The Sample: REN Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask (Review, Swatch & Photos)

3 Apr

««Press Sample»»

Everyone knows that spring is a time for renewal and rebirth…a time for fresh starts and new beginnings. Why shouldn’t that philosophy extend to your skin, as well? Let’s face it: no one feels like their complexion is the freshest or brightest straight out of the winter season. Everyone needs a little TLC come spring, and that’s where REN’s Radiance line comes in. REN’s Radiance range consists of 4 products: the Resurfacing AHA Concentrate, the Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask, the Radiance Perfection Serum, and the Micro Polish Cleanser. Today, I’ll be showing you the Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask.

According to REN, this mask is “A potent bio active peel mask designed to renew the complexion, reduce the appearance of fine lines and dramatically improve skin tone.” It works to remove dead skin cells that dull the complexion, resulting in a more radiant, even tone. It’s also supposed to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and minimize blackheads and blemishes.

REN’s mask features a 4-fruit-acid-complex of lactic, glycolic, citric, and tartaric as well as papaya enzymes to really deliver a potent yet effective exfoliating punch. As per usual with REN’s products, this mask is paraben, sulfate, synthetic fragrance/dye, and petrochemical-free.

The mask comes packaged in a vacuum-sealed plastic pump-bottle. I really like the way REN packages their products–it’s very sanitary and keeps the ingredients fresh and effective, resulting in less need for preservatives. The pump is also very effective at controlling the amount of product it disperses, so you can really apply just a fraction of a pump if you so desire. The mask also comes with a muslin cloth (sealed in plastic when you first get it) for removing the mask with.

The mask is translucent-orange in color and has a thick gel consistency. There is a light, natural kind of citrusy-apricot scent to it–it’s very fresh and invigorating. The product smoothes on easily and only a small amount is needed to cover the entire face and neck.

The first time I tested this mask, my skin was a little bit dry and raw from the winter cold. It did sting a bit upon initial application but after a minute I was totally fine. I think it was just due to me overapplying and my skin being a little dry and sensitive at the time. I’ve been using it about once a week since and I’ve had no problems and experienced no stinging/tingling of any kind. There is a tiny bit of a warming sensation once it’s been on your skin for a few minutes but it’s not unpleasant or even really that noticeable at all.

After rinsing, my skin feels smooth and looks fresh and radiant. I don’t think the results I got were quite as drastic as I thought they’d be but I think that’s because I’ve been using exfoliants and retinoids regularly for a long time and have very hardy, acne-prone skin that can take a lot. For me, this acts as great touch-up mask to use in-between the “harder” stuff. It’s also great for when I have some breakouts on my face. I just used this last night and when I woke up, 2 of the 3 small pimples I had on my face were gone and the large cystic pimple on my chin (fml) had been brought to the surface a bit more.

At $55 for 1.7 fl. oz., this mask is pretty pricey. But I personally love it and will probably repurchase in the future, though it is by no means a must-have for someone like me who needs stronger actives to see visible results. Still, I think it’s a nice pick-me-up and would definitely reach for it if I had somewhere to go and needed a quick, gentle mask that boosted radiance a bit. Those with normal and combination skin will probably get the best results, making this product more worth their while. I think some with dry and/or sensitive skin will be able to enjoy this too but be sure to always test on a small patch of skin first.

»»Pricing: $55/1.7 fl. oz. (50 ml.)

»»Availability: Sephora,, Barneys, and

»»Recommended for: normal, combination, and oily skin

»»Overall Rating: A


Disclaimer: the product(s) featured in this post were provided to The Beauty Sample free of charge by the manufacturer/PR for review purposes only. Regardless of how the product was obtained, my priority is to you, my readers, and I will always give you my honest opinion.

48 Responses to “The Sample: REN Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask (Review, Swatch & Photos)”

  1. Sunny April 3, 2013 at 5:57 am #

    Hey Becca, it’s so nice to read about your experience! My skin isn’t very sensitive, but it can only take a very limited amount of AHAs before it starts to freak, and that’s why I like this mask!

