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

Are You a Good Target for Mary Kay?

Written by Raisinberry

This is an unscientific way to see if you’re a prime target for the Mary Kay career opportunity. I’ll tell you the punch line before you get to the end: Good targets have a “need” that Mary Kay will try to fill. Of course, there are other traits that recruiters will hone in on, and those are touched upon here too.

Please answer the following questions with a true or false. Former Mary Kay consultants might want to answer based on the conditions of their lives prior to joining. You must be truthful to learn anything from this questionnaire.

  1. I actually believe she needs (needed) a face model. T F
  2. The meeting I went to made me both uncomfortable and yet intrigued. T F
  3. I like to help people. T F
  4. I tend to have difficulty saying no, or not being accommodating. T F
  5. If my Director needed a product trade, I would probably bring it to her, rather than her picking it up. T F
  6. I can rationalize anything. T F
  7. I was never in a Sorority, but wanted to be in one. T F
  8. I liked being in a Sorority. T F
  9. I don’t really like math. T F
  10. I need to find a new path, a new direction. T F
  11. I usually trust people until proven wrong. T F
  12. I am a spiritual seeker. T F
  13. In recent years I have felt more isolated. T F
  14. At times I feel (or have felt) under appreciated. T F
  15. I evaluate everything and tend to be cautious about decision making. T F
  16. Though I am capable of leading or going it alone, I rarely enjoy being left out. T F
  17. The idea of being in a mentorship program appeals to me. T F
  18. I like to give people the benefit of the doubt. T F
  19. I am loyal. T F
  20. I tend toward being disorganized, but I know which pile it’s in. T F
  21. I like the idea of being my own boss. T F
  22. I work for money, I like money, and I need more of it. T F
  23. It makes sense to not have a car payment. T F
  24. Women generally won’t steer you wrong or take advantage of you. T F
  25. I am open minded. T F

Please total all your True answers.

If you have 10 or fewer True, you may have joined during a weak moment, but you most likely only wanted the discount. It didn’t take you long to figure out this was a crock.

11 to 14 True – You probably want(ed) to give it a try, while not buying in totally. The longer you stay the more you drop your guard and soon will be suckered by head table seating and cheap trinkets. You most likely are going for or achieved Senior or RED JACKET status. You care just enough about what people think to not be the odd woman out.

15 to 17 True – You attempted ( or will attempt) the career path, most likely many times, and may even hit DIQ once or twice. Frustrated by starting over, you opt for “girl time” and help set up the meeting and hang the posters. You like being seen as your Director’s gal Friday or leader in your Unit.

18-20 True – You have a big pink “sucker” stamped on your forehead and will make a great car driver, DIQ and Director. You will contribute approximately $12,000 wholesale and up on average to your Unit Production, doing everything your SD and NSD suggests, while secretly wondering what’s wrong with you.

21-24 True – You are exactly the kind of naïve and trusting soul that Mary Kay can capitalize on the most. If you have good credit, you are perfection. Because of your trusting, somewhat unappreciated and isolated soul, you will respond to all the hype and lies of omission necessary to devote endless years chasing “the dream”. Your inability to face reality will doom you to years of rationalizing that this is paying off and you are getting somewhere. Finally, your loyalty will be exploited for every last penny of your resources and participation. You will climb the career path, year after year, losing your future security and self esteem, because you feel like a fraud, but you can’t stop because you have no other way to pay down the debt you are in.

Generally speaking, selecting True for the questions means:

  1. You lean toward gullible.
  2. You are susceptible to denial or delusion.
  3. You have soft boundaries and are easily exploited.
  4. You have a slight inability to handle conflict or standing up for oneself.
  5. You are people pleasing, putting yourself out for the sake of gaining approval.
  6. You choose Pollyanna behavior to avoid reality and live in fantasy. You will be among the hardest hit when clarity returns.
  7. You will be blind-sided by all the love bombing.
  8. You might want to recreate your sisterhood security.
  9. You might not take the business finances too seriously and therefore be unaware that you do not make a profit.
  10. You could have been easily duped into believing that God sent you Mary Kay as an answer to prayer.
  11. This is noble, but naïve. Professional saleswomen who get paid on your activity have a vested interest in the size of your orders.
  12. The religious context of Mary Kay’s principles appeal to you, and you may have denied or rationalized teachings and behavior that violated your core beliefs.
  13. You were most likely a mother longing for girlfriends and meaningful relationships. Your foot was already in the trap.
  14. You were hooked by prizes awards and recognition and found yourself smiling ear to ear when witnessing prizes being dispensed, instead of actually hearing sales figures.
  15. This one is irrelevant because thinking that you have done your due diligence falls in a crap heap when faced with half a century’s worth of objection covering training. Pat yourself on the back, but it’s meaningless as to whether you will escape the pink trap.
  16. You have a clear vulnerability because being the only one who didn’t “qualify” means your leadership ability might take a back seat to your fear of abandonment. Avoiding rejection is one of the key hooks in the Mk bag of tricks.
  17. This one appeals to anyone who wants to better themselves so if you answered false, you might be a budding sociopath.
  18. You are a trusting soul, and therefore an easy mark.
  19. You are loyal, and this also make you more likely to be taken advantage of. You will order when your Director calls you for extra “help” at month end, to your own detriment.
  20. You most likely are not even aware of what Mary Kay is costing you, and are keeping a mental tally in your mind that is vapor-like and intangible…based mostly on feelings.
  21. Being your own boss is a great way to escape accountability and seemingly prevent being victimized by authority figures…only as it would happen, you will never be your own boss in Mary Kay. You have little control over real business problems and solutions, and you are still victimized by those in authority over you. Wanting to be your own boss is just a criteria that Directors use to push your buttons.
  22. You show signs of being a realist, and if the money hooked you, it was most likely the commissions of the NSD’s, that did it. The periodic big class can trick you into false assumptions as well. But the realist takes into account the expenses against gross sales, so a “true” on this one is a contributing factor to your growing clarity.
  23. Since not having a car payment makes sense, this one has no points.
  24. You are into wishful thinking. If your Sales Director says that a “good week” is around $300 retail, then why would you need $7,800 retail (emerald plus bonuses) on your shelf? It will take 29 weeks to move $7,800 retail if you even had what they wanted. Guess who benefits from that? Believing that women are too good or noble to take advantage of each other might be why you can’t believe us! And yet we receive nothing from you.
  25. Being “open minded” is probably what marked you as a target right from the beginning. If you were willing to just “be open to hearing about the mk opportunity”, you flattered yourself, and your recruiter helped. We say we are open minded to appear balanced and centered, but few of us really are. We all have our biases and rarely listen to others with 100% objectivity. Open minded is what you want to be when you think others might judge you, and it’s exactly the kind of bait that MK masters of manipulation use to get you to listen. Who would ever want to be close minded?

