My Horrible Experience With Mary Kay

TL;DR – My very first experience with Mary Kay was a terrible one, and it has since put a bad taste in my mouth regarding MLMs in general. See my additional articles that support how I feel at the end of this post.

Two weeks ago I went to a bridal expo in Sacramento with my mom, sister Dani, and future sister-in-law, Amber. It was an okay experience for us, although we weren’t as into it as some of the other brides were. We were there more to get ideas whereas a lot of women were doing some serious vendor hunting. The majority of the vendor booths had raffles going on so we signed up for quite a bit of them hoping we’d win something. If it’s one thing I learned it’s don’t give out your phone numbers unless you want to be bothered to death by vendors. They’ve been bugging me all week!

One of the raffles we signed up for was to win a Mary Kay bridal package. From what I understood it entitled me to a bunch of “free goodies” (apparently $500 worth to be exact) and something about make-up for my wedding day and a facial. Somehow Amber and I got talked into doing a pampering session to try stuff out. We figured why not, it’s free, and we can invite our bridesmaids over for a little get-together. So that’s what we did.

I got a call from my MK rep a couple days before the scheduled get-together telling me I had won the bridal raffle. She kept emphasizing the “free goodies” I would be getting and that she would explain everything at our scheduled party.

I was excited about it, but I was warned by a friend who was a former MK sales rep.

One of the first things I learned in training was that EVERYBODY WINS. A strategy of MK is to place out those drawings/raffles and then literally call everyone who enters to tell them they won. They don’t feel bad about technically “cheating” people like this, it’s just another way to drum up clients. They get “winners” to book a session with them and invite other people, who they hope will also become one of their clients. We were taught to call it a “party”, a “pampering session”, whatever sounds best. They say the more people you invite and the more they buy at the party, the more discounts/freebies you (as the party host) will get.

The Pampering Session

Yesterday I had all my bridesmaids over (except one) and Amber had her bridesmaids over as well. The MK rep was scheduled to come over at 4pm. When I talked to her two days prior to confirm our appointment (she called me at 8:30pm in the evening 👀) she said she’d come over at 3:30pm to set-up. I figured no problem since I told all the girls to come over around 3pm; the MK lady mentioned free goodies for people who showed up early.

Everyone arrived at my house by 3:30pm but no MK rep. I get a phone call telling me she was running late and would be at my place in 30 minutes (she also said we’d get some extra free goodies because of her tardiness). She didn’t show up until 4:30pm, an hour later! One of my bridesmaids had to leave at 4:30pm so she didn’t get to partake in anything.

The MK lady shows up in a brand new Chevy Equinox, which I found out upon research is awarded to sales reps that keep up X amount of dollars in sales. She comes in, apologizes for being late and immediately helps herself to the food I prepared for my guests. ???? A little unprofessional, but I brushed it off.

After she sets up in the dining room we all sat down and went around the table introducing ourselves, what our skin-care concerns are and ‘how everyone knows Christine’; the MK lady kept calling me Christine to which my sis and friend kept saying “nuh” afterward, haha.

Finally, the MK lady introduces herself and went from talking about herself/the company to showing off her new car which she offered us the keys to go check out. ???? I thought this was a little unprofessional as it had nothing to do with why she was here.

Also while we were sitting at the table I was drinking some Perrier and she says, “Christine could you get me some water? I’d love some Perrier.” ???? I was taken aback, but being the polite hostess I was, I poured her a glass.

Once everyone came back inside from checking out the car, we began our session starting with skincare products, apparently MK’s version of a so-called facial. My definition of a facial apparently is very different than Mary Kay’s definition of a facial.

The term “facial” refers to a skincare class, where you and/or other girls you invite all sit down and listen to the consultant explain and demonstrate how to USE their products. You give yourself a “facial”, pretty much. The products are nice, but you do all the work! You just learn about and sample their face wash, microdermabrasion, face lotion, lip mask and then their hand products during the class. Not much real pampering to it, unfortunately.

Now, my flower girl was at this party (she’s 9) hoping to play with make-up, but for the most part, she was forced to sit and watch us put on beauty stuff. When it did come time for make-up all we got to try was some mineral foundation, eyeshadow, lip gloss, and mascara. We were limited to an extremely small representation of the Mary Kay line. Considering the suitcases she brought I thought we were going to have a LOT of product to play with. I got to play with more product at the Bare Minerals Master Event at Sephora University than I did here.

Trying to Recruit

When we were done she took the girls one by one into the living room for a private consultation. In other words, trying to get them to buy something (apparently none of the girls bought anything). Amber and I were the last ones to have our consultation and we wanted to do it together, mainly because Amber wanted me there for moral support so she wouldn’t get sucked into buying a ton of products.

