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

Is There Any Help For My Friend?

A concerned friend of a Mary Kay consultant requests advice from the Pink Truth community:

A former close friend of mine is a relatively new MK clone. This was after having tried other MLM schemes that crashed and burned. I found Pink Truth while looking for answers about the addictive quality of MLM, quality of the products they push, and what seems to be the victimization of women by women (i.e. I believe only a small percentage of men could be counted upon to say, “Hey, Joe, why don’t you and the guys come to my house, have a couple beers, and listen to me drone on about overpriced XXX and how YOU can be part of this opportunity!).

My question is, Is there any help for my friend until she is broke, alienated, and stumbles upon PT for herself? The answer seems to be No.

I’ve spent a lot of time combing your site and finding it heartbreaking. Husbands who watched their darling brides turned into Kaybots, helpless to stop the madness. Kids who see mom sweat out the MK “business” for decades only to find themselves without resources or retirement stability. And former victims of the Pink Fog, finally emerging with amazing awareness and blossoming sense of self-worth.

How do I get my friend to stop scouring my Facebook feed for “acquaintances” that she can start bugging? What do I say to her husband, who literally told me that the pink boxes that flood their home are what she seems to need “because you can’t sell from an empty wagon?” Gulp! How long can one keep smiling when she says that a “famous make up artist only uses MK because it’s the best!” (“What do you suppose that artist says at a MAC meeting?”, I wanted to ask.)

I’ve used MK in the past and didn’t find the quality any different from a hundred other brands. Is it the religion angle that makes it more attractive? How do you take someone who has never been particularly faithful and turn her into a scripture-quoting, skincare-pushing bot? I’m both alarmed and amazed by this process.

Is there anything that can be said to a smart, beautiful, funny friend to wake her from oncoming nightmare? Or do we all just watch and wait?


  1. Kristen

    What an excellent post! The only thing that would’ve gotten me out faster would’ve been if I had no pity purchases from friends and family. But honestly, what a mess! Tough love just drives them further away from you, the “negative” influence, and closer to Mary Kay. My friends’ eye rolls and condescending attitudes just made me further determined to be a success. Instead, kindly add doubts to her already existing ones (let’s face it, she has them because this doesn’t work) such as, “You must be making/selling a lot!” Or “So how long does it take to sell all this inventory? Do you serve like hundreds of customers a week or something?” “I’m confused. How do you make money if you recruit your customers? Doesn’t that just help the company?” “So, people must be telling everyone they know about this! Is it just flying off the shelves?”

    You’d have to be careful not to sound snarky or sarcastic. But to answer these questions, she’s going to have to look at the reality before rushing to the justification of, “it will happen if I work hard enough.” When she tries to recruit you, say, “I’m going to wait and see how you do. If it works as well as you say, I’ll totally give it a try.”

    Stay kind and compassionate. None of us wanted to look like a fool and admit we’d been duped. It’s like finding out there’s no Santa Claus too. This amazing thing we found is 100% false.

    1. J

      Yes! This is so good. It’s the enthusiastic questioning that gets in.

      For me, the pink wall paper started to peel when a girl in my unit, who I knew wasn’t doing production, was taking home all the recognition and prizes at our unit meetings. A director will say “stand up if you sold 100 dollars this week.” (Surprise, not everyone stands up even for that pitifully low amount). Then “stay standing if you sold $200..$300…$400, etc.”

      This consultant didn’t follow the dress code, and would stand and keep tabs on others with side glances until she was the last one standing. Then boom she’s Queen of sales that week. She didn’t actually have to sell anything for that recognition because the company, nor directors, track sales—they only track what you buy.

      Additionally, questions about my actual profit would have helped. I was eating all my profits through mailing and honestly ordering. So that doubt is there. What would add on to it would have been a potential recruit asking about profit and getting past the deflective statements of it’s a tax write off!!

      If someone had said, “how much time should I spend getting hostesses and orders? How far do you normally drive for parties? How much do you mail verses deliver? How frequently do you do discounts or promotions? What’s your weekly meeting cost to attend? How quickly are you paying down the debt to yourself for inventory? Costs for in-person seminar and career conference?”

      Even a consultant who claims they’re doing 4K in production a month, clearly isn’t making minimum wage at that rate. They’ll think they’ve made a 2k profit, but once you calculate everything else, you’ll see they’re barely making 1k.

