Pretend Mary Kay is Prestigious

Every so often, my former area in Mary Kay would get on this kick about pretending Mary Kay was a prestigious product and that the consultant’s time at a skin care class was a rare and valuable thing. We were supposed to make women WANT to have a party or buy products or become a recruit by pretending this was such a special chance for them!

I don’t disagree that my time is valuable, but I’m not interested in pretending that it’s a big privilege to be around me. Especially if the way you get to be with me is if you agree to listen to me blather about Mary Kay. I’d rather not pretend that I have only two openings next week (when I really have the entire week free) so that I can sound busy and ask you which is better for you.

Yes, women do like to be around successful people, but if you have to pretend to be successful and in-demand for MK skin care classes, what’s the point? You’re going to pretend to be busy so that she perceives this is a wonderful opportunity and books an appointment with you?

On a daily basis, women also pretend that Mary Kay has the same level of quality as department store brands. Some women even refer to them as “prestige” brands. This perception of quality is necessary, because without it, the products would never be sold. (Not that a whole lot is sold to begin with, but you get my drift.)

I’ve long held the belief that Mary Kay is on par with products bought at Walgreen’s, Target, or Wal-Mart. If women like the products and they work, that’s just fine. But they’re simply not of the same level of quality as the more expensive brands. Yet they’re priced like they are.

Why are the products priced at a higher level if the quality doesn’t merit it? Because Mary Kay has to pay commissions to so many levels of the pyramid. The only way to do it is by inflating the price of the products. And along with that, you must inflate the image of the product.

Why do I bring this all up? Because it’s just one more part of the massive shell game that Mary Kay plays. Each day, women in Mary Kay pretend they’re successful, pretend they’re master recruiters, pretend they’re actually supporting their families with MK, pretend they’re “on target” for a goal, and pretend that they didn’t have to recruit their dog to make it through DIQ.

Mary Kay is based upon numerous deceptions, and sites like Pink Truth are the only way to expose these deceptions to the general public and help prevent women from getting involved with the company.


  1. “Why are the products priced at a higher level if the quality doesn’t merit it? Because Mary Kay has to pay commissions to so many levels of the pyramid. ”

    Bingo. Mary Kay’s outdated door-to-door distribution model with its layers upon layers of uninvolved middlemen, all taking a cut of the price, can never compete on “value”. Modern companies have increased value by squeezing out costs…and this means eliminating unnecessary middlemen.

    From a consumer product perspective, Mary Kay is stuck in the past. If they want to compete on value, eliminate the MLM sales model, offer products for direct purchase online, and drop the price 90%.

    The fact they don’t do this shows they are not in the competitive consumer beauty product sales business. Rather, they are in the business of recruiting a volunteer sales force and fooling them into ordering products in quantities they can’t ever hope to use or sell.

    And at this, Mary Kay excels.

  2. This reminds me of a time in my legit sales career. In the late 90s I was a manager of a mattress/furniture store in a super hot, fast-growing market, with tons of new folks moving there, so we were CRUSHING sales records every month.

    We were swamped, but we strived to greet every customer who walked in. Almost every single one responded with the standard “just looking” when we asked if they needed help. Thing is, people don’t go to those stores to kill some time just looking and kicking the (tires) mattresses.

    Since our time truly was valuable and hard to come by, I could be assertive in response to these “lookers”, usually by saying some version of “welcome, look around as long as you like; but we’re really busy as you can see and this might be the only time I am able to help you, so if you actually ARE looking for something specific, you should let me help you now, because I might not be free again for awhile.” Most then proceeded to tell me how I could help them and I did.

    It was highly effective and beneficial for both the customer and myself.

    But such an approach is laughable if utilized in Mary Kay. Everybody knows (based on the incessant social media BEGGING for sales…and begging for prayers for sales…) that the consultant is NOT overrun with appointments, parties, facials, fake spa events, to the point of having very limited spots and time available. LOLOL

    *Oh and btw, I still have my many “company-wide salesperson of the month” plaques and they’re worth more to me than some Kimberly Perkins spit ‘Diamond’ pin or necklace lol!

  3. “Mary Kay has to pay commissions to so many levels of the pyramid.”

