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

Mary Kay’s Lie of “Working Full Circle”

mary-kay-full-circleWritten by A Former Director

Sell. Book. Recruit. Working full circle has never been easier!

So that’s all there is to it, huh? Sell. Book. Recruit? *clunking head with V8 bottle*

As a director, I’ve taught this “working full circle” stuff more times than I care to remember. It all sounds good in theory. But in reality, it just doesn’t work. Selling this product isn’t as easy as they would have you believe. Booking or rebooking ain’t a walk in the park either. (women are sick of parties)

And recruiting. Where do I even begin? Yes, it’s true that you CAN get women to join Mary Kay. But do you ever hear about the retention rates? How many consultants drop out within the first 3 months? First year? How many directors keep their units? You won’t hear those figures from Mary Kay Cosmetics. You’ll only hear them honest directors (can we find one?) and here on PinkTruth.

Let’s examine this a little more closely.

SELL. Not just a lipstick or a mascara. Sell = THE BAG. “What would you like to start with today– the $299 bag, the $199 bag, or would you simply prefer to start with the $99 Miracle Set?” (Look down and make her feel like a loser for going with anything less than the bag. Whoever looks up first loses.)

BOOK. Not just for a follow up facial, although that’s a start. But for a CLASS. But don’t call it a class. Call it a “MK Rocks Party” or a “Girls Behaving Pinkly Party” or anything but a class. “Listen, even though you just purchased the Bag, I know there are probably still some products you can’t live without. Let’s earn you those products for FREE at your follow up facial! (squeal here) How does that sound? (Say “GREAT!” regardless of her answer) Okay, I have this date open and this date open. Which works better for you? GREAT! It’s just as easy for me to do 5 or 6 faces as it is to do one face, so who can we invite to join you at your follow up facial? GREAT! Okay, let’s call them right now to invite them. Can you get excited about earning up to $100 of free MK just by sharing your facial with some friends?”

RECRUIT. At this point you’ve got her. She’s most vulnerable right now. She’s “excited” about her bag (yeah, right) and she’s excited about her class (yeah, right) so why wouldn’t she be excited about the Mar Kay opportunity??? “Listen, (lower voice and make it seem like a top secret conversation), I know you’d probably never in a million years consider doing something like Mary Kay, but you are sooooooooo sharp that I would just kick myself if I left here tonight without sharing this with you! I know it’s probably not for you, but I’d LOVE to get your opinion of how we make our money! Could I share some information with you? If it’s not for you, that’s fine! You could be a talent scout for me! Deal?

Okay, GREAT! Here is a little bag with some great information about our company. Listen to the CD and read the materials. I will call you tomorrow to ask you what you thought. And………. I will have a special gift for you just for taking the time to listen. How’s that sound? GREAT! And you know what? I’m going to sweeten the deal. If you make a decision to join MK within 24 hours, I would be in a position to give you a FREE Microdermabrasion set! Can you get excited about that?”

So, what’s wrong with this? Well, many things. First of all, despite how many times your director feeds you the BS line “Make your customer happy. It’s all about HER.”, most Mary Kay consultants go into each and every class with $$ signs in their eyes. And why shouldn’t they? They are coached and encouraged by this company to work, work, work, and do whatever it takes, etc… This is a highly competitive environment and everyone (if they’re honest) wants to stand up front for high sales at their meeting next week! Not only are sales rewarded, but bookings and recruiting are rewarded as well.

There are also many inherent problems with “sell, book, and recruit”. For example, if you sell the $299 bag, your profit usually ends up being 25%. That doesn’t include factoring in hostess gifts, free gifts for booking, and hostess free product. It is disingenuous to recruit women into this company by telling them that they make 50% on their sales. They don’t. And Mary Kay Inc. knows it. So you really are left with no other option but to book more people and recruit more team members! But booking is a bear. We all know that. Oh sure, we can book anybody anywhere, right? (sound like an affirmation) But will those bookings actually hold? Although women are savvy, women are also generally kind, loving, and helpful. They often say “yes” to things that they really have no interest in– knowing full well that they can cancel on your later.

And recruiting. Getting new recruits is a breeze compared to maintaining recruits. I could recruit a rock if it had a credit card. But keeping your team interested, engaged, excited, and committed is undoubtedly the most frustrating aspect of this business. You often have to throw money and prizes at them, but that usually just prolongs the inevitable– If they’re not making money, they’re GONE!