  2. BestDecision

    Scripture and God are used heavily, so she’s likely to trust whatever comes out of their mouth on that alone. She’ll hear about people that make over $10,000/month, but she’ll lose her critical thinking skills and ignore the fact that the LARGE majority do not and will never. She hasn’t been in long enough to see the downward trends of commission checks, cars, and attendance.

    Unfortunately, the coercion begins very quickly, and people like you will be made out to be “negative” and “unsupportive”. She’ll start to hang out only with MK people. She’ll shut down any comments or questions you make or ask, and she’ll move quickly to talking about someone’s Cadillac or diamonds to show you you don’t know what you’re talking about.

    I’m sorry to say that the only way I know that people get out is from personal experience. For some like me, it could take YEARS to figure it out, get sick of it, and then muster the courage to jump ship. But, she likely will. Just have fun enjoying your life, your freedom, your paychecks that you get to keep in their entirety, and your happiness. Sometimes seeing all that in others will needle the truth into her.

    1. coralrose

      Regarding the part about “she’ll hear about someone making 10K a month”. The other way that worked against me, was I thought something like “If she can make 10K a month, surely I can make 3K to 4K a month, right?” I knew that making 10K was probably very rare, but it took reading Pink Truth for me to realize that making 2K to 4K a month (or ANY amount of money, really) was also incredibly rare.

  3. Deflated Pink Bubble

    Sometimes it only takes one person, one trusted person, to plant that seed of doubt. The trick is to keep watering that seed ever so gently. You have to be careful not to just blatantly “ick on her wow.” You don’t want to be put in that negative category, but find that one thing she can actually relate to. Maybe it’s your conversations. Point out that she’s only talking about Mary Kay now and you miss the way your friendship used to be. Once I realized that EVERY conversation I was having was Mary Kay related I became very aware of how my friends were reacting to me. Once I saw they were trying to avoid me, my pink bubble started to leak.

  4. morningstar

    Your friend has her own life. If it is affecting yours with MK, distance yourself from her and be there later for her. Be an example, here you are being catty, let her do her own life.

    1. NayMKWay

      I fail to see where this writer was the least bit catty. I went and reread it word for word, and all I see is someone who wants to help her “smart, beautiful, funny friend” see she is being financially and emotionally abused by MLM scammers. Your advice is to “distance” herself? That’s not being a friend, that’s abandoning them.

  5. ran4fun

    Sounds like the husband needs to get educated and step in. Unfortunately, we know how MK feels about “unsupportive” husbands. But she has to be getting the money to buy product from somewhere!

    The money problem comes when family money is used for MK “business”. If a consultant would set up her own checking account, and keep all her income from sales and commissions in that account, and then use that account for MK expenses only, then, and only then will the kaybot see the true financial picture. I am guessing that is a foreign idea to most MK consultants.

    1. Peggy Hicks

      When I was in MK, I opened a separate checking account as soon as I signed the consultant agreement & ordered inventory. I did this because my husband advised me to do it. I had established credit in my own name a few years before that & got a small personal loan to fund initial inventory & expenses. He did not want MK money to be commingled with our joint accounts, & it was an excellent idea because I saw the handwriting on the wall fairly early on & ended up shipping my inventory back & getting out. When I got into MK I swore that I would not going into more debt than I could repay in a period of 6 months, & I stuck to my guns. Keeping my part time J.O.B. enabled me to pay off my personal loan, so when I got out, I got out.

  6. Brainwashed no more

    Great article.
    Take care of YOU first. You may or may not be able to get through to her. People not in mk would be called civilians. Anyone negative was tuned out. We were told only to speak with our Directors when we were upset. Not anyone else. Keep the lid on the negativity. Don’t complain to your husband. Etc… Unfortunately, it’s really hard to get through to her. I had a supportive husband but he knew that there was no profit. So much layering of brainwashing. The same things over and over. Lots of lies. Good luck.

  7. Juliet

    I think that having her use ONLY an account for mk could be the fastest trip to enlightenment. When it is in arrears in short order, and either the mk credit card is inching upwards, or if she didn’t get one, she is now thinking it’s a wise idea – those black and white statements might help move things along.


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