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

The Myth of a Benefits Package

Mary Kay recruiters and sales directors rave about the “benefits” of being a part of Mary Kay Cosmetics. How the items on this list can possibly be compared to paid sick leave, a 401(k) or tuition assistance is beyond me. I was also not aware that the ladder of success pin is “THE most coveted piece of jewelry in ALL of Mary Kay.” Anyone can get one, all you need is a $1,800 or available credit. What is so special about that?

Let’s take a look at one sales director’s take on the benefits…


Every corporation has a “benefits” package. That’s why most people work in corporate America – for the “Bennies”! So why not take advantage of the BENEFITS PACKAGE that your Mary Kay Company offers Star Consultants as well?

Benefit #1 Your Star Prize Have you picked your prize? Star Consultant Prizes are hand-picked by Mary Kay to reward YOU. Many of the Star Consultant Prizes are created EXCLUSIVELY for Mary Kay and are ONLY available to Star Consultants
Benefit #2 Your Star Treatment Star Consultants are awarded each quarter with MUCH appreciation and showered with gifts. For example, one of last year’s Star Consultant Night Quarterly Celebrations included a limousine ride (complete with long-stemmed rose) and dinner in a private dining room of an exclusive restaurant. There’s also the Star Consultant Sash you get to wear designating YOU as an ACHIEVER, Special Unit-Only Star Consultant events and recognition on the Wall of Stars at our area Training Center!
Benefit #3 Preferred Listing in the Mary Kay Consultant Directory As a Star Consultant, YOUR NAME and contact information will be displayed first on the consultant locator system on marykay.com. Plus…when potential clients call the 1-800-MARYKAY phone number ONLY Star Consultant names given to callers! That’s PREMIUM advertising placement!
Benefit #4 Free Products From Mary Kay!
Whether it’s a New Consultant Bonus or the current Biz Builders Bonus, Mary Kay gives you Free Product when you place your qualified order. You can use it as a gift, promotion, personal use or sell it for 100% PURE PROFIT in your pocket!!!
Benefit #5 Your Star Jewelry Your Star Consultant Ladder of Success Pin is truly THE most coveted piece of jewelry in ALL of Mary Kay. It’s your consultant “report card” that displays your success – quarter after quarter. It is a visible representation of your efforts, your customers, your sales ability and your customer services. You should wear it proudly everywhere you go.

Are these really perks of being a Mary Kay consultant, or just more smoke and mirrors to create a false perception of the value of the Mary Kay opportunity?


    1. VAgirl

      They don’t even offer the Ladder of Success pin anymore. It was discontinued a couple years ago.
      Maybe that’s why it’s coveted. No one can get it. /s

  1. Kristen

    None of these things are free. You are paying top dollar for low quality crap. When I placed an $1800 order, I never stopped to ask myself, “Do I know enough people who will spend $3600 on makeup and skin care?” Because, like it or not, all your sales will be friends, family, and people you know in church or clubs, etc. When MK mentions “profit”, do not forget that when you sell a couple hundred dollars of stuff, it’s not really profit. You are $200 less in the red, but still in the red. Plus, they want you to “reinvest” half of that back into more useless products.

    1. TRACY

      A case study was done on Mary Kay’s prizes. Basically it said that Mary Kay Ash was a master of figuring out what trinket incentivized consultants to order. The company knows EXACTLY how much ordering they are going to get from a $5 prize or a $100 prize.

      1. Cat Ballou

        I caught a text blast from my former director on July 30 telling me that I could WIN a FREE sample pack of the spectacular NEW Fall Collection. ?????? All I had to do was place a $250 order by the end of the month. And if I placed a $300 order, I’d get a pink luggage tag too because she had two separate prize promotions running in July. ? The top prize for an $1800 order was a cosmetic bag that I found on Amazon for $7.99. I don’t know…not feeling super incentivized right now…

    1. Cat Ballou

      It’s a quarterly program. There are different levels of stars (sapphire, ruby, diamond, emerald, and pearl), starting at $1800 wholesale and going up in $600 increments from there. There are prizes associated with each level, which are generally pretty cheap. For example, a cumulative $1800 sapphire star order would get you something like a mixing bowl set or a mug set or a scarf, something that retails for around $30.

      The whole thing honestly reminds me of the prizes my Girl Scouts get for cookie sales.

  2. Misscapulet

    I feel so silly. I can’t believe that I gave up Mary Kay after less than a year. I could have gotten. a $5 pin, a rose, and a limo ride instead of health insurance, dental insurance, a pension, and a 457. I’m such a dope. My job NEVER gives me a flower.

    1. PurpleH

      I work in retail, and in 2019 I received over $1500 in gift cards, paid days off, catered meals and prizes from various recognition programs. I don’t have to purchase any of the stock, call the customers at home, ask customers to open their own store, or buy my managers gifts at year-end. If only I had a sash, though!

  3. Cynthia

    And you have to pay to attend a star party.

    I’m sure some directors spoil their stars but then there’s some like mine who are the breadwinners and have to basically support all of their family.

  4. NayMKWay

    It takes a lot of chutzpah to call those things benefits. Pay big bucks for inventory and get trinkets.

    Oh, AND you cam get your name on a list no one will ever see or hear of! Honestly, who calls MK Corp or goes to their site to find a consultant? If you want some hand cream, you tell Google you want…


    And Google will politely respond…

    Showing results for Mary Kay Satin Hands

    …and you will find plenty of options from e-bay, Amazon, and something called a “Poshmark.” No need to call anyone; just click.

