Monday, 27 September 2010

REN's coming up roses

Rose Otto Ultra-Moisture Serum, £40, REN

You know you’re in a super-cool, on-the-ball boutique hotel when you find REN in the bathroom (the Boundary, for example: see post dated 13 May). If you haven't come across REN before, let me introduce you. REN launched in 2000, with a USP of producing beauty products that do not contain synthetics, parabens or petrochemicals, yet are still both beautiful to use and efficacious (an approach that has been adopted by a host of other companies in their wake). They are ‘clean’ products, but don’t have that ‘worthy’ feel to them – they look and smell great and they feel luxurious to use. No wonder its fans (including me) are ardent, bordering on obsessive.

REN’s rose products are their strongest line. The Moroccan Rose Otto Bath Oil is beautifully decadent and non-greasy, and is gorgeous used as a skin oil, too. There’s also Rose Otto Body Wash and a lusciously rich Body Cream (£24.50 and it lasts for ages) that leaves your skin petal-soft and scented. All of them make great gifts. The Rose Centrifolia Cleansing Gel is a cooling face wash that cleans and gently hydrates the skin, and the Rose Ultra-Moisture Serum (£40), worn under moisturiser, uses rice germ, jojoba, coconut, camellia and lemon oils along with rose damascene oil to really lock in moisture. Many people are wary of layering oil onto their face, thinking it will leave a greasy shine, but an oil containing high-quality ingredients like this actually sinks into the skin and gives it a radiance and hydration you just don’t get with a cream. The Rose Otto Body Scub has been much raved-about in magazines, and it does give your skin a buffed sheen, though I reckon the creams and oils are better investments – most of this ends up down the plughole.

I also recommend the Keep Young and Beautiful Serum (£45). Yes, it costs rather more than Protect & Perfect, the bargain Boots serum that everyone went mad over for a while – but for my money it’s way more effective, and genuinely feels like it makes your skin look better. And there aren’t many products, especially costing less than 50 quid, that truly make your skin look better (with the fine exception of Dr Hauschka’s Rose Cream). Also worth a try is Omega 3 Night Repair Serum; it takes takes longer to absorb into the skin so use only a small amount for the best effects.

REN’s website is as good-looking and effective as its products (and that's not always the case). You can search by product or, most usefully, by skin type. And there are some good offers too, including free trial sizes, plus a free £20 Mayday Rescue Balm when you spend over £30. Look out for their kits to try out five different trial sizes before you splash out on a full-size one.

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