I'm a pretty simple dude when it comes to most things. For instance if I'm hungry I like meat and some type of starch. When it comes to my bathroom ritual it consists of a hot shower, brushing my teeth, gargling a shot of listerine and washing my face with whatever soap happens to be on the sink counter. Yes I mean the hand soap too.
But my wife's ritual is very different. She has all types of special cleansers, lotions and other products she puts on herself before she even gets dressed. Keep in mind my wife isn't even high maintenance either. I hate to admit it but she's usually dressed and ready to go before me.
But the point is she still uses a lot more crap than I do. And clearly she's not alone because companies like Mary Kay exist to help women meet these beauty needs. The beauty industry is a multi-billionaire business so it just makes sense financially to get into it. Apparently the Mary Kay company can help you carve out a slice of that big profitable pie. But is it really the right company for you?
Well in my Mary Kay Review we'll explore that question in great detail. But unlike most of the Mark Kay reviews you've read, Eddy with a y is not trying to recruit you as a new consultant or sell you any of their products.
What is Mary Kay Inc.?
Mary Kay Inc. is a privately owned multi-level marketing/direct sales company that sells cosmetics products. The company was founded by Mary Kay Ash in 1963 and, according to Direct Selling News is the sixth largest direct selling company in the world with net sales in excess of $3 Billion.
What are the Mary Kay Products?
Mary Kay offers the whole spectrum of Women's cosmetic needs in these categories:
- Skin Care
- Body & Sun
It may come as a surprise to you, but Mary Kay did not forget to tap into the ‘male ego' and offers a palette of products for Men.
They can choose from these categories:
- Men's Colognes
- Shaving Foams, Creams and After Shave Lotions
- Sun Screens
- Face Soap
What is the Mary Kay Business Opportunity?
In good ol' MLM fashion, Mary Kay products are exclusively sold by individuals looking for extra income or even start their own home business. Mary Kay calls their reps “Beauty Consultants”.
The basic idea is “buy the product at wholesale price from the company, mark it up 100% and earn 50% commission”.
That sounds pretty simple and looks to be on the up-and-up. But is it really?
The Mary Kay Compensation Plan
Most MLMs have convoluted compensation plans where you need to have it deciphered by another rep or watch a long ass presentation to understand it. Unfortunately Mary Kay's compensation plan shares some these characteristics but not all.
Unlike some of the other annoying MLMs, with Mary Kay you don't have to fill a specific ‘matrix' or ‘legs' to build your downline. Only the number of your active recruits and their total sales volume is of importance.
There are three pay levels & ‘A Little Something Extra'
1) Earn from Direct Sales: As a beauty consultant you are encouraged to have ‘cash & carry' items and host parties for customers to sample, and subsequently buy the products they want. You would order at wholesale price and sell at retail price. You earn 50% on each sale.
2) Earn from commissions on Team Orders: You must have at least ONE active downline and be promoted to Senior Consultant in order to qualify for team commissions. You earn at least 4% commissions on all your downline's sales, but this can reach as much as 13% as you move up the ranks.
3) Earn Team Building Bonuses: These bonuses are set dollar amounts, ranging from $50 to $3,000 base on your leadership level and certain performance requirements. For the exact details I want to refer you to the official Mary Kay Website.
The Myth of the Mary Kay Pink Cadillac – ‘the little extra'
You may have heard and believed that Mary Kay gives away Pink Cadillacs to their top performing beauty consultants. This is not the case but a myth. Fact is that MK offers them a 24-month lease on a car that MK owns.
To qualify for a car, the consultant must have a minimum of 12 active downline members AND at least $18,000 in team volume over the period of 4 months.
To keep the car, they must have a minimum of $4,000 per month in sale volume. If the consultant fails to meet this requirement, they must pay the lease out of their commission check; or return the car to MK.
How much does it cost to become a Mary Kay Beauty Consultant?
At the time of this review $200 bucks will get you in the door and guarantees you a 50% discount on all MK products; but only for 3 months. At the end of 3 months you will have to re-order product for at least $200 wholesale to receive the discount again. This may change by the time you read this review.
If you find this too much money to invest in a business, you can try My Best Work At Home Recommendation for free. And if you want to make some extra side cash without being involved in a business at all, you can try Fusion Cash, SurveyJunkie.com, InboxDollars.com and Swagbucks.com which are all free.
What are the Mary Kay Complaints?
