Is Rodan and Fields a Legit MLM or Pyramid Scheme? [Review]

Rodan and Fields is a company that sells skincare products through a multi-level marketing (MLM) model. 

Chances are, you’ve heard about Rodan and Fields from a friend or family member. Many people today are exploring ways to earn extra money, and you might be one of them. Rodan and Fields offers an opportunity to work from home as an independent distributor.

Now, here’s the big question: Is Rodan and Fields a legit MLM or a pyramid scheme? We’ll get into that. And hey, we’ll also fill you in on a better way to make money from home.

Who Am I?

Hey there! I’m Benjamin, the person behind MLM Scam Insider. I used to be a sales rep at an MLM company, so I’ve seen both the good and bad sides of the MLM world.

After college, I joined HSBC as a relationship manager. Unfortunately, I got laid off due to some silly mistakes, and I felt pretty hopeless. During this tough time, a friend suggested I join his team.

He flaunted his success on Instagram with a Lamborghini (later, I discovered he had just rented it), so I believed I could attain the same. I purchased a starter kit from him and became a distributor. However, being a sales representative at an MLM company wasn’t what I had anticipated – it felt like a pyramid scheme. Uncomfortable with the idea of pitching to my friends and family, I only managed to sell a few starter kits.

Fortunately, I discovered how to make money blogging during Covid. So I soon quit my job as a sales rep and focused on my blog about budgeting, later selling it for $170k. Now, I’m a full-time internet entrepreneur running several blogs, including this one.

My goal is to provide you with honest reviews of various MLM companies, using my personal experiences to help you understand what’s really happening. I have connections with friends in the network marketing industry, and my team and I have spoken with different MLM distributors to give you the inside scoop.

What is Rodan and Fields?

Rodan + Fields was founded by two dermatologists, Katie Rodan and Kathy Fields, who both studied at Stanford University. Before that, they had developed a successful acne skincare line called Proactiv, which gained fame through infomercials.

Proactiv’s success led them to license it to Guthy-Renker, a company that sells products directly to consumers through TV commercials.

In 2003, Rodan + Fields was sold to Estée Lauder, but in 2007, Rodan and Fields bought back the brand and transformed it into a multi-level marketing (MLM) company. In this MLM setup, consultants can earn commissions on their own sales and on the sales made by those they refer.

According to EuroMonitor International, Rodan + Fields was the top-selling skincare brand in North America in 2017 in terms of total sales.

However, it has faced criticism from consumer advocates who view its business model as resembling a pyramid scheme.

Rodan and Fields

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What Products Does Rodan and Fields Offer?

Rodan and Fields introduced their skincare line in 2002, which includes a variety of products such as cleansers and acne treatments. One of their popular skincare regimens is called “Redefine,” which consists of four steps:

  1. Cleansing: You can start with either a Clay or Foaming Cleanser (Step 1).
  2. Toning: Next, use a Pore Refining Toner (Step 2).
  3. Moisturizing: Follow up with a Defense Lotion or Cream (Step 3).
  4. Enhancing: Finally, complete the regimen with a Restorative Cream or Lotion (Step 4).

In 2020, the company introduced an Anti-Aging Regimen to their product lineup.

Is Rodan and Fields An MLM?

Yes, Rodan and Fields is a legitimate multi-level marketing (MLM) company. However, it’s important to note that this MLM model has faced criticism from consumer advocates who sometimes compare it to a pyramid scheme.

Rodan and Fields consultants typically use social media, phone calls, and in-person presentations to sell products and recruit others to join their team.

To become a consultant, you have to purchase some Rodan and Fields products. You can either use these products for personal care or resell them to your customers.

But here’s the catch: making a substantial income by selling Rodan and Fields products alone is unlikely. Similar to most MLMs, your success often hinges on recruiting new members to work under you.

This business structure is multi-level, as the name suggests. Think of it like a triangle. Everyone in this triangle is part of your direct downline (in MLM lingo, those below you are your “downline,” and you are their “upline”), and you receive commissions from the sales made within this triangle.

The more people you can recruit, the more commissions you’re likely to earn. In many MLMs, people tend to focus on earning passive income by recruiting others to work for them rather than earning one-time commissions from product sales, even if the MLM offers a wide range of products.

In this model, those at the top of the triangle tend to reap the most financial rewards, while those at the base typically earn less.

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Is Rodan and Fields A Pyramid Scheme?

No, Rodan and Fields is not a pyramid scheme. It’s a legitimate multi-level marketing (MLM) company where members earn money by selling skincare products. Unlike pyramid schemes, your income with Rodan and Fields doesn’t rely solely on recruiting others.

On the other hand, pyramid schemes rely on income generated from recruitment fees rather than, as participants may believe, from the sale of actual goods or services with real value.

In other words, newcomers often have to pay a fee to join, and the company shares some of that money with those who recruit new members.

So, did Rodan and Fields promise rewards or services in return for recruiting more people?

In Rodan and Fields, consultants don’t receive direct cash rewards for bringing in new members. There are no special bonuses for recruiting. Instead, they promise you payments based on the sales generated by the people you enroll.

But it’s important to know that Rodan + Fields uses a multi-level marketing approach, which has been criticized for resembling pyramid schemes. In this system, people are placed in both uplines and downlines. This structure primarily benefits those at the top, as they recruit new members and earn a share of their sales. 

