Will Mary Kay Ever Face the Truth?

Written by Raisinberry

We’ve been at this Pink Truth thing since 2006. Who would have thought we’d still be around? Who would have thought Mary Kay Inc. would still be operating business as usual with no meaningful change in 14 years?

But it’s true. We’re still here talking about the exact same abuses of consultants. The exact same lies. The same way new recruits are frontloaded with large inventory packages. The same way directors put inventory orders on their credit cards in order to make minimum production or finish a goal, knowing full well that they don’t have the money to do so and they have almost no hope of selling those products.

We all know people (including ourselves) who hold to deep beliefs and are adamant about defending them, until they get new information. That’s how Pink Truth works. Women come here adamant to defend Mary Kay, shocked that young and old timers would band together and spill their guts about the inner workings and reality of the world of Mary Kay.

If you read Pink Truth for any length of time, the truth spoken here eventually becomes something you can no longer deny.

Some have asked us why don’t we just move on? Maybe it’s because Mary Kay is a very elaborate money scheme that preys on vulnerable women, leaves them broke, but is disguised as a life affirming “opportunity.”

Despite all our efforts, Mary Kay Inc. has not faced the truth. They have not come “clean.”

Over the last 14 years, the number of consultants and directors has dropped dramatically in the U.S. The company has made up for that with recruiting in huge markets like China. Mary Kay can continue on indefinitely, so long as their international markets continue to perform.

In the U.S., husbands are finding Pink Truth, new possible recruits are finding it, consultants are finding it, NSDs already read it (and warn about it), directors at both high and low ends are questioning the tactics they have used because they are now exposed here, and the company marches merrily along as if this downturn is only temporary. The United States downturn for Mary Kay could have been temporary. Maybe they could have stopped the the bleeding, by simply admitting past mistakes and confirming a commitment to change “the system.” Maybe Mary Kay could have consultants who are truly proud of the company’s integrity in which they once believed, and maybe they could grow again.

But Mary Kay cannot do that. And here is why.

The entire operation depends on NOT facing the truth.

  • How simple would it be to have consultants record their sales tickets online?
  • How simple would it be to have a new recruit list on her application whether she has/had a different consultant than the one who is introducing her to the opportunity?
  • How simple would it be to reward new beauty consultants with free product bonuses after their first 90 days sales come in? Imagine getting $600 in free product because YOU SOLD $3,000 worth?
  • How simple would it be to confirm a reinstatement of a previously terminated consultant by calling the consultant?
  • How simple would it be to check credit card numbers against orders, to see if the name on the credit card matches the name of the ordering consultant?
  • How simple would it be to re-interview every signed consultant and CONFIRM that no erroneous information was given and no false promises made, before she gets too deep into believing a lie?
  • How hard would it be to stop the practice of mentioning a director’s “high check” at guest events, in favor of an “average check” that included chargebacks, and normal expenses – in other words, a TRUE profit picture.
  • How hard would it be to send directors through sales training in EARNEST, so that they could catch up with what they should know about creating a selling unit… not platitude spewing – recruiting/ordering for prizes only unit.
  • How hard would it be to have a yearly unit evaluation where consultants could go online and share on the ability and responsibility the director shows in leading the unit. Only those afraid of feedback would complain.
  • How hard would it be to stop the practice of calling a this a “business” for a consultant, when it clearly is not! Since Mary Kay is concerned about brand purity and image, and will not let a consultant advertise her “business,” sell from a retail location, sell her “business,” pass her “business” on to family, can terminate a consultant and keep all the residual business (profit) ad infinitum. The consultant simply does NOT “own” a business. It is a lie.
  • How hard would it be to have Awards Seminar actually be an event that awards selling activity? With verified sales receipts that have been collected over the entire year, the winners, the Queens, would be legit in all categories. It wouldn’t be a matter of who had access to the most credit card space.

How hard would it be? Devastatingly hard. The entire scam would crumble.

Instead of 400 women in the Court of Sales, you would have 50… maybe. Unit clubs would disintegrate. No million dollar units. No “top director trip” units. No massive recruiting events where 60 women sign up.

The truth would weed out the impulse recruits. The “real” earnings figures for Premier Club and Caddy directors would expose how little “executive” income is made.

Coming down the stairs being helped by tuxedoed gentlemen for creating five maxed credit cards would be a thing of the past. The illusion that anyone can do it would be gone.

