Mary Kay: Is there a pink Cadillac in your future? [Review]

mary-kayMary Kay is one of the best-known beauty multi-level marketing companies in the world…

And the most popular.

I mean, who hasn’t heard about their custom-made pink Cadillacs?

When it comes to cosmetics direct sales, Mary Kay is almost #1 (we see you, Avon).

Shoot, when it comes to MLM, they’re almost #1 with all the other “big daddys” (up there with Herbalife and Amway).

But is it right for you? Keep reading to find out.


1. What does Mary Kay sell? Mary Kay sells skin care, cosmetics, body care, fragrance, and men’s grooming products.

2. What are Mary Kay’s most popular products? Mary Kay’s flagship product is their skincare, which was designed to keep the skin looking flawless at any age. Their TimeWise Repair Ultimate Volu-Firm Set, which they’re calling the ultimate age-fighting regimen, is especially popular. It includes a foaming cleanser, lifting serum, day cream sunscreen, night treatment with Retinol, eye renewal cream, wrinkle filler, and facial peel.

3. How much does it cost to join Mary Kay? The Mary Kay starter kit costs $100 and includes full-sized demonstration products, samples, brochures, DVDs, and special offers, all in a feminine briefcase-style bag. You’ll also need to pay $30 to enroll in the Mary Kay Personal Web Site program.

4. Is Mary Kay a scam? No, Mary Kay is a legitimate business selling quality skin care and makeup. It also looks like they’re trying not to oversell the business opportunity of selling Mary Kay. Their website promises that having a Mary Kay business can give you freedom, but they also acknowledge that directors have worked hard and made sacrifices to achieve their success.

5. What is Mary Kay’s BBB rating? A+

6. How long has Mary Kay been in business? Since 1963

7. What is Mary Kay’s revenue? $3.25 billion

8. How many Mary Kay distributors are there? 3.5 million

9. What lawsuits have been filed? In recent years, there have been several cases of Mary Kay slapping down Mary Kay “resellers,” people who buy products from consultants who weren’t able to return them… and then sell them on Amazon or Ebay. In 2017, Truth in Advertising found some inappropriate income claims made by Mary Kay or their distributors. [1] In 2015, an employment class action lawsuit was filed by New Jersey state residents who worked for Mary Kay but were misclassified as independent contractors and made to purchase company merchandise as part of their employment. It was dismissed in 2016. [2, 3] In 2006, Mary Kay was ordered to pay more than $26 million in back royalties to TriStrata Technology Inc. for patent infringement. [4] In 2000, Michelle Graham appealed an injunction barring her from selling Mary Kay at her retail locations after terminating her consultant agreement. Mary Kay won. [5]

10. Comparable companies: Arbonne, Rodan + Fields, Jeunesse

So is Mary Kay a thing of the past or should you get involved?

Product-wise, they’re great. They’re classic. Business opportunity-wise, there are much better out there.

Click here for my #1 recommendation

Either way, here’s the full review on Mary Kay.


In case you don’t fully understand the level of dominance this MLM has reached, here are a few stats for you…

Direct Selling News ranks them as the #6 MLM…in the entire world.

They’re in the billion dollar club, and not only that, but their annual revenue for 2017 was $3.25 billion. For some perspective, direct selling GIANTS Herbalife were at $4.4 billion.

Mary Kay has been around for over 50 years, and they’ve got a mega sales army of over 3.5 million Independent Beauty Consultants.

This MLM has created a worldwide name for themselves and has made countless millionaires out of women all around the globe. Not only that, but they also share the wealth through a number of charitable organizations. The Mary Kay Foundation, their charity arm, has a couple of humble goals….to cure cancer and end domestic violence. All in a day’s work, you know.

So, there’s no question. Mary Kay is one of the biggest, most successful MLMs out there.

But hold up, wait a minute, don’t start dreaming about that rose-colored Caddy just yet.

How much does Mary Kay cost? In order to become a Mary Kay consultant, you must purchase a $100 starter kit. Then, in order to remain active and qualified for the commission plan, you have to sell at least $200 in product every 3 months.


We all know what they sell — beauty products. But are they any good? What makes them so special?

First of all, their products aren’t tested on animals, which is huge nowadays.

They’ve spent years testing, researching, and developing cosmetics, so you know their products are top notch. These aren’t just trending favorites, they’re time-tested, proven favorites. Seriously, their product development team is the size of some small countries.

They’ve also got more than just makeup and skincare, although that’s where their products are focused. But you’ll also find body products, fragrances, and men’s products.

