News / The Look Book

Brand Focus: REN – Clean Skincare

Discover Beautiful, Healthy Skin

It’s safe to say that REN founders Robert Calcraft and Antony Buck are evangelical about skincare. It wasn’t always that way – their partnership began as successful brand consultants to companies such as Peugeot, Smirnoff, Yellow Pages and Pizza Hut – but when Antony’s wife developed adverse reactions to almost every cosmetic during her first pregnancy, a seed was planted.

The idea? To create a new brand that offered the “holy grail” of skincare – advanced, effective, sophisticated, high-tech products that smelt great and were a real pleasure to use but, at the same time, were free from all the skin-unfriendly chemicals routinely used in the skincare industry. They summarised the idea as Clean Skincare and called the brand REN – a name which means ‘clean’ in Swedish (and, as they later discovered, ‘honourable endeavour’ in Chinese.)

However, having the idea for REN Clean Skincare was the easy bit. The boys quickly found out why no one else was doing it: Clean Skincare products are incredibly difficult to make.

However, helped by unfailing enthusiasm and the expertise of a brilliant French cosmetic pharmacologist Dr Colette Haydon, REN began to take shape and, in September 2000, Robert and Antony launched the first-ever truly desirable skincare range that was free from synthetic fragrance and colours, petrochemicals, propylene glycol, animal ingredients, GM ingredients, PEGS, TEA/DEA, sulfates and parabens.

And the response? They had got it bang on. With two London shops, core-brand status in Space NK and a presence in big-name department stores in the UK and abroad (not to mention in the bathrooms of countless celebrities) REN is already a great success.

But it doesn’t stop there. REN is ever-evolving and aims always to be at the forefront of the very latest advances in the technology of natural ingredients.

The ultimate aim – and REN’s very own holy grail – is to create advanced, effective products that are 100% plant and mineral-derived. ‘We are convinced that REN’s approach is the blueprint for skincare of the future.’ says Buck ‘With Clean Skincare you can have the best of both worlds – brilliant products that really work and the comfort of knowing that you’re avoiding the chemical nasties.’

Five key principles to developing REN products

At REN we believe in beautiful, healthy skin. That is why we pioneered the concept of Clean Bio Active Skincare. Skincare products that are formulated with cutting edge, clinically proven bio actives whilst being from free skin unfriendly ingredients.

Our philosophy is summarized in our 5 principles:

  1. Right Ingredients
    We make Clean Products that don’t contain skin-unfriendly ingredients including: synthetic fragrance, petrochemicals, sulfate detergents, synthetic colours, animal ingredients, silicones and parabens.In addition, REN products do not contain potential irritants including: glycols and diglycols (such as propylene glycol), PEG’s, PPGs, urea, D.E.A, T.E.A, PABA and other synthetic sunscreens, aliphatic alcohols/hydrocarbons, phthalates, fumarates, amines, alkanolamines, synthetic AHAs/BHAs, polyacrylamide, metacrylate, elastomer, poloxamer, styrene, vinyl, polyquaternium, synthetic chelating agents, nylon, nitriles, nitrates, nitrosamine releasers, bromates, fluor, aluminum and alumina.
  2. Right Science
    REN’s aim is to pioneer new ways of applying the latest discoveries in bio active technology to produce skincare formulations that boost the skin’s natural processes of protection, repair and renewal. Bio science is key to making products that are increasingly effective in helping achieve and maintain beautiful, healthy skin.
  3. Right Product Experience
    This is our pleasure principle. It matters because it can change your world. You wake up, use REN and the world is just a 5% nicer place to be. So you eat a healthier breakfast, choose clothes that are 5% nicer, you walk 5% taller and smile 5% more, as consequence people notice you 5% more and are 5% nicer to you….. it can be a magically virtuous circle.
  4. Right Environmental Impact
    We do our bit to minimise our use of the world’s limited natural resources. We donate a minimum of 2.5% of our profits to campaigns that promote a better environment and a better life for those less fortunate than ourselves.
  5. Right Attitude
    We believe a principle is a principle even if it costs money. We believe we reap what we sow. We prefer goodwill to suspicion, humour to gravitas, informality to formality. We welcome difference.

