Ren Clarimatte Clarifying Toner - review


Over the past month or so I started finishing off the Alpha-H skincare I was using so I've slowly been integrating the bundle of Ren products I had in store into my skincare routine.

This Clarimatte toner I've had sitting around since last year when I added it to my Mecca cart to get me over the line to qualify for free shipping and a Ren GWP pack.

While I'm enjoying the product and, if I don't overdo it, it works ok for my skin, it hasn't grabbed me in the same way as other Ren products I own have and I do use other toners that I prefer.

Ren claims/product details:
  • A multi-function toning lotion that unclogs pores and sloughs off dead skin, leaving the complexion looking clear, smooth and even toned
  • Salicilin from willow bark and flavonoids from mayblossom reduce the appearance of large pores, while their anti-bacterial properties minimise future breakouts
  • A complex of skin-friendly AHAs including glycolic and lactic acid decongest and remove dead skin cells, allowing the skin’s surface to renew itself
  • Contains no synthetic AHAs or BHAs or artificial fragrance
  • Skin feels fresher, clearer and wide awake
  • Complexion appears balanced, even toned and less oily
  • Offers anti-microbial action
  • For combination and problem skin, prone to oiliness and breakouts
  • To use: apply onto clean skin over the face and neck with a cotton pad, avoiding the eye area; follow with moisturiser
  • RRP $27 AUD for 150ml

The product comes in a hard plastic bottle with a twist-off cap. It's easy to use and the plugged nozzle means you can better control the amount of product you're dispensing each time.


Before going into my thoughts on this product, it's worth mentioning that skincare guru Caroline Hirons used to love it but apparently Ren reformulated it, taking out the lactic acid it contained and adding pineapple, so she no longer rates it. Plus it contains alcohol, even though Ren says it doesn't. See Caroline's thoughts on the product here (you'll need to scroll down to the comments section).

I've checked my bottle and unfortunately I do have the reformulated version, so this post will be about the newer product and not the older one. I do wish I'd tried the older one so I could compare them for you, but unfortunately I haven't so I can't : (

Anyhoo. It's a clear liquid that looks and feels like water. It does feel quite astringent on the skin so I think it's better geared for those with oily, blemish-prone skin, but even though my skin is dry, I can get away with it if I don't use it too much.

I bought it knowing that it wasn't strictly designed for my skin, but I was looking for something that contained glycolic acid (because that ingredient works for me) and that would target the blemishes I often get along my jawline.

And I'm happy to say that it does help with blemishes: they've all but cleared up since I started using this and new ones haven't been forming. I don't think I can say that this product achieved this alone, but I definitely think that it played a role because it wasn't until I started using this that the blemishes stopped rearing their ugly heads quite so much.

To start with I used it each morning and night, and it wasn't until around two weeks or so of use that I started to feel it was stripping my skin. Not terribly, but my skin started to feel tighter and a little uncomfortable, so I stopped using it for a couple of days and I now only use it in the morning. This has definitely worked, and I now feel that I'm getting the benefits of this product without irritating my skin.

On the product claims: I do think this unclogs pores and removes the top layer of dead skin; I do think it has a temporary effect on tightening up the surface of skin; it does balance the complexion and stop oiliness (not that I had much of that to start with!); and I do think this has made my skin look and feel clearer.

Despite those good things, I don't feel that this product is for me because I use a bundle of products from Alpha-H (eg the fabled Liquid Gold) that achieve what this does without making my skin feel tight and stripped, plus those products give me an overall better result in terms of the look and feel of my skin. While this does exfoliate, it doesn't brighten and resurface my skin as well as eg Alpha-H's Liquid Gold, so I wouldn't buy it again and I'll be sticking with what I know.

All in all, this is an ok product and I think it might work for you if your skin is oily and blemish-prone. It's also not the most expensive product on the market, so it's worth testing to see if you like it - but I do think that better products are available if you're willing to fork out a little more for your skincare.

Not bad, not amazing.

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