Multi-Level Marketing (also known as MLM, pyramid selling, network marketing, and referral marketing) is basically a marketing strategy for the sale of products or services where the revenue of the MLM company is derived from a non-salaried workforce selling the company’s products/services, while the earnings of the participants are derived from a pyramid-shaped compensation commission system.
Now, what does this have to do with my website?
Well, since MLMs have been steadily pushing their way into the skincare industry for a while now, I thought addressing it is only appropriate so that I can give my two cents on it.
These are products you keep hearing about over and over again through social media and all that jazz.
Now, I obviously have to involve myself when it comes to skincare, so upon researching, I ran into some rather outrageous claims from one of the most popular multi-level marketing skincare company called Rodan and Fields.
So, let’s discuss this today. Are Rodan and Fields products any good and are they really going to deliver the results they claim?
What is Rodan and Fields?
Rodan + Fields is a skincare company started by two dermatologists who are also standing behind the creation of the more popular skincare brand, Proactiv (yeah, the one Kendall Jenner advertises).
Proactiv is very famous for being designed to specifically target acne-prone skins and for some people it was a game-changer while for others it was the worst thing they’ve applied on their skin.
Soon after that, Rodan + Fields was born and this skincare line is aimed at women age 30 and up, primarily. They have some acne-prone ranges, but more on that later.
Estee Lauder bought this company after its launch and they sold it in department stores, however, it flopped. Rodan and Fields bought their company back and in 2007 they started to sell their products through a network of consultants. This time it was a hit.
Fast forward a few years, Rodan + Fields has around 300,000 consultants and the company is valued at around $1.5 billion as of 2017.
Is Rodan and Fields Medical-Grade Skincare?
Rodan and Fields don’t compare to medical-grade products with scientific studies to back it.
As an acne specialist, going through their website immediately made me click on the range targeted for adults that deal with frequent acne breakouts called the “Unblemish Range”.
Well, I have opinions, so let’s discuss some of their products in detail.
- Salicylic Acid
- Colloidal Sulfur
This acne wash, for example, contains salicylic acid which is a great ingredient and pretty much one of the most effective ones you can use to combat acne.
However, I am not a fan of exfoliating acids in cleansers due to the fact that BHA (salicylic acid) needs time to do what it is supposed to do.
Meaning, you will have excellent results if you use salicylic acid in the form of an exfoliating solution, a toner, or a lightweight serum because in this way you will give it time to act, exfoliate your skin, and unclog your pores.
The best-case scenario when using a cleanser that contains salicylic acid is that it will be pretty much useless because it will remain on the skin for not more than 30 seconds.
The worst-case (and very possible) scenario is that it can potentially irritate your skin.
Furthermore, the cleanser contains colloidal sulfur, which is a decent solution to destroy fungus and animal parasites, meaning, it may possibly help when malassezia folliculitis or commonly known as fungal acne is present on your skin.
Other than that, the cleanser has some pretty basic ingredients like glycerin, cetyl alcohol, propanediol, xanthan gum, etc, amongst “nicely” packed fragrance, citronellol, geraniol, limonene, and linalool.
Uhm. I’m not cool with that. At all. Acneic skin is in most cases dehydrated and mildly to severely inflamed depending on the severity of the breakout so sensitizing ingredients like fragrance and other fragrant components are a no-go.
To add insult to the injury, this cleanser costs $44, so Rodan and Fields can get the hell out of here with this.
- Alpha-Hydroxy Acids
- Hyaluronic Acid
- Green Tea & Aloe Vera Extracts
I like hyaluronic acid and I like green tea extract. But after going through the entire list of ingredients I just can’t help but be baffled as to how harsh this toner actually is.
It’s completely the opposite of the gentle approach I strongly suggest to be taken when dealing with acne breakouts.
So the toner contains hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel) which is a smelly and sensitizing plant extract that has some irrelevant antioxidant properties but these can hardly make up for the damage the ingredient can potentially do to the skin.
Additionally and most probably in an attempt to mask the natural scent of witch hazel, the toner contains fragrance and other fragrant components including citronellol, geraniol, limonene, and linalool.
