REN Radiance Renewal Range

REN Resurfacing AHA Concentrate Review I have gone a little bit AHA crazy recently. After the Liquid Gold success story, I wanted to try out some other exfoliants and see how they compared. (For those of you didn’t follow my little summer skincare saga, have a look at my ‘skincare miracles‘ post for a brief catch-up.) Chemical exfoliants are now definitely my beauty ‘gold’ – they seem to have an instant clarifying and brightening effect on my skin and longer-term, they appear to be keeping it plumped-up and blemish-free. Last week I stopped using chemical exfoliants completely (by chemical I mean as oppose to mechanical scrub-type products, not necessarily that the exfoliants aren’t ‘natural’) and I instantly got four spots – two on my cheek, one at the side of my nose and one next to my lip! Now knock me down with a feather if that’s a mere coincidence?

 The latest product on my testing list is REN’s Resurfacing AHA Concentrate. I used it for a good few weeks with no side-effects or strange, bubonic reactions. It’s an overnight serum that contains a complex of glycolic, tartaric, lactic and citric acids to promote cell-turnover and exfoliate away dead skin cells on the skin’s surface. It smells fruity-ish, quite pleasant, really, but beneath the surface there’s a whiff of something business-like and functional. Which is always reassuring when you’re after results rather than a nice-smelling sugar-pill product. I’m not entirely sure how effective the various acids are in the serum as I have no details on what quantities they are present in and at what pH they work at and so on. If I dug out my A Level chemistry books I could probably have a stab at doing a little bit of research, pH-wise, but quite frankly I’m time-poor this week and more importantly, I wouldn’t have a clue what I was doing.

Overall, I’d say that my skin is most definitely bright and clear in the morning after using REN’s Resurfacing AHA Concentrate, but it doesn’t feel as though it’s had quite as much of a ‘workout’ as I get with the Liquid Gold. I think that this is probably a much milder product – it certainly feels that way, and I have been using it without any problem for nine nights in a row, which wouldn’t be at all advisable with a low pH glycolic exfoliant. This could be a nice choice if you want to ‘dip your toes’ into the overnight exfoliant world – it’s a fruity, friendly introduction, and though I’m not utterly convinced that it’s performing at the same level as some other resurfacers (more reviews soon) it’s a gentle way to ease yourself in. The fact that it can be used nightly makes it easy for those who need to stick to the same routine day-in day-out, but I’d say, from my testing so far, that the results are gradual and subtle. There’s also a mask in the same range which has a beautiful brightening effect – the Glycolactic Radiance Mask. It has the same acid cocktail inside the bottle, but this one gets rinsed off after ten minutes – I’m assuming that the ingredients are more potent, but again, I couldn’t tell you for sure!

I really, really rate REN products and I’m pleased that they’ve introduced this range – it’s a bit more ‘active’ than the other products, so those looking to step up from a gentle routine have something to dabble with. The serum is £30 and the mask is also £30 – I’d definitely recommend these over the scrub. Though the scrub smells gorgeous and leaves skin soft, in general I’m just more inclined towards non-abrasive exfoliants these days!

Both products can be found at – I’ve linked through to the right page!

© 2018 A Model Recommends®: all opinions are my own and any sponsored or paid posts will always be clearly marked as an AD in the title. I accept press samples and receive product and services to review as part of my job. *Outbound links are affiliate links, which means that I receive a very small percentage of any sale made. This does not affect my content in any way and does not cost you anything, but you are most welcome to Google the products on a new page if you prefer. Please see here for full "about" section and disclaimer. A Model Recommends and Ruth Crilly are registered trademarks.



  1. January 27, 2012 / 7:43 am

    ciao bella, I just finished reading you post with the first coffee of the day, and I totally agree with you – in fact I am writing a post about REN skincare right now!
    Love the brand, love how gentle their range for sensitive skin is, and everything about it in general.
    A big plus for me, and a virtual high five to you! :)
    have a nice day x

    • Ruth
      January 27, 2012 / 1:27 pm

      @Lucia great! Glad we’re on the same wavelength! x

  2. Alice
    January 27, 2012 / 9:22 am

    I’m so glad you reviewed this products, which seems to have been oerlooked by bloggers! I was very skeptical about this product but bought on an impulse along with other REN products, and for me it has been extremely effective. I had been plagued for months with those tiny bumps that appear under the skin and just refuse to budge, and it is the only thing that made them disappear (though sadly if I discontinue use the bumps come back).

