Mary Kay Scam: MLM or Pyramid Scheme? [Review]

If you’re curious about Mary Kay and whether or not it’s a pyramid scheme, you’re not alone. With so many online scams out there, it’s important to do your research before investing your time and money into any opportunity.

As an online entrepreneur, I’ve reviewed countless programs over the years – including Mary Kay. In fact, I’ve just completed a thorough research on Mary Kay and I’m excited to share everything I’ve learned with you.

Before we dive in, I want to make it clear that I’m not affiliated with Mary Kay in any way. This means that my review is completely unbiased and not influenced by any financial gain.

So, let’s get started and find out if Mary Kay is worth your time and money.

What is Mary Kay?

Mary Kay is a well-known American cosmetics company founded by Mary Kay Ash in 1963 in Texas. The company has an interesting business model, as it uses Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) to sell its products. Currently, Richard Rogers, who is Mary Kay’s son and co-founder of the company, is the Executive Chairman. David Holl is the President and Chief Executive Officer.

To reach out to more customers, Mary Kay has independent distributors called beauty consultants. These beauty consultants sell and distribute Mary Kay products directly to people in their social circles. The company operates in over 35 markets across five continents, including Canada, the United Kingdom, Mexico, China, and Australia, to name a few.

Mary Kay’s founder, Mary Kay Ash, came from an average family and started this MLM with only $5k. Despite this, she opened a beauty shop in Las Vegas and employed nine people as beauty consultants. Today, Mary Kay is one of the world’s largest multi-level marketing companies and has distributors all over the world.

Recommendation: Here’s The Best Alternative

Who Is Mary Kay Ash?

Mary Kay Ash was a businesswoman who revolutionized the beauty industry with her company, Mary Kay. Today, her brand generates over $1.2 billion in sales and has more than one million affiliates in 30+ countries.

Back in the day, when Mary Kay Ash founded her company, multilevel marketing was unheard of. However, she changed the game with her innovative business model, making Mary Kay the first multilevel marketing company in the world.

Although Mary Kay Ash passed away in 2001, her legacy lives on through her children, who now serve as Mary Kay executives. Despite her death, her company continues to thrive, thanks to her dedication and entrepreneurial spirit.

What Products Does Mary Kay Offer?

Mary Kay offers a wide range of beauty and skincare products, including makeup, body creams, sunscreens, fragrances, and even men’s grooming essentials. Their best-sellers include the Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover and the TimeWise Miracle Set, which consists of a moisturizer, cleanser, sunscreen, and night solution.

As with any MLM, it’s important to ensure the products are worth the investment. Mary Kay claims to be the #1 skin care MLM in the world, but that’s a common claim among MLMs. Let’s take a closer look at some of their popular products.

Mary Kay Botanical Skin Effective Care is a $58 investment that promises to eliminate wrinkles, acne, and dust from your skin while promoting a healthy, glowing complexion. Their $75 gel hydrates your skin and removes acne, making it a great option for those with blemishes.

For $52, the Timewise Night Treatment helps you wake up with healthier-looking skin. And their flagship product, the Timewise Miracle Set, can be yours for $100 and promises a youthful, fresh appearance.

However, mixed reviews suggest that not everyone may find these products effective. Positive reviews may come from Mary Kay distributors, so it’s important to do your own research before making a purchase.

If you’re curious about Mary Kay’s products, check out their short video for more information.

Recommendation: Here’s The Best Alternative

Is Mary Kay An MLM?

Yes, Mary Kay is a well-known multi-level marketing (MLM) company that sells beauty products such as cosmetics and skincare items. The company has been in business for many years, and its beauty consultants are considered pioneers in the beauty industry, giving them an edge over other MLMs.

The beauty consultants, who are part of Mary Kay’s MLM business model, sell and distribute the company’s products in their communities. They do not receive salaries but earn a commission on their sales. However, recent criticisms have been directed at the MLM business model in general, with some media outlets calling it a get-rich-quick scheme that resembles a pyramid scheme.

Despite these criticisms, Mary Kay has been successful in the highly competitive beauty industry, with a wholesale volume of $3.25 USD billion in 2018. It is the sixth-largest network company in the world, and it’s not hard to see why. Mary Kay consultants have built successful businesses by selling the company’s products to their customers.

However, some have questioned whether Mary Kay is a pyramid scheme, which is a business model where the main method of earning money is by recruiting others and charging them fees for participation – not by selling products. Although Mary Kay denies this, some say that it resembles a pyramid scheme in practice, especially given the pressure to buy products and sell them to clients, which can leave salespeople with unsold inventory and in debt.

