Tiffany Blue. Coca-Cola Red. Hermès orange. A few brands are closely associated with one color and in the cosmetics world, Mary Kay has cornered the market on pink.
This iconic brand has been around since 1963, the year that Mary Kay Ash launched the company with just nine products — five skin care items and four makeup products. What set her strategy apart was that she also launched with nine independent beauty consultants to help spread the word about the brand.
Today, Mary Kay has an estimated 3.5 million independent beauty consultants in more than 35 markets worldwide, and global annual sales are estimated at $4 billion. Mary Kay is one of the pioneers of direct sales cosmetics, which is also the sales model for Rodan + Fields and Beautycounter.
Due to the nature of multi-level marketing (MLM) companies, it’s important to really evaluate both the product formulations and Mary Kay reviews from real customers. And that’s exactly what we’ll cover in this review, so keep scrolling to read all the details on the Mary Kay skin care line.
OUR TOP SKINCARE PICKS
Is Mary Kay Skincare Worth The Money?
A common question about this brand is if the products are worth the cost.
In our opinion, Mary Kay products are worth the money, but there are other brands that deliver greater value.
One brand is Carrot & Stick, a clean skincare brand that perfectly balances the gentle nurturing of plants with the powerful results of innovative science.
Carrot & Stick intro bundles deliver great value for money because you can bundle 3 full-size products worth up to
$240 for $88.
What’s Inside Mary Kay Skincare?
Here’s a closer look at the active ingredients commonly used in Mary Kay skincare products. Vitamin C, peptides, and retinol make up the core ingredients for the Mary Kay skincare line. These ingredients should all be part of your skincare routine.
We’ve been hearing for years that Vitamin C is the best anti-aging ingredient. Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that protects the skin from free radicals, the unstable molecules that contribute to the formation of premature wrinkles and fine lines on the skin.
It’s in the Mary Kay CC Cream and TimeWise Vitamin C Activating Squares.
But our favorite Vitamin C serum is Carrot & Stick The Defence Serum. It contains 3 distinct types of Vitamin C that work together to help fight free radical damage. We recommend using it every morning.
As you age, your body’s production of collagen and elastin slows down. These two proteins are responsible for your skin’s structural support. As a result, the skin loses its natural plumpness and smoothness.
While collagen is necessary for maintaining youthful-looking skin, the collagen protein is too large to absorb into the skin topically. That’s why applying skin care products that contain collagen won’t provide the anti-aging benefits you’re looking for.
This is where peptides come into action. Peptides are the building blocks of protein, and they are easily absorbed into the deeper layers of skin due to their smaller size.
Every product in the Mary Kay Timewise Repair collection consists of the patented Volu-Firm Complex. The Volu-Firm Complex is made of two peptides and two plant extracts. Together, these ingredients are said to improve the appearance of sagging and wrinkles while helping skin maintain the look of youthful firmness, elasticity, and volume.
The only problem? There’s no independent research to back up these claims. On the brand’s website, you can see that the claims made for these ingredients are based on in-vitro testing, which means the tests were performed in a test tube — not on humans.
We recommend Carrot & Stick The Repair Serum. It contains 7 plant-based peptides to promote plumper and smoother-looking skin.
Retinol is the go-to anti-aging ingredient recommended by dermatologists and skin experts. While retinol provides many benefits to the skin, it’s also known to cause side effects like skin dryness and irritation.
It’s in Mary Kay Timewise Repair Night Treatment with Retinol.
Use retinoids at night. We recommend this retinoid oil serum. It contains Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate, an ingredient that provides similar benefits with less irritation.
What Are The Top 10 Best Mary Kay Skin Care Products?
The Mary Kay skin care collection includes products for a variety of skin concerns, everything from acne to anti-aging to sensitive skin and more. Here’s a breakdown of the top 10 best Mary Kay skin care products.
