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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 LookFantastic.com – I’ve linked through to the right page!


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

  2. 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.

  3. 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 :)

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

  4. 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.


  5. 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

    • @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

  6. 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!


    • @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

  7. 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)


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

  8. 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

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