Written by Frosty Rose

One of the most annoying claims made by MKers is that Mary Kay is the top-selling brand of skincare and color cosmetics in the world. The infamous Linda Toupin would predictably claim from the stage at each of her oh-so-regular events that Mary Kay held ten percent of the cosmetics market share. That’s more than all the department store brands combined, y’all!

Which is all nonsense, of course. But it’s rearing its ugly head again. For the umpteenth year in a row, Mary Kay has been deemed the number one-selling brand of skincare and color cosmetics, as determined by Euromonitor International Limited. Slam dunk for the pink fog, right? Well, not quite. Let’s dig into that a bit more, shall we?

First of all, I’ve never even heard of Euromonitor! In an effort to determine its credibility, I did a quick Google search. The first thing that pops up that’s not a direct Euromonitor site is Wikipedia. The Wiki article is less than 50 words. No mention of credibility, just that they’re a London-based market research firm. O… kay… Well, I guess they’re not directly untrustworthy.

The study itself is behind a paywall and costs nearly $1,200. I love y’all and all, but ain’t no way I’m spending that kind of cash to access a bunk study.

Next up, that wording. “The Number 1 Direct Selling Brand of Skin Care Cosmetics.” Direct Selling Brand. So, our competition is Avon and Beauty Counter? Mmmkay. Not really in the league with Estee Lauder.

And how about “value sales at RSP (retail suggested price)”? Again, Mary Kay (and thus these other market research firms who base their numbers on company-provided data) does not track retail sales to consumers. Only wholesale orders by consultants. Thanks for proving our point, Corporate! You are much more effective than other “direct sales companies” (MLMs) at manipulating your sales force into front-loading products they have no hope of selling. You have not yet convinced me or anyone else that most of those products end up with end-consumers, much less at the full suggested retail price.

Then there’s, “Euromonitor International stands as the foremost provider of global business intelligence, market analysis and consumer insights. With over 50 years of experience in conducting market research across 100+ countries, their partnership substantiates our market position through validation from a respected third-party source” (emphasis mine) In plain English, “Mary Kay paid a third-party research firm to tell us we’re number one. We had already written the marketing pieces before they got back to us with the results because we knew they’d deliver exactly what we ordered.”

My favorite part, though, is Corporate’s insistence that the sales force not alter the claims in any way. Do not add or take away any words. Because they’re not the number 1 brand of skincare and color cosmetics. They aren’t selling more than Clinique or Olay. They’re not even in the same study. And our friends at the FCC are watching, so don’t make false claims or we’ll get our wrist slapped (again).

Of course, consultants and directors are flocking to this publicity, and sticking to corporate’s mandates of not changing the verbiage about as well as they refrain from making false income claims. Which is to say, not at all!

Our friend Lauren Wagner has a peach of a statement as she continues on the DIQ hamster wheel, aka “her ministry.”

And the self-proclaimed “Dr.” Larinda King is always good for a hot take on twisting words and totally missing the point (Marketing company?? Come on, girl, even you can do better than that! While we’re at it, could you please invest in some editing software, or at minimum, run your spell check every now and then?)

Long story short, Mary Kay is the #1 Direct Selling Brand of Skin Care and Color Cosmetics. In a study they likely funded themselves. Conducted by a market research firm no one has ever heard of. Which is about as prestigious and exclusive as the gas station down the street that was recently awarded “Best Indian/Mexican Fusion Food at a Gas Station in (my tiny town).” (Spoiler, they were the sole contender in the category.)


  1. Next they will be claiming that 80% of millionaire women made their fortune in MLM, or that MLM has created more millionaires than any other industry/profession.

    We’ll need Euromonitor to confirm these claims as well, since Google says otherwise.

    • From Google:
      Larinda King is “…founder and Senior Pastor of End Time Commission Church, where she co-pastors with her husband. She is the Managing Partner of Flight of Promise Media Group, and the Executive Director of Remnant Kingship Academy, a newly accredited private school in Savannah, Ga.”

      Plus the Mary Kay gig.


        • She’s also listed as an executive producer, author, speaker, apostle, and radio personality. But still not NSD. She’s running a MK cruise to the Bahamas in 2024.

      • I went to the websites of all these organizations. There is literally a section on the media company’s page for Mary Kay directors, advertising help with making a “life story” video.

  2. Euromonitor is legit. Their business model is to collect, digest and organize large amounts of data and write reports about it.

    So Mary Kay is very likely to be the #1 direct selling product line. Based on sales to the consultants, not the general public, of course. But being the big frog in the 10% pond, fighting to recruit and retain consultants in the MLM-susceptible population is not an enviable position. We know from the Canadian branch that commissions are not keeping up with inflation. We know from the shrill desperation on social media that the bling-filled selfies with your teamies on the beach with your Nashy-nash are not convincing people;

    Direct sales by contracted sales forces is splintering and shrinking – I know several people making money in “direct sales” and they sell products DIRECT to customers with no intermediaries and no recruits. I know a few who are sales reps with territories that are doing well … but the MLM people are getting frantic.

    • “I know a few who are sales reps with territories that are doing well…”

      Territorial protection is key when selling person-to-person. In addition to my father, I have a couple of close friends who’ve made a comfortable living as manufacturer’s reps. Without territorial protection, they could not make a living at this.

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