I can be a little sceptical of natural cosmetic brands. The interest in not ladling chemicals on your face has meant that companies are popping up left right and centre, all claiming to have products that are just as effective as they are healthy. This apparently means that because they put a couple of oats and a papaya in their body wash they can charge triple the amount of the average beauty product.
Because of this I’ve always been wary of any nature loving brands that emphasise how ‘natural’ they are. There needs to be some kind of scientific backup to show why the ingredients they put in their products are going to be effective. We know certain ingredients like honey, lemon and my favourite apple cider vinegar can be great beauty solutions, so is it worth spending money on natural brand products when we can just make our own stuff at home? Are they an improvement on drug store brands? Are they any good at all?
My mum returned from a trip out at the weekend with a bag of travel-sized goodies from the cosmetic brand Ren. As you may have guessed from the previous paragraph, Ren is all about natural ingredients, and on their site put,
“REN uses only 100% plant and mineral derived actives and is free from skin-unfriendly synthetic ingredients”
I have no idea what ‘skin-unfriendly synthetic ingredients’ they’re talking about. Perhaps sulphuric acid?
Either way, the prices for the full size products paired with the beauty jargon made me even less convinced that this stuff was actually going to be any good. However, I decided for the sake of fair play that I’d give it a go.
Product number 1: The cleanser
I should probably say off the bat that I’m very picky about my skincare products, and having been a faithful ‘Simple skincare’ consumer for a while now, I didn’t expect this to be wonderful. I was right. The texture was watery and after washing my face thoroughly with it, it still felt grubby and left an oily film on my face. Perhaps it was just so ‘gentle on the skin’ that it didn’t actually disturb any of the dirt, but for something that’s supposed to cleanse your face, I think it needed a little more power.
Product number 2: The shampoo
This stuff surprised me. Like most shampoos made with natural ingredients it doesn’t have a foaming agent, and it can feel a little odd massaging it into your hair. I left it in for a few minutes before rinsing it out, and it didn’t have the silky clean feeling that you get from washing out most shampoos, however when my hair was dry I began to see the difference.
My hair was much less frizzy than usual, my dandruff (I know, ew) was practically non existent, and I feel that this was due to the fact that as it was so gentle it didn’t strip all the natural oils from my hair, helping maintain some of its softness. So a thumbs up.
Product number 3: The conditioner
Now that I have short hair I don’t tend to use conditioner, preferring serums and hair oils instead, but I thought I would try this one out.
It was…fine. Honestly it didn’t dry out my hair, it didn’t moisturise it. If you’re looking for a conditioner that really just maintains your hair and other than that leaves it alone then you might be interested in this, but for my coarse locks I want something a little more nourishing.
Product number 4: The body wash
It can be hard to review a body wash because it really only has to do three things. Clean you, smell nice (if you like scented washes) and not dry out your skin. This product got a tick in all three boxes, especially in the smelling nice category. I smelt like a fizzy grapefruit cocktail, so I was pretty happy.
Product number 5: The body cream
It’s a treat when you can put on a body cream and your skin actually stays smooth and lightly scented even hours later. This stuff made me into the creepiest looking person because I just kept stroking my arms, wondering at how soft they were. The product takes a little while to sink in, but it’s so worth it, and the sweet grapefruit scent is gorgeous.
Product number 7: The lip balm
If this had been labelled a lip-gloss then I’d probably give it an average review, but as it clearly reads ‘lip balm’ as in something to moisturise dry lips, I’m going to have to be a little harsh.
This stuff sucks as a lip balm. It’s heavy, it’s sticky and it’s definitely not soothing. It adds a shine – like lip-gloss. Your hair sticks to it – like lip-gloss.
Let’s just face the facts here. Ren, I hope you’re listening. This is a lip-gloss, not a lip balm. I feel we can all move on now.
Product number 8: The moisturiser
I get nervous using cream moisturisers as my pores get blocked very easily, and on the whole gel moisturisers work better for my oily complexion. However, I was pleasantly surprised by this moisturiser. I put it on at night and was impressed by how smooth my skin was even the next morning. So far no blocked pores or breakouts. Good job moisturiser, good job.
Product number 9: The eye gel
My eyes are pretty darn sensitive, and a lot of the time even eye gels made for sensitive skin are too harsh for me to wear. This eye gel is the gentlest i’ve tried, and although I’m not sure how much eye gels can even do over all, if you’re a fan of them and have sensitive skin, then this would be a good buy.
And that bring my very long review to a close. If I have learnt one thing on my quest (shut up, I’m calling it a quest), it’s that it’s good to be sceptical about natural products, because sometimes they are rubbish (and over priced). However, when the winds of change blow through the forest of uncertainty, beautiful things can occur. Or er, something like that.
Sometimes things can surprise you, and occasionally natural brands can make products that are actually pretty great.
So keep an open mind, be prepared for some trial and error when looking for a product that’s right for you, and as always, don’t believe the beauty jargon.