The story behind REN Skincare
Founded in 2000, REN Skincare has a simple skin care philosophy: give you visible results from skincare with ingredients that work with your skin, without causing irritation. The brand uses ingredients from sustainable sources and also uses sustainable packaging, such as bottles made with ocean plastic and tubes made from post-consumer-recycled plastic.
If you’ve been thinking about trying a clean, eco-friendly skin care brand, you may be considering REN Skincare – but is this brand really right for your skin type? Read our review to learn more about the best selling REN Skincare products, key ingredients (and a few ingredients that are potentially problematic!), REN Skincare reviews from real customers, and more.
What are the best selling REN Skincare products?
The REN Skincare product lineup includes a wide variety of items that include facial cleansers, anti-aging products, and products for dry, acne-prone, and sensitive skin. The collection also includes body washes, all-over body cream, retinoids, toners, masks, and eye and lip care items. Since there are way too many products for us to cover in this review, we’ll focus on a few of the best selling REN Skincare products: Clean Jelly Oil Cleanser, Glow Daily AHA Tonic, and Glycolic Lactic Radiance RENewal Mask.
The REN Skincare Clean Jelly Oil Cleanser is a three-phase, gentle oil-based cleanser that removes waterproof makeup, SPF, and pollution. This cleanser provides a deep clean without stripping your skin of essential moisture. What’s unique about this cleanser is that it shifts three times while you cleanse, starting as a jelly and shifting to an oil and then milk, to gently wash away dirt, makeup, and pollution for soft, clean skin.
The REN Skincare Glow Daily AHA Tonic is said to be like a face exfoliator and resurfacing toner in one. This REN Skincare toner stimulates natural cell turnover to help even tone, diminish the appearance of pores, and promote a healthy glow.
The REN Skincare Glycol Lactic Mask is said to brighten skin and tighten the look of pores – in just ten minutes. This rinse-off mask contains natural fruit-derived acids to help smooth skin texture, firm, lighten the appearance of hyperpigmentation, and restore a healthy-looking glow to skin.
What are the key ingredients in REN Skincare?
REN Skincare is claimed to be created for all skin types, even sensitive skin, with pH balanced formulas and non-irritating ingredients. While REN Skincare is eager to point out that they don’t use irritating ingredients in their product formulations, this isn’t exactly true. That’s because many of their formulations contain fragrance blends or fragrant essential oils. A perfect example is the REN Skincare toner, which is packed with fragrant ingredients like parfum (fragrance), mandarin peel oil, orange flower oil, grapefruit peel oil, tangerine peel oil, and limonene. The way most fragrance ingredients (whether natural or synthetic) impart scent is through a volatile reaction. Unfortunately, this natural reaction almost always causes a sensitizing reaction on skin (even if you don’t notice it right away).
Keeping this in mind, we’d still like to discuss a few of the beneficial ingredients you’ll find in REN Skincare products. For example, lactic acid is used in many products, such as the REN Skincare Glow Daily AHA Tonic and the REN Skincare Glycol Lactic Mask. Lactic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), and is actually one of the gentlest AHAs due to its large molecular size.
One of the key benefits of lactic acid is its ability to exfoliate and brighten the skin. Lactic acid works by breaking down keratin, a protein that acts as a glue to hold together the dead skin cells that make up the stratum corneum. By dissolving keratin, lactic acid helps to slough off these dead skin cells, effectively exfoliating the skin. It also enhances cellular renewal by increasing cell turnover rates in the upper layers of your skin. Ultimately, lactic acid leaves the skin looking brighter with a more even tone. Lactic acid can also help to prevent acne, correct skin discoloration, improve skin hydration, and help fight signs of aging.
Several REN Skincare products also include a high concentration of grapeseed oil, such as the Clean Jelly Oil Cleanser and the REN Skincare Glycol Lactic Mask. Grapeseed oil is lightweight, moisturizing, and anti-inflammatory. Grapeseed oil also has a high affinity with the structure of skin cells, and therefore is absorbed easily without leaving a greasy feeling on the skin. This property also enables the oil to deliver other active ingredients deeper into the skin. Lastly, grapeseed oil is rich in essential fatty acids, such as linoleic acid, which can help replenish the skin’s barrier function.
Where are REN Skincare products sold?
REN Skincare products debuted in England and then spread out over the UK and other countries, including the United States. Today, you can find their products in department store skin care counters, pharmacies, and at select spas. REN Skincare products are sold on the brand’s website, as well as third party sellers like Amazon, Sephora, and more.
What is the REN Skincare return policy?
The REN Skincare return policy states, “If you are not completely satisfied with your order we can offer a refund providing that goods are returned to us within 30 days of purchase. Please note that if you have purchased your products via one of our retailers you will need to arrange your return or exchange with them directly.”
Is REN Skincare cruelty free?
REN Skincare is cruelty-free. The brand does not test finished products or ingredients on animals, and neither do their suppliers or any third-parties. They also don’t sell their products where animal testing is required by law. However, it should be noted that REN Skincare is owned by Unilever, a parent corporation that does test on animals when required by law.
REN Skincare reviews
REN Skincare reviews on the brand’s website are overall pretty positive, with most products receiving 4 or 5 star ratings. There are actually quite a few positive REN Skincare reviews from those with sensitive skin who mention that they have no problem using these products and that they work well.
However, there are a handful of negative REN Skincare reviews with one common theme: these products cause skin irritation, redness, itchiness, and allergic reactions. We believe these reactions are most likely due to the amount of fragrance in REN Skincare products. For example, one REN Skincare Glow Daily AHA Tonic says, “Used this for the first time a couple of weeks ago. Face went really red and stung. Still have an underlying pinkness to my complexion and my skin is very sensitive now. Needless to say I didn’t use it again and really regret ever using it in the first place.”
What are some alternatives to REN Skincare?
We like that REN Skincare is making such a commitment to taking care of the earth with their sustainably-sourced ingredients and eco-friendly packaging. However, we think their product formulations contain way too many fragrance ingredients. If you don’t want to take the risk of skin irritation and sensitivity, we’d suggest using a skin care brand that formulates fragrance free products, such as Formulyst.
Looking to incorporate an AHA product into your skin care regimen? We’d suggest Formulyst’s Retexturing and Perfecting Serum. This lightweight serum is expertly formulated to gently exfoliate, clean, and refine pores, as well as help remove dead cells and visibly reveal the brighter, healthier skin beneath. One of the key ingredients in this serum is glycolic acid. We already discussed the benefits of lactic acid above, and you’ll be pleased to know that glycolic acid provides the same benefits and typically works better since it penetrates deeper into the skin. This serum also contains ingredients to help fade dark spots, such as Rumex Occidentalis extract, and ingredients to boost skin’s hydration, such as hyaluronic acid. Overall, Formulyst Retexturing and Perfecting Serum is designed to help improve the tone and texture of your skin, while also helping to reduce the appearance of uneven, blotchy skin.