I title all of my review unbiased for one reason: I do not sell the products I review.
I do not gain anything if you buy the products. I’m not bashing a company. I’m simply reviewing the products. This is not personal. This is education. People need to know what’s in the products they put on their skin twice a day, every day.
Before anyone accuses me of what I’ll inevitably be accused of, let me beat you to it: Yes, I have my own skincare line.
Yes, technically I would be considered a “competitor.” In all of the unbiased reviews I’ve done, I’ve always been accused of doing them because I work for a competing company. Hence, this is the first review I’ve ever done in which that accusation has any truth to it.
Realistically, the people who buy my organic, non-toxic products are not the same customers buying Rodan and Fields. In addition, we have a completely different customer base. My customers buy my products because they want safe, effective skincare.
Finally, my reviews are usually for companies that sell meal replacement shakes, supplements and body wraps. This is the first review I’ve done of this kind. And after getting eleven requests in the past month alone (and probably over fifty total) to review these products – I had to do it.
I did not do this review because I’m competing with Rodan + Fields.
I focus on promoting safe, healthy, non-toxic skincare and makeup. This is not what Rodan + Fields does. They encompass an entirely different mission and as far as I know are a multilevel marketing (MLM) company.
Most noteworthy, I’m writing this review because I’ve received well over forty emails, comments, and requests to review the ingredients in Rodan + Fields. And I started getting these requests over a year ago but hesitated to do the review. I had my own skincare line coming out and just didn’t feel like dealing with drama.
Before reading further, let me make this very clear: I went into reviewing R+F with an open mind.
Especially relevant, I wasn’t super familiar with the products or the ingredients. This is not personal. This is an unbiased review of Rodan + Fields. I do not sell the products. I’m not doing this review to promote my own skincare line, I’m doing this review because my readers asked me time and again to review this company.
Most people don’t have the knowledge that I do when it comes to ingredients in food and personal care products. And this is why I do these reviews: to educate people.
Here are some products I’ve chosen their attached ingredient list. Furthermore, I’ve only chosen a few products because it’s unnecessary (and would make this post incredibly too long) to provide an ingredient list for every product R+F offers.
First, let’s take a look at the ingredients.
Redefine Daily Cleansing Mask
Water/Aqua/Eau, Kaolin, Butylene Glycol, Isododecane, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Lauryl Methacrylate/Glycol Dimethacrylate Crosspolymer, Stearic Acid, Cetyl Alcohol, Bentonite, Dimethicone, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Hexylene Glycol, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Disodium EDTA, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Xanthan Gum, Oleth-10 Phosphate, Sorbitan Stearate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Sodium Lactate, Potassium Hydroxide, Fragrance/Parfum
REDEFINE INTENSIVE RENEWING SERUM
(THIS IS NOT SAFE FOR PREGNANT WOMEN!): Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone, Polysilicone-11, Ethylhexyl Hydroxystearate, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Retinal, Palmitoyl Hexapeptide-14, Retinyl Palmitate, Hydroxyapatite, Bis-Ethylhexyl Hydroxydimethoxy Benzylmalonate, Ethoxydiglycol
Reverse Deep Exfoliating Wash
Water, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Ammonium Laureth Sulfate, Polyethylene, Diethylhexyl Sebacate, Cetearyl Alcohol, PEG-40 Stearate, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Ceteareth-20, Glyceryl Stearate, Lactic Acid, Peppermint Oil, Xanthan Gum, Propylene Glycol, Fragrance, Diazolidinyl Urea, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Yellow 5, Yellow 6.
UNBLEMISH Acne Treatment Sulfur Wash
Water, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Distearyl Phthalic Acid Amide, Lauryl Glucoside, Glycerin, Diisopropyl Adipate, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Sodium Polyacrylate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Ceteareth-20, Laminaria Saccharina Extract, Cetearyl Alcohol, Yeast Extract\Faex\Extrait De Levure, Glycol Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Sucrose, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexyl Stearate, Glyceryl Stearate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Bisabolol, Trideceth-6, Cetyl Alcohol, Linoleic Acid, Butylene Glycol, Fragrance, Acacia Senegal Gum, Potassium Sorbate, Limonene, Linalool, Citronellol, Geraniol, Titanium Dioxide, Blue 1, Red 33.
UNBLEMISH Clarifying Toner INGREDIENTS
Water, Witch Hazel Water, Ethoxydiglycol, Glycolic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, Polysorbate 20, Panthenol, Azelaic Acid, Lecithin, Arginine, Soluble Fish Collagen, Sodium Chondroitin Sulfate, Rosemary Extract,Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Menthyl Lactate, Butylene Glycol, Niacinamide, Zinc Phenolsulfonate, Sodium Glycolate, PEG-12 Dimethicone, Benzophenone-9, Propylene Glycol, Xanthan Gum, Fragrance, Disodium EDTA, DMDM Hydantoin, Red 33, Blue 1.
