I’m about halfway through this 2nd bottle of the REN Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask and you know what? I still can’t quite make up my mind about it! So, rather than procrastinate further, I hoped that by writing about it, I’d figure out how I feel once I hit the conclusion 😛
REN Skincare (rhymes with ‘ran’), some of you may be familiar with already. If you aren’t, its a range of skincare that hails from the UK and means ‘Clean’ in Scandinavian. Some of you may have also seen the REN video used to define how clean was clean (Be warned not to watch it at work or in front of parents and kiddies! 😉 ) REN is formulated without a lot of harmful things like petrochemicals and parabens etc and they use bioactives from botanicals where possible.
The Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask is one of their star products and gets tons of raves and wins loads of beauty awards. I have been told that it operates like a skin peel, without the side effects of chemical peels like sensitive skin or redness but gives skin an almost instant radiant and brighter appearance. This is where I start feeling a little nonplussed.
The bioactives in this products are natural fruit acids from passion fruit, lemon, grape and pineapple along with papain from papaya to exfoliate the top layer of the skin and encourage cell turnover and also smoothen fine lines. So many people who love this one tell me they see instant results. Instant! Brighter, more radiant skin!
I tried this back in 2009 and I wasn’t entirely bouncing off the walls with glee. Sometime in 2012 I decided to try it again. I know, sucker for punishment this one 😀 So I picked up a full size bottle (wee bit cheaper at RM175/50ml now from KENS Apothecary) to see how it performed.
It used to be called the Glycolactic Skin Renewal Peel Mask but they’ve changed the name. The product remains the same though. It is housed in a double walled plastic container with the product contained in a pliable soft plastic “bag” that compresses everytime you pump out the product. This way, they ensure that you get every last bit of the product instead of having it stick to the sides of the bottle.
One of my main grouses the first time I tried a sample was that it was very hard to wash off. Then I realised why. You need to use a muslin cloth to remove the product! One is provided inside the box of the full size bottle so no worries right there.
Considering all the fruit extracts that go in there, you would be thinking that it would smell like a tropical fruit salad right? Erm… not quite. It actually smells a little funky. Like fermented fruit. Not unpleasant, lest you start wrinkling your nose with distaste, but definitely not perfumed either. It also comes out a thick paste like fruit puree 😀
Slather a thick layer of this over your face, avoiding your eyes and lips. I warn you about lips because I have been having rather sensitive lips of late and when some of this mask touched my lips, I could feel a significant tingling. Not painful, but a little unpleasant.
In fact, you are expected to feel a little tingling or warming of the skin when using this mask. I didn’t experience any this time around but I did the first time I used it back in the day. Its the “peel” part of it, the same way that chemical peels do the job with AHA or BHA acids. The point of this mask is to leave it on so it softens your top layer of your skin and when you clean it off, it “peels” off this dead skin and reveals fresher brighter more radiant skin. With chemical AHA and BHAs there is a heightened chance of sensitivity and redness and especially sensitivity to the sun. REN promises us theirs will give you the same effect sans all the side effects.
After about 10-15 minutes of this goo on my face (it doesn’t dry, don’t hope for it to!), I take a damp muslin cloth and wipe off the product. I am usually a little lax about cream masks so I tend to leave them on longer than I should. But with this one, I took care to abide by the directions.
I usually need a few passes of the cloth to get most of it off and then I rinse it with more water. The immediate effect is that I feel that my skin does feel smoother. That effect is quite instantaneous in this regard. As for it perking up the complexion or smoothing out fine lines the jury is out on that.
I did notice that my skin did look a little clearer. I have been doing a lot of business travel and my skin feels and looks dull as dishwater. So might this be why I noticed the brighter effects almost immediately? I’m not sure. It does last, lest you think its a one off thing. My skin feels markedly smoother and it does seem to clean pores out nicely. I find that if I’m diligent and use this once a week, my skin looks and feels better and smoother. Foundation glides on and stay on like a dream. Its not a miracle. But its an effect that I notice improving over time, rather than an immediate one-off deal.
Oh and I had this horrible flaky skin on my nose and this mask took care of that. It was there before I did the mask and after that, flaky skin was gone. I then followed back up with more hydrating skincare to keep it away and its all good again. I think this second time around, I’ve found it to be better than before.
In a nutshell
The REN Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask operates like a chemical peel using fruit based enzymes and it is supposed to be more gentle than regular chemical face peels. From their website, I found that it contains 6.5% glycolic acid. The purpose of this product is to “peel” off the top layer of dead skin to reveal brighter clearer skin underneath. I did find that regular use of at least once a week does make my skin look and feel softer and smoother and keeps it feeling that way. My pores are cleaner with less clogging and skin looks better. I personally find that the effects are most noticeable after a couple of uses not just immediately. There is some tingling or warming sensations to be expected and I’m not 100% sure if this will be suitable for those with sensitive skin although REN says it is. If you are sensitive to glycolic acids or any of the ingredients then you do have to be a little more careful. I am not exactly in love with it, but I do like how my skin looks when I’m a little more diligent using it.
Pros: Dull skin does look brighter and clearer and remains that way with regular weekly use, Pores look cleaner and smaller, Helps remove flaky skin
Cons: Smell may put off some people, Some people may experience tingling and warming sensations, Dry skin areas may experience tingling
Who will like this: Anyone looking for an alternative to chemical at home peels
One point to note. This is a “Peel Mask” not a “Peel Off Mask”. With the latter, it will dry and harden on your skin and you will peel it off. With this one, the “peel” is the effect referred to in the “peeling” of dead skin cells to reveal clearer skin. There is no physical “peeling” so do not expect this to dry, because it will not. Leave it on too long at your own peril 😛
Here is the ingredient list for the product.
You know, I’m still not sure how I feel about this. Not quite bouncing off walls with glee, yet not hating it either. It works, I don’t deny but I’m not exactly deeply in love with it. Still, since it does help my skin stay flake free, I’m getting bottle #3 once this is done with. Unless I try an alternative, that is 😉
Have you tried this award winning REN peel mask? Have you tried other peel masks with good results?
I know AHA/BHA products are popular in chemical peels but I also know that if you use those, you have to be very stringent with the use of sunscreen and to expect redness and skin sensitivity. I am not clever enough to know if this is more gentle but my skin doesn’t get red nor feel extra sensitive after using this for the past few months so I’m guessing its better for me. I haven’t tried other peels though. Always been too scared to 😛
REN Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask Price: RM175/50ml Availability: KENS Apothecary stores – Empire Shopping Gallery, Bangsar Village II