I felt finally ready to review the REN Flash Rinse 1 Minute Facial ($48 for 2.5 oz.). I had two deluxe samples that I’d been using every 3 to 5 days for the last 5 weeks. I thought I had enough information to assess the pros and cons. And then I thought of looking up reviews to see what others were thinking…and was shocked at what I found out.
First, I should explain that the product is mainly a 10% vitamin C treatment, primarily in the form of ascorbic acid (at the top of the ingredients list) but also in the form of magnesium ascorbyl phosphate (way down the list). Ascorbic acid is notoriously unstable and quick to degrade once exposed to air or heat (as I’ve personally experienced).
The REN Flash Rinse claims to utilize an innovative formula that stabilizes the vitamin C “by locking it in a silica/glyceride matrix and releasing it only when you add water.” Thus, fresh vitamin C in every use.
Directions: On a clean, dry face, massage over face and neck in circular motions. (I did just my face.) Then dampen fingertips and massage face and neck to activate the vitamin C. Leave on for 1 minute. Rinse. Use every 3 days.
The texture is dense and slightly gritty. I hesitate to say “gritty” because it’s not abrasive or scrubby. There’s just enough texture that gentle physical exfoliation occurs as you massage it onto your skin. Once water is added, it almost turns a little oily and dissolves a little. It also starts off smelling like…bitter fermented citrus peel (??) and REN warns that a slight metallic fragrance is given off when the product is activated by the water. It rinses off fairly easily, but I like to follow up with a gentle foaming cleanser to ensure no residue.
My first time, I was underwhelmed with the results. But as I used it more times, I appreciated how my skin was smooth and slightly brightened immediately after each use. As REN claimed, it got rid of the “urban grey.” The effects are quite temporary though (maybe half a day to a day), and I don’t think they’re cumulative.
Watch a demonstration here:
Now here it is on my hand, freshly dispensed:
I saw one referring to it being blue and was like, Huh. After looking up some product photos and the video from REN, I realized that my product was indeed the wrong color. BOTH TUBES. FROM THE START. Arrrrghhh. (I received both tubes in early February, opened them in late March, and stored them in rooms with temperatures of probably 67-70 degrees.)
So take this post for what you will: a review of a product oxidized and degraded beyond its intended state. Based on my skewed experience, I would have said that this is a decent product for light exfoliation that achieves in 1 minute what would otherwise take multiple skincare steps, albeit one that doesn’t completely live up to its overstated marketing (a facial? really?) or high price. I suppose one could assume that the product works even better in its optimum state. However, I don’t plan to find out unless another free sample falls into my lap.