No.1 Purity Cleansing Balm

by Ren  
Price:
$48 - 5.1 fl. oz.
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Category:
Skin Care > Cleansers (including Cleansing Cloths) > Cleansers/Soaps
Last Updated:
4/22/2013
Jar Packaging:
No
Tested On Animals:
No

This oil-based cleansing balm is packaged in a jar, most likely because the formula is so thick and heavy it would be impossible to dispense from a tube. Although a jar was likely the most practical packaging choice, the routine exposure to air means the plant ingredients this contains won’t remain stable during use.

As for usage itself, this cleanser for dry skin isn’t recommended. It removes makeup easily and contains some great protective ingredients to prevent further dryness but it also includes irritating fragrant oils and fragrance ingredients known to cause irritation. Using irritating rather than beneficial plant extracts is somewhat the hallmark of REN products, despite their claim that every plant they use is its own little miracle for skin. If you prefer this type of cleanser, check out the fragrance-free options from Clinique. You’ll not only save money, you’ll be sparing your skin needless irritation.

A luxurious silky rose infused cleansing balm. When applied with water the balm transforms into a rich milk and leaves skin purified, calm and glowing... It gently yet thoroughly melts away dirt and make up (including waterproof mascara).

Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Cetearyl Ethyhexanoate, Glyceryl Cocoate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glyceryl Stearate, Glyceryl Dibehenate, Tribehenin, Glyceryl Behenate, Butyrospermum Parkii Shea Butter , Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Parfum* (Fragrance), Rosa Centifolia Flower Extract, Cymbopogon Martini Oil, Viola Odorata Extract, Anthemis Nobilis (Chamomile) Flower Oil, Lecithin, Benzyl Alcohol, Oryzanol, Tocopherol, Citronellol, Geraniol, Eugenol, Linalool.

Hailing from the United Kingdom, the Ren line was developed by two businessmen who are, according to company information, "evangelical" about skin care. The story goes that Robert Calcraft and Anthony Buck were former consultants who began researching the skin-care market after Buck's wife began having adverse reactions to every skin-care product she used while pregnant. Apparently neither man believed that there was a line out there that offered consumers high-tech products that were "totally clean" and "completely effective," and so, voilá, a new skin-care line was born.

We wish we could write that these men were really onto something for all women, not just Buck's wife, but that's simply not the case. First of all, their assessment of the cosmetics industry is bizarre, because in truth there are indeed many cosmetic lines offering "clean" and "effective" products ("clean," by Ren's definition, are products that don't contain problematic ingredients). Second, which lines did Ren's founders check out to determine that there was a missing link? An even better question is: What criteria were they using, because almost all of their products are either poorly formulated or contain irritating ingredients?

Calcraft and Buck apparently worked with a cosmetic pharmacologist; although that sounds impressive, a cosmetic pharmacologist works with drugs designed to improve mental ability in healthy individuals, not with skin-care formulations. All of this back story is nothing more than proof that the people behind this line really didn't do their homework, and the consumer who buys these products will be the poorer (both skin health- and money-wise) because of it.

It still shocks us when we review a line that's laden with products claiming to improve wrinkles and other signs of aging skin, and yet there's limited options for sun protection. Few researchers question how critical daily sun protection is to preserving the health and appearance of skin. Many of Ren's products contain antioxidants, and several have high amounts of green tea oil. But all the green tea in Japan isn't capable of protecting skin from environmental damage, which of course includes sunlight.

More so than many other lines that eschew certain ingredients for their alleged (and, sometimes, proven) negative effects when present in skin-care products, Ren loves to point out everything they don't use. This is a line for those who love to see the word "No" followed by a long list of chemical-sounding names that can seem scary to the uninformed. A consumer may have no idea what a polyquaternium is, but because of lines like Ren, the message is clear that it's not desirable. Ren doesn't provide any documentation supporting their ban on certain ingredients, which is typical of lines whose marketing angle relies on perpetuating the myth that synthetic ingredients are evil and that natural is the only truly safe way to go.

It would be great if Ren's "do not use" list benefited consumers, but it doesn't. Frustratingly, many of the ingredients Ren opts to use instead of synthetics are proven irritants for skin. Bergamot, peppermint, tangerine, and arnica are indeed natural ingredients, but each has its share of problems for skin. We could go on, but you get our point: Ren is really nothing more than an overly fragranced, fear-mongering, natural "me too" line using the same tired plant-based ingredient angle as countless other brands. The difference is that many of those other brands have a product assortment that, either from a price or formulary perspective, is much better than this one.

For more information about Ren, call (732) 553-1185 or visit www.renskincare.com.

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About the Experts

Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books on skin care and makeup. She is known worldwide as the Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula's Choice. Paula's expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international television including:

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The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to helping you find the absolute best products for your skin, using research-based criteria to review beauty products from an honest, balanced perspective. Each member of the team was personally trained by Paula herself.

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