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

Don’t Fall For the Directorship Trap

mary-kay-trapWritten by C.W.

I’m sitting here today in utter disbelief that I wasted nearly 2 years of my life pursuing something that was not only impossible, but ridiculous: being rich from my Mary Kay business.

Don’t get me wrong, I had some fun times and made a (very small) handful of incredible friends, but I discovered so much more about the company, the “top 2%” (directors) and the poor, unknowing consultants. I understand I held a position in the company where I was known pretty well and though this may cause me to lose friendships or lose respect, my story must be told in order to save individuals and families.

I terminated my agreement by sending back my product in August, two years after I got into the company. Let me tell you how it began, the omens I should have listened to, the way others made me feel and my triumphant decision to say goodbye to the pink cult. How could someone “so successful” at Mary Kay be on Pink Truth? Well…

I started my business because I saw a girl in one of my classes be so successful at it! I joined her team and we were both red jackets together within a month! Did I mention we recruited just anyone who seemed doe-eyed for our own selfish reasons? That’s how it works after all! Because of us being in the “Top 6% of the company”, we earned a trip to Charlotte, NC! Oh wow! Yes! We earned it, but we had to pay airfare and hotel fees… food… transportation… but we earned a trip, right? I mean, yeah, we earned it! So we blindly went to Charlotte and we both decided we wanted to be in DIQ at the same time so naturally, we had a fight. This was the beginning of the end of our friendship.

See, before she recruited me, we would hang out every single day. Yes, she was trying to recruit me, but we became friends. Unfortunately, I beat her into DIQ and the person I became caused us to no longer be friends. My director began to share lies with me about my recruiter and force-fed me misinformation. She turned me against my friend. I feel horrible about how I acted.

I quickly became pretty well-known in the Mary Kay community and I got a pretty good buzz off of that, having not been noticed in school. I marketed myself in such a way that I could get my name out there and pretended like I was some sort of Mary Kay high-roller. Quickly into my business, my accolades were pretty nice, having earned a car in 7 months, having a gold medal under my belt from adding 5 new team members in a month (none of which lasted more than a month) and I was in DIQ (Director in Qualification)! It was time for my director to earn her second car and it was New Years Eve!

Because she had no voice, she asked me if I could do the majority of the work for her. Yes, I had a date that night, but I canceled on him because I was “holding a promise” and “doing the good thing.” After putting in every cent of my profit for the past few months, she—I mean “we”—did it! I felt so happy that I was useful to her because when I wasn’t, she wouldn’t call.

Then, just a few months later, I fell out of DIQ because my team didn’t make the required production. My director told me “It’s ok! Submit again!” So I blindly did! And we didn’t make it. Again. I felt depressed and defeated and guess what! My director stopped calling! I stopped going to events. No one in the MK community talked to me anymore—except for one director who, to this day, is my best friend (but girl, if you’re reading this, you NEED to get yourself out of this pink trap). Remember this fact for later.

It took me a good 6 months to recover and to come back. This time, I started to pretend that I was deeply religious to gain favor since the company is “faith first, family second and career third”. “God” was only used when convenient. Often times when reaching a goal, I would hear “If God puts you to it, He’ll bring you through it!” or when I was facing adversity—“It’s in God’s plan”. I decided to swallow my pride and pretend I was a religious zealot.

At this point, I was in DIQ for the third time. When I earned the opportunity to go to Leadership, I was so excited! But guess what! At the last minute, my “Pink Cadillac” (in quotes because she has to do a co-pay) director let me know that she did not make hotel reservations with me so she expected me to pay upwards of $240 a night for 5 nights for a room by myself. Guess who didn’t go! I told everyone she did it on purpose, but no one believed me since it was code to “uphold and protect your sister sales directors.”

From that point on, I did everything the opposite of what my senior had told me. I was personable, I was loving and I became friends with everyone who entered into my life.