    I tried liquid gold as well but it unfortunately it felt like it really damaged my sensitive skin and gave me more bumps.

    • Ruth
      January 27, 2012 / 1:26 pm

      @Alice yes, it is possible that the REN would be more suited to sensitive skin – I’m glad you’re getting on well with it! x

  3. pansy
    January 27, 2012 / 9:24 am

    hi Ruth! are you still using the clarisonic? i’m wondering how to incorporate physical scrubs and chemical ( alpha-h etc ) into a routine without overstripping our skin. thank you

    • Ruth
      January 27, 2012 / 1:26 pm

      @Pansy OK, have a look at my post on the dangers of over-exfoliation! If you type that into the search it’ll come up – I talk about how often I use each thing inc. Clarisonic! x

  4. Alice
    January 27, 2012 / 10:21 am

    Hi Ruth,
    I love reading your AMR over my breakfast, it always manages to brighten my day :).I am just wondering if you have tried the Palmers Cocoa Butter AHA and BHA body lotion? If not, you really must! It does smell rather peculiar but it has been a total lifesaver for me and I find that it is a great alternative to the really grainy body exfoliants. (Also, it is super duper cheap from Amazon!)

    • Ruth
      January 27, 2012 / 1:25 pm

      @Alice I have never heard of this! Is it a US product? xx

      • Joanne Green
        June 26, 2012 / 5:32 pm

        Gotta agree with Alice, Ruth, this stuff really really WORKS, my skin has never felt so gorgeous, even a few days after not using it. It’s about 4 quid from Boots or Superdrug so available pretty much everywhere. It’s fab, best thing I’ve ever used.

  5. January 27, 2012 / 11:56 am

    Hi Ruth, do you think this product would suit a 24 yo? I am always confused as to when it’s the right time to start using these prodcuts… Thank you ! :)

    • Ruth
      January 27, 2012 / 1:23 pm

      @Martha yes, it’s nice and gentle. Just try it every two or three days and see how you get on! x

  6. Sue
    January 27, 2012 / 1:07 pm

    I didn’t use alpha-h last week, and have two chin zits xxx

  7. January 27, 2012 / 1:23 pm

    I’m so glad you posted about this! I’d been looking at getting a chemical exfoliant for a while, but I’ve been unsure about which one to get and also a little bit scared (seeing as we’re talking about putting acid on your face). Once I take the plunge it will probably be this product, as it seems there’s less of a risk of it accidentally eroding my face.

    • Ruth
      January 27, 2012 / 2:21 pm

      @Chrissy you can’t go far wrong with chemical exfoliants so long as you follow the instructions and use your common sense! If they are designed to be left on overnight then it’s easy – you just leave it on! They have been carefully formulated to only eat away the dead skin cells so as long as there are dead skin cells there to eat you’ll be fine! (By that, I mean so long as you haven’t just scrubbed the s**t out of your face or used another exfoliant immediately before!) x

  8. Hinna
    January 27, 2012 / 2:28 pm

    I’ve been using the mask your mentioned for about one and a half months now, and I really do like it. I gave up mechanical exfoliators about a year ago and much prefer it this way!

    I do have a question though, and wonder if you can help. I have medium asian skin – about NC35 – but much darker ashiness around my chin and the area surrounding my mouth. I like to wear a natural looking base and my foundation doesn’t cover this up and it still looks shadowy and grey. Can you recommend anything that I may use to help brighten this area, whether it be skincare or makeup?

    Thanks :) x

    • Ruth
      January 27, 2012 / 4:14 pm

      @Hinna is it like darker pigmentation? Make sure you wear an SPF to stop it darkening further – have a search on here for NIA24, it helps lighten as well as prevent further darkening, I THINK…. Also, have a look at Alpha-H’s White Gold, I have heard great things about it re pigmentation! xx

    • Ruth
      January 27, 2012 / 4:16 pm

      @Alice that looks VERY interesting, I shall have to check it out! xxx

  9. alice
    January 27, 2012 / 6:22 pm

    last summer i ordered the glycolic mask and followed the instruction but my face still got really red and irritated for the following days. Right now I’m using the brightening Liz Earl mask but that doesn’t do much for me. Do you have any recommendations? Thanks in advance :)

    • Ruth
      January 27, 2012 / 8:51 pm

      @Alice do you have very sensitive skin? Sometimes skin just doesn’t like being tampered with – it sounds like yours might be like that? Do you react to anything else? xx

  10. flick
    January 27, 2012 / 9:13 pm

    I think I might alternate this with the alpha h. I have sensitive skin and I only use it once or twice a week and there’s been no ill effects to date (touch wood).