UNBLEMISH OIL CONTROL LOTION WITH SPF
Zinc Oxide 4.75%, Titanium Dioxide 0.7%
Water/Aqua/Eau, Cyclopentasiloxane, Isododecane, Pentylene Glycol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Polysilicone-11, Butylene Glycol, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Dimethicone, Azelaic Acid, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Tocopherol, Boerhavia Diffusa Root Extract, Atelocollagen, Nordihydroguaiaretic Acid, Oleanolic Acid, Lecithin, Tropolone, PEG-60 Almond Glycerides, Glycerin, Cholesterol, Squalane, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Stearic Acid, Xanthan Gum, Polysorbate 60, Dimethiconol, Ceteth-10 Phosphate, Dicetyl Phosphate, Hexyl Laurate, Polyglyceryl-4 Isostearate, Sorbitan Isostearate, Alumina, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Carbomer, Sodium Metabisulfite, Sodium Chondroitin Sulfate, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Disodium EDTA, Fragrance/Parfum, 1,2-Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Chlorphenesin, Methylisothiazolinone, Phenoxyethanol, Citronellol, Geraniol, Limonene, Linalool.
REVERSE SKIN LIGHTENING TREATMENT
Water/Aqua/Eau, Ethoxydiglycol, Cetearyl Alcohol, PPG-12/SMDI Copolymer, Diethylhexyl Sebacate, Polyacrylamide, Ceteareth-20, Glycerin, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Dimethicone, Fragrance/Parfum, Retinol, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Lactic Acid, Arctostaphylos Uva Ursi Leaf Extract, Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate, Sodium Metabisulfite, Laureth-7, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Citric Acid, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Propylene Glycol, Disodium EDTA, BHT, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Benzoic Acid, Sorbic Acid, Chlorphenesin, Imidazolidinyl Urea, Phenoxyethanol, Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde, Limonene, Linalool, Yellow 5 (CI 19140), Yellow 6 (CI 15985).
Now let’s get into some of the harmful ingredients that make appearances throughout these lines of products. I couldn’t choose every ingredient that is harmful because of the sheer volume.
As a result, I’ve chosen several that have established data for toxicity. I included each ingredient’s rating from the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database. This database rates the ingredients from 1, being least toxic, to 10, being most toxic.
Next, let’s pick those ingredients apart.
If you’re not familiar with formaldehyde, it’s a known carcinogen – a substance that exacerbates cancer growth. DMDM Hydantoin releases formaldehyde and it’s in Rodan and Fields’ products. It has been linked to rare cancers like myeloid leukemia as well cancer of the nasal cavity and sinuses.
Europe banned the use of DMDM Hydantoin.
Also a formaldehyde releaser. See above.
Europe banned the use of use of Diazolidinyl urea.
SODIUM LAURETH SULFATE
To start, SLS is a surfactant in many cleaning and hygiene products. Due to this, SLS has been linked to skin and eye irritation, groundwater pollution and pollution from the manufacturing process. The International Journal of Toxicology found that,
“Sodium Lauryl Sulfate had a degenerative effect on the cell membranes because of its protein denaturing properties. Low levels of skin penetration may occur at high use concentration.”
Also, they found that low levels of SLS were relatively safe. But higher concentrations cause depression, labored breathing, skin irritation, corneal damage and even death in some animals.
First, the thing we know as a fragrance is actually one of the most dangerous, harmful ingredients in the cosmetics industry. In fact, almost 4,000 chemicals, many of the harmful, can be labeled as “fragrance.”
In addition, roughly 95% of all synthetic fragrance originate from petroleum crude oil. Not only is this environmentally harmful, this process produces carcinogens like benzene and endocrine disruptors like phthalates. Phthalates don’t just disrupt the hormones, they have also been linked to autism and birth defects.
A study from Mount Sinai Children’s Environmental Health Center found that,
“Prenatal exposure to phthalates and delays in learning, including a recent study that shows children exposed to phthalates in the womb are more likely to display autisticlike behaviors.”
“Baby boys are more likely to experience changes in their genitals if their mothers were exposed to phthalates during pregnancy (Environmental Health Perspectives paper of the year, 2005).”
Thus, children’s toys do not contain phthalates as of 2008. In addition, Europe has banned the thing we know as “fragrance.”
