Why Wash Your Face With Mary Kay

why_wash_your_face Written by Frosty Rose

Years ago, NSD Diana Sumpter put out a piece titled “Why wash your face.” It was a feel-good marketing piece about all the ripple effects of purchasing Mary Kay products. It focused on supporting small, women-owned businesses, protecting the environment with “green” initiatives, helping women in China have more than one child, and leading the charge on removing animal testing as a requirement for cosmetics.

The theory was, you’d open your parties with this blather, and women would be so enamored by the company that they’d shell out hundreds for over-priced soap and never waver in their loyalty to you, their Mary Kay consultant. It would also ensure that one or two women from every party would ask you how they could be a part of this incredible company as a consultant. Imagine! You’d never have to beg for new recruits again!


On the other side of the pink fog, I’d like to flip the script on this marketing piece and talk about what happens when you wash your face with Mary Kay, Pink Truth style.

Did you know that when you wash your face with Mary Kay, most of your money goes to a billion-dollar corporation in Texas, not to support your local female entrepreneur? Did you know that many members of the family that owns that corporation have a not-so-admirable past? Richard Rogers, Mary Kay’s son, is especially fun to Google (particularly around the time of his mother’s death) though much of his misbehavior, unfortunately, pre-dates Google.

Did you know that when you wash your face with Mary Kay, you’re supporting a company that declares its mission is “enriching women’s lives,” but the majority of whose senior leadership is made up of men? For years, the line has been that leaders must come up through the ranks and that the time frame during which these men came on board at the company to train for leadership didn’t have as many women “feeding into” the leadership pipeline. Now, 40 years into the era of professional women in power suits, what is the excuse?

Did you know that when you wash your face with Mary Kay, the woman you purchase from owns nothing other than a whole lot of inventory? The company can discontinue her contract at any time and for any reason. Just ask the thousands of boss babes in Australia and New Zealand who had the rug pulled out from under them in March of 2020 (great timing for supporting women’s security, huh?)

Did you know that when you wash your face with Mary Kay, you’re fueling your consultant’s hope that she can actually make a living with her “business?” I know they sold you on the fact that the consultant keeps 50% of the sale of every product. But that’s only if she sells it at full retail price and if she’s not over-purchasing inventory to keep up with arbitrary contests. Neither of these is true, so you’re just prolonging the agony. Less than 1% of MLM distributors across the board from all companies make any money at all. Let’s look at it another way. Over 99% of Mary Kay consultants are losing money. When you make pity purchases, you’re ensuring that it takes your consultant even longer to realize that basic fact.

Did you know that when you wash your face with Mary Kay, you are supporting a debt-free corporation that offloads its financial burdens onto its distributors? In fact, Mary Kay has an agreement with Chase to send new consultants directly to the credit card company for initial orders. These initial orders, mounting to the thousands, benefit both Mary Kay and Chase, but leave the consultant deeply in debt in pursuit of her dream opportunity. Did you know that Mary Kay charges its consultants for Every. Single. Thing? Catalogs, mascara wands, business cards, mirrors, suits, seminars. It all profits the company at the expense of the consultant.

Did you know that Mary Kay Ash wrote the marketing plan for her company before she had a product in mind? For me, this proves that the sale of the product is a by-product, simply there to camouflage the real money maker in MK—recruiting.

While we’re on the subject of the founding mother, did you know that, far from her single mother, pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps, me-against-the-world mythology, she was married at least seven times? She was not building her business and raising her children solo with no support—she was married almost the entire time. But if you can’t do it all and have it all by yourself, it’s clearly all your fault.

Did you know that when you wash your face with Mary Kay, you support a culture of toxic positivity that blames women for their own lack of success when the numbers show that almost no one is earning peanuts in this farce of a company? The company discourages its sales force from seeking information from any source outside the company itself and requires members to set aside all critical thinking. (Cult, anyone?) Critical thinking=negative thinking, which is strictly forbidden. Per the company logic, it will nearly guarantee your failure! (Ignore the fact that your failure is nearly guaranteed regardless of what you do.)