Adding it all up exposes the level of risk you are at when dealing with the tried and true tactics of multi-level or network marketing. These operations make a ton of money because they know the human weaknesses that they are dealing with and how to exploit them.

If you are vulnerable, you will be easily manipulated. Constructing stronger personal boundaries, trusting your own gut reactions, developing cautious skepticism, asking for proof, elevating your own self esteem are all ways to never fall victim to financial and emotional predators again. Next time someone asks you if you have an “open” mind, say, “No, not open. Mine is functional.”


  1. Missy C

    I need to say something about the sorority questions. I live in the Midwest and know of two philanthropic sororities (Tri-Kappa and Psi Iota Xi). You don’t have to have been in a college sorority to join. There is also the Order of the Eastern Star (affiliated with the Masonic Lodge), which has greatly expanded its criteria for eligibility to join. Many Panhellenic sororities have alumni chapters in larger cities and some even offer membership to adult women who were not part of a collegiate chapter. A lot of smaller towns have a Greater Federation of Women’s Clubs chapter. Or if you want to go coed–Kiwanis, Rotary, Lions, and Optimist clubs are nearly everywhere, even in little podunk places–and I believe most of these are open to women now. Membership dues, community service, and usually a great meal and conversation on a monthly, if not weekly, basis–a whole lot cheaper than Mary Kay or other MLM and the friends you make are more likely to be friends that you keep.

    1. After having read ‘Cultish’ by Amanda Montell, I wouldn’t even want to join any of those groups, clubs, erm dare I say: ‘cults’? Probably the majority aren’t, but some are definitely questionable. There are other ways of meeting people without ‘joining’ a club and paying membership fees or have expectations of ‘having to do’ community service or other tasks foisted upon you. If you have to ‘pay to play’ it’s wise to look a bit deeper and maybe sit on the sidelines for a while to see if the club you’re joining isn’t getting you ‘hooked’ into something else a little bit culty…

  2. Kristen

    This article reminds me how fortunate I am to have an education. These tactics are used by all advertising; MK uses them on steroids. If a person isn’t aware that we all have these human vulnerabilities, it’s that much harder to get out. I mean, even if you know better, you’re still vulnerable. But if you don’t, geez. I guess that explains why so many of our poor critics appear to be so gullible and uneducated.

    I just wonder what kinds of behavioral signs they look for when approaching a target. They don’t actually use the DISC profile test at facials, do they? 🙄

    1. Yup they do! Mary Kay consultants are taught the DISC profile to use at the stage of facials, working the business full circle you have to qualify your victim, errr, sorry customer, for the business opportunity. The seed is planted at the facial, the facial is interwoven with information about the opportunity, if it’s a class or ‘party’, then the business opportunity gets shared at the end of the facial and then each guest is taken aside for an ‘individual consultation’ and that’s where the DISC profiles get applied, the idea is that the questions asked seem like a ‘getting to know you’ and making a connection through relaxed conversation, but the IBC is asking the DISC qualification questions and sticking each guest in the DISC boxes to then continue to share the opportunity in the DISC box that matches their personality!

      The D gets the ‘you can be a leader’ spin, the I gets the ‘imagine yourself on that Seminar stage, wearing the tiara full of sparkly diamonds’ proposal, the S gets the ‘you can do this for your family, put some money aside for a rainy day!’ chat, the C will be reeled in with the numbers, the ‘facts’, possibly even ‘I could do with someone who is good at organising things, you could be my right hand woman…’

      Oh and it’s nothing to do with being educated or not, some people I know who are still in Mary Kay and other MLMs are lawyers, architects, general practitioners, A&E doctors, lecturers, people with graduate and post-graduate degrees. You can be educated and still have a need to be wanted, to be appreciated, to connect, to fall for all the Love Bombing… they prey on emotions, that’s the whole point.

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