I mentioned before that my only dalliance with the REN brand was a sample of the Flash Rinse Facial but that after one single use, I saw instant results and fell in love. Because of that experience, I had high hopes for the brand but for whatever reason hadn’t gotten around to picking up any of their other products. To be honest, they’re rather pricey and I just didn’t know where to start.
So a few weeks back when I was invited to the launch of their newest product, I absolutely jumped at the chance. What’s more, I left with a goodie bag full of samples of some of their other products and I couldn’t wait to delve into the loot! So today, I wanted to share my experiences with you in case you are also hoping to dip your toe into REN territory.
The first product I tried, immediately after getting home from the event, was the REN Rosa Centifolia Express Make-up Remover which claims to be suitable for all skin types. REN have several different lines of products and the Rosa Centifolia division is said to be a range of gentle yet effective cleansers based on a unique 100% natural rose extract complex that tones, softens and soothes the skin while cleansing. Before this, I was using up the end of a cream cleanser that I didn’t particularly like so I was in the market for a new makeup remover and had high hopes for this one.
REN herald this as a silky milk makeup remover that quickly and effortlessly removes makeup including waterproof mascara. It is said to leave the skin purified, soothed and toned without tightness. It is formulated with rice bran oil to soothe and hydrate while tannins from rose centifolia help to reduce the size of pores. It also claims to restore comfort to those with dry or dehydrated skin.
The instructions on the tube tell you to apply it to a cotton pad and sweep over closed eyes. I find that a little bizarre as it isn’t specifically an eye makeup remover so I applied it to two cotton pads and ran them all over my face. The texture is very creamy and a little thick but I was disappointed that it did a pretty terrible job of taking my makeup off. I don’t use waterproof mascara – which it claims it can remove – but my Inglot Gel Liner is waterproof and an absolute bitch to remove. This does nothing but move it all around my face. I went in afterwards with a cleansing balm, a muslin cloth and a micellar water to remove the mess it had left behind.
The following day after work, I decided I hadn’t given it a fair trial. I had had some champagne at the event and had had an incredibly long day going from a full day’s work to the gym to the event so I was dying to take my makeup off when I got home and was impatient. I tried again but again was disappointed with how little it removed.
When I sat down to type up this review yesterday, I noticed that on the REN website, it instructs you to apply it to a cotton pad, wipe it over your eyes, then remove it with a damp washcloth or warm water. Despite it not saying that on the packaging (seriously, I triple-checked!) I was relieved that it was my mistake and not the fault of REN – the brand which I had been holding in such high regard. So I paused my review and last night, tried again. This time I used a muslin cloth and warm water to remove the product and still, it did not take my makeup off! It was only slightly more effective and to be honest, I think it was the exfoliating properties of the muslin cloth that did that!
I don’t know what to say here. I wear a lot of makeup – probably more than most – and I have tried products labelled ‘cleansers’ before that did nothing for me. That is okay because I use them to cleanse my skin when I have no makeup on. However this is specifically labelled a makeup remover and claims to remove waterproof mascara so I really think it fails on both fronts. It feels nice enough on the skin and I will continue to use it up (I’ll, again, save it for cleansing when I have no makeup on!) but I will definitely not repurchase it.
I received a 50ml sample but the regular size is 150ml and retails for €16. I would only recommend this if you wear very little makeup or are looking for a cleanser to use on bare skin.
After that disappointment, I was nervous about trying the rest of the products. I seriously fell so hard for the Flash Rinse Facial that the idea of the rest of the products being fairly crap really upset me. Yet I ploughed on and tried the REN V-Cense Youth Vitality Day Cream. The V-Cense range is said to be specifically formulated to banish urban grey and to help combat the signs of fatigue and first signs of ageing.
This is said to be a multi-active day moisturiser that prevents and minimises the signs of premature ageing. It claims to intensely hydrate,protect against free radical damage and smooth fine lines and wrinkles while boosting skin energy and elasticity. It is said to leave skin hydrated, protected and glowing.
It contains Frankincense; renowned for its skin regeneration properties, Vitamic C to boost collagen production and Boswellic Acid to help relax facial muscles, smoothing lines and wrinkles.
In texture and consistency, this feels like an average cream. It isn’t thick or thin. It has a bit of a strange scent which I think is because there is no artificial fragrance added so it is just the smell of the ingredients. As I rub it in, I find that my skin almost drinks it up. I ended up applying quite a bit because of the way my skin absorbed it. Afterwards, my skin feels cushiony and velvety and beautifully hydrated.
I am not sure about any long term benefits and with a 15ml sample, I probably won’t either but if you are feeling spendy or looking for a great moisturiser, I would recommend giving this a go. I think dry skins will love this. A 50ml bottle retails for €36 which I think is a bit steep but it is currently sold out on Cloud10Beauty so I think that speaks for itself!
The next product was one I was particularly excited to try because I had heard great things. Meet the REN Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask which is part of their Radiance line. The Radiance line is labelled a transformative range specifically formulated to reveal a renewed, revitalised and radiant complexion.
