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

Recruiting Lies in Mary Kay

The success of multi-level marketing depends on recruiting. Products can’t be retailed to REAL customers in sufficient quantities, so MLMs depend on the recruitment of distributors who buy the products.

We know there is a very low level of actual retailing of the products. So how do recruiters divert attention from the fake business model and the financial failure of nearly all participants? They make misleading, fanciful promises to the recruits.

Some of the most common:

  • Unlimited (high) earnings – You can make much more money than you can in your current career. You will recruit and expand your team exponentially as they recruit. You will earn commissions on all of their purchases, and when you figure commissions, bonuses, and prizes, you will earn tons. And no one limits your earnings. You can earn as much or as little as you want, depending on how hard you’re willing to work.
  • Anyone can do it – No special skills needed. Not even sales skills.
  • Make money when you’re not working – You’re selling a consumable product. People will buy it over and over without you putting forth much work.
  • Earn residual income – You can make commissions on an ongoing basis from those you recruit (and their recruits too!). Your earning power is expanded beyond your own personal efforts. You are freed from wage slavery!
  • Early retirement – You can “retire” from your career. You can retire your husband from his career. Somehow, all the hours that you’ll put into MLM don’t count as work? You pretend you’re retire?
  • Independence – You have no boss. You’re financially independent. You decide how much money you want to make.
  • Free time – You’ll have flexibility with your time. You can stay home with your kids while still earning money. You can vacation instead of work.
  • Low investment – There is a low sign up fee, so there is no risk. Products you buy can be returned, so there is no risk!
  • No selling – You’re not really selling. You’re educating. You’re sharing. The products sell themselves. Why not just share about what you already love and use?

If it’s really so easy, so positive, and such a successful business model, why does nearly everyone lose money and eventually quit? Because none of these things are really true.

What other deceptions have you heard in the recruiting process?


  1. Kristen

    “The average skin care class will make you $200 and takes 2 hours. That’s $100 per hour!”

    The Mary Kay claims remind me of those trick Halloween portraits that look normal and then you tilt them in a different angle and there’s a horrifying ghoul. What is behind these claims of big money? HOURS of unpaid labor, driving, calling, stalking women, etc. Once you add that in (plus the thousands you lost in inventory), how does that $200 look?

    Note to our critics: Yes, I was responsible for investigating before I made poor choices. But this was before the internet, so I deserve some leniency. Nowadays, PLEASE do your research with a critical eye.

  2. Cat Ballou

    My former director posted these numbers to encourage recruiting. In her unit, she has

    1 Star Team Builder, who has 9 recruits
    *two A3
    *two I2
    *two T1

    Her A1 is a senior consultant with two recruits

    There is another senior consultant with 8 recruits
    *two I1
    *two I2
    *two T1

    There are two more senior consultants in the unit, with between one and three recruits each

    One has

    Another has

    The third has

    So out of 25 people in these consultants’ downlines, only 7 are in active status. Only 3 of those 7 placed orders of $225+ wholesale in the previous month.

    That’s a whole lot of consultants not ordering because they’re not selling because the product doesn’t fly off the shelf or sell itself.

      1. NayMKWay

        1-2 recruits is Senior Consultant and 3+ is Red Jacket, right?

        Is “RIQ” going to be their new name for “Senior Consultant”?

        Or maybe 1 = Senior Consultant and 2 = RIQ. Silly either way.

  3. AnonyMouse

    It was the “there are no quotas in Mary Kay!” for me. Among other things. But if you want to maintain your active status, you have to order $225 (is it $250 now?) wholesale every three months. If you want to rank up and maintain your rank, there are numbers you have to hit both with wholesale ordering and active/qualified recruits every month. Sure as heck sounds like quotas to me!

  4. Brainwashednomore

    You make 50% of what you sell.
    Everyone reorders the skincare.
    Show up to go up.
    Find a way out make a way.
    The only way you fail is by quitting.
    You can only return your products the first 12 months.

  5. Shay

    Dear God.
    Go look at Kimberly Perkins facebook. She is showing her kids rashes which she thinks is chicken pox and asks for commenters to send her home remedies and they are telling use lavender baths and her post is weird.

      1. NayMKWay

        DoTERRA is definitely MLM, based out of Pleasant Grove in the MLM capital of the US: Utah. They market their stuff as “Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade ™,” or some such nonsense. It’s nonsense because there is no third-party certification body for essential oils (why would there be? most of them just smell good and are of little additional use); it’s just a trademarked marketing phrase they pull out of their hindquarters.

        Naturally all the DoTERRA huns come out of the woodwork with medical advice that they are NOT qualified in any way to offer.

        1. Mountaineer

          I have a hereditary neuromuscular disease and I have to use a lot of things to treat pain and symptoms. I’ve had success with certain topical essential oils, but would NEVER purchase any DoTerra for this use. I’ve known a few people who sell DoTerra and they all make ludicrous claims about all of the cancers that their oils have cured.

          (If anyone is interested, frankincense and myrrh really help with the neuropathy pain, and a combo of arnica, cinnamon, and good old Icy Hot help with the chronic muscle pain…though I definitely smell like a nursing home lol)

        2. enorth

          DoTerra was recently forced to change the “T” from Therapeutic to Tested. 🙂

          I have a family member selling it. Her numerous posts about DT have tapered off. She did have a video where she spouted off the benefits of EOs, including how they “help with cancer and epilepsy.” The video has since been removed.

    1. Heather

      Chicken pox is a virus and will need to run its course. Lavender can help calm the skin, but in this case, oatmeal baths, calamine, and the like will help. (I haven’t looked at the photos.)

      DoTerra is a HUGE MLM. I love it when the huns are asking about oils that help with a-fib – like oil of amiodarone, oil of caridovert, or oil of coumadin.

      1. Shay

        Every once in a while I snoop on her page for comedy relief with her back ass religious gibber and saw that my heart dropped.
        By the way she is selling over priced clothing, coffee cups. daily planners (LOL), and all that other jazz too and customers are asking about their orders and she is blaming an assistant.

        1. Ingrid

          Because someone has issues with a vaccine, does not make them a loon. Because someone comes down with chicken pox, does not make them anti vax. Also, chicken pox still exists. It has not been wiped out.

    2. Mountaineer

      Good old Kimberly. I wonder when her next instalment of “The REAL Pink Truth” will hit YouTube? I’m still waiting for her to show the proof that she sold every bit of product necessary to “earn” the MK jewelry that she’s offering for sale (lolz) to anyone who can show HER the proof that THEY sold everything to earn the jewelry. Such a hypocrite, and probably a clinical narcissist to boot. At least the Dacia train wreck is amusing to watch; I find Perkins just plain creepy, like a delusional cult leader.

    3. Wild Collards

      She also mentioned that her local public health department called her to get testing done to see exactly what was going on. So when she did her “research” she didn’t take her kids to a doctor?

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