You may also want to read our article on the top MLM companies.

Recommendation: Here’s The Best Alternative

Is Mary Kay A Pyramid Scheme?

No, Mary Kay is not a pyramid scheme. It is a reputable cosmetics company that has been offering quality beauty products to customers for years. And the best part? Mary Kay consultants can make money by selling their products without having to recruit other salespeople.

Unlike other MLM companies, Mary Kay doesn’t prioritize recruiting over selling products. While recruiting can be a crucial part of some MLMs, it’s not a requirement for making money with Mary Kay. Consultants can still earn income by selling their beauty products without recruiting anyone.

So, if Mary Kay isn’t a pyramid scheme, what is a pyramid scheme? Pyramid schemes are companies or organizations that promise their members monetary rewards for recruiting new members. The focus is on recruiting rather than selling products and services. Many countries have already banned these types of companies because not everyone can earn in a business that pays its members solely to recruit others. In pyramid schemes, the company’s highest earners typically make their money by recruiting others to participate in the “business opportunity.”

You may read our article on the difference between MLM and pyramid schemes here.

To avoid falling for pyramid schemes disguised as legitimate companies, it’s important to learn how to spot them. You can watch a video below to learn more.

How to Make Money With Mary Kay?

Mary Kay is not just any ordinary makeup brand – it’s also a multilevel marketing company that offers people the chance to work from home. They were one of the first companies to use direct selling, which sets them apart from other MLM companies.

The way it works is that members buy Mary Kay products at a discount and then sell them at full retail prices. It seems like a great deal at first, but what’s not so obvious is that Mary Kay is saving loads of money on marketing costs by having their members promote and advertise the products from home.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t make money with Mary Kay. If you’re a good salesperson and you put in the effort to build your business, you can earn commissions on your sales and the sales of the people you recruit.

However, it’s important to remember that not everyone succeeds in MLM companies like Mary Kay. It takes a lot of work and dedication to make a substantial income, and there’s always the risk of losing money if you don’t sell enough products or recruit enough people.

In the end, whether or not Mary Kay is worth it depends on your personal goals and circumstances. If you’re passionate about makeup and you’re willing to put in the work, it could be a great opportunity to make some extra cash. Just be sure to do your research and approach it with a realistic mindset.

Recommendation: Here’s The Best Alternative

Mary Kay’s Compensation Plan

If you’re interested in becoming a Mary Kay consultant, you’re probably wondering how the company’s compensation plan works. Here’s what you need to know:

Mary Kay offers several levels of commissions, and the more you sell, the more you’ll make. This means that if you sell more, you’ll earn higher percentage amounts of commission, and the compensation plan also rewards sales volume.

To make more money, you’ll need to recruit more Independent Beauty Consultants (IBCs) to your team. The more people you sign up, the more team building bonuses and commissions you’ll receive.

To keep your business well-stocked for future customers, you’ll need to consistently order large quantities of inventory. However, if those customers never materialize, you could be left with a lot of unsold product and debt.

In order to qualify for commissions, you must maintain certain monthly production numbers. Unfortunately, the chances of an average IBC recouping their costs are slim, given the poor success rates of many multi-level marketing (MLM) companies.

Mary Kay’s compensation plan includes direct sales commissions, downline sales commissions, and team building commissions. You’ll earn 50% commission on every sale you make, and up to 4% commissions on your downline’s sales. If you recruit more people to your team, you can earn $50 to $1,000 depending on your rank.

However, keep in mind that Mary Kay’s compensation plan is structured in a way that rewards you for recruiting others, which some people might view as a disguised pyramid scheme. It’s important to carefully consider the risks and benefits before deciding whether to become a Mary Kay consultant.

How Much Can Mary Kay Consultants Earn?

If you’re considering becoming a Mary Kay consultant, you might be wondering how much money you could make. Well, according to Mary Kay, you’ll receive a 50% commission on all products you sell. However, keep in mind that this doesn’t include any fees for marketing or running your business.

On average, a Mary Kay beauty consultant can earn up to $5,569 per year through commissions or bonuses. But, if you work your way up to becoming a Mary Kay Independent Sales Director or higher, you might even get to use a Mary Kay career car or attend an incentive trip. In fact, as of December 31, 2019, 62% of the 485 Independent Sales Directors and Independent National Sales Directors participated in the Career Car Program, and 42% attended an incentive trip.

