Hey there sea changers, and welcome back to my series of MLM reviews. Today we are going to a take look into an extremely well-known and popular network marketing company with my Mary Kay MLM Review. Along with the likes of Tupperware and Amway, Mary Kay is one of the first Multi Level Marketing companies I remember being aware of growing up.

Mary Kay MLM Review - Header

I still remember the Mary Kay ladies with their signature pink cars traveling the neighborhoods with their cosmetics kits at the ready. The question of course is whether their compensation plan is worth the effort. So is Mary Kay an MLM worth looking into? Let's have a look and see…

Mary Kay MLM Review - Independent Beauty Consultant Blurb

What is MLM?

Multi-level marketing (MLM) programs are the traditional mainstay of the ‘party plan' world of products such as Tupperware, Avon and Amway etc. and, of course within the beauty/cosmetics market. It has always been popular but as more and more of these operations can be handled online, some of these older operations are experiencing a new lease on life so to speak.

Want To See How I Made Money Whilst Standing On A Mountain?

Click on the button below to access the exact training that I followed step by step to make over $1000 a month and growing.

And it is the same training that helped me sell another site for $17,000 - And yes, the sale came through as I was standing here!.

You too can start your very own online business here that can make you money from anywhere in the world!!

The ‘multi level' aspects of MLM come from its hierarchical nature in which you make commissions based not only on those that you sell to, but also the sales of those whom you ‘sign' into membership arrangements as well.

In short, the process works as follows:

  1. You join the program, either via referral from another person (known as your up line) or directly through their website.
  2. You promote the products of the company via parties, workshops or online.
  3. As you make sales, you offer incentives to your customers to sign up as a member of the program (there are different names for this but they all mean the same thing).
  4. That new member is then placed ‘underneath' you in a hierarchical arrangement (known as your down line).
  5. You, and a number of levels of your up line, then gain extra commissions for everything they sell as well.
  6. If they manage to refer their customers into memberships, they also become a member of your down line allowing you to make up line commissions as well.

The number of levels of your up and down lines will vary depending on the program you have joined. Commission rates will also change as your down line grows or contracts and many will also offer other incentives such as total company sales percentages and/or access to membership prizes as your own business grows.

Who are Mary Kay?

Mary Kay MLM Review - Home

Founded in 1963 by Mary Kay Ash and her son Richard R Rogers, Mary Kay has “has empowered women while changing the world of business”. Starting out with just 4 skin care products on offer, it has now grown to one of the highest grossing MLM companies in the world.

Mary Kay is based in Dallas, TX in the United States.

What do they Sell?

As above, Mary Kay products are centred within the beauty and cosmetics niches with a range way too large to even start to list here. Their main categories and brands however include:

Skin Care Brands

  • Botanical Effects
  • Clinical Solutions
  • MK Men
  • Naturally
  • Satin Lips
  • TimeWise
  • TimeWise Repair

Makeup Brands

  • Mary Kay
  • Fanorama
  • Chromafusion
Mary Kay MLM Review - makeup stripe

Body and Sun

  • TimeWise
  • MK Men
  • Mint Bliss
  • Satin Body
  • Satin Hands


  • Belara
  • Bella Belara
  • Cityscape
  • Domain
  • Enchanted Wish
  • Fearlessly
  • Forever Diamonds
  • MK High Intensity
  • MK High Intensity Sport
  • Thinking of Love
  • Thinking of You
  • True Original
Mary Kay MLM Review - TimeWise

Item costs appear to fall into the low to medium price range of around $15 to $100 per product keeping them in line with programs such as Arbonne and Younique.

MLM program outline

The Mary Kay MLM program calls their members ‘Independent Beauty Consultants' who are join a program that, as with many of the other ‘traditional' network marketing entities, is a confusing to get your head around at first. However, it is an invariably simple program with a basic sales and downline commission structure and surprisingly, a lot of extra bonus options. I was unable to locate the Mary Kay compensation plan on their website but a version (from 2020) did appear in a web search so here are the basics as I have found them…

As always, please comment below if my information is out of date or inaccurate.