It was merely one week before we were finishing becoming a unit—AKA: I was asking people to place orders so I could selfishly become a Sales Director. I secretly believe that corporate makes the “Red Jackets” red because NO ONE wants to be in them, so they’ll gladly pay any amount to be out. I wanted that “400% pay increase” that everyone bragged about!

But wait… that same month my friend and future “sister” sales director (since Mary Kay is SO much like a family) made a commission of less than $10! I ignored that and blindly went into career conference, walking on stage in my Red Jacket as a DIQ—the same way I walked last year! I loved the recognition but still here, I thanked each of my unit members for allowing me to cross that stage. I haven’t yet become like the robot director that I would soon become. (NONE of my director checks were over $200, by the way. My highest consultant check was $800+. Go figure.)

A fight with one of my team members at career conference let to people shunning me. Again. I fell into a deep depression at midnight on April 1st where no one congratulated me on being a brand new sales director. I wanted it for so long, but it was lackluster. Jaded, I called my unit members, bawling my eyes out, wondering why no one would congratulate us.

That night, my now senior texted me saying that she needed to talk with me (where the HECK was she when I was in DIQ??). We met at one of my favorite restaurants the next day where her and her senior sat me down to tell me that I, out of all people, had integrity issues. While having a panic attack in public, they got up and left me there. I never saw them again. In hindsight, this was the best thing to happen to me. At the time though, I didn’t leave bed for any reason whatsoever. I stopped holding appointments. I felt like my entire life stopped. I was obsessed with Mary Kay. Every other word was “Mary Kay”. (Granted, that’s not a word, but you get the point.)

We were building a national area. The sales director has been trying to do this for years, but she still hasn’t made it. I doubt she’ll make it anytime soon. She has directors and DIQs falling out all over the place. This idea to destroy my business was hers. She asked all of the directors, including my friends, to remove me and block me from social media and not answer my calls. The people at corporate had a bad taste in their mouth about me. To build a national area, you need a certain amount of 1st and 2nd line directors. To this director, I was 3rd-line, so guess what! She had no problem banning me from her Mary Kay studio, and she began to ruin my business by sharing with directors in my area that I was not a director to work with. Guess what! No one wanted to work with me!

Because of this, I immediately fled to Dallas for New Director Education. I stayed at a completely different hotel because of some of the directors from the “Trying to Finish by Seminar 2 years in a row” Future National Area were going to be there. Could y’all believe I felt that alienated that I did that?

At New Director Education, I was told that even though new directors typically don’t make money, you HAVE to buy this, that, rent a training center and oh my gosh, if you can’t afford it, sell some product! Really? This is what we told consultants! “If you need money, sell something!” I flashbacked to all of the appointments I had where I didn’t sell anything. I could tell someone “Yes, I have 100+ customers!” but what I meant was “Yes, I have about 3 people who order every month, 12 people who shop sporadically, and 85 people who ignore my calls!” Let’s play the “how many relationships did I ruin” game, shall we?

After trying to make directorship work month after month, I just couldn’t do it. I felt like I wasn’t allowed to tell anyone what happened so I kept it a secret for so long, but then I exploded. I couldn’t be the person that everyone wanted me to be. I refused to manipulate people to place orders on their credit and ruin their finances. After not being invited to a good friend’s car party (because she was 2nd line to the sales director), I decided that I would be leaving Mary Kay. I refused to let people treat me as the red-headed step child. As of July 1, I stepped down from directorship. I gave my senior the gift of nearly 50 non-working unit members—a gift she deserves. 50 empty boxes.

I was #1 in my unit for sales my first year. I was #2 in the national area for sales and sharing. I earned 2 go-give awards. I earned a car. I walked on several stages for my “accomplishments.” I became a director. I thought I lost it all, but I am thankful that this didn’t work out because Mary Kay was not me. No one deserves to be treated this way. Don’t fall into the pink trap.

Moral of the story: You may be on this website thinking “Pink Truth is full of people who didn’t work their business or expected a magic genie to appear to help them”! Well, I thought the same. I was brainwashed. Though there may be some people like that on the planet, I’m here to show you that if you’re having doubts, call it quits. There’s so much more you can do in your life.

