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posted by on REN, Skincare



As someone who dutifully cleanses skin daily, there is one part of the process that I have been awfully lacklustre in – using a toner.

Caroline Hirons spotted this omission and gently slapped my wrist. Yes, I’m fortunate to have trouble-free skin, I drink more water than I used to, I don’t smoke and I always take my make-up off no matter how tired I am but my cheeks always look so dehydrated and that’s because I am not using a toner. Hnnnnnnnnngh, I know that’s bloody terrible but come on, I am being honest! I’ve just been dismissive of using a toner and also lazy.

So for the past couple of weeks, I have religiously been using an exfoliating (followed by a hydrating toner) after cleansing and good golly, Miss Molly my skin is happily glowing as a result of it.

Let’s focus on the exfoliating toner. After reading several beauty blogs, I settled for REN’s Clarimatte Clarifying Toner, which has also earned high praise from customers on its website. Suitable for combination and oily skin types, it is also alcohol-free and therefore absolutely recommended for twice daily use. Toners containing alcohol are harsh for your skin and unbearable (I noticed the discomfort with using Clinique’s Clarifying Lotion 2).

In less than two weeks using REN’s Clarrimatte Clarifying Toner has massively improved my complexion. My skin appears smooth, soft and it has removed the dehydrated areas on my face. I know this because blusher no longer looks patchy on my cheeks.

The toner also feels wonderfully calming and soothing, and I’m sure my skin lets out a happy sigh every time I use it. I bought it for £18 but currently a 150ml is only £12 on REN’s website, which is not to be scoffed at. I would irk at paying a lot more and thankfully REN is grounded on its pricing.

I bought the toner directly from REN’s site which offers a lovely incentive – 10% off your favourite REN product for life. I have a feeling the Clarimatte Clarifying Toner has cemented its place in my skincare routine – really, really chuffed with the results.

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I’m becoming well acquainted with REN’s skin care as I slowly work my way around the range. I previously reviewed their Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask (which I loved) and Rosa Centifolia No1 Purity Cleansing Balm (again another beauty). Next up is the Rosa Centifolia Hot Cloth Cleanser.

Predictably it functions in exactly the same way as Liz Earle’s legendary Cleanse and Polish  (it even comes with a pump) so it’s quite a feat to challenge a firm favourite amongst those loyal to THAT creamy cleanser and muslin cloth…although to be fair to REN, the routine is slightly different.

Apply to dry skin and gently massage the creamy cleanser over the face and neck. The cleanser comes with a decent flannel (as opposed to the flimsy muslin cloth) that you rinse in warm water and first place over the face to open the pores, then lightly polish off the cleanser to remove dirt, make-up and loosen dead skin cells. Finally you’re mean to splash with cool water to close the pores.

I don’t feel comfortable with one cleanse being adequate to remove make-up that’s been slapped on my face all day so I will double-cleanse to make sure any leftover bits are removed. When it comes to cleansing, nothing is more relaxing and satisfying than wiping it all off with a steaming, hot flannel.

The magical ingredients in this mixture are Vitamin P to decongest and soothe, Triglycerides from Cocoa Seed Butter to improve the skin barrier functions against moisture loss and Rosa Damascena from Damask Rose Petals to relieve and soothe skin.

There are no fancy frills with this – it is a straight-forward cream cleanser that’s skin-friendly for all types. After use my dry/normal combination skin does clean and clear as well as soft and touchable. I also think the rose scent is subtle as opposed to Liz Earle’s strong eucalyptus smell but that’s as exciting as things get. It’s an alternative choice for a cream cleanser, not ground-breaking but far from terrible.

Personal preference rules here and if you favour the cream cleanser and hot cloth routine, you may be inclined to give REN’s version a go. There is no reason why you shouldn’t. You may even like it better and it’s reasonably priced at £16 for 150ml. I just think there are other products from REN that are more worthy of a nod. I suspect the Clarifying Toner is one of them, which I’ve recently ordered from their website. I have been looking for a gentle, everyday exfoliating toner and this one has had rave reviews so I’m quietly confident it will deliver. I’ll let you know how I get on.

What REN products have you tried? I’d love to know your thoughts.

*PR sample