Here at Pink Truth, we’re well aware that Mary Kay is an MLM (multi-level marketing scam, also known as a pyramid scheme). But Mary Kay consultants and directors go through all kinds of mental gymnastics (and outright lies) to convince themselves and recruits that MK is most definitely NOT an MLM.

Check out some of the falsehoods being perpetuated in this Facebook thread:

  • It’s “dual marketing” because you can pass up your recruiter
  • “We don’t wait on anybody to give us a check” (Huh? What about those commission checks you wait for?)
  • We are studied each year by Harvard Business School
  • It’s not a pyramid scheme because you can surpass your recruiter
  • You don’t need to build a team to make money
  • Although recruiting salespeople is crucial to other Multi Level Marketing companies, Mary Kay consultants can still make money without recruiting others (I wonder if she’s noticed how hard MK pushes recruiting because it’s crucial to the company’s survival?)
  • Every MK consultant, despite their level, can earn the exact same profit on their sales (I guess she’s not aware that directors are paid commissions on their own orders from the company, so they effectively make more profit on their product sales.)
  • We make money in two ways and it never comes from team members’ pockets (Oh yes it does. The recruiter’s commission check comes from the team member’s pocket when she purchases products from MK.
  • Mary Kay’s definition from Legal Ease doesn’t say MK isn’t MLM. It just says not to use the term because different people define it in different ways. LOL
  • We don’t have tiers and people “above or under us” (May I introduce you to your senior consultant, team leader, DIQ, director, senior director, national sales director?)


  1. “We can operate our businesses how we want” … except you can’t. You have a contract that spells out exactly what you can and can’t do.

    • And when you want out, you have no business to sell to anyone else. Not your client lists, nothing. Except that inventory you’ve already paid for, including full sales tax on it.

    • Yup, you don’t even get to set the price of the product you’re selling, because if you’re constantly selling at a discount it might lure customers away from other consultants. If corporate figures out you’re doing that you’ll get reprimanded. But please, tell me more about how much control you have over your “business”. ?

      • Or made to feel guilty if you try to sell back to the company for a refund, as long as your stock is less than a year old. Because it takes money out of the up line checks .. so then you figure you’ll just offload it yourself at discount but then can’t even manage to do that. So it was three years ago and your still throwing random items in Christmas gifts that you may as well “put to good use”.

  2. “mental gymnastics (and outright lies)”

    On the MK Corp website, it describes itself as “a direct-selling opportunity.”
    Why don’t the IBCs/SDs use this term?

    • I think they are saying direct selling more often because it makes the focus seem to be selling a product. That’s what the MLMs are pushing these days anyway…. keep calling it direct selling or direct sales.

  3. One thing I always wondered about. If MK’s focus isn’t recruiting, why don’t they allow a consultant to earn a car without having a down line?

    • Excellent point, and I’d love it if any of the ladies from that thread would provide an answer.

    • I think this topic deserves a front page post. Not because we’re trying to actually find an answer (we here know it), but because it will be fun to see what the Kaybots offer up as answers. At the very least, maybe it will get some bots thinking about why they cannot earn a Career Car without recruiting, if recruiting is not the focus in MK.

  4. Out of nowhere, someone says, “We’re an MLM?” ?

    It’s all semantics. Should we argue about what does or does not constitute a “serial killer” or should we focus on the devastation that their actions leave behind?

    Mart Kay lies to women in order to get them to spend a lot of money. That’s called a scam.

    All advertising is based on manipulation to sell a product but the difference is that legit companies do not sell you a garage full of products with the hope of making a profit and do not take over your life by alienating family and friends.

  5. I hate – haaaaaaate – how the “all companies are a pyramid” diagrams give just the titles until you get to the employees, then it’s “hard working employees who will never have a chance to be the CEO” ? waaaaaaaah ? Seriously? Like none of the other people work hard? They just kick off their shoes and put their feet up on their desks and do nothing all day? Do they have any idea the kind of work that goes into owning an actual business? No, they don’t, because MLMs let them play at being a “business owner” and get all the warm fuzzies without all the real-world responsibilities. It’s not “a better way”, it’s a fake dream world where you believe you have more control than you actually do.

    • Here’s what they never mention: In a legitimate corporate structure, money is generated from OUTSIDE of the pyramid, and that pays the employees within the structure. In an MLM pyramid, the lower “employees” are funding the upper ranks. These wannabe business owners are the ones buying the products making the legit corporate structure, MKI, their money. *The shady sales and marketing strategy of MKI is to tell their customers they are business owners.

  6. “We don’t have tiers and people “above us or under us”.” — Lindsey Kitrel-Baker

    UHHHH. What?!

    • I’ve had a Mary Kay consultimer say this to my face. So out of left field I had no response.

  7. The Shenan Cleveland woman in particular has absolutely no idea how sales works, but they think she is explaining everything perfectly. I’d never hire her for an actual sales job nor trust her to run an actual small business.

  8. All MLM product-based pyramid scheme companies offer the affiliate to buy at fake wholesale and resell at ridiculous retail, and pocket the difference.

  9. I love the first response, naming all the levels she’s moved past her recruiter — but it’s NOT a multi-level-marketing company!

    Another favorite (same person): “Yes Duel Level Marketing…”

    Oh, there are duels, all right.

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