I am, without doubt, a big fan of REN Skincare. Their products work well for me, and I like their aesthetic, formulation and packaging. Naturally therefore, when I first heard, months ago, that a sunscreen was being released, I was quite excited.
We know how I feel about sunscreen right? Yep, all day, everyday, no exceptions!
When the REN Clean Screen Mineral SPF 30 sunscreen dropped, I was conflicted. On the one hand, I was excited to see new mineral sunscreen in the market.
On the other hand, I found myself thinking “SPF30? Only 30??”
REN Clean Screen Mineral SPF30 – No chemical UV filters, No Silicone
If you might be sensitive to silicone and chemical UV filters, which prevents you from using many of the sunscreens in the market, then the REN Clean Screen Mineral SPF30 sunscreen might be the one for you!
REN formulated their sunscreen with 22% zinc oxide (non-nano mineral blockers). Zinc Oxide is well known to be a fairly inert ingredient (although I was sensitive to large amounts of it in the past) and a broad spectrum UV blocker, blocking both UVA and UVB rays. It sits on the top of your skin, protecting the skin from the damaging UV rays.
UVA is the aging ray, that basically causes your skin to break down and age more quickly, while UVB is the one that heats up your skin and causes you to burn and tan.
The REN Clean Screen Mineral SPF30 is also silicone free, which will be welcomed by those who may be sensitive to silicone. The formula therefore does not have a lot of slip to it, which is to be expected.
The additional point to highlight is the mattifying effect of the REN Clean Screen Mineral SPF30. It does go on smoothly, spreads fairly easily, and skin does feel and look mattified. A boon for those with oily skins who may be leery of wearing normal greasy formulations.
Ocean and Reef-friendly formula
Another thing REN thought about is how the formula will fare in the oceans. There is a real concern today about ingredients in sunscreen settling and destroying corals. REN Clean Screen Mineral SPF30 is ocean and reef-friendly, so it is safe to use when you head out to the beach and the sea.
Finally, the formula is vegan and the packaging is made from post-consumer recycled plastic. All very Earth friendly and something I think is admirable because there aren’t many major brands taking this stance yet.
While it looks wonderful on paper, there is a much bigger question at hand.
Did I like it?
I know the REN Clean Screen Mineral SPF30 is getting a lot of love from people, users and influencers alike, but I’m going to be the spoilsport here and say this “No, I am not a fan of the REN sunscreen.”
White Cast on skin
The problem with using a high zinc oxide content in sunscreen is well-documented. Zinc Oxide is white, and in an untinted formula (as opposed to a tinted one like Suntegrity or Murad) the risk of a white cast on skin is very high.
This is true in the case of the REN Clean Screen Mineral SPF30.
On very fair skin, and even on a skin tone like mine (which is very light by South East Asian standards) the white cast is not very noticeable. But on anyone with a skin tone deeper than mine, you will definitely notice the cast on your skin.
If that doesn’t bug you, and you are confident that you can cover it up with makeup, then that’s perfectly fine. But if you intend to wear this sunscreen out, bare-faced, you risk your skin looking ashy and/or dull.
This is an aesthetic point, but one worth noting.
Mattifying formula feels dry and drying on my skin
Please note that I have dry skin, so I don’t go anywhere near mattifying products. Again, I was not surprised that the formula was mattifying. If you put 22% of zinc oxide into any formula, it will be a little drying.
Personally, I found that it was not comfortable for me to wear the REN Clean Screen Mineral SPF30 daily. My skin felt parched at the end of each day, and I found myself struggling to deal with drier skin.
I can imagine that someone with oily skin will appreciate this formula, for it does mattify skin quite nicely. Makeup goes on nicely too, and it isn’t uncomfortable. Perhaps I’m just a little sensitive.
Thick formula spreads easily but may result in less product used
The formula is quite thick, but does spread quite easily. It takes a little while to work into the skin, but it isn’t that hard to use.
The problem I feel, is because it is fairly thick, most people will take the position that “less is more”. While this is a position I take when wearing makeup, it is NOT a position I take with my sunscreen.
I am very generous with my sunscreen application, which is, for me, measured by using 1 finger’s length from palm to tip, for each section of my face. When I tried it with this REN sunscreen, it was just too uncomfortable.
I found it too drying and my skin felt dry and taut. Using less is far more comfortable, but to me, defeats the purpose of wearing a sunscreen. Aside from wearing sunscreen, you must wear SUFFICIENT sunscreen.