MLMs do have a bad reputation due to the inherent pyramid system, but mainly because of the numerous illegal pyramid schemes that popped up on the internet over the years. It also doesn't help that many MLM reps act a bit shady as I've laid out here. So it was no surprise that I was able to find numerous complaints about Mary Kay. Although it did take digging past all the Mary Kay reviews written by reps that want to recruit you. That said keep in mind that there are complaints about every company, even the very good ones. So I do take some of these complaints with ‘a grain of salt', and let you be the judge.
Mary Kay Products are “BAD”
Of course, you will find reports from people that don't like MK products for various reasons. “Not good for my skin type, products give me rashes” or something similar.
Give me a break here, will you. These kinds of complaints are applicable to every product you can think about. Some folks may have negative reactions to Avon products, others to Maybelline mascara and others to Ivory soap. That simply means that MK products may not be for everyone, but are as ‘good or bad‘ as any other similar product out there. So you can find this complaint with any beauty product.
Mary Kay Start Up Expenses
Duh, of course you will have to invest “in your own business”. I don't know why people have the misconception that they can start an online business without having to put in some dough first. It's like any other business that there are cost involved to get it up and running. With Mary Kay you will have to buy supplies, samples to give away for free, discount products for new customers (recruits) and buy business accessories. You also need to pay a fee for your own, personalized website.
Remember, you are starting a business and it will cost you some money. It will be much less than a brick and mortar business, but still, it will be money out of your pocket. Having said that, some folks may still think the start up cost are too high and out of range. I guess that is debatable. But merely having a start up cost isn't a valid complaint when it comes to a home based business. If that's an issue people need to stick with jobs and other little extra money opportunities.
The High Failure Rate of Mary Kay Beauty Consultants
MK is a privately held company and does not disclose exact numbers, but estimates by industry experts put the failure rate at about 87%. That seems extremely high at first glance. But if you consider that less than 60% of all start-ups survive the first year, the figure of MK failures is not that extreme. The fact is most people will fail at a new business. It just comes with the territory and it's probably why more folks are comfortable to be employed and get a guaranteed paycheck every month.
Many try to escape the 9 to 5 routine, and hope that joining an MLM is a way to achieve independence from this rat race. But unfortunately many will quickly to find out that they are not cut out to do what is required: To sell some kind of product AND recruit people to do the same (which is ‘selling the idea of making a livable income').
The Pressure to buy Inventory Packages
Many former MK reps complain about that their recruiters or sales director ‘putting the squeeze' on you to buy inventory packages of $600, $1.800 up to $4,800. I've never been big on peer pressure so this is troubling. I can't tell if it's something that is widespread but it's definitely a concern. I would be more inclined to see if I can sell smaller amounts of inventory before going all in and buying more of it with the risk of being stuck with it.
The products are changing constantly!
This complaint is a logical continuation of the one just above. Grudgingly, you bought one of these inventory packs, and not even 2 weeks later, the company releases new packaging or changes to the products.
What you just bought, and not yet sold, appears to be outdated and the company counts on the fact that you want the latest and greatest and order the new line of products. So that's a bit shady. I know the argument is having new products will be appealing to your customers. But if you can't move the old product yet it puts you in a bad place.
The ‘Not So Free” training and company events
When you join, they tell you about free training and events. Soon you will find out that they are not that free. For local meetings, you will be charged a fee from about $5 to $10. Company events you will have to travel to, will cost a fee of usually $75 plus the cost for travel and hotel accommodations. On numerous occasions I've won a trip to Vegas by one of the companies I work with. I didn't have to pay for the hotel or airplane. In fact many of my meals were also free. So I think it's misleading to the Mary Kay reps if you have to pay anything to attend these events if they're being promoted as Free. Maybe there is a misunderstanding on my end.
But hey, there are simpler ways to make money online. You can earn a little extra income taking surveys at SurveyJunkie.com. You can also make money doing what you already do online like visiting websites, playing games, watching videos and more at SwagBucks.com, FusionCash.com and InboxDollars.com. But if you're looking to make a living running your own online business part time or full tie, then check out My Best Work At Home Recommendation.
Restrictions to the way you conduct your business
Although this is YOUR business, you are restricted, to some extent, how you can go about it. You sold to all of your family members, friends, neighbors and even folks you don't like, and your pool of potential buyers ran dry.
The cruel reality sets in and you realize you have to find NEW customers and recruits. So you may hit the web and advertise your products on Ebay and Craigslist only to be called by your recruiter or director, informing you that it is against MK policies to do so. I'm sure there are legitimate business or legal reasons for this but nonetheless it sucks.