The day Mary Kay faces the truth, will be a day of freedom for over 2 million consultants worldwide. It may take Seminar down a peg or two, to more like a local high school sports banquet… but the results would be real. And honorable. And right. And every woman involved could hold her head up and know she deserved her award.

And Mary Kay for the first time in decades, could claim in earnest that old motto… ”enriching women’s lives.” Up to now, knowing the fraud that goes on, and doing nothing to curtail it, and in fact doing every thing to encourage it, means the only “enriching” that Mary Kay Cosmetics actually cares about, is its own. That is the blind truth. We have been exposing this truth for years.

Unfortunately, it is the 2+ million consultants and directors worldwide who are blind as well.

And the sad reality is, that Mary Kay will not come clean, because the embarrassment is too much and their culpability is too great. They have presided over and looked the other way on, abuses of the sales force, at the hands of their own NSDs and unmonitored sales directors, because the money generated is just too great! They would be financially liable under any other “system” of employment for this massive fraud.

Hiding behind the safety fence of the independent contractor system, they march merrily along, baiting the new recruit with her “clock is ticking” on the $600 of free products if she orders an inventory package right away… knowing full well she is likely never to sell all of it, and will be tricked by her “warm market” initial sales to order more.

What happens when Mary Kay faces the truth? The same thing that happens to us: humiliation, shame, embarrassment. Disbelief that we could have go on so long in utter denial. Watching our financial house of cards crumble, and having to stuff that truth down and suck others in, just to maintain. Trapped. Needing the money, and unwilling to face what we have become. Which is exactly what Mary Kay is doing in overseas… just “moving on.”

For Mary Kay Cosmetics, the truth is apparently impossible. It would require a level of integrity that risks financial fallout, and a length of time “healing” that is both uncomfortable and time consuming. They must “move on” and replace that production over and over with new recruits and new inventory packages, without taking the time to create a more noble Mary Kay. The company stays in denial because they don’t want to look at the truth. Mary Kay Inc. will not process these words, nor face that the truth, while painful, really does set you free.


  1. And brava, Raisinberry.

    Basically, corporate would have to do more than sit on their tuckuses while the cash rolls in, which is about as likely as me being selected as the next pope.

  2. Some have asked us why don’t we just move on?

    If I know the KidSplatter 4000™ is a badly designed car seat which has lead to the injury or death of children, do I not have an obligation to tell other parents about it? Would it be easier for me to shrug my shoulder and say “do your own research” while not giving them a starting point?

    Of course not, I should be telling parents, the press, everyone I can about this danger. Simple morality dictates this. Likewise informing people about the pitfalls of Mary Kay and MLMs in general falls into the same category.

  3. Well said Raisinberry. I will add that there are some fundamental issues at play here as well. Mary Kay has created an elaborate business ecosystem around a fake premise. If Mary Kay was in the business of selling beauty products to the public, they’d ditch the expensive MLM distribution model and sell direct. The high cost of the up-line puts Mary Kay product prices out of competitive reach. The products are simply too expensive for the quality…meaning they are not a good value, which is why so little product actually sells to the public.

    But Mary Kay is NOT in the business of retailing beauty products to the public. They are in the business of selling product at ridiculous prices and quantities to their own sales force. To create internal demand, they tie these orders to an elusive opportunity to get rich and supposedly run your own business. It has worked for decades…but folks are finally starting to catch on.

    From a Mary Kay Corp perspective, everything you point out above makes perfect sense, once you recognize the sales force is the target customer. Sadly, they know they have to promote the faux business ecosystem in order to move the product. The NSDs are well aware of all of this, as are many opportunistic SDs. It has served Mary Kay Corp well…allowing them to sell much more product and at a much higher price than if they sold it competitively to the public.

    Who else, besides MLMers, fill their homes with grossly overpriced commodity products? You will see “pack-rat”-types fill their homes with discount or free stuff…we all probably know someone like this. But overpriced stuff? Only MLMers do this…and only under the guise of that elusive opportunity.

    The MLM “pitch” still works, but thanks to the anti-MLM movement and sites like Pink Truth, the amount of fertile ground available for MLM exploitation drops every year.