REN Head of Education & Training

Rui Branco moved from Cape Town South Africa to London in 2002 after graduating in advertising and communications at UCT.

His first job role in the UK was working at the Aveda Concept store, where his drive and dedication fast saw him move into a management position. His interest in skincare and natural ingredients were first sparked through his work at the Concept store and with his experience in marketing and advertising he soon found the transition into the training and marketing department and easy one to make – leading him to the position of trainer for the company.

Rui then went on to a position of Head of Training for the Ales Groupe, a distribution company in the UK that handles both Lierac and Phyto. These two brands would allow him to develop his knowledge within the pharmacy and medi-spa market and teach him how to effectively deal with the dermatology and pharmacology skincare arena.

Rui held his position at Ales Groupe until his new appointment at REN as Director of Education.

Rui notes this new role as the highlight of his career. Working with REN Skincare and their ethos of clean hi-tech products very much suited his understanding of how skincare should be created and how it should perform. His passion for natural ingredients and their use in the skincare market, along with his extensive experience accumulated through 10 years in the industry makes him the perfect ambassador for the brand, where he now plays a critical role in the development and expansion of the company in over 45 countries internationally.

Formulated with only 100% natural active ingredients

REN’s facial skincare range is formulated using the most advanced natural skincare technology, with only 100% natural active ingredients. From our purifying facial skin scrub through to night treatments the products are designed to help the skin achieve its perfect balance, particularly when used together.

In addition, REN products avoid synthetic fragrance and colour, PEGS, parabens and propylene glycol.

Daily Sun Protection

A triple action micro-mineral sunscreen that delivers broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection, fights free radicals and harnesses beneficial light energy for a laser effect that gives the complexion a radiant, even toned appearance.


  • Protects skin from the harmful effects of the sun
  • Fights free radicals
  • Harnesses the beneficial properties of sunlight to keep skin looking younger for longer

REN Photoactive Sun Veil SPF 15 uses sub-micronised Zinc Oxide to protect the skin against harmful UVA and UVB radiation but is free from chemical sunscreen and nano particles. It is easily absorbed and avoids the whitening effect and inconvenience of many mineral sunscreens.

Itis not just a sunscreen, it also incorporates an extraordinary anti-ageing active. Fluosphores from Noni Extract are capable of absorbing harmful UV rays and transforming them into visible red light which is proven to be very beneficial for the skin (akin to the use of laser treatments in skincare clinics). It works by boosting the expression of elastin, in other words firming and revitalising the skin.

In vivo studies show an increase of elastin greater than 50% when Noni Extract is topically applied on skin exposed to UV light.

Retails at S$79 for 50ml of product, made in the UK.


Having the opportunity to meet Rui Branco in person and learn more about REN, I would love to share more about this brand with all of you – thus this post.

REN Facial Skincare Range is divided in 5 varies skin types and 3 skin concerns, each labelled with its own colour code which makes browsing and selecting a range easier for beginners in my opinion.

A few items I am particularly interested in includes:

  • Hydra-Calm Cleansing Gel for Sensitive Skin
    A gentle facial wash formulated to leave sensitive skin thoroughly cleansed, refreshed and soothed without irritation, tightness or discomfort.
  • F10 Smooth and Renew Mask for Sensitive Skin
    Formulated to gently exfoliate and detoxify, this gel mask will leave the complexion visibly radiant, smooth and toned.
  • No.1 Purity Cleansing Balm for All Skin Types
    A luxurious silky rose infused cleansing balm. When applied with water the balm transforms into a rich milk and leaves skin purified, calm and glowing. It gently yet thoroughly melts away dirt and make up (including waterproof mascara).


REN skincare products can be found at the following locations:

Escentials @ Paragon | Escentials @ The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands | Escentials @ TANGS Orchard

Thank you for reading.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s