Now, you may have heard about the infamous Mary Kay Pink Cadillac, and you might be wondering if this is something you could earn too. Well, according to a review, it’s common for MLM companies like Mary Kay to offer incentives like this to entice people into the business.

But it’s important to remember that Multi Level Marketing companies rely on endless recruitment of new customers who buy inventory packages to increase sales and wealth from the bottom to the top of the pyramid. So, while earning a pink Cadillac might be a dream come true for some, it’s important to weigh the potential benefits against the risks and responsibilities of running your own Mary Kay business.

Recommendation: Here’s The Best Alternative

How Much Does It Cost To Join Mary Kay?

If you’re interested in becoming a Mary Kay distributor, there are some costs to consider. First and foremost, you’ll need to purchase their $99 starter kit to get started.

Once you’re a distributor, you’ll earn a 50% commission on every product you sell, which can be a great way to earn money by selling at retail. However, it’s important to note that Mary Kay operates as a network marketing company, meaning there’s a multi-level structure involved.

To stay active with Mary Kay, you’ll need to meet a sales quota of $75, which you’ll have to purchase yourself. Over the course of a year, that adds up to $1000 in total expenses.

While $1000 may not seem like a lot of money to start a business, it’s important to consider the time commitment involved as well. Becoming a successful Mary Kay distributor takes time, effort, and dedication to building a customer base and growing your sales.

Pros of Joining Mary Kay MLM

Mary Kay is a well-established company that has been around for over 50 years. They are a multibillion-dollar business, so you can feel confident in their stability. Although MLM companies have come and gone over the years, Mary Kay has proven to be a reliable and reputable business.

Juicy Incentives and Rewards

One of the most appealing aspects of joining Mary Kay is the incentives and rewards they offer. The commission for selling their products can be as high as 50%, and top distributors can earn luxury trips, fine jewelry, and the latest technology. The Career Car Program is also a coveted reward, with the iconic pink Cadillac being the most famous. The company has also added black BMWs, Chevrolets, and Toyotas to the program. However, you must generate at least $75,000-$100,000 in sales volume in six months to qualify for the program.

Positive Product Reviews

Many people have praised Mary Kay’s products on their website, with numerous positive reviews. While it’s unclear whether these reviews are written by distributors, they still provide an indication of the quality of the products.

Upward Trend in Product Demand

Mary Kay’s products continue to be in high demand, as evidenced by their trend on Google. This means that you may have an easier time selling their products.

Recommendation: Here’s The Best Alternative

Cons of Joining Mary Kay MLM

Mary Kay is a well-known MLM company that sells beauty and skincare products. While the company may seem like a great opportunity to earn money and work from home, there are several cons that you need to consider before joining.

You Can’t Make a Lot of Money Without Recruiting

To earn a significant income with Mary Kay, you need to recruit new distributors. This means that you will have to sell Mary Kay products to your friends and family and encourage them to join the company. If you are not comfortable with recruiting, you may find it difficult to make any money with this company.

Mary Kay Updates the Product Formulas Too Often

Mary Kay frequently updates its product formulas, which can leave distributors with outdated inventory that is difficult to sell. This can be frustrating and may result in lost income.

You Need to Purchase Inventory From Mary Kay

To remain “active” as a Mary Kay distributor, you need to purchase wholesale products from the company regularly. Some upline mentors may push you to buy more inventory than you need, which can be expensive and lead to unsold products sitting in your drawers or closet.

Pressure to Meet Monthly Sales Target

There is a lot of pressure to meet monthly sales targets with Mary Kay. If you don’t meet your production numbers, you can lose your commission check, even if you were a top seller the month before.

Mary Kay’s Success Rate is Rare

Mary Kay is one of the most challenging MLM companies to succeed in. The majority of MLM members lose money, and Mary Kay is no exception. In fact, 92.3% of Mary Kay members lose money.

Mary Kay Products are Expensive

Mary Kay products are expensive, which can make selling them difficult. While the company claims that their products are competitively priced, customers can easily find similar products at a lower cost on sites like Amazon.

Mary Kay Is In A Very Saturated Market

The cosmetic industry is highly competitive, and Mary Kay is just one of many companies vying for customers’ attention. This makes it difficult to stand out and sell products.

Mary Kay Has Hidden Monthly Expenses

Mary Kay requires distributors to pay monthly fees on top of their starter kit, which can be expensive and eat into your profits.

