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

I Married a Mary Kay Liar

Written by David

My wife was a generous, beautiful, hardworking registered nurse when she joined Mary Kay five years ago. We lived frugally but happily with two small children as I worked as a medical resident. Her sister called one day to ask a favor: “would you listen to a five minute call and tell me what you think? You’d be helping me SOOOO much.” She would win a special prize necklace of ‘real pearls’ if she could just convince X number of ladies to listen to this call.

Well the “opportunity” sounded interesting to her (with all the false promises of ‘unlimited income’, ‘you can help your husband retire and support the family on your own’ and ‘MK is the company with the most women making over $100k in America” etc). She asked me about it while the director waited on the phone. I said, “shouldn’t we look into it first?”. She waited a day and signed the contract and purchased the starter kit the next day while I was at work, justifying it with the worn out MK excuses: “It’s only $100” and “I don’t even have to sell it, I could just use it all for personal use” (another MK line they use all the time: “It’s better to ask forgiveness than permission”).

Things just got worse from there. Immediately after signing the contract, the director calls and gives her very hard sell to place a wholesale order for inventory. “You can’t sell anything if you don’t have it. You’ll be shooting yourself in the foot. Don’t you want to be successful?”. Again, I say I’m not really comfortable with that, and again she caves to the sales director’s pressure and puts it on her new MK Visa. “It’s only $600, the lowest amount, and I’ll have it paid off in no time.”

The poor decision making and deceit just got worse and worse the deeper she got into the pink fog – she spent thousands on supplies, events, travel, clothes, shoes, and of course, INVENTORY. She loved chasing the little prizes for recruiting X people or ordering X wholesale. Costume jewelry showed up in the mail regularly, in pink envelopes.

Things got really crazy when she decided to go for the ‘free car’ and DIQ. Never before she joined MK had she expressed interest in driving a new car but suddenly it seemed like a goal that she would sacrifice her morals over. She signed up friends and family with her own cash, recruited everybody and their mother (literally), and when her “production” didn’t make the cut, she just used the credit card to make orders under others’ names as well as her own.

She ‘earned’ directorship and the MK car by the skin of her teeth, with actual sales substantially augmented by her own credit card wholesale orders. She ended up quitting her job as an RN to focus on her ‘business.’ Of course, with her ‘team’ consisting of mostly fake recruits, she would consistently miss production and ‘just make it up’ by placing more wholesale orders to boost her inventory (God forbid she lose her ‘free car’ or directorship).

She lied to me repeatedly about the Mary Kay debt, which now (as far as I know) stands at about $30,000. (She has lied about it multiple times, only increasing the stated amount when I have asked enough times.)

She spends countless hours on training calls, recruiting calls, making posts on social media, mass texting all her female contacts, warm chatting everyone she sees, meetings, seminars, trips, and other uncompensated activities, but claims she works 5 hours a week and tells her I story like MK replaced her nursing income. In reality, she went from $80,000 per year as an RN to $9,000 last year after expenses. Almost all of that MK income went to servicing her debt. She did contribute maybe $2,000 over the whole year to the family’s living expenses.

Worse than the financial issues is the Pink Fog. It warps everything she thinks and says. Every friend, family member, new acquaintance, or passerby on the street is a potential customer or recruit. She projects an image of an independent woman, a small business owner, making tons by barely working and getting to stay at home with the kids. In reality she has $30k rotting on the shelf, is trapped in debt slavery, is constantly trying to recruit to make up for dropouts on her team (well over 50% of people who join never do anything or drop out shortly).

When I politely raised questions about her expenses, income, or debt, which she couldn’t answer because she wasn’t tracking any of them, I was immediately labeled ‘negative’ ‘controlling’ and accused of having a ‘poverty mindset’ and ‘not knowing anything about business’.

It has been a huge source of conflict in out marriage.

So glad to have this forum so that our stories can be told.


  1. Brainwashednomore

    “It has been a huge source of conflict in out marriage. So glad to have this forum so that our stories can be told.”

    Thank you for sharing your story. This is so hard. I got sucked in as well thinking usually this could be a full time business with full time pay. The prizes and recognition appealed to me. We were told not to be negative to our spouse and only talk to our director about negative stuff that happened. We were encouraged to lie. We were told all this stuff to keep us in the pink fog.

  2. BestDecison

    So many pieces of his story are exactly like mine. Crazy! His credibility outpaces the critics we get on here solely because he uses proper grammar, doesn’t rely on all caps, and isn’t praying for our souls.

    I hope every Director flying to Leadership reads this and/or realizes the steep climb she has to make it any further in the company. NSD is for the very small few. Expenses are outrageous. Pink envelopes may give you a sense that a hotshot will burst into her Red Jacket or suit, but attrition always happens and results in wasted money.

