My ideal skin care item is one that allows skin at any and every age to be its best self – the version you want it to be regardless of life experience, skin tone or decade. The truth is, though, unless you’ve been blessed with the most magical genes, great skin needs to be worked at. I love to see a bit of light bounce on skin – where light hits your bare face and you can see a natural glow because of it rather than simply a matte surface. Skin naturally has its own glow – a ‘real’ skin finish is one that is neither matte nor dewy by itself but has just a little bit of light reflection that comes from the upper layers being free of dead cells and adequately moisturised. That allows it to appear more translucent and therefore reflect more light.
REN’s newest concentrated serum is a Bio-Retinoid which means that it follows the same skin care pathways as vitamin A but is obtained entirely from plants. Extracted from the (sustainably sourced) humble Bidens Pilosa plant (from the daisy family), it’s proved to be an effective and more gentle retinol alternative – think different keys opening the same door. The word ‘bio’ means from a living source/plants while retinoid in the name is indicative that it is similar to retinol – you might say it as ‘plant that is retinoid-like’ if you wanted to be very cumbersome about it! It’s had clinical instrumental studies on 50 women aged 38 to 70 over a period of 28 days, therefore the claims that over 90% found it gentle and saw smoother, more even skin after that time are verified.
I’ve been using a lab sample of REN Bio-Retinoid Serum (in the pictures, along with the little pots I took on holiday with me) along with Bio-Retinoid Cream and Bio-Retinoid Oil to put it properly through its longer term paces for well over a month. It’s important to say that layering will give the best effects although each product can be used in isolation. I veered more toward the oil than the cream as my secondary Bio-Retinol source – my skin just loved it and drank it up, day or evening. The effects are cumulative – you need to give it at least four weeks before you self-assess although I feel confident that you will see changes in texture from around the end of week two. In addition to the Bio-Retinoid, the serum also contains Ceramides and Niacinamide.
For the first week or so, I saw nothing – nothing at all! And I’m impatient and started to have doubts especially well into the second week where I’d hoped for more, if only from the ceramides. BUT, at week three, I noticed that my skin was uniformly hydrated (my indicator patch is just between my brows which flakes at the easiest provocation) and had an enriched texture. There was definitely smoothness by this stage that hadn’t been apparent before and an increase in light bounce.
Week four hit at just the time I went away for a few days and while I packed a tinted moisturiser, I didn’t need to use it once. I really felt that no coverage was needed because my skin was alive, vibrant and awake on its own. I genuinely think my pores look better – I was expecting hydration and smoothness but wasn’t expecting my pores to seem less obvious so that was a happy discovery. You can’t shrink pores as such but one of the better known good effects of retinoids is that they can influence the appearance so they’re less obvious. It’s hard to fully quantify ‘healthy looking skin’ but I feel that’s exactly what I have right now.
Smoothing out skin creases is secondary for my personal wants (just give me the glow!) but even there I would say there are subtle adjustments that add to the overall texture improvements. REN Bio-Retinoid Serum is for you if you struggle with regular retinols, if you prefer the idea of a plant based derivative or if you are new to the concept of a regular retinol in your skin care routine. REN Bio-Retinoid Serum is £62 HERE (I still have at least two thirds of my bottle left so a little goes a long way).
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