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

An Obstacle to Recovery is Hope

I recently heard this statement on a television talk show: “One obstacle to recovery is hope.” They went on to discuss how hope plays a part in people recovering from tragedies or moving forward in their lives. In the real world, hope is often helpful in the recovery process. You have hope that things will get better. In other cases, it’s a detriment. Such as when you have the hope that your abuser will change, despite years of abuse. In Mary Kay, hope is a detriment and an obstacle to your recovery.

Yesterday’s article by Raisinberry was about this very issue. Mary Kay lives and dies by hope. So long as you have the “hope” that you might be one of the big winners in the pyramid scheme, you will continue to pour time and money into this losing proposition.

Here’s the truth: A long time ago, Mary Kay admitted in a letter to the FTC that the company recruited 40,000 new U.S. consultants per month. That was 480,000 women recruited each year at a time when MK was reporting about 700,000 consultants on the books. (i.e. huge turnover each year) There are about 500,000 consultants in the U.S. currently, so recruiting has dropped accordingly. We can estimate that about 28,500 women are still being recruited each month. Yikes!

I’ll be generous and say that Mary Kay has had about 500 women in the U.S. making an “executive income” through Mary Kay over the last 5 years or so. I’m including national sales directors and those very top level sales directors (most likely those doing $750,000 a year or more).

Here are your odds…

500,000 consultants on the books + 1,710,000 new recruits = 2,210,000 women in MK over the last 5 years

Of 2.2 million women in the U.S. who have tried being a Mary Kay consultant over the last 5 years, only 500 have actually achieved an executive income. Your odds are .02%, which is two one-hundredths of one percent.

Oh sure, we’ve got to take into account all those women who never wanted to make a career out of Mary Kay, all those “personal use” recruits signed up by women finishing directorship, and those lazy losers who didn’t try.

Even still, do you like those odds? Do you want to spend hundreds of hours of your family’s time and thousands of dollars of your family’s money trying to achieve that?

I guess so long as that hope is alive, Mary Kay will continue to recruit new women into their pyramid scheme. Everyone is counting on the “hope” that they will be one of those very, very few who make it to the top. It’s time to get real and admit that you have almost no chance of achieving the Mary Kay dream.


  1. Lazy Gardens

    “480,000 women recruited each year at a time when MK was reporting about 700,000 consultants on the books.” If a real business had this high turnover, they would be panicking, and spending a fortune of recruiting and training! But MK makes their consultants do the work and pay the cost of the recruiting and training … so they don’t care, as long as some of the recruits buy product.

  2. Destiny Angel

    To put some sort of perspective on those numbers
    2.2 million people is just short of the population of Houston (ranked 4th in 2020)
    1.7 million is more than Phoenix (ranked 5th)
    700,000 is more than Washington (ranked 20th)
    500,000 is more than Atlanta (ranked 38th)
    480,000 is more than Colorado Springs (ranked 40th)


    When you join MK you are struggling to gain for customers against other consultants who number the same as major conurbations. MacDonald’s has 13,700 stores, Starbucks has 15,400 chain and licensed stores and Wal*Mart has 4,756 stores.

  3. Data Junkie

    “I guess so long as that hope is alive, Mary Kay will continue to recruit new women into their pyramid scheme.”

    I believe this hints at the similarities between MLM and gambling. It’s not hope alone that keeps folks “in”. Ironically, it is hope paired with an outsized level of personal optimism. Stay with me on this…

    As Tracy indicates, only 2 in 10,000 will make it big in Mary Kay. Imagine someone invites 10,000 people to enter a large auditorium, with a $20 fee to enter, with a payout of $100,000 to two lucky “winners”. It is these people who honestly believe they have a better chance than the other 9,999 to be the winner. These are the folks who become diehard MLMers. It sounds ironic, but it is this personal optimism that they are luckier than others that keeps them in. Regular folks can see the folly in this.

    The same is true of the compulsive gambler. While their odds of winning big are the same as everyone else, they believe that the big win is “just around the corner”, and that they are more likely than everyone else in the casino to win big!

    MLMers share one other characteristic with gamblers: they conflate gross and net income. The gambler can spent $3000 gambling, then win $500 and think they are ahead, offering to buy the next round of drinks with their “winnings”. While bragging about their $500 “winnings”, they remain $2500 in the hole.

    Same for the MLM rep. Over the course of a year, they spend $150/month to remain eligible for commissions in their MLM, and when they finally get that $200 commission check, they treat this as “income”, even though they remain $1600 in the hole. They will even brag about this “income” on social media, completely ignoring the cost side of their ledger, which shows a $1600 operating loss.