With a formula this thick, I find it too uncomfortable to wear sufficient product to protect my skin.
Which brings me to my final peeve.
I will preface this by saying that if you live in a temperate country on a higher latitude, that does not get a lot of sun all year round, perhaps then an SPF30 product for daily use might fit the bill.
I live near the equator, with copious amounts of sun daily and lots of damaging UV rays. For me, with the amount of sun and UV exposure we get, SPF30 is insufficient. I wear SPF50 at minimum, only slipping to an SPF30 to try products like this one.
How do I tell? The most obvious was when I wore this REN Clean Screen Mineral SPF30 and spent a day out. I was alternating between being indoors and driving under the afternoon sun. What I noticed most significantly, was how quickly my skin felt heated by the sun.
This isn’t the direct heat from the sun rays. It is that heat that I feel on my skin from within. When I wear my usual SPF50 sunscreens, I don’t experience this unless I spend hours walking in the sun.
Hyperpigmentation on skin happens not only from exposure to the UV rays, but can also be caused by the skin heating up. For someone who struggles with hyperpigmentation like me, I do not run risks like this, hence my preference for SPF50 sunscreen at minimum. I’ll take every little increment in skin protection I can get! 😛
I will say that I am more sensitive than most when it comes to sunscreen, because I am particular about it, to the point of being anal. My sunscreen of choice for now, remains the Kanebo Allie sunscreen, and I will not be changing for a long time.
Sorry REN, I tried to like this sunscreen, but it is nowhere near the elegance and efficacy of formula and execution found in many Japanese brands, even those found in the drugstore or pharmacy.
IN A NUTSHELL
The REN Clean Screen Mineral SPF30 sunscreen is free of silicone and chemical UV filters. The main UV blocker is 22% zinc oxide which is a very high content and blocks both UVA and UVB rays. It is also ocean and reef-friendly, in that the ingredients will not damage the coral reefs if you wear this in the ocean. While it spreads fairly easily, I find the texture a little thick, drying and leaves a white cast on skin. The last will be most apparent on light-medium to deep skin tones, unless you do not care, or you wear makeup over. The thick, drying texture also precludes me from using sufficient product, as it can feel uncomfortable. Finally, I personally find the SPF30 rating insufficient for my purposes. I do feel my skin heating up after little sun exposure, which does not happen with my usual sunscreens. I personally wear SPF50 at minimum, as I find that it offers me the most protection. Personally, as much as I love using REN products, I struggle to enjoy this product.
High zinc oxide content
Safe for use in the oceans and will not damage coral reefs
SPF30 is not sufficient for my needs
Thick texture feels heavy on skin
Leaves a white cast on skin
WHO WILL LIKE THIS: Anyone who wants a silicone-free, mineral based sunscreen that is ocean and reef-friendly and does not mind reapplying often
PRICE: RM169 | £30 for 50ml
For those interested, this is the ingredients list for the REN Clean Screen Mineral SPF30 sunscreen.
Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Zinc Oxide, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Glycerin, Caprylyl Caprylate/Caprate, Propanediol, Arachidyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Coco-Glucoside, Oryza Sativa Starch, Pongamia Glabra Seed Oil, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Behenyl Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Arachidyl Glucoside, Isostearic Acid, Lecithin, Polyglyceryl-3 Polyricinoleate, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Passiflora Edulis Fruit Extract, Ethylhexylglycerin, Glyceryl Oleate, Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranberry) Seed Oil, Xanthan Gum, Cellulose Gum, Sodium Chloride, Hippophae Rhamnoides Oil, Citrus Nobilis (Mandarin Orange) Peel Oil, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Oil, Cinnamomum Camphora Linalloliferum (Ho Wood) Leaf Oil, Pelargonium Graveolens Flower Oil, Glucose, Parfum* (Fragrance), Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Tocopherol, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosmary) Leaf Extract, Hydrogenated Palm Glycerides Citrate, Citric Acid, Sodium Hydroxide, Citronellol, Geraniol, Limonene, Linalool
Have you tried this REN sunscreen? Is it something you’re interested in?
While I’d stick my neck out to say that SPF30 is better than none at all, I still personally recommend using SPF50 at minimum especially in Summer, and if you live where it’s hot, or at a high altitude. Well, if you’re serious about UV protection, at any rate 🙂
Disclosure: Featured products were press samples for consideration. Our commitment is to honesty and fairness. For review guidelines please read the disclaimer.