The company was created by dermatologists Dr. Katie Rodan and Dr. Kathy Fields in 2002. Both doctors have been credited with the invention and application of the Proactiv Solution and have submitted for patent recognition of their creations MACRO exfoliator and AMP MD System.
The base of operations is in San Francisco, California, U.S.A. and there is a second office at Austin, Texas. In 2003 they were acquired by Estée Lauder, to renegotiate a buyback in 2008 and resume operations as an independent company. Their revenues were such that they were awarded the third largest San Francisco company owned by women award in 2014.
The revenue growth after the buyback is just impressive:
- 2008 $ 5,000,000
- 2009 $ 10,000,000
- 2010 $ 22,000,000
- 2011 $ 56,900,000
- 2012 $109,480,000
- 2013 $196,000,000
- 2014 $300,000,000
Also impressive is the increase of consultants from 7,500 in 2008 to over 50,000 today. At this time the number of corporate employees is 140. This growth has been attributed exclusively to the company’s sales system which uses independent business owners. These are mostly women that abandoned their careers in favor of family but still wish to stay active professionals and contribute financially.
As of February 05 2015, the company has begun its expansion to Canada as a first step for even greater expansion outside the U.S.A.
The R & F Products & Various Lines
Rodan & Fields produce two kinds of products. The first kind refers to 5 different lines of skin care products and the second kind refers to necessities and enhancements.
The skin care product lines are:
The line refers to a regimen consisting of an eye cream and hand treatments that contain cosmetic ingredients and peptides for the purpose of reducing the aging signs and producing a firmer and smoother skin. The regimen includes:
- A daily cleansing mask
- A triple defense treatment with SPF 30
- A pore minimizing toner
- An overnight restorative cream
The line refers to products intended to treat the appearance of brown spots, discoloration and dullness. It includes the products that await patent recognition and the regimen includes:
- A broad spectrum sunscreen SPF 50+
- A dual active brightening complex
- An intensive brightening toner
- A deep exfoliating wash
Both dermatologists that founded the company are acne specialists. It was expected that they would create a regimen to treat acne and post acne marks. This regimen includes:
- A dual intensive acne treatment
- An acne treatment sulfur wash
- A spot fading toner or a clarifying toner
- An oil control lotion
Did You Know? Rodan Fields also started Proactiv.
This is a regimen intended to treat sensitive and irritated skin along with facial redness. Another four products are included here:
- A sensitive skin treatment
- A moisture replenishing cream
- A mineral sunscreen SPF 30
- A gentle cream wash
This is not a regimen like the rest of the product lines. The set includes products intended to accelerate the results of the other regimens:
- Age assault intended to treat the visible signs of aging
- Aging Special which includes the MACRO exfoliator
- AMP it up which produces an even firmer skin
Each of the series has received a different set of reviews by their users. The common denominator goes for 3.5/5 for the ease of use of all products and 3.3/5 for the customer satisfaction. The effectiveness ranges from 3/5 to 4/5 with the acne products receiving the highest ratings.
Since they are considered rather expensive, it is strongly recommended that before making any purchases a sample should be tried first and preferably with some professional supervision involved. The record does not show any problems other than incompatibility with very special and serious pre-existing medical conditions. However, if a serious testing as to the specific circumstances per individual has not been administered, it would be best to limit any potential dangers in a limited area of the skin.
The general consensus of opinion has the products well-developed in minimalistic but nice and colorful containers. The absence of strong fragrance is also considered as an advantage as it avoids possible eye irritation and uncomfortable feelings of people around that may not like strong scents. On the downside, many users would prefer not to have to purchase the entire regimen (all 4 products in a group) to enjoy the results and this is one of the main reasons that lower the customer satisfaction ratings.
How to acquire Rodan & Fields products
This is a point that has raised some controversy. In the beginning their products could be purchased from the usual department stores. After the buyback, whoever wants to buy any of the regimens has to go through one of the 50,000 consultants they retain.
Most of these consultants prefer the face to face approach were they can sit down with their customers, discuss and recommend the best options, even leave behind some samples for testing. This is not convenient for the ladies who cannot spare the time for such a visitation, so buying from the online stores most of these consultants have, or ordering over the phone are good solutions.
This way of doing business has received some contrary reviews that have to do with the ability to choose freely without someone pressing the situation. Many users have recommended that while the practice of consultants is kept, the option to buy from big department stores and clinics, is also offered.
The purpose behind this recommendation is the ability to perform a test on the skin without someone doing the hard sell and with the presence of a skin care expert who can give a professional opinion and be present to take charge of the situation should an adverse effect become immediately noticeable.
The accusations of scam
The way Rodan & Fields sell their products is similar to those of Avon, Herbalife, Tupperware, Mary Kay and Usana. All of them are considered as successful multi-million dollar revenue companies, and all of them have been accused of the same type of pyramid scam which involves a very high initial capital to become a dealer and then various “conspiracies” to cheat the dealers out of their money.
Upon closer inspection of these accusations it comes down to one conclusion. Poor marketing. Selling is an art. Some people have it some don’t. Not being able to sell a product and struggling to make up for the initial investment is not a matter of poor products or a matter of the company trying to cheat. It is a matter of knowing how to sell.
The environmental and safety issues
Many of the Rodan & Fields products are listed in environmental and safety organizations boards as dangerous, unsafe and environmentally hazardous.
These organizations claim that the R&F products contain:
Triethanolamine linked to liver and kidney cancer
Hydroquinone which has been banned in Europe and Asia as linked to cancer
Formaldehyde which has been linked to chest pains, allergies, headaches, ear infections, asthma, depression, chronic fatigue and joint pain
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Propylene Glycol which can cause liver, kidney and brain abnormalities if handled in direct contact and without protective equipment
Triclosan which is a highly toxic pesticide
It should be mentioned that even if this is indeed the case, all the above substances have received approval by FDA and are perfectly legal. The issue is born out of the inadequacy of the FDA to properly test these substances and rely on the studies presented by each cosmetic company. As of 1976 when the Toxic Substances Control Act was passed, 80,000 chemicals found their way into the cosmetic industry but only 200 of them have been properly tested for safety.
Especially in the case of hydroquinone, there has been an “unofficial” response from R&F with the introduction of variations of the cosmetics that contained it that are offered as “hydroquinone free”.
There have been no cases revealed to the public involving health issues as a direct result of the above substances and their use in cosmetics produced by R&F
- Rodan and Fields are trained medical doctors, so they should know about the dangers involved in these ingredients
- Substances that have been linked to health issues is other forms are not necessarily dangerous when included in skin care products in a different from untested substances does not necessarily mean unsafe substances.
- Environmental and safety organizations sometimes tend to exaggerate in their claims (not that these claims are necessarily wrong, but their case is clearly overstated).
- Until definite and scientifically acceptable proof is released about any health and environmental safety dangers, the principle of “innocent until proven guilty” is applicable here too.
The product lines have been developed by medical professionals who have been credited with a major patent that has been proved safe and effective. They have submitted for patents in reference to two more innovations about skin care that have presented no problems in their use. A 75% of the users of these products are more or less satisfied.
These are all the makings of products that are safe to use, effective and well-designed, though they could be improved even further. All skin care products have a percentage of un-usability as there are cases of skins that have very peculiar and very difficult to handle conditions. Not only medical but physiological as well. Skin conditions that can only be handled through the proper guidance, supervision and probably very specific skin care formulations designed by medical professionals.
For the rest of the general population Rodan & Fields products are just as safe and just as, or even more, effective than any other skin care product lines and series out in the market. It makes no difference how the company has chosen to market these products. What matters is what effect they have on the skin.
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