Furthermore, it contains alcohol which is very high on the ingredient list and we all know how dehydrating alcohols can be for the skin.
But the thing that surprised me most is that the toner contains glycolic acid which Rodan and Fields are encouraging you to use right after washing your inflamed skin with salicylic acid and sulfur cleanser as a part of the “Unblemish” regimen.
Uhm, again. Rodan and Fields can get the hell out of here with this product too that by the way costs $43 on its own.
- 2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide
- Pomegranate & Chamomile Extracts
Coming down to the last product of this short list and my surprise didn’t cease even with this one for one reason only.
I am trying to imagine how your inflamed, acneic skin will react on a salicylic wash followed by a toner full of shitty ingredients such as alcohols and fragrance and polished with a 2.5% benzoyl peroxide acne treatment.
Yeah, it’s not nice. This is not nice at all. It’s definitely a recipe for disaster.
In addition to that, the acne treatment contains chamomile extract, which I like, as well as ceramides, allantoin, and one of my favorite ingredients in skincare – niacinamide.
But in addition to all the good, the acne treatment contains fragrance as well as other fragrant components and benzyl alcohol. In reality, this one has the potential to be a good product as the good definitely outweighs the bad ingredients-wise.
Oh, and I forgot to mention that the acne treatment on its own costs $104. I mean really, Rodan and Fields? Really? This treatment contains irritating ingredients, useless ingredients, and basic ingredients. What’s the big secret? Why is this product $104?
Here’s a 2.5% Benzoyl peroxide acne treatment of $25 that is far more effective and doesn’t contain any bullshit ingredients.
Also, if you are interested in how to make the most out of using benzoyl peroxide without any potential irritation or side effects, take a look at my other article that explains how does benzoyl peroxide work.
However, it just doesn’t make sense to me. The “Unblemish” regimen is meant to help acne-prone skins not further irritate them. The products don’t make much sense to me, the ingredients are mostly bad and there is just so much going on here.
What made me giggle tho is that on their website there is an actual review from a client saying
“Instead of drying and irritating skin while fighting off acne, this treatment goes deep into pores to unclog…No more inflamed skin necessary”.
I am seriously questioning the authenticity of this review, but maybe that’s just me.
Which Rodan and Fields Products Are Best?
Each and every Rodan and Fields product I saw was flawed. The formulations make little to no sense and the thing that really made my blood boil was the outrageous prices for the basic ingredients provided.
So what is supposed to deliver the results Rodan and Fields boast with?
I have to say that I didn’t see all the products, nor can I discuss them all because this article would turn into a book if that was the case.
However, feel free to mention a particular product of your interest in the comments down below and I will be happy to reply with my opinion on it.
Is Rodan and Fields Banned in Europe?
Yes. Rodan and Fields is banned in Europe and since I’m European, this is the reason why I didn’t know about them until some time ago.
Rodan + Fields use ingredients such as DMDM Hydantoin, Diazolidinyl urea, Retinyl palmitate, Methylisothiazolinone, etc, which are banned by law in Europe.
Now, I am not saying that these ingredients are problematic by default, especially if used in cosmetics in less than 0.5% concentrations.
Can You Make Money Selling Rodan & Fields Products?
No. You cannot make money selling Rodan and Fields products. Rodan and Fields are a multi-level marketing company that you have to literally work your ass off in order to earn crumbs.
For more detailed information on this, you should check out this article.
There are bad skincare products and there are some even worse than that.
Do I think Rodan + Fields is the biggest bullshit out there?
No, certainly not. But they are pretty close to that.
Needless to say, I will not be recommending Rodan and Fields products. Their formulations and what they have to offer when it comes to the ingredients is just not worth their price.
You can find the same general ingredients such as glycerin, cetyl alcohol, propanediol, xanthan gum, etc, in much cheaper and better products from many other brands.
The truth is that these ingredients are not expensive to formulate, and their formulation isn’t particularly mind-blowing to me. So, in my opinion, Rodan and Fields are a waste of time and money, besides being potentially dangerous for your skin.
My name is Simone and I am a certified skin specialist. I created this website to teach my readers how to take great care of their skin and I also like to occasionally share my honest opinions on skincare products I’ve tried. You can learn more about me here.