Is Mary Kay A Pyramid Scheme? No, But…

mary kay

Welcome to my Mary Kay review.

Even if you’re not big into makeup and cosmetics chances are you’ve heard of Mary Kay, right? I know I have. And how could you not. It’s one of the biggest MLM cosmetic companies on the planet.

And just like other MLM companies they all have good and bad reputations depending on whom you talk to.

So, how great is the Mary Kay homebased business opportunity? Is it a scam? Is Mary Kay a pyramid scheme like a lot of people say it is?

Well, let’s see.

Now, before we get into this, just know. I’m simply here to show you the pros and cons of Mary Kay’s business opportunity and give you my personal opinion. Whether you decide to join Mary Kay or not after reading my review is up to you.

Alright, let’s see what Mary Kay is all about.

Quick Overview

Product Name: Mary Kay


Price: $100 – starter kit

Founder: Mary Kay Ash

Type Of Product Company: Multi level marketing cosmetic company

So, Who Is Mary Kay?

After personally experiencing inequality in the workplace Mary Kay knew that she had to make a change. Not only for herself, but for all women. So, with an investment of $5000 from her oldest son Mary Kay Ash launched her business (Beauty by Mary Kay) in 1963.

And in doing so she flew in the face of the male dominated business world.

Throughout her career Mary Kay dedicated herself to empowering women and giving them the opportunity to put themselves in control of their own future. She always believed having the right values could carry you to the top.

She’s was called the most outstanding woman in business in the 20th century by Lifetime Television in 2000. As well as the “Greatest Female Entrepreneur in American History” by the Baylor University in 2003.

Mary has since died (2001). But her company has continued to grow to the tune of over 200 products that include skin creams, cosmetics, fragrances, as well as dietary supplements.

Their annual worldwide sales average around $3.5 billion. And they have over 3.5 million Independent Beauty Consultants (IBCs) in nearly 40 markets on five continents. Mary Kay Inc. is a privately held multi-level marketing company and is headquartered in Addison, Texas, USA.

The Products

As I mentioned Mary Kay carries over 200 products in the following categories:


  • Here you’ll find everything for your skin from night and day creams, eye creams, gel masks, toning lotions, etc.


  • Here you’ll find everything from lipstick, eyeshadow, foundation, mascara, applicators and so on.

Body & Sun

  • Here you’ll find foot care, hand care products. Sun care products, body washes, etc.


  • Here you’ll find Mary Kay’s own fragrance line for both men and women.


  • Here you’ll find skincare products for men along with the men’s fragrance line.


  • Here you’ll find gift sets for men, women, and teens.

Are The Products Any Good?

As with any business the success of failure of your business is going to be dependent on the products that your marketing.

Now when it comes to any company, you’re going to have the people that rave about the company and then you can have your detractors. That’s just the nature of any business.

But from my research from what I can tell the people that use Mary Kay products love their products.

And the reason why so many people love Mary Kay products is that Mary Kay itself puts a lot of thought and effort into delivering top quality products.

This includes spending millions of dollars on testing, that includes testing their product on multiple skin types assessing skin irritancy and allergy.

There testing also includes clinical studies that use independent dermatologist, ophthalmologists as well as other medical experts.

All of the ingredients that they use are evaluated in their own research center by toxicologists and microbiologists. And if it doesn’t pass snuff, they don’t use the ingredient.

When it comes to the products they live by “Our Always List”.

  • We Screen – they screen every ingredient they use
  • We Test – they test for product safety, quality, and performance
  • We Investigate – they investigate any issues related to product safety
  • We Prohibit – they go over and above the 1300 band use of ingredients worldwide so they can meet their high product standards

That’s great, however, there is an issue that’s been raised by the Independent beauty consultants themselves.

Because Mary Kay is always innovating and changing their product formula a lot of independent beauty consultants find themselves stuck with out of date product.

Because let’s face it, when you want to buy something you want the latest and greatest. So many independent beauty consultants find they have a bunch of products that they find extremely hard to sell or can’t sell at all.

And now they’re sitting on hundreds and maybe in some cases thousands of dollars of product they can’t move.

And for me that raises the question why do they keep doing that? And maybe it’s the cynic in me when it comes to MLM companies.

Sure, they could be doing that to make sure they’re using the best ingredients and staying up with technology.

But maybe the dark side could be that it forces independent business consultants to constantly have to purchase the latest version of a product so they can sell it.

I could be wrong. But it’s just something that’s twirling around in my head.

So, How Do You Make Money With Mary Kay?

