What is Mary Kay Cosmetics? – Mary Kay MLM Review

Selling skincare and make-up products in your spare time may seem a no brainer. There is a lot of cosmetics companies you can choose from. Mary Kay Cosmetics is one of them, but how does it work and is it the best company to go with? In this post, I am going to answer the question: What is Mary Kay Cosmetics, so that you can make your own decision whether this is the right company to work with in order to make money.

The current situation, caused by this new type of virus (aka Coronavirus COVID-19), is a real craziness.

I hope you and your family are well and safe these days?

I believe it will cause a lot of changes in how our world will operate when the virus recedes.

There has never been a better time to think about starting your own online business if you haven’t yet done so.

I bet you think the same way as me otherwise you wouldn’t be landing here on my website.

You are searching for creating an alternative source of income in order to financially protect yourself and your family from similar shocks.

My advice is to not waste any more time and get into the details right now!

Mary Kay OverviewWhat is Mary Kay Cosmetics? - The Logo

Full Name: Mary Kay Cosmetics, Inc.

Type: Multi-Level Marketing Business Opportunity

Website: https://www.marykay.com/

Founder: Mary Kay Ash

Year of Establishment: 1963

Price to Join: $100

Recommended? No

Important Note:

Please note that I am not a Mary Kay distributor and have never been in my life.

Multi-level marketing business model is not my thing, I have discovered this after being a part of some other MLM companies.

Since those times, I didn’t give up on the idea of having my own business so I continued searching for opportunities.

Therefore, I was lucky to learn about affiliate marketing which is another business model that lets you create your own affiliate marketing business without having to bug someone whether it’s your friends, family members, or anyone out there.

If You Don’t Want To Waste Anymore Time On MLMs,
See My #1 Recommended Way of Making Money Online:


Otherwise, keep reading my post as I have gathered here some good and unbiased information I am sure you don’t want missing!

What is Mary Kay?What is Mary Kay Cosmetics? - The Logo + Products

Based in Addison, Texas, USA, Mary Kay is a direct selling company, often referred to as a multi-level marketing company, network marketing, or referral marketing company.

It sells its cosmetics products through its network of distributors, also called Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultant.

Mary Kay is also known as the Queen of the MLM industry.

The company was established in September 1963, and according to Direct Selling News, Mary Kay was given spot #6 in the range of the largest direct-selling companies in the world in 2018, reporting $3,25 billion USD in income in 2018.

Mary Kay’s motto is “Enriching Women’s Lives” so its primary focus is on women.

Who is the Founder?

What is Mary Kay Cosmetics? - Mary Kay Ash
Mary Kay Ash (1918-2001)

Mary Kay Ash is an American businesswoman and founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics, Inc. She is also a business philosophy developer.

In 2000, Lifetime Television Online called Mary Kay Ash “The Most Outstanding Businesswoman of the XXth century”.

She is also the author of books on business and personal development that had become bestsellers.

Her autobiography Mary Kay had been sold in a million copies worldwide and translated into several languages.

Her other book “Mary Kay on People Management” is being used as educational material in the Harvard Business School and many companies. 

Are Mary Kay Products Any Good?

The assortment of the company’s products includes more than 200 items in the following categories:

  • Skincare
  • Body care
  • Make-up products
  • Perfumes

Overall, the products received 4 stars+ on ConsumerAffairs.com, based on 244 ratings received last year.

There are both positive and negative reviews, the latter ones even coming from former distributors.

The negative part is mostly about bad customer service, products don’t match the shades in the Look Book, as well as that these aren’t that good as they used to be some time ago.

What is Mary Kay Cosmetics? - Negative Reviews

More than that, it seems like their products are seen by the customers as overpriced:

What is Mary Kay Cosmetics? - Overpriced Products

However, remember I have promised you that I will be as much unbiased as possible in my review?

Well, I am the type of person who always keeps promises!

That is why I am here to tell you that apart from the complaints about Mary Kay’s company and its products, there are also people who seem to be pretty happy using them.


What is Mary Kay Cosmetics? - Positive Reviews

How Much Does it Cost to Join Mary Kay?

According to Mary Kay Cosmetics Marketing Plan, there is a need for investment into a Starter Kit that costs $100.

