Good afternoon bloggers! Some of you may remember from my Skincare Overhaul post that I’m currently in the process of changing up my skincare routine, in the hope of soothing and clearing my poor, irritated skin. Through trial and error, I’ve come to some conclusions in the last couple of weeks:
1. Everyone was right about foaming cleansers. They’re too harsh for twice-daily use.
2. That Botanics Ionic Clay Mask is DA BOMB.
3. I don’t need an astringent toner twice a day, once a day is sufficient for my skin.
4. The Clarins Doux Exfoliant must be my next port-of-call.
5. My Effaclar Duo ought never, ever to be used less than twice a day again.
6. Garnier’s Micellar Cleansing Water is the Holy Grail of make-up removers.
I think that’s a fair amount of knowledge learned, considering how much money I’ve spent thus far on skincare. While the overall texture and appearance of my skin has been improving, I’m still battling daily against breakouts and scarring. I mentioned in my previous skincare post that I had been eyeing up some Ren products designed specifically for blemish-prone skin. After reading many, many reviews on the line, I bit the bullet and placed my order. €80.70 later, what have I made of my newest purchases?
First of all, hats off to the folks at Cloud 10 Beauty; I placed my order last Thursday afternoon and it arrived yesterday morning. I also love their Beauty Points scheme; for every product you buy or review you can redeem points against your next purchase. Also, the range of brands and products therein is brilliant. It’s a fantastic site that I do urge UK and Ireland customers to use where possible.
My order was a hefty one; so what did I buy?
Ren Clearcalm3 Clarifying Clay Cleanser €20
This product has already gone out of stock, so I’m delighted that I snapped it up as soon as it became available after the last time it was sold out. It sells out so quickly, so if you spot it, pounce! Another plus was the 33% extra free, giving me a hefty 260ml of product. I must state that I love Ren’s packaging, which is very fresh and clean, according to the brand’s all-natural ethos. The cleanser is vacuum-packed and dispensed with a pump, which all feels very hygienic – another bonus for acne-burdened users.
The cleanser itself is thick and creamy, a world away from a foam or runny lotion. As the name suggests, it contains French clay, hence the rich formulation. Salicilin is also present; an antibacterial ingredient which unclogs pores and deeply cleanses the skin. The smell is rather medicinal, putting me in mind of a health shop. It’s not my favourite smell ever, but it’s a small complaint considering how little time I have to smell it for. You can massage it in for up to two minutes before rinsing; something I don’t often have time for, but I do allow it to do its thang for a few minutes in the shower while I attend to my ‘ablutions’. Even then, my skin feels lovely and clean after using this, without the dreaded tightness. Nor do I feel like there’s still some grime lingering on my face afterwards. Here’s hoping that the long-term effects match up to the hype, and I do expect this cleanser to last forever and a day, given how little I need to use.
Ren Clearcalm3 Replenishing Gel Cream €28
This is a curious creature; having become used to my Tea Tree Lotion from the Body Shop, I wasn’t accustomed to such a thick formula from a moisturiser. It’s less of a gel and more of a cream, with the same herbal scent as the cleanser. Nevertheless I slapped it on, again without needing more than one pump to cover my face. It contains licorice extract and lingon berry extract to fight spots, redness and pigmented scarring. It apparently targets sebum, bacteria and dead skin cells to shift current and future breakouts. Along with that, it also claims to have soothing, anti-ageing and UV protection properties (although no SPF is mentioned here, which could be an issue for some peopel).
When I applied this, it felt as thought it would be a bit heavy for skin, and perhaps ought to be relegated to night-time use (as had previously been intended when it was sold under the name Clearcalm3 Replenishing Night Serum). That being said, I had no problems with make-up application or wear. My skin actually feels so comfortable under my make-up and it’s no shinier than normal – although I can’t say that the cream has had any mattifying effects either. All in all, my face is hydrated but no oilier; which is a tricky thing to achieve. I was starting to feel some dehydration creeping in beforehand but I think this Ren cream will keep it at bay. Although I do recommend that they drop the word ‘gel’ from the name; a gel it is not!