As a hostess, I was entitled to $25 off a purchase so I got $29 worth of stuff. Amber got a $25 hostess discount too even though the MK lady made a snide comment to me on the phone about how she couldn’t get ahold of Amber so it’s really my party. Once we filled out the appropriate forms, the MK lady went out to her car to get our products. 15 minutes later she came back into the house informing us she didn’t have our stuff on hand and that she’d send it out to us the next day. She also had the nerve to ask if I was making alcoholic drinks due to the fact I was making Shirley Temples for a couple of the girls. ????

She then told us she’d like to spend 20 minutes talking to us some more about the company (aka trying to recruit us). All the girls except one followed my lead when I told her I wasn’t interested.

In the middle of cleaning up the dining room, the MK lady suddenly decided she needed to leave and didn’t bother doing her 20-minute recruiting session. Although we weren’t interested, I thought it was kind of rude of her to suddenly be in a big hurry to leave when she showed up late.

Poor Shipping and Handling

As a hostess, I was entitled to $25 of my product purchase. I decided to purchase eyeshadow and lipgloss, which were both demoed to me in the exact shades I ordered. However, the MK lady did not have the shades of the product I ordered with her.

Common sense would say, “Hey perhaps I should have the products in stock I plan to demo, especially since I’m expecting people to want to buy stuff. Plus it shouldn’t be too hard since there are only 3 different shades.” She didn’t have my shades of product so she told me she would send them out in the mail the following day. Amber had bought some product too that the lady did have on her, but for whatever reason, she decided she’d send Amber’s out the next day as well.

The next day both Amber and I immediately had our cards charged, but our product didn’t show up until 8 days later. I had emailed our rep on Sunday to which she called me yesterday giving me a song and a dance about how she had to go through all these other reps to get my stuff (doesn’t explain the delay in Amber’s stuff); she also apologized for never touching bases with me on the status of my order. She said she’d put my stuff out in the mail that day, and we left it at that.

While Amber’s stuff apparently arrived in good shape, my boxes looked like they were a bit beat up…

My Mary Kay Make-Up

Not Impressed

Oh, and you know how I was told several times about receiving free goodies? I didn’t get a single thing unless you include the tiny fingernail-sized sample of lip gloss that everyone got. What about my so-called bridal package? She didn’t say a word about it to me. Did my guests get any free goodies for showing up early and the MK lady being late? Nope. Nothing.

To be honest, I was not impressed with how this pampering session turned out. It was a complete waste of time. The lady was a bit unprofessional with her tardiness and presumptuousness, and I felt mislead with what she kept offering (the supposed ‘free goodies’ and ‘bridal package’); she also seemed to care more about recruiting and talking about the business than getting us to try/buy stuff (after reading this it makes sense now).

After this experience, I honestly wouldn’t recommend a pampering session with Mary Kay. I won’t be giving them my business in any shape or form ever again.

Other articles to check out:



OH my! I just came across your article and I’m mortified. I’m a Mary Kay Rep and I can say the way you and your friends were treated is not the Mary Kay way. Unfortunately, since we are independent business owners, some reps do things VERY differently than most. My Brides are my most spoiled customers and are always so happy after our appointment. I can’t apologize enough for her terrible behavior.

I agree with you Rebecca this is not the way I do things either. If someone wins in my raffle then they receive. I hosted a party for my consultant and she gave me $200 worth of stuff. I love Mary Kay and what it stands for and hate some consultants make people feel this way. In my opinion she needs a better consultant. I do know one thing I LOVE MK and did before my was a consultant.

Jennifer Heiler

I have to agree with Rebecca, I am mortified. Every consultant is different and I can promise you that the behavior you witnessed is not at all the Mary Kay way. I’m truly at a loss for words!

This completely breaks my heart! I am also a MK consultant and would never say that I was trained or taught to mislead in any way! The idea behind sharing the products in the form of a DIY facial is because we want to educate women about their skins needs and what our products do for them when used properly. Nothing worse than spending 100+ at a cosmetic counter after someone else applied your beauty products and then ending up at home without a clue of how of what order to use them in! Mary Kay business culture is about supporting, encouraging, enriching, and pouring into women. This lady clearly was not taught or trained this way, but as someone said each woman is an independent business owner. Just by some of the personal traits you described, she doesn’t seem like anyone I would want to be around or purchase from!! It only takes one bad apple to ruin the batch. Most women who swear off MK had a experience similar to yours and it makes me so mad at those “bad apple” reps!! So sorry you didn’t get to really experience the true heart of Mary Kay. I hope you will give it another try sometime in the future without another rep even if just a one-on-one facial! The products and company are really amazing!!

I just came across this article 8-9 years late apparently. But gee! That’s awful! I have never and would never do anything like that. That’s absolutely awful. I am truly sorry you had such a poor experience. That is not how our company is normally represented.