Base Commission rate: up to 50%

Down line commission rates: 4 – 23% based in

Minimum monthly spend to qualify for commissions

To qualify for downline commissions, an Independent Beauty Consultant (IBC) must reach a status of “active”. This is achieved in the month a minimum $225 wholesale product order is received by the Company and in the following two calendar months.

Payment terms: Monthly.

Application required?: Yes, Application form on website.

Purchase requirements to join: Yes

New IBC's are required to purchase a Starter kits as per the below graphic:

Mary Kay MLM Review - Starter Kits

Marketing materials provided: As per starter kit above.

Within most MLM programs, rankings and commissions are determined by the total personal volume (PV) generated by the IBC and their down line within a calendar month with points assigned to each product. These point allocations can range from 50 to 100% of the retail price of each product (before tax and shipping) and vary from item to item and currency of sale.

In the case of the Mary Kay MLM program, it appears that commissions are earned based on the total wholesale sales which is 50% of the retail price. This means that if a product is sold for $100 with a wholesale value of $50, then payments are calculated on $50 of the sale cost not the full $100. Hence, then if a downline commission rate is 5% then the payment to the IBC would total $2 (i.e. 5% of $50).

Want To See How I Made Money Whilst Standing On A Mountain?

Click on the button below to access the exact training that I followed step by step to make over $1000 a month and growing.

And it is the same training that helped me sell another site for $17,000 - And yes, the sale came through as I was standing here!.

You too can start your very own online business here that can make you money from anywhere in the world!!

How can I get paid?

Ok, so from what I can garner from the compensation plan, there are 11 ways in which IBCs can make money when they promote and sell Mary Kay products. And although the compensation plan is a little confusing, these are fairly straight forward with a few of the extra bonuses found in many of the more modern MLM payment structures. The 11 payment options for the Mary Kay MLM program are outlined as follows:

1. Retail Sales Commission

These are the base commissions earned by the general day to day retail sales that IBCs can generate via parties, popups, social media or online via their personalized website. These are paid on the difference between the product wholesale and retail prices with is around 50%.

From what I can see, IBCs do not need to be at Active status to earn Retail Sales Commissions.

2. Personal Team Commissions

Personal Team Commissions are Mary Kay's version of downline commissions however they are based solely on the number of active IBCs within the sponsors downline. These are based on ranking structures as follows:

Active Senior IBCs and above:

Mary Kay MLM Review - sen ibc downline

Independent Sales Director and above:

Mary Kay MLM Review - ISD downline

3. Team Building Bonus

When an Active IBC, Senior Beauty Consultant, Star Team Builder, Team Leader or Future Independent Sales Director introduces a new ‘Great Start-qualified' new personal team member, they will receive a $50 Team-Building bonus. This is paid for every new introduction attributed to the IBC.

4. Unit Development Bonus

Once an IBC reaches the rank of Sales Director, they are paid the following bonus for every new ‘Great Start-qualified' team member added to their downline (whether personally introduced or not):

Mary Kay MLM Review - UDB

5. Sales Director Personal Team-Building Bonus

A Sales Director is entitled to a $100 Sales Director Personal Team-Building bonus for each Great Start-qualified new personal team member added to their Sales Unit.

6. Sales Director Star Consultant Bonus

A Sales Director is eligible to receive a bonus based on the number of Star Consultants in their Sales Unit at the end of each Star Consultant contest quarter as follows:

Mary Kay MLM Review - SDSCB

7. First-Line U.S. Offspring Sales Director bonus

Sales Directors who are also eligible to receive a one-time $1,000 bonus for each new first-line U.S. offspring Independent Sales Director they personally debut.

8. Senior Rank Commissions

Once an IBC reaches the rank of Independent National Sales Director and above, they can earn downline commissions to 4 levels as below:

Mary Kay MLM Review - Senior Rank Commissions

9. First-Line New Offspring Sales Director Bonus

The First-Line New Offspring Sales Director Bonus is a commonly utilized MLM payment option designed to entice IBCs to nurture members of their downline to rise to higher ranks. In this case, bonuses are paid for the development of Sales Directors and above from a National Sales Director’s (NSD) personal downline as follows:

Mary Kay MLM Review - FNOSDB

10. Offspring NSD Development Bonus

NSDs who are able to nurture a downline member to the same rank will receive an annual $10,000 bonus.

