Rodan and Fields

Rodan + Fields At-A-Glance

Strengths: Two fantastic skin-lightening products with hydroquinone; a well-packaged retinol product; every sunscreen provides sufficient UVA protection; some fragrance-free options.

Weaknesses: Expensive; jar packaging hinders effectiveness of several otherwise impressive products; sunscreens should contain more bells and whistles for the money; eyebrow-raising amount of products with irritating ingredients.

Many of you are probably familiar with physicians Katie Rodan and Kathy Fields from their appearances on infomercials about their successful ProActiv line of anti-acne skin-care products. The Rodan + Fields supposedly therapeutic approaches are advertised for those suffering from a variety of skin conditions, and are claimed to work for anti-aging, skin discolorations, sensitive skin, and acne.

Lots of consumers believe that dermatologist-developed products will be the answer for their skin-care woes; but, in two words, they aren't. After reviewing dozens of so-called doctor-designed product lines, including this one, we can tell you there are no miracles to be found, and often there are some problematic products to steer clear of. Overall, many of these lines are quite comparable to other product lines without the physician headliner credentials and exorbitant prices. (Shockingly, Rodan + Fields' acne products are virtually identical to their ProActiv products, except that these cost more. We assume they thought no one would notice; perhaps they are right.)

Many consumers want simplicity when it comes to making decisions about what skin-care products they should use. The Rodan + Fields marketing strategy is to make it simple. They eliminate the confusion about what products work together by creating streamlined, prepackaged product groups, each aimed at specific skin-care concerns. Each product group is enclosed in a clever, take-along parcel that is the skin-care equivalent of a sack lunch. (Products are also available separately for those who want to customize their routine or add products outside the predetermined routines.) This structured approach has merit, but, as you will see from the reviews below, each routine has at least one questionable or lackluster formulation, or a problem with packaging. Considering that these are really pricey products, this is not good news.

Rodan + Fields does deserve kudos for being one of the few cosmetics companies to list the ingredients for each product on their Web site. It’s a major help for beleaguered, savvy consumers who care about this detail. Still, it would have been better all around if they offered more thoughtful, less problematic formulas.

For more information about Rodan + Fields, call (888) 995-5656 or visit www.rodanandfields.com.

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