For the past four months, on and off, I have been testing out the V-Cense creams from REN skincare; the Youth Vitality Day Cream and the Revitalising Night Cream. I say “on and off” because the longest period of uninterrupted use was probably about three weeks; for the rest of the time it has been a bit of a scattergun approach. An odd day here, a random night there. But do you know what? These creams worked very, very well for me. I have absolutely no complaints, despite the fact that initially I thought that they would be too rich, and I was a little taken aback by the scent (churchy), which I can deal with when it’s a cleanser (ie the frankincense cleanser from Neal’s Yard Remedies) but not when it’s something that has to stay on my face for long periods of time. The smell of frankincense is incredibly relaxing, yes – probably much more so than lavender, even – but it’s a potent little bugger and I sometimes feel a bit claustrophobic when beauty products have a very strong fragrance. Especially, weirdly, when it’s a scent from essential oils and not a synthetic one. Synthetic scents don’t seem to overpower me, but dose me up with too many essential oils and I wake up sweating in the night thinking that the ceiling is made of cheese straws.
I digress. And actually, the REN products aren’t overpowering in the slightest, it’s just that the faintly churchy smell is a bit of a surprise when the packaging is so white and clean. But the creams worked well on my skin – a plumptious, nourishing feel and no breakouts or issues with richness. They take a little longer to sink in than some moisturisers, but I don’t mind that so much, especially with the night cream, and after a minute or so there’s absolutely no residue at all. No heaviness to the finish, no grease, but my skin felt properly taken care of in the moisture department. It’s actually the night cream I like best – it reminded me so much of a cream I used to use years ago. And it turns out, after some Googling, that the cream I used to use years ago was actually REN’s Frankincense Night Cream, which I think is an older version of the V-Cense!
Anyway – nice. Good go-to face creams if you fancy an all-rounder that helps to smooth the skin and keep it moisturised – the scent is calming rather than stifling, the pump-action bottles are very practical and the price is incredibly fair. £32 from Space NK or with free delivery from LookFantastic.com. UPDATE: it’s £27 at AllBeauty.com!
Neal’s Yard Remedies’ Frankincense Intense is next on my list to try. I feel as though I’ve found a frankincense theme and now I need to see it through. (Incidentally, please give me your own suggestions for more products to try in the comments below.) I’ve seen rave reviews on this “age-defying” cream but have also had a few reports back from friends who loved the original face cream in this line but haven’t fared so well with subsequent additions. Perhaps this cream is far richer – I’d hazard a guess that it is, seeing as though it’s the Intense version. I’ll be back with some feedback once I’ve found the bloody pot – I have a feeling my Mum may have nicked it as she house-sat when I was off on holiday. It wouldn’t be the first time that things on my “to test” shelf have disappeared…
NYR’s cream is a fair bit dearer than the REN; £55. Heavier packaging, but that’s not necessarily a boon if you travel frequently. The ingredients list shows that it’s jam-packed with great oils, including argan and macadamia, as well as frankincense, hyaluronic acid, Vitamin E and various essential oils. Sounds gorgeous, if only I could find the bloody thing.