11. NSD Area Leadership Development Bonus

An NSD will earn a quarterly (Dec. 31, March 31, June 30 and Sept. 30) Leadership
Development bonus on the units in their 1st – 3rd affiliated and unaffiliated area
members as follows:

  • $200 for each Senior Sales Director
  • $300 for each Future Executive Sales Director
  • $500 for each Executive Senior Sales Director
  • $800 for each Elite Executive Senior Sales Director
  • $800 for each National Sales Director Personal Unit

Ranking structure

Mary Kay, as with most MLM programs, uses ranking structures on which to base commission payments and other bonuses upon. The compensation plan does not provide a tabular version of their ranking charts however below is an example of the requirements for the Senior Beauty Consultant and Independent National Sales Director ranks with the Mary Kay program:

Mary Kay - Senior Beauty Consultant
Mary Kay - Independent National Sales Director

Again, as is common with almost all MLM programs, rank progression is determined by both the number of members within the IBCs down line, and the total sales made by those members per month. Ranks can rise and fall based on the ability (or dis-ability) to reach the required member and sales targets.

What is good about it?

So, after a good look around the site and looking at all the options I could find, I do like the following:

  • Commission rates for entry level sales are good.
  • Program has a large number of bonus options.
  • Commissions can be earned without the need to meet sales targets

What is no so good about it?

There are also some things to be aware of including:

  • There are some joining costs.
  • Program appears to be heavily geared towards recruitment.
  • Average incomes are extremely low.

How much can you make?

Mary Kay provides the following income disclosure statement and from it it can be seen that with most MLM programs, the percentage of members making the upper rank levels – and hence earning a living – is very low (in this case less than 1%).

Mary Kay MLM Review - IDS

My final thoughts

Look, MLM is not an easy platform to make money in and there is not much that I have seen here to put this program above the many others I have seen. It does however contain a good amount of commission and bonus payment arrangements and the ability to make sales online or via the traditional party plan model. It is also one of the top selling MLM companies in the world so if you are passionate about these products with a large customer list at your disposal and the ability to generate good sales via online processes, then the 50% base commission rates might just appeal here.

Once you have joined, there are not the usual financial pressures of needing to make minimum personal purchases in order to qualify for sales commissions as long as you can make them within your down line. Although from what I can see, I think if you are going to succeed within this MLM program, you will need to have a good array of demonstration stock on hand. You may also need to bump up your personal purchase quota if customer sales alone are not enough for you to remain ‘Active' and qualify for commissions and/or discounts within a particular month.

The company had suffered a bit of bad press and legal issues over time however nothing that is not uncommon within the Network Marketing Industry. And despite its high sales ranking amongst MLM companies, it has also found itself withdrawing from a number of countries around the world – such as Australia and New Zealand – in recent times.

I will end this one here however by saying that even though that without exception, MLM does not make lifestyle supporting incomes for over 99% of members, the numbers for Mary Kay do appear to be exceptionally low despite the high number of bonus options.


So there you have it, my honest review and appraisal of the Mary Kay MLM program. I hope it has been of assistance but as usual, if you have any questions or experience with this program please do not hesitate to reach out by commenting below – especially if any of my information is inaccurate.

Are there any other programs you have been looking at but want to know more about? If so, please comment below and I will do my best to get some details for you.

Do you want further assistance with any of the above or need help to build your own beauty or cosmetics based website?

Are you looking for a comprehensive training platform that can give you step by step training, 24/7 support, tools to develop and host your very own website, ongoing assistance with SEO and social media and access to some of the best affiliate marketing minds on the planet, then click on the following link to read more about Wealthy Affiliate.

Until next time

Have fun


Note: If you make a purchase from this page, there is a very good chance that I make a commission from it – these commissions do not increase your sale price. This may include sales made via Wealthy Affiliate.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply