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

No “Right Way” to Do Mary Kay

When you start to become awakened to the truth about Mary Kay, you may double down on the idea that there is a “right way” to do Mary Kay.

Especially if you are a sales director, you need to justify why you have stayed with MK as long as you have. You need a way to clear your conscience. Distinguishing between the “right way” and “wrong way” to “do Mary Kay” may seem like the answer.

Oh, you may try to ignore Pink Truth and the hundreds of articles here which document the experiences of former consultants, directors, and NSDs. But these stories can’t be ignored.

As sites like Pink Truth, YouTube channels, and other social media accounts continue to reveal the truth about multi-level marketing, these companies keep selling hope. It’s the only truly effective weapon in their arsenal. People want to believe that hard work gets results and achievement of the American dream. If one woman can do it in Mary Kay, any one of us can do it!!!

But when we apply that work ethic to a flawed business model we always come up empty. MLMs feature the top people and brag about their results. This gives you hope. But at the same time, Mary Kay will transfer responsibility to you for your lack of results. You didn’t work hard enough. Except they don’t tell you that the top people did unethical things to get there. It’s the only way to get there.

As long as you bear responsibility for your low numbers, you still have hope. You still believe that it is POSSIBLE because LOOK AT HER. She did it. I could do it too if I just did the right things.

Mary Kay will tell you that the “right way” is by focusing on sales. A selling consultant is a happy consultant. You can make money without recruiting!

They will pretend that sales directors are ethical. That they didn’t add various family members (and pay for their inventory orders) to finish DIQ. That they don’t randomly reactivate consultants when they need more numbers. That they don’t frontload new consultants with thousands of dollars of inventory that they most likely won’t be able to sell.

When you believe the bogus “I story” from someone at the top of Mary Kay, there is hope. You can change. You can work harder. You can fix things.

But you can’t change things by being a selling consultant. Sales of the product will always be low and inconsistent because you get ahead by recruiting and loading them up with product they inconsistently sell and won’t return because there is still hope. (We don’t want to close the door on Mary Kay forever, do we?)

Quite simply, there is no “right way” to do Mary Kay. If you want to make anything more than pocket change, you have to recruit. In order to recruit, you have to tell lies. (At the very least, you will be guilty of omitting important information.) In order to make any money as a recruiter, you have to frontload new consultants with a bunch of inventory. They “right way” might seem to be teaching consultants to sell consistently, but that is just a pipe dream.


  1. Ruby Slippers

    Several years ago, One of my previous customers told me she had $3000 worth of MK in her basement and asked if I wanted it .
    She showed me and it was ancient.
    It was before MK Signature line .

    1. Mountaineer95

      That is SO not atypical. Many, MANY current and past IBCs (and directors, and every title in between) have huge stores of product stashed away in their homes. But they continue to order more! To hit THIS goal, THAT goal, everywhere a goal goal.

      I challenge just ONE current MK person to show that they’ve sold everything they’ve ordered in the last twelve months. AT WHATEVER PRICE…even if at “cost” (don’t forget the sales tax). Or even close-ish, like sold 75% of their wholesale purchases. Wait, let’s see if they sold their wholesale at full retail prices! Of course they didn’t, but surely they sold MOST of their products at full retail. Right?

  2. Kristen

    Excellent article. Yes, it was difficult to admit there was no hope, especially after I had been telling everyone I knew how “excited” I was about the Mary Kay “opportunity”. It felt like a public failure, which made seeing the truth even harder. I could never have imagined that all those women I looked up to were making it up. I feel so naive. Sigh.

  3. NayMKWay

    Of course, what Tracy says about Mary Kay applies to all MLMs: there is no “right way” to do any of them. They all encourage endless-chain recruiting as the key to succeess, and that inevitably over-saturates the market with sellers. All MLMs have minimum order requirements for affiliates to stay “active,” and the affiliates end up with products they can’t sell because of the over-saturation.

    A common MLM blame-the-victim line is, “You weren’t willing to work; you thought it was just a get-rich-quick scheme.” Well, yeah, it is a get-rich-quick scheme—for the company founders. MLM = exponential growth by design.

    Rodan + Fields is a good example. Founded in 2002, they tried selling their make-up line in department stores, but weren’t getting much traction. A year later, they sold the name to Esteé Lauder, who apparently didn’t have much luck with it either, because they sold the name back to Rodan and Fields. In 2007 R&F relaunched as an MLM. It took them only a decade to reach a market value of $4 billion.

    Sell the dream. What a scheme.

    1. DorothyG

      Rodan and Fields is the mlm that I am most familiar with.
      I remember hearing from many of the consultants that when they were owned by Estée Lauder that they were the number one selling brand in Nordstrom’s.
      It never made sense that Estée Lauder would sell back such a successful brand. Out of curiosity I looked up the R & F numbers at the Estée Lauder annual board meeting that year and saw that their sales didn’t reflect anywhere near number one.

  4. Cat Ballou

    To do MK “right,” you just need to BEE-lieve that
    * MK’s brand image isn’t tired and dated
    * MK product quality is comparable to other products at that price point
    * the market for MK isn’t oversaturated with consultants
    * you aren’t prohibited from effective avenues of marketing the product such as advertising
    * you’re not competing in a marketplace replete with other brands offering great cosmetic and skin care products
    * you’re not competing with Ulta or Sephora, or even the Target beauty concierge, to offer a great customer experience
    * your customers don’t expect free 2-day shipping on their order
    * many women are excited about hosting or attending sales parties
    * many women aren’t sick of being bombarded with constant MLM sales pitches
    * many women aren’t refusing to buy products from any MLM
    * women won’t start avoiding you because they aren’t interested in making another pity purchase or listening to a recruiting spiel

    Tell me again, please, how MK is a legitimate business.

Comments are closed.