    Quick request: my day to day wardrobe needs a revamp, could you perhaps do a video on your most-used items? I have stuff to wear for parties and dinners out, but I think I look like a train wreck most of the rest of the time.

    • Ruth
      January 28, 2012 / 5:12 pm

      @Flick I shall add it to the list! xx

  11. alice
    January 27, 2012 / 11:27 pm

    no that was the first time! i’ve never experienced it with a gentle scrub or chemical exfoliant before, like the md formulation skin perfecting gel or clinique turnaround concentrate. my whole face looked like it’s gone through an eyebrow waxing process after the mask experience.

    • Ruth
      January 28, 2012 / 5:13 pm

      @Alice eeek! It was the Turnaround that did that to mine, I left it on too long! How odd. There’s always something, I suppose, that not all of us will get on with in a formula. Maybe it’s more the fruit enzyme peels that you react to or something?! x

  12. brianne
    January 27, 2012 / 11:56 pm

    Thanks for the post Ruth! Your blog is my all time favorite. I have a question if you don’t mind. I am looking for a new clay mask and I was hoping you could recommend one. I have the Liz earl deep cleaning mask which I love but I’d like a second one as well. Any recommendations? Thank you!!

    I tried to Elemis Lavendar one and just couldn’t get on with it. Thanks so much!!

    • Ruth
      January 28, 2012 / 5:11 pm

      @Brianne my all-time fave clay mask is Omorovicza deep cleanse but it’s VERY pricey! I also really like the Neutrogena 2-in-1 clay cleanser thingy, that’s very good for the price! xx

  13. January 28, 2012 / 3:19 pm

    Thank you for answering, Ruth ! :)
    Appreciate it :)
    It’s definitely on my wishlist now :)

  14. Brianne
    January 28, 2012 / 7:20 pm

    Thank you so much for your response Ruth! I really appreciate it!! :)

  15. Zoe
    January 29, 2012 / 10:24 pm

    Hi Ruth,

    Love the blog,I’m interested in exploring chemical exfoliants, since watching your Liquid Gold video on YT.

    I have been using Ren’s Jojoba Microbead Invigorating Facial Polish, which I alternate with Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish. It’s a fantastic! A gentle cleanser with a very light exfoliant effect (although mechanical). It doesnt hurt your eyes at all, if it gets around there.
    Just another Ren product I’d certainly recommend, which is very brightening and cleansing.
    (If your not an internet shopper fan, you can purchase the range from Planet Organic in London)


    • Ruth
      January 29, 2012 / 11:10 pm

      @Zoe yes, a longtime fave of mine too! I thought I had reviewed it on here, but must have been on Keep Calm and Shop! x

  16. Elena
    January 30, 2012 / 9:53 am

    @Ruth @Alice Hi Ruth, just wanted to mention that I have been using REN’s F10 Smooth and Renew Peel Mask for about a year now and I have sensitive combination skin. It is very similar to the Glycol lactic mask but less drying and less harsh.

    • Ruth
      January 30, 2012 / 10:57 am

      @Elena thanks so much, that’s a great alternative! x

  17. pansy
    January 30, 2012 / 10:28 am

    thank you Ruth! i watched your video on the dangers of over-exfoliating. i’ll definitely alternate using the clarisonic with a cream cleanser and using a chemical exfoliant.

    i <3 your hair in the video.

    what is your opinion on alpha-h vs retin a cream?

    request: video or post on how you take care of your neck, i'm amazed every single time i watch your video and notice that you have zero neck lines! ( sorry! i know i'm buggin you on this one!)

    • Ruth
      January 30, 2012 / 10:57 am

      @Pansy oh yes, I keep forgetting! Haven’t tried Retin-A but I’m guessing it’s a retinoid? It depends on how old you are – I haven’t started Retinol products yet and I’m 31, I’m happy with my Glycolic! x

  18. January 31, 2012 / 4:51 pm

    Hi Ruth – I’m trying out this line at the moment too, but I’m wondering if you layer the solution under your night cream or use it plain? REN says to layer it, but I don’t see the results when I do – do you use it neat, or with a moisturizer?

    • Ruth
      January 31, 2012 / 5:09 pm

      @Clare I use it on its own! xx

  19. February 13, 2012 / 11:31 pm

    Hi Ruth,

    i’ve just discovered your website a few weeks ago and find it brilliant. And a bit addictive too, there’s so much great stuff in here.