Ren Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask €35
This has already become my favourite thing, like ever. At €35 it’s not cheap, and I was debating between picking up this or the Clearcalm3 Clarity Restoring Mask for the same price. But I already have a clay mask (the aforementioned Botanics one), and the Glycolactic mask has received rave reviews online, so it was a no-brainer. Containing four types of acid – glycolic, lactic, citric and tartaric – this mask is a chemical exfoliant which can be used by all but sensitive skin types. It claims to restore radiance and firmness to the skin, which fighting blemishes and improving skin tone. Like the cleanser and moisturiser, it’s another vacuum-and-pump job, with a handy little plastic stopper to prevent product drying up and clogging the pump.
One pump was all I needed to cover my face, so I hope this will last for a few months. It’s an orange formula, smelling of oranges in a not-so-nice way, and feels like spreading Vaseline all over my face (looks like it too). It doesn’t dry or stiffen, so you can still chat away/brush your teeth/eat without feeling like you’ve been mummified. The box states to leave the mask on for ten minutes, but I cheated and left it on for fifteen minutes as I wasn’t feeling any discomfort or tingling. I rinsed it off with the enclosed muslin cloth and warm water. And then I looked in the mirror. Meh. My skin was softer alright, but looked virtually the same as before. I told myself not to panic; often I don’t really see the results from a mask until the next day. And when I woke up this morning, I was very pleasantly surprised. My skin had been plumped and boosted in a way I never even knew it needed. I looked remarkably fresher and perkier, and my skin tone has indeed evened out. My blemishes are still there but I wasn’t expecting complete miracles either. This is a brilliant pick-me-up for the complexion, I honestly feel glowy! If only I could use it everyday!
Overall, despite the questionable scent of the Ren products, I’m really pleased with my buys. I feel as though I’m using top-quality products on my skin, and that I’m getting value for my money. Ren isn’t the cheapest of skincare brands but I honestly feel that it’s worth a bit of saving if you have terrible skin like mine. Here’s hoping that I see an improvement in my spots with regular use.
Anyone who has ordered from Cloud 10 will know that three free samples come with every order. My chosen samples were:
1. Face Atelier Ultra Foundation in Zero Minus – a silicone-based foundation in pure white, for lightening up a foundation that is too dark. Some of my foundations are a little on the warm side so this will be really useful. However, I don’t think I’d pay €38 for a full bottle of white foundation!
2. A sample of Sigma Beauty eyeshadows – The samples given, while tiny, are very pretty: Notre Dame (brown with gold shimmer), Grasp (shimmery peach), Act (beige with gold shimmer), Allure (shimmery orchid) and Versailles (bright shimmer champagne). Act is a lovely everyday shade for brown eyes, while Versailles is a gorgeous inner-eye accent. Although it could just be the packaging, the shadows are finely milled but with a lot of fall-out. Pretty but not the easiest to work with.
3. Ren Keep Young and Beautiful Anti-Ageing Eye Cream – I have started to succumb to fine lines under my eyes, so I picked this 3ml sample to try out. I’ve given it to my mother though, as I don’t think I’m too badly in need of it just yet – I hope! But if it is effective, the €30 price point is very reasonable indeed.
So you’d think that would be enough skincare junkie fun for one day. But hang on; unbeknownst to me, with every purchase of 2+ Ren products comes a free Ren sensitive trial kit worth £15.50. Uhm, yes please!
In this lovely little kit, you get:
30ml Hydracalm Cleansing Milk (usually €20)
15ml Hydracalm Global Protection Day Cream (usually €32)
10ml Omega 3 Night Repair Serum (usually £34)
I don’t generally have sensitive skin, but sometimes when I’m having particularly bad breakout or plain ol’ period face, my skin just feels sore and irritated. I’m hanging onto the two Hydracalm products for those days when my skin needs something soothing and calming. The cleansing milk is very gentle, and when I used the day cream last night after the Glycolactic mask, it really helped reduce the small bit of redness that I was left with on my cheeks. They’re lovely little products that will always be handy to have.
I’ve given the night repair serum to my mother as I think, from the reviews I’ve read, that it will be too heavy on my already oily skin. A word of warning to anyone who buys it; it shoots out really quickly from the pump, so be careful!
So that’s it, Skincare Christmas in my house has been a success! Has anyone else tried any Ren products? Would you be tempted to try them now?