We all have those days when a full face of makeup seems like an impossible task. That’s when a CC cream comes to the rescue. The Mary Kay CC Cream has its fair share of pros and cons, and we are going to highlight some of them for you.
The lightweight texture of this CC cream makes for a great sheer coverage tinted moisturizer with a dewy finish. If you’re looking for something to even out your skin tone, this CC cream is worth a try.
It’s also important to note that the Mary Kay CC cream is fragrance free and contains some beneficial, skin-loving ingredients like niacinamide and vitamin C.
Unfortunately, this CC cream is only available in 4 shades with the darkest shade having strong tones of orange.
Also, the SPF 15 in this CC cream is not enough to protect against sunburn and skin cancer because most organizations, including the American Academy of Dermatology, recommend using at least SPF 30.
Bottom Line: Mary Kay CC Cream is a lightweight tinted moisturizer that offers sheer coverage to help even out skin tone while also providing benefits to skin thanks to niacinamide and vitamin C.
Mary Kay Timewise Cleanser has a creamy consistency that feels nice on the skin and also does a pretty decent job at washing off makeup, sunscreen, and excess oil.
Like most cleansers, the Mary Kay Timewise Cleanser includes several different types of surfactants, such as sodium stearoyl glutamate, sodium cocoyl glutamate, and cocamidopropyl betaine.
Surfactants are able to attract and suspend oils, dirt, and other impurities that have accumulated on the skin and wash them away, leaving the skin clean.
The Mary Kay Timewise Cleanser also includes the Age Minimize 3D Complex, which consists of encapsulated resveratrol, vitamin B3, and a peptide. These are great anti-aging ingredients, but keep in mind that this is a rinse-off product, which means these ingredients won’t have much time to help with signs of aging.
Another problem with this cleanser: the fragrance ingredients ethylene brassylate and methyl dihydrojasmonate may cause skin sensitivity.
Bottom Line: A basic cleanser that uses surfactants to wash away impurities, and while the formula contains a few anti-aging ingredients, it’s better to use leave-on products (such as a serum or moisturizer) with these ingredients so they have time to work.
You might think that the Mary Kay Timewise Repair Lifting Serum can lift sagging skin as the name suggests. However, if you read carefully, you’ll find that the product doesn’t claim to tighten sagging skin, it only claims to give the appearance of tighter skin.
One way this serum creates the appearance of tighter skin is with the high concentrations of silicones in the formula. Silicones give products a silky texture while improving spreadability. They also help to disguise lines and wrinkles by forming a thin invisible film on top of skin. However, this effect is temporary and will disappear once you wash off the product.
While this serum contains a peptide, an ingredient that can help boost your skin’s collagen production, it’s also packed with some unnecessary and potentially irritating ingredients, such as lavender, peppermint, and menthyl lactate.
Bottom Line: Mary Kay Timewise Repair Lifting Serum cannot lift sagging skin, although it may give the appearance of tighter skin due to the high concentrations of silicones in this formula.
The Mary Kay Timewise Repair Day Cream is an oil-free moisturizer that provides broad spectrum SPF 30 thanks to a combination of chemical sunscreen ingredients.
While chemical sunscreen ingredients won’t leave a white cast, we don’t recommend these types of sunscreens due to
research that has shown they absorb through the skin and into the bloodstream. It’s still unclear if these chemicals are linked to health conditions, but it’s known that they do enter the body. In our opinion, mineral sunscreens are a safer choice.
We’re glad to see that the product contains decent amounts of some skin-loving ingredients like antioxidants, peptides, and other barrier-repairing ingredients. However, the claims made by Mary Kay about their Volu-Firm complex continue to remain dubious due to the lack of proper research about the ingredient’s efficacy in tightening sagging skin.
Bottom Line: Mary Kay Timewise Repair Day Cream combines antioxidants, peptides, and barrier-repairing ingredients with chemical sunscreen ingredients, but keep in mind that these ingredients are absorbed into the body.