    I’ve noticed how much you praise Liquid Gold and now I’m dying to try it but I have quite sensitive skin and not 100% sure about it. I started getting spots recently (guess it’s hormonal since I don’t have oily skin AT ALL) and thought glycolic acid might help clear them up. Really uncertain about getting Liquid Gold or REN. What do you think? X

  20. February 14, 2012 / 12:52 am

    Also forgot to mention I’m 22 and you said something about glycol not being such a good option for younger skins (in case mine is still considered young)


    • Ruth
      February 14, 2012 / 2:28 pm

      @Sabina I might be tempted to find out the cause of the spots first – it’s not a reaction or something? xx

  21. February 14, 2012 / 3:34 pm

    I used to have perfect skin (not to brag but it was) and not a single spot during teenage years. Then I moved to London 2 years ago and at the same time stopped taking contraceptive pills and after a short time the spots appeared. Usually along the jawline and sometimes on my forehead. They’re not huge and painful like those you get when you have acne but for someone who’s never had a spot in their life this is quite frustrating. I went to the Private Clinic on Harley Street and they recommended microdermabrasion but I’m a bit scared that might be a little too harsh. Also, it’s difficult to find products for blemishes that are not aimed at oily skin- I have quite dry, sensitive skin. I can’t tell for sure if it’s the fact that I moved to London (from Romania) and there’s more pollution here or just a hormonal imbalance but it’s very annoying nonetheless.

    PS: loved your latest video on your make-up collection!


    • Ruth
      February 15, 2012 / 9:31 pm

      @Sabina how sensitive are we talking? Usually mild chemical or enzyme exfoliants are more gentle than mechanical scrubs, and I certainly wouldn’t go for microdermabrasion. I’m not a massive fan of it, tbh! x

  22. February 15, 2012 / 9:56 pm

    I tried Avene’s Triacneal cream treatment a few weeks ago (although I don’t have acne) but it’s specially formulated for people with sensitive skin and I thought there would be no harm in trying it to get rid of my few blemishes. Within minutes after applying it my face turned bright red and started to burn like hell. I had to wash off the product and put on a thick layer of Embryolisse in an attempt to soothe my skin. I looked as if I just had a chemical peel. I wrote a message on the Avene website to ask if that was a normal reaction and they said definitely not. When I checked the ingredients on the cream there was glycolic acid in there too so that’s why I’m a bit sceptical. So that’s roughly how sensitive my skin is. xx

    • Ruth
      February 15, 2012 / 11:37 pm

      @Sabina ah, OK. First point; if you’re suffering from breakouts then Emb might be a little too rich? But it sounds like maybe you’re too sensitive for glycolic.. Let me have a think for you! xx

  23. February 16, 2012 / 1:09 am

    I thought about that as well, re Embryolisee. I have combination- slightly oilier on nose and chin-jawline and drier, really sensitive cheeks. I know you have combination as well- what’s your favourite moisturiser that provides enough moisture to keep skin hydrated but light enough for oily zones?

    It’s interesting how I trust your advice more than that of people from skin clinics I’ve been to recently because your skin looks so perfect! And I can’t really and fully trust someone recommending me products when they have awful skin.


  24. inkaly
    September 4, 2012 / 10:50 pm

    Hi Ruth,

    I just got a sample of this from a store and am going to be trying to tonight. I’ve researched the product myself and the instructions say that i should use a serum after applying this product, but isn’t this a serum in itself? I’m not sure because i usually apply a serum before my night moisturizer so if i use this product, should this take the place of my serum? What are your thoughts?

    thanks :)

    • Ruth
      September 6, 2012 / 10:26 pm

      Hmm. That’s weird! I just applied it instead of all of my night products! Anyone else out there got any ideas? xx

  25. September 22, 2012 / 1:25 am

    I can’t use anything with AHA or beta-hydroxy acids, I don’t have any sun damage to fix, I don’t have lines or wrinkles- I just needed a good exfoliator to use before applying my makeup everyday, one that was emollient enough not to irritate my face, but strong enough to sweep away the flaky skin that comes with my dry skin type.

    I’m not wild about fomy cleansers, and Made from Earth’s Rooibos Tea Face Scrub doesn’t get out-of-control w/ that. it has caused no breakouts, no redness and overall, keeps the flaky dry skin away. For the price, very good quality, and the packaging keep it fresh & unoxidized.

  26. Joyce Joseph
    September 16, 2013 / 2:30 pm

    Hi Ruth! What’s the difference between the AHA concentrate & the Radiance serum?

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