Naked & Thriving is a brother-sister business that creates clean formulas with pure, organic ingredients harvested from sustainable farms. The company also believes in sustainability; its products are vegan and certified.
The brand started as a kitchen cosmetics company back in 2016. At that time, the primary focus was facial oils. Today, Naked & Thriving also offers a line of cleansers, eye care, face tools, and serums. Not only is its Renew Serum one of the most popular serums on offer, but it’s also one of the brand’s overall best-selling products. The efficacious formula works to gently exfoliate dead skin cells to reveal a smoother, more radiant complexion.
While there’s no denying these clean formulas’ appeal, when it comes to thoroughly resurfacing the skin in a gentle yet effective manner, is Naked & Thriving’s Renew Serum truly up to the task? Let’s take a closer look.
Formulation Facts: The Exfoliating and Restorative Effects of Naked & Thriving Renew Serum
- Sugar glycolic acids help gently exfoliate and dissolve dead skin cells, resulting in the appearance of a brighter, smoother complexion.
- Fruit alpha hydroxy acids (orange and lemon fruit extracts) promote natural cell turnover, enhance the appearance of firmness, and combat dullness. However, both can potentially irritate sensitive skin types.
- It’s also important to point out that while it’s true alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) can be derived from sugar cane and fruit, these extracts don’t perform the same as when pure glycolic acid (or any other AHA) is used in a product. There’s actually a big difference between the extracted, pure ingredient (i.e., glycolic acid) and the original plant material (i.e., sugar cane extract).
- Ferulic Acid, or hydroxycinnamic acid, is a powerful antioxidant used in skincare and cosmetic products. As an antioxidant, ferulic acid neutralizes free radicals. Free radicals are produced from pollution, UV rays, smoking, diet, and infrared radiation.
- Hyaluronic acid is an all-around skincare all-star because it can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water. Put another way, one gram of HA can hold up to six liters of water. It’s a humectant that attracts moisture to the skin, resulting in a plumped-up, smooth, and vibrant appearance. Hyaluronic acid may help with inflammation and wound healing.
- Organic aloe leaf juice may have anti-inflammatory benefits for the skin due to the 75 active phytochemicals in this plant. Phytochemicals are natural chemical compounds that plants produce to help them grow and survive, such as vitamins, minerals, enzymes, lipids, sugars, salicylic acids, and amino acids. Aloe vera is also used to help soothe irritated or mildly damaged skin.
- Aloe vera may also help to prevent transepidermal water loss. Glycosaminoglycans have suggested this ability to prevent moisture loss. Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) are a class of sugar molecules that help bind moisture into the skin.
- Glycerin helps to increase hydration, prevent moisture loss, protect the skin, replenish the skin’s Natural Moisturizing Factor (NMF), and expedite healing. Despite its simplicity, glycerin is an exceptional hydrator which is why it’s so widely used.
- Sodium hyaluronate is known for pulling water into the skin, which hydrates and plumps its appearance. It also helps to replenish the skin’s moisture content, hydrating the skin’s cells, which reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It’s an excellent ingredient for those with oily, combination, or congested skin because it provides hydration without the heaviness. SA may also reduce the overproduction of sebum that occurs when the skin is dehydrated. The additional oil is compensation for the lack of moisture.
Compliment your regimen with a serum. Serum contains higher concentration of actives and penetrate deeper. We recommend Carrot & Stick The Repair Serum. It contains 7 plant-based peptides to help promote smoother looking skin.
- Naked & Thriving Renew Serum is formulated for all skin types. However, precautions should be taken when using any AHA exfoliant — especially if you have sensitive skin. More on that in a bit.
- All of the natural, and in some cases, natural and organic, ingredients in the serum have been identified by the brand’s team of scientists and researchers.
- As with all N&T products, Renewing Serum was only tested on humans — not animals — to ensure it withheld the highest standards of efficacy and quality.
- Naked & Thriving Renew Serum is packaged in a sustainable glass bottle — for every bottle sold, a tree is planted, thanks to a partnership with a nonprofit. The brand’s packaging experts make it a point to identify the lowest impact, sustainable materials. They partner with solar and wind energy suppliers to minimize environmental impact. And for every bottle sold, we partner with nonprofits to plant a tree.
- The brand is Leaping Bunny Certified, meaning it never has or will test on animals, and neither will its suppliers.
- Naked & Thriving is vegan, cruelty-free, gluten-free, and void of 2,000-plus harmful ingredients.
Precautions When Using Naked & Thriving Renew Serum
Even though N&T Renew Serum is made with naturally-derived AHAs doesn’t mean that your skin escapes sensitivity to the sun.