There are some other complaints that I found here that you may want to read from a former or current rep. It was very enlightening to say the least. But I would take some of the complaints with a grain of salt.
So is Mary Kay Legitimate or a Scam?
Although I'm not a big fan of MLMs, I feel Mary Kay is legit and not some shady scam. Their products seem to be solid and they do balance recruiting and pushing the product which is a good sign. However, it seems like many of Mary Kay consultants are not able to make a livable income and most struggle to just break even. But that can probably be said about many businesses people try to start.
That said many consultants quit all together and are stuck with hundreds of dollars worth of inventory they are not able to sell. So that sucks.
Ultimately I've listed some of the complaints for you and it's up to you to determine if they're deal breakers or not. I know how hard it is to find the dirt on companies like this. But at least now you're aware of some it and can make a better informed decision as you balance out all the positive rara reviews with what you learned here today. Honestly, some of the complaints did concern me but not enough to totally write this company off. So that's where I am at folks. It may be worth a shot for you.
I would love to hear some feedback from current or former reps to help clear the air. I'm always open to hearing from you guys. I also want to hear the comments of everyone else so please chime in down below.
What's a Possible Mary Kay Alternative?
Mary Kay is an MLM, it's not the best or the worst I've seen. But after carefully weighing the pros and cons, becoming a Mary Kay Beauty Consultant may not appeal to you. That's fine no business is right for everyone. But you have other options. You can make money taking surveys at SurveyJunkie.com. You can also make money doing what you already do online like visiting websites, watching videos, playing games, reading emails and more at SwagBucks.com, FusionCash.com and InboxDollars.com.
But then again, maybe you have the dream of making money online and want to build a business about a special interest or passion you have and beauty isn't it? Or maybe you do have a passion for various beauty products and don't want to be limited to Mary Kay and being stuck with inventory you can't move. If so, you may want to check out my Top Work At Home Recommendation and give it a shot.
Truth be told even if you're a Mary Kay rep looking to expand your business online so you won't have to harass your family and friends, My Top Work At Home Recommendation can help. They teach you the skills so people are coming to you rather than you having to chase them down. So it can help current Mary Kay reps too.
Ultimately my top recommendation has taught me how to make a full time living for many moons now, and I am confident you can do the same in time.
I am not crazy enough and promise you that you will be raking in thousands of dollars within a few months. But if you are able to follow instructions, work hard and understand that it is going to take some time, you will be able to build a sustainable business for yourself.
So check it out, it's absolutely free, without any of the recruiting hassle and, unlike Mary Kay, the risk of losing your hard earned money.
That's all for today folks. Don't forget to leave a comment on your way out.
Thanks for stopping by
Eddy with a Y
26 thoughts on “Mary Kay Review – Honest and Unbiased”
Wow that was a lot of info in your review, some of it was a little skewed. If your writing a review you really should be informed and not take the rambling of disgruntled use to be consultants comments as gosple. Mary Kay will take back inventory at 90% payback within the first year, you always have the option of sellinf your product to existing customers until your inventory is depleted if you find the business is not for you, if you don’t well whose fault is that? The Mary kay Pink Cadillac is given to Directors only who yes have to maintain a certain amount of Unit and personal sales, I don’t know a company out there that will give you a free car without doing the work involved. mary kay also has a Car program for Consultants you can find all this info on the Mary kay website. Ourf commision base is 50% and that is for all no matter where in the careerpath you are at. You are aked if you would like to have inventory on hand and open your business prepared but it is not mandatory or pushed, if you can’t handle don’t if you can do its up to the individual, I’m sure like all companies there are pushy Directors and managers but I myself haven’t run across that, although yes I have heard these stories, again If your not comfortable with something dont do it. I have been A mary Kay consultant for 3 yrs now and love it but its not for everyone and I get that. And we don’t have uplines and downlines we have team members and units and we are all here to help each other. We are a direct selling company not a MLM, A customer has to have a consultant to purchase products and there lies the difference. I don’t know what company you are pushing but I am definately checking it out to see if you are really all that impartial. Oh and Mary Kay does not test on animals in fact they are a leader in the field who stopped testing and continues to educate the industry about those practises, again all this info can be found on their websites. Thanks you for you review
I guess I ruffled some feathers. I agree with some of your points, namely that this business isn’t for everyone.