    • becca April 3, 2013 at 2:32 pm #

      I remember reading your review–glad it works so well for you! I really do love it but I think I would have gotten better results if I hadn’t used all these strong actives my whole life :P

  2. Procrastinator April 3, 2013 at 7:47 am #

    I got a sample of this from Sephora and it’s nice — I think it’s mild enough for me to use every other day. I think that I’d also prefer something stronger for days that my skin really does act up. I’m looking to try their AHA Concentrate, I think that might be better for my skin.

    • becca April 3, 2013 at 2:36 pm #

      I agree–I could probably use this every other day too if I wanted too (and didn’t have so many other exfoliants on rotation :P). I have the AHA Concentrate too and I like it–it is a bit stronger than the mask but I still didn’t experience that “ah ha!” moment that I had hoped to. My skin is just too darn thick and hardy! :P haha

      • Procrastinator April 4, 2013 at 9:06 pm #

        Darn our thick skin =P it’s probably handier than we realize!

        • becca April 5, 2013 at 12:17 am #

          For serious!! :P

  3. Toya April 3, 2013 at 8:26 am #

    I had a couple samples of this and liked it quite a bit, but I’m not sure I want to go full-on and purchase the full size. It IS a bit pricey and I didn’t get insane results so for now I’ll keep looking. I still like REN’s philosophy though!

    • becca April 3, 2013 at 2:38 pm #

      Me too–I really love REN’s philosophy on clean skincare and I LOVE their packaging and their ingredients…it’s really a great brand. I think this mask and some other products from the Radiance line would be great for those with dry or normal, dull skin but my skin is just so used to being attacked with all these actives that it takes something MUCH stronger to get more visible results!

  4. Larie April 3, 2013 at 9:11 am #

    This one is on my list! I am thinking about getting one of their sets during the VIB sale, but I think the night time serum I have breaks me out, so I’m still thinking about it.

    • becca April 3, 2013 at 2:41 pm #

      Which night serum are you using from them, Larie?? Sephora has a pretty great set available that’s $58 and includes a full-size Glycol Lactic mask, cloth, and deluxe samples of the Micro Polish Cleanser and Radiance Perfection serum! I have the Radiance serum and it doesn’t seem to break me out so maybe this set would be good for you??

  5. Kiss & Make-up April 3, 2013 at 9:12 am #

    Sounds great! I’m always very impressed with REN products. My skin is happy with the ingredients, my nose is happy with the smell of the products, and I am always happy with the results.

    • becca April 3, 2013 at 2:41 pm #

      Me too! I just love their philosophy, their packaging, the great ingredients, the smell…What are some of your favorite REN products?? :D

  6. Catherine (@bcrueltyfree) April 3, 2013 at 10:29 am #

    OH MY GOSH Becca HOW CUTE are these photos! I love the lemons :D Oh and the mask sounds great too ;) I do love AHA products… I have KP on my upper arms and I do find it looks much better when I have the patience to apply AHA regularly

    • becca April 3, 2013 at 2:43 pm #

      Aww thank you Catherine! I thought it’d be zesty and happy for spring!! :P Do you use any products on your upper arms right now? I used to get a bit of KP on my arms but its gotten better over time. I still do slather a bit of REN’s AHA Concentrate on my arms before bed though. I think you’d really like that one!

  7. Gummy April 3, 2013 at 2:04 pm #

    I love the lemon background!!! You are always so creative and your pics are so beautiful!! I didn’t realize this came with a muslin cloth! I bet it would really enhance the effects of only doing the mask by itself! I need to get my hands on another sample of this…had one awhile ago and liked it, but really want to try it coupled with the muslin!

    What are some of the stronger actives you like to use on your face?

