My bottle of the new REN Resurfacing AHA Concentrate is running out, and on my way to immediately buy another, it seemed like a good time for a review. An empty bottle is always the best recommendation, isn't it?
A natural but potent blend of fruit-derived Glycolic, Tartaric, Lactic and Citric acids, it delivers a quick and gentle brightening and exfoliating effect, and is one of the easiest, mess-free and foolproof natural exfoliants out there. The lovely little vial and I got off to a bumpy start. Quite literally. Using under a night cream as directed, not only did I see very little smoothing/brightening effects, but also developed tiny bumps on my cheeks. First I was frustrated and wrote it off as no good, but after reading up a bit more, I got all adventurous and off-label and used it as I think acids should be used -neat. Acids need the correct PH to work their magic, and mixing other products in tends to complicate things.
Now though, using just a swipe of this on a cotton pad at night leaves my dry skin dewy and hydrated feeling in the morning - no tightness or dryness whatsoever. It brightens, smoothes, and speeds cell turnover, leaving my pores clear and skin well primed to absorb following treatments. The $45 bottle should last 2-3 months for a normal, less wasteful person than me.
I've been using it every other night, because I'm slightly addicted to the results, but will probably drop back to twice a week in the long term. REN suggests using it in weekly cycles - one on, one off, and in conjuction with the rest of their new Radiance range - all of which I recommend as being gentle enough for relatively sensitive skins, while still imparting a satisfyingly noticeable effect.
The AHA Concentrate smells fresh and pleasant, somewhere between lemon and grape, and stings just enough on application that you know it's actually working. The frosted bottle is pretty and solid, with a vial top that deposits just the right amount for the face - I like to swipe the cotton over my neck and the backs of my hands afterwards - that's actually where I've seen some of the most noticeable and impressive improvement. My hands have been looking a bit rough from the last two summers spent in California with a rather relaxed attitude towards sunscreen. They're now pale, smooth and soft, and I no longer feel like they shout "field laborer". They're even, dare I say, looking almost ladylike. Almost. Unfortunately there's no serum for stubby fingers.
You can use the AHA Concentrate as an easy addition to your current regimen as an exfoliating night treatment, or try the whole line together for a really intense brightening bootcamp for your skin - there's a gentle Micro Polish Cleanser, the fabulous Glycol Lactic Renewal Mask, and a silky Radiance Perfection Serum. Most of which I'll be reviewing in the coming weeks, hopefully in slightly shorter posts.
If you're not familiar with the brand REN, you can read more about their ingredients here - they have high quality, entirely natural ingredients free of parabens, phtalates, silicones and synthetics, and have a great range of products - most of what I've tried I've really loved. There's a lot of buzz surrounding the brand right now not only for their excellent skincare, but for their latest ad video, which appears to be a clip from a unnamed HBO show about a Swedish nudist colony. And that's all I'm going say about it.
Goodness this was a long review. I hope you all feel very knowledgeable on acid concentrates now, and commend you for wading through. Just tell me your current exfoliant of choice - manual, chemical, muslin cloth, etc - and then you can finally go!
(product was kindly provided by REN for consideration)