The Starter Kit comes with $400 worth of demonstration items, training materials, sales aids, etc.

What they put into the Starter Kit, changes from time to time. If you would like to see, what’s inside for 2020, you may wish to check the video by this beautiful lady Kirsten Bush:



Besides that, purchasing inventory is optional, but highly recommended.

For this, they provide a 90% Buy-Back Policy.

What this actually means is that if you have changed your mind and no longer want to run this business, you may return the inventory you have purchased in the last 12 months, for a 90% refund. 

How You Make Money With Mary Kay?

Like with many of the MLM companies out there, there are two ways in which you can proceed with Mary Kay in order to start making money.

Way #1: Retail Commissions

Become a Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultant (IBC), purchase their products, and then resell them to anyone who is interested in buying those.

Here are the concrete steps you’ll need to take:

  1. Connect with a person who is already a Mary Kay IBC;
  2. Sign in and submit an IBC Agreement;
  3. Get your Starter Kit, roll up your sleeves, and get to work! In this way, you can earn up to 50% commissions of everything you sell in retail.

Way #2: Build a Team of Mary Kay IBC

When you start recruiting people to join Mary Kay and make use of their business opportunity, you can earn product rewards and monetary bonuses.

Besides that, you earn a commission based on your team members’ product sales (between 4%-13% based on the number of recruits you have in your downline).

The Good and The Bad


#1. Legitimate Company, In Business for Years

With all the cons of Mary Kay, which I will reveal below, it still remains a legitimate business with 57 years of operation.

#2. Money-back Guarantee is Provided

According to Mary Kay’s Satisfaction Guarantee:

“If for any reason you are not completely satisfied with any Mary Kay® product purchased from an authorized Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultant, it will be replaced without charge, exchanged or the full purchase price refunded following its return to your authorized Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultant or, if she is no longer active, to the Company with proof of purchase”.

Nevertheless, a good part of those negative reviews and product complaints are about bad customer service and the impossibility to exchange the product or get your money back.

#3. A Variety of Products to Sell

With Mary Kay, you are not limited to selling one single product.

There are so many product positions to chose from that anyone out there could find something to buy.


#1. Beware of Negative Customer Reviews and Product Complaints

Apart from the complaints that I have explained above, found on ConsumerAffairs.com, there are also 12 complaints that refer to Mary Kay, on Better Business Bureau.

These complaints are related to problems with product or service, shipping issues, issues related to the 90% Buy-Back Policy, etc.

4 of those 12 complaints were resolved, the rest were just answered.

#2.  Mary Kay is Not Cruelty-Free

While overall, Mary Kay doesn’t support testing on animals or financing animal testing, the company still does this in some cases where it’s required by law.

For example, in order to be able to sell its products in China (this is the only country that requires, by law, cosmetics to be tested on animals) – the largest international cosmetics market, Mary Kay still agrees to obey this requirement.


What is Mary Kay Cosmetics? - Not Cruelty-Free


Although at the beginning of last year (2019), Chinese agency Gansu Province National Medical Products Association announced that post-market animal testing would no longer be a requirement for finished domestic or imported cosmetic products, The Humane Society International has expressed its skeptical attitude on Twitter, saying that “The headline is misleading, it’s encouraging but not yet a guarantee that no animal testing will ever again happen post-market, and pre-market animal testing for imported cosmetics remains as before”.

If you would like to join a cosmetic MLM company, you may wish to check out Oriflame Cosmetics.

#3. Beware of Numerous Lawsuits Around Mary Kay

Lawsuits are a normal thing when it comes to MLM companies, like in the case of Monat, Jeunesse, and Amway.

First of all, beware of the fact that Mary Kay tends to sue its beauty consultants (as well as people who buy Mary Kay products from Mary Kay beauty consultants), particularly for selling Mary Kay products on eBay and Amazon.

Most of these people are suing Mary Kay in return, calling it a pyramid scheme. It seems like this is not the happiest relation ever.

Can You Make Money With Mary Kay?

According to Mary Kay’s official website, they have around 3,5 mln of distributors from all around the world.

Among them, there are definitely people who are making money with Mary Kay, and there are also people who don’t.