    • becca April 3, 2013 at 2:48 pm #

      You are so sweet–thank you so very much, dear Gummy! It’s always nice when people appreciate the work that you put into your pictures :) (washing then polishing and stacking all those lemons was hard!! hahah :P)

      I didn’t realize this mask came with a muslin cloth either–I really like that! Muslin cloths are so effective for me–I think they give me the same results as my Clarisonic!

      Some stronger actives I like using are: good old Retin-A, Pure+Simple’s Lactic Acid 5%, and even REN’s AHA Concentrate. What about you? I didn’t know you’ve tried this one before. Which do you like better, Gummy: the ExfoliKate or REN’s Glycol Lactic?? I am so curious about that Kate Somerville one!

      • Gummy April 24, 2013 at 8:20 am #

        From what I remember ExfoliKate is more effective for me, but that’s without the muslin cloth! So I’d love to do an updated comparison to see if I like it as much or maybe even better than KS. BUT BUT BUT…I *think* I may have found something I like more than ExfoliKate…plus it’s cheaper and has a simpler ingredient list! It’s Vivant’s Mandelic Acid Exfoliating Cleanser…along with Vivant’s Mandelic Toner and my oils my skin has been soooo amazingly happy lately!! I’ve even stopped using my other mandelic/lactic acid serum and ExfoliKate and Tatcha because it’s all working so well!!

        • becca April 24, 2013 at 3:10 pm #

          Oooh really?? I haven’t heard of Vivant but I am super curious now! I’m not sure that I’ve used a lot of mandelic acid products– a lot of lactic and glycolic but no mandelic. And which TATCHA product did you stop using–the Rice Enzyme Powder??

          • Gummy April 24, 2013 at 8:58 pm #

            Yes, the Rice Enzyme Powder. I gave the rest to my friend last night – she told me today that she loooooves it :-) I still think it’s an amazing product and would highly rec it!! I was going to try to use the rest up, but it would only be using it for the sake of emptying when I’d rather be using something else. And it’s so wonderful that I’d rather it get more love elsewhere!

          • becca April 24, 2013 at 10:02 pm #

            Aww you are so nice–your friend is lucky, the Rice Enzyme Powder is amazing! I’m glad you’ve found something that you like more though. Will definitely be looking to the brand! :D

  8. Tiffany April 3, 2013 at 2:33 pm #

    You’re right – I have combo skin and I LOVE this mask! Like you, I used to use much harsher skincare products (retinoids, etc) back when I had really bad acne, and I can imagine I probably would not have been as impressed with this back then. Great review, Becca!

    • becca April 3, 2013 at 2:50 pm #

      Thank you so much, Tiffany! Yeah I definitely do love this mask but I can see that I would get a lot more drastic results if I cut down on the use of all my other actives/exfoliants. You aren’t using any type of retinoids for acne or anything, Tiffany?? Did it just go away on its own? I still have to regularly use Epiduo and Retin-A–though not nearly as much as before–to keep my acne at bay :/

  9. Annick April 3, 2013 at 3:30 pm #

    I’ve been contemplating this mask to replace my Murad Pomegranate mast, and it seems like you liked it too! I’d love to read a skin care post from you! We seem to have the same skin type, and I’d love to read about your regime/favorite products!

    • becca April 3, 2013 at 6:16 pm #

      Hey Annick! I didn’t realize you had oily, acne-prone skin too. It can be a real pain, huh? I did a skincare post back in January–here’s the link if you want to check it out:

      It’s remained pretty much the same, except I’ve also added REN’s Radiance serum to test and switched out my usual go-to Aveeno cleanser with Shiseido’s Pureness Foaming Cleansing Fluid (it’s ok…don’t like it nearly as much as my Aveeno!) and TATCHA’s Camellia Cleansing Oil for when I’m wearing makeup and/or sunscreen (which means this is my usual nighttime cleanser), and switched my Neutrogena Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover with Shiseido’s Instant Eye & Lip Makeup Remover (REALLY do not like this and will be switching back to my Neutrogena ASAP!). It’s seems like a really product-heavy routine but I really like having an assortment of products at my disposal to really treat my skin day to day.

