Hailey Bieber’s Rhode skin care line is tricky to get your hands on — it’s usually sold out, although a fresh drop of the Barrier Restore Cream launches Aug. 30 — and I can see why. The collection features a “glazing” serum, moisturizer and lip balm, offering a three-step pathway to the glazed donut skin that Bieber made viral last year.
While glazed donut skin might sound sticky, it’s really all about emulating the smooth and dewy look of the pastry. With the launch of Rhode skin care in June 2022, the model and beauty founder sought to make the glazed complexion accessible to all. The collection is based around supporting the skin barrier — something important for all skin types — and features dermatologist-tested formulas that rely on scientifically backed skin care ingredients.
With the popularity of glazed donut skin (and nails too) on social media, Bieber has no doubt launched a quest to achieve the dewy, healthy look for many — and with Rhode’s hydrating and plumping formulas, I was eager to put them to the test.
What is Rhode skin care?
Rhode is Bieber’s answer to skinimalism — the three-product line consists of daily basics meant to support the skin barrier. Along with the minimalist packaging, the formulas within are meant to simplify your skin care routine. Developed for all skin types, the products are noncomedogenic (meaning they won’t clog pores), nonirritating and non-sensitizing.
Bieber wanted to focus on efficacious, high-quality ingredients at an accessible price point (each of the products are under $30) and worked with cosmetic chemist Dr. Ron Robinson and dermatologist Dr. Dhaval Bhanusali to develop Rhode. With the goal of making skin “happy and hydrated,” the products feature proven beneficial ingredients, including peptides, niacinamide and shea butter. “[These ingredients] are widely regarded as safe for all skin types and are found in a large variety of skin care products,” affirms Amy Peterson, medical aesthetician and founder of Miami medspa Skincare by Amy Peterson.
What we liked about it
Before delving into each of the products, let’s establish how I reviewed the line. As a 25-year-old with normal to combination skin — I usually get oily in my T-zone by midday — I wanted to see if the Peptide Glazing Fluid and Barrier Restore Cream could keep my skin hydrated throughout the day for the glazed donut look without turning greasy.
I replaced my usual hydrating serum and moisturizer with the Rhode products three weeks ago and have been using both nightly (sometimes the serum in the morning too). Because Rhode’s skin care mainly addresses moisturizing, I kept the other steps of my skin care routine the same. After cleansing, I use a vitamin C serum (currently the Joanna Vargas Rescue Serum) and SPF (The Sunscreen from Curology) during the day, Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel pads every other night and the Shani Darden Retinol Reform twice a week.
With that in mind, let’s get into the Rhode skin care products, all of which I would consider winners.
As its name suggests, this is the first step toward getting glazed donut skin. The gel-weight serum gives a dewy look, while peptides, niacinamide, hyaluronic acid and marula oil plump and moisturize.
Rhode recommends using one to two pumps after cleansing, but I found that I needed at least three to feel like I got enough product to cover my face and neck. Once applied, the fragrance-free serum feels lightweight and soothing. It didn’t cause any irritation (and it shouldn’t, as the ingredients are generally safe for sensitive skin), and it easily incorporated into my skin care routine without adversely reacting with any of the other actives (vitamin C, retinol, AHAs/BHAs) I use.
“[Niacinamide] works well with both your skin and other skin care ingredients,” Peterson notes of the key ingredient. Along with peptides, she adds, niacinamide helps protect the skin’s lipid barrier. The expert says both ingredients target fine lines and wrinkles, which can benefit those with aging skin. I also liked seeing hyaluronic acid in the ingredient list, as it’s a proven moisture-boosting element and a component that I like to keep in my skin care routine. “Hyaluronic acid is an amazing ingredient that helps minimize fine lines and wrinkles by helping the skin retain moisture,” Peterson confirms. “This ingredient is used to keep the skin hydrated and can lead to a plumper appearance.”
Since I get an oily T-zone, I was a bit concerned that the marula oil may exacerbate it, but it didn’t (although it didn’t lessen my usual level of oiliness either). Peterson says that marula oil is “typically used to smooth, soften and moisturize the skin,” adding, “It contains amino acids, fatty acids and antioxidants that have anti-aging, moisturizing and protective qualities.” It’s also a noncomedogenic oil, so it can help seal in moisture without clogging pores and thus leading to breakouts.