Now we’re getting down to the brass tacks of the business because everybody wants to know how do you make money with Mary Kay?

Now if you head to Mary Kay’s official website, you’re not going to find any information regards the compensation plan.

So, after some digging around, I did fined an Advanced Brochure at Pink Truth that does go through the compensation plan.

Well let me just say there are so many different levels, qualifications, titles, and requirements in this compensation plan there’s no way I could go through all of it here. Plus I got a headache going through this plan.

You’ve got senior beauty consultant, star team builder, team leader, future independent sales director, future executive senior. And the list goes on and on.

So, if you want to do some light reading (yes that was sarcasm) you can take a look at things for yourself at Pink Truth. Heads up, the compensation plan is 50 pages long.

Suffice it to say when you break everything down there are two ways that you can make money through Mary Kay.

The first way is to simply retail the product. However, if you want to have the opportunity of earning that “big money”. You need to recruit people into the business.

And the more independent business consultants that you sign up the more opportunity there is for you to climb the ranks within Mary Kay and make the big money.

So that makes me wonder, why are they so secretive about their compensation plan?

Can You Make Money With Mary Kay?

Okay so they have a confusing and complicated compensation plan. Which really is no surprise because I haven’t come across too many MLM companies that don’t have ridiculously confusing compensation plans.

But setting all that aside the big question is can you really make money with Mary Kay?

And that’s a question everyone’s going to ask.

So, in trying to find answers to that question I could not find an income disclosure statement for the United States which is Mary Kay’s biggest market.

But I did find a 2019 one for Canada. And what I found was not very inspiring.

If you look at the chart below. 83% of the independent beauty consultants in Canada earned absolutely ZERO.

Mary Kay annual commissions

And only 15% earned a total of $206 for the entire year. And 1.6% earned just over $20,000 for the year with an average of four years to get to that income.

And less than half a percent earned just over $124,000 with the average time being 15 years in the business.

Look, I’m no math genius but these are not inspiring numbers. Now I can understand why they hide their compensation plan and their income disclosure statements.

Because if I told you, you could join Mary Kay and within 4 years you could be making $20,000 a year, how inspired would you be to join Mary Kay?

Going by those numbers the reality is you making life-changing money. And by life-changing money I mean money that can satisfy and even exceed all your financial goals.

The chances of making that kind of money with Mary Kay seem to be slim to none.

What’s The Price?

The cost to become an independent beauty consultant for Mary Kay is $100. This $100 goes toward your starter kit.

This starter kit includes:

  • Product samples valued at $400
  • Digital marketing tools
  • Educational material
  • Access to your own back office (Mary Kay InTouch® web site)
  • Step-by-step educational tools and customer support to help you build and grow your business

When it comes to this starter kit. Mary Kay states: The starter kit is not to be purchased for resale. The kit is for demonstration purposes only.

And to be considered an active independent beauty consultant you must buy $225 worth of product every 3 months. And it makes no difference if you need more product or not.

So regardless if you sell products or not, you’re going to be spending a minimum of $900 per year just on product purchases.

Yeah, you can call that the cost of doing business. But you shouldn’t be forced into having to buy product.

What I Like About Mary Kay

#1) Strong Company

Mary Kay has been around since 1963 and is a multibillion dollar company. So, if you do decide to become an independent beauty consultant for Mary Kay. You can be confident in knowing that the company is probably going to be around for a long time.

#2) Good Commissions

As an independent beauty consultant, you do have the ability to earn up to a 50% commission on the products you sell.

#3) Good Training Resources

As an independent beauty consultant, you have 24 hour access to Mary Kay Touch where you will find additional information, training, services, as well as the resources to manage your business.

#4) Quality Products

You certainly don’t stay in business since 1963 if you’re producing low quality products. And Mary Kay does go the extra mile to ensure they are producing quality products.

#5) It’s A New Car!!

If you dedicate yourself to the business and you put the work in that’s required to climb through the ranks within Mary Kay. You can earn yourself the iconic Mary Kay pink Cadillac. There are other cars you can choose from but most people choose the Cadillac.

mary kay pink cadillac

What I Didn’t Like About Mary Kay

#1) Very Low Success Rate

One thing they’re not telling you in these disclosure statements is how much money these independent beauty consultants are spending on products each month and how much money they’re spending on promoting their business.

I can guarantee you the majority of these people that are becoming independent beauty consultants are not only not making money but they’re going deeper and deeper in debt.

And I’m not just saying that.