METHYLPARABEN EWG rating: 4, PROPYLPARABEN EWG rating: 7, ETHYLPARABEN EWG rating: 4, BUTYLPARABEN EWG rating: 7, ISOBUTYLPARABEN EWG rating: 7
Parabens are endocrine (hormone) disruptors that have been linked to numerous cancers. Most noteworthy, the link to breast cancer is strong because of their ability to increase estrogen in the body. Most importantly: the majority of Rodan + Fields’ consumers are women. Their products contain ingredients linked to breast cancer. Think about that for a second.
From Scientific American,
“Of greatest concern is that parabens are known to disrupt hormone function, an effect that is linked to increased risk of breast cancer and reproductive toxicity,” reports the non-profit Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (CSC). “Parabens mimic estrogen by binding to estrogen receptors on cells.” Research has shown that the perceived influx of estrogen beyond normal levels can in some cases trigger reactions such as increasing breast cell division and the growth of tumors.”
Consequently, there’s the breast cancer connection:
For the study, scientists grew breast cancer cells in a lab. They treated the cancer cells with low doses of parabens along with heregulin, a growth-promoting substance that’s normally found in breast tissue. The two chemicals are known to have a more powerful effect when combined.
When the two chemicals were combined, the dose of parabens needed to stimulate growth was 100 times lower. That suggests parabens may be exerting effects at levels people are being exposed to in real life, according to study author Ruthann Rudel, who co-directs the research program for the non-profit Silent Spring Institute. Source
Europe banned parabens. Enough said.
PEG-100 STEARATE, PEG-10 DIMETHICONE, PEG-12 DIMETHICONE, ETC.
Otherwise known as PEGs, or polyethylene glycol, PEGs aren’t so much a specific ingredient as they are a formula that helps penetrate the skin. As a result, they allow other ingredients to get to the deep layer of the dermis (you know, like parabens and fragrance).
The big issue with PEGs comes from the manufacturing process, where PEGs can become contaminated with ethylene oxide, a known carcinogen (and rated 10 on EWG). Yet ethylene oxide is not just in PEGs but several other ingredients R+F uses. This includes various polysorbates, sodium laureth sulfates, and dimethicone.
Europe banned the use of PEGs.
RETINYL PALMITATE (NOT SAFE DURING PREGNANCY – OR EVER REALLY)
Because retinyl palmitate is a synthetic form of vitamin A, I’ve seen numerous people touting retinyl palmitate or its derivatives as safe.
This is not natural. It’s not the vitamin A found in liver, grass-fed beef, egg yolks, etc. This is a dangerous ingredient.
In addition, retinyl palmitate has been linked to skin cancer, vitamin A toxicity, liver damage and osteoporosis (source). In addition, when exposed to sunlight the retinyl palmitate on the skin can exacerbate the free radical damage. Tumor growth, cell mutation, and reproductive toxicants are linked to this ingredient.
Europe banned Retinyl palmitate by law.
In addition, Retinal is also a vitamin A derivative. See above.
Methylisothiazolinone is a preservative that has shown to be neurotoxic to brain cells. No biggie, right? It has also been linked to skin irritation and lung toxicity (source).
Europe banned Methylisothiazolinone by law.
People derive paraffin from petroleum. Also known as the gas you put in your car, or kerosene, or diesel fuel. And it’s also in Rodan + Fields products.
Europe banned petroleum products in cosmetics by law.
Firstly, people use Hydroquinone to lighten the skin. No way around it. In addition, it inhibits melanin production. This can cause severe sunburns, rash, irritation, and something called exogenous ochronosis, which is when the skin turns blue-ish black. In addition, the British Journal of Cancer has linked hydroquinone to mutagenicity and carcinogenicity (source).
Baylor College of Medicine has linked hydroquinone with tumor growth and cellular transformation (source).
In response, Europe, Japan, and Australia banned Hydroquinone.
*A friend who sells R+F told me this specific line is not recommended for long-term use.
Finally, my conclusion.
Numerous ingredients in these products contain ties to cancer, hormonal disruption, liver damage, skin irritation, eye irritation, breast cancer and birth defects. And this is why I do these reviews. Women deserve to know that they are using products linked to serious diseases.
However, this list does not include every harmful ingredient because that would simply take too long. This is a list of a few harmful ingredients that I’ve chosen to review.
As a result, I encourage you to do your own research. Check my facts. Check the numerous sources and studies I’ve provided (all 30+). Double check. Know what you are using on your skin. What you apply to the skin, the body absorbs.
Finally, I hope this review sheds light on these products and the ingredients they contain. Not everyone thinks like me. But I hope I can broaden your horizons.
Additional sources (others in pink):
OCA & Cancer Prevention Coalition Warn of Hidden Carcinogens in Baby Care AScribe Newswire, Feb 28, 2007
Technical Evaluation Report: Sodium Lauryl Sulfate Compiled by ICF Consulting for the USDA National Organic Program, February 10, 2006