Did you know that when you wash your face with Mary Kay you are encouraging animal testing and contributing to untold tons of waste being dumped into landfills? That’s right, the very sales points they stand on are (*gasp*) lies! Mary Kay must animal test in its Chinese market, and it doesn’t much care if its downline suppliers in other markets are animal testing, just as long as Mary Kay isn’t doing so in their own labs. And where, precisely, do they think all that un-returned inventory goes when consultants stop the madness and quit (which hundreds of thousands will do every single year)? Some of it might be sold to end users. Maybe. But much of it is unusable and gets dumped. I have personally witnessed garages stacked full of expired product, purchased to keep up with ridiculous production requirements placed especially on directors and car drivers.

Did you know that all those free Mary Kay cars on the road aren’t really free? Aside from excessive product orders, many directors are required to pay copays. And the insurance that the company generously offers for its cherished car drivers? That’s ridiculously overpriced as well, no doubt with Mary Kay Corp receiving a kickback from the insurance company.

After hearing all this, tell me. How can you possibly support this company at any level?

What other things do our dear commenters wish people knew about the real impact of washing your face with Mary Kay?


  1. Well said Frosty. Just a reminder to readers that you can derive a company’s values by “following the money.” If you look at Mary Kay’s compensation plan and the reward structure for the sales force, everything is tied to ordering and recruiting. Actual retail sales are not recognized (or even tracked for that matter). It’s as if the product does not matter.

    So if the company only puts a value on ordering, and not retailing, that makes the Mary Kay consultant the true target customer. The whole MK machine is powered by consultant purchases.

    No outside sales required.

  2. MK sets ’em up, Frosty knocks ’em down (slow clap).

    Washing your face with Mary Kay feeds into the Kbots’ delusions that they’re “skincare experts” when in reality they know nothing about aesthetics or cosmetology. All the training in MK is about recruitment and forcing orders, nothing about the products and how to use them. And the wrong product, misuse of product, or the wrong combination of stuff can damage your skin.

    Washing your face with Mary Kay supports a company that thinks it’s just fine to exploit people who are un- or underemployed, having mental or physical health issues, or who are facing a personal crisis (death of spouse, divorce, etc.) by promising part-time work from home for big $$$.

  3. Did you know that when you wash your face with Mary Kay, you’re fueling your consultant’s hope that she can actually make a living with her “business?”

    True, that. Dear readers, if a friend suddenly starts asking everyone they know to “support their new business,” there’s a 99.9999% chance they’ve been hooked into an MLM scheme. The worst thing you can do for them is to buy from them; it will only draw them more deeply into the scam.

    Politely decline, and tell them you’ve decided to boycott all MLMs because of how they exploit people. Counsel them to keep careful track of their expenses vs. income, and to not be afraid to cut their losses before the losses pile too high.

    Buying MLM products is just being an enabler.

  4. Excellent article Frosty.
    Yes, all the lies are to promote buying inventory so that MK Corp makes a profit and has a debt free business. They don’t care about the true impact that happens to all those that get sucked into this scheme. It’s not a business in the real sense. The consultant is not able to decide a lot. They do test on animals. Mary Kay was not a single struggling mom. The business doesn’t enrich the lives of consultants but those men in MK Corp. On and on. Mary Kay is not studied by Harvard business and if so not in a positive way. The women who are celebrated for selling are really buying and getting into debt. I could go on and on. Mary Kay is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Beware!! Stay away!!

  5. Why does the Pro-MK piece say buying from MK helps women in China have a second child? (besides the usual completely false statement made by MK Reps?)
    Is that a cause that the MK Charitable foundation donates money to?

    • Because the NSDs in China were actually making enough money (snork) to pay the fine the government levied for having a second child. They never would have been able to do it without Mary Kay. *she says as she wipes a single tear from her cheek, designed to convey the depths of her gratitude without destroying her mascara*

      • Ohhhhhh. One of the Friday huns mentioned something about helping Chinese women afford a second child and I couldn’t figure out what that had to do with anything. Still, “make enough money to break your country’s laws” isn’t a really great selling point. (Granted it was a shitty law with a lot of shitty consequences, especially for girl children, but the Chinese government isn’t known for its warm and fuzzy treatment of rulebreakers).

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