Does Faith Really Come First in Mary Kay?

Written by a Former Consultant

If Mary Kay Cosmetics says “faith” is supposed to come first, why are so many other things put first?

I cried, “Grace,” to the mountain.
I cried, “Grace,” to what stood in front of me.
I cried, “Grace,” to the mountain.

So, Lord, how come this mountain is still in front of me? Maybe you once heard a “Sunday Morning Message” by either Linda Toupin or Pam Shaw telling you how to apply the Word of God to be successful in your Mary Kay business. When I was deep in the pink thick of things, I could not wait—and that is an understatement if I have ever typed one—to get to the phone each Sunday morning to hear what God had to say through these ladies to me about my Mary Kay business.

Looking back now, it’s easy to see where I went astray from the biblical teachings I hold dear and advanced step-by-step into the pink fog which eventually consumed, and nearly destroyed, everything I held dear. Suffice it to say that I was so convinced that God had given me the “all clear” to build a Mary Kay empire which would be a testament to His goodness at work in my life, causing everyone to want what I had, that I nearly squeezed Him completely out of the picture.

Slowly and somehow unnoticed by me, the still quiet voice of His Spirit within me was replaced by the voices of Pam Shaw, Linda Toupin, Gloria Mayfield Banks, and the likes. Instead of hearing a gentle, “Try again,” I would hear Sabrina Goodwin Monday say, “OWN your power.” (Well, really, what the heck does that mean?! Of course, though, it made sense to me while breathing the pink mist. And, as a personal aside, if you think that recorded messages from Mary Kay royalty and/or a daily Mental B.A.T.H. are good things, I hope you will reconsider by the time you get to the end of this post.)

Since I was so sure that Mary Kay was God’s perfect will for my life, somehow nothing seemed wrong as this transition from God first to Mary Kay first slowly took place. The God of the Bible said to delight in Him and He would give me the desires of my heart, that He wanted me to prosper and be in health even as my soul prospered, and that He had given my hands the power to gain wealth.

Without even realizing it, because I daily listened to recorded messages and Mary Kay videos like the dutiful kaybot that I was, somewhere I crossed a line and started believing that if I delighted in my NSD and did everything SHE said, I would get what I wanted. Somehow I came to believe that it was ok to squander the wealth and health that I did have in order to achieve success in Mary Kay. (“You have to spend money to make money.” “No effort goes forth unrewarded.” “Short-term pain for long-term gain.”) Somehow I came to believe that God had put a credit card in my hands in order to help me achieve my dreams. (I know that most of you understand what I am talking about here. For those of you lurkers in Mary Kay who think I’m just stupid, I can only hope that you never have the same set of experiences/situations that I confronted.)

God said that if there were ever any obstacles, He said all I had to do was to say unto the mountain to be removed, and Mary Kay people said that, too! Way cool, I thought! And, because I had prayed until I was blue in the face, and I had been prayed for, about whether Mary Kay was the path I was to pursue and had received what I believed to be confirmation of such on several occasions, I was determined that I would be one who would not quit until I had claimed the prize. I would “put it all on the line” as Pam Shaw probably still loves to say.

What I somehow forgot about, somewhere along the way, was the need for both balance and meeting other conditions to be blessed, and that is what I believe God has put on my heart to write about today. This, my friend, is what I would call the Pink Truth version of the now-infamous-to-me, Mary Kay-style, Sunday Morning Message. I pray that you will take it to heart, regardless of your beliefs.

An all-time favorite scripture of Mary Kay folks is Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things in Christ Who strengthens me.” I eventually came to detest hearing this in conjunction to a Mary Kay distributorship. In my studies, this verse meant that in Christ, God would strengthen me to forge ahead in doing His will despite the circumstances, until that day when He would ultimately reward my efforts by bringing everything together (Phil. 4:19). The road to get there might not be fun or fast, but the end result would be worth all the work and pain it took. In Mary Kay, though, I came to understand that it was the “doing all things” part that was most important and, somehow, Christ was only critical to my success to the degree that I could use Him to advance my career. What was most critical was my being willing to do “whatever it takes” and not to let that line hold me back. It became clear that the Mary Kay version of Philippians, although unspoken, was “I can make myself do all things, ethical or not, God help me.”

What tripped me up, along with this, was the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” and even the Mary Kay version, “Do unto others as they want to be done unto.” I could never reconcile how it was God’s will for me to lie to other women about their odds of being successful, the amount of inventory they needed, how “sharp” they were, or how much I liked them. I also could never figure out how the biblical principle of meditating on scriptures and speaking them out loud became twisted into positive affirmations that could somehow cause my perfectly good Ford Taurus to turn into a Pink Cadillac. It doesn’t compute!!! It continued not to compute for many years because eventually, I no longer really talked to God; I talked to myself.