    I totally agree it is “hope” that Mary Kay peddles to get people to join and to keep consultants from dropping out. But I believe it also requires an outsized level of personal optimism for an individual consultant to stay in for the long haul and believe they could be the “next” breakout winner…one of the two in the room of 10,000 that will win big!

    1. Enorth

      “they conflate gross and net income”

      I saw a video where the SD gleefully described the “success” she had doing a buy-one-get-one-free promotion. “I didn’t make any money, but I didn’t lose any!”

  4. NayMKWay

    Hope and blame. The victim hopes for a better outcome, while being encouraged to blame themselves for failure. Mary Kay is really good at both; just read the letters Tracy gets from the brainwashed Pink Truth critics. Apparently, we’re all a bunch of “lazy loosers [sic] !!! [sic]”

    Raisinberry pointed out yesterday how most would respond “yes” if asked if they could have worked harder. Well, of course that’s theoretically possible for 90%+ of us, but so what? Would working twice as hard have made that much of a difference? Twice a pittance isn’t going to change your lifestyle any, even ignoring the toll it would take on your physical and emotional health.

    Mary Kay is like an abusive spouse: kindling the flames of hope for a better future with their empty promises and rah-rah seminars, while blaming those who give up as being unwilling to “work the business [sic*].”

    *—It’s not a business.

  5. Kristen

    And who are these .02%? Are they average Jane Consultants? Hmmm…I think when you take out those who had “favorable” circumstances (like mothers who gifted them units, etc.) and/or those who got in early, the number is closer to 0%.

    There is no hope. This is not a legit opportunity. It is a small group of scammers who had the unique circumstances and position to lie about how they got there and convince you that you could too with enough hard work and financial investment.

    Not every consultant starts off with the same chances.

    1. Pinkiu

      THIS! “And who are these .02%? Are they average Jane Consultants? Hmmm…I think when you take out those who had “favorable” circumstances (like mothers who gifted them units, etc.) and/or those who got in early, the number is closer to 0%.”

      How many daughters of NSDs or EESDs are in MK who inherit the units of failed directors? How many of the .02% are people who are eager for women who failed in DIQ to bolster their own units?

      I look at every Mary Kay Director as Madea in the classic exchange with Dr. Phil. Even Madea understands that there is a verbal gun held to people’s heads when it comes to gettin and gottin.

      Dr. Phil:
      What is wrong with you? Why do you feel the need that you gotta “get” somebody all the time?

      Well when you gettin’ “got” and somebody done “got” you and you go “get” them, when you get ’em everybody’s gon’ get got.

      Dr. Phil:
      Yea but you’re gettin’ the gotters when they didn’t do anything to even get you.

      Yea but if the gotters get me I’m gonna get my glock.

  6. Dorothy G

    There’s hope and there is also the fear of missing out which is similar but not identical.

    In another MLM the following was posted in a “month end” reminder:
    If you are a product salesperson or a wholesale buyer, notify your sponsor that you are NOT a
    “business builder” and They will understand and appreciate your directness. When someone
    turns off their CRP, it means they most likely are not a committed “business builder”. You will
    know not to depend on them for RESIDUAL INCOME. (The woman posting this has been with the
    company almost from the beginning and she is adored by her downline. She basically just called
    everyone NOT working the business a loser by saying they are not building, not committed and
    not dependable.)
    She goes on to point out how to be a winner:
    $100/$600 is the commitment for” business builders” and this becomes your RESIDUAL INCOME.
    You don’t count The $100 as it’s part of your sponsors PSL1V, you can depend on and count the
    $600 minimum and as members grow their frontline their PSL1V will grow. As you promote you
    get paid deeper as your team grows deep. The fortune is in the depth.
    100 team members maintaining $600 PSL1V = $60,000 in volume x 5% = $3,000 a month residual
    income + extra volume for PCs and new members with kits and retail sales, etc. (Easy peasy, right?)
    Yada, yada, yada.
    That’s why it’s so important that you meet your commitment of $100/$600 if you are a serious
    business builder. Your sponsor is depending on you.
    The depth in this one can go five generations, keep in mind that if one of the team members builds faster than the sponsor then they can roll around and their team no longer counts in the original sponsors volume. So the original sponsor has to continuously build wide in order to maintain their place in the pyramid. There is no “RESIDUAL INCOME” because she is constantly working the business!
    But if she can do it so can you….. HOPE & FOMO

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.