If you’re a woman in your 30s or up, there’s a good chance that a fellow mom or gym pal has tried to sell you Rodan + Fields products. Like a growing number of companies, Rodan + Fields relies on an army of “consultants” to sell its products directly to consumers. Women, especially stay-at-home moms looking for flexible work options, have jumped on the peer-to-peer bandwagon. In their free time, they sell skincare brands such as Beautycounter, Younique and Ever Skin as well as retail brands such as India Hicks and Stella & Dot.
The peer-to-peer business model isn’t new. Women in the 60s sold Tupperware to each other at home-based parties, and brands such as Mary Kay and Avon established themselves by having their saleswomen sell directly in their communities. What is new is how brands such as Rodan + Fields have taken the peer-to-peer model and adapted it for the digital age. This new army of consultants uses Facebook and Instagram to promote the products. They host shopping parties with plenty of cocktails and may casually mention a fabulous new lash product in the school car line or at Pilates class. Out of all the peer-to-peer beauty companies on the market today, Rodan + Fields is by far one of the most successful.
What is Rodan + Fields?
Rodan + Fields was started by two Stanford trained dermatologists, Katie Rodan and Kathy Fields. The duo had previously created Proactiv, a skincare line designed to target acne prone skin. It was a game changer because it was sold through infomercials, and it worked. The pair licensed Proactiv to Guthy-Renker, a company that sells products directly to consumers via infomercials.
In 2002 they launched Rodan + Fields. The skincare line is aimed at women age 30 and up. Estee Lauder bought the company and sold it in department stores but the line didn’t do well. Rodan and Fields bought their company back and in 2007 started to sell the products through a network of consultants. It was a hit. Social media proved to be a boon for the company as happy customers posted before and after selfies.
Fast forward a few years, and according to EuroMonitor International, Rodan + Fields is the number one skincare brand in North America in 2017 in terms of total sales, and has around 300,000 consultants. The company is valued around $1 billion.
What does Rodan + Fields Sell?
Rodan + Fields sells a comprehensive line of skincare products, which are broken down into four categories: Redefine, Reverse, Unblemish and Soothe. Redefine is designed for aging, Reverse for age spots and uneven skin tone, Unblemish for acne and acne breakouts and Soothe for sensitive, irritated skin conditions, such as rosacea. A line of enhancements supplement the range, including Enhancements Micro-Dermabrasion Paste, a body lotion and Active Hydration Bright Eye Complex. There’s also a small line of Dermacosmetics, which is makeup with skin improving ingredients.
What Are Some of the Most Popular Rodan + Fields Products?
Rodan + Fields sells individual products as well as skincare kits. The Redefine Regimen kit retails for $199 and is meant to improve the appearance of fine lines and pores, and help users get smoother, firmer looking skin. The kit includes a daily cleansing mask; pore minimizing toner; daily moisturizer with broad spectrum SPF 30 and a night cream.
Reverse regimens are meant to address skin discoloration by brightening skin and fading dark spots. The starting kit sells for $190 and includes five products: a Deep Exfoliating Wash containing alpha-hydroxy acid to whisk away dead skin cells; an Intensive Brightening Toner that contains a blend of salicylic Acid, kojic acid, licorice and mulberry extract, plus a Dual Active Brightening Complex that is packed with vitamin C and retinol. A broad spectrum SPF 50+ sunscreen protects the face from sun damage.
One of the company’s most buzzed about products is the Enhancements Lash Boost, retailing for $150. It looks like a tube of mascara but contains a serum that should be applied to the upper lashes and eyebrows to give the appearance of lush, longer-looking lashes and thicker looking brows.
Do Rodan + Fields Products Work?
As the saying goes, the proof is in the pudding- or in the sales numbers. Rodan + Fields is the top selling brand in the US which means the company is doing something right. Take a closer look at the ingredients in many of the products and you’ll see a range of beauty all-stars such as retinol, which is the gold-standard for tackling fine lines and wrinkles and encouraging cell turnover. For skin lightening and brightening, the company uses ingredients which are proven winners, such as alpha-hydroxy acid to smooth and soften skin, as well as kojic acid, a natural brightening agent. Rodan + Fields isn’t using obscure ingredients in their products – what they are doing is using ingredients known to have a positive effect on the skin.
How much does Rodan + Fields Cost?