At first, the Timewise Repair Night Treatment with Retinol had us pleasantly surprised. Unlike most retinol products, this product is not likely to cause skin dryness. Packed with antioxidants, peptides, and soothing plant extracts, this lush and emollient cream feels great on the skin and provides an ample amount of moisture.
We’re also happy to see that the product is packaged in an airless jar in order to ensure the stability of the ingredients, which is especially important for retinol.
As for the anti-aging benefits of retinol, you can expect to see fewer lines and wrinkles, a more even skin tone, increased firmness, and less noticeable pores.
However, we can’t help but notice the presence of cinnamon bark extract, a potential skin irritant. Additionally, this product relies on Mary Kay’s Volu-Firm technology, which is not backed by appropriate research to support the brand’s claims.
Bottom Line: Mary Kay Timewise Repair Night Treatment With Retinol has a rich, creamy texture and provides several anti-aging benefits thanks to retinol, antioxidants, and peptides, although the presence of cinnamon bark extract could cause irritation.
The brand claims that the Mary Kay Timewise Repair Eye Renewal Cream can reduce the appearance of deep lines and wrinkles. However, the ingredients in this eye cream aren’t much different from a regular moisturizer.
The majority of the formula consists of the humectant glycerin, petrolatum (aka Vaseline), and mineral oil. The combination of these ingredients creates a thick, creamy texture that will likely feel very soothing to those with dry skin around the eyes.
Giving credit where it’s due, Mary Kay does a good job with the packing of this product. The opaque tube ensures that light and air-sensitive ingredients remain stable.
Bottom Line: Mary Kay Timewise Repair Eye Renewal Cream is a basic moisturizer that will help to soften and soothe skin around the eyes, but the formula lacks anti-aging ingredients with proven benefits.
The Mary Kay Charcoal Mask is advertised as a deep cleansing mask and rightly so! Just as the name suggests, one key ingredient is activated charcoal. Activated charcoal helps to purify skin by trapping toxins and impurities in its millions of tiny pores.
The mask also contains two naturally-derived clays, kaolin and bentonite, which help to absorb excess oil, clear pores, and exfoliate sin.
The addition of honeysuckle and navy bean extracts in the mask are supposed to help with dark spots and discoloration. However, there are other ingredients that have more research to support their ability to reduce dark spots, such as alpha-arbutin and vitamin C.
Bottom Line: Mary Kay Clear Proof Charcoal Mask combines activated charcoal with two types of clay in order to reduce excess oil, clear pores, and exfoliate skin.
Mary Kay Hydrogel Eye Patches are perfect for days when coffee doesn’t do the job well enough. With glycerin as one key ingredient, these eye patches do a pretty good job at drawing moisture into the skin, thereby hydrating and plumping skin around the eyes.
There’s also a plethora of antioxidant-rich botanical extracts in these eye patches, such as blueberry, blackberry, and wild cherry extract. And there’s a few extracts that will help to soothe skin and reduce inflammation, such as tomato and hibiscus.
While there are beneficial ingredients in these patches, we wish they included more ingredients that are known to help reduce puffiness, crow’s feet, and dark circles, such as caffeine and peptides.
Bottom Line: Mary Kay Hydrogel Eye Patches include glycerin and botanical extracts to increase hydration while also providing antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.
This oil-free moisturizing gel has a lightweight texture that glides onto skin effortlessly and helps skin instantly feel more hydrated. That’s because there’s plenty of moisture-binding ingredients in the formula, such as glycerin and aloe vera.
However, it’s important to note that the formula contains its fair share of potentially concerning ingredients, like triethanolamine and iodopropynyl butylcarbamate. These ingredients can cause irritation and lead to acne (despite the product being branded as non comedogenic).
Additionally, Mary Kay Botanical Effects Moisturizing Gel contains quite a few fragrance ingredients, which could lead to skin sensitivity.