This is my favorite product in the line. I’ve been devoted to the Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream for over a decade, and Rhode’s Barrier Restore Cream is the closest alternative I’ve tried. Like the Kiehl’s moisturizer, it features squalane in the formula. “Squalane contains antioxidants that can help combat skin damage and free radicals,” Peterson explains. “Regular use of squalane can promote collagen production and result in firmer skin.”
Rhode’s moisturizer is super nourishing and feels like the perfect weight for all year round. I layered it on after the Peptide Glazing Fluid or any active treatments as the last step in my nighttime routine. Because it contains shea butter, which Peterson says “has moisturizing properties and can help seal in moisture from other skin care products applied beforehand,” it left my skin feeling soothed and hydrated, and my skin looked just as good in the morning after it sunk in overnight.
The formula also contains the same peptides and niacinamide as the Peptide Glazing Fluid for an added dose of those ingredients’ benefits.
Glazed donut skin wouldn’t be complete without plump, juicy lips too. The Peptide Lip Treatment is available in three flavors: Salted Caramel (my favorite), Watermelon Slice and Unscented. It comes in a squeeze tube that’s easy to bring on the go — I keep one in my purse, one in my makeup bag and one on my nightstand so my lips never go dry. The lip balm has a glossy finish that feels slick and lightweight.
Thanks to the formula’s shea butter, peptides, nourishing cupuaçu butter and vitamin E-rich babassu oil, it coats the lips with hydrating ingredients in a soft balm. “[Shea butter] can be used to heal and protect dry, chapped lips,” Peterson explains. “Many enjoy this ingredient in their lip products because it does not leave the lips feeling sticky or greasy.”
What we didn’t like about it
While all of Rhode’s products are solid options worth trying if you’re looking for hydrating products or an entry into skin care, they’ll have to be combined with other products to target specific skin concerns that acne-prone or mature skin types might want to treat.
“Rhode’s products seem to be hydrating and calming but lack some of the stronger active ingredients or heavier moisturizers that would be needed to combat skin concerns for more mature skin,” Peterson notes. “If someone is combating more severe acne, hyperpigmentation, inflammation, they would need to utilize skin care with active ingredients that are tailored to treating such skin conditions.”
As for user experience, all of the products are accessible and well made (and use recyclable postconsumer materials when possible), but I noticed that the Peptide Glazing Fluid bottle contains less product than you might think when looking at it (the cap is nearly the same volume as the bottle itself).
How it compares
As with most celebrity-founded beauty brands these days, it’s fair to question whether Rhode’s products are the real deal or more akin to merch tied to a famous face. Rhode’s products seem to live up to the hype. Similar to Scarlett Johansson’s skin care line, The Outset (which I reviewed earlier this year), Rhode’s products take a minimalist approach to skin care, focusing on universal ingredients that are safe for all skin types. While both have celebrity founders whose own seemingly flawless complexions have access to luxury treatments and high-end cosmetics, the brands work closely with expert dermatologists to ensure that the products go beyond face value. Quality ingredients that are non-sensitizing are a plus, because it means the products are virtually safe for anyone to try with little to no risk. (Of course, if you’re concerned about any of the ingredients, it’s best to consult your dermatologist.) Because Rhode’s line is currently smaller than The Outset’s — which also offers a cleanser, night cream and eye cream — the latter may offer a more well-rounded skin care plan. However, Rhode has hinted at future launches (like a cleanser) so it may not be that far behind in offering a complete regimen.
Rhode’s curated line is a great entry point into hydrating skin care essentials. It’s easy to incorporate into an existing skin care routine or a good starting point to build from if you’re just getting started.
Plus, all of the products are travel-friendly in that they are under TSA’s 100-milliliter limit for liquids in carry-ons, and they kept my skin balanced and hydrated when stopping in various time zones and climates throughout the past few weeks.
Considering Bieber’s influence among the Gen Z crowd, it seems like a universal line that young beauty enthusiasts can benefit from. “These products seem to be formulated with ingredients that would benefit a young Gen Z audience,” Peterson says. “Many of the ingredients found in the products also have benefits for acne-prone skin.” Although, she adds, “Even a young customer would need products such as a great cleanser, toner, vitamin C, eye cream and SPF to create a more complete skin care routine.”