      What about you–what are some of your favorite products for dealing with oily, acne-prone skin?? I’d love to know! I’m always on the lookout for great skincare :)

  10. fairytalesandcoffee April 3, 2013 at 5:00 pm #

    Definitely a sensitive, dry, normal skin type peel. Rushed to get this after another reviewer post, but was left disappointed. Once your skin can handle stronger actives, difficult to go back down at that price point.

    • becca April 3, 2013 at 6:19 pm #

      Yeah the 2 exfoliating treatment masks I hear about the most are REN’s Glycol Lactic Radiance mask and Kate Somerville’s ExfoliKate. Have you tried that one? I think that will be my next mask purchase–I’ve always been sooo curious about it! I do like this REN one a lot but yes, definitely not as strong as I need it to be. Still, like I mentioned in the post, I think this is a great choice for when I need something fast and easy and that I know will give me a bit of a glow before a night out or whatever. I like the smell, texture, packaging, and everything I’ve tried from REN in general–it’s really a great brand!

      • fairytalesandcoffee April 6, 2013 at 5:05 pm #

        I’ve purchased exfolikate a number of times. It’s a hardcore, rather aggressive enzymatic scrub. It’s the enzyme, souped up version of St. Ives apricot scrub that I used for years. Very concentrated and powerful. I decided I don’t really need it because I use so many other exfoliating, peeling, sloughing products. I find that with retin-a, exfolikate is rather too much. It’s great for those folks who aren’t on rx retinoids with tougher, acne prone skin. While, I know there is a gentler version of Exfolikate, I don’t see the point of paying an inflated price for a weaker version, when I can buy another brand at same strength for half the price. Ren’s peeling products are too weak for me though. I prefer “middling” peels for my current needs. :)

        • becca April 7, 2013 at 3:11 pm #

          Ahh ok. Hmm…I’m still so curious haha but I probably (definitely) really don’t need it. I definitely have a rather decent sized collection of exfoliants but I’ve just heard so many good things that I am dying to try it! :P

  11. Teri April 3, 2013 at 8:08 pm #

    It seems like I need to try this soon, the ingredients are so nice and I love how it’s perfume free. Also looove your pics, the lemons are so nice! ^^

    • becca April 3, 2013 at 11:51 pm #

      Thank you Teri!! :D Yes I think this would be great for your skin–you would love it!!

  12. Liz April 3, 2013 at 9:45 pm #

    I actually did the reverse. Spent a long time using really aggressive stuff, like Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel Full Strength which would turn my face BEET RED and leave it that way for the rest of the day. Then I gave this one a try and finished the full bottle with a lot of the mixed feelings that you expressed. But I really liked it! After having switched to gentler cleansers and treatments also, I feel like my face has “normalized” quite a bit and that I would repurchase this again at its current state. I’m still oily and break out, but my skin is nowhere near as acne-prone as it used to be. I’m trying to use up my second bottle of the AHA Concentrate now and find that it stings a little more than it used to due to the change. Anyway, never tried a REN product I didn’t love! :D

    • becca April 3, 2013 at 11:55 pm #

      Really? Yeah I try not to exfoliate my skin any more than I need to but I find that my skin needs CONSTANT treatment with actives, especially lately–it’s just so acne-prone! And you just reminded me of how badly I wanted to try the Juice Beauty Peel! I tried the Antioxidant Serum and thought it was just meh so I think I passed on the rest of the line but now I think I will give that one a go!

  13. Claire April 3, 2013 at 11:01 pm #

    I adore this mask, one of my fav mask ever! I have dry skin and I see the results it gives kinda fast, it won’t dry out my skin but make it feel soft, smooth and refined instead :D I really like your pictures here Becca and great review as always :) <3

    • becca April 3, 2013 at 11:56 pm #

      Thank you so much Claire! :) I’m so glad to hear that it works that well for your dry skin–I definitely think those with dry or normal skin will really love this mask the most! I like it a lot though and am glad to have it in my arsenal!