Whether will it work for you, it will depend a lot on your personal skills as a salesperson because you have to understand clearly that you are getting into a direct sales company.

Besides that, you’ll need to learn everything about Mary Kay products and types of skin so that you can effectively recommend the right products to your customers.

Since Mary Kay is geared towards women mostly, this shouldn’t be an issue because let’s face it, we women love to take care of ourselves and most of the times, we know what to use and what not on our skin.

At the same time, beware of all those negative reviews and complaints about Mary Kay’s products.

Even if you are well-versed when it comes to beauty, skincare, and make-up products, you are not guaranteed that one Mary Kay product or another will work perfectly fine for each of your potential customers.

Also, take note that in order to be eligible to earn commissions, you’ll need to maintain an active status.

What this actually means is that you’ll need to place at least $450 retail orders ($225 in discounted wholesale orders) for cosmetics intended for resale during the month.

Besides that, there is also a requirement to have at least one recruit in your downline.

Another point I would like to make here is that I haven’t found any income statements from actual Mary Kay distributors, with the exception of Canadian Mary Kay IBCs.

Here is a screenshot from Mary Kay’s official website:


What is Mary Kay Cosmetics? - Income Report for 2018

Of course, these numbers are only indicative, you can make more, or you can make less, but it’s good to know what’s earning potential on average.

As you can see yourself, it’s not that big, and very few Canadian Mary Kay distributors have managed to make a more or less significant income selling Mary Kay products.

My Final Opinion About Mary Kay + A Better Alternative

According to Bloomberg, Mary Kay is the third-largest direct seller of cosmetics and skincare products.

Currently, Mary Kay’s son, Richard Rogers owns half of the company, while the other half by two investors.

From the multiple reviews, I have found over the internet, it seems like Mary Kay Cosmetics is no longer that same company as it used to be while it was run by the woman who has found it.

Based on the cons I have exposed above, I do not recommend joining Mary Kay business opportunity unless you already use Mary Kay’s products and can make product recommendations based on your personal experience.

If you are serious about starting your own business though, I would recommend you considering affiliate marketing.

In short, you will also be earning money based on sales you will be generating with one big advantage:

You will not need to bug your friends and family or convince anyone to sign up.

If that sounds interesting to you, you may wish to click the button below to learn about an awesome platform that teaches how to do that.


If You Don’t Want To Waste Anymore Time On MLMs,
See My #1 Recommended Way of Making Money Online:


I hope you have enjoyed reading this article and now you know better What is Mary Kay Cosmetics.

If you have any more questions I haven’t touched, or you want to tell your experience about selling Mary Kay products, you are more than welcomed to leave a comment down below.

Stay safe and I will talk to you within my next post.

Best Wishes,



Mary Kay MLM






Overall Quality



  • Legitimate Company, In Business for Years
  • Money-back Guarantee is Provided
  • A Variety of Products to Sell


  • Beware of Negative Customer Reviews and Product Complaints
  • Mary Kay is Not Cruelty-Free
  • Beware of Numerous Lawsuits Around Mary Kay

2 thoughts on “What is Mary Kay Cosmetics? – Mary Kay MLM Review”

  1. Hi Natalie,

    Thanks for this informative article. I love how comprehensive it is to understand every detail about Mary Kay. The expensive products seem a nature in the industry so that the companies can pay its distributors the commissions. Let’s not blame Mary Kay on this; every MLM is the same.

    If the products from Mary Kay come with high-quality, there might be a chance that I want to join Mary Kay. After seeing your attached feedback from real customers, it makes me want to avoid Mary Kay. I hate to deal with product return or product refund, although it got a policy about this.

    Besides the MLM industry, do you recommend other alternatives that people could make money online?


    • Hi, Matt, thank you for reading and your feedback.

      I do recommend affiliate marketing, it’s similar to MLM when it comes to product recommendation but it’s much better, in my opinion since it doesn’t require recruiting people in order to make money.

      Also, your success in any MLM company out there depends on the efforts of other people that you recruit in your downline.

      While in affiliate marketing there are only 3 stakeholders: you, the affiliate program/network, and your customer. Your success here depends solely on you, and not anybody else.

      I hope this helps!
      Best Wishes,


Leave a Reply to Matt Lin Cancel reply