I’ve been taught and continue to believe that 3 John 2 says that we will prosper and be in good health to the degree that our soul (mind, will, and emotions) prospers. When these 3 areas are at peace with each other and with our spirits, we still must do our part. We must grow ourselves spiritually and emotionally by spending time with God in prayer, and we must grow ourselves mentally by reading and studying both His Word and also secular books and materials to gain knowledge. And, like it or not, if we want physical health, we need to act on information which is readily available to us: eat right, exercise, etc.

As long as we lean on Him first for our understanding of all these things and we also meet the condition of loving Him with every area of our life (including our money), then He will bless us. It doesn’t mean that He is opening the windows of heaven to throw out a money bag for us to catch, or that He is going to give us favor so that everyone we meet is persuaded by our words and gives us their money or signs up to be a consultant.

It does mean that He will give us all kinds of ideas and insights which, if we develop and actively pursue with His guidance, have the possibility of enriching our and others’ lives in many ways, financially being just one of them. Sure, some people will become millionaires, but for most who choose to live this way, it will mean that we can rest assured that even though there may be times of scarcity, we generally will have enough excess over what we need in our lives to be able to help others.

My Mary Kay experience was that there was never peace between my soul and my spirit. My mind knew that I was lying and manipulating, and my spirit wouldn’t stand for it. My emotions beat me up, but I squashed them all down for as long as I could stand to until I became distressed mentally, spiritually, emotionally, physically, and financially. The balance on my internal scale is so sensitive that the very least pressure on the wrong side caused much internal turmoil, and I know many of you are the same.

So, my friends, remember that you need to balance what you hear in Mary Kay with both the Bible AND a good dose of common sense. If you don’t believe in God, then listen to your conscience—I don’t think anybody can deny that those exist, even if some Mary Kay folks’ are buried deep.

We need to remember that Moses spent 40 years in Egypt and another 40 years in the desert, so we probably aren’t going to become an overnight success by the world’s standards. We need to remember that not being successful in Mary Kay is not the end of the world, and that it isn’t entirely our fault–we know why that is thanks to Pink Truth and all those who come forward to share their stories. We need to remember that just pressing forward each day to do what WE know is RIGHT and TRUE means we are a success. Sometimes, when we can’t do anything, we need to remember that God views us as a success, even though we may not and just rest in that until we are rejuvenated to move forward.

We also need to remember that God tells us that “the children of darkness are wiser than the children of light,” so that when someone tells you something that sounds too good to be true, you DO need to make extensive efforts to research these claims for yourself so that you don’t fall into a snare. It is possible to do Mary Kay “the right way,” even though that way sits high on a hill surrounded by the slippery slopes of greed, envy, malice, lasciviousness, etc. It may be better not to do Mary Kay at all, though. But, you better make sure you’re hearing the right voice (and not “voices”) wherever you determine you’re being led.

My prayer for you, as you ponder these things in your heart, is that you will listen to what the Holy Spirit is saying to you and not your upline. Balance is key, and you will not find that in your Mary Kay or other MLM upline. The most important thing is the truth, because that and ONLY that has the power to set you free. Spread the word!


  1. “It is possible to do Mary Kay “the right way,” … It may be better not to do Mary Kay at all, though.”

    Well, I agree with that last part. But I do not agree there is a “right way” to aid and abet a scamming enterprise, and Mary Kay is a scamming enterprise.

    If I were to tell you I run a home-based business, lovingly crafting a popular product, that I always work my business with integrity and honesty, delivering a quality product at a fair price, offering a full money-back guarantee, no questions asked, you might think I’m someone to be admired. Would you feel the same way if you learned my business was cooking and selling meth? I should hope not.

    Mary Kay is running an elaborate scam that hurts people, and they’ll keep doing so as long as it is profitable. Don’t feed the beast.

  2. My SD and my NSD were focused on money and profit only. I did not see anything faith based from them. In reading “Jackie Brown Ask me about Mary Kay”, it showed various incidents of un Christian behavior. Although Jackie was a top Director it seemed that MK realized the system needed to be changed. It is a flawed system designed to keep the sales force ordering. Products change constantly so women are forced to buy more. That keeps a few at the top of the mlm wealthy. When I became quite sick, I learned quickly that I was no longer relevant. We sign up to be there for our family. We end up being away evenings and weekends. There is no time for faith or family in MK. We are expected to devote all of our time to MK. We’re encouraged to mislead our spouse, hire others to cook or clean. We’re encouraged to mislead others. The skin care class/facial (Is a sales pitch or recruiting opportunity). The facial box at someone else’s business isn’t a free draw. It’s a recruiting tool. The high pay Directors boast of is: often a one time happening from years ago. (Faith in MK is a false or dishonest) slogan. It’s a means to entice caring women. For a long while this mlm preys on the loyalty of warmhearted women who fail to see the sheep in wolves clothing.

    • Same.
      I wonder how they tailor their schtick to a potential recruit who is an atheist, since the “faith first” song and dance ploy wouldn’t necessarily be a selling point…?