Bottom Line: Mary Kay Botanical Effects Moisturizing Gel contains hydrating ingredients like aloe vera and glycerin, but there’s quite a few problematic ingredients in this formula.
With shea butter being the star of the show, this hand cream is undoubtedly a great product to keep your palms and cuticles moisturized. Shea butter is a nourishing emollient rich in beneficial fatty acids and vitamins that helps to soften skin and lock in moisture.
There’s plenty more emollients in this formula, including sunflower seed oil and apricot kernel oil, as well as antioxidant vitamin E. Plus, the quick absorbing formula ensures your hands remain grease-free.
The only drawback with the Mary Kay Satin Hands formula is DMDM hydantoin, a preservative that’s a common irritant as it is a formaldehyde releaser.
Bottom Line: Mary Kay Satin Hands Shea Cream includes shea butter and several additional emollients to moisturize and soften hands.
How Much Do Mary Kay Skin Care Products Cost?
Mary Kay skin care products are in the mid to high range in terms of cost. For example, Mary Kay Timewise Repair Lifting Serum costs $70 USD for 1 fl oz, while Mary Kay Satin Hands Shea Cream costs just $12 USD for 3 oz.
Where to Buy Mary Kay Skin Care Products?
Mary Kay skin care products can be purchased directly from the company’s website, on third party online retailers like Amazon, or from an independent Mary Kay consultant. We recommend taking a look at the Mary Kay reviews before talking to a consultant because at the end of the day their job is to make a sale.
What is The Mary Kay Return Policy?
The Mary Kay return policy states, “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.”
Is Mary Kay Cruelty Free?
Mary Kay is not cruelty free. While Mary Kay does not conduct animal testing on their products or ingredients, they do test on animals when required to do so by law (such as in China).
Is Mary Kay Vegan?
Mary Kay may offer some products that are suitable for vegans, but this is not a 100% vegan brand.
Mary Kay Reviews
If you’re looking for Mary Kay reviews, you’ll need to seek out feedback on third party websites, as no reviews are available on the company’s product pages. We had a look at the Mary Kay reviews on Amazon in order to get a better idea of what customers really think of these products.
One product that has received plenty of feedback is the Mary Kay Timewise Age Fighting Moisturizer, which has earned an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars after more than 2,000 customer reviews.
The positive reviews for the Mary Kay Timewise Age Fighting Moisturizer mention how well it moisturizes, leaving the skin feeling soft and smooth.
For example, one review says, “The cream is super smooth and makes my face smooth and moisturized. Over the counter stuff makes me red and blotchy. You seriously need just a dab of the cream to apply and it works through the whole face. There’s no smell upon application. This has lasted me over the 6 month mark so a great purchase!”
And another 5-star review says, “The best moisturizer–lightweight, non-allergenic. If it had sunscreen it would be perfect but the one with sunscreen is more irritating.”
However, there are a handful of negative reviews for the Mary Kay Timewise Age Fighting Moisturizer, mostly from customers who weren’t impressed with the product whatsoever.
For example, one review says, “Nothing great about it; doesn’t even feel like I put moisturizer on my face.”
And a similar review says, “This did nothing extraordinary for my skin that less expensive facial products have.”
Overall, we think that some Mary Kay skin care products are better than others, and we would recommend avoiding the products with fragrance and other potential irritants.
- Products contain beneficial ingredients like emollients, antioxidants, peptides, and retinol
- Many positive Mary Kay reviews
- Mary Kay is not cruelty free
- No independent research to back up the claims about Volu-Firm Complex
- Many products contain fragrance and potential irritants
What Are Some Alternatives to Mary Kay Skin Care Products?
If you’re looking for skincare products to address the signs of aging, we recommend Carrot & Stick. Carrot & Stick maximizes the use of powerful ingredients and minimizes the use of superficial ones, resulting in advanced skincare solutions that help promote healthy, more youthful-looking skin. We recommend the Day & Night Routine.