  14. Angela @ The Unprofessional Beauty Blog April 4, 2013 at 2:21 am #

    I actually just got a sample of this from Sephora but have yet to try it. I think I need to now. This sounds like a great product for my skin. Those lemons look tasty. I want some lemonade now lol

    • becca April 4, 2013 at 4:17 pm #

      Haha I know I wanted lemonade after taking the pics too :P haha

      The mask is great–I think you’ll really like it! Do try it and let me know what you think!

  15. Taylor April 4, 2013 at 11:05 am #

    I’ve been wanting to try this for ages! It’s a great review, I’m glad to hear you had such a positive experience with it! Ill definitely get a sample, I also havnt thought about using it to bring out a blemish. Sounds fantastic!

    • becca April 4, 2013 at 4:18 pm #

      Definitely get a sample, Taylor–I think you would really like it! And yes, it’s fantastic for my smaller blemishes–didn’t get rid of the cystic pimple but then, nothing can really do that for me :P haha

  16. Makeup Morsels April 5, 2013 at 5:30 pm #

    Love that backdrop of lemons, it’s so cheery and bright! Thanks for your always thorough reviews (seriously, dunno how you manage it so consistently), and I’ll definitely add this to my list of masks to try. Think I’m going to start experimenting more with glycolic/lactic acid.

    • becca April 5, 2013 at 8:02 pm #

      MM you are too sweet–thank you!! :D I thought the lemons would be bright and cheerful for spring :)

      Are there any chemical exfoliants that you use at the moment? I think this mask would seriously be perfect for someone who doesn’t use a lot of actives–it’s potent but gentle and really great for beginners, in my opinion :)

  17. Jenni@lifeandlensofbeauty April 6, 2013 at 12:08 am #

    thanks for your review! I’ve been wanting to try this mask for a while, but not too sure how mild/strong it’ll be! Esp now i’m a huge convert of Alpha H Liquid Gold which is also with Glycolic Acid. This mask is definitely a bit pricey though.

    • becca April 7, 2013 at 3:09 pm #

      Yeah it is. But it’s really, really nice to use! From the texture and color and scent to the efficacy, it’s really a good one to have around! Do you use the Alpha H everyday, Jenni?

  18. Tracy@Beauty Reflections April 9, 2013 at 10:20 pm #

    I really want to try something from REN! This sounds like something I could use actually! Perhaps I shall spring for it during the VIB sale!

    • becca April 9, 2013 at 11:13 pm #

      Oh yes do! And you have to let me know what you think–I think this would work really well for your skin type, Tracy!! :)

  19. Meryl @ Memoiselle April 10, 2013 at 4:46 am #

    Hey Becca,
    I miss reading your blog so much! My work has been so busy these days that it took most of my hours hence I have been late in blogging.
    I have good perception of Ren brand. I’m glad that this mask gives you radiance and the orange color of this mask actually attracts me. The color makes me feel fresh :)

    • becca April 10, 2013 at 4:02 pm #

      Aw I miss you Meryl! Don’t worry, I just posted my first blog post in a week–I’ve been super busy too so I totally understand :) I hope all is well with you, though?

      I also know what you mean about the color–there’s just something about it that makes me love it so much! I feel the same way about Kate Somerville’s ExfoliKate too–when I saw the swatches on Gummy Vision, the green color made me want to try it soooo bad!! haha

  20. Joyce (bronzerbunny) April 10, 2013 at 5:01 pm #

    I’m glad this is working for you too! One of these days, I’ll have to purchase it. Maybe next year, haha, when I’ve finally minimized the stash! loll

    • becca April 10, 2013 at 5:06 pm #

      haha yeah, definitely keep this one on your list–I think it’d be great on your drier skin, Joyce! BTW, how is your skincare routine coming along? Have you put anything together yet? I’m curious to know! :P

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