    The days of dressing in formal wear, pulling the earpiece from its cradle on your wall phone, turning the crank, and leaning in to the mouthpiece so the operator can hear you ask to be connected with your nearest Mary Kay Consultant… they’re long gone, folks.

    1. Mountaineer95


      …and a new tornado warning. Maybe I’ll need a “latter of sucksess” to climb out of my basement here in a bit.

      1. BestDecision

        I bet I can name more 20+ year vets than new NSDs. I’ll start…

        Sylvia Cook
        Deb Dudas
        Keita Powell
        Marsha Morrissette
        Nancy Castro
        Lisa Anne Harmon
        Chatney Gelfius
        Judie Roman
        Moleda Dailey
        Ann Sherman
        Menina Givens
        Deanna Spillman

        Still not NSDs. And no benefits.

        1. parsonsgreen

          Rachael Marlow Bullock
          Heather Daniel Kent
          Cleta Colson Eyre
          Kelly Cooper
          Linda Klein
          Karen Ridle
          Cindy Machado Flippen
          Kim Besey
          Brenda Howell

  5. Mountaineer95

    “Star Consultants are awarded each quarter with MUCH appreciation and showered with gifts. For example, one of last year’s Star Consultant Night Quarterly Celebrations included a limousine ride (complete with long-stemmed rose) and dinner in a private dining room of an exclusive restaurant. There’s also the Star Consultant Sash you get to wear designating YOU as an ACHIEVER, Special Unit-Only Star Consultant events and recognition on the Wall of Stars at our area Training Center!”

    Limo ride, one long-stemmed rose, dinner in a private room of an exclusive restaurant, some sash, your name on a wall…

    All of these things can be accomplished by earning even modest wages in a legit full-time job with benefits. Seriously!

    In fact, many legit positions with legit companies have such rewards available for good performance…and they cost the employee nothing except quality work FOR WHICH THEY ARE PAID ANYWAY.

    Just my POV, in my salaried sales positions I had many nice black-car rides to and from the airports for COMPANY-PAID trips, including work trips and not just reward trips; nice hotel stays (and some crappy ones too, TBH), dinners at the best steak houses from Chicago to Florida, etc etc…BUT one does not need such a job to enjoy the “perks” listed by MK above!

    Sorry guys…tornado warning just came up on my phone, gotta post and hide with the cat!

  6. coralrose

    A Limo ride, dinner at an exclusive restaurant was an unheard of reward when I was in. “Benefits” were things a picnic/ BBQ at your sales director’s house, a cheap trinket, standing up and having unit members clap for you. Yep, definitely better than 401K, paid time off, and health insurance.

    One “big” prize for some contest was a sleepover at our NSD’s home and chance to see her “beautiful home” in person. Gag.

  7. Mountaineer95

    Ooh I feel like using some “Google-Fu” (as my fiancé calls it) to dig around with these names. If I find anything if interest I’ll post it here.

  8. Mountaineer95

    “Every corporation has a “benefits” package. That’s why most people work in corporate America.”

    ..nailed it! Yes, that’s a very good reason (benefits!) why “most people” work in “corporate America”.

    …so, without relying on the tired excuses you Kaybots spew above, please tell us how MK provides ANY benefits like paid time off and maternity leave, AND how MK provides PAID vacation, sick days, PLUS how MK provides retirement and/or 401K benefits…wait, you can’t, because MK does NOT provide these things.

    But wait…they DO! Employees of MK Inc (ie those “loosers” who choose to work a sorry J.O.B.) are eligible for ALL of the above.

    So why does MK provide a full benefits package to hundreds of corporate employees, but refuse to offer even a single such benefit to their “independent contractors”?

    Hint…it’s because:

    1) they don’t have to; you’ll sign up regardless;

    2) it costs them a lot of time and money to set up a single “legit” employee with such benefits; and

    3) they sure aren’t going to expend that money on the the of thousands of IBCs that are signed up who have little to no potential as salespersons and/or recruiters (anybody with a face! We don’t use personality or psychological tests to determine who will succeed in MK!)

    In summary, MK Inc doesn’t NEED to offer any benefits package to the thousands of “independent contractors” who pay them money to try to succeed with selling their products. You all willingly sign up, pay THEM for the “opportunity” to sell their products, and CONTINUE to PAY THEM MORE MONEY for the “honor” of attending Seminar and other pay-to-attend gatherings.

    Have you figured out yet why they don’t offer you ANY benefits? Especially when YOU pay to participate?

    I truly would like to hear from any IBCs or Directors who can provide legit reasons why it’s okay for them to spend their time (whether the mythical 15 hours per week, or the more likely 60 hours per week) on their MK “business” without getting ANY benefits from MK.

    And pins, rings, sashes, etc do NOT count as benefits in this discussion…I mean the same benefits that employees receive as listed above.

    There are a lot of lurkers here…certainly SOMEBODY in MK can answer this question.

    Anyone? Anyone? We know you’re here. Maybe an IBC won’t answer (because she’s realizing that she’s been had by MK), but surely Jamie Taylor or Chelsea Adkins or (my favorite) Kimberly Perkins can fill us in on why MK doesn’t pay benefits and why they still choose to devote their careers to a company (not a JOB, and not a BUSINESS) that forges on with such practices?

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