REN Rosa Centifolia No. 1 Purity Cleansing Balm isn’t coming up roses for me

by Paris B on · 26 comments

in Cleanser,Makeup Remover,Product Reviews

Reviewed by:
On January 24, 2014
Last modified:January 23, 2014


When I first started exploring cleansing balms, I came across the REN No. 1 Purity Cleansing Balm. It came highly raved by many and I have enjoyed using many things from REN so when I had the opportunity, I picked up a tube at the store last year (REN is sold at Ken’s Apothecary here in Malaysia).

ren rosa centifolia cleansing balm 2 REN Rosa Centifolia No. 1 Purity Cleansing Balm isnt coming up roses for me

I have to admit, I’m not quite blown away by the efficacy of the product even though I love that it’s a proper wipe off balm cleanser as opposed to a emulsifying one. Is there a difference you ask?

Yes there is. I find that a wipe off balm cleanser, which is usually thicker and needs warming up, is less drying than a cleansing balm that emulsifies and doesn’t employ the use of a muslin or any face cloth. But as I use a face cloth regardless, it doesn’t really matter to me.

Those who like this REN cleansing balm rave about the scent, texture and efficacy. I’ll tell you that 2 out of 3 work for me, but which 2? icon wink REN Rosa Centifolia No. 1 Purity Cleansing Balm isnt coming up roses for me

Well no prizes for guessing, but the one that doesn’t work for me is the scent. The No. 1 Purity Cleansing Balm is part of the Rosa Centifolia range which smells of roses, as the name implies. The smell is that of fresh roses (not cloying musty rose scents) and if you love the smell of fresh sweet roses, you’ll love it. It’s strong. At least to me.

The other thing I dislike (a lot) is the tube packaging. You’d think a tube works right? Makes it easy to squeeze out and all that? Oh boy! You couldn’t be more wrong than that.

Because this is a balm, it’s quite thick and if you’ve ever had to try to squeeze a fairly thick product out through a small hole, you’d soon realise you have your work cut out for you. I also was a bit wary because the initial squirt of product was watery so it appears that the product will separate in the tube. All in all, the tube is a bad bad idea. A tub makes more sense for balms and I have read that REN will go back to putting this into a tub soon. Smart move coz I’m sure they lost quite a few customers!

ren rosa centifolia cleansing balm swatch REN Rosa Centifolia No. 1 Purity Cleansing Balm isnt coming up roses for me

The product is rather thick as you can see fro the photo and you have to warm it up a little before applying to your skin as you would a regular cleansing balm.

Remember, you’re working with a dry face, dry hands situation here! Do not wet your hands. I like to warm it up a little before applying it to my face and then smooth it over and massage it in. Many people find this a hassle but I love it. Different strokes, people icon wink REN Rosa Centifolia No. 1 Purity Cleansing Balm isnt coming up roses for me

Massage it in enough and it’ll take on a smoother consistency and then I use a warm face cloth to wipe off the product. REN includes a piece of muslin cloth in the box which is a nice thought, especially for someone new to using a cleansing balm. I don’t use it as I use regular face cloths but it’s there if I need it and I do when I travel, because muslin clothes dry more quickly!

After cleansing, my skin is lovely and clean and smooth and soft and just all round nice feeling. I don’t find it drying and although it says that it’s for all skin types, I personally feel that in our local weather, those of a drier skin disposition will like this better than someone with oilier skin. Not to say that it won’t work, it is after all a cleanser, but oilier skin types may prefer a cleansing oil for deeper cleansing.

ren rosa centifolia cleansing balm 3 REN Rosa Centifolia No. 1 Purity Cleansing Balm isnt coming up roses for me

I didn’t experience any breakouts using this but I don’t use this daily because the scent does get to me. I’m more than halfway through my tube but I won’t repurchase. Not until it comes in a tub and the scent is reduced or removed, because I otherwise do like the product very much.

In a nutshell

The popular REN No. 1 Purity Cleansing Balm is a wipe off balm cleanser. The 100ml comes in a tube which is a pain in the butt but I have read that they will be changing it to a tub which makes a heck more sense as the balm is rather thick. You have to warm it up with dry hands before applying to dry skin and then massage it in. It feels comfortable and wipes off clean and leaves skin feeling soft, smooth and clean. What I don’t like however is the rather strong scent of fresh roses which will however, appeal to someone who likes the smell of roses. I have no plans to repurchase unless the scent is made less strong and the packaging reverts to a tub.

Pros: Muslin cloth is included in box, Leaves skin feeling clean and soft, Lovely thick balm makes facial massage a pleasure, Easy to remove with warm cloth

Cons: I find the scent too strong, Tube packaging sucks

Who will like this: Anyone who likes the smell of roses, Anyone who likes using wipe off cleansing balms

Here is the ingredient list for those interested.

ren rosa centifolia cleansing balm REN Rosa Centifolia No. 1 Purity Cleansing Balm isnt coming up roses for me

Have you used this REN cleansing balm? Do you like the smell of fresh roses in your skincare?