    Tracy It’s dUaL MarKetINg noT a pYrAmiD yOu BiTteR LazY loOseR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    (Checking punctuation mark reserves, looking good)…



  4. I think it would be helpful here for people to share the “WHY” Mary Kay is not a prestige line. It’s been so long that I’ve used it, I can’t speak to it. However, I do use prestige and not so prestige makeup and skincare and can speak to that.

    Dior & Chanel: LOVE the eyeshadows and blush. There is NO fallout with the eyeshadows which I do experience with other brands such as Urban Decay, Huda, etc. The colors in the shadows and blush are highly pigmented which means I don’t use much and they last so, so much longer. Seriously, I have a Chanel blush that I bought years ago, use nearly every day, and I still have not hit the bottom of the pan. While the price may be high, the quality is the best of the best and in the long run, probably costs less because I have not bought another one in years.

    Dior Show: I love this mascara. It never flakes and stays put all day. I have Tart and IT, and while nice, the flake off and leave dots under my eyes halfway through the day.

    Urban Decay: The primer…OMG, this is the best on the market. Even when I was an IBC and used MK’s primer, it did nothing. It was a glorified concealer at best. Urban Decay’s primer works on the oiliest eyelids (like mine) and allows my shadow to hold and stay put all day.

    Foundation: Again, I love Dior and Chanel because you don’t see it. I realize there are different kinds in each brand, but for oily skin, both have terrific foundations both powder and liquid that make my skin flawless.

    Skin Care: I play around with different brands. But I have to say that Strivectin is near the top in my books. I saw a physical difference in a month using the neck cream. And this is after using Lancome, Dior, etc. I don’t bother with eye creams because I don’t suffer from puffiness or overly dark shadows under my eyes. Paula’s Choice is also a great line for seeing a physical transformation. I will say that the old #3 set in MK did a good job keeping my oily skin under control back when I was in my 20’s, but then they discontinued it and Timewise didn’t come near the job of that. But now that I’m older, I don’t need that and my concern is lines and loss of elasticity.

    Lipstick: This is an area I do not splurge on and recommend any line’s liquid lipstick that stays on all day – Covergirl or L’oreal. I did like some of MK’s lipsticks but the taste was awful. Maybe that’s changed. I don’t mess around with having to reapply it all day and so I stick with the 16 – 24 hour all day lines.

    • Pinkiu, I hope you don’t mind if I jump on the same train…most of my makeup is prestige and my skincare is drugstore.

      Eyeshadow: Pat McGrath and Charlotte Tilbury. If you want pigment, PM has it FOR DAYS. CT is more of my everyday look, though.

      Blush and highlighter: I love Hourglass’s blush and highlighters; the texture is so nice and it’s got good pigmentation. Pat McGrath also has great blushes but they’re REALLY pigmented.

      Eyeliner: one of the few decent current products from Urban Decay is their pencil eyeliner. It doesn’t budge for me. My favorite liquid eyeliner is from Stila; I’ve worn this on heavy humidity Charleston days and it wears like iron.

      Mascara: Wander Beauty Mile High Club is my go-to; I like a more natural mascara that also holds a curl in my stick-straight lashes. Volumizing mascara has never worked for me.

      Eye primer: NARS Pro-Prime and Urban Decay’s Primer Potion are both great; I’ve never had a problem with these two products.

      Foundation: I have a problem with foundations; I’m kind of like Goldilocks. Nothing seems to be the perfect match. However, I’ve been using Colorescience Face Shield Flex; a tinted moisturizer/SPF 50 sunscreen that has pigments that conform to your skintone. It also gives a dewy, natural look.

      Skin Care: I mostly stick to lower-priced products you can find at Ulta and drugstores, but I do splurge on a couple products, like Paula’s Choice liquid exfoliant and Farmacy Honeymoon Glow serum. My main brands are The Ordinary, Neutrogena and CeraVe.

      Lipstick: Most of my lipstick is Pat McGrath that I get during sales around Black Friday. My favorite was the BITE Beauty Amuse Bouche line but the brand has since folded. My favorite lip glosses are from Fenty.