    Good luck to you, sir, as you become a valued physician. Despite my Cadillacs I drove, I never once cleared $80,000, and I hope your wife wakes up soon like I did.

  3. Kristen

    So wrong. If you own your business, the “president of your company”, shouldn’t you be able to discuss the business with your spouse on your own? Here. You own your business. Now do everything we say.

    1. Gina Romano

      His wife is definitely deep in the Pink Fog. I was there once. My director badgered me constantly even after I told her that I was taking a break for sick leave and asked her not to call me. Did she listen? No. She continued to call me pushing Mary Kay all the way. Meanwhile, my regular job, health and finances were dwindling rapidly, but MK did not care. I was still encouraged to buy MK inventory and stay in touch with my unit. The Pink Fog ruined my life and my lying director, Valerie Beck, told me every MK lie to keep me going. Thank God I had the guts to finally walk away from the hype and bull.

  4. Destiny Angel

    Financial infidelity is as harmful to a marriage as emotional infidelity. Your spouse is the one person who should be supportive of everything you do until it is damaging your relationship.

    I saw on Lularich at least one couple divorced due to her over-spending and I’ve read similar stories here and on the antiMLM subreddit about divorce. I wonder if there are any reliable statistics about the rate of MLM divorces.

    1. Mountaineer95

      Adding “financial infidelity” to my personal dictionary!

      I know nothing about the rate of divorce in MLM (gotta be higher than average though, right?) but as a true crime devotee I do pay attention when one of the parties involved is an MLM-er. Jodi Arias and Travis Alexander; Shanann Watts; Missy Bevers; I’m missing some bigger names, and then lots of lesser known cases: I particularly like the woman from Kinston NC who murdered her husband back in the late 70s and part of her alibi was that she was “at the local Hilton for a cosmetics meeting”; and one episode of ‘The DNA of Murder with Paul Holes’ had a victim who was a “successful” career-car driving Mary Kay SD who, it was noted, possibly borrowed money from the guy who killed her (still unsolved).

  5. BestDecision

    Off topic, but MASSIVE a price increases coming to MK on Feb. 16, including shipping costs. They’re having to teach sales force how to overcome objections of customers AND buy all new business materials so new prices are reflected to customers.

    Talk about a nightmare. And no raise on commission structures to offset further dip into their profits!

  6. Lazy Gardens

    You asked “questions about her expenses, income, or debt, which she couldn’t answer because she wasn’t tracking any of them” “not knowing anything about business” … any business should be able to tell you their income, expenses, debt and current inventory value because they track them.

    She’s the one who knows nothing about business, because she’s not treating the money flow like it’s real.

  7. Mountaineer95

    Tracy might know the answer to this from her accounting business: when a couple divorces and, say, the wife is the one with the “MLM problem”, is that the one time that she tells the truth about how she’s not making the money she’s lied about making, in order to receive higher alimony payments?

    1. Juliet

      Mountaineer95, seems like divorcing is when the absence of income in Mary Kay turns into a benefit for the MLMer. in the story for 1-6-22, where it’s noted that the SD stated $300 a month income in her divorce but her published commissions were of course substantially higher and she was a car driver etc., well – taking into account all her expenses, chargebacks, etc., maybe her income DOES average out to $300 a month! Which is a positive number versus what I am pretty other kbots can claim.

  8. J

    This was a really difficult story to read. You must be hurting, and I’m truly sorry. I really don’t know how to describe the mk life other than addiction. The thinking that the next month/week/day/hour will be your big break. It’s the dopamine hit from the anticipation of the reward, it’s not tied to actually receiving it.

    Personally, mk really distorted my relationships. It helped me stay in a toxic relationship and damn near broke a healthy one. I began at 18, naïve, and in a poor part of the country.

    I had a massive panic attack when my interest free period ended on my credit card.

    My breaking point wasn’t the most logical from an outsider’s perspective, but very logical in the mk bubble. I saw someone cheating. Then I saw more people cheating. The one that really got me though was a lady who was abrasive, loud, wore tight short skirts (mk gasp) and was unapologetic about the broadness of her lies.

    She would fake her sales at weekly meetings for the trinkets. I would watch her read the room of consultants to decide her fake number for sales. After all, there’s no real way to verify sales as a director; you can only hope they order.

    This woman drove me mad. How could my director not see the lies?

    I also owe this woman my sanity and my marriage.

    There is hope, but it’s not often rooted in logic.

  9. Gwen Chavarria

    Mary Kay has made a few women very comfortable. Husbands quit jobs and help with business. Lady attorneys quit their positions and concentrate on MK. These women buy beautiful homes and drive new cars. However, my experience is that those few women have to continually work very hard to keep their recruits selling. That’s where the big bucks come from. To make big money you have to sprinkle the MK fairy dust continually. The work is just old fashioned sales force pushing. And sales usually include selling illusion. The whole thing is soul torture.

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