This is one of the more popular cleansing balms out there but maybe not locally as cleansing balms have yet to get a foothold here. I think it’s quite a nice one provided you can handle the scent of roses. I personally don’t like the scent of roses (I know, Ms. Strange! icon biggrin REN Rosa Centifolia No. 1 Purity Cleansing Balm isnt coming up roses for me ) so that explains why I don’t like this one as much as I should!

For other cleansing balms I’ve tried, check out the MWS Cleansing Balm Repository, an on-going collection of cleansing balms as I try them

Paris B

REN Rosa Centifolia No. 1 Purity Cleansing Balm Price: RM159/100ml | £23/100ml Availability: Ken’s Apothecary stores or selected online stores

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[ 26 comments… read them below or join the discussion ]

Sheila January 24, 2014 at 8:34 am

I love using this balm! I wash it off at the end, and then cleanse again with a foaming cleanser though, just because I prefer a deeper clean. I only use this on weekends when I’m not wearing eye makeup because I find that it doesn’t remove eye makeup that well, but it is a super luxurious feeling massaging this in my skin though!


Paris B January 28, 2014 at 3:56 pm

I use this as a double cleanse too Sheila :) I do like how it performs but I just don’t like the scent as much :( I don’t use any balm cleansers around my eyes actually. I think it’s too heavy so I take my eye makeup off with an eye makeup remover and then use the balm on the rest of my face. I love the luxurious feeling too! :)


Sze Ling January 24, 2014 at 8:41 am

Hey! That looks familiar. :P Yeah…I’m not a fan too. Not because of the scent though (that, I loveeee). But it broke me out.

Funny thing is…the one sold here in the US is in a tub. Much like the Clinique cleansing balm packaging.


Paris B January 28, 2014 at 4:12 pm

Haha yes, I finally got round to it! Sorry to hear it broke you out. I thought it might have too but it seemed fine after some initial spots that I’m not even sure if it’s attributed to this >.< I think the larger one is in a tub or they may have repackaged it. I read they were supposed to.


liyeun January 24, 2014 at 9:57 am

I have heard much complaints about the difficulty of getting it out from the tube too! I am a fan of roses myself, so the scent wouldnt bother me BUT I cant help but to wonder, why some products that claimed to be in the Rose range, never put it at the top few in the ingredient list?


Paris B January 28, 2014 at 4:15 pm

Yep, it’s quite hard so trying to squeeze it out of the tube is horrible! It does get easier as there is less product but still I don’t like it. I think the scent will appeal to most people if I’m to be honest. Generally, rose essence/oil is very expensive and because so little oil is needed for the scent it’s never enough to bring it to the top of the ingredient list. Unless it’s a premium product of course.


liyeun January 29, 2014 at 5:42 pm

Oh I see. Hmmm gotta check some of my ingredients again then. Even if it wasnt on the top, at least the first second or third would make me happy, too. But to see it somewhere already in the middle or at the bottom, I get depressed. LOL.


Paris B January 29, 2014 at 5:43 pm

No problem. Unless Rose extract is the active ingredient you’d rarely find it anywhere at the top of the list and if it is, then it’ll be pricey! :P


Wynnce January 24, 2014 at 11:23 am

I’ve recently try Balance Me Cleanse & Smooth Face Balm….which is in a tube and a complimentary muslin face cloth too. I would say…I don’t like it, hahaha!!! It’s appear watery during first few uses, the balm and some oil are separating like a mehh…yaks! And the oatmeal pieces are quite coarse…The only good thing is my face is super soft and clean afterwards. Worst thing is it seems to broke me out, OMG! Ren catch my attention too but after reading your comments on it, I feel it is quite similar with Balance Me’s (a real ‘Natural’ oil smell). I’m going to received my another cleansing balm from Aromatherapy Associates, hope it will perform better. Last but not least, Clinique still the NO.1 for me, hahaha!


Paris B January 28, 2014 at 4:15 pm

Ooh good. I’ll stay away from Balance Me haha! :D I’m going to try the Clinique one next! Everyone seems to rave about it!


Effa Haniza January 24, 2014 at 11:27 am

I wanted to get this when I place order from Cult Beauty but I didn’t. Instead I picked up Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel (yes, not a balm! Lol! But it gets highly raved by beauty bloggers so I’m curious!). After a lot of reading, I’m getting the Clinique cleansing balm and Antipodes next!