    • Exactly, DJ. If MK was truly a part of the vast beauty industry, they would retail their wares directly and not through the shell game of the MLM. The market would take care of things from there. People would see the quality for the price, and MK would have to lower prices and scramble to become the innovative company they claim they are.

  4. “Coming down the stairs being helped by tuxedoed gentlemen for creating five maxed credit cards would be a thing of the past.” THIS above all other MK moral crimes is the worst. The rewarding of incurring crushing debt, while assuming the mantle of PRESTIGE and truly looking down on the women “following” you for being LESS THAN YOU when you are merely a credit card machine to MK. You just happen to be the BEST CREDIT CARD machine for the year. Rewarding pretension, celebrating condescension that is thoroughly unwarranted, perpetuating the myth of SUCCESS AT THEIR OWN BUSINESS – I won’t ask how do they sleep at night because if they started out with one, they have so severely cauterized it, sleep is hardly an issue.

    The powers that be that keep the Naked Empress Mary Kay Empire together have never personally hawked the MK Flopportunity, and they do not care at all about the minions who break themselves in order to stuff the pockets of the upper echelon. Mary Kay’s son was raised by a narcissistic opportunist, so he probably didn’t really stand a chance at being a better person, and that kind of legacy lives on so easily. Those who surrounded MKASH and subsequently succeeded in the Empire undoubtedly reflect her lack of values and substance, and thus PARTY ON off the literal backs of women dreaming of independence and financial success because those dolled up hussies lie so eloquently, as per training, to the hapless victim.

    All I know for sure is other mighty and evil empires have collapsed within themselves while seeming impenetrable and I do pray that MKorpse will take care of itself with all good speed. Been way too long, I pray the end is near for this evil empire.

    • And there are people who are actually mad that you can “only” use 4 credit cards plus ProPay to pay for an order, and can’t put orders on hold anymore. That’s how badly their financial crapspeak can warp an otherwise sane person’s mind.

  5. ” – I won’t ask how do they sleep at night because if they started out with one [a soul, a conscience], they have so severely cauterized it, sleep is hardly an issue.”

    • To Popinki, AND adding insult to injury – ONLY 4 credit cards + Propay – NOW the directors have to input THE CONSULTANTS BAD ORDERS! Oh the indignity! And their dialing for dollars schedules surely will suffer if they have to do all that extra work! Decline, decline, decline —- most fitting verb I hope will spread across all of MKASH’s rotten fruit.

      AND ABOVE ALL — THANK YOU, RAISINBERRY!!!! An outstanding, expansive essay that I pray somehow will spread so much farther than MKorpse can shudder enough to think about!

      • Juliet you just inspired a great response to all MLM pitches. When approached…

        Recruiter: “Would you like to hear more about this amazing opportunity?”
        Prospect: “I decline!”

        Beautifully, perfectly, simply effective.

  6. Admitting there’s an issue and moving past that denial is the first step towards recovery. MK Corporate can’t admit the issue(s)!

  7. Well, at least they do an income disclosure statement for Mary Kay Canada. That’s something. I can only guess they don’t do one for the US because it is a much larger market and just too high a risk of it becoming an embarrassing news story.

    Interesting that MK is in China. China allows people to sell products independently like they do in the US but DOES NOT allow the whole recruiting by other sellers and creating downlines concept (direct sales allowed but not MLM essentially). Amway abandoned its operations in China for this very reason, despite it being the world’s largest individual market with rapidly growing incomes.

    • They only do the statement because it’s legally required of them. And the information it gives is incomplete and misleading. The numbers they present are TERRIBLE for consultants. The reality is even worse, they just don’t disclose the full extent of it.

    • “they don’t do one for the US because it is a much larger market and just too high a risk of it becoming an embarrassing news story.” They don’t do it because it is not legally required of them. They lobby against any attempts by the FTC to make MLM operations more transparent.

      PS: The only reason they have the 90% buy-back is because TEXAS LAW requires it … it’s not from their concern for IBCs.

      • “They don’t do it because it is not legally required of them. They lobby against any attempts by the FTC to make MLM operations more transparent.”

        Absolutely true, but it’s worth mentioning that other MLMs (not many, the now-defunct MonaVie comes to mind) in the US voluntarily put out income disclosure statements, all of which show crappy results for nearly everyone except the top 1% or so. Doesn’t make these other MLMs any better but at least they are being more transparent than Mary Kay in the US.


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