That statement is supported by many, many different studies. In fact, according to research done by the FTC. It states that 99% of people they get involved in MLM companies lose money. In other words, they fail.

FTC study of MLM

And I’ve mentioned this before in other reviews of MLM companies. That means the majority of people that get involved with in MLM company will end up in deeper debt than they were before they started with the MLM company.

Despite all the hype and hoopla MLM is just a horrible business model to follow.

#2) Constant Recruiting

Yes, you can make money just retailing the products. But if you want to shot at the “big money” you better be prepared to become a serial recruiter.

As with all MLM compensation plans they are designed around the constant recruiting of new representatives. So that means on a daily basis you’re going to have to sell (convince) people to join your downline.

And you better get used to people saying no and the ones that do join. Get use to people quitting. It’s not going to be easy to find people that want this maybe as bad as you do.

Plus, why would you want to try and grow a business that relies so heavily on other people to help grow your business. That’s a recipe for failure.

#3) Required Purchases

To be considered an active independent beauty consultant you have to buy $225 worth of product every 3 months whether you need those products are not.

#4) Front-End Loading

Many former independent beauty consultants have complained about the initial ordering process when you first become a distributor.

And the complaint is front and loading. And what that is, is once you’ve bought your starter kit many consultants are pressured into buying more products upfront so they have inventory on hand.

#5) Frequent Product Updates

Mary Kay is constantly changing the formulas of their products. Which in itself is not a bad thing.

But what’s happening is independent business consultants are finding it extremely hard to sell their old inventory when a new product formula has been introduced to the marketplace.

And because of that they end up with old unsold stock.

My Final Opinion Of Mary Kay

So, is Mary Kay a pyramid scheme or a scam? No.

Sure, they do resemble a pyramid scheme because a lot of the focus is on recruiting. But they are a legitimate company that produces quality products that a lot of people like.

This is a solid company that is providing people with the opportunity to take financial control of their lives.

However, with that said I have serious concerns when it comes to the probability of the average person creating a sustainable business with Mary Kay.

Remember that income disclosure statement from Canada? 83% of independent beauty consultants weren’t eligible to earn commissions.

And only 15% of people that were eligible to earn commissions earned $206 for the entire year.

And I also want to remind you according to research from Jon M. Taylor, MBA, Ph.D., Consumer Awareness Institute. 99% of people to get involved with an MLM lose money.

With this information to me the negatives outweigh the positives when it comes to Mary Kay’s business opportunity.

So, for those reasons I cannot comfortably tell you that this is an opportunity that I think you should jump on.

If you’re going to invest your time, energy, and money into a business opportunity. It only makes sense that you should look for one that’s going to give you a much higher potential for a return on your investment.

Now of course if you think you can beat the odds and end up driving a pink Cadillac. By all means go for it, and I wish you nothing but success.

But if not, here’s another suggestion for you.

If you’re into beauty, makeup, and such you don’t have to join an MLM to make a wonderful living promoting those types of products.

You can do what I do and become an affiliate marketer. As an affiliate marketer you own and control your own business and you can market whatever products you like.

And unlike an MLM you don’t have to meet ridiculous sales quotas, meet certain qualifications, or be forced to buy products in order to earn your commissions.

And unlike an MLM you can start your affiliate marketing business absolutely free. And becoming an affiliate representative for a company is free as well.

So, if the idea of owning and operating your own affiliate marketing business sounds a lot better than being under the thumb of some MLM.

Then you definitely should take a moment and check out wealthy affiliate.

And the reason why I mention wealthy affiliate. Is because since 2005 wealthy affiliate has been providing people the tools, resources, training, and one-on-one personal support to help anyone build their own thriving online affiliate marketing business.

And the other thing is even if you’re not into beauty and makeup you can turn any hobby or passion that you have into a full-time online income as an affiliate marketer.

So, maybe you’re into remote control cars, hiking, camping, bike riding, cooking, gaming, your dog, your cat, etc. My point is it makes no difference what you’re into. You can turn it into a full-time online income.

In fact, it’s wealthy affiliate that has helped me grow my online affiliate marketing business into a multiple 6-figure a year passive income.

And the cool thing is, you can check out everything that wealthy affiliate has absolutely free.

I hope you found this review helpful and I hope I answered any questions you may have had about Mary Kay and its business opportunity.

Of course, if you have any questions or comments please feel free to leave them below and I’ll get back to you right away.

And if you did find this review helpful and enjoyed it please feel free to share it with your audience. And as always anytime you need a hand don’t hesitate Emailing Me anytime.

I believe in you!!

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