Oh! After reading lots of reviews for Antipodes, I’ve been interesting to try more products from the brand – Juliet cleanser, their mask, day and night creams too! *slaps forehead* lol!! I’m blaming you for introducing the brand :P


Paris B January 28, 2014 at 4:21 pm

Mmm I’ve heard a lot of good things about Oskia… or is it Osmia? Damn I’m confused! HAHA I highly recommend Antipodes (but you definitely need to use a cloth because it doesn’t rinse off) and I’m going to try the Clinique next. I haven’t tried many Antipodes products but for an organic brand, it suits my skin and I like that because my skin really dislikes organic :P


Lily January 24, 2014 at 1:31 pm

I’m still happily going through my Bobbi Brown Extra Rinse Balm, but my the next on my to try list is Omorovicza Thermal Balm – something Sunny’s been constantly raving about! Problem is, it’s not so easy to use up the BB one, and I love it too :-)


Paris B January 28, 2014 at 4:25 pm

I’ve been using the Bobbi Brown in recent times too. It always makes me think of orange juice when I use it :P I have been planning to pick up the Omorovicza too but not yet. Will wait for a good sale before I do coz that thing is pricey! >.<


Victoria January 24, 2014 at 3:10 pm

I have been using a sample of this cleansing balm for the last 5 days and it does leave my skin smooth and soft :-) I always use a a face cloth to remove the balm. I am also not too enamored with the rose scent and it should be removed from this cleansing balm. I had the same problem squirting it out from the small tube as I do not seem to have control over how much I squirt out. So it is a good thing they have reverted back to a tub. I also find the price RM159 for 100 ml rather expensive when compared with for example, Clinique’s Take The Day Off cleansing balm which is retailing at RM120 for 125 ml.

I recently bought the Clinique cleansing balm and will start using it next week. It is a pity it does not come with a spatula though but luckily a friend of mine will be providing me with an extra she has from a product from another brand.


Paris B January 28, 2014 at 4:29 pm

I agree about the scent! It is such a nice balm otherwise right? So lovely and non drying but the scent gets to me :( I am curious about Clinique. It gets so much raves but I’m just afraid that if it’s a rinse off as opposed to a wipe off balm I’d not like it as much because I do prefer the thicker textures. But we’ll see! :D


xin January 24, 2014 at 3:57 pm

what about the other REN rose products? :p

i have never tried any cleansing balm before, the only balm i have tried is neroli night balm from decleor, it’s quite nice and i like the warm sensation on face after i warm the the product in my palms. If i don’t use oil, I’d probably live on the night balm!


Paris B January 28, 2014 at 4:38 pm

Moroccan Rose I’m ok la coz it’s on the body not on the face. I do want to try the face oil so maybe I’ll see if the smell bugs me. I think the concept is the same as the Decleor balm. Massage on face and wipe off with damp cloth. I then follow up with face oil!


Lorraine January 24, 2014 at 4:33 pm

does this remove makeup? x


Paris B January 28, 2014 at 4:38 pm

Yes, it’s supposed to. Massage it onto dry face with dry hands and it works like a cleansing oil.


Sunny January 24, 2014 at 5:50 pm

Hey Paris, thanks so much for the review! This actually looks quite promising to me, since I do like the smell of fresh roses and I love cleansing balms. It does depend on how strong it is though. I am not a fan of strong scent in my skincare. I’ve got to take a whiff at some point!


Paris B January 28, 2014 at 4:41 pm

It’s not very strong a scent but it’s definitely there – won’t miss it! Haha… But if you like rose scents and a non rinse off balm, I think you’ll like this


Marina(Makeup4all) January 24, 2014 at 8:46 pm

This is one of my favourite cleansers ever. Your posts makes me want to go and smell it now, lol


Paris B January 28, 2014 at 4:42 pm

LOL! Glad it has a fan in your Marina :D


Jennifer January 24, 2014 at 11:21 pm

Aww sorry that this product didn’t quite make a hit with you. Haha, maybe age does something to our nose? I remember when I first started to use skincare, I generally adore those scented one, I’d not pick up any unscented version, if there is. But these days, I find myself taking a sniff before anything else, e.g. price, texture etc because I prefer a scentless or subdued ones! A light rose scent will make it a nice cleansing balm, subtle and you feel girly all over. But overpowering is essentially overkilling. I think I have a deluxe sample of this, I’d go try it out (been saving deluxe samples for the sun, sea, sand vacation that never materialized. Le sigh…)


Paris B January 28, 2014 at 4:43 pm

Good point about age except I was never a fan of rose scented anything. Neither do I particularly like roses. Not very girly girl in that sense :) I still tolerate scents in skincare so long as they aren’t too strong and in fact, I’ve read that our sense of smell actually decreases with age which is why most products aimed at older people have a stronger scent because older people won’t get as strong a whiff as a young person would! Funny huh? :) Hope this one works for you and I’m sorry to hear your vacation didn’t pan out :( Hope it does this year!


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