Just so you know MLM is a form of direct selling: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Direct_selling. So however you want to label Mary Kay it has a component of MLM in it. At the end of the day you’ve had a great experience with the company and that’s fine. We want to hear things like this too which is why your comment is on this article. If my purpose wasn’t to be objective, I would only allow the naysayers to speak. But clearly that’s not the case. That said there are some people that haven’t had great experiences with the company. And to label those people as just rambling disgruntled folks says a lot. Some people do just enjoy complaining but it doesn’t mean all of them do. So it’s unfair to belittle their experiences by name calling. Too often reps just want to paint a sweet picture but we all know that’s not the case. So it’s important for folks to know the downside of any opportunity because there are. That said I appreciate you sharing your experience. But I wish it wasn’t by attacking others that didn’t have a positive experience.
Thank you for giving an unbiased opinion. There will be flaws with every company that is out there, whether direct sales or the regular 9 to 5 career. It is up to each person to decide what is beneficial to them.
You’re welcome and I agree with you. Unfortunately the reps don’t always tell you what the flaws are so I try to shed light to them so people can make an informed decision.
I would like to add that if you are not happy as a consultant at any point up to a year after your inventory was purchased, Mary Kay will purchase it back from you at 90 percent. So people aren’t really “stuck” with inventory should they choose not to work their business.
I see both sides of this. They do have a great product and clearly lots of women buy it and are loyal to it. There is obviously money to be made. That said, it’s not as easy as they lead you to believe. You do need to engage with people and step outside the comfort zone of thinking you’re going to get a starter kit and website and it will sell itself.
I know plenty of women who order $225.00 once a year to remain active just to get the discount. I know others that have been unbelievably successful.
As with anything, you will get out of it what you put into it and you need to be comfortable with it but if you have a good director and a decent business sense you could do well with it.
Thanks for chiming in. It;s great to hear that they will take the inventory back. Most MLMs won’t do that and that say a lot about Mark Kay.
Either way I appreciate your thoughts and tend to agree with you.
Mary Kay has great makeup – I used to use it. I also saw a pink cadillac and it was Mary kay. But it is MLM and it is sales so you would need to be good at that kind of thing including the hosting parties.
no thanks, but for the right person it could be great if their products are as good as they used to be.
Thanks for sharing Diana.
Thank You Always, Eddy. Your Presentation Is Balanced And Informative. We Need Protection From Ripoffs. We Like Mary Kay, But We’re Poor Salesmen.
As Always, Thanks Again. Sometime Please Review Amway
You’re welcome Joseph.
We’ll add Amway to the list of companies to review.
Hi, just wanted to chime in and say, back in the 70’s, 80’s, Mary Kay was a very good company to be a rep for. I was! But, as the years went by, their products changed, and not for the better. At that time, no push for reps to buy and keep products, as our higher ups knew products would be changing. The people who trained really walked the talk back then and gave it their all to help being you into the successful zone.
Then in one year, everything changed. I believe, (not for sure) Mary Kay brought her family into the business.
Products and how they were made changed, commissions and perks changed, and there was this almighty push that felt more like a spank then a help. I got out quickly! I don’t see it nearly as much as back then. People are really into preserving the earth, keeping the chemicals out back then. That has changed with this company. With the use of computers coming into the for front, people could see for themselves what crap they were making. They are savvy now a days, can’t pull one over as they tried when they changed. So, business took a turn for the worse in this Company. Her book that I read spells out the troubles. My long two cents worth, from someone who was in it 17 years!
Thanks for the detailed insight on the company and how it changed over the years. That seems to be a consistent statement from former reps. I wonder if Mary Kay’s golden era is far behind it. Either way I appreciate the feedback from a former rep. It means a lot in my opinion.
I had done MK back in 90s and it was great with other teens like me then, but then I grew up and tried again in my mid 20s. Not so great anymore, I lost alot of money in the first month and the products had started me breaking out and I thought I would wait it out (might clear up and start working after 6 weeks, as some do) it just got worse and I had to see a dermatologist.
I have seen 1 or 2 pink caddies in Wyoming recently though.
Thanks for sharing your experience with this company. Sounds like you experienced some ups and downs with it.
Mary Kay uses ingredients that are cancer causing and horrible for our planet. They have also resumed animal testing. I want to be wealthy AND preserve our beautiful planet as well as being compassionate to other species who share the planet with us.