    • I, too, use a mix of prestige and drug store brands. If you looked in my vanity, you will see everything from NARS and Chanel to Lancôme to Clinique to Urban Decay to NYX to ColourPop and more.

      Shadows: I tried Viseart about two years ago and fell in love. Those shadows are some of THE most pigmented ones I have ever used. UD *used* to have amazing palettes, and several of my older ones are infinitely better than their newest releases. The best UD release in recent years was their GoT collab. I tried Natasha Denona based on a bunch of recommendations from friends, and frankly, I wasn’t impressed. NARS and Smashbox are still favorites. I love the Laura Mercier caviar eye shadow sticks! Those are a go-to for work, and they will hold up for a 14-hour shift.

      Eye primer: Honestly, the best bang for your buck is the Ulta branded one. It’s less than $10 and holds up well. I used to use the UD primer and found that the Ulta brand one worse just as well.

      Eye Liners: I love UD, Smashbox, and ColourPop. All are affordable and will hold up all day.

      Cheek colors, highlighters, and bronzers: Ulta bran cheek colors don’t get enough credit. The Tiger Lily color is a personal favorite, espeically at a $10 price point. I have multiple NARS Orgasm blushes because the color is perfect. ABH and Laura Mercier are my go-to highlighters. They have almost zero fall-out and wear all day. I use NARS Laguna bronzer when I use bronzer. The shade works for me.

      Lip products: Buxom, NARS, Too Faced, Laura Mercier, and ColourPop get my money. A lot of it. I have a large stash of Becca lip liner and lip sticks, too. Her lip liners were THE best. NYX has a couple of pencils that are close dupes in color, texture, and wear. I also love NYX liquid lip colors.

      Skin care: I’m a snob. I use Rhonda Allison products for cleanser, moisturizer, and Vitamin C serum. Those are truly prestige products. My eye cream is Clinique, and my tinted moisturizer is Laura Mercier. I have a couple of The Ordinary Products because I love their niacinaminde serum.

      Short story long… there are a LOT of great products at various price points on the market that are not related to an MLM. If you want a TRULY prestige brand, treat yourself to a NARS foundation, a Dior shadow palette, or even Chanel lip color. And guess what? You can buy ALL of those brands at Ulta now.

      • I’ll jump in too!

        -cerave facewash or dove bar soap (night)
        – the ordinary vitamin c serum (day/night)
        -il makiage skin power serum (d/n)
        -cocokind revitalizing eye cream (d/n)
        – origins plantscriptions spf 25 power anti-aging oil free cream (d),
        – buttah by Dorian cocoshea revitalizing cream (n)
        – mad hippie antioxidant face oil (n)

        I’ll add my makeup later

    • Mary Kay is not a “prestige” brand because: always a trend chaser, not a trend setter; poor coverage and texture; doesn’t last after applied; poor color selections; sold by untrained badly made up reps in cheap jackets.

      I so seldom wear makeup … don’t even know where it is since the last move. But when I did, it was a mix of brands. Clinique foundation for the perfect color match, Mabelline mascara, Cover Girl blush and lipsticks … any eye shadow brand with a color I liked (it was my addiction!)

  5. MLM has never been about the product. It’s always been about recruiting – bringing people into the organization who will “pay to play”. There’s an MLM for every type of product now. When Mary Kay started her company, called Beauty by Mary Kay at the time, she sold false eyelashes and wigs in addition to a basic skin care set. They don’t care that the products aren’t the best out there. They’re selling the elusive “opportunity to make all your dreams come true.”. I think less people are falling for it, as the company is shrinking.

  6. I was so glad to expand my horizons again after leaving MK. Especially perfumes! My fav now is “Juliette has a gun- not a perfume”. I still wear Chanel No.5, and Perry Ellis 360. And then there is Fracas which is even older than me. Skin care and make up is a blend of prestige brands and stuff from CVS. It’s been so much fun to explore all the options and to not have a 93 step skin care program that costs a fortune. I can’t imagine trying to sell this crap to my customers, let alone recruiting people to sell it. I “almost” feel sorry for the nsd’s who are trying to make it in this world right now. It must be hard to sleep at night.


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