I trialled two products from the REN skincare range - the Ultra Calm Global Protection Day Cream and Ultra Calm Cleansing Milk.
REN is from the UK - I was attracted to them because they don't test on animals, and avoid using all those bad-rep chemicals that makers of organic cosmetics love to hate - parabens, petrochemicals etc - for the sake of skin-friendliness. They might be organic too, but that wasn't my focus.
I was quite astonished when, after emailing them to ask whether REN is available in New Zealand, the customer services person offered to ship me some samples - all the way to the other end of the Earth. When they arrived I was astounded that such small containers existed. But I can't complain.
Both products came in tiny plasticky tubes. They shared a herby smell that made me suspicious, but it wasn't a perfume-y smell so I'll forgive them.
Now, if I'd gotten larger amounts, I would have been able to test them on my face properly. As it was, there was enough to either patch test, or to smear sparingly. So sparing smearing was what I opted for.
The cleanser was lovely to use. It left my skin feeling completely un-assaulted.
The moisturiser was just as gentle, but unfortunately was not emollient enough. I could have gone through a couple of those tubelets just in one application, and would have needed a top-up soon after.
So I will stick with my Simple Regeneration Age-resisting day cream with spf, which is similar in gentleness and emollience, but costs $27.50 for 50ml. The REN moisturiser, on the other hand, costs a whopping $111 for a bottle of indeterminate size which couldn't possibly be 200ml. Actually, the REN website displays a 50ml bottle, so if we assume that it only comes in one size, it's, like, 4 times the cost of the Simple product.
Maybe one day, when I am a millionaire, I will shell out for the REN bottle to try over several days, and maybe I will realise that the stuff is actually better than I thought. Until then, I will stick with the thing that is affordable and is good-enough-for-now.