Jessica Jacquez

I’m so sorry you have to go through this. I’m 35 years old and I have been selling Mary Kay since I was 15 with my mother. Of course it’s wasnt our only source of income. My mom stop selling it to raise a full-time family. And I started selling it full time as a hobby ever since. But now that I lost my full-time job due to health issues I can’t stay on my feet for a long time this is something that I’m doing full time now. For about six years I’ve been doing facials but in a more professional way. I do try to pamper my girls as much as possible just like I would like to be pampered. I’m not very good at selling never have been. But I definitely understand how the directors will try to trick even some of us consulters into buying more product and having it on hand. And to be honest I don’t have the cash to invest in that so usually i have people pay half and then the other when I bring them the product and that’s how I make my money . I had to learn just to tell them no because I would invest and then nobody would buy that item and it would be sitting there forever and I would be without cash to pay for gas or groceries . A lot of them don’t care as long as they’re sitting in their cars and have their minions out on the street making them checks. But please don’t judge all of us by that one person. Believe me I bet there are more like her I’ve seen quite a few in the the years I’ve been with mk but please don’t judge all of us by that one person. Believe me there are more people like me who are literally doing this for income to support their families. I am also an ex victim of domestic violence and I like to do this because they benefit the cause and support so many wonderful organizations so just have that in mind and make sure to do your research on the person Who is selling your products next time By checking online and looking up their name. usually the people that sell more products have more references but I’m just as nice lol

So I’m just now seeing this in 2018 and I’m so sorry you had this experience. I’m a brand new Mary Kay consultant and I chose to be due the the amazing experiences I had at Mary Kay parties and facials. I was never ever treated like that and I’m so sorry you and your friends experienced that 🙁

I’m so sorry you received asuch a bad experience. I’ve been an Independent Mary Kay Beauty Consultant for 10 years now and can honestly say that that is not the Mary Kay way. I see why we get a bad rap, but honestly it isn’t the way that most of us that are Mary Kay reps behave. Blessed be.

She didnt know what she was doing! You need a better consultant to have a great MK experience. You have to remember all us consultants went through the experience before we were consultants. If it was that bad I wouldnt be one now and I have been for four years! Not everyone consultant is the same remember that!

Data Junkie

Interesting that all of the comments are from Mary Kay reps. PinkTruth has story upon story of shady tactics just like this by Mary Kay reps. OP is lucky her MK rep did not hold a raffle. That is a classic tactic to cover the cost of the party. The rep collects the raffle money up front, but then never actually holds the raffle. And no one at the party notices, because once everyone realizes this is just a hokey sales pitch, they want it to end as soon as possible. The rep then walks away with the raffle proceeds…which in most cases is the only money the rep will make that evening…probably not even enough to cover the cost of gas and samples.

Selling any MLM product to total strangers is nearly impossible given the poor quality and high price…it is even more difficult when pitched with such dishonesty, such as these bridal “pampering sessions”.

These Mary Kay makeup parties (whatever they call them) are such a ruse. And the sad thing is the rep is one of the folks hurt by all of this.

Data Junkie,
I’m not sure what has made you hate MK the way you do, but we are people also with feelings and ideas of what we think is fun and what pampering is. Your opinion is not the only one that counts so be humble and remember not everyone agrees with you.

In my opinion the products are amazing and worth every cent. My face, neck, and body look and feel amazing from using the products.

Would you be willing to share your story with me as to why you hate MK?

Shoshana, it is the dishonesty in MLM that I despise. Whether or not someone agrees with me does not change the fact that MLM is exploitative and that no single down-line in any MLM can be successful. In traditional companies, the sales organization as a whole can be profitable…such that positive revenue is generated for the company (from outside customers) with positive net pay for every single sales person. This is not possible in MLM.

Why does Mary Kay hide important information from you? What percent of Mary Kay inventory is purchased by non-reps? They don’t know and they don’t care, because the rep is the true customer of Mary Kay.

This analysis explains it well. If you take any rep in any MLM and do this analysis, you will see that the rep’s down-line is losing money as a whole. There is just no way around it.

Signing up with Mary Kay is not an opportunity for the new rep. It is an opportunity for Mary Kay. That is what I despise.

People have to understand that not all Mary kay consultants are like this. We are each responsible for our own actions and to bunch us all together is completely unfair. I understand how furious you must have been , I was also left with a bad taste in my mouth about a few Mary Kay consultants I met. But loving the product I myself kept looking for a good consultant. I found a group where I live who are the most fantastic bunch of women I could have ever hoped to meet and became a consultant myself. I’ve learned there is no one way to run my business as a consultant but my way. You see it just all depends on the person. You had a bad experience and its unfortunate they ruined the whole experience for you. Thank you also for posting so we can learn from her mistakes.

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