Some of their best-sellers include Lash Love Mascara, their TimeWise 3-in-1 cleanser, their Mary Kay eyeliner, and their Mineral Powder Foundation. They’ve also released a new line of skincare products called Clear Proof that have been doing really well.

On top of that, their products are very reasonably priced. Compared to most major cosmetics brands, Mary Kay is considered affordable, even cheap. Most of their top products are around $12-$18.

Compensation Plan

When you buy into becoming a Pink Lady, you automatically get the title of Independent Beauty Consultant. If you sell well, you can move up to Independent Sales Director and National Sales Director. This is where the money’s at.

We all know the peons at the bottom of the pyramid don’t make good money…or any money at all. This is especially true of organizations as big and reputable as Mary Kay. They bring in a lot of money, sure, but the longer they stick around, the harder it gets to move to the top.

Anyway, the start up kit provides you with some materials to start: a business announcement eCard, a custom color look, 40% off a business kit (which you’re going to need if you’re serious), and 50% off Mary Kay product purchased online.

Yep, you read that right. 50% off. That means you purchase product at half price, re-sell it for full price. For folks that can count, that’s a 50% commission rate on personal sales. One of the best in the business.

Once you move up in rank, you can start earning 4% on the sales of your downline. If you keep shooting toward the sky, you could reach as high as 13% commission on sales that other people are making for you. Not bad at all.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. But how do I get the free pink car?

This is how their most successful distributors rope in new team members time and time again. They show up to Becky’s engagement party in their shiny new Mary Kay Caddy, and eventually one of Becky’s friends asks how she got it. Ba-da-bing, ba-da-boom, new recruit.

Anyway, I’m going to give you the good news first, then the bad news.

The good news is that all top sales people have the option of getting the pink Cadillac as a bonus if they can reach about $100,000 per year in sales.

The bad news? You have to hit 6 figures in sales. This is not an easy feat, folks. It’s going to require a lot of spamming your family and losing all your friends.

The extra bad news? Car bonus incentive programs are basically NEVER a good deal in MLM. If you do somehow manage to sell $100,000 and qualify for the Cadillac, you don’t get the car outright — you get a 2 year lease with Mary Kay paying your monthly lease payments for you. However, if you fall below that requirement, Mary Kay stops paying off your lease and you’re left to shoulder the $800+ monthly payments on your own. It’s a good way to rack up some debt.


If you HAVE to join an MLM and you’re really into makeup, Mary Kay is an obvious choice. They’ve churned out loads of successful sales women.

That being said, for every successful sales woman they made, they made 100 women go into debt buying product they weren’t able to sell.

Yes, Mary Kay might be killing it…for direct sales. But if it’s money you’re chasing, there’s other stuff out there.

If it’s financial freedom you seek and you like automated ways to build passive income, there are better ways.

Click here for my #1 recommendation


Meet the Author


JP teaches network marketers how to build a real business. Far from a hater, he still LOLs at 3-way calls and building "downlines". If you like Monday morning conversations with your kids by the pool, you might like this.

4 comments… add one
  • Lori Aug 19, 2017, 2:34 am

    Couple of comments on your review…MK does lease vehicles to the consultants and directors who earn one, but if they do not meet the requirements, yes it is taken away. No they are not strapped with the rest of the payments. Unlike other companies such as Arbonne and Le-Vel, where you must finance the car yourself and then those companies send you money to make the car payments. If something tragic were to happen and you could not continue in either of those business, you are stuck with a car and the car payments. Not so in Mary Kay.
    It is easy to make money at the bottom of the “pyramid” as you call it. The stories of those that do not make money, do not work the business. There are many sites out there with disgruntled consultants complaining MK is a pryamid and hard. MK is just like any MLM. You have to work it to make anything in it.

    • Rhonda W. Apr 28, 2018, 11:41 pm

      Also, no consultant should ever go into debt trying to sell Mary Kay. You aren’t required to keep any inventory and even the starter kit and inventory purchased, even though not a requirement, is refundable. In fact, even if you don’t purchase $225 in products within 3 months, which shouldn’t be that difficult, you won’t be “kicked out” as with some MLM companies. You will simply be considered active and eligible when you make your next purchase for $225. It’s really not difficult. If you go a year without spending that much you may as well find something else to do because you aren’t even using the products yourself anyway. Thank you so much for the reviews. I feel you have really done quite a bit of research and it’s a valuable tool for anyone looking into these MLM companies.

  • Gaby Sep 20, 2017, 4:51 am

    Hi, just a quick question. You wrote, “But if is money you’re chasing, there’s other stuff out there” would you be able to write about the other stuff? Thanks

    • Jeremy Page Oct 7, 2017, 9:34 am

      You didn’t see the highlighted box? Click here.

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