- With that in mind, stick to using this serum (or any AHA or glycolic acid product) at night, and always wear an SPF of 30 or higher during the day. Should you decide to pause, note that it’s vital to continue using sun protection for one week afterward (though we believe you should be wearing it daily regardless of your skincare routine!).
- Begin using a pea-sized amount of product twice weekly (on alternate nights) and build up to nightly use. Never use it in conjunction with other exfoliating acids.
Overall, we think that Naked & Thriving’s Renew Serum is a suitable option for those looking for a naturally-derived exfoliating product that is sustainable, cruelty-free, vegan, and void of 2,00-plus harmful, toxic ingredients. The formula lives up to the brand’s philosophy of providing clean, efficacious formulas.
However, remember that this serum may not be as results-driven as similar products on the market. While it’s true that alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) can be derived from sugar cane and fruit, these extracts don’t perform the same as when pure glycolic acid (or any other AHA) is used in a product. There’s actually a big difference between the extracted, pure ingredient (i.e., glycolic acid) and the original plant material (i.e., sugar cane extract).
Also, the orange and lemon fruit extracts could cause sensitivity in some skin types, so even though the serum is not as potent as other AHA/glycolic products on the market, it’s not a bad idea to start slowly, as the brand suggests.
Check out our brand review if you’re interested in other top-selling Naked & Thriving products.
What are some alternatives to Naked & Thriving’s Renew Serum?
While we strive to provide accurate reviews, the reality is that not every product or brand is for everyone. The good news is, that you have options.
The Derm Review is affiliated with Carrot & Stick and Formulyst. While we stand behind our brands, we’re not here to tell you what to put on your skin — that’s up to you. However, we still believe it’s worth sharing a few alternative products from our lines and a couple of other top-rated brands.
- If you’re looking for effective skincare products that skip harmful toxins like Naked & Thriving, we recommend The Brightening Pads from Carrot & Stick. They’re formulated with a concentrated blend of salicylic, lactic, and mandelic acids to sweep away the build-up of dead skin cells to promote clarity, refine texture, and rid pores of impurities. Herbal extracts fight visible photodamage and help keep the appearance of redness in check. Resurfaced skin is smoother, brighter, and more receptive to products.
- You’ve probably seen this blood-red peel all over TikTok, but just in case you haven’t, The Ordinary Peeling Solution is by far the brand’s most buzzed-about product. It’s a 10-minute exfoliating facial that includes 30% alpha hydroxy acids (glycolic, lactic, tartaric, and citric acid) and 2% beta hydroxy acid (salicylic acid).
Both AHAs and BHAs exfoliate the skin, but they work slightly differently. By sloughing off dead skin cells from the surface, The Ordinary Peeling Solution can help improve skin texture irregularities, pore congestion, blemishes, dull skin, and fine lines.
And the red hue of this peel? That’s due to the inclusion of a studied Tasmanian Pepperberry derivative that has been shown to help reduce irritation associated with acid use. But even with this soothing ingredient in the formula, the brand still recommends that experienced users of acid exfoliation should only use this product.
- As the name suggests, Strivectin Advanced Hydration Lactic Acid Nightly Retexturing Serum is one of the best anti-aging serums for targeting dry, lackluster skin because it exfoliates one of the keys to achieving a supple, plump complexion. Alpha-hydroxy acids, vegan lactic acid, blue cypress oil, and an advanced youth-boosting Nonapeptide boost the skin’s natural moisturizing factors while improving skin tone and texture.
- Biossance Squalane + 10% Lactic Acid Resurfacing Night Serum is an Instagram favorite, and its devoted fans say it helps leave skin look and feel softer and smoother. The serum is formulated with 10% vegan lactic acid made from sustainably sourced sugar, which helps exfoliate the skin, clover to add moisture boost, and hydrating squalane.
Apply the product on a clean, slightly damp face and neck while avoiding the eye area. For optimal results, after allowing a pea-sized amount of the Renew Resurfacing Night Serum to absorb for 2-3 minutes before applying 4-7 drops of the brand’s Rejuvenate Restorative Face Oil. According to the brand, allow the oil to absorb for 3-5 minutes before applying additional products.
However, if you’re using a moisturizer, apply it before the oil. Because oil is the heaviest product in your routine, it can penetrate your moisturizer and still reach your skin — but not if applied in reverse. So, use your oil after applying moisturizer to your skin post-serum for optimal moisture.
Most dermatologists and estheticians suggest prioritizing your skincare routine (a face serum included) around 25 — a few years before you start thinking about collagen and elastin depletion and increased dryness, both of which lead to the signs of aging skin.
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“Phytochemical”ScienceDirect, From Therapeutic Foods, 2018
“Glycosaminoglycan” ScienceDirect, From
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