Learn more about the differences between MLM and pyramid scheme

How Much Can You Make With Rodan and Fields?

You can earn some money with Rodan and Fields, but it’s unlikely to provide a full living.

Only 2% of active members make at least the annual minimum wage, and for most, Rodan + Fields is just a side gig, not their primary income source.

According to the income stats from Rodan + Fields, a whopping 90% of members earned less than $200 per month, and an even higher 96% earned less than $500 per month in 2016. 

Worse still, 44% of all recruits in 2016 made no earnings at all, which means they were no longer considered active. 

Income stats from Rodan + Fields

Rodan and Fields Compensation Plan

Rodan and Fields offers two primary ways for consultants to earn income:

  1. Selling Products: Consultants can earn commissions by selling Rodan and Fields products.

  2. Recruiting Team Members: Consultants can also earn bonuses based on the sales made by the team members they recruit.

The most effective way to maximize your earnings with Rodan and Fields is to both sell products and build a strong team. When your team members make sales or purchases, you receive bonuses and commissions.

The Rodan and Fields Compensation Plan is relatively straightforward compared to some other MLMs. Let’s break down the different consultant levels and their associated perks:

  1. Independent Consultant (with discount and retail selling only): The starting level, allowing you to earn through product sales with a discount.

  2. Active Consultant (with 10% commission, discount, and retail profit): Earn a 10% commission on sales in addition to discounts and retail profits.

  3. Executive Consultant (Perks of Active Consultant + 5% Commission from Team): Start building a team and earn an extra 5% commission on your team’s sales.

  4. Level 1 Executive (Perks of EC + 5% Commission from the first downline of EC): As you advance, you earn 5% commission from your first downline’s sales.

  5. Level 2 Executive (Perks of L1E + 5% Commission from the first downline of L1E): This level adds another 5% commission from the first downline of Level 1 Executive.

  6. Level 3 Executive (Perks of L2E + 5% Commission from the first downline of L2E): Similar to previous levels but with additional commissions.

  7. Level 4 Executive (Perks of L3E + 5% Commission from the first downline of L3E): Continuing to build your downline and earning commissions.

  8. Level 5 Executive (Perks of L4E + 5% Commission from the first downline of L4E): Increasing your potential earnings with a larger team.

  9. Premier Executive (Perks of L5E + 5% Commission from the first downline of L5E): Achieving a higher rank and enjoying enhanced benefits.

  10. Elite Executive (Perks of PE + 5% Commission from the first downline of EE): Reaching an elite level with increased commissions.

  11. R+F Executive (Perks of EE + 5% Commission from the first downline of EE): The highest level with the most significant earning potential and rewards.

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How Much Does It Cost To Join Rodan and Fields?

To become a Rodan and Fields consultant, you’ll need to pay a $75 enrollment fee.

After that, you’ll be encouraged to buy various business kits, which can cost anywhere from $395 to $995.

What Are Customers Saying About Rodan and Fields?

Rodan and Fields has received a lot of customer complaints on Trustpilot and ConsumerAffairs. A significant portion of these complaints pertains to the products and services they offer.

For instance, one customer named Vanessa claimed that the Rodan and Fields skincare product she purchased had a detrimental effect on her skin and overall well-being.

Rodan + Fields customer review

Another customer Christine said she couldn’t get a refund for the auto ship product that she didn’t order. 

Rodan + Fields customer review

Like many MLMs, Rodan and Fields sells products at high prices compared to similar alternatives in the market. This makes it challenging to sell their products, as potential customers can find similar items elsewhere for much less. As a result, most people in MLMs tend to prioritize recruiting over selling actual products.

As a sales representative, you might face difficulties selling Rodan and Fields products due to customer dissatisfaction with their past experiences.

Is Rodan and Fields a Scam?

Rodan and Fields isn’t a scam. It’s a legit MLM company. However, FTC’s research show that 99% of MLM participants end up losing money. 

The MLM model, including Rodan and Fields, has a big flaw: most of the money goes to those at the top, leaving little for those at the bottom. This has made many see Rodan and Fields as an unreliable opportunity.

So, why do people stick with MLMs like Rodan and Fields despite the low earning potential? Our research shows that many MLMs have a culture like a cult. They discourage questioning and isolate those who doubt the company.

When you become a Rodan and Fields consultant, you might feel pressured to ask your family and friends to join your Rodan and Fields business, which can be uncomfortable and strain relationships.

Your upline will keep pushing you to buy more business support materials, even when you’re struggling to recruit people. 

While Rodan and Fields isn’t exactly a pyramid scheme since you can make money selling products, in reality, making real income often means recruiting others.

Instead of getting into MLM, you might consider starting your own online business. This way, you can pick what you want to sell and have more say in how much you make and when you work.

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Other MLM Opportunities

Here are the other MLM companies we have reviewed:


Amway (Full Review)


Market America (Full Review)


Primerica (Full Review)


Herbalife (Full Review)


Mary Kay (Full Review)


Vector Marketing (Full Review)


Enagic (Full Review)


World Financial Group (Full Review)


Nu Skin (Full Review)


Q Sciences (Full Review)

See our list of the best MLM Companies.

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