One In 200 Affiliates Earns More Than $2000 A Month

According to Mary Kay’s own income disclosure statement, only 0.5% of affiliates earn more than $2000 per month. This means that the vast majority of distributors make very little money, if any at all.

Is Mary Kay a Scam?

Legally speaking, Mary Kay is not a scam. They sell real and legitimate products and they pay their members on time.

So, why do some people claim that Mary Kay is a scam? It all comes down to the disappointment they feel when they realize they’re losing more money than they’re making. If Mary Kay members don’t reach their sales quota, they have to buy their own products. This can be frustrating for some members who may end up spending more than they’re making.

Recommendation: Here’s The Best Alternative


What is Mary Kay’s Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating?

Mary Kay has an A+ BBB rating, which is the highest rating that a business can receive from the BBB.

How long has Mary Kay been in business?

Mary Kay has been in business since 1963. That’s almost 60 years of empowering women and promoting beauty!

What is Mary Kay’s revenue?

According to recent reports, Mary Kay’s revenue is around $3.25 billion. That’s a lot of lipsticks and skincare products!

How many Mary Kay distributors are there?

As of the latest figures, there are around 3.5 million Mary Kay distributors around the world. That’s a lot of people who believe in the brand and its mission.

What lawsuits have been filed against Mary Kay?

Mary Kay has had a few lawsuits filed against it over the years. One involved “resellers” who were selling Mary Kay products on Amazon and eBay without authorization. Another lawsuit involved misclassification of independent contractors in New Jersey who were forced to buy company merchandise as part of their employment. However, both of these lawsuits were dismissed. Mary Kay also had to pay back more than $26 million in royalties for patent infringement, and won an appeal against a former consultant who was barred from selling Mary Kay at her retail locations.

Final Verdict

So, after going through my Mary Kay review, I have to say that I wouldn’t recommend joining Mary Kay. if you’re looking to make money. Even though they’re one of the largest cosmetics companies out there and have some good products, I found that compared to other beauty MLMs, they aren’t worth it.

To make any decent money at Mary Kay, you need to recruit as many people as possible. Unfortunately, this means that the majority of people you recruit are going to lose money, which just isn’t ethical in my opinion.

So, if you’re looking for a better way to make passive income online without having to sell to your relatives, I’ve got a great recommendation for you! It’s a 100% legit and sustainable way to make money online, and I’ll tell you all about it in the next section.

Recommendation: Here’s The Best Alternative

Is There a Better Way to Make Money Online?

If you’re starting your journey into online business, you need a platform that’s better than Mary Kay. And I’ve got just the one for you – Wealthy Affiliate. It’s an all-in-one platform that can help you build your affiliate marketing business from scratch.

When you join Wealthy Affiliate, you’ll have access to first-class web hosting service, keyword research tools, community support, comprehensive training, writing tools, and other software that will guide you through building your online business step-by-step.

And the best part? You can sign up for a free account with Wealthy Affiliate, which means you can get started with affiliate marketing right away without paying anything. If you like the platform, you can upgrade to premium membership to access everything on the platform, and there are no upsells afterwards.

You may read our article about the difference between MLM and affiliate marketing.

Now, you might be wondering how much you can earn with Wealthy Affiliate. Well, a 21-year-old student from Wealthy Affiliate was able to earn $7,395 in just one week by applying what was taught inside Wealthy Affiliate. Impressive, right?

You can read our full review of Wealthy Affiliate here.

Wealthy Affiliate Testimonial

Compared to other platforms like Authority Hacker, Wealthy Affiliate has a longer history, having been established for 15 years, and there are many success stories over the past decade. In fact, Wealthy Affiliate has more than a million members, which speaks to its popularity.

To give you an idea, here are some inspiring success stories of Wealthy Affiliate members.

Joining Wealthy Affiliate is easy. The pricing scheme is simple, with free and premium membership options. Premium membership costs only $49 per month or $395 per year. And if you want to try Wealthy Affiliate out for yourself, you can sign up for the free starter membership with no credit card required. As a starter member, you’ll have instant access to the community, live chat, over 500 training modules, 2 classrooms, networking, commenting, 1 free website, and access to the keyword tool.

You can enjoy all of these benefits without spending a single penny. So, I highly recommend registering for a free account and seeing for yourself what Wealthy Affiliate has to offer.

Recommendation: Here’s The Best Alternative

Leave a Comment