      • Same way they manipulate everything else. Tell them what they want to hear. S personality? Roll out script 12. Not motivated by money? Roll out script 17. Don’t believe in God? Hang on, let me shuffle through my notebook of false personalities to find one that will work on you. Ah yes. Script 76: Be your own boss!

        I’m sure Atheists are probably harder to ensnare. They are more likely to question and reason, which is the skull and crossbones of Mary Kay propaganda. The company rhetoric could never stand up to rationality. We’ve yet to see on Pink Truth a single critic that demonstrates a remotely believable evidence of actual income.

        • Money is generally what’s been held out as a carrot to me as an atheist. Then being surrounded by “a tribe of like-minded girly girlfriends”.

          Since no hun appears to be capable of correlating her out-goings, in-comings and time management to prove that she makes enough money to make a difference, I pass.

          Likewise, I’d rather talk about Marvel movies or Star Trek than how best to sell shampoo or make-up or how to shame a reluctant family member to sign up under me for a fake promotion.

  3. I remember going to Seminar and hearing the top directors quote Scripture and tell us we need to take God as our business partner. They told us our deserve level was too low and we were not trusting in God. It was so inspiring and yet depressing at the same time. Wow–look what God did to help that director hit her impossible goal! It only served to make me feel guilty that I wasn’t doing enough, nor praying enough.
    I could see the inconsistencies between a director’s words and her actions. I found the pride and arrogance a huge turn-off. The trappings of ribbons, diamond pins, and glorified titles were held to be the envy of all lower directors and consultants. But what were we really celebrating? It wasn’t true accomplishments since sales are not tracked, but orders are. In the meetings I attended, the Bible was not quoted, but stuff from the movie “The Secret” was. Thus if bad things were continuing to happen in our life, it was our thoughts that were the cause. If you had negative thoughts, you were supposed to think “Cancel, Cancel!” So it was not the Mary Kay business model at fault, but our own thoughts. It took me several visits to Pink Truth to see how much I was in the Pink Fog. I am so thankful that I no longer see through pink colored glasses!

    • MakeupLover, if you haven’t read this article, you should. It’s an eye-opener:

      Awhile back, Business Insider ran an article about how LuLaRoe co-founder DeAnne Stidham handled sales reps who reported problems with product quality, getting refunds they were owed so they could pay for medical bills, etc. Stidham kept relpying “CANCEL, CANCEL, CANCEL!” and imploring her online acolytes to surround her (how??) and protect her from all the terrible negativity she was enduring. She didn’t give two farts for the sufferings her company had inflicted on others. She sounded every bit the psycho nutjob.

      That’s what happens with these cultish practices: eventually you become disconnected from reality. Not a great look for the co-owner of a multi-million-dollar business.

  4. The proselytizing that MK was infamously known for should have been my first red flag. It wasn’t, because at that time in my life I had started on a different direction in my faith journey. I thought what many others thought: MK and Christianity were so good together!

    Then I woke up one morning and was disgusted. With the company, my senior, everything. I felt as if my senior and others had used and abused my faith and my faith journey to twist it into something that it was never meant to become. When I had a massive blow-up with my senior and she told me to pray about things, I mentioned to her that my “prayers” were likely going to be done while dancing naked around a bonfire, screaming obscenities at the world. She said she would pray for me; I told her not to bother and that I did not want it. Because her god was a god of greed and deception.

    It was after the pink bubble popped that I found what would become my spiritual journey. It’s SO VERY different from what MK preachers would spew to the cult.

  5. Pot and kettle.

    “My prayer for you, as you ponder these things in your heart, is that you will listen to what the Holy Spirit is saying to you and not your upline. Balance is key, and you will not find that in your Mary Kay or other MLM upline. The most important thing is the truth, because that and ONLY that has the power to set you free. Spread the word!” —

    This author is ‘still’ no different than any other Mary Kay cult-sultant. Praying for us, repeating rumors and preaching things as if they were truth. Saying, “God said this” and “God said that” as though she has spoken to Her herself. (Why not a woman? Oh, because man wrote the stories. “Wives be submissive to their husbands” gets me every time. It’s comically infuriating when the purple fog lifts.)

    I’m not suggesting the author is a bad person, but she should not require truth and then quote from an old book where a man walks on water, the sea parted, and two of every animal fit into one boat ridiculousness. It makes her look like a hypocrite. I’m sure she is well-intentioned – just like all newbie MK consultants are!!! They believe everything they’re taught too, and want to “spread the word” about their awesome opportunity. Blah, blah, blah. Show me the proof, math and science; or at the very least, one should not preach about something one cannot prove while also condemning others in the same category of “believers”. It’s not nice.

    “When I was deep in the pink thick of things, I could not wait—and that is an understatement if I have ever typed one—to get to the phone each Sunday morning to hear what God had to say through these ladies to me about my Mary Kay business.” — Yet, here the author is telling us what God has to say. SMH.


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