I actually lost money doing Mary Kay. I lost friendships, I lost relationships with family members for a while and I lost myself. I feel horrible for not listening to my mother and my sister for telling me that I was being brainwashed. If you want to live a full, happy and successful life, drop the pink and do something better, like work at McDonalds for example. It is better on the other side. I hope that you, the reader, has gained some insight on why you should rethink the pink.


  1. NayMKWay

    There’s an important life lesson in the closing paragraph of this tragic story:

    ” I feel horrible for not listening to my mother and my sister for telling me that I was being brainwashed.”

    If a close friend or family member (especially your mom!) tells you they fear you are being brainwashed and/or are in a cult, take it to heart. People don’t just casually toss words like that at you unless they are really worried for you.

    Thank you, C.W., for sharing your story. I hope that you gained sonething by writing it all down; some perspective and sense of closure, at least. What a harrowing tale.

    1. Alexis

      I did Mary Kay for about a year. I am greatfull to those who ordered from me. But I wish I would of listened to my mother and asked more questions first because if you go inactive you have to buy 300+ of products when you reactive. I resigned last year because not enough people bought and there was so much pressure

  2. ihatemk

    I like how you were told you had no integrity. In reality it is the games that MK pushes and plays is where there is no integrity. The lies, the fake it til u make it, the showing your highest check which could have been 10 years ago or more, the God first (Mary Kay first, the true god of MK), the platitudes the shunning the alienation etc. Glad you walked away from this scam. Now that the internet is out there people can REALLY see and learn and hear people’s real experiences in MK. Check out youtube, tik tok, this forum and other sites around the net. Universal scamming in this company. So glad I never got sucked into this scam and all these mlms are like this. Hope your relationships are healed, but that is what mlms do to people.

  3. lulutoo

    Thank you for this well written and interesting story and best of luck to you in whatever you do in the future–you will surely be successful with such drive and such a talent for expressing yourself!

  4. Data Junkie

    Thank you C.W. It is easy to tell just how hard all of this was for you. By sharing your story, you are likely saving many others from experiencing similar hardship. I am impressed by your ability to recognize what you found to be unhealthy and unethical, and respond according to your values.

    You certainly have some solid and marketable skills. When applied in the real world, you are well positioned to do something much more fruitful and satisfying than Mary Kay. And having a real world job is generally viewed positively by family and friends (unlike Mary Kay or other MLM involvement, as you already learned).

    It is my hope (and expectation) that you will flourish when you apply your skills and work ethic in the real world. Best of luck to you in your future endeavors outside the pink fog.

  5. AnonyMouse

    This is the story for SO MANY women who have not yet felt ready to speak up. You work and fight and claw your way to Director, believing everything they said about how amazing it will be, only to find out you will be treated this way if you don’t fall in line like a good little Kaybot. Then you leave, believing it was something wrong with YOU. No. This is a system that chews up and spits out women who ask too many questions and don’t buy into the bullsh!t.

  6. Pinkiu

    Thank you for sharing your story. That dirty little secret about downlines speaks volumes. You were worth more to your director as a failed SD because she could inherit your downline. I laughed when you said you had 50 non-working unit members. I’m glad you sent product back too – recuperating at least some of what you lost. The real sorrow in your story is lost relationships. Maybe someday they can be restored.

  7. Juliet

    How is it that the stories given by those who have LEFT MK are generally so well written, understandable, interesting and lacking endless misspellings and grammatical errors? Conversely, those submitting opposing opinions to Pink Truth are, not untruthfully saying, they can be almost unreadable, as though a barely literate person composed them. These women, allegedly, are sales consultants and directors but cannot write a truly comprehensible letter?

  8. Blue

    Thanks for sharing your story C.W. So much for the Mary Kay “sisterhood”. I’m sorry you were subjected to this emotional abuse. I am sure you will be a success at whatever you choose to do!

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