Perhaps the most concerning issue with the phrase “Working Full Circle” is that it’s simply a euphemism for “Suck the customer dry of all of her money, all of her friends, and all of her dignity”! Mary Kay isn’t stupid. They know that every potential customer of yours must be raped and pillaged (so to speak) in order for YOU to be “successful”. And the problem with that is that women know when they’re being “had”. They’ve been to waaaaaaaaay too many home parties that they can spot the bait and the hook a mile away.

Look, if I thought you could honestly make money in this business, I wouldn’t be on this site. I would be out holding classes and working with my unit! I’ve spent many years teaching Full Circle Success, and although my unit members and I have all achieved a small measure of success, (mostly intermittent– just enough to keep us going), I have not seen any long lasting, continual, consistent success. A $1200 Skin Care Class is great. Heck, even a $300 class is great. But what about all the $0 classes, $50 classes, no shows and cancellations?

Most consultants cannot afford to keep working with such pitiful results! And don’t believe the DRIVEL from the top! There are many “urban legends” floating around in Mary Kay land about how Connie Consultant had 213 classes in a row, but then at the 214th class she sold $10,000 and recruited 30 people! STOP THE MADNESS! You cannot build a viable, healthy business on the occasional “success”.

So here’s my recommendation:
SELL your product back to Mary Kay.
BOOK a vacation for you and your hubby with your refund.
RECRUIT your family back into your “circle of influence”. They need you and you need them.


  1. BestDecision

    Micellar water and pink eyeshadows. Neither are going to make sales surge, which means you won’t have hostesses getting excited about getting it for free OR inviting her friends over to see such things.

    And then there’s a Beard Oil also coming out for Summer. Really, MK? I never sold men’s skin care, and I know of no man wanting to use MK products on his beard.

    Lots late, MK. Now your sales force will look like they’re strung out on drugs with raspberry pink colors on their eyes. Awful!

    1. Vanessa77

      I love how the kaybots think the fact that they have micellar water is cutting edge and innovative. Um, that stuff has been around for YEARS. And you can get it for much less than $17.

      Way to be behind on a trend…AGAIN

  2. NayMKWay

    “Sell. Book. Recruit? … It all sounds good in theory.”

    Well, no, not really. It doesn’t sound the least bit good, in theory or otherwise, because the primary goal is the big “R”: RECRUIT. If you’re trying to recruit every customer, you’re implicitly saying you don’t want any customers, you just want recruits. And so does everyone else, ad nauseam.

    The FTC rightly considers an MLM with no customers to be a pyramid scheme (see: Vemma). But if you’re trying to recruit all your customers, you are in essence actively trying to propagate a pyramid scheme. Mary Kay is savvy enough to put on a public show of encouraging members to build up their customer base, but the reality is different. If you as a consultant choose not to try to recruit your customers, other consultants will consider them fair game. In their eyes, you’re neglecting your customers by not “offering them the opportunity,” so they’ll do it. Like vultures, they are.

    Don’t expect Corporate to do anything about it, either. They’re well aware of this pervasive attitude that it’s OK to recruit customers of other consultants (from articles on this site, if from nowhere else), and they’ve never said boo. And they won’t, because endless-chain recruiting and front-loading is their life blood. They just can’t admit that out loud.

    Shh. The FTC might be listening.

    1. Mountaineer95

      “If you as a consultant choose not to try to recruit your customers, other consultants will consider them fair game. In their eyes, you’re neglecting your customers by not “offering them the opportunity,” so they’ll do it.”

      ^^^this, all day long. How many IBCs have come here touting how they have great regular customers but they absolutely won’t recruit? It’s a lot. And each one of them needs to know that if they’re not willing to “share the opportunity”, other IBCs and Directors “should” and will do so, and steal the customers right out from under them as recruits.

  3. Cindylu

    Get excited. I get excited about a vacation, going to a real Spa, lovely flowers etc. A fake facial, fake party, mascara, lipstick or any product nowadays isn’t exciting. (In 2021 these parties mean time wasted and buying products I honestly seldom want). Most women are simply doing another friend or acquaintance a favor. Most make a pity purchase. Some are reluctant but attend the class out of a sense of obligation. I think Meetings, Conferences, Seminar and girl bonding nonsense are the gimmick to keep women entrenched in this scam.

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