Rodan + Fields products are expensive, and the price point is in line with what you’d expect at department stores and high end cosmetics boutiques. The Redefine Ramp It Up kit is $336. It contains six products (and a dermaroller) designed to visibly firm and smooth skin to combat the visible signs of aging.
Individual products are also pricey. Active Hydration Body Replenish, a body cream, sells for $66. The microdermabrasion paste is $80 while the Unblemish Dual Intensive Acne Treatment sells for $102. The star ingredient is benzoyl peroxide, which is common in many acne fighting products. Customers need to decide for themselves whether these ingredients are worth the cost, or if they could find similar products at a lower price point.
The peer-to-peer selling model also may not appeal to everyone. Some women like the idea of building a relationship with a sales consultant, while others feel uneasy or obligated to buy products from a friend or acquaintance. The blurring of lines between friendship and commerce that isn’t for everyone.
Are There Any Side Effects With Rodan + Fields?
Any product has the potential to cause irritation or inflammation of the skin. Some of the ingredients to look out for are retinols, which can cause excessive drying and peeling, as well as any products containing alcohol.
It’s also important for users to read the usage guide carefully.
For example, with the Enhancements Lash Boost, Rodan + Fields says it is only meant to be applied to the upper lash and eyebrows. The company advises against using it on the lower lashes, as it may cause irritation in the eye area. One ingredient in the Lash Boost that has caused concern is isopropyl cloprostenate, which is a type of medication that was used to treat eye conditions such as glaucoma.
In spring 2018, a federal class-action lawsuit was filed in the US alleging that Rodan + Fields did not disclose potential side effects of the isopropyl cloprostenate. The lawsuit alleges that Lash Boost users have experienced “serious side effects, including change(s) in iris color, eyelid drooping, itchy eyes, eye/lid discoloration, thinning and loss of eyelashes/loss of eyelash hair, eye sensitivity, eye infections, and vision impairment,” according to the filing. Rodan + Fields has denied any wrongdoing.
Another ingredient to watch out for is hydroquinone. It is highly effective at lightening dark spots but is not without its controversies. It is banned in Europe, and some studies indicate it might be a carcinogen. It can also cause irritation. In the US, it is available in over the counter products as well as by prescription in a higher concentration. The Reverse Skin Lightening Treatment as well as the Skin Lightening Toner both contain 2% hydroquinone, the highest concentration of the ingredient available without a prescription.
Where Can I Buy Rodan + Fields?
Rodan + Fields products are sold via its network of consultants, which currently number around 300,000 people. Customers can also buy the products from the Rodan + Fields website as well as on Amazon.
What Is the Rodan + Fields Return Policy?
The company website says its offers a “satisfaction guarantee” and states “We offer a full refund of the purchase price, excluding shipping charges, within 60 days from the date of purchase.”
What Are Alternatives to Rodan + Fields?
While Rodan + Fields is undoubtedly popular, it may not be for everyone – especially at its high end price point. Many of the key ingredients that Rodan + Fields uses in its products are available from other companies, including Formulyst. The philosophy of Formulyst is long-term and effective skincare.
The comprehensive line of products tackles everything from wrinkles to dark spots and dry skin. For example, Formulyst Retexturing and Perfecting Serum ($39) is powered by gentle but effective alpha hydroxy acid which works to dissolve dead skin cells. Packed with plant based acids, this serum sloughs off dead skin cells, leaving behind fresher, smoother looking skin.
Hydroquinone isn’t the only option for lightening dark spots. Formulyst’s Dark Spot Solutions ($79) is powered by HyWhite, which is derived from alpha linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid found in plants. It works to minimize the appearance of dark spots while also hydrating the skin thanks to hyaluronic acid.
The star ingredient in Formulyst’s Anti-Aging Night Cream ($59) is the gold-standard of wrinkle fighters – retinol. This vitamin A derivative helps tackle fine lines, crow’s feet as well as dark spots. What makes this formula different is that it contains a high dose of retinol as well as ultra-soothing and hydrating safflower seed oil and jojoba, which lock moisture in and help minimize any potential irritation.
There’s no need to compromise when it comes to finding skincare that is effective and safe. Carrot & Stick takes a tough love approach to skincare, perfectly balancing the power of plants with cutting edge science. Not only is Carrot & Stick good for your skin, it is also good for the environment as the formulas skip harmful chemicals commonly found in skin care products.