The most ironic part of all of this is that I am extremely freaked out by “acid peels,” or “acid” and “peels,” in general—unless we’re talking fruit peels, in which case I’m just usually in hot pursuit of a trash receptacle (and yes, I know that’s where the vitamins are, in the peel. I’m not eating an orange peel for vitamins, okay? Not right now. Put it in a Vitamix and then maybe we’ll talk). While I have always thought of myself as something of a quick study (whatever that means), I have never quite considered myself to be on par with someone who works with chemicals for a living, and especially not someone who mixes chemicals destined for people's faces. People whose faces are valued so very highly that they’re paying to have chemicals applied to them. See what I’m saying? I don't think I'm so swell that I can pick that up in an aisle at Sephora. So, the fact that I am not only discussing the Ren Gylcol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask but recommending it as an “I heart”? It's distinctly out of character. But here’s the thing: maybe it isn't? I am slowly becoming obsessed with skincare, and there’s only so many times that I can hear a brand be touted on this website, by the likes of Sophie Pera and Kate Young no less, So, I listened. And the result? Two Jin Soon-manicured (in Nostalgia, if you’re wondering— it’s the perfect warm pinky-beige) thumbs up.
As is usual for Ren, the mask is free of parabens, sulfates, synthetic fragrances/dyes, and petrochemicals and is recommended for use once a week. The packaging is also ingenious: the pump disperses exactly how much mask you need for one application, so no guessing games required (always a relief to the amateur self-facialist) and the tube is transparent, so you can see how much product is left. I space it out, but tend to slap some on once every ten days or so, when I feel like my skin is looking dry, tired, congested, or just a little dull. The mask is a four-acid complex (lactic, glycolic, tartaric, and citric) and uses a papaya-derived enzyme to gently—the most zing you feel is a slightly stinging tingle—exfoliate your face in around 10-15 minutes, after which you wipe it off with a damp face cloth. It leaves you with what during the colder months in this city seems like an impossibly tall order: a happy, healthy brightness, with no awkward post-treatment redness or irritation. All of which is to say, I’m a fan.
Photo by Elizabeth Brockway