The Radiance Renewal Mask is said to have been formulated to renew your complexion, reduce fine lines and help you achieve healthier, younger looking skin. It is said to noticeably improve the firmness and radiance of the skin. It is formulated with a fruit acid complex and papain enzyme so that this potent bio active peel works as a gentle but powerful exfoliator to improve skin tone and restore radiance. It claims to deeply exfoliate, decongest and purify skin, thereby smoothing skin texture and reducing the appearance of fine lines. It also contains Omega 3 and 7 to nourish, soothe and repair skin keeping it calm and soothed.
As I mentioned, I was really excited to give this one a go. The instructions are simple – smooth it on, leave for ten minutes and remove with a muslin cloth and warm water. It goes on like a clear gel and is invisible on the skin colour-wise although obviously you are left very wet-looking and shiny. I found it tingled a little in a few areas which I took to mean it was working but it was very slight. After rinsing it off, I spent a long time glaring at my face in the mirror trying to see a difference. The Flash Rinse Facial instantly left my face looking incredibly glowy so I had the same hopes for this. My skin seemed to glow a little but it has been doing that quite a bit lately so I wasn’t even sure if I could attribute it to the mask.
I tried it for the second time yesterday, leaving it on for ten minutes before washing it off when I hopped in the shower and as it melted away, I could not get over how silky soft my skin felt. I could not stop touching my face in the shower. Once I dried off, I felt my skin again and it still felt so noticeably silky. My makeup applied like a dream over top. I couldn’t believe that I never noticed it the first time I used the mask although I think I was so obsessed with looking for a visible change that I never thought to feel my skin for a difference. This has shot up there with the Flash Rinse Facial as one of my favourite REN products.
I have a tiny 15ml sample, which I am now hesitant to use because I don’t want it to be gone but you can purchase a full size 50ml for €35 and honestly, if you are looking to change your skin texture, you need this.
The penultimate item I was gifted was the REN Keep Young and Beautiful Instant Firming Beauty Shot. I vaguely remember the release of this a few years back and all the blogger hype but somehow it passed me by and I forgot about it. As the name of the range suggests, this is aimed at keeping skin younger for longer.
The idea of the Beauty Shot is that it is a gel-like serum that instantly firms, lifts and plumps the skin to leave it smoother, tighter and more youthful. It is said to contain a liquid matrix of hyaluronans to supercharge the skin with firming moisture while encouraging the elastin synthesis to firm and remodel the skin over time. This can be used on clean skin, over makeup or on damp skin to lock in moisture.
I tend to use this after I take off my makeup and before I apply my moisturiser before bed. It is quite a viscous gel which slides over the skin easily. It almost feels like it is gliding over the skin when you apply it, rather than absorbing. However, after a minute or two, it begins to sink in and leaves your skin feeling rather tight. I believe that is the “instant firming effect” that they are talking about. This isn’t a dry-skin tight feeling, your skin does feel nourished, just firmer some how. As I am now in my late twenties, I have noticed some fine lines on my forehead – that’s what I get for having such an expressive face! However, when I apply this, I find that it takes more of an effort to raise my brows and cause those lines to appear. Don’t get me wrong – my face isn’t frozen – it is sort of that feeling when you apply a face mask and it dries on your skin. Other than the instant firming feeling, I can’t really claim that I have seen any effects of using this although that doesn’t mean it doesn’t work.
I know quite a few people who swear by this but I’m still a little on the fence. If you want to give it a go, you get 30ml of product in a dropper-lid bottle for €47.95.
The final product I have to review and the reason for the event in the first place, is the REN Keep Young and Beautiful Instant Brightening Beauty Shot Eye Lift, their newest release.
This is heralded as a light gel-like serum that instantly lifts and dramatically brightens the under eye area. It is said to visibly diminish under eye circles and puffiness. Regular use promises to reduce the appearance of fine lines and crow’s feet, improving the overall look of the eye contour.
Now at the event, there was a bottle of this on each table and at one stage of the night, we were instructed to pass it around and apply it to our eyes, despite all of us wearing makeup. REN claim it can applied as part of a morning or evening routine, as well as throughout the day – even on top of makeup – as a little pick me up. The first thing that struck me about this is how instantly cooling it felt. As I mentioned already, I had had a very busy day leading up to the event and this seriously relieved my tired eyes. After the cooling effect subsided, it began to tighten – in much the same way as the Instant Beauty Shot for your face. I also discovered that it contains light-reflecting pigments so that your eye area looks instantly brighter. It sounds a little gimmicky with the tight-feel and shimmer but REN promise that it is backed up with science and will have long-term benefits too. I haven’t seen them yet but I am ever hopeful and using this once or twice daily.
I was lucky to receive a full size bottle of this which holds 15ml and retails for €40 however a little goes a long way – you definitely need less than a pump – so I think it will last a long time.
All in all, my experience with REN has been positive with the exception of the makeup remover. Because the products are pricey, I will definitely do a lot of research before picking up any in future or I have been toying with the idea of purchasing some of their sets of minis so that I can try out some different bits without splurging on the full sizes. I highly recommend the Flash Rinse Facial and Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask as they are my stand out favourites although the Instant Beauty Shot line is worth a look too.
REN is available from Cloud10Beauty as well as in Marks & Spencers Beauty Halls.
Have you tried anything from the brand?
What should I trial next?
Disclaimer: All of the REN products were given to me as PR samples. I am under no obligation to mention them on my blog and it does not affect my opinion of the products in any way.
No affiliate links were used.