Thanks for sharing that bit of information. It’s not something I wasn’t aware of. That’s definitely a big con in my mind. But I wonder if that can be argued about other products and foods we eat. Seems like damn near everything can cause cancer or hurts our environment nowadays. Either way I appreciate you sharing this with us. It’s something to think about.
I have seen MK in Puerto Rico since the 80’s. At that time it huge. They had many many Consultants. But now a day you don’t see much movement. They have a lot of competition. Also their prices have gone up. A lot. Even though their competitions also. Avon is one of their strongest competition. Even though their sales are not as strong as they were a few years ago, they are still going strong. They’re less expensive and their products get better and better. I did get to see quite a few pink Cadillacs in the 80’s and 90’s, but not anymore.
Thanks for chiming in. Yeah I remember when Mary Kay was a lot more popular. Avon has definitely become a global power and trying to expand past the whole MLM thing. I think it’s tough for any of these beauty companies because of the fierce competition. So it’s probably just a sign of the industry in general. Either way I appreciate you chiming in.
I don’t like MLM’s but if I were going to do one it would probably be Mary Kay. I do like their products and I’d use more if I didn’t have to be hassled by some sales rep. But yeah, you would have to be willing to really go at it to compete with the products that can be bought in department and drug stores.
Yeah it seems like a lot of folks don’t appreciate the MLM model and I definitely think it’s because of the high pressure sales tactic of the reps. If they were more laid back and let the products speak for themselves people would have better perceptions of MLMs. So I can appreciate your feelings towards them. And I agree about the competition factor. Too many of these MLMs sell products that can easily be bought in other stores. Their argument is our products contain certain elements that the store brand doesn’t but a lot of times folks don’t care if they can get something more affordable and without any sales pressure. So you make a valid point there as well.
Thanks for chiming in. Regardless it sounds like you did enjoy the products so that’s good to hear.
Thanks Eddy…I also checked out another MLM – Jenunesse Global…. I am not into MLM, but thanks for the info.
You’re welcome Lorna. I’m not big into them either. But some folks seem to really enjoy them. I may need to review this other one you mentioned. Thanks for sharing it and chiming in!
Eddy, I remember years ago going into this little shop that sold cool clothes and crazy jewelry and there was a Mary Kay make up display. I remember hearing about the pink Mary Kay car. It’s a company that’s been around for a long time. However, that doesn’t mean that they are a company. that is worth working for. Oil companies have been around a long time but it doesn’t mean that they are worth working for either.
Lots of these same kinds of companies that started out being ok to be a sales rep for and actually financial returns that the sales force could actually get, ended up going this way and they got so big and so over loaded that it just got to be a mess.
Most of these kinds of companies who have MLM programs also have intense pressure for the sales people to buy product. The reality is that most people who sell this these products end up doing so because they are the customers for these products and got into selling it so they could get the product for less money. That doesn’t work. You end up spending more and more money, due to pressure from your up line person. And then there are the meetings you go to and the pressure is on. I used to sell tupperware. It’s the same deal. It ends up costing the person who gets into to make money way more money than they ever thought possible.
While the quality of the products may or may not still be good quality as when they started, the business practice of high pressure on the sales people isn’t any kind of quality at all.
Here’s another consideration, make up has a shelf life just like food does. If you have a whole lot of tubes of mascara, the chances are some of it’s going to go bad before you get around to using it.
If it goes bad then you’ve lost money.
I know that’s a side trip to whether or not this is a good company to throw in with or not, but it’s got to be a consideration when thinking about becoming a sales rep.
Even if this wasn’t an MLM, the consideration of how long this stuff is good for before it has to be tossed would come into the picture.
I’m not sure that ever gets discussed or even thought of. They just throw huge numbers that you ‘could be making’ and then it’s down a hole filled with pressure.
You make some great points. I didn’t even think about the whole shelf life aspect. In terms of the pressure tactics of the salespeople, I agree with you. I find it to be very annoying. I know not all reps are that way but so many are when it comes to MLMs. But they’re trained to be that way and blindly follow it. My experience with some of those pusy reps is why I wrote my MLM article a while ago.
In any event, thanks for chiming in. That was some great insight!
I’m not into all these people who sell these cosmetics, I only use certain things. I guess if people like them they have parties and then join them. It can cost you a lot of money for everything an d then you have to go and deliver them and that can cost you with today’s gas prices.
I never thought about the whole gas angle. I just assumed the products are shipped to the customers. But that is a valid point if that is the case. Thanks for chiming in!