I thought I was alone.
For the longest time, I thought I was alone, caught in a nightmare, as this ‘thing’ called Mary Kay ripped apart my marriage, my home and my family.
As the husband of a former Mary Kay consultant-turned-sales director who dared to question my spouse about excess inventory on shelves, the time away from our children, thousands upon thousands of dollars in debt, I was accused of being “negative,” “unsupportive” and worse.
I never invited Mary Kay into our home and, while I was skeptical, I was initially supportive. However, after I had attended a few of the indoctrination sessions, saw the tactics used by her recruiter (a National Sales Director) and saw what was happening within my home, I began to see through what others call “The Pink Fog.”
Although I began trying to point out the “cultishness” of what I observed, I was ignored. If we had a discussion about Mary Kay and I questioned her debt, or was critical of what was going on, it turned into a heated argument. Everything became my fault.
Like most marriages, ours was never perfect. However, after two decades, I saw our marriage falling apart–with innocent children caught in between–but was powerless to stop it.
To me, it was Mary Kay. To her, it was because I wasn’t supporting her in Mary Kay.
After a while, I saw the changes occur in behavior as every new acquaintance became a target for recruitment–every event became an opportunity to harvest more victims. The “gifts” of excessive inventory were given at holidays. Changes in language used as our home became her Mary Kay “store” and how thousands of dollars of Mary Kay product on our shelves and basement were an “investment.”
I watched as our children would ask, “Where’s Mom?”
“At Mary Kay,” would answer another without further comment. Our children were led to believe that Mary Kay was good–that Mom was making money–all a lie.
I saw the exaggerations to friends and family, the white lies, the lies by omission, and outright lies somehow get twisted into the Truth, according to Mary Kay. I saw a woman of integrity becoming brainwashed into believing that putting her family into debt, working night and day for a pipe dream, and lying to herself and others was fine.
After a couple of years, we stopped talking almost entirely. I hated being around her and her cult and she, likely, hated having me around. I hated going home, but did because of our children.
It wasn’t until nearly five years into what I call The Cult of Mary Kay that one lie too many was told.
That was when I found the true depths of deceit and what the The Cult of Mary Kay cost my family:
After five years in, Mary Kay Cosmetics had cost my family over $100,000, wasted five years of my wife’s life (as the money she made went right back into her Mary Kay “business”), as well as cost our children innumerable nights and weekends when, instead of being with their mother, they were listening to her make her cold calls from the other room, with a babysitter, or me.
Through all of this, I wondered, was this an anomaly? Were others husbands or families going through this anguish?
In August 2012, Harpers Magazine published an article entitled the Pink Pyramid Scheme: How Mary Kay Cosmetics Preys on Desperate Housewives.
In the article, the writer told of a woman whose marriage had ended (in part) due to Mary Kay. That stuck with me. I realized I was not alone.
By October, I decided to do something about this Cult that had hurt my family’s finances, my marriage and turned our lives upside down.
I began to research more and, soon, with the help of many former Mary Kay consultants and directors I found online, I discovered that, not only are there more people like me–the family members whose relationships have been damaged by Mary Kay–there are many, many more.
For me, 2012 was The Year of Revelations.
In early 2013, while driving to meet a few of these former Mary Kay directors, the name F.A.C.E.S. came to me:
Families Against Cult-like Exploitation in Sales
Quite frankly, because I’ve felt for several of the last few years that, instead of “enriching women’s lives,” Mary Kay Cosmetics–actually destroys families through its predatory and manipulative sales tactics. What I learned the hard way, and found in story after story, Mary Kay is a company that, through its “independent” sales force exploits women and uses them, as well as their families’ resources, for financial gain.
Cosmetics may be their product, I’ve come to learn, but recruiting women like my spouse is the real mission of Mary Kay. Behind its pink façade is nothing more than a multi-level-marketing scheme that exploits women.
Through the research I’ve done and the people who have shared their stories with me, I’ve found the training materials aimed at deceiving husbands, how certain directors and National Sales Directors indoctrinate women to exclude husbands and other family members if they question, are “critical,” “negative,” or “unsupportive.” I saw the predatory tactics first hand, but did not immediately identify them for what they were until it was too late.
With the help of others, some of whom will share their stories with you, FACES has been built to show you that you are not alone.
More importantly, F.A.C.E.S. is a place where you can share your story so that, as others experience the devastation that Mary Kay Cosmetics’ has wrought on their families, they too will know they are not alone in their suffering.
Whether you are a husband or other family member of someone who was formerly (or currently is) in what they call “The Pink Fog,” feel free to share your “Our-Story” here. We do not publish last names and will only publish an image or video with your permission.
The mission of F.A.C.E.S. is simple: To help share the cult-like tactics of Mary Kay Cosmetics with its future victims and for those whose families have been negatively affected by this organization to share their stories.
It is time for people to know the real faces of those who have lost and the true costs of the predatory tactics used by those who sell for Mary Kay Cosmetics.