the top of this mlm. Please keep your job. In MK every dime you make will go to MK. You’ll end up with unsold products wasting away. Once I left MK I got to spend time with my children. Eventually I started another well paid career. I retired debt free and with a pension, a great car and often travelled with my husband and children. MK is a sad, nightmare which will waste your time and might even ruin your life.

  3. Lazy Gardens

    Subtract out other expenses that you would not need to pay if you were able to stay at home (dry cleaning, gas driving to and from work, eating out for lunch, etc.) BUT ADD IN the Mary Kay expenses … ProPay, Website, gas, meeting fees, coffee with potential recruits, cute packing material, fast food for when you are gone at night selling … there’s a boatload of expenses.

  4. Destiny Angel

    I live in a community of approx 12,000 people. Assuming roughly half are female and 20% of those are too young, too old or simply just don’t care, I’m left with 5,000 potential customers. If I had to talk to 60 women a week, I’d have spoken to everyone in a little over 19 months.

    In all probability and on the off-chance I could hold 2 classes of 3 people a week, I would have burnt through them and some of the other smaller local communities in a year because so many people are related or went to school or worked together .

    1. Mountaineer95

      Yes! And so many MK folks claim that market saturation doesn’t exist or doesn’t apply to MK. But your example shows that, in a town of your size, there cannot be more than one successful person following these numbers (and that success would be short-lived, because your recruits wouldn’t have anyone left to recruit). So why won’t a director or MK themselves tell you how many active IBCs, etc are in your town? Certainly you’d want, and frankly NEED, to know in order to decide if the “opportunity” is truly right for you.

      I’ve yet to hear any legitimate argument from MK supporters that specifically explains why an IBC should choose to “start her own business” without knowing this basic info that MK darn well has.

      I know I sound like a broken record on this point but I think it’s one of the most important ones for any potential IBC to consider, and it drives me nuts that they just ignore it.

  5. Cocoabeige

    There were 6 lovely ladies at my first zero sales party. Looking back, I believe they knew MK was inferior product. I called my Director the next morning. “OHHHH” she squealed excitedly “NOW YOU CAN BE A DIRECTOR! A ZERO SHOW IS A NECESSITY TO BECOME ONE!” What a joke of a ‘career’.

  6. Heather

    Let me play this little sham of a game here.

    Say I was to start MK today. I have good health and dental benefits through hubby’s job, so I won’t figure them into this game. I make about $78K per year as a nursing professional development specialist (I have a master’s and two certifications, which help pad the salary). I get about 7.8 hours of paid time off PER two-week pay period, which is essentially two paid days per month. Sick leave isn’t quite as generous, but I have it. So I will figure this as 50 weeks.

    78,000/50 weeks = 1,560 GROSS I need to make EACH week
    1,560 x2 (because hey, buy at wholesale, sell at retail, right?) = 3,120 in sales minimum EACH week
    3,120 each week/50 per face = 62.4 faces minimum PER WEEK
    62.4 faces each week/4 faces per class (or party) = 15.6 classes minimum PER WEEK
    3 hours per class (2 hours there, 1 hour prep time) x 15.6 classes = 46.8 hours PER WEEK

    The last time I checked, 46.8 hours worked in a week is full-time with overtime. That 46.8 hours does NOT include driving to and from classes, coaching, phone work, office work, packing your car, and general running around. In reality, you’re likely going to be working 52-60 hours PER week. Oh yeah, you won’t get paid for those overtime hours either.

    For comparison:
    I get 403(b) matching dollars, PTO, sick time, and don’t have to pay self-employment taxes. If I take a week off, I still get paid. While I am salaried and don’t get overtime, I do get annual bonuses.
    I work 40 hours a week, and when I leave work, I leave work there. And I don’t have to work nights and weekends.

    1. Heather

      For clarificiation – I figured this as 50 weeks since I do take enough time off each year to add up to two weeks off. So if I were to start MK, I need to make sure that pay is covered so I can still take time off each year.

    2. EyesWideShutNoMore

      That’s a very accurate breakdown, no wonder the SDs will say MK is a “family” business where they enlist their kids to pack the car, clean trays, put together orders, etc because they’re not paying them! No one else would do it for free, and even the SDs know it’s a time-suck (not income-generating) but really, what actually DOES generate income? The effort doesn’t pay off at all, parties never have the big sales and they’re SO much work – before, during and after!

      1. Destiny Angel

        When I was a youngling, some time last century, my sister and I used to “help” our father in his business.
        Every second Saturday morning he’d drive us to the morning matinee at the local cinema and pick us up afterwards, so maybe 2 to 2 and a half hours. Generally he’d have sandwiches but sometimes we’d get fish and chips or if we were really lucky, a trip to the local Wimpy.
        Then we’d head to the shop, my father was a self-employed electrician. We’d help tidy up and check inventory. After two hours, we’d get a shilling(10p) and then head to the market to spend it. Normally a comic and some candy.

        Looking back now it was obvious that the cinema trip was Mummy and Daddy time, while the afternoon was my father bonding with us while mum had a couple of free hours to do what she wanted.

        I still remember how I felt about helping the family business. And how sad I feel for these kids who are not getting any real experiences out of helping their mother.

  7. Bethany

    I remember this pitch. It is really hard to see all the BS from the outside. It sounds so wonderful the way they explain it to you, logical and simple even. The closer you look at the “opportunity”, you can see that FROM THE START, it is all based on lies, half truths and lies of omissions. So predatory.

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