* Prices may differ from that shown
Money, money, money
Although I love trying out new beauty products, I am often restricted by my budget ... and my bargain hunter's instincts! So usually if I try out an expensive product it means it's a gift!
And at Christmas I was lucky enough to receive a set of REN products. The set included a small version of this Neroli Oil and Grapefruit Body Wash. Of course I had to investigate further and check out the prices online, and I was simultaneously delighted and shocked to discover that a full size (200ml) version of the body wash will set you back £15! As I tend to pick up shower gels either in pound shops or on offer in shops and supermarkets, this represents a good ten to fifteen bottles of shower gel for me. So, I thought, this one better be good!
A quick surf around the company's website and, yes, other products have similarly eye-watering prices including a small bottle of bath oil for £30. The cheapest items I could find were 100ml bottles of shampoo and conditioner at £6.50 each - which actually isn't too bad compared to the prices of the other products.
Who, what, ren?
To find out how the company could justify these somewhat extortionate prices, I delved further. REN was founded about 10 years ago by Robert Calcraft and Antony Buck when Antony discovered that his pregnant wife had a bad reaction to every beauty product she used. So all REN products are completely natural and contain no synthetic ingredients or parabens. The company is founded on five principles:
Right ingredients, right science, right product experience, right environmental impact, right attitude.
And the company certainly sticks to these principles, for example by donating a minimum of 2.5 percent of its profits to environmental causes). Products are not tested on animals, and there is even a freepost address to return your empty packages for the company to recycle. REN products are now available in over 40 countries worldwide.
As you can see, the bottle is very simple and the labelling is tasteful and expensive looking. The website tells me that the body wash is "refreshing and invigorating" and is "formulated with neroli oil distilled from Tunisian orange blossom and cold pressed grapefruit oil".
Now, I am not the biggest fan of grapefruit (just the thought of them sitting on the breakfast table, cut in half with a glace cherry on the top makes me wince), but I love neroli, which is an essential oil that comes from the bitter orange tree. Gladly, smelling the product, it definitely does smell of oranges, but sweeter than other neroli products I have used, which may be thanks to the grapefruit oil. It is a very subtly fragranced product - it isn't at all over-powering or sickly, and I have to say it is very natural smelling - there is no evidence of all of anything artificial or chemical in here.
The body wash itself is a very thick, almost-clear gel, and I definitely do not think you need a lot of the product - which helps to justify the price slightly! It does feel rich and quite luxurious, and the smell is really pleasant.
Milk and one sugar please!
Once I washed off the gel, my skin immediately felt softer and smoother - although, frankly, for this price I want it to feel softer, smoother, tauter, buffer, leaner and meaner! In fact, for £15 a bottle, I expect the bottle to dash out of the shower after use and brew me up a cuppa. But, alas, softer and smoother was all I got. While I can say that this is better than some other shower gels I've used, I would also add that other products I've used in the shower have cleansed and moisturised just as effectively - if not better.
After drying off, I was disappointed - but not surprised, as it was so subtle - that the smell did not linger on my skin at all. And although my skin was nice and soft, I did use a moisturiser as I always do - my skin certainly didn't feel soft enough for me to ditch the body butter.
Overall, this is a nice product and I support the company's aims and principles. If money was no object, I would be very inclined to try out other products and, indeed, many of the items on the website sound lovely.
However, although right ingredients, right science, right product experience, right environmental impact, right attitude is all very well, for my pocket REN is definitely not the right price, so unless someone decides to treat me again I very much doubt I'll be splashing out on any more goodies myself!
Ingredients for those who are interested...
Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Leaf Extract, Glycerin, Decyl Glucoside, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Xanthan Gum, Polysorbate 20, Parfum (Fragrance), Limonene, Citronellol, Panthenol, Sodium Lauroyl Oat Aminoacids, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Seed Extract, Lactic Acid, Ethylhexylglycerin.